Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

verend Mr. Taylor; and thence to the face in Mr. Dryden's translation, and is Charter-house, where he was under the allowed to be one of the jufteft pieces of tuition of the learned Dr. Ellis, and where criticism in our own, or in any other lanhe contracted an intimacy and friendship guage. It was not then known who was with the famous Mr. Steele, afterwards the author of it, for it being an untried Sir Richard Steele, which lasted as long as strain of criticism, and bearing a little Mr. Addison lived. He was not above 15 hard upon the old professors of that art, i when he went to the university of Oxford, was thought proper both by Mr. Dryder where he was entered of Queen's College, and Mr. Addison, that it should be said < in which his father had studied. He ad- have been communicated by a friend, with di&ted himself at this time with fach dili- out mentioning any name, as it mighi gence to classical learning, that he acquir have appeared to some to have been a sub. ed an elegant Latin file before he arrived ject not so fit for a young man to have de at that age in which lads usually begin to cided upon : an early instance of Mr. Ad: write good English. A paper of his verses dison's prudence. Indeed he always wa in that tongue fell by accident, in the year remarkable for keeping so strict a rein up 1687, into the hands of Dr. Lancaster, on his wit, that it never got the start o dean of Magdalen College, who was so his wisdom. pleased with them, that he immediately T he next year he wrote several poems o procured their author's ele&tion into that different kinds, amongst the rest one dates house, where he took the degrees of Bat- the 3d of April 1694, directed to Mr. H chelor and Master of Arts. It was here S. that is Henry Sacheverell, a piece truly he became acquainted with Mr. Henry original, and of great judgment. Thi Sacheverell, who made so much noise, af- Gentleman was of the same age with Mr terwards.

Addison, and at this time had not enter Mr. Addison employed his firft years in tained any qualms about the revolution the study of the old Greek and Roman as is very clear from these verses, whic! poets, and his Latin poetry was, in the Mr. Addison would not have written to course of a few years, very much admired him, had he been tben an enemy to thi in both universities, and justly gained him revolution, fince they contain a very hig! the reputation of a great poet, before his panegyrick on it; and what confirms i name was so much as known in Londont. the more, is, that afterwards, when Sa He was 22 years of age before he publish- cheverell deserted these principles, the in ed any thing in our language, and then timacy between them gradually decreased came abroad a short copy of verses addres. and at length subfided. fed to Mr. Dryden, which procured him The following year he began to hay immediately, and that very deservedly, higher views, which discovered themselve from the best judges in that nice age, a in a poem to king William III. on one o great reputation, being as correct and per- his campaigns, addressed to the Lord fea as any thing which even he himself keeper, Sir John Somers. That judiciou afterwards produced. Some little space ftatesman received this mark of a youn; intervening, he sent into the world a author's attachment with great kindness translation of the 4th georgiok of Virgil, took Mr. Addison thenceforward into th (omitting the story of Ariftzus) exceed number of his friends, and gave him, up ingly commended by Mr. Dryden. He on all occasions, lignal proofs of a finceri wrote also that discourse on the Georgicks, esteem. which is prefixed to them by way of pre- While he was at the university, he has

+ The Latin pieces he wrote were & in number; their titles were there : 1. Peace under the Auspices of William, restored to Europe. 2. A Description of the Barome ter. 3. A Battle between the Pigmies and the Cranes. 4. A Poem upon the Refur re&ion, being a Description of the Painting over the Altar in Magdalen College, Oxford 5. The Bowling-Green. 6. An Ode to Dr. Hannes, an excellent Physician and Poet 7. A Puppet-Shew. And 8. An Ode to the celebrate! Dr. Tbomas Burnet, Author the Theory of the Earth. These poems have been translated into English by Dr. Georg Sewell of Peterhoufe, Cambridge, Mr, Newcomb, and Nicholas Amhurst, Esq, both a Oxford.

bee

een very earnestly solicited to enter into cated to Mr. Montagu, then chancellor of the oly orders. At one time he seemed re- exchequer, were printed before his departure olved on it, probably out of respect to his in the Muræ Anglicanæ, and were as much ather; and this he intimates at the con- admired abroad as they could possibly be at

lusion of his poem to Sacheverell, in the home, particularly by the great Boileau, who ollowing words :

first conceived an opinion of the English ge

nius for poetry, by perusing the Musæ Angli've done at tength, and now, dear friend,

canæ, which Mr. Addison made him a prereceive Che last poor present that my Mufe can

sent of. Amongst other civilities which

pafled between these two great men, M. give.

Boileau, who was both an able judge, and leave the arts of poetry and verse,

incapable of partiality, told him, that this To them that practise them with more

performance of his had given him a very success. Pf greater truths I'll now prepare to tell,

new idea of the English politeness; and

that he doubted not but that there were And so at once, dear friend, and muse,

excellent compoậtions in the language of farewell.

a country that possessed the Roman genius But, through an excess of modesty, he in so elegant a degree. magined himself to be deficient in those Two years after, Mr. Addison wrote

ualities he thought neceffary for the func- from Italy an epiftolary poem to Montagu, ion of a divine, and therefore entirely Lord Hallifax, which has been reckoned aid aside that design. But fome dispute by some to be the best of any of his peras arisen on this affair : Mr. Tickell, in formances. It is a finished piece 'in its is preface to Mr. Addison's works, makes kind. It was trandated into Italian verse his reflection : “ Thus his remarkable by the abbot Antonio Maria Salvini, Greek eriousness and modefty, which might have professor at Florence, and is in the highest een urged as powerful reasons for his esteem in Italy, which is not to be won. husing that life, proved the chief obstacles dered at, since there are in it the best turn

it. These qualities by which the priest. ed compliments on that country that are ood is so much adorned, represented the perhaps to be found in any language. Add uties of it as too weighty for him, and to this, that the Italians must naturally apendered him ftill more worthy of that ho- prehend their force, as well as, or better

our, which they made him decline.” Sir than ourselves, on account of their famiRichard Steele, on the contrary, in his de- liarity with the objects therein described.

