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society by a royal mandate: the Fellows high praise; and beyond this we cannot
who, in conformity with their oaths, refus- with justice go. It is clear that Addi-
ed to submit to this usurper, had been son's serious attention, during his res-
driven forth from their quiet cloisters and idence at the university, was almost en-
gardens, to die of want or to live on chari-tirely concentrated on Latin poetry; and
ty. But the day of redress and retribu- that, if he did not wholly neglect other
tion speedily came. The intruders were provinces of ancient literature, he vouch-
ejected: the venerable House was again safed to them only a cursory glance. He
inhabited by its old inmates: learning does not appear to have attained more than
flourished under the rule of the wise and an ordinary acquaintance with the political
virtuous Hough; and with learning was and moral writers of Rome; nor was his
united a mild and liberal spirit too often own Latin prose by any means equal to his
wanting in the Princely Colleges of Ox- Latin verse. His knowledge of Greek,
ford. In consequence of the troubles though doubtless such as was, in his time,
through which the society had passed, thought respectable at Oxford, was evi-
there had been no election of new mem- dently less than that which many lads now
bers during the year 1688. In 1689, there- carry away every year from Eton and
fore, there was twice the ordinary number Rugby. A minute examination of his works,
of vacancies; and thus Dr. Lancaster found if we had time to make such an examination,
it easy to procure for his young friend ad- would fully bear out these remarks. We
mittance to the advantages of a foundation will briefly advert to a few of the facts on
then generally esteemed the wealthiest in which our judgment is grounded.

Great praise is due to the Notes which At Magdalene, Addison resided during Addison appended to his version of the ten years. He was, at first, one of those second and third books of the Metamorscholars who are called demies; but was phoses. Yet those notes, while they show subsequently elected a fellow. His college him to have been, in his own domain, an is still proud of his name; his portrait still accomplished scholar, show also how conhangs in the hall; and strangers are still fined that domain was. They are rich in told that his favorite walk was under the apposite references to Virgil, Statius, and elms which fringe the meadows on the Claudian; but they contain not a single illusbanks of the Cherwell. It is said, and is tration drawn from the Greek poets. Now, highly probable, that he was distinguished if, in the whole compass of Latin literature, among his fellow-students by the delicacy there be a passage which stands in need of of his feelings; by the shyness of his man-illustration drawn from the Greek poets, it ners; and by the assiduity with which he is the story of Pentheus in the third book often prolonged his studies far into the of the Metamorphoses. Ovid was indebted night. It is certain that his reputation for for that story to Euripides and Theocritus, ability and learning stood high. Many both of whom he has sometimes followed years later, the ancient Doctors of Magda- minutely. But neither to Euripides nor to lene continued to talk in their common Theocritus does Addison make the faintest room of his boyish compositions, and ex- allusion; and we, therefore, believe that we pressed their sorrow that no copy of exer- do not wrong him by supposing that he had cises so remarkable had been preserved. little or no knowledge of their works.

It is proper, however, to remark, that Miss His travels in Italy, again, abound with Aikin has committed the error, very pardon- classical quotations, happily introduced: abe in a lady, of overrating Addison's clas- but his quotations, with scarcely a single sical attainments. In one department of exception, are taken from Latin verse. learning, indeed, his proficiency was such as He draws more illustrations from Ausonius it is hardly possible to overrate. His know- and Manilius than from Cicero. Even his ledge of the Latin poets, from Lucretius and notions of the political and military affairs Catullus down to Claudian and Prudentius, of the Romans seem to be derived from was singularly exact and profound. He un poets and poetasters. Spots made mederstood them thoroughly, entered into morable by events which have changed their spirit, and had the finest and most dis-the destinies of the world, and have been criminating perception of all their peculiarities of style and melody; nay, he copied their manner with admirable skill, and surpassed, we think, all their British imitators who had preceded him, Buchanan and Milton alone excepted. This is

worthily récorded by great historians,
bring to his mind only scraps of some
ancient Pye or Hayley. In the gorge of
the Apennines he naturally remembers the
hardships which Hannibal's army endured,
and proceeds to cite, not the authentic nar-

