Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

'In Coram atque Euram solitus sævire flagellis taken the resolution to kill himself, it is not Barbarus, Æolio nunquam hoc in carcere passos, courage in him to do any thing, however Ipsum compedibus qui vinxerat Ennosigæum.' desperate, because he has nothing to fear.”

This does very well, when both the winds GOLDSMITH. “I don't see that." John. and the sea are personified, and mentioned son. “ Nay, but, my dear sir, why should by their mythological names, as in Juve- you not see what every one else sees?” nal; but when they are mentioned in plain Goldsmith. “ It is for fear of something language, the application of the epithets that he has resolved to kill himself: and suggested by me is the most obvious; and will not that timid disposition restrain him?accordingly my friend himself, in his imita- Johnson. " It does not signify that the tion of the passage which describes Xerxes, fear of something made him resolve; it is has

upon the state of his mind alier the resolu* The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind 1." tion is taken that I argue. Suppose a man

either from fear, or pride, or conscience, or The modes of living in different countries, whatever motive, has resolved to kill himself; and the various views with which men trav- when once the resolution is taken, he has el in quest of new scenes, having been talk- nothing to fear. He may then go and take ed of, a learned gentleman who holds a con- the King of Prussia by the rose, at the siderable office in the law expatiated on the head of his army. He cannot fear the rack, happiness of a savage life, and mentioned who is resolved to kill hiniself. When Eusan instance of an officer who had actually tace Budgell was walking down to the lived for some time in the wilds of America, Thames, determined to drown himself?, he of whom, when in that state, he quoted this might, if he pleased, without any apprehenreflection with an air of admiration, as if it sion of danger, have turned aside, and first bad been deeply philosophical: “Here amu set fire to St. James's palace.” 1, free and unrestrained, amidst the rude On Tuesday, April 27, Mr. Beauclerk Epagnificence of Nature, with this Indian and I called on him in the morning. As we wonnan by my side, and this gun, with which walked up Johnson's-court, I said, “I have I can procure food when I want it: what a veneration for this court;" and was glad ID:) can be desired for human happiness?" to find that Beauclerk had the same reveIt did not require much sagacity to foresee rential enthusiasm. We found him alone. that such a sentiment would not be permit- We talked of Mr. Andrew Stuart's elegant ted to pass without due animadversion. and plausible Letters to Lord Mansfield 4 ; JOnsson. “Do not allow yourself, sir, to a copy of which had been sent by the aube imposed upon by such gross absurdity: thour to Dr. Johnson. Johnson." They It is sad stuff; it is brutish. If a bull could have not answered the end. They have speak, he might as well exclaim-Here am not been talked of; I have never heard of I with this cow and this grass; what being them. This is owing to their not being can enjoy greater felicity?>

sold. People seldom read a book which is We talked of the melancholy end of a given to them; and few are given. The gentleman ? who had destroyed himself. way to spread á work is to sell it at a low Jousson. "It was owing to imaginary price. No man will send to buy a thing difficulties in his affairs, which, had he talk-ihat costs even sixpence, without an intenel of with any friend, would soon have van- tion to read it.” Boswell. May it not ished.” BOSWELL. “Do you think, sir, be doubled, sir, whether it be proper to pubthat all who commit suicide are mad?" lish letters, arraigning the ultimate decision Joaxsox. "Sir, they are often not univer- of an important cause by the supreme judisally disordered in their intellects, but one cature of the nation?Johnson. passion presses so upon them, that they sir, I do not think it was wrong to publish geld wo it, and commit suicide, as a passion- these letters. If they are thought to do ate man will stab another.” He added, “I harm, why not answer them? But they bave often thought, that after a man has will do no harm. If Mr. Douglas be indeed

the son of Lady Jane, he cannot be hurt: if So also Butler, Hadibras, P. II. c. i. v. 845.

he be not her son, and yet hus the great es* A Pereiin emperor whipt his grannar, The wa, his mother Venus came on.”—MALONE.

