chapter  42
2 Pages

Theophilus Cibber, 'The Life of Addison', 1753

An excerpt (III, pp. 311-12, 319-20) from 'The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland'. Theophilus Cibber (1703-58), an actor, playwright, and son of Colley Cibber, brought out 'The Lives' (5 vols.) in 1753. Aided by Robert Shiels, Cibber added little new information to the biographies. The statement on Addison is, however, the first extended critical statement since 1734. It draws from Tickell's 'Preface to the Works' (1721); Steele's 'Dedication to Congreve' in the second edition of 'The Drummer' (1722); and the entries in 'The General Dictionary' (1734) and 'The Biographia Britannica' (1747) •

.. .While he was in Ireland, his friend Sir Richard Steel published the 'Tatler', which appeared for the first time, on the 12th of April 1709: Mr. Addison (says Tickell) discovered the author by an observation on Virgil he had communicated to him. This discovery led him to afford farther assistance, insomuch, that as the author of the 'Tatler' well exprest it, he fared by this means, like a distrest prince, who calls in a powerful neighbour to his aid: that is, he was undone by his auxiliary.