|Short Name:||Joseph Addison|
|Full Name:||Addison, Joseph, 1672-1719|
Addison, Joseph, born at Milston, near Amesbury, Wiltshire, May 1, 1672, was the son of the Rev. Lancelot Addison, sometime Dean of Lichfield, and author of Devotional Poems, &c, 1699. Addison was educated at the Charterhouse, and at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating B.A. 1691 and M.A. 1693. Although intended for the Church, he gave himself to the study of law and politics, and soon attained, through powerful influence, to some important posts. He was successively a Commissioner of Appeals, an Under Secretary of State, Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Chief Secretary for Ireland. He married, in 1716, the Dowager Countess of Warwick, and died at Holland House, Kensington, June 17, 1719. Addison is most widely known through his contributions to The Spectator, The Toiler, The Guardian, and The Freeholder. To the first of these he contributed his hymns. His Cato, a tragedy, is well known and highly esteemed. Addison's claims to the authorship of the hymns usually ascribed to him, or to certain of them, have been called in question on two occasions. The first was the publication, by Captain Thompson, of certain of those hymns in his edition of the Works of Andrew Marvell, 1776, as the undoubted compositions of Marvell; and the second, a claim in the Athenaeum, July 10th, 1880, on behalf of the Rev. Richard Richmond. Fully to elucidate the subject it will be necessary, therefore, to give a chronological history of the hymns as they appeared in the Spectator from time to time.
i. The History of the Hymns in The Spectator. This, as furnished in successive numbers of the Spectator is :—
2. The second hymn appeared in the Spectator on Saturday, Aug. 9, 1712, No. 453, in 13 st. of 4 1., and forms the conclusion of an essay on " Gratitude." It is also signed " C," and is thus introduced:—
Then follows the hymn:—"When all Thy mercies, 0 my God."
3. The number of the Spectator for Tuesday, Aug. 19, 1712, No. 461, is composed of three parts. The first is an introductory paragraph by Addison, the second, an unsigned letter from Isaac Watts, together with a rendering by him of Ps. 114th; and the third, a letter from Steele. It is with the first two we have to deal. The opening paragraph by Addison is:—
The hymn which follows is—" When Israel, freed from Pharaoh's hand," in 6 st. of 4 1. Although this rendering of Ps. 114 is unsigned in the Spectator, its authorship is determined by its republication in Dr. Watts' Psalms of David. 1719.
4. According to the promise thus given the remaining hymns in the Spectator appeared in every case, on a Saturday. The first was:— " The spacious firmament on high," which appeared on Saturday, Aug. 23rd, 1712, No. 465, that is, four days after the promise made in the note to Dr. Watts's letter and hymn. It is in 3 st. of 8 1. signed " C," and is introduced at the close of an essay on the proper means of strengthening and confirming faith in the mind of man. The quotation, " The heavens declare the glory of God," Ps. xix. 1, &c, is followed by "these words:—
5. The next hymn was given in the Spectator on Saturday, Sep. 20th, 1712, No. 489, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines, and signed "0." It begins:— "How are Thy servants blest, 0 Lord," and closes an essay on " Greatness " as a source of pleasure to the imagination with special reference to the ocean. It is thus introduced:—
The "Travels" alluded to are evidently those of Addison on the Continent from 1699 to 1702. Referring to an incident in his return voyage, Lord Macaulay, in his essay on Addison in the Edinburgh Review of July, 1843, says:—
6. The last hymn of this series was:—" When rising from the bed of death." It appeared in the Spectator on Saturday, Oct. 18th, 1712, No. 513, in 6 st. of 4 1. and signed "O." It is appended to a letter purporting to have been written by an " excellent man in Holy Orders whom I have mentioned more than once as one of that society who assist me in my speculations." The subject is "Sickness," and the concluding words are:—
7. The whole of these hymns, including that by Watts, have been in common use during most of the past, and during the whole of the present century; and although lacking the popularity which they once possessed, they are still found in the front rank in all English-speaking countries. They have also been translated into various languages, including, "The Lord my pasture," &c.; " When all Thy mercies," &c.; "The spacious firmament," &c, into Latin in the Rev. R. Bingham's Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871,
ii. Addison's Claims.—The claims of Addison to the authorship of five of these six hymns (omitting that by Dr. Watts) are not of a character to be removed or explained away.
This passage reads thus in the first ed. of the Spectator, in book form, 1712 :—
This last reading is repeated in all subsequent editions of the Spectator, and was evidently rewritten to remove the somewhat unbecoming assertion that the hymns " have met with the reception which they deserve; " to harmonize it with the paragraphs concerning hymns in later numbers of the Spectator; and to render it and them uniformly consistent with the received impression that he was the author of those pieces of "Divine Poetry" which appeared in the Saturday numbers of the Spectator,
4. Addison died in 1719. In 1721 Thomas Tickell, one of the contributors to the Spectator, and to whom Addison left his papers with directions concerning their use, published the same in 4 vols., as The Works of the Bight Honourable Joseph Addison, Esqr., London, Printed for Jacob Tonson, at Shakespears Head, over against Katharine Street in the Strand, M.DCC.XXL In these vols. both the Essays and the Hymns arc given. They are also repeated in The Christian Poet. A Miscellany of Divine Poems all written by the late Mr. Secretary Addison, &c, London, Printed for E. Curll, in the Strand, M.DCC.XX.VIII. The positive evidence for Addison is thus complete.
