1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

Lucy Aikin, in Life of Addison (1843); Russell, Book of Authors (1860) 148.



Steele, with considerable humour, had still more power in the pathetic; not indeed that of the buskin, but of everyday life; hence his short narratives of domestic circumstances, often conveyed in imaginary letters, which have much of this quality, were doubtless amongst the most attractive portions of the Tatler on its first appearance. In fact, notwithstanding a considerable alloy of what must now be reckoned for dross and refuse — coarseness of idea and bluntness of expression — they still interest; and in good part by virtue of the liberal, the humane, and the generous sentiment which they seldom fail to inculcate, and which evidently came from the heart.