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On the Death of Dr. Swift.
My female friends, whose tender hearts Have better learn'd to act their parts, Receive the news in doleful dumps “The Dean is dead: (Pray what is trumps ?) Then, Lord have mercy on his soul! (Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.) Six deans, they say, must bear the pall:
(I wish I knew what king to call.)
Vain human-kind! fantastic race!
Now Chartres, at Sir Robert's levee,
Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains:
Suppose me dead; and then suppose A club assembled at the Rose; Where, from discourse of this and that, I grow the subject of their chat. And while they toss my name about, With favour some, and some without; One, quite indifferent in the cause, My character impartial draws.
"Perhaps I may allow the Dean
Unless it offer'd to be witty.
Must be or ridicul'd or lash'd.
To merit well of human-kind;
An Elegy on the Death of Demar.
"He never thought an honour done him,
“He kept with princes due decorum;
"Had he but spar'd his tongue and pen,
Know all men by these presents, Death the
tamer, By mortgage, hath scour'd the corpse of Demar: Nor can four hundred thousand sterling pound Redeem him from his prison under ground. His heirs might well, of all his wealth possess'd, Bestow to bury him one iron chest. Plutus the god of wealth will joy to know His faithful steward in the shades below, He walk'd the streets, and wore a threadbare
cloak; He din'd and supp'd at charge of other folk: And by his looks, had he held out his palms, He might be thought an object fit for alms. So, to the poor, if he refus'd his pelf, He us'd them full as kindly as himself.
Where'er he went, he never saw his betters; Lords, knights, and squires, were all his humble
Oh London tavern! thou hast lost a friend, Though in thy walls he ne'er did farthing spend; He touch'd the pence,
when others touch'd the
pot; The hand that sign'd the mortgage paid the shot.
Old as he was, no vulgar known disease On him could ever boast a power to seize; But, as he weigh’d his gold, grim Death in
spight Cast in his dart, which made three moidores
And, as he saw his darling money fail,
The sexton shall green sods on thee bestow; Blew his last breath, to sink the lighter scale. Alas, the sexton is thy banker now! He who so long was current, 'twould be strange A dismal banker must that banker be, If he should now be cried down since his change. Who gives no bills but of mortality.
Joseph Addison, der Sohn eines Pfarrers, ward am 1. Mai 1672 zu Milston in Wiltshire geboren, studirte zu Oxford und machte dann, schon früh durch seine Fähigkeiten ausgezeichnet, mit königlicher Unterstützung eine Reise durch Frankreich und Italien. Bei seiner Rückkehr trat er in den Staatsdienst, begleitete den Grafen von Halifax nach Hannover und wurde nach der Thronbesteigung Georg's I. Unterstaatssecretair, nachdem er sich ein Jahr vorher, 1716 mit der verwittweten Gräfin von Warwick vermählt hatte. Reich und angesehen, starb er am 17. Juni 1719.
Addison war besonders ausgezeichnet als eleganter Prosaist und Sittenmaler und die von ihm theils in Verbindung mit Steele (mit dem er nachher auf unwürdige Weise brach), theils allein herausgegebenen Wochenschriften, the Tatler, the Spectator, the Freeholder u. s. w. haben ihm in dieser Hinsicht den wohlverdienten Ruf eines englischen Klassikers erworben. Als Dichter ist er dagegen kalt und nüchtern, obwohl correct und elegant, und selbst sein Trauerspiel "Cato", das einst so hoch gefeierte, das ganz nach den strengsten Regeln des Aristoteles und der französischen Schule gedichtet war, zeigt, obwohl reich an edeln Gedanken und schönen Schilderungen, dass Addison nur mit dem Verstande dichtete. Addison's Werke sind wiederholt aufgelegt worden; die beste Ausgabe ist die mit Anmerkungen von R. Hard, London 1811, 6 Bde in 8.
Paraphrase on Psalm XXIII.
Thy bounty shall my wants beguile:
The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
The spacious firmament on high,
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
Whilst all the stars that round her burn, Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds. Confirm the tidings as they roll,
What means this heaviness that hangs upon me? And spread the truth from pole to pole. This lethargy that creeps through all my senses? What though in solemn silence, all
Nature, oppress'd and harrass'd out with care, Move round the dark terrestrial ball; Sinks down to rest. This once I'll favour her, What though no real voice, nor sound, That my awaken'd soul may take her flight, Amidst their radiant orbs be found:
Renew'd in all her strength, and fresh with life, In reason's ear they all rejoice,
An off'ring fit for heav'n. Let guilt or fear And utter forth a glorious voice;
Disturb man's rest, Cato knows neither of them, For ever singing as they shine,
Indiff'rent in his choice to sleep or die.
Alas, 'my father!