tate of the family of Douglas, he may well . (Sw John Hawkins (who, however, was not Andrew Stuart. Sir, I think such a publi

submit to have a pamphlet against him by will deposed towards Mr. Dyer (affords some pound for suspecting that he (who had died in 3 [A friend and relative of Addison's, who September, 1772) was the person alluded to. See, drowned himself to escape a prosecution on achowrrea, Malone's Life of Dryden, p. 85, which count of forging the will of Dr. Tindal, in which 2o reasons (though they have not quite con- Budgell had provided himself with a legacy of mend the Editor) for doubting that Mr. Dyer 2000). To this Pope alludes : could be the person here meant. The gentleman “ Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill,

* probably Mr. Fitzherbert, who terminated his And write whate'er he pleasa_ercept my will."--Ev.) ma eistence in Jannary, 1772.-Ev.]

. (On the Douglas Cause.--Ev.]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cation does good, as it does good to show the fable of the little fishes, who saw birds us the possibilities of human life. And, sir, Hly over their heads, and, envying them, peyou will not say that the Douglas cause titioned Jupiter to be changed into birds. was a cause of easy decision, when it divi- The skill (continued he) consists in making ded your court as much as it could do, to be them talk like little fishes." While he indetermined at all. When your judges are dulged himself in this fanciful reverie, he seven and seven, the casting vote of the observed Johnson shaking his sides, and president must be given on one side or oth- laughing. Upon which he smartly proceeder; no matter, för my argument, on which; ed, “Why, Dr. Johnson, this is not so eaone or the other must be taken; as when sy as you seem to think; for if you were to I am to move, there is no matter which leg make little fishes talk, they would talk like I move first. And then, sir, it was other- WHALES.” wise determined here. No, sir, a more Johnson, though remarkable for his great dubious determination of any question can- variety of composition, never exercised not be imagined (.”

his talents in fable, except we allow his He said, “ Goldsmith should not be for- beautiful tale published in Mrs. Williams's ever attenipting to shine in conversation: Miscellanies to be of that species. I have he has not temper for it, he is so much mor- however found among his manuscript collified when he fails. Sir, a game of jokes lections the following sketch of one: is composed partly of skill, partly of chance; “ Glow-worm 2 lying in the garden saw a a man may be beat at times by one who candle in a neighbouring palace--and comhas not the tenth part of his wit. Now plained of the littleness of his own light; Goldsmith's putting himself against anoth- another observed-wait a little;—soon dark, er, is like a man laying a hundred to one, | --have outlasted fena (many) of these glarwho cannot spare the hundred. It is not ing lights, which are only brighter as they worth a man's while. A man should not haste to nothing." lay a hundred to one, unless he can easily On Thursday, April 29, I dined with him spare it, though he has a hundred chances at General Oglethorpe's, where were Sir for him: le can get but a guinea, and he Joshua Reynolds, 'Mr. Langton, Dr. may lose a hundred. Goldsmith is in this Goldsmith, and Mr. Thrale. I was very staie. When he contends, if he gets the desirous to get Dr. Johnson absolutely fixbetter, it is a very little addition to a man ed in his resolution to go with me to the of his literary reputation: if he does not Hebrides this year; and I told hiru that I get the better, he is miserably vexed.” had received a letter from Dr. Robertson,

Johnson's own superlative powers of wit the historian, upon the subject, with which set him above any risk of such uneasiness. he was much pleased, and now talked in Garrick had remarked to me of him, a few such a manner of his long intended tour, days before, “Rabelais and all other wits that I was satisfied he meant to fulfil his are nothing compared with him. You may engagement. be diverted by then; but Johnson gives you The custom of eating dogs at Otaheite a forcible hug, and shakes laughter out of being mentioned, Goldsmith observed that you, whether you will or no.”

