« AnteriorContinuar »
main, though they certainly exhibit no proofs that he was a great genius, yet afford no just grounds for the accusation of dulness. At the University of Cambridge, he was esteemed a good classical scholar, and very expert at Latin versification. He wrote several sensible letters in the Spectator. He was one of the panegyrists of Cato. His exaltation alone to the office of Poet Laureat might have excited Pope's indignation *.
EUSDEN, towards the latter part of his life, took to hard drinking, which habit greatly impaired his faculties and injured his health t.
Though also a very jovial and agreeable companion, the last writer in the Spectator, . whom we shall mention, was more temperate, and bad a mind attuned to affectionate tenderness. We mean
THOMAS TICKELLI. “ If business call, or crowded courts invite, Th’unblemish'd statesman seems to strike our sight."
To him we may apply that praise he gave to Addison. He was educated in his native
the Battle of the Boync into Latin verse. This ver. sion procured him that ingenious nobleman's patron. age.
* This promotion he procured through the Duke of Newcastle, he being Lord Chamberlain at the death of Rowe. Eusden had written an epithalamium on the marriage of his Grace with Lady Henrietta Godolphin. The Duke was much delighted with the performance. Some of his best pieces are to be found in Nichols's Select Collections.
He died at his rectory at Conningsby, in Lincoln. shire, the 27th September, 1730.
1 He was the son of the Rev. Richard Tickell, who possessed a living in the county of Cumberland, and was born at Bridekirk, near Carlisle, 1686.
* This Addtson, 'tis true, debauch'd in schools,
He lives of eminent writers have ever been subjects of public curiosity. When we read the works of a Homer, a VIRGIL, a ThucyDIDES, a Tacirus, a MILTON, or a Hume, we anxiously desire to know the history of personages from whom we have derived united instruction and delight. In all ages in which literature has flourished, literary persons, to gratify this desire, have taken pains to collect facts respecting the most admired authors, which might exhibit a view of their lives and characters. It has been a general custom to prefix the lives of the writers to their most celebrated performances, in order that the reader, having the composer and the composition before him at once, may be able to trace the genius of the author who fills us with delight and admiration, to the
Cause to which it owes its existence. No literary production has been, nor is more generally agreeable and useful, than the SPECTATOR ; we have therefore thought proper to prefix to its Miniature a short life of the prin. cipal author of so excellent and popular a work.
JOSEPH ADDISON, the son of the Reverend LAUNCELOT ADDISON, Rector of Milton, near Ambersbury, in Wiltshire, was born at that place, May 1, 1672; and, appearing weak and unlikely to live, he was christened the same day. His father, a man of talents, virtue, and religion, sowed early in his youthful mind the seeds of that probity and bene. volence, that rational Christianity, which afterwards came to such maturity. When Addison had completed his eleventh year, his father being made Dean of Litchfield, naturally carried his family to his new residence, and placed him for some time under Mr. Shaw, master of the school in the city to which he removed. Of this part of ADDISON's life, we know nothing but the story of a burring out*, which our author at the early age of twelve planned and conducted with such superior wisdom and courage, that
* Such is a practice which about fifty years ago prevailed in many schools. The boys after having long obeyed, resolved, at the approach of the holidays, to command. They then took possession of the school, barricadoed the doors to prevent the entrance of their rulers, and, not contented with the victory without the triumph, from the window breathed defiance against the preceptor. The master on his side was, or pretended to be, very vigilant against this exclusion. The greatness of the difficulty enhanced the pleasure of
he was successful in that difficult enterprise. The fortress was seized; and Mr. Shaw, the governor, excluded.
From Litchfield, ADDISON was removed to the Charter-house, where he pursued his juvenile studies under the care of Dr. Ellis; and where he contracted that intimacy with Sir RICHARD STEELE, which lasted as long as they lived; and which their joint-literary labours have so effectually recorded, and transmitted to posterity.
At the early age of fifteen, our author was entered into Queen's College, in Oxford, where, having so many models to imitate, and competitors to excel, he diligently pursued the knowledge there most highly valued, I mean classical learning. A still more powerful cause certainly concurred in attaching him to the Greek and Roman writers. There was evidently in his mind a natural congeniality with the most elegant and pleasing of ancient authors. We see in his writings much of that elegance, unaffected good-sense, simplified philosophy, and sound morality, which distinguish the writers of antiquity. When he was seventeen years of age, some Latin verses he had composed fell by accident into the hands of Dr. LANCASTER, and gained him his patronage. By his recommendation he was elected as demy, or scholar, into Magdalen College *. Here he continued to cultivate poetry and criticism, and grew first eminent by his Latin compositions, which are harmonious,
* He took the degree of Master of Arts, Feb. 14, 1093.
pure, and elegant; and seem to liave had much of his fondness*.
Like MILTON, ADDISON devoted only a part of his time to Latin verses, whilst he was a young man, Both probably considered them as exercises for youth, but not as employment for manhood. He was in his twenty-second year, when he showed his power of English poety, by some verses addressed to DRYDEN, which procured him the applause of that celebrated writer. Soon after he published a translation of the greater part t of the fourth Georgic upon Bees, on which DRYDEN bestowed very great praise; and said, alluding to the subject of the poem, After Addison's bees, my latter swarm is hardly worth the hiving. About the same time, he composed the arguments prefixed to the several books of DeYDEN'S Virgil; and produce ed an Essay on the Georgics I, which is a specimen of extensive learning, and of acuteness in criticism. The ensuing year, he published a set of verses, containing a character of the principal English poets; and ascribed it to the noted Dr. Sacheverell, with whom Addison lived in a strict intimacy, though few characters could be more different, than those of these two writers: Sa
• The Latin poems of Addison, handed down to us, are eight in number: Peace restored to Europe through William III.-Description of a Barometer.-A Battle between the Piginies and the Cranes.-On the Resur. rection, from a painting in one of the Chapels.-A Bowling Green.-An Ode to Dr. Haines, a physician and poet.—The Dancing Puppets; and an Ode to Dr. Burnet, author of the Theory of the Earth.
+ The only Episode of Aristæus is omitted. 1 That Essay is prefixed to them as a Preface to Dryden's translation.