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With hair of stinging snakes and shining bright, With flames and blood, and with a brand of fire. These for revenge of wretched murder done
Do make the mother kill her only son! 11. Blood asketh blood, and death must death requite:
Jove, by his just and everlasting doom,
O happy wight that suffers not the snare
What is said of Ferrex and Porrex? When was it first exhibited ? What is the story on which it is based? What element of the old Greek tragedy was retained? What was the function of the chorus?
chorus, probably meant originally a circle, then a circle of singers. Greek tragedy took its rise from a hymn in honour of a Greek god (Dionysus or Bacchus) sung by a circle of singers. Afterwards the chorus occupied the position referred to in the lesson. English tragedy took its rise from the Mirac'e Plays and Moralities of the Middle Ages.
The dreadful Furies.—The Greeks believed that crimes—especially those of unusual atrocity-were avenged by torments inflicted by three beings whom they designated Furies. The three were Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera. They were represented as equipped in the way described in the lesson.
THE SPECTATOR. -PART I.
1. At the beginning of March following (1711) appeared the first of an incomparable series of papers, containing observations on life and literature by an imaginary Spectator. The Spectator himself was conceived and drawn by Addison; and it is not easy to doubt that the portrait was meant to be in some features a likeness of the painter.
2. The Spectator is a gentleman who, after passing a studious youth at the university, has travelled on classic ground, and has bestowed much attention on curious points of antiquity. He has, on his return, fixed his residence in London, and has observed all the forms of life which are to be found in that great city, has daily listened to the wits of Will's, has smoked with the philosophers of the Grecian, and has mingled with the parsons at Child's and with the politicians at the St. James's. In the morning, he often listens to the hum of the Exchange; in the evening, his face is constantly to be seen in the pit of Drury Lane Theatre. But an insurmountable bashfulness prevents him from opening his mouth, except in a small circle of intimate friends.
3. These friends were first sketched by Steele. Four of the club, the templar, the clergyman, the soldier, and the merchant, were uninteresting figures, fit only for a background. But the other two, an old country baronet and an old town rake, though not delineated with a very delicate pencil, had some good strokes. Addison took the rude outlines into his own hands, retouched them, coloured them, and is in truth the creator of the Sir Roger de Coverley and the Will Honeycomb with whom we are all familiar.
1 From the Essays of Lord Macaulay by permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green, & Co.
4. The plan of the Spectator must be allowed to be both original and eminently happy. Every valuable essay in the series may be read with pleasure separately; yet the five or six hundred essays form a whole, and a whole which has the interest of a novel. It must be remembered, too, that at that time no novel giving a lively and powerful picture of the common life and manners of England had appeared. Richardson was working as a compositor. Fielding was robbing birds' nests. Smollett was not yet born.
5. The narrative, therefore, which connects the Spectator's Essays, gave to our ancestors their first taste of an exquisite and untried pleasure. That narrative was indeed constructed with no art or labour. The events were such events as occur every day. Sir Roger comes up to town to see Eugenio, as the worthy baronet always calls Prince Eugene, goes with the Spectator on the water to Spring Gardens, walks among the tombs in the Abbey, and is frightened by the Mohawks, but conquers his apprehension so far as to go to the theatre when the Distressed Mother is acted. The Spectator pays a visit in the summer to Coverley Hall, is charmed with the old house, the old butler, and the old chaplain; eats a jack caught by Will Wimble, rides to the assizes, and hears a point of law discussed by Tom Touchy. At last a letter from the honest butler brings to the club the news that Sir Roger is dead. Will Honeycomb marries and reforms at sixty.
6. The club breaks up; and the Spectator resigns his functions. Such events can hardly be said to form a plot; yet they are related with such truth, such grace, such wit, such humour, such pathos, such knowledge of the human heart, such knowledge of the ways of the world, that they charm us on the hundredth perusal. We have not the least doubt that, if Addison had written a novel on an extensive plan, it would have been superior to any that we possess. As it is, he is entitled to be considered r.ot only as the greatest of the English essayists, but as the forerunner of the great English novelists. -Lord Macaulay (1800—1859).
Questions on the lesson :—What is the date of the Spectator's first appearance? What did the papers contain? Who designed the Spectator? Of whom was the portrait drawn of the Spectator a likeness? What had been the history of the Spectator, place of education, where had he travelled, &c. ? What is Steele’s relation to some of the characters? What of the interest of the Essays? What is their relation to the modern novel ? To what is the interest of the papers not due? To what is it due?
Addison (Joseph), born 1672; son of an English dean; distinguished at Oxford; travelled abroad in 1699, returned in 1702. Wrote papers in Tatler, Spectator, Guardian; also tragedy of Cato. In 1717 was made Secretary of State. Died 1719.
Steele (Sir Richard), 1671–1729, belonged to Dublin; was educated in London; was an intimate friend of Addison; began the Tatler in 1709. The Spectator was begun in 1711, the Guardian in 1713.
Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, the earliest English novelists who delineated the incidents of contemporary life. Prince
of Savoy, associated with Marlborough in the Battle of Blenheim.
THE POET'S BOOKS.
1. My days among the Dead are past;
Around me I behold,
2. With them I take delight in weal
And seek relief in woe;
3. My thoughts are with the Dead; with them
I live in long-past years,
Instruction with an humble mind. 4. My hopes are with the Dead; anon
My place with them will be,