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be Steele's, and become a contributor. On the change of the ministry, Addison lost his employment, and found himself at leisure to engage more frequently in writing. The Tatler was succeeded by the Spectator, wbich began to be published on the first of March, 1711; and was continued daily till the 8th of December 1712. It was afterwards published in 8 vols. The greatest portion of this work was written by Addison, who distinguished his papers by one of the letters in the name CLIO. in 1713 the tragedy of Cato was finished for the stage, and exhibited at Drury-lane, with such success that it was repeated thirty-five nights without intermission.
“ This noblest work of Addison's genius," which Dr. Johnson says, “scarcely contains a scene that the reader does not wish to impress upon his memory,” owed much of it's celebrity to the political circunstances of the times. Known to be the production of a Whig, it was zealously applauded by those of that party; every line, favourable to liberty, was received with tumultuous approbation; and that approbation was echoed by the Tories, to sbew that they did not feel the censure, which it was supposed to convey. Lord Bolingbroke called Booth, the actor who personated Cato, to his box, and gave him fifty guineas, for having, as he said, most ably supported the cause of free-. dom against the encroachments and the violence of a perpetual dictator.
The situation of a dramatic author on the first performance of his piece, may, in some degree, be imagined. How grateful the sounds of clamorous plaudits ! how depressing those of hisses and groans! Judge, then, what was the situation of the timid Addison, subjected to all the 'excruciating tortures of an ambitious, yet fearful author. He
could not remain at home on the first night of Cato; for to have been told that his tragedy was driven from the stage with derision, bad been like a poniard to his heart. His peril as an auditor, might have also been considerable. Hecontrived, therefore, neither to be present nor absent. Placing himself upon a bench in the green room, he kept by his side a friend who was to go every minute to the stage, to bring him tidings of what was passing. Such, however, was the vehemence of applause, that shouts of adıniration forced their way through the walls of the room where he sat. Yet not till the last sentence was spoken, and the curtain dropped upou Cato and his weeping friends, did the author venture to move from the inanimate position in which he was fixed. The acute dread of failure, now heightened the joy of success; and never was success so complete. Since this period it has been complained that the tragedy is deficient in power to effect the passions, and that the love-scenes are insipid; but it should be considered that neither Cato nor his family, with strict propriety, could love any thing but their country. The language and sentiments contained in this piece, says Mrs. Inchbald, are certainly worthy of the great Addison and ofthe great Cato; and if, as it is objected, the characters be too elevated to be natural, yet they accord with that idea of nature, which imagination conceives of such remarkable personages.
The prologue was written by Pope. This tragedy has been recommended by numerous verses ; among which those of Steele, Hughes, Young, Tickell, Jeffreys, and Eusden, are the most distinguished. It was translated into the French language and underwent both Italian and German versions. Soon after the appearance of Cato, another daily Es.
sayist called the Guardian, was undertaken by Steele to which Addison contributed those papers marked with an . About the same time he formed a plan for a dictionary of the English language, and had proceeded some length in the definition of words, and in a collection of authorities, when his political avocations prevented the final execution of his purpose. The work has since been performed by Dr. Johnson with ability and success. The Whig Esaniner, and some other political papers, of which Addison was the author, are referred to this period. The Freeholder, was the last of the periodical publications in which he engaged; designed to support the established government. It appeared in 1715. In the year 1716, he married the countess dowager of Warwick, to whose son he had been tutor. The lady was not to be won but by tedious suing, and when the anxious consent was granted, it was under the persuasion of much condescension; nor did she ever forget her rank, believing that no culture of intellect, or exaltation of genius can repair the deficiency of coronets and ancestry. The majestic and repulsing behaviour of the countess often drove him from her society to a tavern, and when there, he was not in haste to return. It is certain, as Johnson remarks, that Addison has left behind him no encouragement to ambitious love. The following year he reached his highest elevation, being made secretary of state. His health, which had been impaired by an asthma, suffered greatly from the fatigue of his office. That solicitude of writing with elegance, which never forsook him, rendered the duties of his station so tedious to him that he retired from his office. He was gratis fied, notwithstanding, with a pension of £1500 a year.
From politics he returned to literature, and resumed a work he had begun, On the Evidences of the Christian Religion, which he intended as an antidote to infidelity. He also projected a new poetic version of the Psalms. The specimens of this kind of composition, which he has left, are sufficient to excite an ardent wish that he had done more. The comedy of the Drummer is ascribed to Addison.
In 1719 he again relapsed into politics, and wrote The Old Whig, and Remarks on a paper called “The Plebean." In addition to his asthmatic complaint, Addison became subjected to the affliction of a dropsy. After a long and painful struggle with these disorders he patiently abandoned all hopes of life and gave directions to his friend Tickell concern; ing the publication of his works, dedicating them to his friend and successor Mr. Secretary Craggs. When Addison perceived that his end was approaching, he sent for his son in law, the earl of Warwick, a young man of a loose and irregular life, yet for whom he had a very affectionate regard. He arrived, but Addison, whose life quivered like the glimmer of an expiring taper, was silent.
After a becoming pause, the youth said “My dear Sir, you desired to see me; you have undoubtedly some commands; I shall hold them most sacred.” Forcibly grasping the young man's hand, he replied, faintly," I sent for you that you might see with what composure a christian can die.” What effect this pathetic address of the exwiring philosopher had on the mind of the young man, is not known, but he did not long survive him. It is this circumstance to which Tickell refers in biş lines on Addison's death, where he expresses, that by thiş author we have not only been taught how to live, but
also in what manner we ought to be able to die. The event of Addison's death happened on the 17th June 1719, at Holland-House, near Kensington, in the 47th year of his age, leaving only one daughter. His printed works and manuscripts, where collected by Tickell, in 2 vol. 410, 1721, since published in 6 vol. Svo. Considerable additions have been made to Tickell's edition from good authority. The writings of Addison are chiefly poetical, critical and moral. Mr. Gilbert Cooper has styled him “an indifferent poet, and a worse critic;" and Dr. Hurd calls him
very ordinary poet.” The public opinion is more favourable. His poetry claims high praise, tho' not the bighest. It has not often those felicities of diction which give lustre to sentiments, nor that vigour of sentiinent which animates diction: there is little of ardour, vehemence, or transport; there is very rarely the awfulness of grandeur, and not often the splendor of elegance. It is, in general, rather sound phir losophy and just morality, versified, than animated description or interesting exhibition. But tho'it be not generally very picturesque, animated, or iinpassioned, yet there are many passages which evince real poetic genius." His poetry," says Dr. Johnson, "is polished and pure, the product of a mind too judicious to commit faults, but not sufficiently vigorous to attain excellence. He has sometimes a strik ing line, or a shining paragraph; but, on the whole, he is warm rather than fervid, and shew's more dexterity than strength. He was, however, one of our ear. liest examples of correctness. As a teacher of wisdom he
may be constantly followed. All the enchantment of imagination, and all the cogency of argument are employed to recommend to the reader his real interest, No. 78