Imágenes de páginas

ized by common sense and practical utility, and delighted in a literary form that combined clearness and elegance. The higher efforts of imaginative genius were lost upon them: they could not feel the beauties of Shakespeare and Milton. Keen satire, delicate fancy, delightful humor, skill in narration, — these we find in the best writers of the age; but it is safe to say that not one of them — Swift, Pope, Defoe, Berkeley, Addison, or Steele --- has left a line that is inspired

by a highly poetic imagination. This was a period when men looked about them and wrote of life as it appeared on the surface of political life, of club life, of the life of men and women in society. A Lear, an Othello, would have been out of place in this era of common sense; instead of great characters moved by strong passions, we have Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver, Sir Roger de Coverley — persons that live in an everyday world and meet us on our own level. Human nature had not changed, life had not become superficial and prosaic, but the taste of the age demanded that passion and romance should be ignored.



We find in the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers many of the best characteristics of the literature of this “Augustan Age": wit, wisdom, satire, humor, and always -- especially in Addison's papers

careful attention to form. Indeed, the style, though it is now a little antiquated, is so good that we hardly think of it. The form suits the thought; it is never obtrusive; the language is the language of conversation raised to the level of art. This is why Dr. Johnson said that he who would form a good style should give his days and his nights to the study of Addison. What delights us most of all in these papers, however, is the kindly humor that plays over every page; a humor so subtle, so all-pervasive, that some may fail to detect it. It is this that makes us care for the old knight; that arouses our sympathy for Will Wimble, even while we laugh at him : it is this, above all, that attracts us to the writers of these papers; for it makes us realize that while they felt keenly the moral evils of their time, they could still love and pity their fellow men.




As we review the conditions under which the Spectator was produced and become aware of the influence that it exerted, we see that it should not be judged as a purely literary work; and what is true of the periodical as a whole, is true, though in a less degree, of the papers relating to Sir Roger de Coverley. The writers of these essays had a practical end in view. Their aim is well expressed by Addiwhen he says:

“ It was said of Socrates that he brought philosophy down from heaven to inhabit among men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me that I have brought philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea tables and in coffeehouses." While accomplishing this object, the writers of the Spectator introduced a style of literature that has been widely imitated, in other countries as well as in their own, and that has not yet lost popular favor. They first taught the English public to look upon reading as a daily enjoyment, not as a rare exercise; and although their treatment of many subjects was necessarily superficial, they enlarged the horizon and stimulated the curiosity of thousands of persons living in all parts of England, and thus softened the prejudices and raised the moral and intellectual standards of the community as a whole.

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1672. The Dutch War (1672–1678).

France and England declare

war against Holland.
Louis XIV. invades Holland.
The Dutch confer the su-

preme power on William

of Orange.
1673. Boileau : L'Art Poétique. 1673. Passage of the Test Act,
Molière : La Malade Ima-

which excludes Papists and

Non-Conformists from all

offices under government. 1674. Racine : Iphigénie. Death of Milton.

1677. Marriage of William of

Orange with Mary, daugh-
ter of the Duke of York

(James II.).
1678. Bunyan:Pilgrim's Progress 1678. Popish Plot.
(Part I.).

Peace of Nimeguen.
Butler: Hudibras (Part

1679. Bossuet: Discours sur

l'Histoire Universelle.
1680. Otway: The Orphan.
1681. Dryden: Absalom and


Death of Calderon.
1682. Dryden : Mac Flecknoe. 1682. William Penn founds the
Religio Laici.

colony of Pennsylvania.
Bunyan : Holy War.
1683. Defoe : Presbytery Rough- 1683. Sobieski repels the Turks at

Rye-House Plot.

1683. Addison sent to a school in

Lichfield, his father having, been made Dean of Lichfield. 1684. Admitted to the Charter- | 1684. Bunyan : Pilgrim's Prog

house School, London, ress (Part II.). through the influence of the Duke of Ormond.

1685. James II. succeeds to the

throne of England.
Monmouth's rebellion.
Revocation of the Edict of

1686. Enters Charterhouse School

as a private pupil.
1687. Enters Queen's College, Ox-

1687. Publication of Newton's 1687. First Russo-Turkish war.

Principia, enunciating the

law of gravitation.
Dryden: The Hind and the

1688. Birth of Alexander Pope. 1688. Trial of the Seven Bishops.

Revolution in England.
William of Orange lands

with an army.
Exodus of Huguenots from

1689. Obtains a demyship at Mag- 1689. Enters Christ's College, Ox- 1689. Locke : Treatise of Civil 1689. Parliament passes the Bill
dalen, Oxford.

of Rights. Racine : Esther.

William and Mary pro

claimed King and Queen

of England.
Grand Alliance against Louis

Peter the Great, Czar of

1690. Locke : Essay on the Hu- 1690. Battle of the Boyne : defeat
man Understanding.

of James II. by William
Dunton's Athenian Mer.


Dryden : Don Sebastian.
1691. Made a postmaster of Mer- 1691. Racine : Athalie.
ton College, Oxford.

1692. Sir William Temple : 1692. English and Dutch destroy Essays.

French fleet at La Hogue,

May 19th.
Battle of Steinkirk.





1692. Massacre of Glencoe. 1693. Takes his M. A. degree. 1694. Attracts notice by his AC-1694. Enlists as a private soldier 1694. Birth of Voltaire.

1694. Bank of England estab-
count of the Greatest
in the Duke of Ormond's Dictionary of the French

English Poets.
regiment of Guards.


Death of Queen Mary.
1695. A Poem to His Majesty 1695. The Procession, published 1695. Death of La Fontaine. 1695. Censorship of press ceases
dedicated to Lord Somers.
just after the death of

in England.
'Queen Mary.
Becomes ensign in Lord

Cutts's regiment, and
soon after is made secre-
tary to Lord Cutts.

1696. Peter the Great takes Azov

from the Turks.
1697. Gains a probationary fellow-

1697. France makes peace at Rys-

wick with Holland, Spain,
A Latin Poem on the Peace

and England, and a few
of Ryswick, dedicated to

weeks later with Germany.
1698. Gains a fellowship, which he

1698. Collier : Short View of the 1698. Peter the Great in England. holds until 1711.

Immorality and Profane- Treaty between William III.
ness of the English Stage.

and Louis XIV. for the
Algernon Sidney: Discourse

partition of Spain on the
on Government.

death of Charles II.
1699. Leaves England to travel on

the Continent, having ob-
tained through Montague
a pension of £300 a year.
After a short stay in Paris,
settles at Blois and pur-

sues the study of French.
1700. Returns to Paris, where he 1700. Steele a captain in the army, 1700. Death of Dryden.

1700. Second Partition Treaty ratimeets Malebranche and and on friendly terms with Fénelon : Télémaque.

fied. Boileau.

the wits who frequent Leaves France for Italy.

Will's Coffee-House. 1701. At Geneva.

1701. Publication of The Chris- 1701. Defoe's pamphlet, The 1701. Passage of Act of Settlement tian Hero.

True-Born Englishman. in England.

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