|Joseph Addison is buried in the North
Aisle of Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.
memorial to him, made by Richard Westmacott, was erected in Poets'
Corner in 1809.
Gravestone of Addison
Photograph by Kieran Smith
Following the English victory at the Battle of
Blenheim in 1704, Addison was commissioned to write a commemorative
poem and the result was The Campaign written in heroic
couplets. The poem was well received and he was subsequently
appointed to the position of Commissioner of Appeals. In 1705 he was
promoted to Under-Secretary of State and then in 1708 became MP for
Malmesbury. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Chief Secretary to
Ireland and, while there, met Jonathan Swift.
He helped to found the Kit-Cat Club, which met at the house of
pastry cook Christopher Cat. Many leading Whigs were members
including: Congreve, Garth, Vanbrugh and Tonson. At this time,
Addison renewed his friendship with Richard Steele and began to
contribute to Steele's Tatler. The two friends soon
went on to found The Spectator; the first issue appearing in 1711.
Portrait of Addison
(in the Kit-Cat style)
by Godfrey Kneller.
In 1716 Addison married the Countess of Warwick,
but the marriage was unsuccessful and he spent much of his time
escaping 'any vexation' at Button's coffee house in Covent Garden.
Addison is probably best remembered for his essays, many of which
featured the comings and goings of a country gentleman Sir Roger de
Coverley. He also wrote a successful tragic play entitled Cato which was
first produced in 1713.
Addison died on June 17, 1719.
|The spacious firmament on high,
|With all the blue ethereal sky,
|And spangled heav'ns, a shining frame,
|Their great original proclaim:
|Th' unwearied sun, from day to day,
|Does his Creator's power display,
|And publishes to every land
|The work of an almighty hand.