this was also a custom in China; that a dogGoldsmith, however, was often very for- butcher is as common there as any other tunate in his witty contests, even when he butcher; and that when he walks abroad all entered the lists with Johnson himself. the dogs fall on him. Johnson. - That Sir Joshua Reynolds was in company with is not owing to his killing dogs, sir. I rethem one day, when Goldsmith said that he member a butcher at Lichfield, whom a thought he could write a good fable, men- dog that was in the house where I lived altioned the simplicity which that kind of ways attacked. It is the smell of carnage composition requires, and observed that in which provokes this, let the animals he has mosi fables the animals introduced seldom killed be what they may.” GOLDSMITH. talk in character. “ For instance (said he), “Yes, there is a general abhorrence in an'I regretted that Dr. Johnson never took the a tub full of blood into a stable, the horses

imals at the signs of massacre. If you put trouble to study a question which interested nations. He would not even read a pamphlet which

are like to go mad.” Johnson. “I doubt

that." I wrote upou it, entitled The Essence of the

GOLDSMITH. Nay, sir, it is a fact

well authenticated.” THRALE. s You Douglas Cause ; which I have reason to flatter myself had considerable etfect in favour of Mr. had better prove it before you put it into Douglas; of whose legitimate filiation I was then, your book on natural history. You may do and am still, firmly convinced. Let me add, it in my stable, if you will." Johnsos. that no fact can be more respectably ascertained,

“ Nay, sir, I would not have him prove it. than by the judgment of the most august tribunal in the world; a judgment in which Lord Mansfield : It has already been observed, that one of and Lord Camden united in 1769, and from which the first Essays was a Latin poem on a glow-worm; only five of a numerous body entered a protest. -- but whether it be any where extant has not been BoSWELL


[ocr errors]

If he is content to take his information from mate end of all the employments of manothers, he may get through his book with kind is to produce amusement. Garrick little trouble, and without much endanger- produces more amusement than any body." ing his reputation. But if he makes exper- Boswell. “You say, Dr. Johnson, that iments for so comprehensive a book as his, Garrick exhibits himself for a shilling. In there would be no end to them; his errone- this respect he is only on a footing with a ous assertions would then fall upon himself; lawyer, who exhibits himself for his fee, and and he might be blamed for not having even will maintain any nonsense or absurdimade experiments as to every particular.” ty, if the case require it. Garrick refuses a

The character of Mallet having been in- play or a part which he does not like ; a troduced, and spoken of slightingly by lawyer never refuses.” Johnson. “Why, Goldsmith : Johnson. “Why, sir, Mallet sir, what does this prove? only that a lawhad talents enough to keep his literary repu- yer is worse; Boswell is now like Jack in tation alive as long as he himself lived; and The Tale of a Tub,' who, when he is that, let me tell you, is a good deal.” GOLD- puzzled by an argument, hangs himself. SMITH. “But I cannot agree that it was He thinks I shall cut him down, but I'll 80. His literary reputation was dead long let him hang.” (laughing vociferously). before his natural death. I consider an Sir JoshUA REYNOLDS. “ Mr. Boswell authour's literary reputation to be alive on-thinks that the profession of a lawyer bely while his name will ensure a good price ing unquestionably honourable, if he can for his copy from the booksellers. I will show the profession of a player to be more get you (to Johnson) a hundred guineas honourable, he proves his argument.” for any thing whatever that you shall write, On Friday, April 30, I dined with him at if you put your name to it.”

Mr. Beauclerk's, where were Lord CharleDr. Goldsmith's new play," She Stoops mont, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and some to Conquer," being mentioned; Johnson. more members of the LITERARY Club, "I know of no comedy for many years that whom he had obligingly invited to meet has 80 much exhilarated an audience, that me, as I was this evening to be balloted for has answered so much the great end of com- as candidate for admission into that distinedy-making an audience merry."

guished society. Johnson had done me the Goldsmith having said that Garrick's honour to propose me, and Beauclerk was compliment to the queen, which he intro- very zealous for me. duced into the play of “ The Chances," Goldsmith being mentioned: Johnson. which he had altered and revised this year, “ It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows. was mean and gross flattery;-Johnson. He seldom comes where he is not more ig“Why, sir, I would not write, I would not norant than any one else.” Sir Joshua give solemnly, under my hand, a character Reynolds. " Yet there is no man whose beyond what I thought really true; but a company is more liked.”


