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At these meetings Sir J. Hawkins ob- J. Hawkins, tells us, to the same serves not only that in conversation John- effect, that Johnson was surprised

son made it a rule to talk his best, to be told, but it was certainly true, Hawk.

but that on many subjects he was that with all his great powers of mind

not uniform in his opinions, con- and humour were his most shining tending as often for victory as for truth: at ents ?;] [and Mrs. Piozzi says, that one time good, at another evil was predom- his vein of humour was rich and inant in the moral constitution of the world. apparently inexhaustible—to such Upon one occasion, he would deplore the a degree that Mr. Murphy used to sa non-observance of Good-Friday, and on an was incomparable at buffoonery.] other deny, that among us of the present [For the sake of further relaxa- M age there is any decline of public worship. tion from his literary labours, and He would sometimes contradict self-evident probably also for Mrs. Johnson's healtl propositions, such as, that the luxury of this summer visited Tunbridge Wells, this country has increased with its riches; a place of much greater resort than it and that the practice of card-playing is present. In the print?, representing more general than heretofore. At this ver- of "the remarkable characters” who satility of temper, none, however, took of at Tunbridge Wells, in 1748, and a fence: as Alexander and Cæsar were born from a drawing of the same size, Dr. J for conquest, so was Johnson for the office son stands the first figure.] [On of a symposiarch, to preside in all conversa- the opposite side of the drawing his tions; and Sir J. Hawkins adds that he wife is represented, as are also Gal never yet saw the man who would venture Cibber, Speaker Onslow, Lord Chai to contest his right.

Lord Lyttelton, and Miss Chudleigh Let it not, however, be imagined, that several other celebrated persons; and il the members of this club met together with assemblage, as has been already st the temper of gladiators, or that there was neither Johnson or his wife exhibit wanting among them a disposition to yield appearance of inferiority to the rest to each other in all diversities of opinion: company.] and, indeed, disputation was not, as in In the Gentleman's Magazine for many associations of this kind, the purpose of this year he wrote a “Life of Ros of the meeting; nor were their conversa mon*,” with Notes (p. 216); which tions, like those of the Rota club, restrain- terwards much improved (indenting ed to particular topicks. On the contrary, notes into text), and inserted among it may be said, that with the gravest dis- Lives of the English Poets. courses was intermingled “ mirth, that af Mr. Dodsley this year brought ou ter no repenting draws” (Milton); for not Preceptor,” one of the most val only in Johnson's melancholy there were books for the improvement of young i lucid intervals, but he was a great contri- that has appeared in any language; a butor to the mirth of conversation, by the this meritorious work Johnson fúrn many witty sayings he uttered, and the · The Preface *,” containing a ge many excellent stories which his memory sketch of the book, with a short and had treasured up, and he would on oc- perspicuous recommendation of each casion relate; so that those are greatly mis- article [this he sat up a whole taken who infer, either from the general night to write]; and also, “ The Visi tendency of his writings, or that appear. Theodore, the Hermit, found in his C ance of hebetude which marked his counte- a most beautiful allegory of human nance when living, and is discernible in the under the figure of ascending the mou pictures and prints of him, that he could of Existence. The Bishop of Dro only reason and discuss, dictate and control. [Percy] heard Dr. Johnson say,

In the talent of humour there hardly ever thought this was the best thing he was his equal. By this he was enabled to wrote [and he told Mr. Tyers that he give to any relation that required it the posed ii also, in one night, after finishi graces and aids of expression, and to dis- evening in Holborn). criminate with the nicest exactness the In January, 1749, he published characters of those whom it concerned. In Vanity of Human Wishes, being the 1 aping this faculty, Sir J. Hawkins says Satire of Juvenal imitated *.” He,

tha

6

that he had seen even Warburton Hawk. disconcerted, and when he would

[This should be borne in mind in re fain have been thought a man of Johnson's conversations, because mucho pleasantry, not a little out of countenance. peculiarity called humour cannot be adeq [Mr. Murphy, a better judge than Sir conveyed in words and many things may

trite, dull, or offensively rude in mere nar

which were enlivened or softened by the a reader who may be curious about Johnson's early style of the delivery.—Ep.) Associates.-Ep.)

