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touches on them 3“incedit per ignes, suppositos cineri doloso.” But without reproaching one side to praise another, I may justly recommend to both those wholesome counsels which, wisely administered, and as well executed, were the means of preventing a civil war, and of extinguishing a growing fire which was just ready to have broken forth among us. So many wives, who have yet their husbands in their arms; so many parents, who have not the number of their children lessened; so many villages, towns, and cities, whose inhabitants are not decreased, their property violated, or their wealth diminished, are yet owing to the sober conduct and happy results of your advice. If a true account may be expected by future ages from the present, your lordship will be delivered over to posterity in a fairer character than I have given ; and be read, not in the preface of a play, (whose author is not vain enough to promise immortality to others, or to hope for it himself,) but in many pages of a chronicle, filled with praises of your administration. For if writers be just to the memory of King Charles II., they cannot deny him to have been an exact “knower of mankind, and a perfect distinguisher of their talents. It is true, his necessities often forced him to vary his counsellors and counsels, and sometimes to employ such persons in the management of his affairs who were rather fit for his present purpose than satisfactory to his judgment; but where it was choice in him, not compulsion, he was master of too much good sense to delight in heavy conversation; and whatever his favourites of state might be, yet those of his affection were men of wit. He was easy with these, and complied only with the former. But in the latter part of his life, which certainly required to be most cautiously managed, his secret thoughts were communicated but to few, and those selected of that sort who were “amici omnium horarum,” --able to advise him in a serious consult, where his honour and safety were concerned, and afterwards capable of entertaining him with pleasant discourse as well as profitable. In this maturest part of his age, when he had been long seasoned with difficulties and dangers, and was grown to a niceness in his choice, as being satisfied how few could be trusted, and of those who could be trusted how few could serve him, he con
fined himself to a small number of bosom friends, amongst whom the world is much mistaken if your lordship was not first.
If the rewards which you received for those services were only honours, it rather showed the necessities of the times than any want of kindness in your royal master. And as the splendour of your fortune stood not in need of being supported by the crown, so likewise in being satisfied without other recompense, you showed yourself to be above a mercenary interest, and strengthened that power which bestowed those titles on you; which, truly speaking, were marks of acknowledgment more than favour.
But, as a skilful pilot will not be tempted out to sea in suspected weather, so have you wisely chosen to withdraw yourself from public business, when the face of heaven grew troubled, and the frequent shifting of the winds foreshowed a storm. There are times and seasons when the best patriots are willing to withdraw their hands from the commonwealth, as Phocion in his latter days was observed to decline the management of affairs; or 6as Cicero, to draw the similitude more home, left the pulpit for Tusculum, and the praise of oratory for the sweet enjoyments of a private life; and in the happiness of those retirements has more obliged posterity by his moral precepts than he did the republic in quelling the conspiracy of Catiline. What prudent man would not rather follow the example of his retreat, than stay like Cato, with a stubborn, unseasonable virtue, to oppose the torrent of the people, and at last be driven from the market-place by a riot of a multitude, uncapable of counsel and deaf to eloquence? There is likewise a portion of our lives which every wise man may justly reserve to his own peculiar use, and that without defrauding his native country. A Roman soldier was allowed to plead the merit of his services for his dismission at such an age; and there was but one exception to that rule, which was an invasion from the Gauls. How far that may work with your lordship I am not certain, but I hope it is not coming to the trial.
In the meantime, while the nation is secured from foreign attempts by so powerful a fleet, and we enjoy not only the happiness but even the ornaments of peace in the divertisement of the town, I humbly offer you this trifle, which, if it succeed upon the stage, is like to be the chiefest entertainment of our ladies and gentlemen this summer. When I wrote it, seven years ago, I employed some reading about it, to informn myself out of Beda, Bochartus, and other authors, concerning the rites and customs of the heathen Saxons; as I also used the little skill I have in poetry to adorn it. But not to offend the present times, nor a government which has hitherto protected me, I have been obliged so much to alter the first design, and take away so many beauties from the writing, that it is now no more what it was formerly than the present ship of the Royal Sovereign, after so often taking down and altering, is the vessel it was at the first building. There is nothing better than what I intended but the music, which has since arrived to a greater perfection in England than ever formerly, especially passing through the artful hands of Mr. & Purcell, who has composed it with so great a genius that he has nothing to fear but an ignorant, ill-judging audience. But the numbers of poetry and vocal music are sometimes so contrary, that in many places I have been obliged to cramp my verses, and make them rugged to the reader, that they may be harmonious to the hearer: of which I have no reason to repent me, because these sorts of entertainments are principally designed for the ear and eye; and therefore, in reason, my art on this occasion ought to be subservient to his. And besides, I flatter myself with an imagination, that a judicious audience will easily distinguish betwixt the songs wherein I have complied with him and those in which I have followed the rules of poetry in the sound and cadence of the words.
Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, there is somewhat still remaining of the first spirit with which I wrote it; and though I can only speak by guess of what pleased my first and best patroness, the Duchess of Monmouth, in the reading, yet I will venture my opinion, by the knowledge I have long had of her grace's excellent judgment and true taste of poetry, that the parts of the airy and earthy spirits, and that fairy kind of writing which depends only upon the force of imagination, were the grounds of her liking the poem, and afterwards of her recommending it to the Queen. I have likewise had the satisfaction to hear that her majesty has graciously been pleased to peruse the manuscript of this opera, and given it her royal approbation. Poets, who subsist not but on the favour of sovereign princes and of great persons, may have leave to be a little vain, and boast of their patronage who encourage the genius that animates them; and therefore I will again presume to guess that her majesty was not displeased to find in this poem the praises of her native country, and the heroic actions of so famous a predecessor in the government of Great Britain as King Arthur.
All this, my lord, I must confess, looks with a kind of insinuation that I present you with somewhat not unworthy your protection. But I may easily mistake the favour of her majesty for her judgment: I think I cannot be deceived in thus addressing to your lordship, whom I have had the honour to know, at that distance which becomes me, for so many years. It is true that formerly'I have shadowed some part of your virtues under another name; but the character, though short and imperfect, was so true, that it broke through the fable, and was discovered by its native light. What I pretend by this Dedication, is an honour which I do myself to posterity, by acquainting them that I have been conversant with the first persons of the age in which I lived, and thereby perpetuate my prose, when my verses may possibly be forgotten, or obscured by the fame of future poets. Which ambition, amongst my other faults and imperfections, be pleased to pardon in, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient servant,
• JOSEPH ADDISON.
JOSEPH ADDISON, whose name is identified with pure and elegant English writing, was born at Milston, near Amesbury in Wiltshire, in the year 1672. His father, who was Rector of Milston, having been advanced to the Deanery or Lichfield, the family necessarily removed thither; and for some years Addison continued to receive his education in the Grammar School of that city. Thence he was transferred to the Charter-house, and in 1687 commenced residence at Queen's College, Oxford, where he very soon made for himself a distinguished reputation as a writer of Latin poetry. His acquaintance with the Latin poets was very intimate and extensive; but in other respects he never seems to have acquired or deserved the character of a profound scholar. By Congreve he was introduced to Mr. Montague, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who dissuaded him from taking holy orders, and induced him to make literature and politics his calling. At the outset he received a pension of £300, to enable him to travel; and in 1700 he visited France and Italy, remaining abroad about two years, and on his return publishing an elegant but somewhat superficial book of travels. The Whig party, to which he was attached, and to which he looked for patronage, was now out of office; but Addison was recommended by Halifax to Godolphin, the Treasurer, who employed him to write a poem on the Battle of Blenheim, and rewarded him with the post of Commissioner of Appeals, vacant through the death of Locke. Next year he was made Under Secretary of State; and, at a later period, accompanied the notorious Marquis of Wharton to Ireland as his Secretary. The accession of the House of Hanover, in 1713, opened the way to Addison's further advancement. Immediately on the death of the Queen a Provisional Regency was appointed, to which he was made Secretary; and it is in connection with this circumstance that the well known but unfounded story is told of the difficulty he found in drawing up the form of notice to be sent to Hanover announcing the vacancy of the throne-a task which it is pretended) was done in a common-place, business-like style, by a clerk, while Addison was