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JOSEPH ADDISON was born May 21, 1672, at Milston, of which his father was then Rector, near Ambrosebury in Wiltshire. He was early sent to school, there, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Naish; from whence he was removed to Salisbury school, and then to the Charterhouse, under the tuition of the learned Dr. Ellis. Here he first contracted an intimacy with Mr. Steele, which continued almost to his death. At fifteen he was entered of Queen's College, Oxford, and in about two years admitted to the degrees of bachelor and master of arts in that college; at which time he was celebrated for his latin poems, to be found in a second volume of the Musue Britanicae, collected by Addison. Being at the university, he was upon the point of ceding to the desires of his father and several of his friends, te enter into holy orders; but having, through Mr. Congreve's means, become a favourite of Lord Halifax, he was prevailed upon by that nobleman, to give up the design. He successively filled the public stations, in 1702, of Commissioner of the Appeals in the Excise; 1707, Under-Secretary of State; 1709, Secretary of Ireland, and Keeper of the Records in Ireland; 1715 (the grand climacteric of Addison's reputation, Cato appeared) Secretary to the Lords' Justices; 1714 one of the Lords Commissioners of Trade; and at last, 1717, one of the first Secretaries of State. Dr. Johnson says, "For this employment he might justly be supposed qualified by long practice of business, and by his regular ascent through other offices; but expectation is often disappointed; it is universally confessed, that he was unequal to the duties of his place. In the House of Commons he could not speak, and therefore was useless to the defence of the Governtaent. In the office, says Pope, he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest of fine expressions." He solicited his dismissal with a pension of 1500 pounds a year. He married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, 1716; and is said to have first known her by becoming tutor to her son. Johnson says, "The Lady was at last prevailed upon to marry him, on terms much like those, on which a Turkish princess is espoused, to whom the sultan is reported to pronounce, Daughter, I give thee this man for thy slave.' The marriage made no addition to his happiness; it neither made them nor found them equal." In 1718- 19, he had a severe dispute on The Peerage Bill with Steele, who, inveterate in his political opinions, supported them in a pamphlet called The Plebeian, which Addison answered by another, under the title of The Old Whig. Some epithets, let drop by Addison, answered by a cutting quotation from Cato, by Steele, were the cause of their friendship's being dissolved; and every person acquainted with the friendly terms on which these two great men had lived so long, must regret, that they should finally part in acrimonious opposition. Addison died of an asthma and dropsy, on the 17th June, 1719, aged 48, leaving only one daughter behind him. The general esteem ia which his productions, both serious and humorous in The Spectator, The Tailer, and The Guardian are held, "pleads (as Spakspeare says), like engels, trumpet-tongued, in their behalf" As a poet, his Cato, in the dramatic, and his Campaign, in the heroic way, will ever maintain place among the first-rate works of either kind.-And a good man's death displays the character of his life. At his last hour, he sent for a relation of his, young Lord Warwick, whose youth he supposed might be influenced by an awful lesson, when, taking hold of the young man's hand, he said "See in what peace a Christian can die!" and immediately expired.
ACTED at Drury Lane, 1715. It is one of the first of our dramatic poems, and was performed 18 nights successively; this very successful run for a tragedy, is attributed by Dennis, who wrote a very bitter critique upon Cato, to proceed from Addison's having raised prejudices in his own favour, by false positions of preparatory criticism; and with his having poisoned the town by contradicting, in The Spectator, the established rule of poetical justice, becauso his own hero, with all his virtues, was to fall before a tyrant. Johnson says, "the fact is certain; the motives we must guess. Steele packed an audience. The danger was soon over. The whole nation was, at that time, on fire with faction. The Whigs applauded every line, in which liberty was mentioned, as a satire on the Tories; and the Tories echoed every clap, to shew, that the satire was unfelt." It was ushered into notice by eight complimentary copies of verses to the author, among which, one by Steele, leads the van; besides a prologne by Pope, and an epilogue by Dr. Garth: Dr. Johnson, with the abovementioned persons, nay, even Dennis's gall, has marked this tragedy as a British classic, and a succession of audiences for above a century has proved, that it has deserved "Golden opinions from all sorts of people." Johnson observes, "Of a work so much read, it is difficult to say any thing new. About things on which the public thinks long, it commonly attains to think right; and of Cato it has been not unjustly determined, that it is rather a poem in dialogue than a drama; rather a succession of just sentiments in elegant language, than a representation of natural affections, or of any state probable or possible in human life. Nothing here excites or assuages emotion; here is no magical power of raising phantastic terror or exciting wild anxiety. The events are expected without solicitude, and remembered without joy or sorrow. Of the agents we have no care. Cato is a being above our solicitude, a man of whom the gods take care," and whom we leave to their care with heedless confidence. To the rest, neither gods nor men can have much attention; for there is not one amongst them, that strongly attracts either affection or esteem. But they are made the vehicles of such sentiments and such expressions that there is scarcely a scene in the play, which the reader does not wish to impress upon his memory.
