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Joseph Addison

Birthdate: 1. May 1672
Date of death: 17. June 1719

Joseph Addison was an English essayist, poet, playwright and politician. He was the eldest son of The Reverend Lancelot Addison. His name is usually remembered alongside that of his long-standing friend Richard Steele, with whom he founded The Spectator magazine.

Works

Cato
Cato
Joseph Addison
The Campaign
Joseph Addison

Quotes Joseph Addison

„When I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out“

—  Joseph Addison

Thoughts in Westminster Abbey (1711).
Context: When I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow: when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind.

„Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.“

—  Joseph Addison

No. 147.
The Tatler (1711–1714)
Variant: A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body
Context: Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.

„Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn“

—  Joseph Addison, The Campaign

Source: The Campaign (1704), Line 101.
Context: Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn;
A sudden friendship, while with stretched-out rays
They meet each other, mingling blaze with blaze.
Polished in courts, and hardened in the field,
Renowned for conquest, and in council skilled,
Their courage dwells not in a troubled flood
Of mounting spirits, and fermenting blood:
Lodged in the soul, with virtue overruled,
Inflamed by reason, and by reason cooled,
In hours of peace content to be unknown.
And only in the field of battle shown:
To souls like these, in mutual friendship joined,
Heaven dares intrust the cause of humankind.

„The man resolved, and steady to his trust,
Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just,
May the rude rabble's insolence despise“

—  Joseph Addison

Translation of Horace, Odes, Book III, ode iii.
Context: The man resolved, and steady to his trust,
Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just,
May the rude rabble's insolence despise,
Their senseless clamours and tumultuous cries;
The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles,
And the stern brow, and the harsh voice defies,
And with superior greatness smiles.

„Keep up the loud harmonious song,
And imitate the blest above,
In joy, and harmony, and love.“

—  Joseph Addison

Song for St. Cecilia's Day (1692).
Context: Consecrate the place and day
To music and Cecilia.
Let no rough winds approach, nor dare
Invade the hallow'd bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,
Nor spoil the fleeting sounds.
Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard,
But gladness dwell on every tongue;
Whilst all, with voice and strings prepar'd,
Keep up the loud harmonious song,
And imitate the blest above,
In joy, and harmony, and love.

„The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper uses.“

—  Joseph Addison

No. 225.
The Tatler (1711–1714)
Context: The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper uses. Accordingly, if we look into particular communities and divisions of men, we may observe that it is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to the society.

„So when an angel by divine command
With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
Such as of late o'er pale Britannia passed,
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.“

—  Joseph Addison, The Campaign

Source: The Campaign (1704), Line 287, the word "passed" was here originally spelt "past" but modern renditions have updated the spelling for clarity. An alteration of these lines occurs in Alexander Pope's satire The Dunciad, Book III, line 264, where he describes a contemporary theatre manager as an "Angel of Dulness":
Immortal Rich! how calm he sits at ease,
Midst snows of paper, and fierce hail of pease;
And proud his mistress' order to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm.

„Eternity! thou pleasing dreadful thought!“

—  Joseph Addison, book Cato

Act V, scene i.
Cato, A Tragedy (1713)
Context: Eternity! thou pleasing dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass!

„What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.“

—  Joseph Addison

No. 177 (22 September 1711).
The Spectator (1711–1714)
Context: I have somewhere met with the epitaph of a charitable man, which has very much pleased me. I cannot recollect the words, but the sense of it is to this purpose; What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.

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„Consecrate the place and day
To music and Cecilia.
Let no rough winds approach, nor dare
Invade the hallow'd bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,
Nor spoil the fleeting sounds.“

—  Joseph Addison

Song for St. Cecilia's Day (1692).
Context: Consecrate the place and day
To music and Cecilia.
Let no rough winds approach, nor dare
Invade the hallow'd bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,
Nor spoil the fleeting sounds.
Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard,
But gladness dwell on every tongue;
Whilst all, with voice and strings prepar'd,
Keep up the loud harmonious song,
And imitate the blest above,
In joy, and harmony, and love.