Rash youth, forbear! It must be so Plato thou reason'st well
Portius. Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, Oh, let the pray’rs, th' entreaties of your friends, This longing after immortality?
Their tears, their common danger, wrest it from Or whence this secret dread and inward horror,
you! Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul
Cato. Back on herself, and startles at destruction ? 'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
Wouldst thou betray me? Wouldst thou give 'Tis heav'n itself that points out an hereafter,
me up And intimates eternity to man.
A slave, a captive, into Caesar's hands ? Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought! Retire, and learn obedience to a father, Through what variety of untried being,
Or know, young man Through what new scenes and changes must we
Look not thus sternly on me; The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me: But shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it. You know, I'd rather die than disobey you. Here will I hold. If there's a power above us
Cato. (And that there is, all nature cries aloud
'Tis well! again I'm master of myself. Through all her works), he must delight in virtue; Now, Caesar, let thy troops beset our gates, And that which he delights in must be happy.
And bar each avenue; thy gath’ring fleets But when, or where? this world was made O'erspread the sea, and stop up ev'ry port;
Cato shall open to himself a passage, I'm weary of conjectures
this must end them. And mock thy hopes.
(Laying his Hand on his Sword.) Thus am I doubly arm’d: my death and life,
Portius (Kinecling.) My bane and antidote, are both before me.
Oh, sir! forgive your son, This in a moment brings me to an end;
Whose grief hangs heavy on him. Oh, my father! But this informs me I shall never die."
How am I sure it is not the last time The soul, secur'd in her existence, smiles
I e'er shall call you so? Be not displeas'd, At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
Oh, be not angry with me whilst I weep, The stars shall fade away, the sun himself And, in the anguish of my heart, beseech you Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years,
To quit the dreadful purpose of your soul! But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Marcia. Thou hast been ever good and dutiful.
Though stern and awful to the foes of Rome, Weep not, my son, all will be well again; He is all goodness, Lucia, always mild; The righteous gods, whom I have sought to Compassionate and gentle to his friends ;
Fill'd with domestic tenderness, the best, Will succour Cato, and preserve his children. The kindest father; I have ever found him
Easy and good, and bounteous to my wishes. Portius.
Lucia. Your words give comfort to my drooping heart.
'Tis his consent alone can make us blest. Cato.
But who knows Cato's thoughts? Portius, thou may'st rely upon my conduct:
Who knows how yet he may dispose of Portius, Thy father will not act what misbecomes him.
Or how he has determin'd of thyself? But go, my son, and see if aught be wanting
Marcia. Among thy father's friends, see them embark'd,
Let him but live, commit the rest to heav'n. And tell me if the winds and seas befriend them. My soul is quite weigh'd down with care, and asks
Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man!
Oh, Marcia, I have seen thy godlike father; My thoughts are more at ease, my heart revives
Some power invisible supports his soul,
And bears it up in all its wonted greatness.
A kind, refreshing sleep is fall’n upon him: Oh, Marcia! Oh, my sister, still there's hope I saw him stretch'd at ease; his fancy lost Our father will not cast away a life
In pleasing dreams; as I drew near his couch, So needful to us all, and to his country.
He smil'd, and cried, Caesar, thou canst not
hurt me. He is retir'd to rest, and seems to cherish Thoughts full of peace. He has dispatch'd me
His mind still labours with some dreadful thouglt. With orders that bespeak a mind compos'd, And studious for the safety of his friends.
Enter Juba. Marcia, take care that none disturb his slumbers.
Lucius, the horsemen are return'd from viewing Marcia.
The number, strength, and posture of our foes, Oh, ye immortal powers, that guard the just,
Who now encamp within a short hour's march; Watch round his couch and soften his repose,
On the high point of yon bright western tower Banish his sorrows, and becalm his soul We ken them from afar; the settling sun With easy dreams; remember all his virtues,
Plays on their shining arms and burnish'd helmets, And show mankind that goodness is your care! And covers all the field with gleams of fire. Enter Lucia.
Marcia, 'tis time we should awake thy father.
Caesar is still dispos'd to give us terms, Where is your father, Marcia, where is Cato?
And waits at distance till he hears from Cato. Marcia.
Enter Portius. Lucia, speak low, he is retir’d to rest.
Portius; thy looks speak somewhat of importance. Lucia, I feel a gentle dawning hope
What tidings dost thou bring? Methinks I see Rise in my soul · We shall be happy still. Unusual gladness sparkle in thy eyes. Lucia.
Portius. Alas, I tremble when I think on Cato!
As I was hasting to the port, where now In every view, in every thought I tremble! My father's friends, impatient for a passage, Cato is stern and awful as a god;
Accuse the ling’ring winds, a sail arriv'd He knows not how to wink at human frailty, From Pompey's son, who, through the realms Or pardon weakness, that he never felt.