The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Vol. 3: The Spectator (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Vol. 3: The Spectator

One would take more than ordinary care to guard one self against this particular imperfection, because it is that which our nature very strongly inclines us to; for if we ex amine ourselves thoroughly, we shall find that we are the most changeable beings in the universe. In respect of our under standing, we often embrace and reject the very same opinions; whereas beings above and beneath us, have probably no opi nions at all, or at least no waverings and uncertainties in those they have. Our superiors are guided by intuition, and our inferiors by instinct: In respect of our wills, we fall in to crimes and recover out of them, are amiable or odious in the eyes of our great Judge, and pass our whole life in of fending and asking pardon. On the contrary, the beings underneath us are not capable of sinning, nor those above us of repenting. The one is out of the possibilities of duty, and the other fixed in an eternal course of sin or an eternal course of virtue.

There is scarce a state of life, or stage in it, which does not produce changes and revolutions in the mind of man. Our schemes of thought in infancy are lost in those of youth; these too take a different turn in manhood, till old age often leads us back into our former infancy. A new title, or an nu expected success, throws us out of ourselves, and in a manner destroys our identity. A cloudy day, or a little sunshine, have as great an influence on many constitutions, as the most real blessings or misfortunes. A dream varies our being, and changes our condition while it lasts and every passion, not to mention health and sickness, and the greater alterations in body and mind, makes us appear almost different creatures.

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Информация за автора (2016)

Addison, son of the Dean of Litchfield, took high honors at Oxford University and then joined the British army. He first came to literary fame by writing a poem, "The Campaign" (1704), to celebrate the Battle of Blenheim. When Richard Steele, whom he had known in his public school Charterhouse, started The Tatler in 1709, Addison became a regular contributor. But his contributions to a later venture The Spectator (generally considered the zenith of the periodical essay), were fundamental. While Steele can be credited with the editorial direction of the journal, Addison's essays, ranging from gently satiric to genuinely funny, secured the journal's success. In The Spectator, No. 10, Addison declared that the journal aimed "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality." His brilliant character of Sir Roger de Coverley (followed from rake to reformation) distinguishes the most popular essays. Addison died in 1719. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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