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cease to study Addison as a statesman or a critic, or a theologian or a moralist, what of him remains ? Well, I think we may fairly answer, all that is individually and distinctively Addison. There remains his light and playful fancy. There remains his incomparable humour. There remains, pervading all, his large and generous humanity. I know no writer whose moral temper so perfectly reflects itself in his work. His style, with its free, unaffected, movement, its clear distinctness, its graceful transitions, its delicate harmonies, its appropriateness of tone; the temperance and moderation of his treatment, the effortless self-mastery, the sense of quiet power, the absence of exaggeration or extravagance, the perfect keeping with which he deals with his subjects; or again the exquisite reserve, the subtle tenderness, the geniality, the pathos of his humour-what are these but the literary reflexion of Addison himself, of that temper so pure and lofty yet so sympathetic, so strong yet so loveable? In the midst of that explosion of individuality, of individual energy and force, which marked the eighteenth century, Addison stands out individual, full of force, but of a force harmonious, self-controlled, instinct with the sense of measure, of good taste, good humour, culture, urbanity. It seems natural to him that this temper should find its expression in the highest literature. The greatest wits I have conversed with,' he says, 'were men eminent for their humanity'; and it is this for which he is himself so eminent as a wit, he is humane.
Man is the one interesting thing to him ; he is never weary of tracking out human character into its shyest recesses, of studying human conduct, of watching the play of human thought and feeling, and of contrasting man's infinite capacities of greatness with his infinite capacities of littleness. But the sight stirs in him not only interest, but sympathy; he looks on it with eyes as keen as those of Swift, but with a calmer and juster intelligence; and as he looks it moves him not to the saeva indignatio' of the Dean, but to that mingled smile and tear, that blending of 'how wonderful a thing is man,' with, 'but oh! the pity of it !! which had found equal utterance but once before in Shakespeare. It was the sense of this that won him so wide a love in his own day; and it is the sense of this that still makes his memory so dear to Englishmen. 'To Addison,' says Lord Macaulay, bound by a sentiment as much like affection as any sentiment can be, which is inspired by one who has been sleeping a hundred and twenty years in Westminster Abbey.' It is because I have felt this affection from my own boyhood, when I read my Spectator beneath the shadows of the trees in ‘Addison's Walk;' that I have attempted in these Selections to bring Addison home to readers of to-day.