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of man, from the depths of stratagem to the sur- | versation; and who that ever asked succonis face of affectation.
from Bacchus was able to preserve himself from What he knew he could easily communicate. being enslaved by his auxiliary? “ This,” says Steele, “ was particular in this Among those friends it was that Addison diswriter, that, when he had taken his resolution, played the elegance of his colloquial accomplishor made his plan for what he designed to write, ments, which may easily be supposed such as he would walk about a room, and dictate it into Pope represents them. The remark of Mandelanguage with as much freedom and ease as any ville, who, when he had passed an evening in one could write it down, and attend to the his company, declared that he was a parson in a coherence and grammar of what he dictated.” tie-wig, can detract little from his character; he
Pope,* who can be less suspected of favouring was always reserved to strangers, and was not his memory, declares that he wrote very fluently, incited to uncommon freedom by a character but was slow and scrupulous in correcting; that like that of Mandeville. many of his Spectators were written very fast, From any minute knowlege of his familiar and sent immediately to the press; and that it manners, the intervention of sixty years has now seemed to be for his advantage not to have time debarred us. Steele once promised Congreve for much revisal.
and the public a complete description of his cha“ He would alter,” says Pope, “any thing to racter ; but the promises of authors are like the please his friends before publication ; but would vows of lovers. Steele thought no more on his not retouch his pieces afterwards; and I believe design, or thought on it with anxiety that at not one word in Cato,' to which I made an ob- last disgusted him, and left his friend in the jection, was suffered to stand.”
bands of Tickell. The last line of “ Cato" is Pope's, having been
One slight lineament of his character Swift originally written,
has preserved. It was his practice, when he
found any man invincibly wrong, to flatter his And ch! 'twas this that ended Cato's life.
opinions by acquiescence, and sink him yet Pope might have made more objections to the deeper in absurdity. This artifice of mischief. six concluding lines. In the first couplet the was admired by Stella ; and Swift seems to apwords “from hence” are improper; and the se- prove her admiration. cond line is taken from Dryden's Virgil. Of His works will supply some information. It the next couplet, the first verse, being included appears, from his various pictures of the world, in the second, is therefore seless; and in the that, with all his bashful he had conversed third discord is made to produce strife.
with many distinct classes of men, had surveyed Of the course of Addison's familiar day, t be their ways with very diligent observation, and fore his marriage, Pope has given a detail. He marked with great acuteness the effects of difhad in the house with him Budgell, and perhaps ferent modes of life. He was a man in whose Philips. His chief companions were Steele, presence nothing reprehensible was out of danBudgell, Philips, Carey, Davenant, and Colonel ger; quick in discerning whatever was wrong Brett. With one or other of these he always or ridiculous, and not unwilling to expose it. breakfasted. He studied all the morning, then “ There are,” says Steele, “in his writings madined at a tavern, and went afterwards to ny oblique strokes upon some of the wittiest men Button's.
of the age. His delight was more to excite Button had been a servant in the Countess of merriment than detestation; and he detects folWarwick's family, who, under the patronage of lies rather than crimes. Addison, kept a coffee-house on the south side If any judgment be made, from his books, of of Russell-street, about two doors from Covent- his moral character, nothing will be found but garden. Here it was that the wits of that time purity and excellence. Knowledge of mankind, used to assemble, It is said, when Addison had indeed, less extensive than that of Addison, will suffered any vexation from the Countess, be show, that to write, and to live, are very differwithdrew the company from Button's house. ent. Many who praise virtue do no more than
From the coffee-house he went again to a tav- praise it. Yet it is reasonable to believe that ern, where he often sat late, and drank too much Addison's professions and practice were at no wine. In the bottle discontent seeks for com- great variance, since, amidst that storm of facfort, cowardice for courage, and bashfulness for tion in which most of his life was passed, though confidence. It is not unlikely that Addison was his station made him conspicuous, and his actifirst seduced to excess by the manumission which vity made him formidable, the character given he obtained from the servile timidity of his sober him by his friends was never contradicted by his hours. He that feels oppression from the pre- enemies : of those with whom interest or opinzence of those to whom he knows himself su- ion united him he had not only the esteem, but perior will desire to set loose his powers of con- the kindness; and of others, whom the violence
of opposition drove against him, though he might Spence.
lose the love, he retained the reverence.
