Joseph Addison

Playwright, Politician

1672 – 1719


Who was Joseph Addison?

Joseph Addison was an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. He was the eldest son of The Reverend Lancelot Addison. His name is usually remembered alongside that of his long-standing friend, Richard Steele, with whom he founded The Spectator magazine.

Famous Quotes:

  • There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty.
  • Suspicion is not less an enemy to virtue than to happiness; he that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.
  • There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents, each link of which hangs upon the former. The transition from cause to effect, from event to event, is often carried on by secret steps, which our foresight cannot divine, and our sagacity is unable to trace. Evil may at some future period bring forth good; and good may bring forth evil, both equally unexpected.
  • Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.
  • If we hope for what we are not likely to possess, we act and think in vain, and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is.
  • A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most recent blessings or misfortunes.
  • With regard to donations always expect the most from prudent people, who keep their own accounts.
  • I have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me very much. I cannot recollect the words, but here is the sense of it: What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.
  • Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.
  • One should take good care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life as laughter.


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May 1, 1672
  • Anglicanism
  • England
  • The Queen's College, Oxford
    (1687 - )
  • Charterhouse School
  • King Edward VI School
    (1683 - )
  • University of Oxford
Lived in
  • Lichfield
    (1683 - )
  • Milston
    (1672 - 1683)
  • London
Jun 17, 1719
Holland House, London

on July 23, 2013