« PoprzedniaDalej »
XX. Sir Roger at the Assizes. No. 122
XXI. A Story of Eudoxus and Leontine.
XXII. The Spectator on Party-Spirit. No. 125
XXIII. Sir Roger and Politics. No. 126.
XXIV. Sir Roger and the Gipsies. No. 130
XXVI. The Journey to London. No. 132
XXVII. Sir Roger and Sir Andrew Freeport. No. 174 137
XXVIII. Sir Roger in London. No. 269
XXIX. Sir Roger in Westminster Abbey. No. 329
XXX. Sir Roger and Beards. No. 331
XXXI. Sir Roger at the Play. No. 335
XXXII. Sir Roger and Will Honeycomb.
XXXIII. Sir Roger at Vauxhall. No. 383 .
XXXIV. The Death of Sir Roger. No. 517
XXXV. Will Honeycomb's Marriage. No. 530.
XXXVI. The Club dissolved. No. 549
'Every one pressed forward to do something for him,
THE COVERLEY LINEAGE
"He is the last man that won a prize at the Tiltyard."
THE COVERLEY SABBATH
"As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he
SIR ROGER IN LOVE
"Her confidante sat by her. They both kept their
THE COVERLEY HUNT.
"The huntsman, getting forward, threw down his pole
A COVERLEY WITCH
"I could not forbear smiling to hear Sir Roger, who is
COVERLEY HALL AT CHRISTMAS TIME.
"Sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors,
THE DEATH OF SIR ROGER.
"It was a most moving sight to see him take leave of
MAP OF A PART OF LONDON IN 1710.
Between pages 182-183
AUTHORS OF THE SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY PAPERS.
Richard Steele, who originated The Spectator, was born in Dublin in March, 1672. While a mere child he lost both father and mother,1 and fell to the charge of an uncle, by whom he was sent, in 1684, to the Charterhouse School, London. Of this period of his life there is little record, though we may suspect that vivid memories of the severe punishments inflicted for bad Latin and breaches of discipline had something to do with the fine essay in which, years, later, he attacked the brutality then common in the great English schools.2 From the Charterhouse he went, in 1691, to Oxford, but his university career was prematurely closed by his enlistment in the Horse Guards. While still in the army, he "commenced author,” as the phrase then ran, with a curious little devotional manual, The Christian Hero, and a satiric comedy, The Funeral, or Grief à la Mode. Oddly contrasted as these productions may seem to be, there is really a point of ethical contact between them. The former, as he afterwards declared, was written for his private use, "with a design principally to fix upon his own mind a strong impression of virtue and religion"; 3 while the latter was inspired by the moral purpose of making "virtue and
1 See his touching paper on his father's death, Tatler, No. 181. 2 Spectator, No. 157.
3 Mr. Steele's Apology for Himself and His Writings, 1714.
vice appear just as they ought to do."1 This play was followed by The Lying Lover (1703) and The Tender Husband (1705). In 1707, having, it is presumed, now left the army, he was appointed to the post of gazetteer. Then came nearly three years of regular work on The Tatler and The Spectator, 1710-1712. After closing his connection with the latter paper, he started, between 1713 and 1720, nine different periodicals; but some of these ran only for a few numbers, and none enjoyed any great success. Meanwhile, he became deeply immersed in public affairs, entered the field of controversy as a strong advocate of the Hanoverian succession, and with the establishment of the Whigs in power on the death of Queen Anne in 1714, practically abandoned letters for politics. His only remaining literary work of any importance. was The Conscious Lovers, a comedy performed in 1722, while he was patentee of the Drury-Lane Theatre. In this, as in his former plays, he broke entirely away from the profligate traditions of the restoration drama, and kept close to what he conceived to be the high moral purpose of the stage. But in his earnestness he too often forgot that the first object of comedy is to amuse and not to preach; and his plays, though occasionally enlivened with humour, are on the whole dull and insipid.2
Steele died in Wales, September 1, 1729, having, says Thackeray, "outlived his places, his schemes, his wife, his income, his health, and almost everything but his kind heart." 3 He had married twice. Many of his letters to his second wife, whom he affectionately nicknamed "Prue," are preserved, and to these spontaneous expressions of his
1 Mr. Steele's Apology for Himself and His Writings, 1714.
2 Overdoing the element of morality in his writings for the stage, Steele "became the real founder of that sentimental comedy which exercised so pernicious an influence upon the progress of our dramatic literature." Ward's History of English Dramatic Literature, II, 603.
3 English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century.