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A very short account will suffice for the remainder of his works. His connection with Steele engaged him in occasionally writing in the Tatler, the Spectator, and the Guardian, in which his produc. tions, serious and humorous, conferred upon him immortal honour, and placed him deservedly at the head of his class. Some other periodical papers, decidedly political, were traced to Addison, of which The Freeholder was one of the most conspicuous. In 1716 he married the Countess-Dowager of War. wick, a connexion which is said not to have been remarkably happy. In the following year he was raised to the office of one of the principal secretaries of state ; but finding himself ill suited to the post, and in a declining state of health, he resigned it to Mr. Craggs. In reality, his constitution was suffering from an habitual excess in wine; and it is a lamentable circumstance that a person so generally free from moral defects, should have given way to a fondness for the pleasures of a tavern life. Addison died in June, 1719, leaving an only daughter by the Countess of Warwick.
A LETTER FROM ITALY,
TO THE RIGHT HON. CHARLES LORD HALIFAX, IN
THE YEAR MDCCI.
Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
Virg. Georg. ii.
HILE you, my lord, the rural shades admire,
For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes,
How am I pleas’d to search the hills and woods
And hoary Albula's infected tide
Fir'd with a thousand raptures, I survey
Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng, I look for streams immortalis'd in song, That lost in silence and oblivion lie, (Dumb are their fountains and their channels dry,) Yet run for ever by the Muse's skill, And in the smooth description murmur still.
Sometimes to gentle Tiber I retire, And the fam'd river's empty shores admire, That destitute of strength derives its course From thrifty urns and an unfruitful source ; Yet sung so often in poetic lays, With scorn the Danube and the Nile surveys; So high the deathless Muse exalts her theme! Such was the Boyne, a poor inglorious stream, That in Hibernian vales obscurely stray'd, And, unobserv'd, in wild meanders play'd; Till by your lines and Nassau's sword renown'd, Its rising billows through the world resound, Where'er the hero's godlike acts can pierce, Or where the fame of an immortal verse.
Oh, could the Muse my ravish'd breast inspire With warmth like yours, and raise an equal fire, Unnumber'd beauties in my verse should shine, And Virgil's Italy should yield to mine!
See how the golden groves around me smile, That shun the coast of Britain's stormy isle, Or, when transplanted and preserv'd with care, Curse the cold clime, and starve in northern air. Here kindly warmth their mountain juice ferments To nobler tastes, and more exalted scents : E’en the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom, And trodden weeds send out a rich perfume. Bear me, some god, to Baia's gentle seats, Or cover me in Umbria's green retreats ; Where western gales eternally reside, And all the seasons lavish all their pride : Blossoms, and fruits, and flowers together rise, And the whole year in gay confusion lies.
Immortal glories in my mind revive, And in my soul a thousand passions strive, When Rome's exalted beauties I descry Magnificent in piles of ruin lie. An amphitheatre's amazing height Here fills my eye with terrour and delight, That on its public shows unpeopled Rome, And held, uncrowded, nations in its womb : Here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies, And here the proud triumphal arches rise, Where the old Romans deathless acts display'd, Their base degenerate progeny upbraid : Whole rivers here forsake the fields below, [flow. And wondering at their height through airy channels
Still to new scenes my wandering Muse retires, And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires : Where the smooth chisel all its force has shown, And soften'd into flesh the rugged stone.
In solemn silence, a majestic band,
How has kind Heaven adorn'd the happy land, And scatter'd blessings with a wasteful hand! But what avail her unexhausted stores, Her blooming mountains, and her sunny shores, With all the gifts that Heaven and Earth impart, The smiles of Nature, and the charms of Art, While proud oppression in her valleys reigns, And tyranny usurps her happy plains ? The poor inhabitant beholds in vain The reddening orange and the swelling grain : Joyless he sees the growing oils and wines, And in the myrtle’s fragrant shade repines :