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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 ele::tion 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 Metamor. scholars who are called demies ; but vas 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 con. hangs 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 bis 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.

Magda- minutely. But neither to Euripides nor to lene continued to talk in their common Theocritus does Addison make the faintest room of nis 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 : ab.e 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 pecul. worthily recorded by great historians, iarities of style and melody ; nay, he bring to his mind only scraps of some copied their inanner with admirable skill, ancient Pye or Hayley. In the gorge of and surpassed, we think, all their British the Apennines he naturally remembers the imitators who had preceded bim, Buchan- hardships which Hannibal's army endured, an and Milton alone excepted. This is and proceeds to cite, not the authentic nar.

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 All the best ancient works of art at Rome that, in his prose, he has confounded an and Florence are Greek. Addison saw them, aphorism with an apophthegm, and that however, without recalling one single verse when, in his verse, he treats of classical of Pindar, of Callimachus, or of the Attic subjects, his habit is to regale his readers dramatists; but they brought to his recol. with four false quantities to a page! lection innumerable passages in Horace, It is probable that the classical acquireJovenal, Siatius, and Ovid.

ments of Addison were of as much service The same may be said of the “ Treatise to him as if they had been more extensive. on Medals.” In that pleasing work we find the world generally gives its admiration, about three hundred passages extracted not to the man who does what nobody else with great judgment from the Roman poets; even attempts to do, but to the man who but we do not recollect a single passage does best what multitudes do well. Benttaken from any Roman orator or historian; ley was so immeasurably superior to all and we are confident that not a line is the other scholars of his time that very quoted from any Greek writer. No person few among them could discover bis snpewho had derived all his information on the riority. But the accomplishment in which subject of medals from Addison, would sus. Addison excelled his contemporaries was pect ibat the Greek coins were in histori. then, as it is now, highly valued and assiducal interest equal, and in beauty of execu- ously cultivated at all English seats of tion far superior to those of Rome. learning. Every body who had been at a

If it were necessary to find any further public school had written Latin verses; proof that Addison's classical knowledge many had written such verses with tolewas confined within narrow limits, that rable success; and were quite able to approof would be furnished by his “Essay on preciate, though by no means able to rival, ihe Evidences of Christianity.” The Ro- the skill with which Addison imitated Virman poets throw little or no light on the gil. His lines on the Barometer, and the literary and historical questions which he Bowling Green, were applauded by hunis under the necessity of examining in that dreds, to whom the · Dissertation on the Essay. He is, therefore left completely in Epistles of Phalaris' was as unintelligible the dark; and it is melancholy to see how as the hieroglyphics on an obelisk. 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. Swist boastlo 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 super. Yet we cannot help suspecting that he borstition ; for to superstition Addison was rowed, perhaps unconsciously, one of the by no means prone. The truth is that he happiest touches in his Voyage to Lilliput was writing about what he did not under- from Addison's verses. Let our readers sland.

judge. Miss Aikin has discovered a letter, from "The Emperor,' says Gulliver, 'is taller which it appears that, while Addison re. by about the breadth of my nail than any sided at Oxford, he was one of several writ. of his court, which alone is enough to strike ers whom the booksellers engaged to make an awe into the beholders.' an English version of Herodotus; and she About thirty years before Gulliver's


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

clever writers of the reign of Charles the

Second-Rochester, for example, or Mar• Jamque acies inter medias sese arduus infert

vel, or Oldbam-would have contemplated Pygmeadum ductor, qui majestate verendus, Incessuque gravis, reliquos supereminet omnes

with admiring despair. Mole gigantea, mediamque exsurgit in ulnam.' Ben Jonson was a great man, Hoole a

very small man. But Houle, 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 bis 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 'Of all the gods, brought forth, and, as some write,

• This child our parent earth, stirred up with spite praise ; and an interchange of civilities and she was last sister of that giant race good offices followed. Addison was proba. That sought to scale Jove's court, right swift of bly introduced by Dryden to Congreve, and pace, was certainly presented by Congreve to

And swifter far of wing, a monster vast

And dreadtul. Look, how many plumes are
Montagu, who was then Chancellor

of the Excheqner, and leader of the Whig On her huge corpse, so many waking eyes
party in the House of Commons.

Stick underneath, and, which may stranger rise At this time Addison seemed inclined in the report, as many tongues she wears.' to devote himself to poetry. He published a translation of part of the fourth Georgic,

Compare with these jagged misshapen Lines to King William, and other perform distichs the neat fabric which Hoole's ma. ances of equal value; that is to say, of no chine produces in unlimited abundance. 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, in his version of Tasso. They are neither pieces which would now have little chance

:of obtaining the Newdigate prize, or the thou, whoe'er thou art, whose steps are led Seatonian prize. And the reason is obvi. By choice or fate, these lonely shores to tread, ous. The heroic couplet was then the fa

No greater wonders east or west can boast vorite measure. The art of arranging

Than yon small island on the pleasing coast.

