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ing, explair.ing, distinguishing the ordi- self as one who give me consent to every lar nary and extraordinary modes, drag
A freeholder is but one reging on with exordiums, preparations, ought to stand up in the defence of those laws
move from a legislator, and for that reason methods, allusions to Scripture.* After which are in some degree of his own making." + having read six lines of this morality. These are all English feelings, made
Frenchman would go out for a mouth2.ll of fresh air. What in the name of made up of calculation and pride, eneaven would he do, if, in order to is capped by that of the married man:
ergetic and austere ; and this portrait move him to piety, he was told † that God's omniscience and omnipresence
“Nothing is more gratifying to the mind ol furnished us with three kinds of mo- myself amply possessed of, as I am the father of
man than power or dominion; and this I think sives, and then subdivided these motives a family. I am perpetually taken up in giving into first, second, and third ? To put out orders, in prescribing duties, in hearing calculation at every stage; to come parties, in administering justice, and in distrib
uting rewards and punishments. with weights, scales, and figures, into upon my family as a patriarchal sovereignty, ia the thick of human passions, to label which I am myself both king and priest
.. them, classify them like bales, to tell When I see my little
troop before me, I re the public that the inventory is com joice in the additions which I have made to me
species, to my country, and to my religion, in plete; to lead them, with the reckon- having produced such a number of reasonable ing in their hand, and by the mere vir- creatures, citizens, and Christians. tue of statistics, to honor and duty, pleased to see myself thus perpetuated ; and such is the morality of Addison and of as there is no production comparable to that of
a human creature, I am more proud of having England. It is a sort of commercial been the occasion of ten such glorious produce common sense applied to the interests tions, than if I had built a hundred peramids of the soul; a preacher here is only an
at my own expense, or published as many vol
umes of the finest wit and learning.” 1 economist in a white tie, who treats conscience like food, and refutes vice If now we take the man away from his because its introduction is prohibited. estate and his household, alone with
There is nothing sublime or chimer- himself, in moments of idleness or ical in the end which he sets before reverie, we will find him just as posius; all is practical, that is, business- tive. He observes, that he may culti. like and sensible; the question is, how vate his own reasoning power, and that “to be easy here and happy after-1 of others; he stores himself with morwards.” To be easy is a word which ality; he wishes to make the most of has no French equivalent, meaning | himself and of existence, that is the that comfortable state of the mind, a reason why he thinks of death. The middle state between calm satisfaction, northern races willingly direct their approved action and serene conscience. thoughts to final dissolution and the Addison makes it consist in labor and dark future. Addison often chose for his manly functions, carefully and regular promenade gloomy Westminster Ably, discharged. We must see with bey, with its niany tombs : “Upon my what complacency he paints in the going into the church, I entertained Freeholder and “Sir Roger” the grave myself with a digging of a grave ; and pleasures of a citizen and proprietor : saw in every shovelful of it that was “I have rather chosen this title (the Free
thrown up the fragment of a bone or folder than any other, because it is what I skull intermixt with a kind of fresh kost gory in, and what most effectually calls mouldering earth that sometime or o my mind the happiness of that government other had a place in the composition, ander which I live. As a British freeholder, I should not scruple taking place of a French of a human body. . . . I consider that mascuis; and when I see one of my country- great day when we shall all of us be men amusing himself in his little cabbage-gar- contemporaries, and make our appear den, I naturally look upon him as a greater ance together.” | And suddenly his person than the owner of the richest vineyard emotion is transformed into profitable in Champagne. There is un unspeakable pleasure in calling anything one's own. A meditations. Underneath his morality Freehold, though it be but in ice and snow, will is a pair of scales which weigh quanti make the owner pleased in the possession, and ties of happiness. He stirs himself by tcr 'n the deferce of it.
I consider my.
* Freeholder, No. s. + Startator, No. guo * Sportator, No. 399.
1 lbid. No. 571.
1 Ibid. Nos. 36 and 375.
mathematical comparisons to prefer | grand, and they have music there: it is the future to the present. He tries to a noble palace; perhaps there are realize, amidst an assemblage of dates, antechambers. We had better not con. the disproportion of our short life to tinue the quotation. The same dul infinity. Thus arises this religion, a and literal precision makes him inquire product of melancholic temperament what sort of happiness the elect have. and acquired logic, in which man, a They will be admitted into the counsort of caculating Hamlet, aspires to cils of Providence, and will understand the ideal by making a good business of all its proceedings : “ There is, doubt. it, and maintains his poetical senti- less, a faculty in spirits by which they ments by financial calculations. apprehend one another as our senses
In such a subject these habits are do material objects ; and there is no offensive. We ought not to try and question but our souls, when they are over-define or prove God; religion is disembodied, or placed in glorified rather a matter of feeling than of sci- bodies, will by this faculty, in whatever ence; we compromise it by exacting part of space they reside, be always too rigorous demonstrations, and too sensible of the Divine Presence." + precise dogmas. It is the heart which This grovelling philosophy repels us. sees heaven; if a man would make me One word of Addison will justify it, believe in it, as he makes me believe in and make us understand it: “The the Antipodes, by, geographical ac- business of mankind in this life is counts and probabilities, I shall barely rather to act than to know.” Now, or not at all believe. Addison has little such a philosophy is as useful in acmore than his college or edifying argu- tion as poor in science. All its faults ments, very like those of the abbé Plu- of speculation become merits in pracche, * which let in objections at every tice. It follows in a prosy manner chink, and which we can only regard positive religion. # What support does as dialectical essays, or sources of emo- it not attain from the authority of an tion.