ication of the Drummer, does not think Lord Hallifax had that year been impeachhat there were the reasons which induced ed by the Commons, and an address had

Ir. Addison to turn his thoughts to the been presented to the King to remove him Gvil world, but that it was owing to the from his Majesty's presence and councils warm instances which my Lord Hallifax for ever : for these reasons he had retired nade to the head of the college, not to in- from public business, and Mr. Addison's it on Mr. Addison's going into holy or address of this piece to him at that time is ers. But this does not contradi&t the par- a noble proof of his gratitude, as the manage of Mr. Tickell. He accounts for Mr. ner of it will be a lasting monument of

ddison's quitting his resolution ; the his good sense. The opening of the poem night talks of the pains other people took is peculiarly graceful, and, if attentively o prevent his following it. Mr. Addison considered, alike honourable for the wrinight really in his own judgment think ter and the patron : imself not qualified for the office, and ord Hallifax might at the same time de. While you, my Lord, the rural shades adre the college not to admit him. There

mire, ce therefore by no means contradictions And from Britannia's public posts retire;

each other, for both accounts may be Nor longer her ungrateful fons to please, qually true.

For their advantage, facrifice your ease; Having a great inclination to travel, his Me into foreign realms my fate conveys, atron Lord Somers procured him a pen- Through nations fruitful of immortal lays; on from the crown, of 300 l. a year, Where the soft season, and inviting clime, ad this enabled him to make a tower in- Conspire to trouble your repose with rhime. - Italy in 1699, His Latin poems dedi.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

In four lines he has thus handled a to- and succeeded very indifferently for some pic, the nicest that could be, and in four time, 'till by degrees, as the curious enmore makes a transition to his subject, tered deeper and deeper into the book, naturally and without precipitation. their judgment of it changed, and the de

Returning from Italy he published an ac- , mand for it became so great, that the price tount of his travels, which he dedicated rose to five times its original value, before to his first patron, Lord Somers. In his there was a second edition printed. It has dedication he takes an opportunity of pays ever since maintained its reputation, most ing his Lordship one of the best turned and of the virtuofi who have travelled through most polite compliments that ever entered Italy fince having given it the highest coma dedication, embellished with the greatest mendations. It has been translated into beauty of ftile. “ I had, says he, a very French, and usually makes the 4th volume early ambition to recommend myself to of Miffon's travels in that language. The your lordship's patronage, which yet in two great points laboured in these travels creased in me, as I travelled through the are, the recommending the classic writers, countries, of which I here give your Lord. and promoting the doctrine of liberty. Ship fome account: for whatever great These points had been before pursued in impressions an Englishman must have of the epifle to Lord Hallifax; and therefore, your Lordship, they who have been con- as Mr. Tickell has juftly observed, the versant abroad, will find them ftill improv. poem may be confidered as the text, upon ed. It cannot but be obvious to them, which the book of travels is a large comthat though they see your Lordship's ad- ment. mirers every where, they meet with very He would have returned earlier than few of your well-wishers at Paris, or at he did into England, had he not been Rome. And I could not but observe, thought of as a proper person to attend when I passed through most of the protes- prince Eugene, who then commanded for tant governments in Europe, that their the Emperor in Italy, which employhopes or fears for the common cause rose ment he would have been well pleased er fell with your Lordlaip's interest and with ; but the death of king William inauthority in England." In his preface to tervening, caused a cellation of his penthis work, after having mentioned the pe- fon, and of his hopes. He remained at culiar excellencies of the several authors home a very considerable space of time, who had wrote an account of their travels (his friends being then out of the ministry) through Italy, he gives his reader plainly before any occasion offered, either of his to understand what he was to expect in farther displaying his great abilities, or of the eolaing pages : “ For my own part, his meeting with any suitable reward for says be, as I have taken notice of several the honour his works had done his country. places and antiquities, that nobody else has He was indebted to an accident for both. spoken of, so I think I have mentioned in the year 1704 the Lord-treasurer Go-, but few things in common with others, dolphin happened to complain to the Lord that are not either set in a new light, or Hallifax that the Duke of Marlborough's accompanied with different reflections. I victory at Blenheim had not been celebrathave taken care particularly, to consider the ed in verse in the manner it deserved ; inseveral passages of the ancient poets, which timating, that he would take it kind if his have any relation to the places and curio Lordship, who was the known patron of fities which I met with ; for before I en- the poets, would name a gentleman capable tered upon my voyage I took care to re- of writing upon so elevated a subject. Lord freth my memory among the claffick au- Hallifax replied with some quickness, that thors, and to make such collections out of he was well acquainted with such a perthem, as I might afterwards have occasion fon, but that he would not name him; for. I must confess it was not one of the adding, that he had long seen with indigleast entertainments that I met with in nation men of no merit maintained in travelling, to examine these several de pomp and luxury, at the expence of the fcriptions as it were upon the spot, and to publick, while persons of too much mocompare the natural face of the country deity, with great abilities, languished in with the landskips the poets had given us obfcurity. The Treasurer said very coolly, of it." Notwithstanding this introduc- that he was forry his Lordhip had occasion tion, this piece was not at first understood, to make such an observation, and that for

the

« AnteriorContinuar »