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ledgments to one of the most entertaining pieces this age has produced, for the pleasure it gave me.
You will easily guess that the book I have in my hand is Mr. Addison's ' Remarks upon Italy.' That ingenious gentleman has with so much art and judgment applied his exact knowledge of all the parts of classical learning to illustrate the several occurrences in his travels, that his work alone is a pregnant proof of what I have said. Nobody that has a taste this way can read him going from Rome to Naples, and making Horace and Silius Italicus his chart, but he must feel some uneasiness in himself to reflect that he was not in his retinue. I am sure I wished it ten times in every page; and that not without a secret vanity to think in what a state I should have travelled the Appian road with Horace for a guide, and in company with a countryman of my own, who, of all men living, know best how to follow his steps.”
CHARACTER OF ADDISON'S HUMOROUS PIECES. DR. Kippis summarily describes the character of Addison's humorous productions in these words: “There are none of his works in which his merit, as a graceful writer, more distinguishingly appears, than in his humorous pieces. His humour is so natural, so easy, so unaffected, that we never grow weary of it; and we shall find upon a diligent examination of the papers of this kind that it is prodigiously various and extensive.
He scarcely ever descends to personal satire ; and his ridicule of certain characters in life, while it is remarkably striking, is so gentle, that persons who answer to the characters must read him with pleasure. A wit which was so copious and inexhaustible, without trespassing against good nature, or offending against decency, is entitled to the highest admiration and applause.”
ADDISON'S USE OF THE PRONOUN ONE. ADDISON is with justice esteemed the best model for the easy correct style of prose composition. He is, however, the last of the classical English authors who has made use of one, a man, as pronouns; as in these phrases, one sees, a man observes, the latter entirely obsolete, and the former nearly so. This phraseology prevails generally throughout his prose works. For example; in his travels he says, “If a man con
siders the face of Italy in general, one would think that nature had laid it out into such a variety of states and governments as one finds in it."
There is a celebrated female writer who has frequently used this obsolete pronoun one; and probably with this in. genious lady the phrase will die, and she be the last found making use of it. In the very entertaining volumes of her travels, she says, “ The contradictions one meets with every moment at Paris must strike even a cursory observer: countess in the morning, her hair dressed, with diamonds too, perhaps, a dirty black handkerchief about her neck, and a Hat silver ring on her finger like our alewives. A femme publique, dressed avowedly for the purpose of alluring the men, with not a very small crucifix hanging at her bosom.” In another place, " I will tell nothing I did not see; and among the objects one would certainly avoid seeing if it were possible, is the deformity of the poor.” Again, " one has heard of
“ a horse being exhibited for a show at Venice; and yesterday I watched the poor people paying a penny a-piece for the sight of a stuffed one."
This pronoun one is borrowed by the English language from the modern French ; and a man, from the Romaunt or ancient language of France. The French say at this day, on dit, one says; or, as it is now commonly rendered in English, it is said. This modern French on is, however, no other than the corruption of the Romanz, hom dict (quasi, homo dicit), a man says; and it was undoubtedly introduced into the English language by the Normans, and is yet prevailing in some of the provincial dialects of this country.
GREGORIO LETI'S PROGENY,
GREGORIO Leti, mentioned in the Spectator, No. 632, boasted that he had been the author of a book, and the father of a child, for twenty years successively.
Swift counted the number of steps he made from London to Chelsea ; and it is said and demonstrated in the Parentalia, that Bishop Wren walked round the earth whilo a prie soner in the Tower of London.
GAETH'S INFIDELITI. Gerh has been censured for voluptuousness, and accused of infidelity. Being one day questioned by Addison upon his religious creed, he is said to have replied, “ that he was of the religion of wise men,” and being urged to explain himself added, “ that wise men kept their own secrets."
He is said by Atterbury to have written an Epitaph on St. Evremond, intended for Westminster Abbey, in which he was commended for his indifference to all religion; and Reinmann, who wrote a History of Atheism, has gone so far as to include Garth in his catalog ie. In Lady Herrey's Letters, (p. 330,) we find this passage reported of him; “I vow to God, Madam, I take this to be hell-purgatory at least—we shall certainly be better off in any other world;” and Swift (Scott's ed. xviii. 302) records that Garth said he was glad when he was dying, for he was weary of having his shoes pulled off and on. In his last illness he did not use any remedies, but let his distemper take its course.
