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to be pleased. To please rationally was the object of their literature. Such is Addison's criticism, which resembles his art; born, like his art, of classical urbanity; fit, like his art, for the life of the world, having the same solidity and the same limits, because it had the same sources, namely, order and relaxation.
selves to be impressed, but demanded | upon my going about into the pit, and taking and saw so much beauty in every face, that them in front, I was immediately undeceived, found them all to be English. Such eyes and lips, cheeks and foreheads, could be the growth of no other country. The complexion of their the colour of their hoods, though I could easily faces hindered me from observing any furthe perceive, by that unspeakable satisfaction which appeared in their looks, that their own thoughts were wholly taken up on those pretty orraments they wore upon their heads." * In this discreet raillery, modified by an almost official admiration, we perceive the English mode of treating women: man, by her side, is always a lay-preacher; they are for him charming children, of the drawing-room, or equals, as or useful housewives, never queens wishes to bring back the Jacobite laamongst the French. When Addison dies to the Protestant party, he treats them almost like little girls, to whom we promise, if they will be good, to restore their doll or their cake:
But we must consider that we are in England, and that we find there many things not agreeable to a Frenchman. In France, the classical age attained perfection; so that, compared to it, other countries lack somewhat of finish. Addison, elegant in his own native country, is not quite so in France. Compared with Tillotson, he is the most charming man possible; compared to Montesquieu, he is only half polished. His converse is hardly sparkling enough; the quick movement, the easy change of tone, the facile smile, readily uropt and readily resumed, are hardly visible. He drags on in long and too uniform phrases; his periods are too square; we might cull a load of useless words. He tells us what he is going to say: he marks divisions and subdivisions; he quotes Latin, even Greek; he displays and protracts without end the serviceable and sticky plaster of his morality. He has no fear of being wearisome. That is not what Englishmen fear. Men who love demonstrative sermons three hours long are not difficult to amuse. Remember that here the women like to go to meeting, and are entertained by listening for half a day to discourses on drunkenness, or On the sliding scale for taxes: these paent creatures do not require that conversation should be always lively and piq iant. Consequently they can put ip with a less refined politeness and less disguised compliments. When Addison bows to them, which happens often, it is gravely, and his reverence is always accompanied by a warning. Take the following on their gaudy dresses:
"I looked with as much pleasure upon this little party-coloured assembly, as upon a bed of tulips, and did not know at first whether it might not be an embassy of Indian queens; but
ferings and persecutions to which they expose
they like to be impressed strongly by contrasts. French literature seems to them threadbare; and the French find them often not very delicate. A number of the Spectator which seemed pleas ant to London ladies would have shock ed people in Paris. Thus, Addison relates in the form of a dream the dissec tion of a beau's brain :
If the first care of a Frenchman in | There is much originality in this grave society is to be amiable, that of an gayety. As a rule, singularity is in Englishman is to be dignified; their accordance with the taste of the nation, mood leads them to immobility, as ours to gestures; and their pleasantry is as grave as ours is gay. Laughter with them is inward; they shun giving themselves up to it; they are amused silently. Let us make up our mind to understand this kind of temper, it will end by pleasing us. When phlegm is united to gentleness, as in Addison, it is as agreeable as it is piquant. We are charmed to meet a lively man, who is yet master of himself. We are astonished to see these contrary qualities together. Each heightens and modifies the other. We are not repelled by venomous bitterness, as in Swift, or by continuous buffoonery, as in Voltaire. We enjoy altogether the rare union, which for the first time combines serious bearing and good humor. Read this little satire against the bad taste of the stage and the public.
"There is nothing that of late years has afforded matter of greater amusement to the town than Signor Nicolini's combat with a lion in the Haymarket, which has been very often exhibited to the general satisfaction of most of the nobility and gentry in the kingdom of Great Britain. The first lion was a candle-snuffer, who being a fellow of a testy, choleric temper, overdid his part, and would not suffer himself to be killed so easily as he ought to have done. The second lion was a tailor by trade, who belonged to the playhouse, and had the character of a mild and peaceable man in his profession. If the former was too furious, this was too sheepish for his part; insomuch that, after a short modest walk upon the stage, he would fall at the first touch of Hydaspes, without grappling with him, and giving him an opportunity of shewing his variety of Italian trips. It is said, indeed, that he once gave him a rip in his flesh-coloured doublet; but this was only to make work for himself, in his private character of a tailor. ... The acting lion at present is as I am informed, a country gentleman, who does it for his diversion, but desires ais name may be concealed. He says, very handsomely, in his own excuse, that he does not act for gain, that he indulges an innocent pleasure in it; and that it is better to pass away an evening in this manner than in gaming and drinking. This gentleman's temper is made out of such a happy mixture of the mild and the cholers, that he outdoes both his predecessors, and nas drawn together greater audiences than have been known in the memory of man. In the meantime I have related this combat of the lion, to show what are at present the reigning entertainments of the politer part of Great Britain." *
* Spectator, No. 13.
