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I have thus endeavoured to sum up the tally suspended in the years 1745 and 1746, evidence upon the case as fairly as I can; those years which were marked by a civil and the result seems to be, that the world war in Great Britain, when a rash attempt must vibrate in a state of uncertainty as to was made to restore the house of Stuart to what was the truth.

the throne. That he had a tenderness for This digression, I trust, will not be cen- that unfortunate house is well kn and sured, as it relates to a matter exceedingly some may fancifully imagine, that a sympacurious, and very intimately connected with thetick anxiety impeded the exertion of his Johnson, both as a man and an authour. intellectual powers; but I am inclined to

He this year wrote the “ Preface to the think, that he was, during this time, sketchHarleian Miscellany*?" The selection of ing the outlines of his great philological the pamphlets of which it was composed work. was made by Mr. Oldys, a man of eager None of his letters during those years curiosity, and indefatigable diligence, who are extant, so far as I can discover. This first exerted that spirit of inquiry into the is much to be regretted. It might afford literature of the old English writers, by some entertainment to see how he then exwhich the works of our great dramatick poet pressed himself to his private friends conhare of late been so signally illustrated. cerning state affairs. Dr. Adams informs

In 1745 he published a pamphlet entitled me, that “at this time a favourite object « Miscellaneous Observations on the Trag- which he had in contemplation was, the edy of Macbeth, with Remarks on Sir T. Life of Alfred;' in which, from the warmth H.8 (Sir Thomas Hanmer's) edition of with which he spoke about it, he would, I Shak-peare.” To which he affixed, pro- believe, had he been master of his own will, peals for a new edition of that poet. have engaged himself, rather than on any

As we do not trace any thing else l pub- other subject.” listurl by him during the course of this year, In 1747 it is supposed that the Gentle. we may conjecture that he was occupied man's Magazine for May (p. 239) was enentirely with that work. But the little en- riched by him with five short poetical pieces, ovuragement which was given by the pub- distinguished by three asterisks. The first link ui his anonymous proposals for the ex- is a translation, or rather a paraphrase, of erution of a task which Warburton was a Latin epitaph on Sir Thomas Hanmer. kniin to have undertaken, probably damp- Whether the Latin was his, or not, I have ed his ardour. His pamphlet, however, was never heard, though I should think it probhighly esteemed, and was fortunate enough ably was, if it be certain that he wrote the to btain the approbation even of the su- English; as to which my only cause of doubt fercilious Warburton himself, who, in the is, that his slighting character of Hanmer Preface to his Shakspeare, published two as an editor, in his “ Observations on Macyears afterwards, thus mentioned it: “As beth,” is very different from that in the to all those things which have been publish- Epitaph. It may be said, that there is the ed under the titles of Essays, Remarks, ob- same contrariety between the character in terestins, &c. on Shakspeare, if you ex- the Observations, and that in his own PreEk ime Critical Notes on Macbeth, given face to Shakspeare; but a considerable time ma specimen of a projected edition, and elapsed between the one publication and the miten, as appears, by a man of parts and other, whereas the Observations and the gents, the rest are absolutely below a seri- Epitaph came close together. The others las purice."

are, « To Miss

on her giving the Of this flattering distinction shown to Authour a gold and silk net-work Purse of hos by Warburton, a very grateful remem- her own weaving;”.

;” “Stella in Mourning;" trasee was ever entertained by Johnson, “ The Winter's Walk;” “ An Ode;" and, who said, “ He praised me at a time when “ To Lyce, an elderly Lady.” I am not prase was of value to me.”

positive that all these were his productions; in 1746 it is probable that he was still but as “ The Winter's Walk” has never coprired upon his Shakspeare, which per- been controverted to be his, and all of them hare he laid aside for a time, upon account have the same mark, it is reasonable to conmf the high expectations which were form

of Warburton's edition of that great ? In the Universal Visiter, to which Johnson pret It is somewhat curious, that his lite- contributed, the mark which is affixed to some tary tarcer appears to have been almost to- pieces, unquestionably his, is also found subjoined

to others, of which he certainly was not the aune's life, the original libel would never have thour. 'The mark, therefore, will not ascertain the bez brand of.-ED.]

