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Editors’ Note - Joseph Addison, Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays 
Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays, ed. by Christine Dunn Henderson and Mark E. Yellin, with a Foreword by Forrest McDonald (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
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Our intention has been to present Addison’s Cato with a selection of his essays in order to illuminate some of the play’s key themes; we make no claims to having produced a truly critical edition of either the plays or the essays. This edition of Cato is based on the eighth edition, published in 1713 by J. Tonson and Sons, and we wish to thank the Folger Shakespeare Library for its generosity in allowing us access to its copies of the second and the eighth editions. Early printings of the play omitted a significant exchange between Cato and Portius in Act V; this printer’s error was corrected in the third edition. Most subsequent editions of the play follow the corrections of the third edition, although a few—such as a 1996 edition of Cato edited by William-Alan Landes—follow the early printings in omitting that passage. Addison himself thought the seventh printing was definitive, and we have used the eighth edition, which is identical to the seventh, as our authoritative version of the play in most regards. We have departed from the eighth edition in omitting the “Verses to the Author of Cato” which precede the play in that presentation. Our decision to include only Pope’s prologue and Garth’s epilogue was based on the second edition’s text and on Addison’s dislike of the additional verses’ inclusion in printings of the play. With the exception of the Spectators, we have drawn the essay texts from the Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, edited by Addison’s literary executor, Thomas Tickell, and published in 1721 by Jacob Tonson. For the Spectators, we have used Donald Bond’s 1965 edition of The Spectator published by Oxford University Press, which is recognized as the definitive scholarly edition. In developing our notes for the Spectator essays, we cannot but acknowledge our debt to Bond’s fine scholarship, but we have departed from him in many ways, and we take full responsibility for any errors and omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, translations of all classical sources have been drawn from the Loeb Classical Library, published by Harvard University Press.
Acknowledgments typically begin with some statement to the effect of “it would be impossible to name everyone who helped us.” In this case, such a statement is especially appropriate, for Addison’s intellectual breadth led us far afield of our own areas of expertise, and in the process of preparing this book, we tested the limits of our friends’ and colleagues’ patience with our seemingly endless queries. Truly, we cannot begin to name everyone who so generously shared their expertise with us, but we are especially grateful to the following individuals: Calum Carmichael, Douglas Den Uyl, Hans Eicholz, Garrett Fagan, Anne Fortier, Luis René Gámez, David Hart, Paulina Kewes, John Kirby, Joe Lane, Tom Martin, Forrest McDonald, Andy Morris, Emilio Pacheco, Adam Potkay, Claude Rawson, Sarah Skwire, Aristide Tessitore, Jennifer Thompson, Eduardo Velásquez, and David Wootton.
We also could not have completed this project without the support and perspective supplied by our families. To Ethel, Reggie, and James, we dedicate this volume.
September 29, 2003
CATO: A TRAGEDY
CATO: A TRAGEDY
As it is acted at the Theatre Royal, in Drury Lane, by his majesty’s servants
Ecce spectaculum dignum, ad quod respiciat, intentus operi suo, Deus! Ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cum malâ fortunâ compositus! Non video, inquam, quid habeat in terris Jupiter pulchrius, si convertere animum velit, quam ut spectet Catonem, jam partibus non semel fractis, nihilominus inter ruinas publicas erectum.
[1. ]Seneca, De Providentia, II.9: “But lo! here is a spectacle worthy of the regard of God as he contemplates his works; lo! here is a contest worthy of God,—a brave man matched against ill-fortune, and doubly so if his also was the challenge. I do not know, I say, what nobler sight the Lord of Heaven could find on earth, should he wish to turn his attention there, than the spectacle of Cato, after his cause had already been shattered more than once, nevertheless standing erect amid the ruins of the commonwealth.” Addison omits the phrase, “and doubly so if his also was the challenge” from the Latin.