Joseph Addison

(1672-1719 / England)

Joseph Addison Quotes

  • ''Women were formed to temper Mankind, and sooth them into Tenderness and Compassion; not to set an Edge upon their Minds, and blow up in them those Passions which are too apt to rise of their own Accord.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 57 (1711).
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  • ''As a perfect Tragedy is the noblest Production of human Nature, so it is capable of giving the Mind one of the most delightful and most improving Entertainments. A virtuous Man (says Seneca) strugling [sic] with Misfortunes, is such a Spectacle as Gods might look upon with Pleasure: And such a Pleasure it is which one meets with in the Representation of a well-written Tragedy. Diversions of this kind wear out of our Thoughts every thing that is mean and little. They cherish and cultivate that Humanity which is the Ornament of our Nature. They soften Insolence, sooth [sic] Affliction, and subdue the Mind to the Dispensations of Providence.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 39 (1711). The argument follows Aristotle's Poetics.
  • ''Musick is certainly a very agreeable Entertainment, but if it would take the entire Possession of our Ears, if it would make us incapable of hearing Sense, if it would exclude Arts that have a much greater Tendency to the Refinement of human Nature; I must confess I would allow it no better Quarter than Plato has done, who banishes it out of his Common-wealth.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 18 (1711).
  • ''Those marriages generally abound most with love and constancy, that are preceded by a long courtship.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 261 (1711).
  • ''When the Wife of Hector, in Homers Iliads [sic], discourses with her Husband about the Battel [sic] in which he was going to engage, the Hero, desiring her to leave that Matter to his Care, bids her go to her Maids and mind her Spinning: By which the Poet intimates, that Men and Women ought to busie themselves in their proper Spheres, and on such Matters only as are suitable to their respective Sex.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 57 (1711).
  • ''It is easier for an artful Man, who is not in Love, to persuade his Mistress he has a Passion for her, and to succeed in his Pursuits, than for one who loves with the greatest Violence. True Love hath ten thousand Griefs, Impatiencies and Resentments, that render a Man unamiable in the Eyes of the Person whose Affection he sollicits.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 261 (1711).
  • ''But among all our Methods of moving Pity or Terror, there is none so absurd and barbarous, and what more exposes us to the Contempt and Ridicule of our Neighbours, than that dreadful butchering of one another, which is so very frequent upon the English Stage. To delight in seeing Men stabbed, poisoned, racked, or impaled, is certainly the Sign of a cruel Temper: And as this is often practised before the British Audience, several French Criticks, who think these are grateful Spectacles to us, take Occasion from them to represent us a People that delight in Blood.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 44 (1711).
  • ''Those who were skillful in Anatomy among the Ancients, concluded from the outward and inward Make of an Human Body, that it was the Work of a Being transcendently Wise and Powerful. As the World grew more enlightened in this Art, their Discoveries gave them fresh Opportunities of admiring the Conduct of Providence in the Formation of an Human Body.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 534 (1712).
  • ''[W]e are all guilty in some Measure of the same narrow way of Thinking ... when we fancy the Customs, Dresses, and Manners of other Countries are ridiculous and extravagant, if they do not resemble those of our own.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author, and Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), British satirist. The Spectator, No. 50 (1711).
  • ''Female Virtues are of a Domestick turn. The Family is the proper Province for Private Women to Shine in. If they must be showing their Zeal for the Publick, let it not be against those who are perhaps of the same Family, or at least of the same Religion or Nation, but against those who are the open, professed, undoubted Enemies of their Faith, Liberty, and Country.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 81 (1711). In an essay on women's political partisanship.

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Best Poem of Joseph Addison

Ode

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heav'ns, a shining frame,
Their great original proclaim:
Th' unwearied Sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the list'ning Earth
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets, in their turn,
Confirm...

Read the full of Ode

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;

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