« ZurückWeiter »
ing over them; but if you take care that no person or family is offended at any of them, or anything in them be published contrary to religion and good manners, you have
leave to do what you please with them. I wish you ali
(Signed) “RICHARD STEELE."
ADDISON'S CONVERSATIONAL POWERS.
Sept. 14, 1711. “It is reported to have been one of the most exquisite entertainments to the choice spirits in the beginning of this century, to get Addison and Steele together in company for the evening.
Steele entertained them till he was tipsy: when the same wine that stupified him only served to elevate Addison, who took up the ball just as Steele dropped it, and kept it up for the rest of the evening.”—Connoisseur, 92.
ADDISON'S INTIMACY WITH THE TORIES. Of the friendly manner in which Addison lived with the Tory wits, the following is an instance. Dr. Arbuthnot's eldest son, by his will, bequeaths to his cousin John Arbuthnot, of Ravensbury, near Mitcham, in Surrey, “the large silver cup given to my father by Mr. Addison.'
BLANK VERSE versus RHYME.
“MR. Addison was not a good-natured man, and very jealous of rivals. Being one evening in company with Phillips, and the poems of Blenheim and the Campaign being talked of, he made it his whole business to run down blank verse. Phillips never spoke till between eleven and twelve o'clock, nor even then could do it in his own defence. It was at Jacob Tonson's, and a gentleman in company ended the dispute, by asking Jacob what poem he ever got the most by ?
-Jacob immediately named Milton's Paradise Lost.”—Dr. Leigh, who had it from the gentleman who was present.
ONE of Addison's favourite companions was Ambrose Philips, a good Whig and a middling poet, who had the honour of bringing into fashion a species of composition which has been called, after his name, Namby Pamby. [A nickname bestowed by Pope on some Poems of short lines, in which Philips paid his court to all ages and characters, from Walpole,“ the steerer of the realın,” to Miss Pulteney in the Nursery.]
The following humorous and unpublished lines, probably by Dean Swift, as they are contained in a manuscript volume of poetry all in his manner and hand-writing, may be appropriately added : Namby Pamby, or a Panegyric on the New Versification,
Addressed to A(mbrose) P(hilips), Esq.
Namby Pamby, Jack a Dandy,
POPE AND PASTORAL PHILIPS.
Not long after the appearance of Pope's Pastorals, many persons of little wit, and less judgment, undertook to decry them, on the ground of wanting that simplicity which is the characteristic of pastoral poetry. To ridicule these objections, Pope privately sent that celebrated essay which was published in the Guardian, and which eventually gave so much offence to Philips. This essay contains an ironical comparison between his own Pastorals and those of Philips, in which he goes so far as to deny that his own have any claim to be called Pastorals ; adding, humorously, that “though they were by no means Pastorals, yet they were something better.”
Many persons did not discern the irony contained in this essay, but imagined it to be a serious criticism by Steele, who had received it from an unknown hand. All the wits at Button's considered it as such, except Mr. Addison, who saw into the joke immediately; and the next time he met Mr. Pope told him into what a ridiculous situation he had put his friends, who had declared their dislike of having Philips so extolled at the expense of another of the club: which is the language Steele had before held with Pope when he first received the papers.
Some who were weak enough to suppose this comparison serious, thought that it proceeded from a partiality to Mr.
In the possession of the publisher.
Philips, for whom Sir Richard was supposed to have a personal kindness. [See more of Ambrose Philips at p. 428-9.]
ADDISON'S OPINION OF POPE'S 5 RAPE OF THE LOCK.”
MR. Caryl (a gentleman who was Secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II., whose fortune he followed into France, and author of the comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of several translations in Dryden's miscellanies) originally proposed the subject of this poem to Pope, in the view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a difference that had arisen between two noble families, those of Lord Petre and Mrs. Fermor, on the trifling occasion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. This little liberty was taken too seriously; and though the two families had long been friends, it occasioned a coolness between them.
The first sketch of this exquisite piece was shown to Addison, who expressed his opinion of it, by calling it merum sal. It was written, as we learn from Pope himself, in two
| Pure Attic is the literal sense, but as Addison also called the piece “ a delicious little thing,” he most probably had in mind the line of Lucretius (1156, Book iv.) which is thus given in an old Dictionary of Quotations under the heading, 'An Attractive Woman.'
