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by each succeeding critic. Dr. Aikin, commenting on the passage, observes :

“ In this account there is truth, but not all the truth. It may apply to the domestic scenes and daily occurrences,' represented by this author; but much of his humour is also employed upon subjects of fancy and invention, in which the ludicrous is studiously sought after; and in not a few instances he manifestly draws with the pencil of a caricaturist, and effects his purpose by a happy exaggeration.

“ It has frequently been his practice to seize some story or historical narration, and, adopting only the leading circumstance, to found on it a fiction of his own, of an entirely ludicrous nature ; and in this species of humour he is, I think, peculiarly original. Of this kind may be mentioned his improvement of Sir John Mandeville's story of the freezing of words in the frigid zone; and his account of the Taliacotian manufactory of noses; both in the Tatler : his register of the Lover's Leap; description of Torcy's academy for politicians: dream of women carrying out their valuables from a besieged town; and trial of chastity by a breed of dogs; all in the Spectator.' These admirable pieces of humour cannot justly be said to please by their adherence to nature and truth ; on the contrary, they owe their merit to a

kind of agreeable extravagance, and to a creation of ludicrous imagery, artificially engrafted upon the subject. Many others of his pictures are fancy pieces of the caricature and grotesque kind. Such are the virtuoso's will; and most of the proceedings of the court of honour, in the Tatler : the citizen's and the lady's journal, and the widow's club, in the Spectator; the rebel officer's journal, in the Freeholder; and the scenes among the servants, in the play of the Drummer. In others he has receded still further from topics of real life, and has sported in scenes of pure invention. Examples of this are given in the transmigrations of a monkey, the dissections of a beau's head and a coquette's heart, the mountain of miseries, and that delightful tale, the antediluvian loves of Shalum and Hilpa. Thus it would seem that Addison rejected no promising source of the ludicrous, whether suggested by reading, observation, or fancy. It may, however, be admitted, that humour is most valuably employed where, besides the purpose of exciting a smile, his intent has been to satyrise some prevalent folly or violation of the properties of life. This has very frequently been his object, and no writer ever more happily combined good natured pleasantry with effectual ridicule. The sly simplicity of his strokes inflicted with a seeming unconsciousness of intention, while it renders them more exquisite to attentive and sagacious readers, has perhaps often occasioned them to pass unnoticed *."

The representation of Dr. Aikin appears to me extremely just. Addison, though in no degree a broad caricaturist, has certainly delighted and excelled in imparting a peculiarly ludicrous and somewhat exaggerated cast of feature to the greater part of his humorous delineations. It is, in fact, of the essence of humour to dwell upon and enlarge to definite dimensions those parts of character or incident which are susceptible of ridicule and laughable association; beyond certain bounds, however, all is distortion of attitude or glare of colouring; and it is the merit of Addison that he knew where to pause, even in the seductive path of mere fancy and grotesque painting.

In delineating the follies and foibles of domestic life, the fashions and caprices of the passing day, our author has been so chaste and judicious in heightening the comic effect of his sketches, that, although every touch in the picture has its force, nothing appears overcharged; and the Spectator remains unconscious of the consummate art necessary to the result which he so greatly admires.

* Monthly Magazine, vol. ix. p. 2.

In those pieces, however, where the author has given up the reins to fancy and invention, where he passes beyond the common occurrences of life, he no longer conceals the means by which he obtains his purpose ; and his resources, though happily sought for and applied, are evident to the attentive observer. Here the humour is certainly of a more open and exaggerated cast, its colouring more bold and decided, and, though never descending to absolute burlesque or extravagant caricature, is undoubtedly built upon imagery and incidents which frequently far exceed the usual laws and events of human nature.

To the papers already referred to by Dr. Aikin, as examples of each species of Addisonian humour, we may add, as illustrative of the first class, the description of Sir Harry Quickset's Visit *, and of Bickerstaff learning Fencing t, from the Tatler ; both papers of exquisite natural humour. In the Spectator, the Essays on Clubs I, on Valetudinarianism ş, on the Ladies Library li, on the Use of the Fans, on the Ideas entertained of the Spectator in the Country **,

* Tatler, No 86.
| Spectator, No 9,72.
ll Ditto, No 37, 92.
** Ditto, No 131.

+ Tatler, No 93.

Spectator, No 25. | Ditto, No 102.

on Sleepers *, on the Art of Disputing t, and ori the Opening of the Spectator's Mouth I, are all admirable specimens of that indirect and unforced association of ludicrous ideas for which Addison has been so justly celebrated. From the Guardian also, though of a graver cast than its predecessors, we can select a few papers of similar merit; Simon Softly's Courtship, for instance ş, and the Essays on the Tucker, and on the art of Flying|l.

Of the second class, likewise, where fiction and a pleasant species of exaggeration form the chief sources of the humorous, some further speciunens may be adduced. A great part of the

proceedings of the court of judicature in the Tatler is of this description, especially that paper where the lover is drawn as struck stone dead by the loss of his snuff-box , a relation which it is impossible to read with a fixed countenance, or without feeling the keen, though somewhat grotesque, ridicule of the representation. The two papers in the same work, descriptive of the characters of men and women under the appellation of musical instruments **, display a happy mix

* Spectator, No 184. + Ditto, N° 550,556. | Guardian, No 100, 112. ** Tatler, No 153, 157. VOL. II,

+ Spectator, No 239.
§ Guardian, No 97.
| Tatler, No 110.

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