poems in question to have been written by him. . ( pon the produce of these few and small Some of them were probably the productions of

to be, of course, could not have existed : but Hawkesworth, who, it is believed, was afflicted be he was otherwise employed, as Boswell fail with the gout. The verses on a purse were inde to discover, we cannot now hope to ascertain : serted afterwards in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies, * ante, p. 64, note.-Ep.)

and are unquestionably Johnson's.-MALONE.

clude that they are all written by the same A horrour at life in general is more conhandl. Yet to the Ode, in which we find sonant with Johnson's habitual gloomy cast a passage very characteristick of him, being of thought?. a learned description of the gout,

I have heard him repeat with great ener

gy the following verses, which appeared in "Unhappy, whom to beds of pain

the Gentleman's Magazine for April this Arthritick tyranny consigns,'

year; but I have no authority to say they there is the following note, “ The authour were his own. Indeed, one of the best critbeing ill of the gout:" but Johnson was icks of our age suggests to me, that "the not attacked with that distemper till a very word indifferently being used in the sense late period of his life. May not this, how- of without concern, and being also very unever, be a poetical fictionWhy may not poetical, renders it improbable that they a poet suppose himself to have the gout, as should have been his composition.” well as suppose himself to be in love, of which we have innumerable instances, and « On Lord Lovat's Erecution. which has been admirably ridiculed by Johnson in his “ Life of Cowley?". I have also The brave, BALMERINO, were on thy side ;

"Pitied by gentle minds, KılMARROCK died ; some difficulty to believe that he could pro- RADCLIFFE, unhappy in his crimes of youth, duce such a group of conceits as appear in Steady in what he still mistook for truth, the verses to Lyce, in which he claims for Beheld his death so decently unmoved, this ancient personage as good a right to be the soft lamented, and the brave approved. assiinilated to heaven, as nymphs whom But Lovat's fate indifferently we view, other poets have flattered; he therefore True to no king, to no religion true : ironically ascribes to her the attributes of No fair forgets the ruin he has done ; the sky, in such stanzas as this:

No child laments the tyrant of his son ;

No tory pities, thinking what he was ; “ Her teeth the night with darkness dies,

No whig compassions, for he left the cause ; She's starr'd with pimples o'er ;

The brave regret not, for he was not brave; Her tongue like nimble lightning plies,

The honest mourn not, knowing him a knave3!! And can with thunder roar." But as, at a very advanced age, he could In the Gentleman's Magazine for Deceincondescend to trifle in namby-pamby rhymes, ber this year, he inserted an “Ode on Winto please Mrs. Thrale and her daughter, he ter” (p. 588), which is, I think, an admiramay have, in his earlier years, composed ble specimen of his genius for lyrick poetry. such a piece as this.

It is remarkable, that in this first edition 2 [Johnson's habitual horrour was not of life, of “ The Winter's Walk," the concluding but of death.-Ed.] line is much more Johnsonian than it was 3 These verses are somewhat too severe on the afterwards printed; for in subsequent edi- extraordinary person who is the chief figure in tions, after praying Stella “ to snatch him them ; for he was undoubtedly brave. His to her arms,” he says,

pleasantry during his solemn trial (in which, by

the way, I have heard Mr. David Hume observe, “ And shield me from the ills of life.” that we have one of the very few speeches of Mr. Whereas in the first edition it is