Parvula, pumilio, xapitwv pia, tota merum sal.
A little, pretty, witty, charming she. Creech translates it,
The little dwarf is pretty, grace all o'er. And Good, (see Class. Lib. ed. p. 187,)
- the pigmy dwarf, A sprightly grace, all energy and wit. The learned may read Bentley and Gilbert Wakefield's notes on the line.
That Lucretius was very popular in the days of Addison may be presumed from the activity with which editions were produced. In 1712 Tonson published two, one splendidly printed in folio with plates, the other in quarto; Maittaire followed in 1713; and in 1714, Creech's translation, of which a fifth edition had already appeared in 1712, was reprinted with large additions. Garth, in 1711, wrote an elaborate Dedication to George I. (then Elector of Brunswick) for an edition promised but never published. The Dedication was printed in the Historical Dictionary, v. 397. Harley, Earl of Oxford, who was on friendly terms with all the literary wits of the day-Addison, Steele, Pope, Swift, Gay, Prior, &c.—is said (by Lamberty) to have made Lucretius his catechism ; and to have got it so entirely by heart, that he was constantly quoting it both in his conversation and letters. Our authority adds a natural sequitur :-he was not particularly orthodox. ED.
cantos only, in less than a fortnight, in the year 1711, when he was about twenty-three years of age.
The author sent a copy of it to the lady, with whom he was acquainted; and she was so delighted with it that she distributed copies of it among her acquaintance, and at length prevailed on him to publish it, as appears by the motto.
The piece produced the desired effect; for it reconciled the two families, and gave offence to no one but Sir George Brown, who often observed, with some degree of resentment, and indeed justice too, that he was made to talk nothing but nonsense in the character of Sir Plume.
This piece, as has been before observed, is what, at its first appearance, was termed by Addison “
merum sal.” Pope, however, saw that it was capable of improvement; and having luckily contrived to borrow his machinery from the Rosicrucians, imparted the scheme to Addison, who told him that his work, as it stood, was a delicious little thing," and gave him no encouragement to retouch it.
This,” it is well remarked by Dr. Johnson, “ has been too hastily considered as an instance of Addison's jealousy; for, as he could not guess the conduct of the new design, or the possibilities of pleasure comprised in a fiction of which there had been no examples, he might very reasonably and kindly persuade the author to acquiesce in his own prosperity, and forbear an attempt which he considered as an unnecessary hazard.
“ Addison's counsel was happily rejected. Pope foresaw the future efflorescence of imagery then budding in his mind, and resolved to spare no art or industry of cultivation. The soft luxuriance of his fancy was already shooting, and all the gay varieties of diction were ready at his hand to colour and embellish it."
ADDISON, POPE. Mr. Pope's friendship with Mr. Addison commenced about the year 1713. Mr. Pope used to say that he liked him de bon cour, as well as he liked any man, and was very fond of his conversation ; and the friendship was cultivated on both sides with all the marks of mutual esteem and affec
? Probably a year earlier, as Steele promised to bring them acquainted in Feb. 1711-12, and we find Addison, in Oct. 1712, warmly recommending Mr. Pope to the world as a rising genius.
tion, and with a constant intercourse of good offices. Thus when the translation of the Iliad was on foot, which was begun in 1713, Mr. Addison expressed the highest expectations from it; and, when first published, recommended it to the public, and joined with the Tories in promoting the subscription. Mr. Pope, at the same time, made his friend's interest his own; and when Dennis so brutally attacked the tragedy of Cato, he wrote, under the assumed name of John Norris, the piece entitled “ A Narrative of his Madness,” published July 30, 1713. [Addison was averse to this publication, as will be seen by Steele’s letter (ante, p. 405)].
Mr. Pope, from time to time, communicated to Mr. Addison the progress he made in his translation, and the difficulties which attended it; particularly in a long letter to him, dated January 30, 1714, wherein, among other things, he jocularly complains of the various reports which were propagated to his prejudice. “ Some have said I am not a master in the Greek, who are either so themselves, or are not : if they are not, they cannot tell; and if they are, they cannot without having catechised me.
Not long after these transactions, the unhappy difference broke out between these illustrious friends, which drew from Mr. Pope the following famous lines :
POPE'S SATIRE ON ADDISON.
1 Printed in Roscoe's Pope, vol. viii. p. 204.