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NEWTON'S ENGLISH WORKS.
death; and his knighthood in 1705, under the royal hand of good Queen Anne. His long life, more fruitful, perhaps, in great wonders of scientific discovery than that of any other man in ancient or modern times, came to a close at Kensington in 1727, when the old man had passed his eighty-fourth year.
From the long list of Newton's works, the principal of which were written in Latin, some English publications may be selected. The first edition of his Optics (1704) appeared in his own tongue. A work entitled, The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, was printed after the author's death. And, more interesting than cither, both as affording a favourable specimen of Newton's literary power, and a proof how deeply this great interpreter of nature's laws was fascinated by the shadowy mysteries of prophecy, is the theological treatise, styled Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John, which his executors published in 1733,
THE LANGUAGE OF PROPHECY.
For understanding the prophecies, we are, in the first place, to acquaint our. selves with the figurative language of the prophets. This language is taken from the analogy between the world natural and an empire or kingdom considered as s: world politic.
Accordingly, the whole world natural, consisting of heaven and earth, signifies the whole world politic, consisting of thrones and people; or so much of it as is considered in the prophecy. And the things in that world signify the analogous things in this. For the heavens, and the things therein, signify thrones and dignities, and those who enjoy them; and the earth, with the things thereon, the inferior people; and the lowest parts of the earth, called Hades or Hell, the lowest or most miserable part of them. Whence, ascending towards heaven, and descending to the earth, are put for rising and falling in power and honour; rising out of the earth or waters, and falling into them, for the rising up to any dignity or dominion, out of the inferior state of the people, or falling down from the same into that inferior state; descending into the lower parts of the earth, for descending to a very low and unhappy state; speaking with a faint voice oui of the dust, for being in a weak and low condition; moving from one place to another, for translation from one office, dignity, or dominion to another; great carthquakes, and the shaking of heaven and earth, for the shaking of dominions, 30 as to distract or overthrow them; the creating a new heaven and earth, and the passing away of an old one, or the beginning and end of the world, for the rise and reign of the body politic signified thereby,
WHEN Addison returned from the Continent with a head much better furnished with classic thoughts and elegant scholarship than was his purse with guineas, foremost among the few faces that presented themselves at the door of his dingy lodging in the Haymarket, was the round good-humoured countenance of an old schoolfellow and college friend, formerly Dicky Steele of the Charterhouse, but now rollicking Captain Richard Steele of Lucas's Fusiliers. The two names—Addison and Steelemare inseparably linked together, from the partnership of the two men in those periodical essays out of which have grown our Blackwoods and our Cornhills, our Edinburghs and our Quarterlys.
Steele, the son of a man who acted as Secretary to the Duke of Ormond, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, was born about 1675 in Dublin. During his school-days at the Charter-house in London, he was the admiring junior of Addison, whom he afterwards joined at Oxford, being entered at Merton College in 1692. Leaving Oxford without a degree, he enlisted, much against the wishes of all his friends, as a private in the Horse Guards, dazzled by the splendour of the richly laced scarlet coats and the white waving plumes of that gallant corps. This rash step cost him a fortune; for a wealthy Irish relative, indignant at the news, cut the name of the reckless fellow out of his will. But his agreeable manners, and frank, open jovialty, won him many friends. Ormond, in
STEELE'S LETTERS TO HIS WIFE.
whose - troop he rode, obtained a cornetcy for him; he becamo secretary to Colonel Lord Cutts; and ultimately was made a captain in Lucas's Fusiliers.
During the wild life he spent about town with his brother officers, stung sometimes by his upbraiding conscience, he wrote and published a devotional work, called The Christian Hero, by which he intended to correct his errors and force himself to pull up in time. But his only reward was the laughter of the town; for the idea of a fast-living soldier, who could never resist the attractions of the Rose Tavern or the delight of beating the watch at midnight, appearing in print as a religious character, seemed to have in it something irresistibly comic. Yet for the time Steele was sincere in his intentions of reform. Ile soon, however, appeared as an author in a different line. Three comedies from his pen— The Funeral, The Tender Husband, and The Lying Lover—were performed in 1702, and the two following years. The sober tone of the last having drawn down a storm of hisses from the audience, Steele in disgust withdrew from dramatic authorship. A greater task than the writing of second-rate plays was in store for
his genial pen.
