Imatges de pàgina
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320
fion. But such faults are to be expected in
all translations, from the constraint of mea-
sures and diffimilitude of languages. The
Pharfalia of Rowe deserves more notice than
it obtains, and as it is more read will be
more esteemed.

ADDISON.

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OSEPH ADDISON was born on the

first of May, 1672, at Milston, of which his father, Lancelot Addison, was then rector, near Ambrosbury in Wiltshire, and appearing weak and unlikely to live, he was christened the same day. After the usual domestick education, which, from the character of his father, may be reasonably supposed to have given him strong impressions of piety, he was committed to the care of Mr. Naish at Ambrofbury, and afterwards of Mr. Taylor at Salisbury.

Not to name the school or the masters of men illustrious for literature, is a kind of historical fraud, by which honest fame is inVOL. II.

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juriously juriously diminished: I would therefore trace him through the whole process of his education. In 1683, in the beginning of his twelfth

year, his father being made dean of Lichfield, naturally carried his family to his new residence, and, I believe, placed him for some time, probably not long, under Mr. Shaw, then master of the school at Lichfield, father of the late Dr. Peter Shaw. Of this interval his biographers have given no account, and I know it only from a story of a barring-out, told me, when I was a boy,

, by Andrew Corbet of Shropshire, who had heard it from Mr. Pigot his uncle.

The practice of barring-out, was a savage license, practised in many schools to the end of the last century, by which the boys, when the periodical vacation drew near, growing petulant at the approach of liberty, some days before the time of regular recess, took poffeffion of the school, of which they barred the doors, and bade their master defiance from the windows. It is not easy to suppose that on such occasions the master would do more than laugh; yet, if tradition may be credited, he often struggled hard to

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force or surprise the garrison. The master, when Pigot was a school-boy, was barredout at Lichfield, and the whole operation, as he said, was planned and conducted by Addison.

To judge better of the probability of this story, I have enquired when he was sent to the Chartreux ; but, as he was not one of those who enjoyed the Founder's benefaction, there is no account preserved of his admission. At the fchool of the Chartreux, to which he was removed either from that of Salisbury or Lichfield, he pursued his juvenile studies under the care of Dr. Ellis, and contracted that intimacy with Sir Richard Steele, which their joint labours have so effectually recorded.

Of this memorable friendship the greater praise must be given to Steele. It is not hard to love those from whom nothing can be feared, and Addison never considered Steele as a rival; but Steele lived, as he confesses, under an habitual subjection to the predominating genius of Addison, whom he always mentioned with reverence, and treated with obsequiousness.

Addison,

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Addison *, who knew his own dignity, could not always forbear to Thew it, by playing a little

upon

his admirer ; but he was in no danger of retort: his jests were endured without resistance or resentment.

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But the sneer of jocularity was not the worst. Steele, whose imprudence of generolity, or vanity of profusion, kept him always incurably necessitous, upon some preffing exigence, in an evil hour, borrowed an hundred pounds of his friend, probably without much purpose of

repayment; but Addison, who seems to have had other notions of a hundred pounds, grew impatient of delay, and reclaimed his loan by an execution. Steele felt with great sensibility the obduracy of his creditor"; but with emotions of forrow rather than of

anger.

In 1687 he was entered into Queen's College in Oxford, where, in 1689, the accidental perufal of some Latin verses gained him the patronage of Dr. Lancaster, afterwards provost of Queen's College ; by whose

Spence.

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