I: is justly observed by Tickell, that he em- Cecilia” has been imitated by Pope, and has ployed wit on the side of virtue and religion.— something in it of Dryden's vigour. Of his He not only made the proper use of wit him- account of the English poets, he used to speak Belf, but taught it to others; and from his time a poor thing ;'* but it is not worse than It has been generally subservient to the cause of his usual strain. He has said, not very judicireason and of truth. He has dissipated the pre- ously, in his character of Waller, judice that had long connected gayety with vice, and easiness of manners with laxity of princi- Thy verse could show ev'n Cromwell's innocence ; ples. He has restored virtue to its dignity, and
And complimeut the storms that bore hir hence.
0! bad thy muse not come an age too soon taught innocence not to be ashamed. This is
But seen great Nassau on the British throne, an elevation of literary character, “above all How had his triumph glitter'd in thy page! Greek, above all Roman fame.” No greater felicity can genius attain than that of having
What is this but to say that he who could purified intellectual pleasure, separated mirth compliment Cromwell had been the proper poet from indecency, and wit from licentiousness;
for King William ? Addison, however, never of having taught a succession of writers to bring printed the piece. elegance and gayety to the aid of goodness; and,
The letter from Italy has been always praised, if I may use expressions yet more awful, of but has never been praised beyond its merit. It having “turned many to righteousness.' is more correct, with less appearance of labour,
Addison, in his life, and for some time after- and more elegant, with less ambition of ornawards, was considered by a greater part of ment, than any other of his poems. There is, readers as supremely excelling both in poetry however, one broken metapbor, of which notice and criticism. Part of his reputation may be may properly be taken :properly ascribed to the advancement of his for
Fired with that nametune; when, as Swift observes, he became a
I bridle in my struggling Muse with pain, statesman, and saw poets waiting at his levec,
That longs to launch into a nobler strain. it was no wonder that praise was accumulated upon him. Much likewise may be more hon- To bridle a godiless is no very delicate idea; nourably ascribed to his personal character: he but why must she be bridled? because she longs who, if he had claimed it, might have obtained to launch ; an act which was never hindered by the diadem, was not likely to be denied the a bridle: and whither will she launch ? into a laurel.
nobler strain. She is in the first line a horse, in But time quickly puts an end to artificial and the second a boat ; and the care of the poet is to accidental fame; and Addison is to pass through keep his horse or his boat from singing. futurity protected only by his genius. Every The next composition is the far-famed “Camname which kindness or interest once raised paign,” which Dr. Warton bas termed a “ Gatoo high is in danger, lest the next age should, zette in Rhyme," with harshness not often used by the vengeance of criticism, sink it in the by the good-nature of his criticism. Before a same proportion. A great writer has lately censure so severe is admitted, let us consider styled him “an indifferent poet and a worse that war is a frequent subject of poetry, and critic.”
then inquire who has described it with more His poetry is first to be considered; of which justness and force. Many of our own writers it must be confessed that it has not often those tried their powers upon this year of victory ; felicities of diction which give lustre to senti- yet Addison's is confessedly the best performments, or that vigour of sentiment that ani- ance: his poem is the work of a man not blindmates diction: there is little of ardour, vehe- ed by the dust of learning ; his images are not mence, or transport: there is very rarely the borrowed merely from books. The superiority awfulness of grandeur, and not very often the which he confers upon bis hero is not personal splendour of elegance. He thinks justly; but prowess, and “ mighty bone,” but deliberate he thinks faintly. This is his general charac- intrepidity, a calm command of his passions, ter; to which, doubtless, many single passages and the power of consulting his own mind in will furnish exception.
the midst of danger. The rejection and conYet, if he seldom reaches supreme excellence, tempt of fiction is rational and manly. he rarely sinks into dulness, and is still more It may be observed that the last line is imi. rarely entangled in absurdity. He did not tated by Pope : trust his powers enough to be negligent. There is in most of his compositions a calmness and Marlborough's exploits appear divinely brightequability, deliberate and cautious, sometimes Raised of themselves their genuine charms they with little that delights, but seldom with any and those that paint them truest, praise them most.
boast, thing that offends.
Of this kind seem to be his poems to Dryden, to Somers, and to the King. His “ Ode on St.
