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A very short account will suffice for the remainder of his works. His connection with Steele engaged him in occasionally writing in the Tatler, the Spectator, and the Guardian, in which his productions, serious and humorous, conferred upon him immortal honour, and placed him deservedly at the head of his class. Some other periodical papers, decidedly political, were traced to Addison, of which The Freeholder was one of the most conspicuous. In 1716 he married the Countess-Dowager of Warwick, a connexion which is said not to have been remarkably happy. In the following year he was raised to the office of one of the principal secretaries of state; but finding himself ill suited to the post, and in a declining state of health, he resigned it to Mr. Craggs. In reality, his constitution was suffering from an habitual excess in wine; and it is a lamentable circumstance that a person so generally free from moral defects, should have given way to a fondness for the pleasures of a tavern life. Addison died in June, 1719, leaving an only daughter by the Countess of Warwick,
TO THE RIGHT HON. CHARLES LORD HALIFAX, IN
magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus, Magna virûm! tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis Aggredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes.
WHILE you, my lord, the rural shades admire,
And from Britannia's public posts retire,
Nor longer, her ungrateful sons to please,
For their advantage sacrifice your ease;
Me into foreign realms my fate conveys,
Through nations fruitful of immortal lays,
Where the soft season and inviting clime
Conspire to trouble your repose with rhyme.
For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes,
Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise,
Poetic fields encompass me around,
And still I seem to tread on classic ground;
For here the Muse so oft her harp has strung,
That not a mountain rears its head unsung,
Renown'd in verse each shady thicket grows,
And every stream in heavenly numbers flows.
How am I pleas'd to search the hills and woods
For rising springs and celebrated floods!
To view the Nar, tumultuous in his course,
And trace the smooth Clitumnus to his source,
To see the Mincio draw his watery store,
Through the long windings of a fruitful shore,
And hoary Albula's infected tide
O'er the warm bed of smoking sulphur glide.
Fir'd with a thousand raptures, I survey
Eridanus through flowery meadows stray,
The king of floods! that, rolling o'er the plains,
The towering Alps of half their moisture drains,
And proudly swoln with a whole winter's snows,
Distributes wealth and plenty where he flows.
Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng,
I look for streams immortalis'd in song,
That lost in silence and oblivion lie,
(Dumb are their fountains and their channels dry,)
Yet run for ever by the Muse's skill,
And in the smooth description murmur still.
Sometimes to gentle Tiber I retire,
And the fam'd river's empty shores admire,
That destitute of strength derives its course
From thrifty urns and an unfruitful source;
Yet sung so often in poetic lays,
With scorn the Danube and the Nile surveys;
So high the deathless Muse exalts her theme!
Such was the Boyne, a poor inglorious stream,
That in Hibernian vales obscurely stray'd,
And, unobserv'd, in wild meanders play'd;
Till by your lines and Nassau's sword renown'd,
Its rising billows through the world resound,
Where'er the hero's godlike acts can pierce,
Or where the fame of an immortal verse.
Oh, could the Muse my ravish'd breast inspire With warmth like yours, and raise an equal fire, Unnumber'd beauties in my verse should shine, And Virgil's Italy should yield to mine!
See how the golden groves around me smile,
That shun the coast of Britain's stormy isle,
Or, when transplanted and preserv'd with care,
Curse the cold clime, and starve in northern air.
Here kindly warmth their mountain juice ferments
To nobler tastes, and more exalted scents:
E'en the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom,
And trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.
Bear me, some god, to Baia's gentle seats,
Or cover me in Umbria's green retreats;
Where western gales eternally reside,
And all the seasons lavish all their pride :
Blossoms, and fruits, and flowers together rise,
And the whole year in gay confusion lies.
Immortal glories in my mind revive,
And in my soul a thousand passions strive,
When Rome's exalted beauties I descry
Magnificent in piles of ruin lie.
An amphitheatre's amazing height
Here fills my eye with terrour and delight,
That on its public shows unpeopled Rome,
And held, uncrowded, nations in its womb :
Here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies,
And here the proud triumphal arches rise,
Where the old Romans deathless acts display'd,
Their base degenerate progeny upbraid :
Whole rivers here forsake the fields below,
And wondering at their height through airy channels Still to new scenes my wandering Muse retires,
And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires : Where the smooth chisel all its force has shown, And soften'd into flesh the rugged stone.
In solemn silence, a majestic band,
Heroes, and gods, and Roman consuls stand.
Stern tyrants, whom their cruelties renown,
And emperors in Parian marble frown:
While the bright dames, to whom they humbly sued, Still show the charms that their proud hearts subdued.
Fain would I Raphael's godlike art rehearse,
And show th' immortal labours in my verse,
Where, from the mingled strength of shade and light,
A new creation rises to my sight,
Such heavenly figures from his pencil flow,
So warm with life his blended colours glow.
From theme to theme with secret pleasure tost,
Amidst the soft variety I'm lost :
Here pleasing airs my ravish'd soul confound
With circling notes and labyrinths of sound;
Here domes and temples rise in distant views,
And opening palaces invite my Muse.
How has kind Heaven adorn'd the happy land, And scatter'd blessings with a wasteful hand! But what avail her unexhausted stores,
Her blooming mountains, and her sunny shores,
With all the gifts that Heaven and Earth impart,
The smiles of Nature, and the charms of Art,
While proud oppression in her valleys reigns,
And tyranny usurps her happy plains?
The poor inhabitant beholds in vain
The reddening orange and the swelling grain:
Joyless he sees the growing oils and wines,
And in the myrtle's fragrant shade repines: