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faint and swiftly passing shadows. Therefore he must grapple with every sentence, and make it yield him a meaning - clear, definite, well grasped. To such a process every new name and uncomprehended allusion opposes an obstacle. His previous light reading has not called for concentrated effort; it is hard to keep his plough in this heavier soil, and at the slightest obstruction it leaps quite from the furrow, and scratches along on top. So the connection is broken and the attention dispersed. Granted that the intellectual exertion necessary to grasp the meaning word by word may consume all the mental energy available, leaving the reader powerless to carry the thought connection or to read with literary appreciation, it still remains true that a sentence which conveys no meaning can neither add to knowledge nor give pleasure. The child in his first reading lessons halts and stumbles, and finds all his energies absorbed in the effort to recognize and pronounce the words; but he will never learn to read except by repeating the process until the mind learns to do mechanically what now absorbs all the attention. So with the schoolboy. Plodding is hard, but it is only by plodding now that he will eventually be able to do something better worth while.
In annotating this essay for school use, the editor has sought to adapt the notes to three ends. They aim in the first place at helping the pupil to grasp the sense of the text. And as there is a great difference between reading and studying an essay, and as the discipline and increased power which study is intended to result in can be gained only by somewhat close application, the sense which the pupil should try to grasp is the sense of each sentence and each word. In this connection it should be said that no attempt has been made to provide a substitute for the dictionary, which should be resorted to whenever its use is necessary. The second object of the notes is to make the
study additionally profitable by imparting such general information connected with the substance of the essay as the preparatory-school student may reasonably be expected to be interested in, and to remember. Here again the line has been drawn in the case of many things which the editor, but not the teacher, should assume that“ • every schoolboy knows.” And, finally, they seek also to interest the reader in literature by familiarizing him with the literary history of the time, and stimulating him, under the helpful direction of his teacher, to take up in the way of outside reading some of the writings of Addison and his contemporaries.
One thing the editor feels very strongly, and that is the importance of a knowledge of English history in any study connected with its literature, and the appalling ignorance of it which is often to be found even among fairly well educated people. The Essay on Addison is a historical essay, and, though its history is mainly literary history, it calls for an acquaintance with the important political events of the time. No teacher should fail to supply to his class, before beginning the essay, an outline of English history from 1685 to 1719, including the dates of accession of William and Mary, Anne, and George I., and to see that, with the aid of the notes, Macaulay's references are always clearly understood.
In college classes it is thought that this book may be serviceable in two ways. It may be used for auxiliary reading in connection with class-room study of Addison, or it may be used as the starting-point for a study of the literary history of the time. For this purpose the notes have been prepared with a good deal of care, and will, it is trusted, be found correct, or as nearly so as conscientious labor can reasonably hope to make them. The editor would be indeed presumptuous to think of laying down methods for
teachers of advanced work; yet he may, perhaps, be permitted to suggest that a student who wishes to study closely Addison and his time may find it worth while to take to pieces, as it were, such an essay as Macaulay's, and hunt up the evidence on which each statement rests. A close comparison of the present essay with the corresponding ones of Thackeray and Johnson, and with Mr. Courthope's “Life of Addison' in the English Men of Letters Series, followed by a tracing back of the various facts recorded in these to their origins, may serve to somewhat advanced students as an introduction to a thorough and intimate knowledge of the writers who flourished in the days of Queen Anne.
LIFE OF MACAULAY.
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY was born at the home of his father's brother-in-law, Thomas Babington, at Rothley, in Leicestershire, on Oct. 25, 1800. His early home was in the suburbs of London. His father, the son of a Scotch minister, had lived for some years in the British West Indies. Having learned from practical experience what slavery meant, he resigned the lucrative position which his abilities had won, and returned to England to join the little band of devoted philanthropists who were fighting to put an end to the slave-trade, and to abolish slavery in the English dependencies. Macaulay was his oldest child.
The boy gave early evidence of unusual powers. From the age of three years he was a voracious reader, before he was eight he began to amuse himself with such literary labors as the composition of epic and narrative poems, hymns, epitomes of history, arguments for Christianity. To a wonderfully exact and ready memory was joined intellectual restlessness and imaginative activity. His productions were of course worthless as literature, but they show the bent of the child's mind. He talked the language of books; the world in which he lived was quite apart from that of the ordinary schoolboy.
In the outdoor sports and games of schoolboys he was never proficient. “ He could neither swim, nor row, nor drive, nor skate, nor shoot." To the end of his life he remained one of the clumsiest of men.
His gloves never
fitted; his clothes were ill put on; he could not strop a razor, and when he shaved he usually cut himself. Even with this physical awkwardness he might in a large school have been drawn into the life around him. But his preparation for the university was at small private schools, so that he was never really a boy among boys. He was not unpopular, but he cared little for anything but reading ; in this his activity was prodigious. He read with great rapidity, and yet accurately; and the power of his memory is almost incredible. He could repeat long poems word for word after a single reading ; he knew Paradise Lost and Pilgrim's Progress by heart. Forty years later he recalled and recited two worthless newspaper poems which he had happened to read one day while waiting in a coffee-room, and had never thought of in the interval.
On his entrance upon university life, which was at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1818, the social side of the greatest talker of his generation began to develop. Macaulay had never been a mere bookworm ; even at school he had been distinguished for the vehemence and self-confidence of his conversation, and the pleasure he took in it; and contemporary politics had always had the keenest interest for him. At his father's house he had been accustomed to hear public affairs discussed by men of distinguished ability, who were themselves intimately concerned in them, and who were at the same time actuated only by high and unselfish motives, moral earnestness, and devotion to duty. In this school Macaulay had received his early training, and he never forgot its principles. Important questions were now pressing forward in English politics. Hostility to the excesses of the French Revolution and the struggle against Napoleon had given a lease of life to British conservatism which was now nearly run out. Roman Catholics were still disqualified from holding office; Parliament was unrepresentative and