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JOSEPH ADDISON was born May 21, 1679, 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, ander the taition of the learned Dr. Ellis. Here he first contracted an intimacy with Mr. Steele, which continued host 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 Musae 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, to enter into holy orders; but having, through Mr. Congreve's means, become a favourite of Lord Halifax, he was prevailed apon by that nobleman, to give np 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. Johuson 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 Government. In the office, says Pope, he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest of fine expressions." He solicited his dismissel 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 upen to marry him, on terms much like those, on which a Tarkish princess is espoused, to whom the sulian is reported to pronounce, Daughter, I give thee this man for thy slave. The marriage made no addition to his happiBess; it neither made them nor found them equal." In 1718-19, he had a severe dispate on The Peerage Bill with Steele, who, inveterate in his political opinions, supported them in a pamphlet called The Plebeian, which Addianswered 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 scrimenious opposition. Addison died of an asthma and dropsy, on the 17th June, 1719, aged 48, leaving only one danghter behind him. The general esteem ia which his productions, both serious and hamorous in The Spectator, The Tatler, and The Guardian are held, "pleads (as Spakspeare says), like engels, trumpet-tongued. in their behalf." As poet, his Cato, in the dramatic, and his Campaign, in the heroic way, will ever maintain a 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 bold 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 succesively; 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 peetical justice, because his own hero, with all his virtues, was to fall before a tyrant. Johnson says, "the fact is certain; the motives we must guess. Stecle 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 prologue by Pope, and an epiloae by Dr. Garth: Dr. Johnson, with the abovementioned persous, nay, even Dennis's gall, has marked this tragedy aa 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 Ing, 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 langage, than a representation of natural affections, or of any state probable or possible in human life. Nothing here exciles or assuages emotion; here is no magical power of raising phantastic terror or exciting wild anxiety. The events we expected without solicitade, and remembered withont 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.
Enter PORTIUS and MARCUS. Por. THE dawn is overcast, the morning low'rs,
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,
Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian
With how much care he forms himself to glory,
When most it swells, and labours for a vent,
Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious
And mix'd with too much horror to be envied:
His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round
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
Oh, Portius, didst thou taste but half the griefs That wring my soul, thou couldst not talk thus coldly.
Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave
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
Than executed. What means Portius here?
Each might receive a slave into his arms.
Por. My father has this morning call'd to-
To this poor hall, his little Roman senate
Passion unpitied, and successless love,
But I must hide it, for I know thy temper.
They strike with something like religious fear,
Could I but call that wondrous man my father,
To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger? Mare. Alas, the counsel which I cannot take, Thou might'st as well court the pale, tremInstead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.
When she beholds the holy flame expiring.
The world has all its eyes on Calo's son;
Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your
Is call'd together? Gods! thou must be cautious;
Clothe thy feign'd zeal in rage, in fire, in fury!
On this important hour-I'll straight away,
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
Sem. Once more be sure to try thy skill
Unlook'd for, and discharge themselves on Cato.
The time is short; Caesar comes rushing on
Juba. Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone, I have observ'd of late thy looks are fall'n, O'ercast with gloomy cares and discontent; Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me, What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns,
And turn thine eye thus coldly on thy prince?
Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face,
Ev'n while we speak, our conqueror comes on,
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
And own the force of their superior virtue?
Above your own Numidia's tawny sors?
In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome.
To cultivate the wild, licentious savage, And break our fierce barbarians into men. Turn up thy eyes to Cato;
There may'st thou see to what a godlike height
pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish, His rigid virtue will accept of none.
Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an
That traverses our vast Numidian deserts
Juba. Thy prejudices, Syphax, won't discern What virtues grow from ignorance and choice, Nor how the hero differs from the brute. Where, shall we find the man that bears af fliction,
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato? How does he rise against a load of woes, And thank the gods that threw the weight upon him!
Syph. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul;
Juba. His counsels bade me yield to thy direction.
Syph. Alas! my prince, I'd guide you to your safety.
Juba. I do believe thou wouldst; but tell me how.
Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Caesar's foes.
Juba. My father scorn'd to do it.
Juba. Better to die ten thousand thousand deaths,
Than wound my honour.
Juba. Syphax, I've promis'd to preserve my temper.
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, The tincture of a skin, that I admire: I think the Romans call it stoicism. Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover, Had not your royal father thought so highly Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense. Of Roman virtue, and of Cato's cause, The virtuous Marcia tow'rs above her sex: He had pot fall'n by a slave's hand inglorious; True, she is fair, (oh, how divinely fair!) Nor would his slaughter'd armies now have lain But still the lovely maid improves her charms On Afric's sands, disfigur'd with their wounds, With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom, To gorge the wolves and vultures of Numidia. And sanctity of manners; Cato's soul Juba. Why dost thou call my sorrows up afresh?
I've hitherto permitted it to rave,
Alas, he's dead! but can you e'er forget
Shines out in ev'ry thing she acts or speaks, While winning mildness and attractive smiles Dwell in her looks, and with becoming grace, Soften the rigour of her father's virtue.
Syph. How does your tongue grow wanton in her praise!
But, on my knees, I beg you would consider— Juba. Ha! Syphax, ist not she?-She moves this way;
And with her Lucia, Lucius's fair daughter. My heart beats thick-I pr'ythee, Syphax, leave
Enter MARCIA and LUCIA. Juba. Hail, charming maid! how does thy beauty smooth
The face of war, and make ev'n horror smile!
The good old king, at parting, wrung my hand