1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 7:168-69.



The writings of Addison are chiefly poetical, critical, and moral. Mr. Gilbert Cooper has styled him "an indifferent poet, and a worse critic;" and Dr. Hurd calls him "a very ordinary poet." The public opinion is more favourable.... As a critic, Addison is entitled to great praise. His taste is truly elegant, and his judgment acute and discriminating. Defective as he has been thought, by Dr. Hurd, in the philosophy of his criticisms, he certainly contributed in an eminent degree, by his Critique on Paradise Lost, his Remarks on Ovid, and his Essays on Wit, and on the Pleasures of Imagination, to diffuse good taste in the nation, and to promote the cause of polite literature. A still higher praise belongs to Addison: No writings are better fitted than his for serving the cause of virtue and religion.