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On Virtuous Independence . - -

On Ambition. - - - - -

On Wishing Oneself Younger - -

On Death . - - - -

On the Common Prayer. - - -

On Behaviour at Church - - -

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INTRODUCTION.

IF, after the fashion of the orthodox Eighteenth-Century Essay, it were necessary to prefix a Latin motto to the biography of Steele, that chosen would probably be Ovid's

—zideo meliora proboque: Deteriora sequor.

But this has the manifest drawback of most generalizations: it is far too sweeping. No man is wholly and habitually such “a vile antithesis.' That Steele had his faults can scarcely be contested. It is impossible to hide them, for they lie open to every student of his life; and it is useless to deny them, for he owns to them himself. His easy, genial nature led him continually into convivial excesses: his sanguine and impulsive temperament into endless pecuniary embarrassments. A very indulgent apologist might perhaps attempt to show that his errors were but the exaggeration of virtues: that his prodigality was the outcome of his generosity, and his good-fellowship a larger disclosure of his humanity. Without any such sophistication, it may fairly be affirmed that his defects were not the disguise of graver vices, and that he was neither a debauchee nor a hypocrite. And if we turn from his shortcomings to his good qualities, our task is easy. He was a well-meaning and noble-minded man, who, whatever his own frailties, was sincerely and strenuously on the side of honesty against duplicity-of good against evil. He had a real love and reverence for virtue, said Pope to Spence. Throughout the whole course of his literary life he raised his voice unceasingly in condemnation of the fashionable insincerities of his day, and advocated in their stead practical religion, domestic morality, personal Purity. Having a colleague of superlative acquirements, and more equable, because less emotional, genius, his claims have

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