Slike strani

Kirk upon

upon the Green, which had been left unfinished by James I of Scotland, the author of The Kingis Quair. And certainly one cannot overrate the influence which Ramsay exerted on the admirable lyric genius of his great

Christ's successor, Burns.

The treasures of tenderness, the Green." beautiful description, and sly humour which Ramsay cherished from Dunbar, James I, Sir David Lyndsay, and a thousand nameless bards of his nation, were concentrated into one splendid focus in the writings of the author of Tam o' Shanter.


till 1712.

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he laboured, under declining health,

Sir Thomas Abney, of SIR RICHARD BLACKMORE (d. | Abney Park, a mansion in the neigh1729), a physician in extensive prac-bourhood, then invited him to his tice, knighted by William III, wrote house. Watts lived as the guest, several epic poems, of which The first of the baronet, and then of his Creation (1712) has been consi- widow, preaching occasionally, but dered the least uninteresting. He chiefly devoting himself to study and was bitterly attacked by Pope literature, for the last thirty-six years and his friends in the Memoirs of of his life. He had great talents and Martinus Scriblerus, chiefly on the used them in many ways, not merely ground of his Paraphases on Job in theological writings, but in poetry (1700). Johnson wrote in his de- and science. His Logic (1725) was fence, that by the unremitted once used as a text-book at Oxford ; enmity of the wits, whom he pro- and he wrote a handbook to as. voked more by his virtue than his tronomy and geography, The Knowdulness, he has been exposed to ledge of the Heavens and Earth(1726). worse treatment than he deserved." His hymns are well known to all Eng.

GEORGE GRANVILLE, LORD LANS- lishmen-few modern hymns can DOWNE (1667-1735), was a critic, surpass “God moves in a mysterious rather than a poet. Waller, whose way" for a certain majesty of simple faults he imitated, commended his sound. At the same time, he was a early pieces ;, and Pope, whom he master of the art of bathos, and urged to write

Windsor Forest, some of his lines are rather unjustly styled him “Granville the polite. held up to ridicule. He was the first His verses to Mira are best known man to do anything for children's of his fugitive pieces. Mira was intellectual training in a day when Frances, Countess of Newburgh. children were scarcely considered, Lansdowne published a complete and on that account he deserves edition of his poems in 1732.

great honour. He received his Doc. ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748) stands tor's degree from Edinburgh in 1728. quite outside the circle of Pope's Academical honours," said Johnfriends or enemies. He was born at son, “would have more value if they Southampton, and received his edu- were always bestowed with equal cation from a dissenting minister, judgment." Dr. Watts' tomb is at Thomas Rowe. In 1702 he became Abney Park, which is now the wellminister of the Independent congre known Nonconformist cemetery in gation at Stoke Newington, where North London.




$ 1. JOSEPH ADDISON : his life. The Campaign and other early works.

§ 2. His connection with Sir RICHARD STEELE. Life of Steele. His journalistic enterprises. $ 3. Addison's Cato, His marriage and political life. His death.Pope's Atticus. Character of Addison. § 4. Addison as an essayist and writer of prose. § 5. Addison as a poet. $ 6. Sir WilliAM TEMPLE. $ 7. FRANCIS ATTERBURY. $ 8. LORD SHAFTESBURY. The Characteristics. $ 9. LORD BOLINGBROKE. S 10. BERNARD DE MANDEVILLE and The Fable of the Bees. § ii. GEORGE BERKELEY : his philosophy and its develop ment. $ 12. WILLIAM LAW. The Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. § 13. LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU's letters.

§ 1. The class of writers which forms the subject of this chapter is identified with the creation of a new and popular

form of English literature, destined to exercise a Appear. powerful and most beneficial influence on the ance of the Essay.

manners and intellectual development of society.

