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cumstance :-Lord Godolphin, the trea the muse Clio. He also took a part surer, happening to complain to Lord in The New Spectator, which, howHalifax that the Duke of Marlborough's ever, failed; and to its successor, The victory at Blenheim had not been cele Guardian, he contributed several exbrated in verse as it deserved, the patron cellent papers, which are distinguished of our poet observed that he knew a by a hand. person capable of writing upon such a In 1713, appeared his celebrated subject, but that he would not name tragedy of Cato, which, with a prohim; adding that he had long seen, with logue by Pope, and an epilogue by indignation, men of no merit main Dr. Garth, was received, on its retained in pomp and luxury at the ex presentation at the theatre, with the pense of the public, while persons of most extravagant applause. During ioo much modesty, with great abilities, a run of five-and-thirty nights, it relanguished in obscurity. Lord Godol ceived the unanimous applause of phin took the hint, and, on Addison Whigs and Tories: the former lauding being named, sent the chancellor of the to the skies every line in which liberty Exchequer to wait upon him personally, was mentioned, as a satire on their when he, in consequence, undertook opponents, and the latter echoing every his celebrated poem of the campaign, clap, to show that the satire was unwhich being shown to the lord trea
It would seem, therefore, that surer when it was carried no farther party spirit, rather than the merit of than the famous simile of the angel, so the piece, was the source of its enthupleased him, that he immediately ap siastic reception on the stage, whence pointed its author a commissioner of it may now be considered as banished. appeals.
As a poetical production, however, Cato In 1705, Mr. Addison accompanied afterwards raised its author to a very Lord Halifax to Hanover; and, in the high rank in the literary world ; and, following year, he was chosen under besides being translated into French, secretary of state to Sir Charles Hedges, Italian, and German, and acted by the and was continued in the same office by Jesuit students at St. Omers, was atthe Earl of Sunderland, who succeeded tentively criticized by Voltaire, who, Sir Charles in December, 1706. About extravagant both in his praise and this time, a taste for operas beginning censure, declared the love scenes conto prevail in England, the subject of temptible, but the principal character our memoir was requested, by several superior to any before brought upon persons of distinction, to try his skill in
Notwithstanding, however, that species of composition; and he ac the weight of authority in its favour, cordingly produced his Rosamond, Cato is a composition sufficiently bomwhich, had the music been equal to the bastic and inflated, to merit the fate of poetry, would probably have met with many of the performances which it has
In 1709, he accompanied the been fortunate enough to survive. Marquess of Wharton to Ireland as his Addison had already formed the desecretary, and was, at the same time, sign of composing an English Dictionary appointed keeper of the records in that upon the plan of the Italian Della kingdom, with an increased salary of Crusca ; but, upon the death of Queen £300 per annum. The publication of Anne, being appointed secretary to the The Tatler having been commenced in lords justices, he had not leisure to the same year by Steele, Addison con carry on the work. On the Earl of tinued to be a principal supporter of Sunderland's becoming viceroy of Irethat paper until its cessation, in January, land, our author accompanied him to 1711, when the establishment of The that country as secretary; and, on the Spectator, in the following March, again removal of the earl, he was made one called into play his unequalled powers of the lords of trade. in 1715, he as an essayist. of this publication we brought out The Freeholder, a kind of shall, at present, only observe that it political Spectator, in which he so sucwas completed on the 6th of September, cessfully mingled reason with humour, 1712, and that our author was careful as to soften much of the party spirit to identify his papers throughout the which existed at the breaking out of whole, by some letter in the name of the rebellion. About this time, he also
published several poetical pieces; one of his conteniporaries, he had few temptawhich was addressed to the Princess of tions to party spleen or inconstancy of Wales, with the tragedy of Cato; and friendship. Whiat his general conduct another to Sir Godfrey Kneller, on the would have been under more exciting king's picture, in which he ingeniously circumstances, may be couceived from adapted the heathen mythology to the the asperity with which he treated his English sovereigns, from Charles the old friend Steele, in the anonymous conŞecond to Georye the First, inclusive. troversy that took place betweenthem In 1716, he married the Countess of respecting the peerage bill, in 1718, Warwick, to whose son he had been when the latter opposed that measure tutor; but although he had obtained in The Plebeian, and the former deher hand by a long and anxious court- fended it in The Old Whig. His arrest ship, this union, of which one daughter of Steele, also, and his envy and diswas the fruit, made no addition to his paragement of Pope, show his character happiness, owing to the proud and jea- in no very favourable light, if they do lous temper of the counless. In 1717, he not altogether justify those tremendously attained his highest political elevation, bitter lines, written by the latter, in being made one of the principal secre- reference to Addison concluding with taries of state; but after holding the the well-known couplet, situation for some time, he solicited his
must laugh, if such a man there be own dismissal, and retired on a pen
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he ? sion of £1,500 a year. To the ill health, under which he was labouring at this As far as can be discovered, Addison time, some have attributed his relin
seems to have been free from vanity and quishment of this office; but the true arrogance; and, with the exception of cause was his unfitness for the details of the few complimentary poems already business, and his senatorial deficiency alluded to, was indebied solely to his as an orator,--an objection to his prefer- abilities for the station which he alment which he had himself previously tained, both in his official and literary started.