When we add to these argu- ancient tradition, a national institution, ments, motives of interest and calcula- an established priesthood, outward certions of prudence, which can make re emonies, every-day customs ! It em. cruits, but not converts, we possess all ploys as arguments public utility, the his proofs. There is an element of example of great minds, heavy logic, coarseness in this fashion of treating literal interpretation, and unmistakdivine things, and we like still less the able texts. What better means of gov. exactness with which he explains God, erning the crowd, than to degrade proofs reducing him to a mere magnified man. to the vulgarity of its intelligence and This preciseness and narrowness go needs ? İt humanizes the Divinity: so far as to describe heaven:
is it not the only way to make men un. “Though the Deity be thus essentially pres-derstand Him?' It defines almost obent through all the immensity of space, there viously a future life: is it not the only is one part of it in which he discovers himself way to cause it to be wished for? The in a most transcendent and visible glory. It is here where the glorified body of our Sav- poetry of lofty philosophical deductions jour resides, and where all the celestial hier is weak compared to the inner persua. archies, and the innumerable hosts of angels, sion, rooted by so many positive and are represented as perpetually surrounding the detailed descriptions. In this way, an seat of God with hallelujahs and hymns of praise. With how much skill must the active piety is born; and religion thus ihrone of God be erected!.. How great constructed doubles the force of the must be the majesty of that place, where the moral spring. Addison's is admirable, whole art of creation has been employed, and where God has chosen to shew himself in the because it is so strong. Energy of most magnificent manner! What must be the feeling rescues wretchedness of dogma. architecture of infinite power under the direction Beneath his dissertations we feel that of infinite wisdom?” |
he is moved ; minutiæ, pedantry disapMoreover, the place must be very pear, We see in him now only a soul • The abbé Pluche (1638-1 161) was the author
deeply penetrated with adoration and of a Système de la Nature and several other * Ibid. Nos. 237, 371, 600. works. -TR.
t Ibid. No. 571; sec also No. 237, boa † Spactator, No. 580; soe also No. 31. * Tatler, No. 257
respect; ao more a preacher classify- speculations to all well-regulated families, and ing God's attributes, and pursuing his set apart an hour in every morning for tea and
bread and butter ; and would earnestly adviso trade as a good logician; but a man them for their good to order this paper to be who naturally, and of his own bent, re- punctually served up, and to be looked upon ar turns to a lofty spectacle, goes with awe a part of the tea-equipage. into all its aspects, and leaves it only In this passage we may detect an in. with a renewed or overwhelmed heart. clination to smile, a little irony tempers The sincerity of his em Stions makes the serious idea; it is the tone of a as respect even his catechetical pre polished man, who, at the first sign of scriptions. He demands fixed days of ennui, turns round, delicately laughes, devotion and meditation to recall us regularly to the thought of our Creator is Addison's general tone.
even at himself, and tries to please. It and of our faith. He inserts prayers What an amount of art is necessary in his paper. He forbids oaths, and to please! First, the art of making recommends to keep always before us oneself understood, at once, always the idea of a sovereign Master :
completely, without difficulty to th: Such an habitual homage to the Supreme reader, without reflection, without at. Being would, in a particular manner, banish tention. Let us figure to ourselves from anong us that prevailing impiety of using men of the world reading a page be. his name on the most trivial occasions. . What can we then think of those who make tween two mouthfuls of “bohea-rolls," use of so tremendous a name in the ordinary ladies interrupting a phrase to ask expressions of their anger, mirth, and most im- when the ball begins : three technical pertinent passions? of those who admit it into the most familiar questions, and assertions, or learned words would make them ludicrous phrases, and works of humour ? not to throw the paper down. They only demention those who violate it by solemn perjur- sire distinct terms, in common use, into ies! It would be an affront to reason to en- which wit enters all at once, as it enters deavour to set forth the horror and profaneness ordinary converse; in fact, for them of such a practice." + If a Frenchman was forbidden to swear, better one than usual. For the select
reading is only a conversation, and a he would probably laugh at the first word world refines language. It does not of the admonition; in his eyes that is suffer the risks and approximations of a matter of good taste, not of morality: extempore and inexperienced speaking. But if he had heard Addison himself It requires a knowledge of style, like a pronouncing what I have written, he knowledge of external forms. It will would laugh no longer.
