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a century behind the best sacred poets of Germany. Luther had taught the German people the power of hymnody, but it was during the Thirty Years' War (16181648), and after its conclusion, that the spirit of devotion found full expression in religious verse. Just before the engagement at Leipzic, Gustavus Adolphus wrote his wellknown battle hymn, and the peace was celebrated in a noble hymn by Martin Rinkart. He was followed by a succession of sacred singers whose devout utterances influenced and in some degree inspired the Wesleys.
"A verse may find him whom a sermon flies,"
says George Herbert, and the enormous power wielded by Methodism owes a large portion of its strength to song.
Amidst much in their writings that is questionable in taste and weak in expression, both Watts and Charles Wesley have written hymns which prove their incontestible right to a place among the poets, and the influence they have exerted over the English-speaking race is beyond the power of the literary historian to estimate. The external divisions of the Christian Church are numerous; its unity is to be seen in the Hymn Book. 'Men whose theological views contrast most strongly,' says Mr. Abbey in his essay on The English Sacred Poetry of the Eighteenth Century, meet on common ground when they express in verse the deeper aspirations of the heart and the voice of Christian praise."
In 1714, on the death of the Queen, Addison was once more in office, and held his old position of Irish Secretary. In the following year he defended the Whig Government and Whig principles in the Freeholder, a paper published twice weekly. In it he gives no niggard praise to the Government of George I., and to the King himself, for his
'civil virtues,' and for his martial achievements. Addison's praise disagrees, it need scarcely be said, with the more minute and veracious description of the King given by Thackeray, but a party politician in those days could scarcely be a faithful chronicler. He could see what he wished to see, but found it necessary to shut his eyes when the prospect became unpleasant. George was a heartless libertine, but Addison observes with great satisfaction that the women most eminent for virtue and good sense are in his interest. It would be no small misfortune,' he says, 'to a sovereign, though he had all the male part of the nation on his side, if he did not find himself king of the most beautiful half of his subjects. Ladies are always of great use to the party they espouse, and never fail to win over numbers to it. Lovers, according to Sir William Petty's computation, make at least the third part of the sensible men of the British nation, and it has been an uncontroverted maxim in all ages, that though a husband is sometimes a stubborn sort of a creature, a lover is always at the devotion of his mistress. By this means it lies in the power of every fine woman to secure at least half-a-dozen able-bodied men to his Majesty's service. The female world are likewise indispensably necessary in the best causes to manage the controversial part of them, in which no man of tolerable breeding is ever able to refute them. Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.'
The essayist thinks it fortunate for the Whigs 'that their very enemies acknowledge the finest women of Great Britain to be of that party;' and in an amusing but rather absurd way he discourses to maids, wives, and widows on the advantages of adhering to the Hanoverian Government. It is characteristic of Addison that a political paper like the Freeholder should be flavoured with the humour and
badinage he found so effective in the Spectator. To the ladies he appeals again and again, but not to their reason. He gives them mirth instead of argument, and thinks it more likely to prevail with the "Fair Sex.' The Freeholder has several papers worthy of the author in his best moods, the best of them, perhaps, being the Tory Fox-hunter,' with which, to quote Johnson's words, bigotry itself must be delighted.' In the year which gave birth to the Freeholder, The Drummer, a comedy, was acted at Drury Lane, and ran three nights. The play was not acknowledged by Addison, neither was it printed in Tickell's edition of his works; but Steele, who published an edition of the play, with a dedication to Congreve, never doubted, and there is no reason to doubt, that Addison was the author. The piece,' Mr. Courthope writes, 'is like Cato, a standing proof of Addison's deficiency in dramatic genius. The plot is poor and trivial, nor does the dialogue, though it shows in many passages traces of its author's peculiar vein of humour, make amends by its brilliancy for the tameness of the dramatic situation.' 1
After the Freeholder Addison wrote nothing of importance, unless we except the essay published after his death On the Evidences of Christianity. Of this essay it will suffice to quote the judgment of his most distinguished eulogist. After observing that the treatise shows the narrow limits of Addison's classical knowledge, Lord Macaulay adds: 'It is melancholy to see how helplessly he gropes his way from blunder to blunder. He assigns as grounds for his religious belief stories as absurd as that of the Cock Lane Ghost, and forgeries as rank as Ireland's Vortigern; puts faith in the lie about the Thundering Legion; is convinced that Tiberius moved the senate to
1 Courthope's Addison, p. 150.
admit Jesus among the gods, and pronounces the letter of Agbarus, King of Edessa, to be a record of great authority. Nor were these errors the effects of superstition, for to superstition Addison was by no means prone.
The truth is, that he was writing about what he did not understand.' In 1716, after having been made one of the Commissioners for Trades and Colonies, he married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, with whom he had been acquainted for some years. The marriage, according to the doubtful authority of Pope, was not a happy one, and is said to have driven Addison to the consolations of the tavern. He did not need them long. In 1717 Sunderland became Prime Minister, and made Addison a Secretary of State, an appointment which he resigned eleven months afterwards; and in 1719 he died at Holland House at the age of fortyseven, leaving one daughter as the memorial of the union. He lies, as is fitting, in the great Abbey of which he has written so beautifully.
Tickell's noble tribute to his friend's memory belongs to the undying poetry which neither age nor fresher forms of verse can render obsolete. It must suffice to quote here a few lines from a poem which, despite some conventional expressions common to the time, is worthy of its theme throughout:
'If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove;
"Twas there of Just and Good he reasoned strong,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;
There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high
There are few men of literary eminence in the eighteenth century of whom we know so little as of Addison. His
own Spectator, who never opened his lips but in his club, is scarcely more silent than the essayist's biographers, so trifling are the details they have to record beyond the bare facts of his official and literary career.
him better, and, in spite of an unhappy estrangement at the last, probably loved him more than anyone else, and had he written his story, as he once proposed doing, the narrative might have been charming; but, alas for Steele's resolutions!
That Addison was a shy man we know--Lord Chesterfield said he was the most timid man he ever knew-and it speaks well for his resolution and strength of purpose that he should have risen notwithstanding this timidity to so high a position in public affairs. His want of oratorical power was a drawback to his efficiency, and Sir James Macintosh was probably right in saying that Addison as Dean of St. Patrick's, and Swift as Secretary of State, would have been a happy stroke of fortune, putting each into the place most fitted for him. The essayist's reserve, while it closed his lips in general society, did not prevent him from being one of the most fascinating of companions in the freedom of conversation. with a few intimate friends. Swift, Steele, and even Pope, testify to Addison's irresistible charm in the select society that he loved. Young said he could chain the attention of every hearer, and Lady Mary Montagu declared that he was the best company in the world. Richard Steele was born in Dublin, 1672, of English parents, and educated at the Charterhouse, where, as we have said, Addison was at the same time a pupil. In 1690 he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, Addison being then demy at Magdalen. Steele left college without taking a degree, and entered the army as a cadet. After a time he ob
Richard Steele (1672-1729).