character. Some writers have, neverAfter his retirement, he applied him- theless, accused biin of servility; and self to the completion of some religious the manner in which, in his epistic from works, in which he had been inter- Italy, he reconciles Lord Halifax to his rupted by his political duties, but before dismissal from office, in 1701, goes far he could finish any of them, the asth- to support the charge. Alluding to his matic disorder, under which he had for intimacy with the same nobleman, Mrs. some time suttered, increased with fatal Manley, in her sequel to The Atlantis, symptoms, and put an end to his life, where she gives the character of Ad. at Holland House, Kersington, on the dison, under the name of Maro, ex17th of June, 1719. He inet his end claims, “0, pity, that politics and with great calmness and resignation, sordid interest should have carried him and rendered his death-bed memorable out of the road of Helicon, and snatched by the solemn injunction which he de- him from the embraces of the muses, to livered from it to his step-son, the throw him into an old withered statesyoung and profligate LordWarwick. man's arms !" He had often before attempted to re- His moral character was uniformly claim him, and now made å last effort upright; and it is mentioned, to his by saying to him, as he approached his honour, that, whilst fervent and zealous bed-side, “ I have sent for you that in his own religious views, he was very you may see how a Christian can die." tolerant towards dissent, and even
The character of Addison is more patronised the learned but eccentric entitled to respect than admiration; his Whiston. Though mixing so much talents and his understanding having with the world, he was bashful and been directed to the best of purposes, reserved in his manners, except when whilst his heart appears to have re- among his most intimate associates. mained a cold secret to all but himself. These, previously to his marriage, He was the patron and friend of all generally consisted of Steele, Budgell, whose abilities were inferior to his own, Philips, Carey, Davenant, and Colonel and as this was the case with most of Brett; with one or other of whom he
always breakfasted, and, in the even The incapacity of Addison in office ing, he joined them at a tavern, where, has already been alluded to, and in it is said, he often drank wine to the addition to the fact of his inability to injury of his health. His society was announce the death of Queen Anne in courted by persons of the first distinc common terms, which was at last done tion; and the repute in which he was by some one else, the following aneeheld at home as well as abroad, will dote is related of one of his parliaappear from the list of subscribers to his mentary failures :--At the time of the works, in which will be found the names debate on the union act, he rose up, of the Queen of Sweden; the Dukes of and addressing himself to the speaker, Orleans, Tuscany, and Madeira; the said, “ Mr. Speaker I conceive-but Princes of Tuscany and Parma; the could go no farther: then, rising again, Doge of Genoa; Cardinal Du Bois, he said, “Mr. Speaker, I conceive-" and others. Queen Anne had expressed still unable to proceed," he sat down a wish to have his Cato dedicated to again. A third time he arose, and was herself; but, says Tickell, as he had still unable to say any thing more designed that compliment elsewhere, than, “Mr. Speaker, conceive-;" he felt himself bound, by his duty on when a young member at last arose, the one hand, and his honour on the and said, " Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to other, to send it into the world without find that the honourable gentleman over any dedication.