have exact words to express the fine
shades of thought, and measured words V.
to preclude offensive or extreme impresIt is no small thing to make morality sions. It wishes for developed phrases, fashionable. Addison did it, and it re- which, presenting the same idea, under mained in fashion. Formerly honest several aspects, impress it easily upor men were not polished, and polished its desultory mind. It demands harmen were not honest; piety was fanati- monies of words, which, presenting a cal, and urbanity depraved ; in mano known idea in a smart form, may in ners, as in literature, a man could meet troduce it in a lively manner to its des only Puritans or libertines. For the ultory imagination. Addison gives it Srst time Addison reconciled virtue all that it desires; his writings are the with elegrince, taught duty in an accom- pure source of classical style; mer. plished style, and made pleasure sub- never spoke better in England. Orna. servient to reason :
ments abound, and neve bas rhetoric
Throughout we have ... It was said of Socrates that he brought a share in them. Philosophy down from heaven, to inhabit precise contrasts, which serye only for among men; and I shall be ambitious to have clearness, and are not too prolonged; it said of me, that I have brought Philosophy happy expressions, easily hit on, which out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, lo dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables give things a new and ingenious turn, and in coffee-houses. I would therefore, in a harmonious periods, in which the very particular manner, recommend these my sounds Aow into one another with the Spectator, No gi.
• Ibid. No, to
diversity and sweetness of a quiet | charm of their smil:3 ; such is the fa. stream; a fertile vein of invention and miliar spectacle in which the writer has fancy, through which runs the most formed and delighted himself. amiable
irony. We trust one example So many advantages are not withou will suffice :
their inconvenience. The compliments “ He is not obliged to attend her (Nature)in of society, which attenuate expressions, the slow advances which she makes from one blunt the style; by regulating what is season to another, or to observe her conduct in instinctive and moderating what is ve the successive production of plants and flowers. He may draw into his description all the beauchement, they make speech threadbare ties of the spring and autumn, and make the and uniform. We must not always while year contribute something to render it seek to please, above all, to please the more agreeable. His rose-trees, woodbines, the ear. Monsieur de Chateaubriand urd jessamines may flower together, and his Deds be covered at the same time with lilies, boasted of not admitting a single elision no.ets, and amaranths. His soil is not re- into the song of Cymodocée ; so much strained to any particular set of plants, but is the worse for Cymodocée. So the compro vo: either for oaks or myrtles, and adapts mentators who have noted in Addison itselt to the products of every climate. Oranges may grow wild in it; myrrh may be met with the balance of his periods, do him ar. in every hedge; and if he thinks it proper to injustice.* They explain tnus why he have a grove of spices, he can quickly, command slightly wearies us. The rotundity, sun enough to raise it. If all this will not fur- of his phrases is a scanty merit and nish out an agreeable scene, he can make several new species of flowers, with richer scents mars the rest. To calculate longs and and higher colours, than any that grow in the shorts, to be always thinking of sounds, gardens of nature. His concerts of birds may of final cadences,-all these classical be as full and harmonious, and his woods as thick and gloomy as he pleases. He is at no
researches spoil a writer. Every idea more expense in a long vista than a short one, has its accent, and all our labor ought and can as easily throw his cascades from a to be to put it down free and simple on precipice of half a mile high as from one of
We ought twenty yards. He has his choice of the winds, paper, as it is in our mind. and can turn the course of his rivers in all the to copy and mark our thought with the variety of meanders that are most delightful to flow of emotions and images, which the reader's imagination.” *
raise it, caring for nothing but its exact. I find here that Addison profits by the is worth a hundred periods: the first is
ness and clearness. One true phrase rights which he grants to others, and is
a document which fixes forever a amused in explaining to us how we
movement of the heart or the senses ; may amuse ourselves.
Such is the the other is a toy to amuse the empty charming tone of society: Reading the heads of verse-makers. I would give Spectator, we fancy it still more amiable than it is : no pretension; no efforts; of Saint-Simon. Regular rhythm muti.
twenty pages of Fléchier for three lines endless contrivances employed uncon- lates the impetus of natural invention ; sciously, and obtained without asking; the shades of inner vision vanish; we the gift of being lively and agreeable; see no more a soul which thinks or a refine I banter, raillery without bitterness, a sustained gayety; the art of whilst scanning. The continuous peri
feels, but fingers which count measures findir.g in every thing the most bloom- od is like the shears of La Quintinie, ing and the freshest flower, and to which clip all the trees round under smell it without bruising or sullying.it; pretence of beautifying. This is why !cience, politics, experience, morality, there is some coldness and monotony bringing their finest fruits, adorning in Addison's style. He seems to be them, offering them at a chosen moment, ready to withdraw them as soon ured and correct.
listening to himself. He is too meas.