? See ante, p. 34, 35,

p. 259.

Lirve, composed it the preceding year! | ing his fixed intention to publish at some Mrs. Johnson, for the sake of country air, period, for his own profit, a complete collechad lodgings at Hampstead, to which he tion of his works. resorted occasionally, and there the greatest His “Vanity of Human Wishes" has part, if not the whole, of this imitation was less of common life, but more of a philosophwritten. The fervid rapidity with which ick dignity than his “ London.” More it was produced is scarcely credible. I have readers, therefore, will be delighted with the heard him say, that he composed seventy pointed spirit of “ London,” than with the lines of it one day, without putting one of profound reflection of “ The Vanity of Huthem upon paper till they were finished 2. man wishes.” Garrick, for instance, obI remember when I once regretted to him served in his sprightly manner, with more that he had not given us more of Juvenal's vivacity than regard to just discrimination, Santes, he said, he probably should give as is usual with wits, “ When Johnson more, four he had them all in his head; by lived much with the Herveys, and saw a which I understood, that he had the origi- good deal of what was passing in life, he Dals and correspondent allusions floating in wrote his London, which is lively and his mind, which he could, when he pleased, easy: when he became more retired, he embrads and render permanent without gave us his 'Vanity of Human Wishes,' nach labour. Some of themı3, however, which is as hard as Greek. Had he gone be obeerved were too gross for imitation. on to imitate another satire, it would have

The profits of a single poem, however ex- been as hard as Hebrew 5.” elent, appear to have been very small in But “ The Vanity of Human Wishes” the last reign, compared with what a pub- is, in the opinion of the best judges, as high tiration of the same size has since been an effort of ethick poetry as any language koown to yield. I have mentioned upon can show. The instances of variety of disJohnson's own authority, that for his “ Lon- appointment are chosen so judiciously, and dan” he bad only ten guineas; and now, painted so strongly, that, the moment they alter his fame was established, he got for are read, they bring conviction to every bis * Vanity of Human Wishes" but five thinking mind. guineas more, as is proved by an authentick That of the warrior, Charles of Sweden, dorument in my possession

is, I think, as highly finished a picture as It will be observed, that he reserves to can possibly be conceived. That of the himsell the right of printing one edition of scholar must have depressed the too santhis satire, which was his practice upon oc- guine expectations of many an ambitious casmn of the sale of all his writings; it be- student6.

Sa John Hawkins, with solemn inaccuracy, represents this poem as a consequence of the 5 From Mr. Langton.—BoswELL. [Garmitierent reception of his tragedy. But the fact rick's criticism (if it deserves the name) and his in, that the poem was published on the 9th of facts are both unfounded. “ The Vanity of HuJasary, and the tragedy was not acted till the 6th man Wishes” is in a graver and higher tone

the February following.–BOSWELL. (Mr. than the London, but not harder to be underPardl s here more solemnly inaccurate than stood. On the contrary, some classical allusions, Ex John, who, though he erroneously inverts the inconsistent with modern manners, obscure pasorder of appiarance of the two works, does not sages of the latter; while all the illustrations, senrepresent the poem as a consequence of the in-timents, and expressions of the former are, though dscent reception of the play, but, on the con- wonderfully noble and dignified, yet perfectly intran, neutralizes the mistake he makes as to time, telligible, and almost familiar. Moreover, we boy warning his reader not to impute the transla- have seen that when Johnson wrote London, tre of Juvenal to the failure of the tragedy.- he was not living the gay and fashionable life L.)

which Mr. Garrick is represented as mentioning. [This waa Johnson's general habit of com- Alas! he was starving in obscure lodgings on posing his defect of sight rendered writing and eightpence and even fourpence a day (see ante, se corrections troublesome, and he therefore p. 39), and there is in London nothing to show alerriei bis memory where others would have any intimacy with the great or fashionable world. employed pen and paper.-Ed.]