The mode of publication was periodical, and thus a number of small pamphlets in journalistic form made their appearance, many of them enjoying an immense popularity, combining a small modicum of public news with a short essay or lively dissertation on some subject connected with morality or criticism, and inculcating principles of virtue in great things, and of good taste and politeness in the small affairs of life. The Essays of Montaigne, although of a somewhat different order, had a great deal to do with the popular taste for this desultory kind of writing, which soon became general throughout Europe. It was, however, in England that it was first combined with the principle of journalism; and the first departure in this line is due to Sir Richard Steele, of whom we shall give some account presently. His most illustrious fellow-labourer in the task of disseminating a better tone of manners and taste for intellectual enjoyments among the higher and middle classes was JOSEPH

ADDISON. This great writer and excellent man was Joseph

the son of Lancelot Addison, dean of Lichfield, a (1672–1719). divine with some reputation for learning. He was born

at Milston, near Amesbury, and was educated at the Charterhouse, from which he passed to Queen's, and ultimately


to Magdalen College at Oxford. He distinguished himself at college by his regular conduct, his assiduous attention to his studies, and his exquisite taste in Latin verse. Indeed, his knowledge of Latin literature, and especially of the poets, was very accurate and profound. His graceful college exercises-in particular, his poems on Punch and Judy (the Machinæ Gesticulantes) and on the barometer, made his reputation at Magdalen. His first essay in English verse was a laudatory poem To Mr. Dryden (1693) ; and, in 1695, this was followed by an eulogy of William III, written in Dryden's own strain of fattery. Dryden took Addison under his wing; and the young poet, under this august protection, published a translation of the fourth Georgic of Virgil, and a versified Account of the Greatest English Poets (1694). During these early years Addison was residing at Oxford; but, in 1699, Lord Somers procured for the rising neophyte a pension of £300, which enabled him to travel in France and Italy. He gave speedy proof of the advantage which he gained by this opportunity of employing and extending his classical and philosophical acquirements. During his sojourn in France he had an interview with the aged Boileau, then in his sixty-fifth year, the patriarch of poetry and criticism, and the literary lawgiver, not only to his own country, but to England. King William's death deprived him of his pension; and, after his return to England in 1703, he passed some time in London very poor in purse, but exhibiting that dignified patience and quiet reserve which, all through his life, made his character so estimable. The chief fruit of his travels was his first prose work, Remarks on several Parts of Italy (1705). In his retirement he was found out by the ministry, who were desirous that Marlborough's recent triumphs should be worthily celebrated in verse ; and Godolphin was deputed to propose to him that


(1704). he should write a poem on the immortal campaign which had just terminated so gloriously—and at the same time, so uselessly-in the victory of Blenheim. Addison readily undertook the task. When the unfinished portion was shown to the ministers, they were in raptures; and when the whole poem eventually appeared (1704) under the title of The Campaign, it was universally, pronounced to be superior, not only to Boileau, but to anything that had hitherto been written in the same style. The verses appear to modern readers stiff and artificial enough, with the possible exception of that very ingenious passage in which Marlborough is compared to the destroying angel, and his successful campaign to the great storm of 1703. Literary services were at that time often rewarded with political advancement, and from this

Political moment Addison's career was brilliant and successful. He was appointed under-secretary to Sir Charles Hedges and secretary to Lord Wharton, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; and beside these important posts he received at

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different times various other lucrative and honourable places. In 1706 he brought out a pretty opera or musical entertainment

called Rosamond ; and it is probable that, about Other early this time, he sketched out the comedy of The Drum

mer, which, however, was not brought out till after his death. It was then published by his friend Steele, who is said to have had some share in its composition. It is deficient in plot and in vivacity of interest ; but many of the scenes show much comic power, and the character of Vellum, the old steward, is in particular extremely amusing.

§ 2. It was about this period of his career that Addison embarked in the literary venture first launched by his friend

Steele, with his share in which is connected the most Connection

durable element of his fame. The two names are of Addison

almost inseparable, and their lives run close together.