His most touching as conversation has enjoyed them, and before it is tired of them; ladies placed in stories, like that of Theodosius and Con the first rank,t arbiters of refinement, * See, in the notes of No. 409 of the Spectasurrounded with homage, crowning tor, the pretty minute analysis of Herd, the the politeness of men and the brilliancy long and short syllables, the study of the finals.
decomposition of the period, the proportion of of society by the attraction of their toi A musician could not have done better. lettes, the delicacy of their wit, and the † La Quintinie (1626–168?), a celebrated gar
dener under Louis XIV planned the gardens * Spectator, No. 418. # Ibidh. 423, 265.
stantia, touch us only partially. Who “ Had I followed Monsieur Bossu's method cou.d feel inclined to weep over such in my first paper on Milton, I should have
dated the action of Paradise Lost from the be. periods as these ?
ginning of Raphael's speech in this book.” • Constantia, who knew that nothing but the
.“ But, notwithstanding the fineness of this rep ort of her marriage could have driven him allegory (Sin and Death) may atone for it (tha
defect in the subject of his poem) in somo to such extremities, was not to be comforted : she now accused herself for having so tamely, chimerical existence are proper actors in ad epic
measure, I cannot think that persons of such a given an ear to the proposal of a husband, and
poem. "t looked upon the new lover as the murderer of Theodosius : in short, she resolved to suffer Further on Addison defines poetica the utmost effects of her father's displeasure machines, the conditions of their struc rather than to comply with a marriage which appeared to her so full of guilt and horror."*
ture, the advantage of their use. He
seems to me a carpenter inspecting ? Is this the way to paint horror and staircase. Do not suppose that artifi gui.c? Where are the passionate emociality shocks him: on the contraty tions which Addison pretends to paint ? he rat-.er admires it. He finds the vio The story is related, not seen.
lent cieclamations of the Miltonic di. The cíassical writer simply cannot vinity and the royal compliments in see. Always measured and rational, dulged in by the persons of the Trinity, his first care is to proportion and ar. sublime. The camps of the angels, range. He has his rules in his pocket, their bearing in the chapel and barrack, and brings them out for every thing. their scholastic disputes, their bitter He does not rise to the source of the puritanical or pious royalistic style, do beautiful at once, like genuine artists, not strike him as false or disagreeable. by force and lucidity of natural inspira. Adam's pedantry and household lection; he lingers in the middle regions, tures appear to him suitable to the state amid precepts, subject to taste and of innocence. In fact, the classics of
This is why Addison's the last two centuries never looked criticism is so solid and so poor. They upon the human mind, except in its who seek ideas will do well not to read cultivated state. The child, the artist, his Essays on Imagination, † so much the barbarian, the inspired man, espraised, so well written, but so scant of caped them; so, of course, did all who philosophy, and so commonplace, drag; were beyond humanity: their world ged down by the intervention of final was limited to the earth, and to the
His celebrated commentary earth of the study and drawing-rooms ; on Paradise Lost is little better than they rose neither to God nor nature, or the dissertations of Batteux and Bossu. if they did, it was to transform nature In one place he compares, almost in a into a well regulated garden-plot, and line, Homer, Virgil, and. Ovid. The God into a moral scrutator. They refine arrangem.ent of a poem is with him duced genius to eloquence, poetry to the highest merit. The pure classics discourse, the drama to a dialogue. enjoy better arrangement and good or. They regarded reason as if it were der than artless truth and strong origi- beauty, a sort of middle faculty, not nality. They have always their poetic apt for invention, potent in rules, bal. manual in their hands: if we agree ancing imagination like conduct, and with the pre-arranged pattern, we have making taste the arbiter of letters, as it genius; if not, we have none. Addison, made morality the arbiter of actions in praise of Milton, establishes that, They dispensed with the play on words, according to the rule of epic poetry, the sensual grossness, the flights of imthe action of Paradise Lost is one, com- agination, the unlikelihood, the atroci plete and great; that its characters are ties, and all the bad accompaniments varied and of universal interest, and its of Shakspeare; # but they only half sentiments natural, appropriate, and followed him in the deep intuitions by elevated ; the style clear, diversified, which he pierced the human heart, and and subliniz. Now we may admire discovered therein the god and the ani. Milton; he has a testimonial from Aris-mal. They wanted to be moved, but totle. Listen, for instance, to cold de- not overwhelmed; they allowed them tails of classical dissertation :
• Ibid. No. 329.
ibid. No. 973. * Spectator, No. 164.
* Ibid. 411-431.
1 Ibid. Nos. 39, 40, 86.