As to the Herveys, it may be here observed (He probably said “sonie passages of contrary to Mr. Boswell's (as well as Mr. Gartem;" for there are none of Juvenal's Satires to rick's) supposition—that he was intimate with #hich the wine objection may be made as to that family previous to the publication of Lon mas of Horace's, that it is altogether gross and don:-that the sneer in that poem at Clodio's scator-Ev.)

jest,” stood in the first edition “ Hy's jest," * * Nor, 25, 1748, I received of Mr. Dodsley and was probably aimed at Lord Hervey, who Sist guiness, for which I assign to him the right was a favourite theme of satire with the opposition of copy of an Imitation of the Tenth Satire of writers of the day.-Ed.] Jarmal, written by me; reserving to myself the • In this poem one of the instances nuentioned right of prinung one edition.-Sam. Johnson." of unfortunate learned men is Lydiat: -Bov ILL.

“ Hear Lydiat's Life, and Galileo's ond."

Piozzi, (When Dr. Johnson, one day, grateful reverence from its noble conclus p. 88, 89. read his own satire, in which the in which we are consoled with the as life of a scholar is painted, with the va ance that happiness may be attained, it rious obstructions thrown in his way to "apply our hearts ” to piety: fortune and to fame, he burst into a passion of tears: Mr. Thrale's family and Mr. Shall dull suspense corrupt the stagnant mind

“ Where then shall hope and fear their objects Scott1 only were present, who, in a jocose Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, wav, clapped him on the back, and said, Roll darkling down the torrent of bis fate? "What's all this, my dear sir? Why you, Shall no dislike alarm, no wishes rise, and I, and Hercules ?, you know, were all No cries attempt the mercy of the skies? troubled with melancholy.He was a Inquirer, cease; petitions yet remain, very large man, and made out the triumvi- Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem Religion rate with Johnson and Hercules comically Still raise for good the supplicating voice, enough.)

But leave to Heaven the measure and the ch Were all the other excellencies of this Safe in His hand, whose eye discerns afar poem annihilated, it must ever have our The secret an bush of a specious pray’r;

Implore His aid, in His decisions rest, The History of Lydiat being little known, the Secure, whate'er He gives, He gives the be following account of him may be acceptable to Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires, many of my readers. It appeared as a note in | And strong devotion to the skies aspires, the Supplement to the Gentleman's Magazine for Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind, 1748, in which some passages extracted from Obedient passions, and a will resigned; Johnson's poem were inserted, and it should have For love, which scarce collective man can been added in the subsequent editions.—"A For patience, sovereign o'er transmuted ill; very learned divine and mathematician, Fellow For faith, which panting for a happier seat, of New College, Oxon, and Rector of Okerton, Counts death kind Nature's signal for retrea near Banbury. He wrote, among many others, These goods for man the laws of Heaven o a Latin treatise · De natura celi, & c.' in which These goods He grants, who grants the por he attacked the sentiments of Scaliger and Aris

gain; totle, not bearing to hear it urged, that some With these celestial wisdom calms the mind things are true in philosophy, and false in di- And makes the happiness she does not find vinity. He made above 600 Sermons on the harmony of the Evangelists. Being unsuccessful Garrick being now vested with thea in publishing his works, he lay in the prison of power by being manager of Drury Bocardo at Oxford, and in the King's Bench, till theatre, he kindly and generously Bishop Usher, Dr. Laud, Sir William Boswell, use of it to bring out Johnson's tra and Dr. Pink, released him by paying his debts. which had been long kept back for wa He petitioned King Charles I. to be sent into encouragement. But in this beney Ethiopia, &c. to procure Mss. Having spoken purpose he met with no small dithi in favour of monarchy and bishops, he was from the temper of Johnson, which plundered by the parliament forces, and twice not brook that a drama which he carried away prisoner from his rectory; and af- formed with terwards had not a shirt to shift him in three obliged to keep more than the nine

nuch study, and had months, without he borrowed it, and died very of Horace, should be revised and alter poor in 1646.”—Boswell. [In 1609, Lydiat the pleasure of an actor.