Murray, now Earl of Mansfield, authentically gir

en) was very remarkable. When asked if he “ And hide me from the sight of life.” had any questions to put to Sir Everard Fawkener,

who was oue of the strongest witnesses against i [There is no evidence whatever that any of him, he answered, “I only wish him joy of his these were Johnson's, and every reason to sup- young wife.” And after sentence of death, in the pose that they are Hawkesworth’s. The ode horrible terms in such cases of treason, was prowhich Boswell doubts about, on internal evidence, nounced upon him, and he was retiring from the is the ode to Spring, which, with those on Sum- bar, he said, “ Fare you well, my lords ; we shall mer, Autumn, and Winter, have been of late not all meet again in one place.” He behaved published as Johnson's, and are, no doubt, all by with perfect coniposure at his execution, and calle ihe same hand. We see that Spring bears inter- ed out, Dulce et decorum est pro patriú munal marks of being Hawkesworth's. Winter ri.''- Boswell. (He was a profligare villain, and Summer, Mr. Chalmers (in the preface to and deserved death for his moral, at least, as the Adventurer and in the Biog. Dict.) asserts much as for his political offences. There is in the to be his also ; and (which seems quite conclusive) Gentleman's Magazine for April an account of the the index to the Gent. Mag. for 1748 attributes behaviour of Lord Lovat at his execution, the late Summer to Mr. Greville, a name known to ter part of whicb, censuring pleasantry in articulo have been assumed by Ilawkesworth. The verses mortis, bears strong internal evidence, both in on the “ Purse," and to “Stella in Mourning,” matter and manner, of having been written by are certainly by the same hand as the four odes, and Johnson. The interest which he took in this the whole must therefore be assigned to Hawkes- transaction may have fixed in his memory the worth, and should be removed from their place lines on Lord Lovat, which certainly do not rein Johnson's works.--F.D.]

semble his own style.--Ed.]

This year his old pupil and friend, David | Johnson, single and unaided, for the execuGarrick, having become joint patentee and tion of a work, which in other countries has manager of Drury-lane theatre, Johnson not been effected but by the co-operating honoured his opening of it with a Prologue*, exertions of many, were Mr. Robert Dodswhich for just and manly dramatick criticism ley, Mr. Charles Hitch, Mr. Andrew Milon the whole range of the English stage, lar, the two Messieurs Longman, and the as well as for poetical excellencel, is unri- two Messieurs Knapton. The price stipuvalled. Like the celebrated Epilogue to the lated was fifteen hundred and seventy-five " Distressed Mother," it was, during the pounds. season, often called for by the audience. The “Plan” was addressed to Philip The most striking and brilliant passages of Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield, then one of it have been so often repeated, and so well his majesty's principal secretaries of state; recollected by all the lovers of the drama and a nobleman who was very ambitious of of poetry, that it would be superfluous to literary distinction, and who, upon being point them out.

informed of the design, had expressed But the year 1747 is distinguished as the himself in terms very favourable to its epoch when Johnson's arduous and impor- success. There is, perhaps, in every thing tant work, his “ DICTIONARY OF THE ENG- of any consequence, a secret history which LISH LANGUAGE,” was announced to the it would be amusing to know, could we world by the publication of its Plan or Pro- have it authentically communicated. JohnSPECTUS.