And heavily in clouds brings on the day,
Has ravag'd more than half the globe, and sees Love is not to be reason'd down, or lost
Marc. Thy steady temper, Portius, Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Caesar, In the calm lights of mild philosophy; I'm tortur'd, e'en to madness, when I think On the proud victor: ev'ry time he's nam'd Pharsalia rises to my view!-I see Th' insulting tyrant, prancing o'er the field, Strew'd with Rome's citizens, and drench'd in slaughter;
Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian
With how much care he forms himself to glory,
When most it swells, and labours for a vent, His horses hoofs wet with patrician blood! The sense of honour, and desire of fame, Oh, Portius! is not there some chosen curse, Drive the big passion back into his heart. Some hidden thunder in the stores of heav'n, What, shall an African, shall Juba's heir Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man Reproach great Cato's son, and show the world Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin? A virtue wanting in a Roman soul? Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious
And mix'd with too much horror to be envied: How does the lustre of our father's actions, Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him, Break out, and burn with more triumphant brightness!
His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round him;
Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause
Against a world, a base, degen'rate world,
Pent up in Utica, he vainly forms
Marc. These are suggestions of a mind at
Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave stings behind them. Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius, show A virtue that has cast me at a distance, And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour? Por. Oh, Marcus! did I know the way to
Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains,
Marc. Thou best of brothers, and thou best
Pardon a weak, distemper'd soul, that swells
Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be form'd
Than executed. What means Portius here?
Good morrow, Portius; let us once embrace, Once more embrace, while yet we both are free. To-morrow, should we thus express our friendship,
Each might receive a slave into his arms. This sun, perhaps, this morning sun's the last, That e'er shall rise on Roman liberty.
Por. My father has this morning call'd together
To this poor hall, his little Roman senate
Sem. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome
Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof, Could I but call that wondrous man my father,
Marc. Alas, the counsel which I cannot take, Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.
When she beholds the holy flame expiring.
The world has all its eyes on Cato's son;
Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your
Is call'd together? Gods! thou must be cautious;
On this important hour-I'll straight away,
A worn-out trick: wouldst thou be thought
Clothe thy feign'd zeal in rage, in fire, in fury! Syph. In troth, thou'rt able to instruct grey hairs,
Sem. Curse on the stripling! how he apes
Ambitiously sententious-But I wonder
To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
Syph. Sempronius, all is ready;
I've sounded my Numidians, man by man,
Sem. Believe me, Syphax, there's no time
Ev'n while we speak, our conqueror comes on,
And teach the wily African deceit.
Blow up their discontents, till they break out
The time is short; Caesar comes rushing on
But hold! young Juba sees me, and approaches!
Juba. Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone.
And turn thine eye thus coldly on thy prince?
Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face,
Mountains and oceans to oppose his passage; Against the lords and sov'reigns of the world?
He bounds o'er all;
One day more
Will set the victor thund'ring at our gates.
That still would recommend thee more to Caesar,
Syph. Alas! he's lost!
He's lost, Sempronius; all his thoughts are full
If yet I can subdue those stubborn principles
Dost thou not see mankind fall down before
And own the force of their superior virtue?
Above your own Numidia's tawny sons?
In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome.
To cultivate the wild, licentious savage,
There may'st thou see to what a godlike height
Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an
That traverses our vast Numidian deserts
Juba. Thy prejudices, Syphax, won't discern
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato?
Syph. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughti-|
Juba. His counsels bade me yield to thy
Syph. Alas! my prince, I'd guide you to
Juba. I do believe thou wouldst; but tell
Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Cac-
Juba. My father scorn'd to do it.
Juba. Better to die ten thousand thousand
Than wound my honour.
Why wilt thou urge me to confess a flame
'Tis easy to divert and break its force.
The pale, unripen'd beauties of the north.
Juba. 'Tis not a set of features, or complexion,
Syph. Ay, there's the tie that binds you! You long to call him father. Marcia's charms Work in your heart unseen, and plead for Cato. No wonder you are deaf to all I say.
Shines out in ev'ry thing she acts or speaks,
Syph. How does your tongue grow wanton
But, on my knees, I beg you would consider-
And with her Lucia, Lucius's fair daughter.
Syph. Ten thousand curses fasten on them
Juba. Syphax, your zeal becomes impor-Now will the woman, with a single glance,
I've hitherto permitted it to rave,
Alas, he's dead! but can you e'er forget
Enter MARCIA and LUCIA.
The face of war, and make ev'n horror smile!
The good old king, at parting, wrung my hand
Juba. Oh, Marcia, let me hope thy kind As if he mourn'd his rival's ill success;
The friends of Rome, the glorious cause of virtue,
Juba. Thy reproofs are just,
Then bids me hide the motions of my heart,
Marcia. Let us not, Lucia, aggravate our
Of rushing torrents, and descending rains,
SCENE I-The Senate-house. Flourish. SEMPRONIUS, LUCIUS, and Senators discovered.
Thou virtuous maid; I'll hasten to my troops,
For Marcia's love.
Lucia. Marcia, you're too severe :
And drive him from you with so stern an air;
In pleasing dreams, and lose myself in love,
Who have so many griefs to try its force?
They're Marcia's brothers, and the sons of Cato.
I long to know, and yet I dread to hear it.
Oh, Portius, thou hast stol'n away my soul!
How will thy coldness raise
Sem. Rome still survives in this assembled senate.
Trumpets. Enter CATO, PORTIUS, and MARCUS.
Caesar's approach has summon'd us together,
Why should I mention Juba's overthrow,
What course to take. Our foe advances on us,
To hold it out, and fight it to the last?
By time and ill success, to a submission?
Sem. My voice is still for war.
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
Tempests and storms in his afflicted bosom! May reach his heart, and free the world
I dread the consequence.
Lucia. You seem to plead
Against your brother Portius.
Marcia. Lucia, no;
Had Portius been the unsuccessful lover,