Yet G accompanied Usher into Ireland, and obtained knew well, that without some alterati (probably by his interest) the office of chapelreader in Trinity College, Dublin, at a salary of would not be fit for the stage. A v 3!. 68. Bd. per quarter: he was resident there dispute having ensued between them, about two years; and in March, 1612, it appears, rick applied to the Reverend Dr. Tay that he had from the college “ 51. to furnish him for his journey to England." The remembrance tending on female beauty is mentioned, ha

3 In this poem, a line in which the dang of Lydiat was traditionally preserved in Dublin College; and the Editor recollects to have heard, generally, I believe, been misunderstood: about 1797, that, in some ancient buildings, then Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring recently removed, Lydiat had resided evidence, And Sedley curs*d the form that pleas'd a king.” either that he had left a high reputation behind The lady mentioned in the first of these him, or, more probably, that Johnson's mention was not the celebrated Lady Vane, whos of him had revived the memory of his sojourn in moirs were given to the publick by Dr. Sn that university.--Ed.]

but Anne Vane, who was mistress to Fred [George Lewis Scott, F. R. S., an amiable Prince of Wales, and died in 1736, not lo and learned man, formerly sub-preceptor to fore Johnson settled in London. Some a George the Third, and afterwards a Commission of this lady was published, under the ti er of Ercise, whom it seems Johnson did not The Secret History of Vanella, 8vo. 1 now reckon as one of the lowest of a!l human See also “ Vanella in the Straw, 4to. 1 beings." See ante, p. 10.-Ed.]

-BOSWELL. (See post, 17 Aug. 1778 ? [In allusion to the madness of Hercules on observations ing the lines in quest Mount Oeta.-Ed.]

Ed.)

He was,

5

interpose. Johnson was at first very ob- William Yonge. I know not how his play snale. “ Sir (said he), the fellow wants came to be thus graced by the pen of a De to make Mahomet run mad, that he person then so eminent in the political may have an opportunity of tossing his world 5. hands and kicking his heels !.”

Notwithstanding all the support of such however, at last, with difficulty, prevailed performers as Garrick, Barry, Mrs. Cibber, on to comply with Garrick's wishes, so as Mrs. Pritchard, and every advantage of in allow of some changes; but still there dress and decoration, the tragedy of Irene were not enough.

did not please the publick6. Mr. Garrick's Dr. Adams was present the first night of real carried it through for nine nights, so the representation of Irene, and gave me that the authour had his three nights' prothe following account: “Before the cur- fits; and from a receipt signed by hini, now tuin drew up, there were catcalls whistling, in the hands of Mr. James Dodsley, it apwhich alarmed Johnson's friends. The pears that his friend, Mr. Robert Dodsley, Prologue, which was written by himself in a manly strain, soothed the audience"?, and epilogue was always supposed to be Johnson's, the play went off tolerably, till it came to and that Mr. Boswell's account is a “ new discovthe conclusion, when Mrs. Pritchard, the ery, and by no means probable,” and he adds, heroine of the piece, was to be strangled that “it were to be wished that the epilogue up in tbe stage, and was to speak two lines could be transferred to any other writer, it being with the bow-string round her neck. The the worst jeu d'esprit which ever fell from Johnandience cried out Murder! murder 3! son's pen.” Mr. John Taylor also has lately inSue several times attenipted to speak; but formed the editor that Murphy subsequently rein vain. At last she was obliged to go off peated to him that Johnson was the anthor of the the stage alive.” This passage was after- epilogue. The first fourteen lines certainly dewards struck out, and she was carried off serve Murphy's censure, and could hardly have wo be put to death behind the scenes, as tlie been written by the pen of Johnson ; but the last play now has it. The Epilogue, as John-ed that these Johnson added to or altered from the

