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pardon, but cannot love with that fondness with which every heart is attached to Sir Roger.
· How could our author be deterred from prosecuting his design with respect to this personage? What could deter him? It could only be the consciousness of his own inability; and that this was not the case he had given sufficient proof, by exemplifying the character so fully, that every reader finds himself intimately acquainted with it. Considering what is done, one cannot doubt the author's ability to have supported the character through a much greater variety of conversations and adventures. But the SPECTATOR, according to the first plan of it, was now drawing to a conclusion; the seventh volume being finished about six weeks after the Knight's death; and perhaps the tradition may be true, that ADDISON, dissatisfied with STEELE's idle story of Sir Roger at a tavern, swore (which he is said never to have done but on this one occasion) that he would himself kill Sir Roger, lest somebody else should murder him.'
This is alike lucid and satisfactory. It only remarkable that all writers upon this subject*, among whom is Lord OR FORD, appear to bave equally neglected the fact, that without STEELE we could never have been delighted with Sir Roger.. Such a general reticence is altogether inexplicable, since at no period it has been disuted that Steele wrote the second paper in the PECTATOR. It is true, Tickell printed it nith ADDISON's Works, because of its insepaable connexion with his matter ; but he accomvanied it with an explanation and an apology, asigning it expressly to STEELE. Beattie has ven reprinted the apology and explanation, yet akes up with this unaccountable error*.
* Dr. AIKIN excepted, who in the 55th number of the Monthly Magazine, has nicely discriminated the respective sbares of STEELE and Addison, and has admirably harmonized the whole. But see, most particularly, DRAKE, vol. ï. on the Comic Painting of Addison.
The SPECTATOR'S CLUB consisted of six members, who, with the exception of Sir Roger de Coverley and Will Honeycomb, were left mainly to the management and fancy of STEELE. Will Honeycomb is, after Sir Roger de Coverley, the personage of most frequent recurrence. The character is amusingly sustained, and evidently meant as a satire upon dissipated old bachelors.
We shall conclude this Preface to the SPECTATOR with one more of those admirable passages from Dr. DRAKE, which points out, with a peculiar eloquence and truth of criticism, the supreme claims of ADDISON to the gratitude and veneration of his country.
Of the literary character of ADDISON, the preceding essays have attempted to delineate the leading features, and will, it is probable, impress upon the mind of the reader a very high idea of its excellence and utility. It may be necessary, how
* Mr. CHALMERS has published a paper, at the end of his meritorious preface to the SPECTATOR, on the originality of Sir Roger de Coverley's ' perverse widow.' It was communicated by the Rev. DùKE Yonge, of Plympton, to Mr. Archdeacon
and is a plausible and ingenious essay, written to identify Sir Roger's widow with Mrs. Catharine Boever, of Flaxley Abbey in Gloucestershire, an ancestor of Sir THOMAS CrawlEY BUEVEY: but it leaves us where we were,
ever, ere we conclude this portion of our labours, to enumerate, in a more compressed form, the various obligations which learning, wisdom, and virtue, have to acknowledge in the writings of this great and good man.
To ADDISON, in the first place, may we ascribe the formation of a style truly classical and pure, whose simplicity and grace have not yet been surpassed, and which, presenting a model of unprecedented elegance, laid the foundation for a general and increasing attention to the beauty and harmony of composition.
• His critical powers were admirably adapted to awaken and inform the public mind; to teach the general principles by which excellence may be attained, and, above all, to infuse a relish for the noblest productions of taste and genius.
In humour, no man in this country, save SHAKSPEARE, has excelled him; he possessed the faculty of an almost intuitive discrimination of what was ludicrous and characteristic in each individual, and, at the same time, the most happy facility in so tinting and grouping his paintings, that, whilst he never overstepped the modesty of nature, the result was alike rich in comic effect, in warmth of colouring, and in originality of design.
• Though his poetry, it must be confessed, is not remarkable for the energies of fancy, the tales, visions, and allegories, dispersed through his periodical writings, make abundant recompense for the defect, and very amply prove, that in the conception and execution of these exquisite pieces, no talent of the genuine bard, except that of versification, lay dormant or unemployed.
It is, however, the appropriate, the transcendant praise of Addison, that he steadily and uniformly, and in a manner peculiarly his own, ex
erted these great qualities in teaching and disseminating a love for morality and religion. He it was, who, following the example of the divine Socrates, first stripped philosophy in this island of her scholastic garb, and bade her, clothed in the robes of elegant simplicity, allure and charm the multitude. He saw his countrymen become better as they became wiser ; he saw them, through his instructions, feel and own the beauty of holiness and virtue; and for this, we may affirm, posterity, however distant or refined, shall revere and bless his memory.'
xliv A Table of the Contributors to the SPECTATOR.
635 Papers. Contributors.
Letters and Parts
of Papers. Addison
.. 13 Grove
2 Henley, John
2 Shepheard, Miss. Perry, Mrs.
1 Budgell, Gilbert.
53 Total 33