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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.
IX. LITERARY QUALITIES OF THE SIR ROGER DE
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.
X. THE SPECTATOR IN ITS RELATION TO ENGLISH
LIFE AND ENGLISH LITERATURE.
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.
1672. The Dutch War (1672–1678).
France and England declare
war against Holland.
preme power on William
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-
Peace of Nimeguen.
Death of Calderon.
colony of Pennsylvania.
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.
as a private pupil.
1687. Publication of Newton's 1687. First Russo-Turkish war.
Principia, enunciating the
law of gravitation.
Revolution in England.
with an army.
of Rights. Racine : Esther.
William and Mary pro
claimed King and Queen
of James II. by William
Dryden : Don Sebastian.
1692. Sir William Temple : 1692. English and Dutch destroy Essays.
French fleet at La Hogue,
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-
Death of Queen Mary.
Cutts's regiment, and
1696. Peter the Great takes Azov
from the Turks.
1697. France makes peace at Rys-
wick with Holland, Spain,
and England, and a few
weeks later with Germany.
1698. Collier : Short View of the 1698. Peter the Great in England. holds until 1711.
Immorality and Profane- Treaty between William III.
and Louis XIV. for the
partition of Spain on the
death of Charles II.
the Continent, having ob-
sues the study of French.
1700. Second Partition Treaty ratimeets Malebranche and and on friendly terms with Fénelon : Télémaque.
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.