the way has conceived three times and To the prejudice of his fame as a brought forth nothing." In further poet and critic, Addison's chief literary | proof of his bashfulness in society, he reputation is derived from his Specta- used to say that, with respect to his tor, a rare and immortal monument of intellectual wealth, he could draw a wit employed on the side of virtue and bill at £1,000, but that he had not a religion, and of fiction and allegory on guinea in his pocket. His fondness for that of justice and truth. Of the latter the character of Sir Ruger de Coverley class, nothing can exceed the pathos is exemplified in the following story S and imagination displayed in his Vision Having brought Sir Roger to town, he of Mirza, Pain and Pleasure, Theodo- left him, for a day, in the hands of sius and Constantia, &c., whilst his Steele, who, not quite so scrupulous as humour, in the former, is transcendently Addison, made ihe good-humoured exemplified in his characters of the De knight perambulate Covent Garden with Coverleys, the Whimbles, and the a nymph of the compliant kind. This Honeycombs. Addison has also the so enraged Addison, that he told Steele merit of having taught a succession of he would put it out of his power to writers to bring elegance and gaiety to injure Sir Roger in future, by killing the aid of goodness, and of having him immediately, which he accordingly purified intellectual pleasure, by sepa- did, by making the knight leave Lonrating mirth from indecency and wit don, and, in the next paper, announcing from licentiousness. As a describer of his death at Coverley Hall. men and manners, he is without a rival; In addition to the works already he copies life with so much fidelity, mentioned, Addison wrote a short huthat he can hardly be said to invent, morous piece, in censure of the French whilst, at the same time, his humour is commerce bill, entitled, The late Trial so happily diffused as to give the grace and Conviction of Count Tariff, besides of novelty to domestic scenes and daily several papers in The Whig Examiner. occurrences.
When he assumes the He also wrote the prologue to the religious monitor, he is equally free comedy of The Tender Husband, by from enthusiasm and superstition; and Steele, on whose authority he is also alin his morality, has the negative excel- | lowed to have been the author of The lence of being neither dangerously lax Drummer. An edition of his works apnor impracticably rigid. In fine, to peared shortly after his death, edited by the publication of The Spectator, may Tickell
, in which, besides the productions be attributed much of that practical | already noticed, appeared several transgood sense and moral discrimination lations of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and generally found in the middle ranks of the admirable Dialogues on the UsefulEnglish society.
ness of Ancient Medals.
This celebrated dramatist was born, | about this time to open the eyes of according to the inscription on his the public to the licentiousness of monument, in 1672, but Mr. Malone the writings of the living dramatists. fixes his birth at Barsday Grange, near His shafts were so well directed, that Leeds, in Yorkshire, about the year Dryden was prudent enough to shoot 1670. He was educated first at Kil none in return, and Congreve entered kenny, and afterwards at Dublin; and, the lists only to retreat, after having at the age of sixteen, was entered a exhibited the coarseness, without the student of the Middle Temple, London, strength and learning, of his opponent. with a view to his study of the legal His last dramatic performance approfession. He paid, however, but peared soon after, under the title of little attention to statutes or reports, The Way of the World, which, though and, following the bent of his inclina written with particular care, and contion for literary pursuits, produced a sidered, by many critics, as the most novel, called The Incognita, which, at perfect of his comedies, met with so his early age, was a most meritorious cold a reception, that, taking equal performance. This was succeeded by offence and disgust, he resolved to trust The Old Bachelor, which was pro no more to the caprice of an audience. nounced, by Dryden, the greatest first He now devoted himself to the pleaplay he had ever beheld ; and, on its sures of society, wrote some occasional representation, in 1693, was received | poems, and, in 1710, he published an with great applause. Lord Halifax | edition of his plays, dedicated to Lord formed so high an opinion of the Halifax, to whose party he always reauthor, that he immediately made him mained attached. During the adminisone of the commissioners for licensing tration of Lord Oxford, he was permitted hackney coaches, and soon after gave to hold the offices before-mentioned, him a place in the pipe-office, and ano and on the return of the Whigs to ther in the customs of £600 per annum. power, he was made secretary for the Johnson gives a very just summary island of Jamaica, which increased his of the merits of The Old Bachelor: he income to about £1,200 per annum. considers the characters as either easy He lived on, in literary indolence, the and common, or fictitious and artificial, companion of the wilty and the great, and the chief incident, the marrying a until his sixtieth year, when, already woman in a mask, improbable'; but suffering from gout, and blindness, " the dialogue," he says, " is quick and brought on by cataracts in his eyes, he sparkling, the incidents such as seize was overturned in his chariot, and died the attention, and the wit so exuberant shortly afterwards, at his house in that it o'er-informs its tenement." The Surrey Street, Strand, on the 29th of representation of this play, together January 1728-9. He was buried in with that of The Double Dealer, which Westminster Abbey, where a monufollowed it, and failed, was attended by ment was erected to his memory by Queen Mary, on whose death, observes Henrietta, Duchess of Marlborough, io our previous authority, Congreve testi whom he left a legacy of about £10,000. fied his gratitude by a despicable effusion Little is recorded of his character, and of elegiac poetry.
