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many an indignant contradiction, and many a noble sentiment." “ Several persons got into his company the last evening at Trinity, where, about twelve, he began to be very great; stripped poor Mrs. Macaulay to the very skin, then gave her for his toast, and drank her in two bumpers.” (1)
The strictness of his self-examination, and scrupulous Christian humility, appear in his pious meditation on Easter-day this year.
“I purpose again to partake of the blessed sacra, ment; yet when I consider how vainly I have hitherto
(1) (For some anecdotes of Johnson, comprising an account of the visit to Cambridge in 1765, by the Rev. Baptist Noel Turner, see the APPENDIX, No. II. Mr. Sharp's letter, of which Boswell quotes only two fragments, is as follows:
“ Cambridge, March 1. 1765. — As to Johnson, you will be surprised to hear that I have had him in the chair in which I am now writing. He has ascended my aërial citadel. He came down on a Saturday evening, with a Mr. Beauclerk, who has a friend at Trinity [Mr. Lister]. Caliban, you may be sure, was not roused from his lair before next day noon, and his breakfast probably kept him till night. I saw nothing of him, nor was he heard of by any one, till Monday afternoon, when I was sent for home to two gentlemen unknown. In conversation I made a strange faux pas about Barnaby Greene's poem*, in which Johnson is drawn at full length. He drank his large potation of tea with me, interrupted by many an indig. nant contradiction, and many a noble sentiment. He had on a better wig than usual, but one whose curls were not, like Sir Cloudesley's, formed for
eternal buckle. Our conversation was chiefly on books, you may be sure. He was much pleased with a small Milton of mine, published in the author's lifetime, and with the Greek epigram on his own effigy, of its being the picture, not of him, but of a bad painter. There are many manuscript stanzas, for aught I know, in Milton's own handwriting, and several interlined hints and fragments. We were puzzled about one of the sonnets, which we thought was not to be found in Newton's edition, and differed from all the printed ones. But Johnson cried, 'No, no! repeated the whole sonnet instantly, memoriter, and showed it us in Newton's book. After which he learnedly harangued on sonnet-writing, and its different numbers. He tells me he will come hither again quickly, and is promised an habitation in Emanuel College.'[With Ďr. Farmer.) He went back to town next morning; but as it began to be known that he was in the university, several persons got into his company the last evening at Trinity, where, about twelve, he began to be very great; stripped poor Mrs. Macaulay to the very skin, then gave her for his toast, and drank her in two bumpers."]
Edward Barnaby, who took the name of Greene, published in 1756 an: imitation of the 10th Ep. of the First Book of Horace. He died in 1788, -C.
resolved, at this annual commemoration of my Saviour's death, to regulate my life by his laws, I am almost afraid to renew my resolutions.” (p. 61.]
The concluding words are very remarkable, and shew that he laboured under a severe depression of spirits.
“Since the last Easter I have reformed no evil habit; my time has been unprofitably spent, and seems as a dream that has left nothing behind. My memory grows confused, and I know not how the days pass over me. Good Lord, deliver me!”
He proceeds :
“I purpose to rise at eight, because, though I shall not yet rise early, it will be much earlier than I now rise, for I often lie till two, and will gain me much time, and tend to a conquest over idleness, and give time for other duties. I hope to rise yet earlier.”
“I invited home with me the man whose pious behaviour I had for several years observed on this day (1), and found him a kind of Methodist, full of texts, but ill-instructed. I talked to him with temper, and offered him twice wine, which he refused. I suffered him to go without the dinner which I had purposed to give him. I thought this day that there was something irregular and particular in his look and gesture ; but having intended to invite him to acquaintance, and having a fit opportunity by finding him near my own seat after I had missed him, I did what I at first designed, and am sorry to have been so much disappointed. Let me not be prejudiced hereafter against the appearance of piety in mean persons, who, with indeterminate notions, and perverse or inelegant conversation, perhaps are doing all they can.”
(1) (See ante, p. 27.)
(LETTER 90. TO DAVID GARRICK, ESQ. (')
“ May 18. 1765. “ DEAR SIR,- I know that great regard will be had to your opinion of an Edition of Shakspeare. I desire, therefore, to secure an honest prejudice in my favour by securing your suffrage, and that this prejudice may really be honest, I wish you would name such plays as you would see, and they shall be sent you by, Sir, your most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
LETTER 91. FROM MR. GARRICK.
