1739 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine 9 (January 1739) 21.



Looking towards the Door, I saw a middle-ag'd Person approach; he had in his Look all the Serenity that attends a good Conscience; his Deportment express'd him to be one who entirely understood the World, and by his Dress he seem'd to be upon an equal Footing with the most conspicuous in the Assembly. It is true, that he did not possess all his Accomplishments in the same Degree with every one of the other Members, but then not one amongst them seem'd to unite so many good Qualities as he did, in his own Person: His Character, therefore, had some Resemblance to that of Raphael, whom, tho' other Painters excell'd him in particular Branches of his Profession, yet none ever equall'd him in all; if he fell short of one in Sweetness, he excell'd him in Strength; and if he was excell'd in Strength, the Defect was supply'd by an uncommon Beauty: If another's Figures were more correct, his were more graceful; and if another could boast a better Disguise, he was sure to excel in the Expression. Such was the Character of the last Member, whom my Conductor told me was Mr. Addison; but, to my great Surprize, I found my aerial Guide not at all lavish of his Encomiums on this great Man, for whom I had been taught, and had always entertain'd a kind of a Veneration; this Coldness in his Favour made me uneasy, and the more as it proceeded from a Divine Intelligence.