“To speech on the stage, let it flatter ever so be sure, sir. When people find a man of extravagantly, is formular. It has always most distinguished abilities as a writer, their been formular to flatter kings and queens; inferiour while he is with them, it must be $5 much so, that even in our church-service highly gratifying to them. What Goldwe have our most religious king, used in- smith comically says of himself is very true, discriminately, whoever is king. Nay, they -he always gets the better when he argues excatlatter themselves;-'we have been gra- alone; meaning that he is master of a subciously pleased to grant.?” No modern ject in his study, and can write well upon fattery, however, is so gross as that of the it; but when he comes into company, grows Augustan age, where the emperour was dei- confused, and unable to talk. Take him as Sod. Proesens Dious habebitur Augustus.' a poet, his• Traveller'is a very fine performiAnd as to meanness"-(rising into warmth) ance ; ay, and so is his · Deserted Village,

-* how is it mean in a player,-a show- were it not sometimes too much the echo of man, - fellow who exhibits himself for a his · Traveller.' Whether, indeed, we take shilling to flatter his queen?. The attempt, him as a poet, ---as a comick writer,—or as indeed, was dangerous; for if it had missed, an historian, he stands in the first class.” what became of Garrick, and what became Boswell. “ An historian! My dear sir, of the queen? As Sir William Temple you surely will not rank his compilation says of a great general, it is necessary not of the Roman History with the works of cals that his designs be formed in a master- other historians of this age?» Johnson. ly manner, but that they should be attend-“ Why, who are before him?” Boswell. ed with success. Sir, it is right, at a time ► Hume,-Robertson,-Lord Lyttelton.” when the royal family is not generally liked, Johnson. (His antipathy to the Scotch to let it be seen that the people like at least beginning to rise). “ I have not read Hume; ole us thern." Sir Joshua REYNOLDS. “I but, doubtless, Goldsmith’s ‘History is betdo not perceive why the profession of a play- ter than the verbiage of Robertson, or the er should be despised; for the great and ulti- | toppery of Dalrymple.” Boswell.“ Will



[ocr errors]

you not admit the superiority of Robertson, When we got to Temple-bar, he stopped in whose history we find such penetration, me, pointed to the heads upon it, and slily such painting?" Johnson. “ Sir, you whispered me, must consider how that penetration and that painting are employed. It is not histo- | Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis?!" ry, it is imagination. He who describes Johnson praised John Bunyan highly. what he never saw, draws from fancy. “ His • Pilgrim's Progress ? has great merit

, Robertson paints minds as Sir Joshua paints both for invention, imagination, and the faces in a history-piece: he imagines an he- conduct of the story; and it has had the roick countenance. You must look upon best evidence of its merit

, the general and Robertson's work as romance, and try it by continued approbation of mankind. Few that standard. History it is not. Besides, books, I believe, have had a more extensive sir, it is the great excellence of a writer to sale. It is remarkable that it begins very put into his book as much as his book will much like the poem of Dante; yet there was hold. Goldsmith has done this in his histo- no translation of Dante when Bunyan ry. Now Robertson might have put twice wrote. There is reason to think that he as much into his book. Robertson is like had read Spenser." a man who has packed gold in wool; the A proposition which had been agitated, wool takes up more room than the gold. that monuments to eminent persons should, No, sir; I always thought Robertson would for the time to come, be erected in St. Paul's be crushed by his own weight,-would be church, as well as in Westminster-abbey, buried under his own ornaments. Gold-was mentioned; and it was asked who should smith tells you shortly all you want to know: be honoured by having his monument Robertson detains you a great deal too long. first erected there. Somebody suggested No man will read Robertson's cumbrous de- Pope. Johnson. “ Why, sir, as Pope was tail a second time; but Goldsmith’s plain a Roman Catholick, I would not have his narrative will please again and again. Ito be first. I think' Milton's rather should would say to Robertson what an old tutor have the precedence 4. I think more highof a college said to one of his pupils: Read ly of him now than I did at twenty. There over your compositions, and wherever you is more thinking in him and in Butler, than meet with a passage which you think is in any of our poets.” particularly fine, strike it out.' Goldsmith's Some of the company expressed a wonabridgement is better than that of Lucius der why the authour of so excellent a book Florus or Eutropius; and I will venture to as The Whole Duty of Man,' should consay, that if you compare him with Vertot, ceal himself 5. Johnson. " There may be in the same places of the Roman History, different reasons assigned for this, any one you will find that he excels Vertot. Sir, he of which would be very sufficient. He may has the art of compiling, and of saying every thing he has to say in a pleasing man