This Pope had in his thoughts; but, not know- .Marlborough is so like the angel in the poem, ing how to use what was not his own, he spoiled that the action of both is almost the same, and the thought when he lead borrowed it:
performed by both in the same manner. Marl
borough “ teaches the battle to rage;" the The well-zung wees shall soothe my pensire ghost; lle best can paini them who shall feel them mo: t.
angel “ directs the storm :" Marlborough is
“unmoved in peaceful thought;" the angel is Martial exploits may be painted; perhaps woes
“ calm and serene:" Marlborough stands “ unmay be painted; but they are surely not painted moved amidst the shock of hosts ;” the angel by being well-sung : it is not easy to paint in rides“ calm in the whirlwind.” The lines song, or to sing in colours.
on Marlborough are just and noble ; but the No passage in the “ Campaign” has been simile gives almost the same images a second more often mentioned than the simile of the time. angel, which is said in the “ Tatler" to be “ But perhaps this thought, though hardly a of the noblest thoughts that ever entered into simile, was remote from vulgar conceptions, the heart of man,” and is therefore worthy of and required great labour of research or dexattentive consideration. Let it be first in- terity of application. Of this Dr. Madden, a quired whether it be a simile. A poetical simile
name which Ireland ought to honour, once gave is the discovery of likeness between two actions, me his opinion. “ If I had set,” said he, “ ten in their general nature dissimilar, or of causes school-boys to write on the battle of Blenheim, terminating by different operations in some re- and eight had brought me the angel, I should semblance of effect. But the mention of an- not have been surprised.” other like consequence from a like cause, or of a The opera of “ Rosamond,” though it is sellike performance by a like agency, is not a si- dom mentioned, is one of the first of Addison's mile, but an exemplification. It is not a simile compositions. The subject is well chosen, the ficto say that the Thames waters fields, as the Po tion is pleasing, and the praise of Marlborough, waters fields; or that as Iecla vomits flames in for which the scene gives an opportunity, Iceland, so Ætna vomits flames in Sicily. is, what perhaps every human excellence must When Horace says of Pindar, that he pours his be, the product of good-luck, improved by geviolence and rapidity of verse, as a river swoln nius. The thoughts are sometimes great, and with rain rushes from the mountain; or of him- sometimes tender; the versification is easy and self, that his genius wanders in quest of poeti- gay. There is doubtless some advantage in the cal decorations, as the bee wanders to collect shortness of the lines, which there is little honey ; he, in either case, produces a simile; temptation to load with expletive epithets. the mind is impressed with the resemblance of The dialogue seems commonly better than the things generally unlike, as unlike as intellect songs. The two comic characters of Sir Trusty and body. But if Pindar had been described as and Grideline, though of no great value, are writing with the copiousness and grandeur of yet such as the poet intended. * Sir Trusty's Homer, or Horace had told that he reviewed account of the death of Rosamond is, I think, and finished his own poetry with the same care too grossly absurd. The whole drama is airy as Isocrates polished his orations, instead of si- and elegant; engaging in its process, and pleasmilitude, he would have exhibited almost iden- | ing in its conclusion. If Addison had cultivattity; he would have given the same portraitsed the lighter parts of poetry, he would probawith different names. In the poem now ex- bly have excelled. amined, when the English are represented as The tragedy of “ Cato,” which, contrary to gaining a fortified pass, by repetition of attack, the rule observed in selecting the works of other and perseverance of resolution, their obstinacy poets, has by the weight of its character forced of courage and vigour of onset is well illustrated its way into the late collection, is unquestionably by the sea that breaks, with incessant battery, the noblest production of Addison's genius. the dikes of Holland. This is a simile; but Of a work so much read it is difficult to say any when Addison, having celebrated the beauty of thing new. About things on which the public Marlborough's person, tells us, that “ Achilles thinks long, it commonly attains to think right; thus was formed with every grace,” here is no and of “ Cato” it has been not unjustly detersimile, but a mere exemplification. A simile mined, that it is rather a poem in dialogue than may be compared to lines converging at a point, a drama, rather a succession of just sentiments and is more excellent as the lines approach from in elegant language, than a representation of greater distance; an exemplification may be con- natural affections, or of any state probable or sidered as two parallel lines which run on to- possible in human life. Nothing here “ excites gether without approximation, never far sepa- or assuages emotion :" here is “no magical rated, and never joined.
power of raising fantastic terror or wild
* Paiat” means (says Dr. Warton) express or describe them.-C.
