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himself to a serious study of the great master of English prose. No two men could have been more unlike than Addison and Hurd. Addison mild, genial and independent; Hurd bitter, irascible and cringing; the one raising himself to the highest rank by the force of talent, without the sacrifice of a friendship or a principle; the other making his way by subtle servility, and eagerly grasping at every means of promotion.

Still Hurd possessed some qualifications for his task. He was an admirer of good writing, and though cold, was not deficient in taste. He came with the feelings of a grammarian of the old school, to weigh words and start questions of syntax; and Addison furnishes abundant materials for both. It is amusing to see with what a tone the learned prelate pronounces sentence upon offending particles, and how rigorously he keeps sense and sentiment out of sight. Now and then, it is true, he betrays an indistinct consciousness that there is something more in his text than mere specimens of style; but most of his raptures are reserved for some happy construction or a word of peculiar elegance. It is of no use to ask for the explanation of an historical allusion, for he has none to give you. Manners and customs he passes by as though they had no bearing upon the subject; and leaves you to deal with proper names as if every body could be his own biographical dictionary. Still his notes are not without their value for the minute study of language. You may read them as you do Blair's critical examination,' and find yourself strengthened ir verbal criticism; and though it is impossible not

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to feel that when the Bishop of Worcester took up his pen to commentate Addison, he ought to have taken a wider range; yet within the limits which he set himself the task is well done, and his commentary will always find its place in a variorum.

A little before Hurd began his grammatical commentary, a writer of vastly higher qualifications announced his intention of giving a new edition of Addison. This was Beattie, who had made the Spectator his model in prose, and who sympathized, both in prose and in verse, with the classic taste of his master. Unfortunately this design was never fully carried out; other occupations and ill health compelling him to confine himself to a reprint and occasional commentary of the miscellaneous pieces. And it will ever continue a matter of surprise, that while Swift and Dryden found an editor like Scott; and Pope, already so loaded down with commentation, reappeared in two rival editions, no one should have felt that the best service that could be rendered to the cause of virtue and pure taste, would be an accurate edition of Addison.

The present edition, without pretending to contain all that might be done for the illustration of this eminent writer, claims to be, in some respects, superior to all its predecessors. The poems, which were carelessly thrown together in former editions, without any regard to their subject or their relative importance, have been accurately arranged, and, where the occasion required it, illustrated by notes. Several of Addison's finest poems were originally published in the Guardian and Spectator: these are

now placed under their proper heads. Portions of his correspondence, always the most faithful picture of a great man's heart, have been inserted at various times in different publications, particularly in the Addisoniana and in the life of Addison by Miss Aikin. These are now carefully collected and classed, as they deserve to be, among his works. The political tracts have been classed with the purely political essays; and the "Old Whig," which was omitted in all the other editions, is given in this in its proper place. Many of Addison's writings originally possessed a local and temporary interest, which they have not only lost for the modern reader, but have lost with it somewhat of that charm which arises from a familiarity with the names and circumstances to which they allude. As far as notes can revive it, it is hoped that the charm is in some measure restored in the present edition. The original orthography had been modernized by Hurd, whose system will be found, with a few exceptions, to correspond to the best usage of the present day. The American editor has not felt himself at liberty to reduce it to any cisatlantic standard. A list of the principal editions of Addison will be found in the fifth volume.

NEW-YORK, August 16, 1853.



To Addison we are bound by a sentiment as much like affection as any sentiment can be which is inspired by one who has been sleeping a hundred and twenty years in Westminster Abbey. We trust, however, that this feeling will not betray us into that abject idolatry which we have often had occasion to reprehend in others, and which seldom fails to make both the idolater and the idol ridiculous. A man of genius and virtue is but a man. All his powers cannot be equally developed; nor can we expect from him perfect self-knowledge. We need not, therefore, hesitate to admit that Addison has left us some compositions that do not rise above mediocrity, some heroic poems hardly equal to Parnell's, some criticisms as superficial as Dr. Blair's, and a tragedy not very much better than Dr. Johnson's. It is praise enough to say of a writer, that, in a high department of literature, in which many eminent writers have distinguished themselves, he has had no equal; and this may with strict justice be said of Addison.

As a man he may not have deserved the adoration which he received from those, who, bewitched by his fascinating society, and indebted for all the comforts of life to his generous and delicate friendship, worshipped ́him nightly in his favorite temple at Button's. But, after full inquiry and impartial reflection, we have long been convinced, that he deserved as much love and esteem as can be justly claimed by any of our infirm and erring race. Some blemishes may undoubtedly be detected in his

1 In selecting a critical review of the life and writings of Addison, there could be no hesiation in giving the preference to Macaulay's celebrated essay, one of the most elaborate of his brilliant collection. The introductory paragraph, which refers especially to Miss Aikin's ufe of Addison, has been omitted.—G.

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