“ May 31. 1765. “ DEAR SIR,—My brother greatly astonished me this morning, by asking me if I was a subscriber to your Shakspeare?' I told him, yes, that I was one of the first, and as soon as I had heard of your intention ; and that I gave you, at the same time, some other names, among which were the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Beighton, &c. I cannot immediately have recourse to my memorandum, though I remember to have seen it just before I left England. I hope that you will recollect it, and not think me capable of neglecting to make you so trifling a compliment, which was doubly due from me, not only on account of the respect I have always had for your abilities, but from the sincere regard I shall ever pay to your friendship. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
“ Davin GARRICK.”]
LETTER 92. TO MR. G. STRAHAN,
“ May 25. 1765. “ DEAR SIR,—That I have answered neither of your letters you must not impute to any declension of good
(1) [This and the following letter are from the originals in the possession of Mr. Upcott. ]
(2) This young man, son of his friend, the printer, was afterwards Prebendary of Rochester, and edited Johnson's “ Prayers nd Meditations,” - C.
will, but merely to the want of something to say. I suppose you pursue your studies diligently, and dili. gence will seldom fail of success. Do not tire yourself so much with Greek one day as to be afraid of looking on it the next; but give it a certain portion of time, suppose four hours, and pass the rest of the day in Latin or English. I would have you learn French, and take in a literary journal once a month, which will accustom you to various subjects, and inform you what learning is going forward in the world. Do not omit to mingle some lighter books with those of more importance ; that which is read remisso animo is often of great use, and takes great hold of the remembrance. However, take what course you will, if you be diligent you will be a scholar. I am, dear Sir, yours affectionately,
“ Sam. Johnson.” () No man was more gratefully sensible of
kindness done to him than Johnson. There is a little circumstance in his diary this year, which shews him in a very amiable light.
“July 2. I paid Mr. Simpson ten guineas, which he had formerly lent me in my necessity, and for which T'etty expressed her gratitude.”
“ July 8. I lent Mr. Simpson ten guineas more.”
Here he had a pleasing opportunity of doing the same kindness to an old friend, which he had formerly received from him. Indeed his liberality as to money was very remarkable. The next article in his diary
July 16th, I received seventy-five pounds. Lent Mr. Davies twenty-five."
(1) This letter has been communicated to Dr. Hall, for the use of this edition, by the Rev. Charles Rose, fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.-C.
Trinity College, Dublin, at this time surprised Johnson with a spontaneous compliment of the highest academical honours, by creating him Doctor of Laws. The diploma, which is in my possession, is as follows:
“ OMNIBUS ad quos præsentes literæ pervenerint, salutem. Nos Præpositus et Socü Seniores Collegü sacrosanctæ et individuæ Trinitatis Regina Elizabethæ juxta Dublin, testamur, Samueli Johnson, Armigero, ob egregiam scriptorum elegantiam et utilitatem, gratiam concessam fuisse pro gradu Doctoratûs in utroque Jure, octavo die Juli, Anno Domini millesimo septingentesimo sexagesimo-quinto. In cujus rei testimonium singulorum manus et sigillum quo in hisce utimur apposuimus; vicesimo tertio die Julii, Anno Domini millesimo septingentesimo sexagesimo-quinto.
GUL. CLEMENT. FRAN. ANDREWS. R. MURRAY.
Mich. KEARNEY."(2) This unsolicited mark of distinction, conferred on so great a literary character, did much honour to the judgment and liberal spirit of that learned body. Johnson acknowledged the favour in a letter to Dr. Leland, one of their number.
LETTER 93. TO THE REV. DR. LELAND
“ Johnson's Court, Fleet Street, London,
Oct. 17. 1765. Among the names subscribed to the degree which I have had the honour of receiving from the University of Dublin, I find none of which I have any personal knowledge but those of Dr. Andrews and yourself.
(1) [Dr. Thomas Leland, the translator of Demosthenes, and author of the History of Ireland, was born at Dublin, in 1722, and died in 1785. ]
(2) The sáme who has contributed some notes to this work.