3 In allusion to Dr. Johnson's supposed politiner. He is now writing a Natural History, cal principles, and perhaps his own.—BosWELL. and will make it as entertaining as a Per

• Here is another instance of his high admirasian tale."

tion of Milton as a poet, notwithstanding his just I cannot dismiss the present topick with-abhorrence of that sour republican's political prinout observing, that it is probable that Dr. ciples. His candour and discrimination are equalJohnson, who owned that he often “talked !y conspicuous. Let us bear no more of his • infor victory,” rather urged plausible objec- to Milton in St. Paul's cathedral would be the

justice to Milton.”-BOSWELL. (A monument tions to Dr. Robertson's excellent historical works, in the ardour of contest, than ex- ly education in the adjoining public school.–

more appropriate from his having received his earpressed his real and decided opinion; for it

Hall.] is not easy to suppose that he should so

6 In a manuscript in the Bodleian Library serwidely differ from the rest of the literary eral circumstances are stated, which strongly inworld 1.

cline me to believe that Dr. Accepted Frewen, Johnson, “I remember once being Archbishop of York, was the authour of this work. with Goldsmith in Westminster-abbey: -Malone: (Accepted Frewen was Dean of While we surveyed the Poets' Corner I said Gloucester, installed 1731, loco Geo. Warburton. to him,

-Hall. See, on the subject of the authour of • Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis !!

this celebrated and excellent work, Gent. Mag.

vol. xxiv. p. 26, and Ballard's Memoirs of [Mr. Boswell's friendship for both Johnson Learned Ladies, p. 300. The late eccentric and Robertson is here sorely perplexed; but there but learned Dr. Barrett, of Trinity College, Dubseems no ground for doubting that Johnson's “real lin, believed that Dr. Chapel, formerly provost of and decided opinion” of Robertson was very that college, was the author. This gentleman was low. He on every occasion repeats it with a very librarian of his college, and a perfect Magliabechi contemptuous consistency. See ante, p. 247.- in dirt and condition, see ante, p. 185. It is odd ED.)

too that Magliabochi's portrait was exceedingly • Ovid. de Ar. Amand. ijii. v. 18.--BOSWELL | like Dr. Barrett.-ED.)

corps ?

have been a clergyman, and may have | Nay, Dryden, in his poem on the Royal thought that his religious counsels would Society, has these lines: have less weight when known to come from a man whose profession was theology. He . Then we upon our globe's last verge shall go, may have been a man whose practice was

And see the ocean leaning on the sky; not suitable to his principles, so that his From thence our rolling neighbours we shall know,

And on the lunar world securely pry.' character might injure the effect of his book, which he bad written in a season of peni- Talking of puns, Johnson, who had a tence. Or he may have been a man of great contempt for that species of wit, rigid self-denial, so that he would have no deigned to allow that there was one good reward for his pious labours while in this pun in “ Menagiana,” I think on the word world, but refer it all to a future state.”

