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In presenting to the American public this new edition of the writings of Joseph Addison, the publishers hold it altogether superfluous and unnecessary to say anything in commendation of the works themselves, or make any reference to the established and increasing celebrity of the author. That celebrity has been deliberately conferred by a succession of generations, and the name of Addison is permanently enrolled among the brightest that adorned the Augustan age of English literature. A few words, however, of comment upon the peculiar advantages of this edition may be permitted, iť is hoped, if on no other ground, at least as showing the anxiety of the publishers to provide the community with the best which they can obtain, and the most suited to gratify the wants and wishes of every reader.
The superiority of this edition over any heretofore published in this coun
its accuracy, its neatness of mechanical execution, and, above all, its completeness. It comprises not only all the essays, letters, poems, criticisms, tales, descriptions, and dramatic works of Addison, but also the whole of the Speccator this last being a new and very useful arrangement, inasmuch as many of the finest essays, narratives, and characters in that admirable series were contributed jointly by Addison and others. The delightful character of Sir Roger de Coverley, for instance, was frequently taken up by Steele; and the pens of Steele, Budgell, and several others of the contributors, were quite as often employed in the beautiful papers relating to “The Club” as was that of Addison. It is evident that, by separating those of the latter from the others, as has been done in former editions of his works, the continuity of the story is destroyed and the pleasure of the reader materially diminished. In this point of view alone the edition now offered must be considered vastly preferable.
Care has been taken, nevertheless, to designate not only the papers con tributed by Addison, but also those furnished by each of the other writers; and in all other respects the edition of the Spectator comprised within these volumes is as complete and perfect as any ever published. The publishers have only to add the expression of their hope, that the favour of the public to this undertaking may be such as shall encourage them to the production of other English classics, in a corresponding style of excellence, literary and mechanical.
No. 1. | Thursday, March 1, 1710-11. lit over in silence. I find, that during my
nonage, I had the reputation of a very sulNon fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
len youth, but was always a favourite with Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula proniat.
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 143. my schoolmaster, who used to say, that One with a flash begins, and ends in smoke;
my parts were solid, and would wear well. Another out of smoke brings glorious light,
I had not been long at the university, beAnd, (without raising expectation high)
fore I distinguished myself by a most proSurprises us with dazzling miracles. Roscommon..
found silence; for during the space of I HAVE observed that a reader seldom eight years, excepting in the public exerperuses a book with pleasure, till he knows cises of the college, I scarce uttered the whether the writer of it be a black or a fair quantity of an hundred words; and indeed man, of a mild or choleric disposition, mar- do not remember that I ever spoke three ried or a bachelor, with other particulars sentences together in my whole life, of the like nature, that conduce ry much Whilst I was in this learned body, I apto the right understanding of an author. plied myself with so much diligence to my To gratify this curiosity, which is so na studies, that there are very few celebrated tural to a reader, I design this paper and books, either in the learned or the modern my next, as prefatory discourses to my fol- tongues, which I am not acquainted with. lowing writings, and shall give some ac Upon the death of my father, I was recount in them of the several persons that are solved to travel into foreign countries, and engaged in this work. As the chief trouble therefore left the university, with the chaof compiling, digesting and correcting will racter of an odd, unaccountable fellow, that fall to my share, I must do myself the jus I had a great deal of learning, if I would but tice to open the work with my own history, show it. An insatiable thirst after know
I was born to a small hereditary estate, ledge carried me into all the countries of which according to the tradition of the vil- Europe, in which there was any thing new lage where it lies, was bounded by the or strange to be seen; nay, to such a desame hedges and ditches in William the gree was my curiosity raised, that having Conqueror's time that it is at present, and read the controversies of some great men has been delivered down from father to concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I son, whole and entire, without the loss or made a voyage to Grand Cairo, on puracquisition of a single field or meadow, pose to take the measure of a pyramid: during the space of six liundred years. and as soon as I had set myself right in that There runs a story in the family, that particular, returned to my native country when my mother was gone with child of with great satisfaction.* me about three months, she dreamt that I have passed my latter years in this city, she was brought to bed of a judge. Whe- where I am frequently seen in most public ther this might proceed from a lawsuit | places, though there are not above half a which was then depending in the family, dozen of my select friends that know me; or my father's being a justice of the peace, of whom my next paper shall give a more I cannot determine; for I am not so vain particular account. There is no place of as to think it presaged any dignity that I general resort wherein I do not often should arrive at in my future life, though make my appearance; sometimes I am seen that was the interpretation which the thrusting my head into a round of politineighbourhood put upon it. The gravity cians at Will's, and listening with great atof my behaviour at my very first appear- tention to the narratives that are made in ance in the world, and all the time that I those little circular audiences. Sometimes sucked, seemed to favour my mother's | I smoke a pipe at Child's, and whilst I dream : for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two
* This is, probably, an allusion to Mr. John Greaves, months old, and would not make use of my
astronomical professor at Oxford, who in 1646 publishcoral until they had taken away the tells ed a work entitled Pyramidographia.' from it.
of Child's coffee-house was in St. Paul's church-yard, As for the rest of my infancy, there be
and much frequented by the clergy; St. James's is in
its original situation; Jonathan's was in Change ing nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass 1 alley, and the Rose was on the west side of Temple-bar