ten lines are much better, and it may be suspectson informed me', was written by Sir

original copy.-Ed.] ? Mahomet was in fact played by Mr. Barry,

[It has been observed that he must, before ad Demetrius by Mr. Garrick : but probably this, have some acquaintance with Sir W. Yonge, the parts were not yet cast.–Boswell. [It has who told him that great should be pronounced teen said that Garrick originally intended to have so as to rhyme with seat, while Lord Chesterfield ulen the part of Mahomet, and he probably had said it should rhyme to state. (See post, chied it to Barry to propitiate him in the au

27th March, 1772.) – Ep.] tour favour.- Ep.)

6 I know not what Sir John Hawkins means * The espression used by Dr. Adams was

by the cold reception of IRENE. (See ante, ** scothed.” . I should rather think the audience note, p. 77.] I was at the first representation ; *** aered by the extraordinary spirit and dignity plauded the first night, particularly the speech on

and most of the subsequent. It was much aper the following lines :

to-morrow. It ran nine nights at least. It did ** this at least his praise, be this his pride,

not indeed become a stock-play, but there was Ta kutre applause no modern arts are tried : Soold partial catcalls all his hopes confound,

not the least opposition during the representation, He bids no trumpet quell the fatal sound;

except the first night in the last act, where Irene Scala welcurne sleep relieve the weary wit, He rotts no thunders o'er the drowsy pit;

was to be strangled on the stage, which John NA KR 1o caprivate the 'udgement spreads,

[Bull] could not bear, though a dramatick poet Sebben your eyes, to prejudice your heads. may stab or slay by hundreds. The bow-string I ainoral, though witlings sneer and rivals rail, was not a Chistian nor an ancient Greek or Roz dans to please, yet not ashamed to fail, He sh te meek address, the suppliant strain,

man death. Put this offence was removed after W weil needless, and without it vain;

the first night, and Irene went off the stage to be L. Ronson, Nnture, Truun, he dares to trust : strangled. —Many stories were circulated at the Te os be sulent, and ye wits be just!”

time, of the authour's being observed at the repre• This shows how ready modern audiences are sentation to be dissatisfied with some of the Dondern in a new play what they have fre- speeches and conduct of the play bimself ; and, Fuently endured very quietly in an old one. like La Fontaine, expressing his disapprobation Rowe has made Moneses, in Tamerlane, die aloud.—BURNEY. be the bow-string, without offence.--MALONE. [Mr. Murphy (Lise, p. 53,) says,

" the amount 1. Darips tell us, in his Life of Garrick," of the three benefit nights for the tragedy of FOLL p. 128, that the strangling Trene, contrary IRENE, it is to be feared, were not very consid

Horace's rule, coram populo, was suggested erable, as the profit, that stimulating motive, nevGarniek-En.]

er invited the authour to another dramatick at(Dr. Anderson says in his Life, that“ Mr. tempt.” But Mr. Isaac Reed discovered that the Beradi ascribes this epilogue to Sir W. Yonge authour's three nights, after deducting about 1901.

good foundation :” yet Mr. Boswell, who for the expenses of the house, amounted together a ns first edition had simply stated the fact, added 10 near 2001., besides the 1001. for the copy.

the second, “as Johnson informed me.These were, at the time, large sums to Dr. JohnE. Marphy too asserts (Life, p. 154), that the son.—Ed.]

gave him one hundred pounds for the copy, Dress indeed, we must allow, has mord with his usual reservation of the right of fect even upon strong minds than one edition.