Sir RICHARD STEELE was born in Dublin, and had (1672-1729).

been Addison's schoolfellow at the Charterhouse. He

went to Christ Church from school, but removed in 1691 to Merton, where he stayed till 1694. His friendship with Addison was the abiding passion of his life—a curious and most affecting ture of veneration and love Steele's character has been injured by two of the greatest nineteenthcentury writers—by the unfair portrait of Macaulay and the affected pity of Thackeray: In money matters he was extravagant, nor was he altogether exempt from the common vices of the time. But he was honest and honourable. It was his sincere endeavour to do what was right. He was a good Christian and the fondest of husbands; and, if his character had nothing of that somewhat frigid perfection and selfrestraint which were Addison's distinguishing marks, his warm impressionability made him at once more approachable and lovable, He left Oxford without any warning, to become a private in the Horse Guards, and was consequently dis

inherited. His first work, however, a poem on poet, soldier, Queen Mary's funeral, called The Procession, and and play- dedicated to Lord Cutts, a colonel in the Coldstream wright.

Guards, gained him a commission, and he rose to be captain in his patron's regiment. As an officer, he astonished the town by his wild extravagance; but, in the middle of it all, he wrote a moral and religious treatise entitled The Christian Hero (1701), which breathed the loftiest sentiments of piety and virtue and made him unpopular in his regiment. To remedy this, and restore a just balance, he took to writing comedy. The Funeral, or Grief à la Mode, was put on the stage at Drury Lane in 1701, and succeeded. The Lying Lover (1703) and The Tender Husband (1705) were failures, and Steele wrote only one more play, The Conscious Lovers (1722). He was a man of ready, if not solid talent, and, being an ardent partisan and pamphleteer, was rewarded by Government, in 1707, with the place of gazetteer, which gave him almost a monopoly of

Stecle as



official news at a time when newspapers were still in their infancy. He determined to profit by the facilities which this post afforded him, and to found a new species of periodical which should combine ordinary intelligence with a

His jour series of light and agreeable essays on topics of uni

projects. versal interest, likely to improve the taste, manners, and morals of society. It should be remarked that this was a period at which literary taste was at its lowest ebb among the middle and fashionable classes of England. Their amusements, when not merely frivolous, were either immoral or brutal. Gambling, even among women, was frightfully prevalent, and the sports of the men were marked with a general stamp of cruelty, and with an indulgence in drink little less than blackguardly. In such a state of things, intellectual pleasures and acquirements were regarded either with wonder or contempt. Fops and fine ladies actually prided themselves on their ignorance of spelling, and every allusion to books was scouted as pedantry. This was the disease which Steele desired to cure, and he determined to treat it, not with formal doses of moral declamation, but with homeopathic quantities of good sense, good taste, and pleasing morality, disguised beneath an easy and fashionable style. In 1709 he founded The

Foundation Tatler, a small penny sheet which appeared three of The times a week. The first number came out on

(1709). April 12, and each henceforward contained a short essay, extending to about a couple of octavo pages, while the rest was filled up with news and advertisements. The popularity of this new kind of journal was instant and immense ; no tea-table, no coffee-house, in that age of coffee-houses, was without it, and the authors, working, not in the spirit of literary recluses, but with the ease, pleasantry, and knowledge of life of men about town, soon gained the attention of the class which they addressed. The Tatler ran on for about twenty-one months, and ceased on January 2, 1711, but, on the following first of March, re-appeared as the far more successful and celebrated Spectator. The new journal was carried on upon very much the same plan, but was daily instead of tri-weekly. On Spectator" December 6, 1712, it was discontinued, after run- and its ning to 555 numbers, apparently from a voluntary arrangement on the author's part rather than from any failure in popularity. On March 12, 1713, a third journal, The Guardian, appeared, and reached its 176th number on October 1.

It was strikingly inferior to The Spectator, both in its originality and in its success.

It continued its existence, having revived on October 6, in the 57 numbers of The Englishman. Steele had no remarkably useful helpers at this time, and his subjects became chiefly polítical. In 1714 he issued two newspapers, called The Lover and The Reader, both of which failed. Towards the end of the same year he combined with Addison in a supplement of eighty numbers to The Spectator. The chequered history of


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