The gentlemen went away to their club, Much pleasant conversation passed, which and I was left at Beauclerk’s till the fate of Johnson relished with great good-humour. my election should be announced to me. I But his conversation alone, or what led to sat in a state of anxiety which even the it, or was interwoven with it, is the business charming conversation of Lady Di Beau- of this work. clerk could not entirely dissipale. In a On Saturday, May 1, we dined by ourshort time I received the agreeable intelli- selves at our old rendezvous, the Mitre gence that I was chosen. I hastened to tavern. He was placid, but not much disthe place of meeting, and was introduced posed to talk. He observed, that “The to such a society as can seldom be found. Irish mix better with the English than the Mr. Edmund Burke, whom I then saw for Scotch do; their language is nearer to the first time, and whose splendid talents English; as a proof of which, they suchad long made me ardently wish for his ac- ceed very well as players, which Scotchquaintance;. Dr. Nugent, Mr. Garrick, men do not. Then, sir, they have not Dr. Goldsmith, Mr. (afterwards Sir Will that extreme nationality which we find liam) Jones, and the company with whom in the Scotch. I will do you, Boswell, I had dined. Upon my entrance, John the justice to say, that you are the most son placed himself behind a chair, on unscottified of your countrymen.

You which he leaned as on a desk or pulpit, are almost the only instance of a Scotchand with humorous formality gave me a man that I have known, who did not charge, pointing out the conduct expected at every other sentence bring in some from me as a good member of this club. other Scotchman 3."

Goldsmith produced some very absurd We drank tea with Mrs. Williams. I verses which had been publickly recited to introduced a question which has been much an audience for money. Johnson. “I can match this nonsense. There was a poem taken the word, and imagined it to be corps,

? I formerly thought that I had, perhaps, miscalled · Eugenio,' which came out some from its similarity of sound to the real one. For years ago, and concludes thus:

an accurate and shrewd unknown gentleman, to . And now, ye trifling, self-assuming elves, whom I am indebted for some remarks on my Brimful of pride, of nothing, of yourselves, work, observes on this passage, “Q. if not on the Survey Eugenio, view him o'er and o'er, word fort? A vociferous French preacher said Then sink into yourselves, and be no more!' of Bourdaloue, ' Il prêche fort bien, et moi bien

fort.'—Menagiana. See also Anecdotes Lit[Dr. Johnson's memory here was not perfect- nious and obliging correspondent, Mr. Abercrom

teraires, article Bourdaloue." But my ingeIş securate: “ Eugenio" does not conclude thus. There are eight more lines after the last of those bie of Philadelphia, has pointed out to me the quoted by him; and the passage which he meant following passage in “ Menagiana ;” which rento recite is as follows:

ders the preceding conjecture unnecessary, and

confirms my original statement : *$uy Nottering, poor, assuming elves,

“ Madame de Bourdonne, chanoinesse de ReStars full of pride, of fully, of-yourselves; Say, where's the wretch or all your impious crew

miremont, venoit d'entendre un discours plein de Who dares confront his characier to view?

feu et d'esprit, mais fort peu solide, et très irreguBehold Eugenio, view him o'er and o’er,

lier. Une de ses amies, qui y prenoit intérêt pour Then sink into yourselves, and be no more."

l'orateur, lui dit en sortant, Eh bien, madame, Mr. Redd informe me that the authour of Euge- que vous semble-t-il de ce que vous venez d'ennis, Thomas Beech, a wine-merchant at Wrex- tendre ? Qu'il y a d'esprit?'— Il y a tant,' réham, in Denbighshire, soon after its publication, pondit Madame de Bourdonne, que je n'y ai iz 17th May, 1737, cut his own throat; and that it pas vû de corps.' "- Menagiana, tome ü. p. 64. appears by Swift's Works, that the poem had Amsterd. 1713.—Boswell. been shown to him, and received some of his 3,(Garrick, as Boswell himself tells us, used to corrections. Johnson had read “Eugenio” on rally him on his nationality, and there are abunbija first coming to towa, for we see it mentioned dant instances in these volumes to show that he in one of his letters to Ms. Cave, which has been was not exempt from that amiable prejudice. See inserted in this work.-BOSWELL..

ante, p. 24. 53. 189. 192. 197.-Ep.)

« ZurückWeiter »