that is not creditable either to his judge In 1695, he excelled his former efforts ment or his feelings. He appears to in the production of Love for Love ; have been parsimonious in the accumuand, in 1697, his tragedy of Thé lation, and unjust in the distribution, of Mourning Bride shewed him to possess his wealth ; as he left relations in a sufficient qualifications for either kind state of distress, from which the above of dramatic poetry. He next engaged legacy would have relieved them. his pen in a controversy with Collier, Though his only claim to respect conwhose efforts to reform the stage began sisted in his talents, he affected to
decline the character of a man of letters, rests solely upon his plays, which have when Steele had already made him the the merit of originality both in plot and patron of his Miscellany, and Pope dialogue. His characters, however, inscribed to bim the translation of his have little nature in them; and his Iliad. On receiving a visit from Vol- scenes, full of wit and combination, taire, he gave a singular instance of this without much of imagery or passion, coxcombry, by expressing himself de- surprise rather than divert, and raise sirous of being considered not as an admiration oftener than merriment. author, but a gentleman; when the Eulogy of Congreve must here end; Frenchman replied, that, "if he had his plays having no other view than been only a gentleman, he should not amusement, and that often at the exhave come to visit him."
pense of virtue and decency.
" It is In addition to the works before-men- | acknowledged," says Johnson, “with tioned, he wrote a masque, called The universal conviction, that the perusal of Judgment of Paris; Semele, an opera ; his works will make no man better; An Ode to King William on the taking and that their ultimate effect is to reof Namur; The Birth of the Muse, present pleasure in alliance with vice, and other small poems; all of which and to relax those obligations by which are beneath criticism. His reputation | life ought to be regulated.”
NICHOLAS ROWE, the son of a effect and character in its new shape, barrister, was born at Little Berkford, but was otherwise rendered more inin Bedfordshire, in 1673. After having teresting by poetry, situation, and sentireceived the rudiments of education at ment. In 1706, appeared his Ulysses ; a school at Highgate, he, in 1688, was and, in the same year, he proved his sent to Westminster School, where, incapacity, as a writer of comedy, by under the famous Dr. Busby, he ac- producing The Biter; at which, although quired great perfection in classical a decided failure, he is said to have learning. At the age of sixteen, he laughed immoderately, on witnessing was entered a student of the Middle its representation. He next produced, l'emple, where he, at first, diligently in succession, his Royal Convert, Jane pursued the study of the law. On the Shore, and Lady Jane Grey, the last death of his father, however, in 1692, and most faulty of his dramatic perile suffered himself to be led away by formances. In his Jane Shore, he affects his fondness for poetry and polite litera- to imitate Shakspeare, though in what ture; and, at the age of twenty-four, his respect, Dr. Johnson expresses himself tragedy of The Ambitious Step-mother at a loss to comprehend. The same being acted with great applause, he authority, however, says that, in his abandoned the bar altogether. He next edition of Shakspeare's works, he has produced Tamerlane, by which cha- happily restored many passages, and in racter he intended to personale William his life prefixed, greatly contributed to the Third, whilst Lewis the Fourteenth the popularity of the immortal bard. of France was represented under that Rowe was not without the patronage of Bajazet. It was the tragedy, says of the great: when the Duke of Dr. Johnson, upon which he valued Queensberry was made secretary of himself most; though its original success state to Queen Anne, he became his may be attributed, in some degree, to under-secretary, but, on the death of political auxiliaries, as it was for a long his patron, lost that post. Some time iime only acted once a year, the anni- afterwards, he was introduced to the versary of the night on which King lord treasurer, Oxford, who asked him William landed. In 1703, appeared his if he could speak Spanish ; to which Fair Penitent, founded on Massinger's Rowe replied in the negative, but that Fatal Dowry, which lost something of he did not doubt but he could, in a