"The pinea' gland, which many of our mcd ern philosophers suppose to be the seat of the soul, smelt very strong of essence and orangeflower water, and was encompassed with a kind faces or mirrors, which were imperceptible to of horny substance, cut into a thousand little the naked eye; insomuch that the soul, if there had been any here, must have been always We observed a large antrum or cavity in the taken up in contemplating her own beauties. sinciput, that was filled with ribbons, lace, and embroidery. We did not find anything very remarkable in the eye, saving only, that the musculi amatorii, or, as we may translate it into English, the ogling muscles, were very much worn, and decayed with use; whereas on the contrary, the elevator, or the muscle which turns the eye towards heaven, did not appear to have been used at all.” *
These anatomical details, which would disgust the French, amuse a matter-of fact mind; harshness is for him only accuracy; accustomed to precise im ages, he finds no objectionable odor ir the medical style. Addison does not share our repugnance. To rail at a vice, he becomes a mathematician, an economist, a pedant, an apothecary. Technical terms amuse him. He sets up a court to judge crinolines, and condemns petticoats in legal formulas. He teaches how to handle a fan as if he were teaching to prime and load muskets. He draws up a list of men dead or injured by love, and the ridiculous causes which have reduced them to such a condition :
"Will Simple, smitten at the Opera by the glance of an eye that was aimed at one whe stood by him.
"Sir Christopher Crazy, Bart., hurt by the brush of a whalebone petticoat.
"Ned Courtly, presenting Flavia with her glove (which she had dropped on purpose she received it and took away his life with a curtsey.
John Gosselin, having received a slight hurt from a pair of blue eyes, as he was making his escape, was dispatched by a smile." + ↑ Ibid. No. 377
* Ibid. No. 275.
Other statistics, with recapitulations | from him in all directions in vain is
and tables of numbers, relate the history of the Leucadian leap:
Aridaus a beautiful youth of Epirus, in Love with Praxinoe, the wife of the Thespis, escaped without damage, saving only that two ot his foreteeth were struck out, and his nose a att e flatted.
it enclosed in the regular channel of official dogma; the text and arguments with which it is covered do not hide its true origin. It springs from the grave and fertile imagination which can only be satisfied with a sight of what is beyond.
Hipparchus, being passionately fond of his ow wife, who was enamoured of Bathyllus, Such a faculty swallows a man up, leaped and died of his fall; upon which his wife and if we descend to the examination married her gallant." * of literary qualities, we find it at the We see this strange mode of paint-bottom as well as at the top. Nothing ing human folly: in England it is called humor. It consists of an incisive good sense, the habit of restraint, business habits, but above all a fundamental energy of invention. The race is less refined, but stronger than the French; and the pleasures which content its mind and taste are like the liquors which suit its palate and its stomach.
