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Eternity thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass ?
Through all her works,) he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in, must be happy.
But when or where ! - This world was made for Cæsar.
[Laying his hand on his sword.]
Thus am I doubly armed; my death and life,
My bane and antidote are both before me:
Unhurt amidst the wars of elements,
The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds."
In 1716, after a long courtship, Addison married Lady Warwick. She was a woman of much beauty, but also of proud and imperious temper. The marriage, it seems, did not add to his happiness. According to Dr. Johnson, the lady married him "on terms much like those on which a Turkish princess is espoused, to whom the Sultan is reported to pronounce, 'Daughter, I give thee this man for thy slave.'" His domestic infelicity caused him to seek more frequently the pleasures of the coffee-house. His fondness for wine likewise increased.
The year after his marriage he reached the summit of
his political career as Secretary of State. But his health soon failed; and after holding office for eleven months, he resigned on a pension of fifteen hundred pounds. His complaint ended in dropsy. A shadow was cast over the last years of his life by a quarrel with Steele, arising from a difference of political views. He died June 17, 1719. His last moments were perfectly serene. To his stepson he said, "See how a Christian can die." His piety was sincere and deep. All nature spoke to him of God; and the Psalmist's declaration that "the heavens declare the glory of God," he wrought into a magnificent hymn:"The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Speaking of this hymn, Thackeray says: "It seems to me those verses shine like the stars. They shine out of a great deep calm. When he turns to Heaven, a Sabbath comes over that man's mind; and his face lights up from it with a glory of thanks and prayer. His sense of religion stirs through his whole being. In the fields, in the town; looking at the birds in the trees; at the children in the streets; in the morning or in the moonlight; over his books in his own room; in a happy party at a country merry-making or a town assembly: good-will and peace to God's creatures, and love and awe of Him who made them, fill his pure heart and shine from his kind face. If Swift's life was the most wretched, I think Addison's was one of the most enviable. A life prosperous and beautiful a calm death an immense fame and affection afterward for his happy and spotless name."
THE greatest literary character of this period is Alexander Pope. In his life we find much to admire and much to condemn; but we cannot deny him the tribute of greatness. With his spiteful temper and habitual artifice, we can have no sympathy; but we recognize in him the power of an indomitable will supported by genius and directed to a single object.
He triumphed over the most adverse circumstances. A lowly birth cut him off from social position; his Roman Catholic faith brought political ostracism; and a dwarfed, sickly, deformed body excluded him from the vocations in which wealth and fame are usually acquired. Yet, in spite of this combination of hostile circumstances, he achieved the highest literary distinction, attracted to him the most eminent men of his day, and associated on terms of equality with the proudest nobility.
Alexander Pope was born in London in 1688, the memorable year of the Revolution. of the Revolution. His father, a Roman Catholic, was a linen merchant; and shortly after the poet's birth he retired with a competent fortune to a small estate at Binfield in Windsor Forest.
Though delicate and deformed, the future poet is represented as having been a sweet-tempered child; and his voice was so agreeable that he was playfully called the "little nightingale." Excluded from the public schools