son told me 2,“ Sir, the way in which the How long this immense undertaking had plan of my Dictionary came to be inscrihbeen the object of his contemplation, I do ed to Lord Chesterfield was this: I had Dot know. I once asked himn by what means neglected to write it by the time appointed. he had attained to that astonishing know- Dodsley suggested a desire to have it adlevize of our language, by which he was ena- dressed to Lord Chesterfield. I laid hold bled to realize a design of such extent and of this as a pretext for delay, that it might accumulated difficulty. He told me, that be better done, and let Dodsley have his ** it was not the effect of particular study; desire. I said to my friend, Dr. Bathurst, but that it had grown up in his mind insen- . Now, if any good comes of my addresssibly.” I have been informed, by Mr. ing to Lord Chesterfield, it will be ascribJames Dodsley, that several years before ed to deep policy, when in fact, it was only this period, when Johnson was one day sit- a casual excuse for laziness 3.95 ling in his brother Robert's shop, he heard It is worthy of observation, that the Luis brother suggest to him, that a Dictiona- "Plan” has not only the substantial merit ry of the English Language would be a of comprehension, perspicuity, and preFork that would be well received by the cision, but that the language of it is unexpublick; tbat Johnson seemed, at first, to ceptionably excellent; it being altogether catch at the proposition; but, after a pause, free from that inflation of style, and those said, in his abrupt decisive manner, " I be- uncommon, but apt and energetick words, lieve I shall not undertake it.” That he, which, in some of his writings, have been wwrres, had bestowed much thought upon censured, with more petulance than justice; the subject before he published his “ Plan,” and never was there a more dignified strain sevilent from the enlarged, clear, and ac- of compliment than that in which he courts ante riews which it exhibits; and we find the attention of one, who, he had been han mentioning in that tract, that many of persuaded to believe, would be a respectable the writers whose testimonies were to be patron. foduced as anthorities were selected by “With regard to questions of purity or Pope; which proves that he had been fur- propriety, (says he), I was once in doubt zdol, probably by Mr. Robert Dodsley, whether I should not attribute to myself too with stratever hints that eminent poet had much in attempting to decide them, and nminbuted towards a great literary project, whether my province was to extend beyond that had been the subject of important conwateration in a former reign.

2 September 22, 1777, going from Ashbourne

to Islam.-BosweLL. The booksellers who contracted with

3 [The reader will see, in the very next page, Vy friend, Mr. Courtnay, whose eulogy on that this account of the affair was, to say the best Intiasson's Latin poetry has been inserted in this of it, inaccurate ; but if it were correct, would it work, is no less happy in praising his English not invalidate Johnson's subsequent complaint of

Lord Chesterfield's inattention and ingratitude ? for,

even if his lordship had neglected what was dedi-taka he sing! the strain even Pope admires ; i Virtue her own bard inspires,

cated to him only by laziness and accident, he Jarenai le pours his lays,

could not justly be charged with ingratitude ; a ad a the Roman shares congenial praise ; dedicator who means no compliment, has no reaLa Boreng sumber now he fires the age, a espeare's win relumas the clouded stage."

son to complain if he be not rewarded : but more

of this hereafter.—Ev.] VOL. I.

Bos WELL.

10

the proposition of the question, and the and the arguments are properly and nioddisplay of the suffrages on each side; but I estly expressed. However, some expreshave been since determined, by your lord- sions may be cavilled at, but they are triship's opinion, to interpose my own judge- Ales. I'll mention one: the barren laurel. ment, and shall therefore endeavour to The laurel is not barren, in any sense whatsupport what appears to me most conso- ever; it bears fruits or flowers. Sed ha nant to grammar and reason. Ausonius sunt nugre?, and I have great expectations thought that modesty forbade him to plead from the performance 3." inability for a task to which Cæsar had judged him equal:

That he was fully aware of the arduous *Cur me posse negem, posse quod ille putat?' nature of the undertaking he acknow

ledges; and shows himself perfectly sensiAnd I hope, my lord, that since you, whose ble of it in the conclusion of his “Plan;" authority in our language is so generally but he had a noble consciousness of his acknowledged, have commissioned me to de- own abilities, which enabled him to go on clare my own opinion, I shall be considered with undaunted spirit. as exercising a kind of vicarious jurisdiction; Dr. Adams found him one day busy at and that the power which might have been his Dictionary, when the following diadenied to my own claim, will be readily al- logue ensued: -“Adams. This is a great łowed me as the delegate of your lordship.” | work, sir. How are you to get all the ely

This passage proves, that Johnson's ad- mologies? Johnson. Why, sir, here is a dressing his “Plan” to Lord Chesterfield shelf with Junius, and Skinner, and others; was not merely in consequence of the re- and there is a Welsh gentleman who has sult of a report by means of Dodsley published a collection of Welsh proverbs, that the earl favoured the design ; but who will help me with the Welsh. Adams. that there had been a particular communi- But, sir, how can you do this in three cation with his lordship concerning it. Dr. years? Johnson. Sir, I have no doubt Taylor told me that Johnson sent his that I can do it in three years. Adams. “ Plan” to him in manuscript for his peru- But the French Academy, which consists sal; and that when it was lying upon his of forty members, took forty years to comtable, Mr. William Whitehead happened pile their Dictionary. Johnson. Sir, thus to pay him a visit, and being shown it, was it is. This is the proportion. Let me see; highly pleased with such parts of it as he forty times forty is sixteen hundred. As had time to read, and begged to take it three to sixteen hundred, so is the proporhome with him, which he was allowed to tion of an Englishman to a Frenchman.” do; that from him it got into the hands of With so much ease and pleasantry could he a noble lord, who carried it to Lord Ches- talk of that prodigious labour which he had terfield. When Taylor observed this might undertaken to execute. be an advantage, Johnson replied, “No, The publick has had, from Sir John sir, it would have come out with more Hawkins', a long detail of what had been bloomu if it had not been seen before by done in this country by prior Lexicograany body."

phers; and no doubt Johnson was wise to The opinion conceived of it by another avail himself of them, so far as they went: noble authour appears from the following but the learned, yet judicious research of extract from the Earl of Orrery's note to etymology, the various, yet accurate disDr. Birch:

play of definition, and the rich collection of “ Caledon, Dec. 30, 1747. authorities, were reserved for the superiour “ I have just now seen the specimen of mind of our great philologist. For ihe meMr. Johnson's Dictionary, addressed to chanical part he employed, as he told me, Lord Chesterfield. I am much pleased six amanuenses; and let it be remenıbered with the plan, and I think the specimen is by the natives of North Britain, to whom one of the best that I have ever read. he is supposed to have been so hostile, that Most specimens disgust rather than pre-five of them were of that country. There judice us in favour of the work to follow; were two Messieurs Macbean; Mr. [Robbut the language of Mr. Johnson's is good,

[.Nugæ, indeed! for, though the laurel, of · [This also must be inaccurate, for the plan course, goes through the process of fructification, contains numerous allusions and references to it is, not only in the allegorical but in the ordinary Lord Chesterfield's opinions ; and there is the evi- sense of the word, barren. Its flowers have dence both of Lord Chesterfield and Johnson, that neither hue nor odour, nor is its fruit edible.Dodsley was the person who communicated with Ep.] his lordship on the subject. And the remark 3 Birch MSS. Brit. Mus. 4303.—BOSWELL. about the bloom of the plan seems almost unin- * Sir John Hawkins's list of former English telligible. The bloom of a work, as regards the Dictionaries is, however, by no means complete public, cannot be impaired by its being communi- -MALONE. cated to two or three private friends. - Ep.] 6 [See ante, note, p. 53.—ED.)

2

1. 19

ert] Shiels, who, we shall hereafter I easily be effaced. I have seen several of see, partly! wrote the Lives of the them, in which that trouble had not been

Poets to which the name of Cibber taken; so that they were just as when used a afised; Mr. Stewart, son of Mr. George by the copyists. It is remarkable that he St-wart, bookseller at Edinburgh; and a was so attentive in the choice of the passaMr. Maitland. The sixth of these humble ges in which words were authorised, that existants was Mr. Peyton, who, I believe, one inay read page after page of his Dictiontaugat French, and published some elemen- ary with improvement and pleasure; and it tary tracts.

