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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by

WHITTEMORE, NILES, AND HALL,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts

CAMBRIDGE:

ALLEN AND FARNHAM, STEREOTYPERS AND PRINTERS.

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NEW BIOGRAPHIES.

JOSEPH ADDISON.

JOSEPH ADDISON was the eldest son of Dean Addison. He was born at his father's rectory of Milston in Wiltshire, on the first day of May, 1672. After having passed through several schools, the last of which was the Charter-house, he went to Oxford, when he was about fifteen years old. He was first entered of Queen's College, but after two years was elected a scholar of Magdalen College, having, it is said, been recommended by his skill in Latin versification. He took his master's degree in 1693, and held a fellowship from 1699 to 1711.

The eleven years extending from 1693, or his twentyfirst year, to 1704, when he was in his thirty-second, may be set down as the first stage of his life as a man of letters. During this period, embracing no profession, and not as yet entangled in official business, he was a student, an observer, and an author; and though the literary works which he then produced are not those on which his permanent celebrity rests, they gained for him in his own day a high reputation. He had at first intended to become a clergyman; but his talents having attracted the attention of leading statesmen belonging to the Whig party, he was speedily diverted from

his earlier views by the countenance which these men bestowed on him. His first patron (to whom he seems to have been introduced by Congreve) was Charles Montague, afterwards Earl of Halifax, who was himself a dabbler in literature, and a protector of literary men; and he became known afterwards to the accomplished and excellent Somers. While both of them were quite able to estimate justly his literary merits, they had regard mainly to the services which they believed him capable of rendering to the nation or the party; and accordingly they encouraged him to regulate hist pursuits with a view to public and official employment. For a considerable time, however, he was left to his own resources, which cannot have been otherwise than scanty.

His first literary efforts were poetical. In 1693, a short poem of his, addressed to Dryden, was inserted in the third volume of that veteran writer's Miscellanies. The next volume of this collection contained his translation, in tolerable heroic couplets, of "all Virgil's Fourth Georgic, except the story of Aristæus." Two and a half books of Ovid were afterwards attempted; and to his years of early manhood belonged also his prose Essay on Virgil's Georgics, a performance which hardly deserved, either for its style or for its critical excellence, the compliment paid it by Dryden, in prefixing it to his own translation of the poem. The most ambitious of those poetical assay-pieces is the "Account of the Greatest English Poets," dated April, 1694, and addressed affectionately to Sacheverell, the poet's fellow collegian, who afterwards became so notorious in the party quarrels of the time. This piece, spirited both in language and in versification, is chiefly noticeable as showing that ignorance of old English poetry which was then universal. Addison next, in 1695, published one of those compositions, celebrating contemporary events, and lauding contemporary great men, on which, during the half century that succeeded the Revolution, there was wasted so much of good writing

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