ladies, the trumpets and the cloth of gold-would give truth and life to the representation. We should perceive, in a thousand slight touches, the importance of the privileged burgher, and the fierce and haughty spirit which swelled under the collar of the degraded villain. The 10 revival of letters would not merely be described in a few magnificent periods. We should discern, in innumerable particulars, the fermentation of mind, the eager appetite for knowledge, which distinguished the sixteenth from the fifteenth century. In the Reformation we should see not merely a schism which changed the ecclesiastical constitution of England and the mutual relations of the European powers, but a moral war which raged in every family, which set the father against the son, and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother. Henry would be painted 11 with the skill of Tacitus. We should have the change of his character from his profuse and joyous youth to his savage and imperious old age. We should perceive the gradual progress of selfish and tyrannical passions in a mind not naturally insensible or ungenerous; and to the last we should detect some remains of that


and noble temper which endeared him to a people whom he oppressed, struggling with the hardness of despotism and the irritability of disease. We should see Elizabeth, in 12 all her weakness and in all her strength, surrounded by the handsome favorites whom she never trusted and the wise old statesmen whom she never dismissed, uniting in herself the most contradictory qualities of both her parents—the coquetry, the caprice, the petty malice of Anne, the haughty and resolute spirit of Henry. We have no hesitation in saying that a great artist might produce a portrait of this remarkable woman, at least as striking as that in the novel of “Kenilworth,” without employing a

13 single trait not authenticated by ample testimony. In the

mean time we should see arts cultivated, wealth accumulated, the conveniences of life improved. We should see the keeps, where nobles, insecure themselves, spread insecurity around them, gradually giving place to the halls of peaceful opulence, to the oriels of Longleat, and the stately pinnacles of Burleigh. We should see towns extended, deserts cultivated, the hamlets of fishermen turned into wealthy havens, the meal of the peasant improved, and his hut more commodiously furnished. We should see those opinions and feelings which produced the great struggle against the house of Stuart slowly growing up

in the bosom of private families before they manifested 14 themselves in Parliamentary debates. Then would come

the Civil War. Those skirmishes on which Clarendon dwells so minutely would be told, as Thucydides would have told them, with perspicuous conciseness. They are merely connecting links. But the great characteristics of the age, the loyal enthusiasm of the brave English gentry, the fierce licentiousness of the swearing, dicing, drunken reprobates, whose excesses disgraced the royal cause; the austerity of the Presbyterian Sabbaths in the city, the extravagance of the independent preachers in the camp, the precise garb, the severe countenance, the petty scruples, the affected accent, the absurd names and phrases which marked the Puritans; the valor, the policy, the public spirit, which lurked beneath these ungraceful disguises, the dreams of the raving Fifth-monarchy-man, the dreams, scarcely less wild, of the philosophic republican—all these would enter into the representation, and

render it at once more exact and more striking. 15 The instruction, derived from history thus written,

would be of a vivid and practical character. It would be received by the imagination as well as by the reason. It

would be not merely traced on the mind, but branded into it. Many truths, too, would be learned which can be learned in no other manner. As the history of states 16 is generally written, the greatest and most momentous revolutions seem to come upon them like supernatural inflictions, without warning or cause. But the fact is, that such revolutions are almost always the consequences of moral changes, which have gradually passed on the mass of the community, and which ordinarily proceed far before their progress is indicated by any public measure. An intimate knowledge of the domestic history of nations is therefore absolutely necessary to the prognosis of political events. A narrative defective in this respect is as useless as a medical treatise which should pass by all the symptoms attendant on the early stage of a disease, and mention only what occurs when the patient is beyond the reach of remedies.

An historian, such as we have been attempting to de- 17 scribe, would indeed be an intellectual prodigy. In his mind powers scarcely compatible with each other must be tempered into an exquisite harmony. We shall sooner see another Shakespeare or another Homer. The highest excellence to which any single faculty can be brought would be less surprising than such a happy and delicate combination of qualities. Yet the contemplation of imaginary models is not an unpleasant or useless employment of the mind. It can not, indeed, produce perfec

but it produces improvement, and nourishes that generous and liberal fastidiousness, which is not inconsistent with the strongest sensibility to merit, and which, while it exalts our conceptions of the art, does not render us unjust to the artist.




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This sketch is taken from Macaulay's “Essay on the Life and Writings of Addison.” Joseph Addison (1672–1719) attained reputation as a master of pure English during the critical or Augustan age of Queen Anne. This era is remarkable for the care and attention which were bestowed upon the cultivation of style. Addison, Swift, Bolingbroke, Steele, Pope, De Foe, were the principal writers. It was to this period of English history that Macaulay looked forward with eager longing, and, had he lived to complete the picture of which we have but the intimation in his essay on Addison, it would have proved to be one of the most brilliant of his superb delineations. The critical student of English literature can not fail to discern the influence that Addison has exercised upon the genius of our own Irving. Let the student endeavor to work out this hint, and ascertain its correctness by noting certain points of resemblance in the delineation of character. For information respecting Addison's era, the student should consult Stanhope's “ Reign of Queen Anne," Lecky's England in the Eighteenth Century," Morley's “English Writers,” Morley's “First Sketch of English Literature."

1 The last moments of Addison were perfectly serene. His interview with his son-in-law is universally known. “See,” he said, “how a Christian can die!” The piety of Addison was, in truth, of a singularly cheerful character. The feeling which predominates in all his devotional writings is gratitude. God was to him the all-wise and all-powerful friend who had watched over his cradle with more than maternal tenderness; who had listened to his cries before they could form themselves in prayer; who had preserved his youth from the snares of vice; who had made his cup run over with worldly blessings; who had doubled the value of those blessings by bestowing a


thankful heart to enjoy them, and dear friends to partake them ; who had rebuked the waves of the Ligurian gulf, had purified the autumnal air of the Campagna, and had restrained the avalanches of Mont Cenis. Of the 2 Psalms, his favorite was that which represents the Ruler of all things under the endearing image of a shepherd, whose crook guides the flock safe, through gloomy and desolate glens, to meadows well watered and rich with herbage. On that goodness, to which he ascribed all the happiness of his life, he relied in the hour of death, with the love which casteth out fear. He died on the 17th of June, 1719. He had just entered on his forty-eighth year.

His body lay in state in the Jerusalem Chamber, and 3 was borne thence to the Abbey at dead of night. The choir sang a funeral hymn. Bishop Atterbury, one of those Tories who had loved and honored the most accomplished of the Whigs, met the corpse, and led the procession by torchlight round the shrine of Saint Edward and the graves of the Plantagenets to the chapel of Henry VII. On the north side of that chapel, in the vault of the House of Albemarle, the coffin of Addison lies next to the coffin of Montagu. Yet a few months— and the same mourners passed again along the same aisle. The same sad anthem was again chanted.

The same vault was again opened, and the coffin of Craggs was placed close to the coffin of Addison.

Many tributes were paid to the memory of Addison. 4 But one alone is now remembered. Tickell bewailed his friend in an elegy which would do honor to the greatest name in our literature, and which unites the energy and magnificence of Dryden to the tenderness and purity of Cowper. This fine poem was prefixed to a superb edition of Addison's works, which was published in 1721 by sub

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