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rative of Polybius, not the picturesque nar- infers that he must have been a good Greek rative of Livy, but the languid hexameters scholar. We can allow very little weight of Silius Italicus. On the banks of the to this argument, when we consider that Rubicon he never thinks of Plutarch's his fellow-laborers were to have been Boyle lively description; or of the stern concise- and Blackmore. Boyle is remembered ness of the Commentaries; or of those let- chiefly as the nominal author of the worst ters to Atticus which so forcibly express book on Greek history and philology that the alternations of hope and fear in a sen- ever was printed; and this book, bad as it sitive mind at a great crisis. His only is, Boyle was unable to produce without authority for the events of the civil war is help. Of Blackmore's attainments in the Lucan. ancient tongues, it may be sufficient to say that, in his prose, he has confounded an aphorism with an apophthegm, and that when, in his verse, he treats of classical subjects, his habit is to regale his readers with four false quantities to a page!

All the best ancient works of art at Rome and Florence are Greek. Addison saw them, however, without recalling one single verse of Pindar, of Callimachus, or of the Attic dramatists; but they brought to his recol lection innumerable passages in Horace, Juvenal, Statius, and Ovid.

The same may be said of the "Treatise on Medals." In that pleasing work we find about three hundred passages extracted with great judgment from the Roman poets; but we do not recollect a single passage taken from any Roman orator or historian; and we are confident that not a line is quoted from any Greek writer. No person who had derived all his information on the subject of medals from Addison, would suspect that the Greek coins were in historical interest equal, and in beauty of execution far superior to those of Rome.

It is probable that the classical acquirements of Addison were of as much service to him as if they had been more extensive. The world generally gives its admiration, not to the man who does what nobody else even attempts to do, but to the man who does best what multitudes do well. Bentley was so immeasurably superior to all the other scholars of his time that very few among them could discover his superiority. But the accomplishment in which Addison excelled his contemporaries was then, as it is now, highly valued and assiduously cultivated at all English seats of learning. Every body who had been at a public school had written Latin verses; many had written such verses with tolerable success; and were quite able to appreciate, though by no means able to rival, the skill with which Addison imitated Virgil. His lines on the Barometer, and the Bowling-Green, were applauded by hundreds, to whom the Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris' was as unintelligible as the hieroglyphics on an obelisk.

If it were necessary to find any further proof that Addison's classical knowledge was confined within narrow limits, that proof would be furnished by his "Essay on the Evidences of Christianity." The Roman poets throw little or no light on the literary and historical questions which he is under the necessity of examining in that Essay. He is, therefore left completely in the dark; and it is melancholy to see how helplessly he gropes his way from blunder Purity of style, and an easy flow of numto blunder. He assigns as grounds for his bers, are common to all Addison's Latin religious belief, stories as absurd as that poems. Our favorite piece is the Battle of the Cock-Lane ghost, and forgeries as of the Cranes and Pygmies; for in that rank as Ireland's "Vortigern;" puts faith piece we discern a gleam of the fancy and in the lie about the thundering legion; is humor which many years later enlivened convinced that Tiberius moved the senate thousands of breakfast tables. Swift boastto admit Jesus among the gods; and pro-ed that he was never known to steal a nounces the letter of Agbarus, King of hint; and he certainly owed as little to Edessa, to be a record of great authority his predecessors as any modern writer. Nor were these errors the effects of superstition; for to superstition Addison was by no means prone. The truth is that he was writing about what he did not understand.

Miss Aikin has discovered a letter, from which it appears that, while Addison resided at Oxford, he was one of several writ ers whom the booksellers engaged to make an English version of Herodotus; and she

Yet we cannot help suspecting that he borrowed, perhaps unconsciously, one of the happiest touches in his Voyage to Lilliput from Addison's verses. Let our readers judge.

The Emperor,' says Gulliver, 'is taller by about the breadth of my nail than any of his court, which alone is enough to strike an awe into the beholders.'