* But, according to Dr. Warton, " ought not to have intended.”_C.
anxiety.” The events are expected without so- But that when an author writes a tragedy, who licitude, and are remembered without joy or knows he has neither genius nor judgment, he
Of the agents we have no care; we has recourse to the making a party, and he enconsider not what they are doing or what they deavours to make up in industry what is wantare suffering ; we wish only to know what they ing in talent, and to supply by poetical craft the have to say. Cato is a being above our solici- absence of poetical art; that such an author is tude; a man, of whom the gods take care, and humbly contented to raise men's passions by a whom we leave to their care with heedless con- plot without doors, since he despairs of doing it fidence. To the rest neither gods nor men can by that which he brings upon the stage. That have much attention ; for there is not one party, and passion, and prepossession, are claamongst them that strongly attracts either affec- morous and tumultuous things, and so much tion or esteeni. But they are made the vehicles the more clamorous and tumultuous by how of such sentiments and such expression, that much the more erroneous: that they domineer there is scarcely a scene in the play which the and tyrannize over the imaginations of persons reader does not wish to impress upon his memory. who want judgment, and sometimes too of those
When “ Cato" was shown to Pope, * he ad- who have it; and like a fierce and outrageous vised the Author to print it, without any the-torrent, bear down all opposition before them.” atrical exhibition; supposing that it would be He then condemns the neglect of poetical jusread more favourably than heard. Addison de tice; which is always one of his favourite princlared himself of the same opinion; but urged ciples. the importunity of his friends for its appearance “ It is certainly the duty of every tragic poet, on the stage. The emulation of parties made by the exact distribution of poetical justice, to it successful beyond expectation; and its success imitate the Divine dispensation, and to inculhas introduced or confirmed among us the use cate a particular providence. It is true, indeed, of dialogue too declamatory, or of unaffecting upon the stage of the world, the wicked someelegance, and chill philosophy.
times prosper, and the guiltless suffer. But The universality of applause, however it that is permitted by the Governor of the world, might quell the censure of common mortals, to show, from the attribute of his infinite jushad no other effect than to harden Dennis in tice, that there is a compensation in futurity, to fixed dislike: but his dislike was not merely prove the immortality of the human soul, and capricious. He found and showed many faults; the certainty of future rewards and punishhe showed them indeed with anger, but he ments. But the poetical persons in tragedy exfound them with acuteness, such as ought to ist no longer than the reading or the representarescue his criticism from oblivion; though, at tion; the whole extent of their enmity is cirlast, it will have no other life than it derives cumscribed by those; and, therefore, during from the work which it endeavours to oppress. that reading or representation, according to
Why he pays no regard to the opinion of the their merits or demerits, they must be punished audience, he gives his reason, by remarking, or rewarded. If this is not done, there is no that,
impartial distribution of poetical justice, no in“ A deference is to be paid to a general ap- structive lecture of a particular providence, and plause, when it appears that the applause is no imitation of the Divine dispensation. And natural and spontaneous; but that little regard yet the author of this tragedy does not only run is to be had to it, when it is affected and artifi-counter to this, in the fate of his principal charcial. Of all the tragedies which in his memory acter; but every where, throughout it, makes have had vast and violent runs, not one has virtue suffer, and vice triumph; for not only been excellent, few have been tolerable, most Cato is vanquished by Cæsar, but the treachery have been scandalous. When a poet writes a and perfidiousness of Syphax prevail over the tragedy, who knows he has judgment, and who honest simplicity and the credulity of Juba: feels he has genius, that poet presumes upon his and the sly subtlety and dissimulation of Porown merit, and scorns to make a cabal. That tius over the generous frankness and openheartpeople come coolly to the representation of suchedness of Marcus.” a tragedy, without any violent expectation, or Whatever pleasure there may be in seeing delusive imagination, or invincible preposses- crimes punished and virtue rewarded, yet, since sion; that such an audience is liable to receive wickedness often prospers in real life, the poet impressions which the poem shall naturally is certainly at liberty to give it prosperity on make on them, and to judge by their own rea- the stage. For if poetry has an imitation of son, and their own judgments, and that reason reality, how are its laws broken by exhibiting and judgment are calm and serene, not formed the world in its true form? The stage may by nature to make proselytes, and to control sometimes gratify our wishes; but, if it be truly and lord it over the imaginations of others. the “ mirror of life,” it ought to show us some
times what we are to expect.
