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was passed, though his station made him conspicuous, and his activity made him formidable, the virtuous character given him by his friends was never contradicted by his enemies, whose reverence he 'retained, though from the violence of opposition he might lose their affection. His moral character is to be learnt from the general testimony of the age in which he lived. So generally was his merit acknowledged, that SWIFT, who was not over friendly to him, after having observed that the election of ADDISON had passed without a dissenting voice, adds, “ that if he had proposed himself for king, he would have been hardly refused.” Thus envy, with her usual malignant sagacity, could not detect in the moral character of our author an imperfection, nor party zeal fancy in it a stain.
Listening then to the general voice in his favour, we will express our conviction that ADDISON was a man of moral excellence, no less exalted than his intellectual endowments. Though belonging to a party, he loved goodness, and venerated talents in those of the opposite siđe *. His temper was calm, equal, and agreeable. Candour and liberality were eminently conspicuous both in his criticism, and in his intercourse with mankind. To the lesser virtues of modera. tion, economy, and prudence, he joined, in
• When he was in Ireland with Lord Sunderland, he could not be prevailed upon to discontinue his in. timacy with Swift, though extremely obnoxious to the administration under which our author was acting. He preserved his regard for him to the last.
a very high degree, the eminent virtues of justice, beneficence, and patriotism. As men of genius are, we think, to be estimated by the good they have produced in society, we may affirm with truth that few will stand higher in the scale of human excellence than THE PRINCIPAL AUTHOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
A great book is a great evil.
an infinite advantage over one who communicates his writings to the world in loose tracts and single pieces. We do not expect to meet with any thing in a bulky volume, until after some heavy preamble, and several words of course, to prepare the reader for what follows: nay, authors have established it as a kind of rule, that a man ought to be dull sometimes; as the most severe reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding places in a voluminous writer. This gave occasion to the famous Greek proverb which I have chosen for my motto, “that a great book is a
On the contrary, those who publish their thoughts in distinct sheets, and as it were by piecemeal, have Rone of these advantages. We must immediately fall into our subject, and treat every part of it in a lively manner, or our papers are thrown by as dull and insipid; our matter must lie close together, and either be wholly new in itself, or in the turn it receives from our expressions. Were the books of our best authors thas to be retailed to the public, and every page submitted to the taste of forty or fifty thousand readers, I am afraid we should complain of many flat expressions, trivial observations, beaten topics, and common thoughts, which go off very well in the lamp. At the same time, notwithstanding some papers may be made up of broken bints and irregular sketches, it is often expected that every sheet should be a kind of treatise, and make out in thonght what it wants in bulk: that a point of humour should be worked up in all its parts; and a subject touched upon in its most essential arti. cles, without the repetitions, tautoligies, and enlargements that are indulged to longer labours. The ordi. pary writers of morality prescribe to their readers after the Galenic way; their medicines are made up in large quantities. An essay writer must practise in the chymical method, and give the virtue of a full draught in a few drops. Were all bouks reduced thus to their quintessence, many a bulky author would make his appearance in a penny-paper: there would be scarce such a thing in nature as a folio: the works of an age would be contained on a few shelves: not to mention millious of volumes, that would be utterly an. nihilated.
I cannot think that the difficulty of furnishing out separate papers of this nature, has hindered authors from communicating their thoughts to the world after such a manner : though I must confess I am amazed that the press should be only made use of in this way by news-writers, and the zealots of parties; as if it were not more advantageous to mankind, to be instructed in wisdom and virtue, than in politics; and to be made good fathers, husbands, and sons, than counsellors and greatmen of antiquity, who took so much pains in order to instruct mankind, and leave the world wiser and better than they found it; had they, I say, been possessed of the art of printing, there is no question but they would have made such an advantage of it, in dealing out their lectures to the public. Our
common prints would be of great use were they thus calculated to diffuse good sense throngh the bulk of a people, to clear up their understandings, animate their minds with virtue, dissipate the sorrows of a heavy heart, or unbend the mind from its more severe employments with innocent amusements. When know. ledge, instead of being bound up in books, and kept in libraries and retirements, is thus obtruded upon the public; when it is canvassed in every assembly, and exposed upon every table; I cannot forbear reflecting upon that passage in the Proverbs : “ Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets; she cri. eth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates. In the city she uttereth ber words, saying, how long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning? avd fools hate knowledge?”
I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see my works thrown aside by men of no taste nor learning. There is a kind of heaviness and ignorance tbat hangs upon the minds of ordinary nien, which is too thick for knowledge to break through. Their souls are not to be enlightened, Nor atra cava circumvolat umbra.
VIRG. Æn. ii. ver. 360. Dark night surrounds them with her hollow shade. To these I must apply the fable of the inole, that after having consulted many oculists for the bettering of his sight, was at last provided with a good pair of spectacles; but upon his endeavouring to make use of tbem, his mother told him very prndently, “ that spectacles, though they might help the eye of a man, could be of no 18e to a mole.” It is not therefore for the benefit of moles that I publish these my daily essays.
But besides, such as are moles through ignorance, there are others who are moles through envy.
As it is said in the Latin proverb, “ that one man is a wolf