Joseph Addison Quotes

The Taylor and the Painter often contribute to the Success of a Tragedy more than the Poet. Scenes affect ordinary Minds as much as Speeches; and our Actors are very sensible, that a well-dressed Play has sometimes brought them as full Audiences, as a well-written one.... But however the Show and Outside of the Tragedy may work upon the Vulgar, the more understanding Part of the Audience immediately see through it, and despise it.
(1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 42 (1711)
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The Obedience of Children to their Parents is the Basis of all Government, and set forth as the measure of that Obedience which we owe to those whom Providence hath placed over us.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 189 (1711).
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We find that Good and Evil happen alike to all Men on this Side of the Grave; and as the principle Design of Tragedy is to raise Commiseration and Terror in the Minds of the Audience, we shall defeat this great End, if we always make Virtue and Innocence happy and successful.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 40 (1711).
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There is no kind of false Wit which has been so recommended by the Practice of all Ages, as that which consists in a Jingle of Words, and is comprehended under the general Name of Punning. It is indeed impossible to kill a Weed, which the Soil has a natural Disposition to produce. The seeds of Punning are in the Minds of all Men, and tho' they may be subdued by Reason, Reflection, and good Sense, they will be very apt to shoot up in the greatest Genius, that is not broken and cultivated by the Rules of Art. Imitation is natural to us, and when it does not raise the Mind to Poetry, Painting, Musick, or other more noble Arts, it often breaks out in Punns and Quibbles.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 61 (1711).
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The English Writers of Tragedy are possessed with a Notion, that when they represent a virtuous or innocent Person in Distress, they ought not to leave him till they have delivered him out of his Troubles, or made him triumph over his Enemies.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 40 (1711).
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A man's first Care should be to avoid the Reproaches of his own Heart; his next, to escape the Censures of the World: If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise, there cannot be a greater Satisfaction to an honest Mind, than to see those Approbations which it gives itself seconded by the Applauses of the Publick: A Man is more sure of his Conduct, when the Verdict which he passes upon his own Behaviour is thus warranted, and confirmed by the Opinion of all that know him.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 122 (1711).
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The Tragi-Comedy, which is the Product of the English Theatre, is one of the most monstrous Inventions that ever entered into a Poet's Thoughts. An Author might as well think of weaving the Adventures of Aeneas and Hudibras into one Poem, as of writing such a motly [sic] Piece of Mirth and Sorrow.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 40 (1711).
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What makes this Generation of Vermin so very Prolifick, is the indefatigable Diligence with which they apply themselves to their Business. A Man does not undergo more watchings and fatigues in a Campaign, than in the Course of a vicious Amour. As it is said of some Men, that they make their Business their Pleasure, these Sons of Darkness may be said to make their Pleasure their Business. They might conquer their corrupt Inclinations with half the Pains they are at in gratifying them.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 203 (1711). Said of irresponsible fathers of illegitimate children.
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The Mind that lies fallow but a single Day, sprouts up in Follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous Culture.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 10 (1711).
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The only way therefore to try a Piece of Wit, is to translate it into a different Language: If it bears the Test you may pronounce it true; but if it vanishes in the Experiment you may conclude it to have been a Punn.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British author. The Spectator, No. 61 (1711).
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