in Addison is more varied and rich than the changes and the scenery, The driest morality is transformed under his hand into pictures and stories. There are letters from all kinds of men, clergymen, common people, men of fashion, who keep their own style, and disguise their advice under the form of a little novel. An ambassador from Bantam jests, like Montesquieu, at the lies of European politeness. Greek or Oriental tales, imaginary travels, the vision of a Scottish seer, the memoirs of a rebel, the history of ants, the transformations of an ape, the journal of ar idle man, a walk in Westminster, the genealogy of humor, the laws of ridicu lous clubs; in short, an inexhaustible mass of pleasant or solid fictions. The allegories are most frequent. We feel that the author delights in this magnificent and fantastic world; he is acting for himself a sort of opera; his eyes must look on colors. Here is a paper on religions, very Protestant, but as sparkling as it is ingenious: relaxation in England does not consist, as in France, in the vivacity and variety of tone, but in the splendor and correctness of invention:
This potent Germanic spirit breaks out even in Addison through his classical and Latin exterior. Albeit he relishes art, he still loves nature. His education, which loaded him with maxims, has not destroyed his virgin sentiment of truth. In his travels in France he preferred the wildness of Fontainebleau to the correctness of Versailles. He shakes off worldly refinement to praise the simplicity of the old national ballads. He explains to his public the sublime images, the vast passions, the deep religion of Paradise Lost. It is curious to see him, compass in hand, kept back by Bossu, fettered in endless arguments and academical phrases, attaining with one spring, through the strength of natural emotion, the lofty unexplored regions to which Milton rose by the inspiration of faith and genius. Addison does not ay, as Voltaire does, that the allegory tracted the eyes of the whole company, and was "The middle figure, which immediately atof Sin and Death is enough to make much bigger than the rest, was formed like a people sick. He has a foundation of matron, dressed in the habit of an elderly wogrand imagination, which makes him man of quality in Queen Elizabeth's days. The indifferent to the little refinements of most remarkable parts of her dress were the beaver with the steeple crown, the scarf that social civilization. He sojourns will-was darker than sable, and the lawn apron that ngly amid the grandeur and marvels of the other world. He is penetrated by the presence of the Invisible, he must escape from the interests and hopes of the petty life in which we crawl. This source of faith gushes
was whiter than ermine. Her gown was of the richer black velvet, and just upon her heart studdee with large diamonds of an inestimable value, disposed in the form of a cross. She bore an inexpressible cheerfulness and dignity in her aspect; and though she seemed in years, appeared with so much spirit and vivacity, as gave her at the same time an air of old age and immortality. I found my heart touched with so much love and reverence at the sight of her, that the tears ran down my face as I looked
way as his most illustrious neighbors His characters are taken from life, from the manners and conditions of the age, described at length and minute. ly in all the details of their education and surroundings, with a precise and positive observation, marvellously real and English. A masterpiece as well as an historical record is "Sir Roger de Coverley, the country gentleman. a loyal servant of State and Church, a justice of the peace, with a chaplain of his own, and whose estate shows on a small scale the structure of the English nation. This domain is a little kingdom, paternally governed, but still gov erned. Sir Roger rates his tenants, passes them in review in church, knows their affairs, gives them advice, as
upon her; and still the more I looked uponing it, at the same time and in the same her, the more my heart was melted with the sentiments of filial tenderness and duty. I dis covered every moment something so charming in this figure, that I could scarce take my eyes off it. On its right hand there sat the figure of woman so covered with ornaments, that her ace, her body, and her hands were almost entirely hid under them. The little you could see of her face was painted, and what I thought very odd, had something in it like artificial wrinkles; but I was the less surprised at it, when I saw upon her forehead an old-fashioned tower of grey hairs. Her head-dress 1ose very high by three several stories or degrees; her garments had a thousand colours in them, and were embroidered with crosses in gold, silver, and silk; she had nothing on, so much as a glove or a slipper, which was not marked with this figure; nay, so superstitiously fond did she appear of it, that she sat cross-legged. . . . The next to her was a figure which somewhat puzzled me; it was that of a man looking with horror in his eyes, upon a silver bason filled with water. Observing something in his countenance that looked like lunacy, I fancied at first that he was to express that kind of distrac-sistance, commands; he is respected, tion which the physicians call the Hydrophobia; but considering what the intention of the show was, I immediately recollected myself, and concluded it to be Anabaptism." *
The reader must guess what these two first figures mean. They will please a member of the Episcopal Church more than a Roman Catholic; but I think that a Roman Catholic himself cannot help recognizing the fulness and freshness of the fiction.
obeyed, loved, because he lives with them, because the simplicity of his tastes and education puts him almost on a level with them; because as a magistrate, a landed proprietor of many years standing, a wealthy man, a benefactor and neighbor, he exercises a moral and legal, a useful and respected authority. Addison at the same time shows in him the solid and peculiar English character, built of heart of oak, with all the ruggedness of the primitive bark, which can neither be softened nor planed down, a great fund of kindness which extends even to an imals, a love for the country and for bodily exercises, an inclination to com mand and discipline, a feeling of sub
Genuine imagination naturally ends in the invention of characters. For, if we clearly represent to ourselves a situation or an action, we will see at the same time the whole network of its connection; the passion and faculties, all the gestures and tones of voice, all details of dress, dwelling, social inter-ordination and respect, much common course, which flow from it, will be con- sense and little finesse, a habit of disnected in our mind, and bring their pre- playing and practising in public his cedents and their consequences; and singularities and oddities, careless of this multitude of ideas, slowly organ- ridicule, without thought of bravado, ized, will at last be concentrated in a solely because these men acknowledge single sentiment, from which, as from a no judge but themselves. A hundred deep spring, will break forth the por- traits depict the times; a lack of love trait and the history of a complete for reading, a lingering belief in witches, character. There are several such in rustic and sporting manners, the igno Addison; the quiet observer Will rances of an artless or backward mind. Honeycomb, the country Tory Sir Sir Roger gives the children, who anRoger de Coverley, which are not satir-swer their catechism well, a Pible for ical theses, like those of La Bruyère, but genuine individuals, like, and sometimes equal to, the characters of the great contemporary novels. In reality, he invents the novel without suspect* Tatler, No. 257.
