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JOSEPH ADDISON was born on the 1st of May, 1672. His first English poem was an address to Dryden on the publication of the latter's Translations of Ovid. This was written in his twenty-second year. In 1694 he published, in one of Dryden's Miscellanies, his Account of the Principal English Poets; in 1695 appeared his Address to King William. Having obtained a pension of £300 to enable him to travel, he visited the continent, and in 1701 wrote his Letter from Italy to Lord Halifax. When Godolphin in 1704 was in search of a poet to celebrate in an adequate manner the victory of Blenheim, Halifax directed him to Addison, who in answer to the Treasurer's application produced The Campaign, and obtained as a reward the post of Under-Secretary of State. His opera Rosamond was performed in 1706. In 179 The Tatler began to appear, and The Spectator in 1711. Addison's tragedy of Cato was brought out in 1713. He also wrote Prologues and Epilogues to various plays; among others the Prologue to The Tender Husband and the Epilogue to Lord Lansdowne's British Enchanters. He died on the 17th of June, 1719.]

No English poet illustrates more vividly than Addison the truth of the principle, 'Poeta nascitur non fit.' Possessed of an inimitable prose style, which makes him the most graceful of all social satirists, the creator of Sir Roger de Coverley rarely succeeds, as a poet, in impressing us with the sense-the true touchstone of poetical art-that what he is saying is expressed better in verse than it could be expressed in prose. Nor is this to be attributed to the comparatively prosaic nature of the subjects he undertakes. Dryden, Pope, and Goldsmith write on themes which seem unpropitious when compared with the materials of the Elizabethan poets; but the best work of these three poets is, in its class, first-rate; Addison's work is never more than second-rate. His Account of the Principal English Poets is just but tame; he probably wrote it in metre merely because Roscommon had done something of the same kind before him; at any rate, by the side of the animated judgments of Pope in his Epistle to Augustus, his historical survey of English poetry seems flat and languid




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