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TO HIS FRIEND INCLINED TO MARRY. I would not have you, Strephop, choose a mate, from too exalted, or too meap a state; for in buth these we may expect to find a creeping spirit, or a haughty mind, Who moves within the middle region, shares the least disquiets, and the smallest cares. Let her extraction with true lustre shine; if something brighter, not too bright for thine: her education liberal, not great; neither inferior nor above her state, Let her have wit; but let that wit be free from affectation, pride, or pedantry: for the effect of woman's wit is such, too little is as dangerous as too much. But chiefly let her bumour close with thine; unless where your's does to a fault incline; the least disparity in this destroys, like sulphurous blasts, the very buds of joys. Her person amiable, straight, and free from natural, or chance deformity. Let not her years exceed, if equal thine; for women past their vigour, soon decline: her fortune competent; and, if thy sight can reach so far, take care 't is gather'd right, If thine's enough, then her's may be the less : do not aspire to riches in excess. For that which makes our lives delightful. provę is a genteel sufficiency and love.
Life of Pomfret,
To bis Friend inclined to marry,s
and treated with obsequiousness. Addison, who knew his own dignity, could not always forbear to shew it, by playing a little upon his admirer; yet he was in no danger of retort: his jests were endured without resistance or resentment. But the sneer of jocularity was not the worst. Steele, whose imprudence of generosity, or vanity of profusion, kept him always incurably necessitous, upon some pressing exigence, in an evil hour, borrowed a hundred pounds of his friend, probably without much purpose of repayment; but 'Addison, who seems to have had other notions of a hundred pounds, grew iinpatient of delay and reclaimed his loan by an execution. Steele felt, with great sensibility the obduracy of his creditor; but with emotions of sorrow rather than of anger." In 1687, at the age of 15, Addison was entered at Queen's College, Oxford; and some Latin verses which he had written on the Inauguration of King William and Queen Mary, being seen by Dr. Lancaster, then fellow, afterwards provost, of Queen's College, he was induced to give such a recommendation as to cause our poet to be admitted into Magdalen College, on the founder's benefaction. He here made a rapid progress in various attainments, and became eminent by his latin compositions and other exercises. Some of these are in the Musce Anglicance, a collection of pieces made by our author. Having taken the degree of Master of Arts, he published in 1693, some verses attributed to Dryden. It was followed by a Translation of Virgil's fourth Georgic (omitting the story of Aristæus) by an Account of the greatest English Poets, from Chaucer to Dryden, dedicated to H. S. generally supposed to be Henry Sacheverel, and various other pieces.
In 1695 he wrote a poem to
King William, on one of his campaigns; and, by addressing it to Lord Somers, the keeper of the great seal, he procured the patronage of that nobleman. He thought to have entered into clerical orders, to which he was strongly solicited by his father, but the influence of Montague, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whom he had been introduced by Congreve, happening to concur with his natural timidity, he was diverted from this design. Having yet no public employment, through the recommendations of Somers and Montague, the king granted him a pension of £300, to enable him to execute a favourite project of travelling into Italy. Accordingly, in 1699, he made a tour into that country, which he surveyed with the rapture of a poet, and the judgment of a critic. The appearances of the mountains, woods, and rivers, he compared with the descriptions given by Virgil and Horace. During his travels he made various remarks, which he afterwards published; composed his dialogue on Medals; and wrote four acts of Cato, In 1701, he wrote from Italy his Poetical Epistle to Montague (then become lord Halifax) which has been much admired, but never beyond it's merit; it is justly considered the most elegant, if not the most sublime of his poetic compositions. He experienced however, during his absence from England, the common lot of those who are dependent on courts. His pension was not regularly remitted, which urged his returp. Distressed by want of money, he was necessitated to become the travelling tutor to a squire, whose name has not been recorded. In 1704, Addison celebrated the victory of Blenbeim, and panegyrized the actors in that scene with such address as induced Lord Godolphin, the treasurer, to appoint
him to succeed Mr. Locke as commissioner of appeals. He was soon after chosen Under Secretary of State, first to Sir Charles Hedges and then to the earl of Sunderland. About this time he wrote the opera of Rosamond, which met with neglect; he published it indeed with better fortune, but he discovered an absurd servility in inscribing it to the duchess of Marlborough, “ a woman,” according to Johnson, “ without skill, or pretensions to skill, in poetry or literature.” He next assisted Steele in his play of the Tender Husband; who surprised his friend by a dedication openly avowing the obligation. In 1709, when the marquis of Wharton was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, Addison attended him as Secretary, and was made keeper of the records in Berningham's Tower, with a salary augmented by the queen, for his accommodation, to £300 per annum. Tho' a keen whig, he did not relinquish his intimacy with Swift, who was attached to the tories. When in of fice he never in civility excused his friends the payment of fees, and throughout his life, he appears to have known the value of money, and to have had exact ideas of the duty of payment, when the time fixed was come. But it should not be forgotten, that he established it as a rule for himself, not to take more than the usual fees of his office. He even refused a bank note of £300, and afterwards a diamond ring of the same value, from a major Dunbar, whom he had endeavoured to serve by.bis interest with lord Sunderland. See Matty's Review, 1783. While Addison was in Ireland, Steele began the Tatler, the first number of which appeared on the 12th of April 1709. These essays where published without the name of the author, but Addison discovered them to