„Their courage dwells not in a troubled flood
Of mounting spirits, and fermenting blood:
Lodged in the soul, with virtue overruled,
Inflamed by reason, and by reason cooled,
In hours of peace content to be unknown.
And only in the field of battle shown:
To souls like these, in mutual friendship joined,
Heaven dares intrust the cause of humankind.“

—  Joseph Addison, The Campaign

Source: The Campaign (1704), Line 101.
Context: Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn;
A sudden friendship, while with stretched-out rays
They meet each other, mingling blaze with blaze.
Polished in courts, and hardened in the field,
Renowned for conquest, and in council skilled,
Their courage dwells not in a troubled flood
Of mounting spirits, and fermenting blood:
Lodged in the soul, with virtue overruled,
Inflamed by reason, and by reason cooled,
In hours of peace content to be unknown.
And only in the field of battle shown:
To souls like these, in mutual friendship joined,
Heaven dares intrust the cause of humankind.

„There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion“

—  Joseph Addison

No. 225.
The Tatler (1711–1714)
Context: There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion; it is this, indeed, which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the advantage of the person who is possessed of them. Without it, learning is pedantry, and wit impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice.

„All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity“

—  Joseph Addison

No. 101 (26 June 1711).
The Spectator (1711–1714)
Context: "Censure," says a late ingenious author, "is the tax a man plays for being eminent." It is a folly for an eminent man to think of escaping it, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of comitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.

„Every star, and every pow'r,
Look down on this important hour“

—  Joseph Addison

Queen Elinor in Rosamond (c. 1707), Act III, sc. ii.
Context: Every star, and every pow'r,
Look down on this important hour:
Lend your protection and defence
Every guard of innocence!
Help me my Henry to assuage,
To gain his love or bear his rage.
Mysterious love, uncertain treasure,
Hast thou more of pain or pleasure!
Chill'd with tears,
Kill'd with fears,
Endless torments dwell about thee:
Yet who would live, and live without thee!

„Mysterious love, uncertain treasure,
Hast thou more of pain or pleasure!
Chill'd with tears,
Kill'd with fears,
Endless torments dwell about thee:
Yet who would live, and live without thee!“

—  Joseph Addison

Queen Elinor in Rosamond (c. 1707), Act III, sc. ii.
Context: Every star, and every pow'r,
Look down on this important hour:
Lend your protection and defence
Every guard of innocence!
Help me my Henry to assuage,
To gain his love or bear his rage.
Mysterious love, uncertain treasure,
Hast thou more of pain or pleasure!
Chill'd with tears,
Kill'd with fears,
Endless torments dwell about thee:
Yet who would live, and live without thee!

„My voice is still for war.
Gods! Can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slavery or death?“

—  Joseph Addison, book Cato

Act II, scene i.
Cato, A Tragedy (1713)
Context: My voice is still for war.
Gods! Can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slavery or death?
No, let us rise at once,
Gird on our swords, and,
At the head of our remaining troops, attack the foe,
Break through the thick array of his throng'd legions,
And charge home upon him.
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.

„Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.“

—  Joseph Addison, book Cato

Act II, scene i.
Cato, A Tragedy (1713)
Context: My voice is still for war.
Gods! Can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slavery or death?
No, let us rise at once,
Gird on our swords, and,
At the head of our remaining troops, attack the foe,
Break through the thick array of his throng'd legions,
And charge home upon him.
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.

„At the same time that I think discretion the most useful talent a man can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomplishment of little, mean, ungenerous minds.“

—  Joseph Addison

No. 225.
The Tatler (1711–1714)
Context: At the same time that I think discretion the most useful talent a man can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomplishment of little, mean, ungenerous minds. Discretion points out the noblest ends to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable methods of attaining them: cunning has only private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended views, and, like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon: cunning is a kind of short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest objects which are near at hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion the more it is discovered, gives a greater authority to the person who possesses it: cunning, when it is once detected, loses its force, and makes a man incapable of bringing about even those events which he might have done had he passed only for a plain man. Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life: cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks out after our immediate interest and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understandings, cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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