« PreviousContinue »
into a napkin, nor put it (as I ought) to exchangers, where it might have made best profit, but mis-spent it in things for which I was least fit: so I may truly say, my soul hath been a stranger in the course of my pilgrimage. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for my Saviour's sake, and receive me unto thy bosom, or guide me in thy ways.”
The Guardian, which in order of date should follow the Spectator, was begun March 12, 1713, and continued to the first of October. Addison's first contribution appeared in May, from which time he seems to have taken the same active interest in it which he had done in the Tatler and Spectator. Of the one hundred and seventy-five numbers fifty-three are from his pen. In this work, too, Steele has the merit of the original conception, though the happy thought of the “Lion's mouth” was Addison's, whose papers were distinguished in the original edition, by a hand. -G.
No. 67. THURSDAY, MAY 28, 1713.
Ne fortè pudori
It has been remarked, by curious observers, that poets are generally long-lived, and run beyond the usual age of man, if not cut off by some accident or excess, as Anacreon, in the midst of a very merry old age, was choked with a grape-stone. The game redundancy of spirits, that produces the poetical flame, keeps up the vital warmth, and administers uncommon fuel to life. I question not but several instances will occur to my reader's memory, from Homer down to Mr. Dryden. I shall only take notice of two who have excelled in lyrics, the one an ancient, and the other a modern. The first gained an immortal reputation by celebrating several jockeys in the Olympic games; the last has signalized himself on the same occasion, by the ode that begins with— To horse, brave boys, to Newmarket, to
The part which Mr. Addison took in the Guardian, seems to have been accidental, and owing to the desire he had of serving poor D'Urfey for his first appearance is on that occasion, at No. 67, though, when he had once broken through his reserve, for this good purpose, we, afterwards, find his hand very frequently in it.
Run beyond. i. e. Their lives run beyond: so that the substantive iş understood to be contained in the adjective, long-lived. This way of speaking is very incorrect. It should be,-and out-last the usual age of man,--that is—the poets out-last,
horse. My reader will, by this time, know that the two poets I have mentioned, are Pindar and Mr. D'Urfey. The former of these is, long since, laid in his urn, after having, many years together, endeared himself to all Greece, by his tuneful compositions. Our countryman is still living, and in a blooming old age, that still promises many musical productions; for, if I am not mistaken, our British swan will sing to the last. The best judges, who have perused his last song on the Moderate Man, do not discover any decay in his parts, but think it deserves a place among the works with which he obliged the world in his more early years.
I am led into this subject, by a visit which I lately received from my good old friend and contemporary. As we both fourished together in King Charles the second's reign, we diverted ourselves with the remembrance of several particulars that passed in the world before the greatest part of my readers were born, and could not but smile to think low insensibly we were grown into a couple of venerable old gentlemen. Tom observed to me, that after having written more odes than Horace, and about four times as many comedies as Terence, he was reduced to great difficulties, by the importunities of a set of men, who, of late years, had furnished him with the accommodations of life, and would mot, as we say, be paid with a song. In order to extricate my old friend, I immediately sent for the three directors of the playlouse, and desired them that they would, in their turn, do 2 good office for a man who, in Shakespear's phrase, had often filled
i Thomas D'Urfey, author of numberless plays, all of which are forgotten; but more successful as a writer of songs and catches, although they also have shared the fate of his more elaborate productions. He is satirized in the Tatler, Nos. 1, 11, &c., though always befriended by Steele, yho paid his funeral expenses.-G.
• Extricate is not used absolutely: he should have said, to extricate my old friend out of his difficulties.