themselves, and half a flitch t bacon for their mothers. When a verse pleases him, he sings it for half a min ute after the congregation has finished. He kills eight fat pigs at Christmas, and sends a pudding and a pack of
from me, where I discovered one in the habit his hand. As I looked upon him he applied it of a shepherd, with a musical instrument in to his lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of it was exceeding sweet, and wrought thing I had ever heard. They put me in mind melodious, and altogether different from any of those heavenly airs that are played to the departed souls of good men upon their first ar rival in Paradise, to wear out the impression? pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted of the last agonies, and qualify them for the away in secret raptures
cards to each poor family in the parish. When he goes to the theatre, he supplies his servants with cudgels to protect themselves from the thieves which, he says, infest London. Addison re-into a variety of tunes that were inexpressibly turns a score of times to the old knight, always showing some new aspect of his character, a disinterested observer of humanity, curiously assiduous and discerning, a true creator, having but one step farther to go to enter, like Richardson and Fielding, upon the great work of modern literature, the novel of manners and customs.
"He (the Genius) then led me to the highest pinn.cle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, Cast thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou seest. see, said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it. The valley that thou seest, said he, is the vale of misery, and the tide of water that thou seest is part of the great tide of Eternity. What is the reason, said I, that the tide I see rises out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the other? What thou is called Time, measured out by the Sun, and seest, said he, is that portion of Eternity which reaching from the beginning of the world to its consummation. Examine now, said he, this sea that is bounded with darkness at both erds, a bridge, said I, standing in the midst of the tide. The bridge thou seest, said he, is human life; consider it attentively. Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted
and tell me what thou discoverest in it. I see
There is an undercurrent of poetry in all this. It has flowed through his prose a thousand times more sincere and beautiful than in his verses. Rich oriental fancies are displayed, not with a shower of sparks as in Voltaire, but in a calm and abundant light, which makes the regular folds of their purple and gold undulate.* The music of the vast cadenced and tranquil phrases leads the mind gently amidst romantic splendors and enchantments, and the deep sentiment of ever young nature recalls the happy quietude of Spenser. Through gentle railleries or moral of three score and ten entire arches, with sevessays we feel that the author's imagina-eral broken arches, which added to those that tion is happy, delighted in the contem- were entire, made up the number about an hunplation of the swaying to and fro of the dred. As I was counting the arches, the genius forest-tops which clothe the mountains, thousand arches: but that a great flood swept told me that this bridge consisted at first of a the eternal verdure of the valleys, in-away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous vigorated by fresh springs, and the wide view undulating far away on the distant horizon. Great and simple sentiments naturally join these noble images, and their measured harmony creates a unique spectacle, worthy to fascinate the heart of a good man by its gravity and sweetness. Such are the Visions of Mirza, which I wil. give almost entire :
"On the fifth day of the moon, which according to the custom of my forefathers I always keep holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here airing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and passing from one thought to another: Surely, said I, man is but a shadow and life a dream. Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far
*See the history of Alnaschar in the Spectator, No. 535, and also that of Hilpa ir the same paper, Nos. 584, 585.
condition I now beheld it. But tell me further, said he, what thou discoverest on it. I see a black cloud hanging on each end of it. As I multitudes of people passing over it, said I, and looked more attentively, I saw several of the passengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed underneath it; and upon further examination, perceived there were innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, which the passengers no sooner trod upon, but they fell through them into the tide, and immediately disappeared. These hidden pit-falls were set very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud, but many of them fell into them. They grew thinner to wards the middle, but multiplied and ay closer together towards the end of the archies that