About thirty years before Gulliver's

travels appeared, Addison wrote these those of Pope himself, and which very lines:

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Jamque acies inter medias sese arduus infert
Pygmeadum ductor, qui majestate verendus,
Incessuque gravis, reliquos supereminet omnes
Mole gigantea, mediamque exsurgit in ulnam.'

clever writers of the reign of Charles the Second-Rochester, for example, or Marvel, or Oldham-would have contemplated with admiring despair.

Ben Jonson was a great man, Hoole a very small man. But Hoole, coming after The Latin poems of Addison were greatly Pope, had learned how to manufacture and justly admired both at Oxford and Cam- decasyllable verses; and poured them forth bridge, before his name had ever been heard by thousands and tens of thousands, all as by the wits who thronged the coffee-houses well turned, as smooth, and as like each round Drury Lane theatre. In his twenty- other, as the blocks which have passed second year, he ventured to appear before through Mr. Brunell's mill, in the dockyard the public as a writer of English verse. He at Portsmouth. Ben's heroic couplets readdressed some complimentary lines to Dry- semble blocks rudely hewn out by an unden, who, after many triumphs and many practised hand, with a blunt hatchet. Take reverses, had at length reached a secure as a specimen his translation of a celeand lonely eminence among the literary brated passage in the Æneid :men of that age. Dryden appears to have been much gratified by the young scholar's praise; and an interchange of civilities and good offices followed. Addison was probably introduced by Dryden to Congreve, and was certainly presented by Congreve to Charles Montagu, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and leader of the Whig party in the House of Commons.

This child our parent earth, stirred up with spite
Of all the gods, brought forth, and, as some write,
She was last sister of that giant race
That sought to scale Jove's court, right swift of


And swifter far of wing, a monster vast
And dreadful, Look, how many plumes are

On her huge corpse, so many waking eyes
Stick underneath, and, which may stranger rise
In the report, as many tongues she wears.'

O thou, whoe'er thou art, whose steps are led
By choice or fate, these lonely shores to tread,
No greater wonders east or west can boast
Than yon small island on the pleasing coast.
If e'er thy sight would blissful scenes explore,
The current pass, and seek the further shore.'

At this time Addison seemed inclined to devote himself to poetry. He published a translation of part of the fourth Georgic, distichs the neat fabric which Hoole's maCompare with these jagged misshapen Lines to King William, and other perform-chine produces in unlimited abundance. ances of equal value; that is to say, of no We take the first lines on which we open value at all. But in those days, the public in his version of Tasso. They are neither was in the habit of receiving with applause, better nor worse than the rest:pieces which would now have little chance of obtaining the Newdigate prize, or the Seatonian prize. And the reason is obvious. The heroic couplet was then the favorite measure. The art of arranging words in that measure, so that the lines may flow smoothly, that the accents may fall correctly, that the rhymes may strike the Ever since the time of Pope there has ear strongly, and that there may be a pause been a glut of lines of this sort; and we at the end of every distich, is an art as me- are now as little disposed to admire a man chanical as that of mending a kettle, or for being able to write them, as for being shoeing a horse and may be learned by able to write his name. But in the days of any human being who has sense enough to William the Third such versification was learn any thing. But, like other mechani- rare; and a rhymer who had any skill in it cal arts, it was gradually improved by passed for a great poet; just as in the dark means of many experiments and many fail-ages a person who could write his name It was reserved for Pope to discover passed for a great clerk. Accordingly, the trick, to make himself complete master Duke, Stepney, Granville, Walsh, and of it, and to teach it to every body else. others, whose only title to fame was that From the time when his 'Pastorals' ap- they said in tolerable metre what might peared, heroic versification became matter have been as well said in prose, or what of rule and compass; and, before long, all was not worth saying at all, were honored artists were on a level. Hundreds of dunces with marks of distinction which ought to who never blundered on one happy thought be reserved for genius. With these Addior expression, were able to write reams of son must have ranked, if he had not earned couplets which, as far as euphony was con- true and lasting glory by performances cerned, could not be distinguished from which very little resembled his juvenile poems.