iii. Andrew Marvell.—The first and only claim on behalf of Marvell was made by Captain Edward Thompson in The Works of Andrew Marvell, Esqr. Poetical, Controversial, and Political, containing many original Letters, Poems and Tracts never before printed, with a New Life of the Author. By Cap. Edward Thompson, in 3 vols. London, Printed for the Editor, by Henry Baldwin, M.DCC.LXX.VI. In his Preface to this work Thompson says:—
Thompson then proceeds in the same Preface to give extracts from this ms. but without naming, in any instance, the handwriting in which he found the quotations, thus leaving it an open question as to whether any given piece was in the handwriting of Marvell, or of some one else. The hymns in the Spectator which he claims for Marvell are:—" When Israel, freed from Pharaoh's hand" (Dr. Watts); " When all Thy mercies, O my God;" and " The spacious firmament on high."
The first of these he vehemently and coarsely accuses Tickell of stealing from Marvell; the reason for attacking Tickell, instead of Addison, arising probably out of the fact that Steele's letter in the same number of the Spectator as the hymn, as noted above, is signed " T." This ignorance on his pavt of Steele's signature, is equalled by his further ignorance of the fact that the piece in question was given by Dr. Watts as his own in his Psalms of David, in 1719, and had thus been before the public as Watts's acknowledged work, for some 57 years!
The argument as against Addison for the two remaining hymns is summed up in the accusation of theft on Addison's part, and the statement:—
To this we need only add that in no subsequent collection of Marvell's Works are these claims made, or the pieces reprinted: and that the able and learned editor of The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Andrew Marvell, M.P., the Rev A. B. Grosart (Fuller Worthies Library), maintains in his " Memorial Introduction," pp. lxii.-lxiv., that—
The discussion of the claims on behalf of Marvell, which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1776, has not been overlooked. As, however, the writers argued from insufficient data, it would have produced confusion to have noticed that discussion in detail.
iv. Richard Richmond.—The latest claim to the authorship of the piece “ When all Thy mercies, O my God,' has been made on behalf of one Richard Richmond, sometime Rector of Walton-on-the-Ribble, Lancashire.
In addition to the arguments already set forth on behalf of Addison, we have, in this undated extract of bad English, a clear proof that the writer could never have penned those lines which appeared in the Spectator of Saturday, Aug. 9, 1712. The paragraph also, when rightly construed, shows that by the term author used therein, Richmond meant himself as the writer of the letter, and not as the author of the hymn. It is quite clear that he copied the hymn from the Spectator, and incorporated it, with slight alterations, in his letter, to give grace to his ill-worded appeal for preferment at the hands of Ellis.
From a literary, as distinct from a historical, point of view, there is abundant proof in the Essays and the Hymns that they were, in each case, the prose and poetic expressions of the same hand. This has already been indicated in the titles we find given to the Essays. One example will show how conclusively this argument may be wrought out. It is from No. 453, on u Gratitude " :—
This thought is then illustrated by references to the examples set to Christian poets by Greek and Latin poets and Jewish writers, who all excel in their Odes of adoration and praise; and the essay closes with:—
" When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys;
Transported with the view, I'm lost
In wonder, love, and praise."
In this the thought, style, and mode of ex¬ression, so far as prose and verse can agree, are the same, both in the Essay and in the Hymn. This evidence is also strengthened when we find that the Hymns, when compared with Addison's Poems, are strongly marked by the same individuality. We may add that Addison's signature varied in the Spectator, and embraced the letters " C," " L," " I," and " O "; and that the original text of each hymn is given in all good editions of that work.
-John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
|Texts by Joseph Addison (21)||As||Instances|
|A nana wau i na maika'i||Joseph Addison, 1672-1719 (Author)||2|
|All glorious God, what hymns||Joseph Addison (Author)||2|
|How are thy servants blest, O Lord||Joseph Addison (Author)||243|
|Lord, for the just Thou dost provide||Joseph Addison (Author)||9|
|Min gode herde Herren 'r||Joseph Addison (Author)||2|
|O for the happy hour||Joseph Addison (Author)||1|
|O how shall words, with equal warmth||Addison (Author)||15|
|The lofty pillars of the sky||Joseph Addison (Author)||6|
|The Lord my pasture shall prepare, And feed me with a shepherd's care||Joseph Addison (Author)||392|
|The spacious firmament on high||Joseph Addison (Author)||587|
|Wakaŋtaŋka waŋjina ḣciŋ||Joseph Addison (Author)||1|
|Wenn deine Gnaden ohne Zahl||Joseph Addison (Author)||4|
|Wenn deine Wunder, Lieb' und Treu||Joseph Addison (Author)||1|
|When all Thy mercies, O my God||Joseph Addison (Author)||693|
|When by the dreadful tempest borne||Joseph Addison (Author)||2|
|When in the slippery paths of youth||Joseph Addison (Author)||5|
|When in the sultry globe I faint||Joseph Addison (Author)||2|
|When pale with sickness oft has thou||Joseph Addison (Author)||6|
|When rising from the bed of death||Joseph Addison (Author)||185|
|When thou O Lord shall [shalt] stand disclosed||Joseph Addison (Author)||5|
|When worn with [by] sickness, oft hast thou||Joseph Addison (Author)||4|