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Mr. Addison's example will carry no man further than that height for which Nature capacitated him; and the affectation of following great men in works above the genius of their imitators will never rise further than the production of uncommon and unsuitable ornaments in a barren discourse, like flowers upon an heath, such as the author's phrase of “ something bet“ ter than perfection.” But indeed his preface, if ever any thing was, is that “ something “ better," for it is so extraordinary that we cannot say it is too long or too thort, or deny but that it is both. I think I abstract myself from all manner of prejudice when I aver, that no man, though without any obligation to Mr. Addison, would have represented him in his family, and his friendships or his personal character, so disadvantageously as his secretary (in prefe. rence of whom he incurred the warmeft refentments of other gentlemen) has been pleased to describe him in those particulars.
Mr. Dean Addison, father of this memorable man, left behind him four children, each of whom, for excellent talents and fingular perfections, was as much above the ordinary world as their brother Joseph was above them. Were things of this nature to be exposed to public yiew, I could shew, under the Dean's own hand*,
If this letter should by chance exist among the papers in the possession of Mr. Scurlock, it would be an acceptable communication to the curious.
in the warmest terms, his bleffing on the friendship between his son and me; nor had he a child wḥo did not prefer me in the first place of kind. ness and esteem, as their father loved me like one of them : and I can with great pleasure fay, I never omitted any opportunity of sewing that zeal for their persons and interests as became a gentleman and a friend. Were I now to indulge myself, I could talk a great deal to you, which I am sure would be entertaining ; but as I am speaking, at the same time, to all the world, I considered it would be imperti. ņent. Let me then confine myself a while to. the following play, which I at first recommended to the stage, and carried to the press. No one who reads the preface which I publish: ed * with it will imagine I could be induced to fay fo much as I then did, had I not known the man I best loved had had a part in it, or had I believed that any other concerned had much more to do than as an amanuenfis.
But, indeed, had I not known, at the time, of the transaction concerning the acting on the stage and sale of the copy, I should, I think, have seen Mr. Addison in every page of it; for he was above all men in that talent we call Humour, and enjoyed it in such perfection that I have often reflected, after a night spent with him, apart from all the world, that * See this in p. 458,
I had had the pleasure of converfing with; an. intimate acquaintance of Terence and Catullus, who had all their wit and nature heightened with humour, more exquisite and delightful than any other man ever poffefred.
They who shall read this play, after being let into the secret that it was written by Mr. Addison, or under his direction, will probably be attentive to those excellencies which they before overlooked, and wonder they did not till now observe, that there is not an expression in the whole piece which has not in it the most nice propriety and aptitude to the character which utters it; here is that smiling mirth, that deli. cate satire, and genteel raillery, which appeared in Mr. Addison when he was free among intimates : I say, when he was free from his remarkable bashfulness, which is a cloke that hides and muffles merit; and his abilities were covered only by modefty, which doubles the beauties which are seen, and gives credit and esteem to all that are concealed.
“ The Drummer” made no great figure on the stage, though exquisitely well acted; but when I observe this, I say a much harder thing of the stage than of the comedy. When I say the stage in this place, I am (to be] understood to mean in general the present taste of theatrical representation, where nothing that is not violent, and, as I may fay, groftly delightful, can come
on without hazard of being condemned, or flighted. It is here re-published, and recommended as a closet piece, to recreate an intelligent mind in a vacant hour ; for vaeant the reader must be from every strong prepossession, in order to relish an entertainment (quod nequeo monstrare et sentio tantum) which cannot be enjoyed to the degree it deserves, but by those of the most polite taste among scholars, the best breeding among gentlemen, and the least acquainted with sensual pleasure among the ladies.
The Editor is pleased to relate concerning “ Cato,” that a play under that design was projected by the author very early, and wholly laid afide; in advanced years he reassumed the fame design, and, many years after four acts were finished, he writ the fifth, and brought it upon the stage. All the town knows how officious I was in bringing it on; and you, that know the town, the theatre, and mankind, very well, can judge how necessary it was to take measures for making a performance of that fort, excellent as it is, run into popular applause. I promised before it was acted, and performed my duty accordingly to the author, that I would bring together so just an audience on the first days of it, it should be impossible for the vulgar to put its success or due applause to any hazard; but I do not mention this only to few how good an aid-de-camp I was to Mr. Addison, but to shew Kk
also that the Editor does as much to cloud the merit of this work as I did to set it forth. Mr. Tickell's account of its being taken up, laid down, and at last perfected, after such long intervals and pauses, would make any one believe, who did not know Mr. Addifon, that it was accomplished with the greatest pain and labour, and the iffue rather of learning and industry than capacity and genius; but I do affure you, that never play, which could bring the author any reputation for wit and conduct, notwithstanding it was so long before it was finished, employed the author so little a time in writing : if I remember right, the fifth act was written in lefs than a week's time; for this was particular in this writer, that when he had taken his resolu. tion, or inade his plan for what he designed to write, he would walk about the room, and dictate it into language with as much freedom and ease as any one could write it down, and attend to the coherence and grammar of what he dictated. I have been often thus employed by him, and never took it into my head, though he only spoke it, and I took all the pains of throwing it upon paper, that I ought to call myself the writer of it. I will
put my credit among men of wit for the truth of my averment, when I presume to say, that no one but Mr. Addison was in any other way the writer of " The Drummer ;” at the same time I will ale