Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL

PREFACE TO THE SPECTATOR.

If we are allowed to consider the popular Essay as a new species of composition, we may without hesitation affirm, that it arrived nearly at perfection in the hands of the first inventors. In real value as well as in estimation with the public, no work has ever exceeded that of which we are now to trace the history. The irregularities, whether of plan or execution, which may be discovered in the Tatler, are excluded from its immediate successor, which, although not altogether faultless, is more uniform in all the valuable purposes of instruction, and all the excellences of style and invention. Steele and Addison appear to have used the Tatler as a kind of exercise, a trial of skill, to determine what they could produce, and what the public expected, "quid ferreant humeri quid recusant;" and having made suitable preparations, they entered conjointly on that structure which "should bear

« PreviousContinue »