Between the failure of the “Lying Lover" and the first issue of
the “Tatler," Steele married his second wife, Prue, Miss 1707 Scurlock of Caermarthenshire, who, by preserving some
four hundred letters from her husband, written chiefly in
taverns and coffee-houses, has enabled us to form truer ideas of the man Dick Steele than we could get from any other
There we have displayed the inner life of the improvident rake, whose dissipation does not sour the sweetness of his nature, who is often detained from home by some mythical business, and softens his announcement of delay by a little present to his wife of tea or walnuts, or a guinea or two, when his purse is not in its normal condition of emptiness. He held at this time the appointment of Gazetteer, which he afterwards exchanged for the post of Commissioner of Stamps. The former office, by giving him an early command of foreign news, enabled him to commence the publication of the “ Tatler" in 1709.
The 12th of April in that year marks the opening of a great era in English literature,—the birth of the first English periodical worthy of the name. Three times a week, on 1709 the post-days, this penny sheet came out, and was scattered through town and country. After a while Addison lent his aid to his old school-fellow, and, when The Tatler had told his tale to a second New Year, after a short silence of two months, the greater Spectator arose to fill the vacant space. Here it was that Addison's genius shone in its fullest lustre; and, though Steele's good-natured wit welled out as fresh and natural as ever in the papers of the “Spectator," he suffers somewhat by contrast with his greater friend. Among other gems of this favourite classic, we owe to Steele's pen the first sketch of the members who composed the Spectator Club. Addison has made Sir Roger all his own, yet Steele certainly first placed the portrait upon canvas.
We have already called Steele's wit fresh and natural. It came with no stinted flow. He wrote as he lived, freely and carelessly, scattering the coinage of his brain, as he did his guineas, with an unsparing hand. All who read his papers, or his letters to Prue, cannot help seeing the good heart of the rattle-brain shining out in every line. We can forgive, or at least forget, his tippling in taverns and his unthinking extravagance, bad as these were, in consideration of the loving touch with which he handles the foibles of his neighbours, and the mirth without bitterness that flows from his gentle pen.
Between the seventh and eighth volumes of the "Spectator" The Guardian appeared, Steele and Addison being still the chief contributors. Steele's entry upon parliamentary life, as member for Stockbridge, relaxed his efforts as an essayist. Though he was afterwards concerned in other periodicals,--the Englishman, the Reader, &c., -neither his purse nor his reputation won much by them.
It was a stirring time in politics, and Steele was not the man to be behind hand in the fray. His pamphlet, The Crisis, raised 80 great a storın against him that he was expelled from the House
IMPROVIDENCE AND DEATH.
of Commons for libel. The death of Queen Anne, however, produced a change. Under the new dynasty Dick became Sir Richard Steele, Governor of the royal Comedians, Surveyor of the royal stables at Hampton Court, and Member of Parliament for Boroughbridge in Yorkshire. In the House he spoke often and well; at home in Bloomsbury or elsewhere he wrote spicy articles, gave splendid dinners,—of course running up heavy bills, which he always meant to pay, but somehow never did. Addison, who had lent his easy-going friend £1000, had to pay himself by selling Steele's country-house at Hampton, furniture and all, putting his own money in his pocket, and handing the balance to poor Dick, who, no doubt, was very glad to get a little ready cash for the duns that knocked daily at the door. Steele's very successful comedy, The Conscious Lovers, acted at Drury Lane in 1722, brought him a large sum; but even that could do little to melt the millstone of debt hanging round the unfortunate author's neck. His difficulties increased. Paralysis struck the haggard, anxious spendthrift. Giving up all he had to his creditors, he hid himself at Llangunnor in Wales, where he still had a shelter from the storm that his own improvidence had raised. There,
forgotten except by angry shopkeepers whom he could 1729 not pay, poor Steele breathed his last in 1729. His A.D. dying years were dependent on the bounty of his credi
tors.—Let us learn the lesson of his life, grieving that the affectionate soul, who loved to make all around him happy, should, through his own easy negligence, have suffered so bitter
at the last
ORIGINAL SKETCH OF SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.
(SPECTATOR, NO. 2.) The first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, of an ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverley. His great-grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that shire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in his behaviour; but his singularities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humour creates him no enemies,