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when the next day this new paper proceeded to sketch a group of individual men, making them, after the fashion of the day, a club, the possibilities which lay in this reproduction, as in a mirror, of contemporaneous society, were so great that men and women everywhere received with enthusiasm this new creation in letters, and the projectors of the paper were inspirited by their instantaneous success.

It cannot be said that either Addison or Steele perceived the full force of what they had done. Their main interest was still in criticism of life, and the figures they so deftly manipulated were rather agreeable reliefs, and even occasional mouthpieces of sentiment, than living persons whose fortunes were of the utmost importance. Still, there these creations were, and from time to time the artists who fashioned them revived them for their delight and added one touch of nature after another. The central figure was that of Sir Roger de Coverley, and the instinct of the artist led Addison with Steele's fine assistance to extend the fullest treatment upon the knight in his country home, rather than in the town.

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In pursuance of their purpose, the writers of the “Spectator" introduced the various members of the club frequently into the discussions which formed the topics of the several papers. The club is always more or less supposed. In separating, therefore, those papers which may be grouped under the general head of “The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers,” there is room for diverse judgment. It is easy enough to say that a very large number of the “Spectator " papers should be excluded, but the several editors who have undertaken to make a consistent group, beginning with the ac


complished W. Henry Wills, who set the example, all differ in their choice, though agreement will be found to hold for the majority of papers. Not every chapter in this book is exclusively concerned with Sir Roger, and there are several papers omitted in which his name occurs, but the selection is on the whole more inclusive than


that has hitherto been made. It should be observed that the titles given to the successive chapters do not occur in the “Spectator.”

The first and chief object in reading a work in pure literature is the enjoyment of the art; the second, not far removed when the work belongs to another generation, is the aid which it furnishes the reader in vivifying his imagination of historic life. A novel like one of Fielding's goes much further in transporting one into the eighteenth century than a history of the manners and customs of that period like the serviceable one by Mr. Sydney. The editor of this edition of “Sir Roger de Coverley,” therefore, has aimed in his notes mainly to enrich the reader's mind in particulars where the text, though not obscure, may be. illustrated. The more one can be put when reading into the familiar attitude of the first readers of these papers, the more completely will one live the book. At the same time it has not been thought worth while to check the reader's interest in answering for himself the questions which will arise. For this reason explanation has been avoided of words and terms which may be found in any comprehensive dictionary; such words, for example, as Whig, Tory,

1. England and the English in the Eighteenth Century; Chapters in the Social History of the Times. By WILLIAM CONNOR SYDNEY. In two volumes. London and New York : Macmillan & Co. 1891.

put, smoke, fagots in a regiment, quorum, need not long puzzle a student who has access to such a dictionary. Now and then curiosity has been appealed to in reference to variations in the English of the eighteenth century and that of to-day. It has not been thought necessary to give meagre facts and dates regarding the great historic names which occur in slight mention.

The text used is that furnished by Mr. Henry Morley in his convenient edition of the “ Spectator,

"1 and for the interest of the student the last“ speculation” is given exactly as first printed as regards spelling, capitalization, and italics. For the purpose of still further removing the reader from the present, it might have been desirable to print the entire book in this style; but a specimen only is given lest the unaccustomed reader should grow confused in his own usage.

The main incidents in the lives of Addison and Steele are given in the chronological table which follows, but the reader who desires to become more intimate with these persons should read Thackeray's “The English Humorists." The same great writer's novel of “Henry Esmond” will put him more fully in sympathy with the spirit of the eighteenth century.

1. The Spectator. A new edition, reproducing the original text both as first issued and as corrected by its authors. With Introduction, Notes, and Index, by Henry MORLEY. In three volumes. London : George Routledge & Sons. 1883.




Born at Milston, near Amesbury, in Wiltshire, May 1, 1672.
Educated in schools at Amesbury, Salisbury, and Lichfield, to which

last place the family removed when his father, the Rev. Lancelot Addison, became Dean of the Cathedral in 1683. Thence he is sent to the Charterhouse School in London, where

Steele was a scholar at the same time, and enters Queen's College,

Oxford, in 1687. Becomes Fellow of Magdalen College in 1698. Receives a pension from the government, the Whig party being dom

inant, travels on the Continent to qualify himself for diplomatic

service, and returns to England in 1703.
Publishes Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, 1705.
Appointed Under Secretary of State, 1706.
Elected Member of Parliament, 1708.

Contributes to Steele’s paper, The Tatler, 1709.
Begins The Spectator, 1710-11.
Writes the tragedy of Cato, 1713.
Contributes to Steele’s The Guardian, 1713.
Marries the Countess of Warwick, August 3, 1716.
Dies June 17, 1719.

RICHARD STEELE. Born in Dublin, Ireland, son of an Irish attorney, March, 1671–72. Is sent to the Charterhouse School, 1684. Enters Christchurch, Oxford, March, 1690. Leaves Oxford and enlists as a private soldier, 1694. Becomes Captain Steele, 1700. Writes and publishes The Christian Hero, 1701. Produces on the stage The Funeral, or Grief à la Mode, 1701. Marries Mrs. Margaret Stretch, a widow, spring of 1705. Is made editor of the official Gazette, 1706. Mrs. Steele dies, December, 1706. Marries Mary Scurlock, September 9, 1707. Publishes the first number of The Tatler, April 12, 1709. Is made Commissioner of Stamps, January, 1710. Writes for The Spectator, 1711-12. Begins The Guardian, March 12, 1713. Enters Parliament, 1713. Becomes patentee of Drury Lane Theatre, 1715. Is knighted by George I., 1715. Produces his most successful comedy, The Conscious Lovers, 1722. Dies at Carmarthen, September 1, 1729.



Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula promat.1

HORACE, Ars Poetica, 143, 144.

I HAVE observed that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure 'till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this paper and my next as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in


1. His thought it is, not smoke from flame,

But out of smoke a steadfast light to bring,

That in the light bright wonders he may frame. 2. In his Notes on Walter Savage Landor, De Quincey (iv. 407), commenting on this passage, says : “No reader cares about an author's person before reading his book ; it is after reading it, and supposing the book to reveal something of the writer's moral nature, as modifying his intellect; it is for his fun, his fancy, his sadness, possibly his craziness, that any reader cares about seeing the author in person. Afflicted with the very satyriasis of curiosity, no man ever wished to see the author of a Ready Reckoner, or of the Agistment Tithe, or on the Present Deplorable Dry Rot in Potatoes.

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