Dryden was now busied with Virgil, and obtained from Addison a critical preface to the Georgics. In return for this service, and for other services of the same kind, the veteran poet, in the postscript to the translation of the Æneid, complimented his young friend with great liberality, and in-plans for the encouragement of learning, he deed with more liberality than sincerity. He affected to be afraid that his own performance would not sustain a comparison with the version of the fourth Georgic, by 'the most ingenious Mr. Addison, of Oxford.' 'After his bees,' added Dryden, 'my latter swarm is scarcely worth the hiving."

wearying the public with his own feeble performances, but by discovering and encouraging literary excellence in others. A crowd of wits and poets, who would easily have vanquished him as a competitor, revered him as a judge and a patron. In his

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was cordially supported by the ablest and most virtuous of his colleagues, the Lord Keeper Somers. Though both these great statesmen had a sincere love of letters, it was not solely from a love of letters that they were desirous to enlist youths of high intellectual qualifications in the public service. The Revolution had altered the whole system of government. Before that event, the press had been controlled by censors, and the Parliament had sat only two months in eight years. Now the press was free, and had begun to exercise unprecedented influence on the public mind. Parliament met annually and sat long. The chief power in the State had passed to the House of Commons. At such a conjuncture, it was natural that literary and oratorical talents should rise in value. There was danger that a Government which neglected such talents might be subverted by them. It was, therefore, a profound and enlightened policy which led Montagu and Somers to attach such talents to the Whig party, by the strongest ties both of interest and of gratitude.

The time had now arrived when it was necessary for Addison to choose a calling. Every thing seemed to point his course towards the clerical profession. His habits were regular, his opinions orthodox. His college had large ecclesiastical preferment in its gift, and boasts that it has given at least one bishop to almost every see in England. Dr. Lancelot Addison held an honorable place in the Church, and had set his heart on seeing his son a clergyman. It is clear, from some expressions in the young man's rhymes, that his intention was to take orders. But Charles Montagu in. terfered. Montagu had first brought himself into notice by verses, well timed and not contemptibly written, but never, we think, rising above mediocrity. Fortunately for himself, and for his country, he It is remarkable that, in a neighboring early quitted poetry, in which he could country, we have recently seen similar never have attained a rank as high as that effects follow from similar causes. The of Dorset or Roscommon, and turned his Revolution of July 1830, established repremind to official and parliamentary business. sentative government in France. The men It is written that the ingenious person who of letters instantly rose to the highest imundertook to instruct Rasselas, prince of portance in the state. At the present moAbysinnia, in the art of flying, ascended an ment, most of the persons whom we see at eminence, waved his wings, sprang into the the head both of the Administration and of air, and instantly dropped into the lake. the Opposition have been Professors, HisBut it is added that the wings which were torians, Journalists, Poets. The influence unable to support him through the sky, of the literary class in England, during the bore him up effectually as soon as he was generation which followed the Revolution, in the water. This is no bad type of the was great; but by no means so great as it fate of Charles Montagu, and of men has lately been in France. For, in England, like him. When he attempted to soar into the aristocracy of intellect had to contend the regions of poetical invention, he alto- with a powerful and deeply rooted aristogether failed; but, as soon as he had de cracy of a very different kind. France has scended from his ethereal elevation into a no Somersets and Shrewsburies to keep lower and grosser element, his talents in-down her Addisons and Priors. stantly raised him above the mass. He be- It was in the year 1699, when Addison came a distinguished financier, debater, courtier, and party leader. He still retain ed his fondness for the pursuits of his early days; but he showed that fondness, not by * Miss Aikin makes this compliment altogether unmeaning, by saying that it was paid to a translation of the second Georgic, (i. 30.)

had just completed his twenty-seventh year, that the course of his life was finally determined. Both the great chiefs of the Ministry were kindly disposed towards him. In political opinions he already was, what he continued to be through life, a firm, though a moderate Whig. He had addressed the

