Every name which kindness of interest once raised too high, is in danger, lest the next age should, by the vengeance of criticism, sink it in the same proportion. On 2 January 1711, The Tatler was discontinued. The tendency of the Bill, as Steele observed in a letter to the Earl of Oxford, was to introduce an aristocracy: for a majority in the House of Lords, so limited, would have been despotic and irresistible. He took up a design of writing a play upon this subject, when he was very young at the university, and even attempted something in it there, though not a line as it now stands. The generality of our old English Poets abound in forced conceits, and affected phrases; and even those who are said to come the nearest to exactness, are but too often fond of unnatural beauties, and aim at something better than perfection.
The lines on Marlborough are just and noble; but the simile gives almost the same images a second time. When a poet writes a tragedy who knows he has judgment, and who feels he has genius, that poet presumes upon his own merit, and scorns to make a cabal. With one or other of these he always breakfasted. That he understood his authors cannot be doubted; but his versions will not teach others to understand them, being too licentiously paraphrastical. It was not by his garment that he knew this; it was by his face, then: his face therefore was not muffled. Stepney, then minister at that court, dated in November 1702.
The play was a success, probably because some of the audience took it to be a political allegory. The best are from an unknown hand, which will perhaps lose somewhat of their praise when the author is known to be Jeffreys. It is said that when any title grew popular it was stolen by the antagonist, who by this stratagem conveyed his notions to those who would not have received him had he not worn the appearance of a friend. It was his practice when he found any man invincibly wrong to flatter his opinions by acquiescence, and sink him yet deeper in absurdity. That man cannot be supposed very unexpert in the arts of conversation and practice of life, who, without fortune or alliance, by his usefulness and dexterity became secretary of state; and who died at forty-seven, after having not only stood long in the highest rank of wit and literature, but filled one of the most important offices of state.
I would fain know how it came to pass that, during all this time, he had sent nobody—no, not so much as a candle-snuffer—to take away the dead body of Sempronius. An invaluable guide to Addison's intellectual milieu is Alexandre Beljame, Men of Letters and the English Public in the Eighteenth Century: 1660-1744 1881; 2d ed. This is his general character; to which, doubtless, many single passages will furnish exceptions. This year 1716 he married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, whom he had solicited by a very long and anxious courtship, perhaps with behaviour not very unlike that of Sir Roger to his disdainful widow: and who, I am afraid, diverted herself often by playing with his passion. Alexander Pope wrote the prologue, and Samuel Johnson later praised the play as Addison's noblest work.
It continued to grow in popularity, especially in the America, for several generations. Sir Trusty's account of the death of Rosamond is, I think, too grossly absurd. But the sneer of jocularity was not the worst. But his poem on the Battle of Blenheim won him an appointment as commissioner of appeal in excise. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age, have passed through this fiery persecution. He was rigidly classic in his denunciation of the tragi-comedy. How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair, Thy sloping walks, and unpolluted air! Joseph Addison 1672 - 1719 , English essayist, dramatist, poet, and politician, was born in Milston, Wiltshire and educated at Lambertown University, Charterhouse School and at Queen's College, Oxford.
It is justly observed by Tickell that he employed wit on the side of virtue and religion. There was a controversy about this hymn. Addison must, however, not be too hastily condemned. But this was only when familiar: before strangers, or perhaps a single stranger, he preserved his dignity by a stiff silence. The remark of Mandeville, who, when he had passed an evening in his company, declared that he was a parson in a tye-wig, can detract little from his character: he was always reserved to strangers, and was not incited to uncommon freedom by a character like that of Mandeville. His humour, which, as Steele observes, is peculiar to himself, is so happily diffused as to give the grace of novelty to domestic scenes and daily occurrences. He was educated at Charterhouse School, where he first met Richard Steele, and at The Queen's College, Oxford.
Background Addison was born in , , but soon after his birth his father, Lancelot Addison, was appointed and the Addison family moved into the. Upon the death of Cato he had, as is said, planned a tragedy in the time of his travels, and had for several years the four first acts finished, which were shown to such as were likely to spread their admiration. He that feels oppression from the presence of those to whom he knows himself superior will desire to set loose his powers of conversation; and who that ever asked succour from Bacchus was able to preserve himself from being enslaved by his auxiliary? Tickell observes, that the Tatler began and was concluded without his concurrence. Of this paper nothing is necessary to be said, but that it found many contributors, and that it was a continuation of The Spectator, with the same elegance and the same variety, till some unlucky sparkle from a Tory paper set Steele's politicks on fire, and wit at once blazed into faction. He was a man in whose presence nothing reprehensible was out of danger; quick in discerning whatever was wrong or ridiculous, and not unwilling to expose it. When he returned to England in 1702 , with a meanness of appearance which gave testimony of the difficulties to which he had been reduced, he found his old patrons out of power, and was therefore for a time at full leisure for the cultivation of his mind, and a mind so cultivated gives reason to believe that little time was lost. Of the course of Addison's familiar day, before his marriage, Pope has given a detail.
The most amusing passage of his book is his account of the minute republic of San Marino; of many parts it is not a very severe censure to say that they might have been written at home. And yet the author of this tragedy does not only run counter to this, in the fate of his principal character; but every where, throughout it, makes virtue suffer, and vice triumph: for not only Cato is vanquished by Cæsar, but the treachery and perfidiousness of Syphax prevails over the honest simplicity and the credulity of Juba; and the sly subtlety and dissimulation of Portius over the generous frankness and open-heartedness of Marcus. For by making the chorus an essential part of tragedy, and by bringing it on the stage immediately after the opening of the scene, and retaining it there till the very catastrophe, he has so determined and fixed the place of action that it was impossible for an author on the Grecian stage to break through that unity. His translation of Virgil's Georgics was published the same year. So little sometimes is criticism the effect of judgment. During this lingering decay, he sent, as Pope relates, a message by the Earl of Warwick to Mr. It is related that he had once a design to make an English Dictionary, and that he considered Dr.