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them to their suppers, did so with no thought of doing themselves honor, but that their ears might be pleased by a complimentary line in the next poem. “He wins this patron who can tickle best," says Pope; and it is proved by the large number of writers who were dependent almost entirely upon their patrons.

Towards the end of Charles II's reign the press had become free, and literature had become a political power.

Addison's pension had not been paid regularly, and he returned from his travels, after having for some time supported himself by becoming a traveling private tutor, in great want. For some months he was in very narrrow circumstances. But in the year 1704 the country was thrilled with the news of Blenheim, where Marlborough broke the might of France.

At once every one who could write verses wrote odes of triumph.

Two instances will be sufficient to illustrate the difference between Addison's poem and those of other writers. He describes a discharge of cannon. Instead of writing of “horrific flames, ‘globous irons'' which “hiss and singe,' "hairy scalps," "latent mischiefs,” and “numerous bowels,” he is content to say

“The dreadful burst of cannon rends the skies,

And all the thunders of the battle rise." Instead of singing of the strength of Marlborough's right arm, he celebrates the qualities by which Marlborough won the battle.

In the whole history of letters there are few scenes more interesting than this of a great ministry waiting until the poor poet in the obscure garret had finished the work which none other was fitted to do. It is seldom that politics have paid such homage to literature.

From this time Addison's fortune was made. The Whig

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party rose, chiefly through the popularity of Marlborough's successes, and Addison rose with them. After diplomatic employment abroad, he became Under-Secretary for State.

Meanwhile Steele had started a newspaper in London, on an original plan. The “Tatler” consisted of essays different subjects literature, religion, the gossip of the clubs, satires upon the fashions, foreign intelligence, and criticisms of the theaters. The design, while exactly suited to Addison's taste, was one upon which he would probably have never entered had his impulsive friend not been by to urge him to it. Up to this time newspapers had consisted entirely of small news-sheets and advertisements.

The “Tatler” lasted about a year. Directly after the turmoil of the general election was over it was decided to start a new paper, called the “Spectator,” to be written by Addison, Steele, Budgell, and other writers, and to be published every day, instead of only three days a week. It cannot be doubted that from the first to the last of the long series of essays which Addison contributed to the “Spectator” he had before him the deliberate aim of reforming society. He was well fitted for his task. His mind was stored with an immense amount of quaint and unusual information, which could be produced without effort. He had extensive experience in active and professional life. He had the advantage, which few then possessed, of having traveled far and observed closely. He was a refined and polished writer, and had passed his life, even in the bustle of political service, in quiet observation of the opinions and habits of the classes for which he wrote. Lastly, he had an inexhaustible fund of humor, genial though sly, and sparkling though quiet. It was this humor which made him the best conversationalist, among friends, of his time; which made Pope declare that his conversation was the most charming he had ever listened to, and call him

“Blest with each talent and each art to please, And born write, converse, and live with ease."

His method was as wise as it was novel. He attacked frivolity, not by open scoffing, not by violence or abuse, but as it were with a smile, by no means bitter, on his face. Ladies who gave their time and their minds to a new headdress, to a gossiping visit, to an affectation of learning, or to the adoration of cracked china, read through an essay at breakfast, carried along by its quaint humor, before they saw that it was a satire upon their pet folly.

The success of the “Spectator” was unprecedented. So large was the daily issue, that when the tax upon newspapers was raised so high as to drive almost all others off the field, the “Spectator” not only held its own, but was able without loss to double its price.

As the “Spectator” is that of Addison's works with which we are chiefly concerned, and that which fixes his place in the roll of English writers, we will not linger long over the remaining incidents of his life. On April 1, 1712, Swift writes to Stella, “Addison is to have a play on Friday in Easter week: 'tis a tragedy called Cato.” On April 6, “I was this morning at ten at the rehearsal of Mr. Addison's play called Cato, which is to be acted on Friday.” On Friday accordingly it was acted, and thanks partly to Steele, who had filled the house with friends, its success was most marked. It is certainly the best tragedy that was produced at that period, and, though bitterly attacked by home critics, was warmly applauded by Voltaire. Meanwhile he was assisting the “Guardian,” which, on the same plan but with less success, succeeded the “Spectator."

At the age of forty-four he married the Dowager Countess of Warwick, an alliance from which he gained little happiness; he was in the next year created Secretary of State, but soon retired from this office, partly through ill-health,

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