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most polished and vigorous of his early had changed its character to suit the
English lines to Somers; and had dedicated changed character of the prince. No book
to Montagu a Latin poem, truly Virgilian, appeared that had not an air of sanctity.
both in style and rhythm, on the peace of Racine, who was just dead, had passed the
Ryswick. The wish of the young poet's close of his life in writing sacred dramas;
great friends was, it should seem, to employ and Dacier was seeking for the Athanasian
him in the service of the crown abroad. mysteries in Plato. Addison described this
But an intimate knowledge of the French state of things in a short but lively and
language was a qualification indispensable graceful letter to Montagu. Another letter,
to a diplomatist; and this qualification Ad- written about the same time to the Lord
dison had not acquired. It was, therefore, Keeper, conveyed the strongest assurances
thought desirable that he should pass some of gratitude and attachment. The only
time on the Continent in preparing himself return I can make to your Lordship,' said
for official employment. His own means Addison, will be to apply myself entirely
were not such as would enable him to tra- to my business.' With this view he quitted
vel; but a pension of £300 a-year was pro- Paris and repaired to Blois; a place where
cured for him by the interest of the Lord it was supposed that the French language
Keeper. It seems to have been apprehended was spoken in its highest purity, and where
that some difficulty might be started by the not a single Englishman could be found.
rulers of Magdalene College. But the Here he passed some months pleasantly
Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote in the and profitably. Of his way of life at Blois,
strongest terms to Hough. The State- one of his associates, an Abbé named
such was the purport of Montagu's letter-Philippeaux, gave an account to Joseph
could not, at that time, spare to the Church Spence. If this account is to be trusted,
such a man as Addison. Too many high Addison studied much, mused much, talk-
civil posts were already occupied by adven- ed little, had fits of absence, and either had
turers, who, destitute of every liberal art
and sentiment, at once pillaged and dis-
graced the country which they pretended
to serve. It had become necessary to re-
cruit for the public service from a very dif-
ferent class, from that class of which Addi-
son was the representative. The close of
the Minister's letter was remarkable: 'I am
called,' he said, 'an enemy of the Church.
But I will never do it any other injury than
keeping Mr. Addison out of it.'

This interference was successful; and, in the summer of 1699, Addison, made a rich man by his pension, and still retaining his fellowship, quitted his beloved Oxford, and set out on his travels. He crossed from Dover to Calais, proceeded to Paris, and was received there with great kindness and politeness by a kinsman of his friend Montagu, Charles Earl of Manchester, who had just been appointed Ambassador to the Court of France. The Countess, a Whig and a toast, was probably as gracious as her lord; for Addison long retained an agree. able recollection of the impression which she at this time made on him, and, in some lively lines written on the glasses of the Kit-Cat club, described the envy which her cheeks, glowing with the genuine bloom of England, had excited among the painted beauties of Versailles.

Louis XIV. was at this time expinting the vices of his youth by a devotion which had no root in reason, and bore no fruit of charity. The servile literature of France

no love affairs, or was too discreet to con-
fide them to the Abbé. A man who, even
when surrounded by fellow-countrymen and
fellow-students, had always been remark-
ably shy and silent, was not likely to be lo-
quacious in a foreign tongue, and among
foreign companions. But it is clear from
Addison's letters, some of which were long
after published in the Guardian,' that,
while he appeared to be absorbed in his
own meditations, he was really observing
French society with that keen and sly, yet
not ill-natured side-glance, which was pecu-
liarly his own.

From Blois he returned to Paris; and,
having now mastered the French language,
found great pleasure in the society of
French philosophers and poets. He gave
an account, in a letter to Bishop Hough, of
two highly interesting conversations, one
with Malbranche, the other with Boileau.
Malbranche expressed great partiality for
the English, and extolled the genius of
Newton, but shook his head when Hobbes
was mentioned, and was indeed so unjust
as to call the author of the 'Leviathan' a
poor silly creature. Addison's modesty
restrained him from fully relating, in his
letter, the circumstances of his introduction
to Boileau. Boileau, having survived the
friends and rivals of his youth, old, deaf,
and melancholy, lived in retirement, seldom
went either to Court or to the Academy,
and was almost inaccessible to strangers.
Of the English and of English literature he

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