should

suppose, without having had the IRENE, considered as a poem, is entitled perience of it. His necessary attend to the praise of superiour excellence. An- while his play was in rehearsal, and di alysed into parts, it will furnish a rich store its performance, brought him acqua of noble sentiments, fine imagery, and beau- with many of the performers of both s tiful language; but it is deficient in pathos, which produced a more favourable opii in that delicate power of touching the hu- of their profession than he had harshly man feelings, which is the principal end of pressed in his Life of Savage. With the dramal. Indeed Garrick has complain- of them he kept up an acquaintance as ed to me, that Johnson not only had not as he and they lived, and was ever read the faculty of producing the impressions of show them acts of kindness. He for a tragedy, but that he had not the sensibility siderable time used to frequent the G to perceive them. His great friend Mr. Room, and seemed to take delight in Wamsley's prediction, that he would "turn pating his gloom, by mixing in the sprl out a fine tragedy writer," was, therefore, ly chit-chat of the motley circle then ill-founded. Johnson was wise enough to found there. Mr. David Hume relat be convinced that he had not the talents me from Mr. Garrick, that Johnson a necessary to write successfully for the denied himself this amusement, from a stage, and never made another attempt in erations of rigid virtue, saying, "I'll that species of composition.

no more behind your scenes, David When asked how he felt upon the ill suc- the silk stockings and white bosoms of cess of his tragedy, he replied, “ Like the actresses excite my amorous propensi Monument;” meaning that he continued firm and unmoved as that column 2 And [“DR. JOHNSON TO MISS PORTER“. let it be remembered, as an admonition to

“Goff 5 Square, July 12, 1749 the genus irritabile of dramatick writers, “ DEAR MISS,-I am extremely ol that this great man, instead of peevishly you for your letter, which I would complaining of the bad taste of the town, answered last post, but that illness submitted to its decision without a mur- vented me. I have been often out mur. He had, indeed, upon all occasions a der of late, and have very much ne great deference for the general opinion: ed my affairs. You have acted very "A man (said he) who writes a book, dently with regard to Levett's affair, thinks himself wiser or wittier than the rest will, I think, not at all embarrass m of mankind; he supposes that he can in- you may promise him, that the mor struct or amuse them, and the publick to shall be taken up at Michaelmas, or, at whom he appeals must, after all, be the some time between that and Chris judges of his pretensions."

and if he requires to have it done soul On occasion of this play being brought will endeavour it. I make no doubt, b, upon the stage, Johnson had a fancy that time, of either doing it myself, or per as a dramatick authour his dress should be ing some of my friends to do it for my more gay than what he ordinarily wore; « Please to acquaint him with it, a he therefore appeared behind the scenes, me know if he be satisfied. When he and even in one of the side-boxes, in a scar- called on me, his name was mistaker let waistcoat, with rich gold-lace, and a therefore I did not see him; but findin gold-lace hat. He humorously observed mistake, wrote to him the same day to Mr. Langton, “ that when in that dress never heard more of him, though I en he could not treat people with the same ed him to let me know where to w: ease as when in his usual plain clothes.” | him. You frighted me, you little

with your black wafer, for I had forg, 1 Aaron Hill (vol. ii. p. 355), in a letter to Mr. Mallett, gives the following account of Irene 3 [This appears to have been by no mea after having seen it. “ I was at the anomalous case. His most acrimonious attacks on G Mr. Johnson's benefit, and found the play his pro- and Sheridan, and players in general, were per representative ; strong sense ungraced by quent to this period. -Ed.] sweetness or decorum.''-BOSWELL.

* [This letter, and some others, which w [Or, more modestly perhaps, that he felt no pear in their proper places, I owe to the u more than the Monument could feel. It may, in- ited kindness of the Rev. Dr. Harwood, th deed, be presumed, from Dr. Burney's evidence, torian of Lichfield, who procured the and from considering that it produced him more with permission to publish them, from Mrs money than he probably had ever before possess. son of Lichfield, who is in possession of the ed, that he was far from thinking that his tragedy nals.- Ev.] had failed. The London Magazine for Februa 5 [Thus in the original.--Ed.] ry, states that Irene was then acting with great 6 [This confirms the statement, as to thi applause.-Ed.)

in page 64. n.--Ed.]

2

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