Dennis objects to the characters, that they are
not na rural, or reasonable; but as heroes and comes Syphax, and then the two politicians arr hervines are not beings that are seen every day, at it immediately. They lay their heads toit is hard to find upon what principles their gether, with their snuff-boxes in their hands, as conduct shall be tried. It is, however, not use- Mr. Bayes has it, and feague it away. But, in less to consider what he says of the manner in the midst of that wise scene, Syphax seems to which Cato receives the account of his son's give a seasonable caution to Sempronius : death.
“ Nor is the grief of Cato, in the fourth act, Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your scoate one jot more in nature than that of his son and is called together? Gods! thou must be cautions ; Lucia in the third. Cato receives the news of Cato has piercing eyes. his son's death not only with dry eyes, but with a sort of satisfaction; and in the same page “ There is a great deal of caution shown insheds tears for the calamity of his country, and deed, in meeting in a governor's own hall to does the same thing in the next page upon the carry on their plot against him. Whatever bare apprehension of the danger of his friends. opinion they have of his eyes, I suppose they Now, since the love of one's country is the love have none of his ears, or they would never have of one's countrymen, as I have shown upon an
talked at this foolish rate so near : other occasion, I desire to ask these questions : Of all our countrymen, which do we love most,
Gods! thou must be cautious. those whom we know, or those whom we know not? And of those whom we know, which do “ Oh! yes, very cautious; for if Cato should we cherish most, our friends or our enemies? over-hear you, and turn you off for politicians, And of our friends, which are the dearest to us, Cæsar would never take you; no, Cæsar would those who are related to us, or those who are never take you. not? And of all our relations, for which have “ When Cato, Act II. turns the senators out we most tenderness, for those who are near of the hall, upon pretence of acquainting Juba to us, or for those who are remote ? And of our with the result of their debates, he appears to near relations, which are the nearest, and con- me to do a thing which is neither reasonable nor sequently the dearest to us, our offspring, or civil. Juba might certainly have better been others ? Our offspring most certainly; as Na- made acquainted with the result of that debate ture, or, in other words, Providence, has wisely in some private apartment of the palace. But contrived for the preservation of mankind. the Poet was driven upon this absurdity to make Now, does it not follow from what has been way for another; and that is, to give Juba an said, that for a man to receive the news of his opportunity to demand Marcia of her father. son's death with dry eyes, and to weep at the But the quarrel and rage of Juba and Syphax, same time for the calamities of his country, is a in the same Act; the invectives of Syphax wretched affectation, and a miserable inconsis- against the Romans and Cato; the advice that tency? Is not that, in plain English, to receive he gives Juba, in her father's ball, to bear away with dry eyes the news of the deaths of those Marcia by force; and his brutal and clamorous for whose sake our country is a name so dear to rage upon his refusal, and at a time when Cato us, and at the same time to shed tears for those was scarcely out of sight, and perhaps not out for whose sakes our country is not a name so of hearing, at least some of his guards or domesdear to us?”
tics must necessarily be supposed to be within But this formidable assailant is less resistible hearing ; is a thing that is so far from being when he attacks the probability of the action, probable, that it is hardly possible. and the reasonableness of the plan. Every “ Sempronius, in the second Act, comes back critical reader must remark, that Addison has, once more in the same morning to the governor's with a scrupulosity almost unexampled on the hall, to carry on the conspiracy with Syphax English stage, confined himself in time to a against the governor, his country, and his family; single day, and in place to rigorous unity. The which is so stupid that it is below the wisdom scene never changes, and the whole action of the of the O—'s, the Mac's, an the Teague's; even play passes in the great hall of Cato's house at Eustace Cummins himself would never have Utica. Much therefore is done in the hall, for gone to Justice-hall, to have conspired against which any other place would be more fit; and the government. If officers at Portsmouth should this impropriety affords Dennis many hints of lay their heads together, in order to the carrying merriment, and opportunities of triumph. The off* J- G-'s niece or daughter, would they passage is long; but as such disquisitions are not common, and the objections are skilfully formed and vigorously urged, those who delight Gibson, lieutenant-governor of Portsmouth, in the
* The person meant by the initials J. G. is Sir John in critical controversy will not think it tedious.
year 1710, and afterwards. He was much beloved “ Upon the departure of Portius, Sempronius in the army, and by the common soldiers called makes but one soliloquy, and immediately in Johnny Gibson.-H.