If e'er thy sight would blissful scenes explore, words in that measure, so that the lines may The current pass, and seek the further shore.'' flow smoothly, that the accents may fall correctly, that the rhymes may strike the Ever since the time of Pope there bas 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-sages a person who could write his name ures. 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 reach 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, hero:e 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 bis juvenile


Dryden was now busied with Virgil, and wearying the public with his own feeble obtained from Addison a critical preface to performances, but by discovering and enthe Georgics. In return for this service, couraging literary excellence in others. A and for other services of the same kind, crowd of wits and poets, who would easily the veteran poet, in the postscripı to the have vanquished bim as a competitor, re. translation of the Æneid, complimented his vered him as a judge and a patron. In his young friend with great liberality, and in- plans for the encouragemeni of learning, he deed with more liberality than sincerity. was cordially supported by the ablest and He affected to be afraid that his own per- most virtuous of his colleagues, the Lord formance would not sustain a comparison Keeper Somers. Though both these great with the version of the fourth Georgic, by statesmen had a sincere love of letters, it

the most ingenious Mr. Addison, of Ox. was not solely from a love of letters that ford.' 'After his bees,' added Dryden, they were desirous to enlist youths of high 'my latter swarm is scarcely worth the intellectual qualifications in the public serbiring.'*

vice. The Revolution had altered the The time had now arrived when it was whole system of government. Before that necessary for Addison to choose a calling. event, the press had been controlled by Every thing seemed to point his course to. censors, and the Parliament bad sat only wards the clerical profession. His habits two months in eight years. Now the press were regular, his opinions orthodox. His was free, and had begun to exercise unprecollege had large ecclesiastical preserment cedented influence on the public mind. in its gift, and boasts that it has given at Parliament met annually and sat long. The least one bishop to almost every see in chief power in the State had passed to the England. Dr. Lancelot Addison held an House of Commons. At such a conjuncbonorable place in the Church, and had set ture, it was natural that literary and oratorhis heart on seeing his son a clergyman. ical talents should rise in value. There was It is clear, from some expressions in the danger that a Government which neglected young man's rhymes, that his intention was such talents might be subverted by them. io take orders. But Charles Montagu in. It was, therefore, a profound and enlight. terfered. Montagu bad first brought him. ened policy which led Montagu and Somself into notice by verses, well timed anders to attach such talents to the Whig not contemptibly written, but never, we party, by the strongest ties both of interest think, rising above mediocrity. Fortu- and of gratitude. nately 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 rauk 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 li is written that the ingenious person who of letters instantly rose 1o the highest imundertook to instruct Rasselas, prince of portance in the state. At the present mo. Abysinnia, 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 insiantly 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 be 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 Addisuns and Priors. diantly raised him above the mass. He be- It was in the year 1699, when Addison came a distinguished financier, debater, had just completed his twenty-seventh year, courtier, and party leader. He still retain that the course of his life was finally detered his fondness for the pursuits of his early mined. Both the great chiefs of the Minisdays; but he showed that fondness, not by try were kindly disposed towards him. In

Miss Aikin makes this compliment altogether political opinions he already was, what he uomeaning, by saying that it was paid to a transla- continued to be through life, a firm, though tion of the second Georgic, (i. 30.)

a moderate Whig. He had addressed the

most polished and vigorous of his early had changed its character to snit 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 on 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 10 Joseph could not, at ihat 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, talkcivil posts were already occupied by adven- ed little, had fits of absence, and either had turers, who, destitute of every liberal art no love affairs, or was too discreet to conand sentiment, at once pillaged and dis- fide them to the Abbé. A man who, even graced the country which they pretended when surrounded by fellow-countrymen and to serve. It had become necessary to re- fellow-students, had always been remarkcruit for the public service from a very dif- ably shy and silent, was not likely to be loferent class, froin that class of which Addi. quacious in a foreign tongue, and among son was the representative. The close of foreign companions. But it is clear from the Minister's letter was remarkable : 'Tam Addison's letters, some of which were long called,' he said, an enemy of the Church. after published in the Guardian,' that, But I will never do it any other injury than while he appeared to be absorbed in his keeping Mr. Addison out of it.'

own meditations, he was really observing This interserence was successful; and, in French society with that keen and sly, yet the summer of 1699, Addison, made a rich not ill-natured side-glance, which was pecuman by his pension, and still retaining his liarly his own. fellowship, quitted his beloved Oxford, and From Blois he returned to Paris; and, set out on his travels. He crossed from having now mastered the French language, Dover to Calais, proceeded to Paris, and found great pleasure in the society of was received there with great kindness and French philosophers and poets. He gave politeness by a kinsman of his friend Mon- an account, in a letter to Bishop Hough, of tagu, Charles Earl of Manchester, who had two highly interesting conversations, one just been appointed Ambassador to the with Malbranche, the other with Boileau. Court of France. The Countess, a Whig Malbranche expressed great partiality for and a toast, was probably as gracious as her the English, and extolled the genins of lord ; for Addison long retained an agree. Newton, but shook his head when Hobbes able recollection of the impression which was mentioned, and was indeed so unjust she at this time made on him, and, in some as to call the author of the Leviathan'a lively lines written on the glasses of the poor silly creature. Addison's modesty Kit-Cat club, described the envy which her restrained him from fully relating, in his cheeks, glowing with the genuine bloom of letter, the circumstances of his introduction England, had excited among the painted to Boileau. Boileau, having survived the beauties of Versailles.

friends and rivals of his youth, old, deaf

, Louis XIV. was at this time expiating and melancholy, lived in retirement, seldom the vices of his youth by a devotion which went either to Conrt or to the Academy, had no root in reason, and bore no fruit of and was almost inaccessible to strangers

. charity. The servile literature of France of the English and of English literature he

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