Pope, on the other hand, says, that “if ever there was a good Christian, without knowing himself to be so, it was Dr. Garth,” and afterwards declared himself convinced that Garth died in the communion of the church of Rome, having been privately reconciled. On which, Dr. Johnson, quoting the words of Bp. Lowth, observes, " that there is less distance than is thought between scepticism and Popery; and that a mind, wearied with perplexed doubt, willingly seeks repose in an infallible church."
ADDISON AND GAY.
ADDISON and his friends had exclaimed so much against Gay's "Three Hours after Marriage' for obscenities, that it provoked Gay to write “A letter from a Lady in the City to a Lady in the Country,' on that subject. In it he quoted the passages which had been most exclaimed against, and opposed other passages to them from Addison's and Steele's plays. These were aggravated in the same manner that they had served his, and appeared worse.
Had it been published it would have made Addison appear
ridicul. ous, which he could bear as little as any man. "I therefore prevailed upon Gay not to print it, and have the manuscript now by me."-Pope (in Spence).
A FORTNIGHT before Addison's death, Lord Warwick came to Gay, and pressed him in a very particular manner and see Mr. Addison ;” which he had not done for a great while. Gay went, and found Addison in a very weak way. He received him in the kindest manner, and told him, “ that he had desired this visit to beg his pardon : that he had injured him greatly; but that if he lived he should find that he would make it up to him.” Gay, on his going to Hanover, had great reason to hope for some good preferment; but all his views came to nothing. It is not impossible but that Addison might have prevented them, from his thinking Gay too well with some of the great men of the former ministry. He did not at all expiain himself in what he had injured him, and Gay could not guess at anything else in which he could have injured him so considerably.
MONSIEUR ST. EVREMOND. In 1664 M. St. Evremond published a work entitled judgment upon Seneca, Plutarch, and Petronius, in which he ob. serves that Petronius's love for pleasures “ did not render him an enemy to business ; that he had the merit of a govern. or in his government of Bithynia, and the virtue of a consui in his consulship.” He does not forget Petronius's death, which he considers as the most glorious of antiquity; and shows that it has something more great and noble in it than either that of Cato or Socrates. Petronius,” says he, “ leaves us nothing at his death but an image of life : no action, no word, no circumstance, shows the perplexity of a dying man; it is with him properly that to die is to cease to live. Mr. Addison has made some animadversions upon this passage of M. St. Evremond, deserving our highest regard.2
Having observed that the end of a man's life is often compared to the winding up of a well-written play, where the principal persons still act in character, whatever the fate is which they undergo; he proceeds to say, “ that there is scarce a great person in the Grecian or Roman history whose death has not been remarked upon by some writer or other, and con. "The present family had made strong promises to him.-MS. a In Spectator, No. 349. See our vol, iii. p. 339.
sured or applauded according to the genius or principles of the person who has descanted on it.” Monsieur de St. Evremond," continues he, "is very particular in setting forth the constancy and courage of Petronius Arbiter during his last moments, and thinks he discovers in them a greater firmness of mind and resolution than in the death of Seneca, Cato, or Socrates. There is no question but this polite author's affectation of appearing singular in his remarks, and making discoveries which escaped the observation of others, threw him into this course of reflection. It was Petronius's merit that he died in the same gaiety of temper in which he lived ;
but as his life was altogether loose and dissolute, the indifferi ence which he showed at the close of it is to be looked upon
as a piece of natural carelessness and levity, rather than for. titude. The resolution of Socrates proceeded from very different motives; the consciousness of a well-spent life, and the prospect of a happy eternity. If the ingenious author above mentioned was so pleased with gaiety of humour in a dying man, he might have found a much nobler instance of it in our countryman Sir Thomas More.''!
PRACTICAL JOKE ON ADDISON, It was the Marquis of Wharton who first got Addison a seat in the House of Commons; and soon after carried him down with him to Winchelsea. Addison was charmed with his son, (afterwards Duke of Wharton,) not only as the son of his patron, but for the uncommon degree of genius that appeared in him. He used to converse and walk often with him. One day the little lord led him to see some of their fine running-horses; there were very high gates to the fields, and at the first of them his young friend fumbled in his pockets, and seemed vastly concerned that he could not find the key. Addison said 'twas no matter, he could casily climb over it. As he said this he began mounting the bars, and when he was on the very top of the gate, the little lord whips out his key and sets the gate a-swinging, and so for some time kept the great man in that ridiculous situation.
Spence. ' In 1736 was published “The Works of Petronius Arbiter, translated by Mr. Addison, with the Life of Petronius and a character of his writ. ings by Mons. St. Evremond, 12mo.” But there is no evidence that it was translated by Joseph Addison.