''It is indeed very possible, that the Persons we laugh at may in the main of their Characters be much wiser Men than our selves; but if they would have us laugh at them, they must fall short of us in those Respects which stir up this Passion.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 47 (1711).
''When I consider the Question, Whether there are such Persons in the World as those we call Witches? my Mind is divided between the two opposite Opinions; or rather (to speak my Thoughts freely) I believe in general that there is, and has been such a thing as Witchcraft; but at the same time can give no Credit to any Particular Instance of it.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 117 (1711).
''Among all kinds of Writing, there is none in which Authors are more apt to miscarry than in Works of Humour, as there is none in which they are more ambitious to excel.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 35 (1711).
''The Fashionable World is grown free and easie; our Manners sit more loose upon us: Nothing is so modish as an agreeable Negligence. In a word, Good Breeding shows it self most, where to an ordinary Eye it appears the least.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 119 (1711).
''Since I am upon this Subject, I must observe that our English Poets have succeeded much better in the Stile, than in the Sentiments of their Tragedies. Their Language is very often noble and sonorous, but the sense either very trifling or very common. On the contrary, in the ancient Tragedies, and indeed in those of Corneille and Racine, tho' the Expressions are very great, it is the Thought that bears them up and swells them. For my own part, I prefer a noble Sentiment that is depressed with homely Language, infinitely before a vulgar one that is blown up with all the Sound and Energy of Expression. Whether this Defect in our Tragedies may arise from Want of Genius, Knowledge, or Experience in the Writers, or from their Compliance with the vicious Taste of their Readers, who are better Judges of the Language than of the Sentiments, and consequently relish the one more than the other, I cannot determine.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 39 (1711).
''Ordinary People ... are so used to be dazled [sic] with Riches, that they pay as much Deference to the Understanding of a Man of an Estate, as of a Man of Learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any Truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several Men of five hundred a Year who do not believe it.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 112 (1711).
''I should prefer a Woman that is agreeable in my own Eye, and not deformed in that of the World, to a celebrated Beauty. If you marry one remarkably beautiful, you must have a violent Passion for her, or you have not the proper Taste of her Charms; and if you have such a Passion for her, it is odds but it will be imbittered [sic] with Fears and Jealousies.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 261 (1711).
''Nature seems to have taken a particular Care to disseminate her Blessings among the different Regions of the World, with an Eye to this mutual Intercourse and Traffick among Mankind, that the Natives of the several Parts of the Globe might have a kind of Dependance [sic] upon one another, and be united together by their common Interest.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 69 (1711).
''But there is nothing which delights and terrifies our English Theatre so much as a Ghost, especially when he appears in a bloody Shirt. A Spectre has very often saved a Play, though he has done nothing but stalked across the Stage, or rose through a Cleft of it, and sunk again without speaking one Word.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 44 (1711).
''It is usual for a Man who loves Country Sports to preserve the Game in his own Grounds, and divert himself upon those that belong to his Neighbour.''Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 131 (1711).
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A Letter from Italy
Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
Magna virûm! tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
Aggredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes.
Virg. Geor. 2.
While you, my Lord, the rural shades admire,
And from Britannia's public posts retire,
Nor longer, her ungrateful sons to please,
For their advantage sacrifice your ease;