should not pass unobserved, that he has To all these painful labourers Johnson quoted no authour whose writings had a showed a never-ceasing kindness, so far as tendency to hurt sound religion and moralthey stood in need of it. The elder Mr. ity. Macb-an had afterwards the honour ot' be- The necessary expense of preparing a ing Librarian to Archibald, Duke of Ar- work of such magnitude for the press must evle, for many years, but was left without have been a considerable deduction from a shiling. Johnson wrote for him a Pre- the price stipulated to be paid for the face t) A System of Ancient Geography:" copyright. I understand that nothing was and, bv the favour of Lord Thurlow, got allowed by the booksellers on that account; bim ainitted a poor brother of the Char- and I remember his telling me, that a large tes-house. For Shiels, who died of a portion of it having, by mistake, been writconsumption, he had much tenderness; and ten upon both sides of the paper, so as to it has been thought that some choice sen- be inconvenient for the compositor, it cost tosces in Shiels' Lives of the Poets were lim twenty pounds to have it transcribed supplied by him. Peyton, when reduced upon one side only. to paury, had frequent aid from the boun- He is now to be considered as “tugging ty nf Johnson, who at last was at the ex- at his oar,” as engaged in a steady continpense of burying him and his wife. ued course of' occupation, sufficient to em

While the Dictionary was going for- ploy all his time for some years; and which wani, Johnson lived part of the time in was the best preventive of that constituHbirn, part in Gough-square, Fleet- tional melancholy which was ever lurking stret; and he had an upper room fitted up about him, ready to trouble his quiet. But like a counting-house for the purpose, in his enlarged and lively mind could not be which he gave to the copyists their several satisfied without more diversity of employtasks. The words partly taken from other ment, and the pleasure of animated relaxadictionaries, and partly supplied by him- tion. He therefore not only exerted his suur, traving been first written down with talents in occasional composition very difas left between them, he delivered in ferent from Lexicography, but formed a siting their etymologies, definitions, and club (that met every Tuesday evevous significations. The authorities ning at the King's Head, a famous were copied from the books themselves, in beef-steak house) in Ivy-lane, Pavluch he had marked the passages with a ternoster-row, with a view to enjoy literaback-leai pencil, the traces of which could ry discussion, and amuse his evening hours. [It seems strange that Mr. Boswell should and, with a disposition to please

[Thither he constantly resorted, bare stated that Shiels only partly wrote what and be pleased, would pass those are called “ Cibber's Lives of the Poets,”, and hours in a free and unrestrained interintimated that Johnson contributed some choice sienos to these “ Lives ; " for Johnson him- change of sentiments, which otherwise had s, in the Life of Hammond, tells the story in

been spent at home in painful reflection. a way which seems inconsistent with Mr. Boswell's The persons who composed this little soeruions

ciety were nine in number: they were, the “I tshe this opportunity to testify, that the Reverend Dr. Salter, father of the late book called Cibber's Lives of the Poets' master of the Charter-house; Dr. Hawkes

not writien, nor, I believe, ever seen by ei-worth; Mr. Ryland, a merchant, a relation miner of the Cibbers, but was the work of Robert of his 2; Mr. John Payne, then a bookselShes, a native of Scotland, a man of a very ler, but now or very lately chief accountZule nderstanding, though with little scholastic ant of the bank; Mr. Samuel Dyer, a learndlacztson, who, not long after the publication of ed young man intended for the dissenting 1. #ork, died in London of a consumption. His ministry; Dr. William M'Ghie, a Scots He mus vindous and his end was pious. The physician; Dr. Edmund Barker, a young esca Cibber, then a prisoner for debt, imparted, physician; Dr. Richard Bathurst, also a ül as told, his name for ten guineas. The young physician; and Sir J. Hawkins 3. Descript of Shiels is now in my possession.” Johnmoa, we see, says the whole work was 2 [His brother-in-law.- Ed.] Shels', to the exclusion of himself as well as 3 [Sir J. Hawkins gives an account of the Cibber See more on this subject post, 10th members of this club, too diffuse to be quoted April, 1776-Ed.)

here, but which is worthy the attention of any

Hawk

p. 219.

Hawk.

p. 257.

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