chapter  71
10 Pages

William Makepeace Thackeray, 'The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century', 1853

We have seen in Swift a humorous philosopher, whose truth frightens one, and whose laughter makes one melancholy. We have had in Congreve a humorous observer of another school to whom the world seems to have no moral at all, and whose ghastly doctrine seems to be that we should eat, drink, and be merry when we can, and go to the deuce (if there be a deuce) when the time comes. We come now to a humour that flows from quite a different heart and spirit - a wit that makes us laugh and leaves us good and happy; to one of the kindest benefactors that society has ever had, and I believe you have divined already that I am about to mention Addison's honoured name.