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round by a succession of company ; yet you are
“ In less than a month we are to be in Cavenanxious for my health. Now this is, though per- dish-square. Mr. Fitzherbert has fixed Friday haps unknown to you, really a contradiction. se’nnight for going to town bimself, and we are to For one day's crowd, with the preceding necessa- follow soon after that time. Need I say, I shall ry preparations to receive them, the honours, as be glad to see you ? No-you know I sball; it is called, of a large table, with the noise, &c. and, unless duty calls to Lichfield, I wish rather attending, pulls down my feeble frame more than to have that visit deferred, till it may give me an any thing you can imagine. To that, air, gentle opportunity of seeing you here on our return in exercise, and then quiet and rest, most the summer. Consider of this, and contrive so, friendly. You have often declared you can- is possible, as that both in summer and winter i not be alone ; and I, as often, that I could not be may have the pleasure of your conversation ; long, unless I was some hours in every day alone. which will greatly cheer the gloom of one season, I have found myself mistaken ; for yet I am in and add to the smiles of the other. Such influbeing, though for some time past I have seldom ence has such a friend on, dear sir, your obliged had one half hour in a day to myself; and I have and affectionate humble servant, learned this profitable lesson, that resignation is
“ H. BOOTHBY. better than indulgence ; and time is too precious My dear Miss Filzherbert is well, very well, a thing for me to have at my own disposal. and has never given me one alarm since we came Providence has given it to others, and if it may here. She sends you her love very sincerely." profit them, I shall rejoice. It is all I desire.
“I can only be sorry that the text in the Co- DR. JOHNSON TO MISS BOOTHBY. rinthians' does not prove to you what I would
it Saturday 4, 271h Dec. 1755.) have it, and add to my prayers for you that it may “ DEAREST DEAR,- 1 am extremely obliged prove it.
to you for the kindness of your inquiry. After I “ Miss Fitzherbert is very well, and all my dear had written to you, Dr. Lawrence came, and flock. She sends her love to you.
would have given some oil and sugar, but I took “ You will prolong? your visit to this part of rhenish and water, and recovered my voice. I the world, till some of us are so tired of it that we yet cough much, and sleep ill. I have been visshall be moving towards you. Consider, it is al-ited by another doctor to-day ; but I laughed at most October. When do you publish? Any bis balsam of Peru. I fasted on Tuesday, Wednesnews relating to you will be acceptable : if it is day, and Thursday, and felt neither hunger nor good, I shall rejoice ; if not, hope to lessen any faintness. I have dined yesterday and to-day, and pain it may give you by the sharing it, as, dear found little refreshment. I am not much amiss ; sir, your truly affectionate friend,
but can no more sleep than if my dearest lady “ H. Boothly.” were angry at, madam, your, &c.
LETTER XXXI. "Tissington, 11th October, 1755.
" Sunday night, (December, 1755 5.) "DEAR SIR,-1 have been so great a rambler “ MY DEAR SIR,-I am in trouble about you ; lately, that I have not had time to write. A and the more, as I am not able to see how you week at Derby ; another between Stafford and do myself-pray send me word. You have my some other relations. The hurrying about proved sincere prayers ; and the first moment I can, you too inuch for my strength, and disordered me a shall see, dear sir, your affectionate friend, good deal ; but now, thank God, I am better
“ H. BOOTHBY. again. Your letter I met here, as I always do “ I beg you would be governed by the good every one you write, with much pleasure. I ex- doctor while you are sicx ; when you are well, pected this pleasure ; and as I should have met do as you please.” disappointinent if I had not had a letter, so the pleasure of one was increased. Few things can
DR. JOHNSON TO MISS BOOTHBY. disappoint me: 1 look for po satisfaction from
" 30th December, 1755. then ; but you may greatly, as you have given “ DEAR MADAM,- It is again midnight, and me a confidence in your highly valued friendship. I am again alone. With what meditation shall I Complaints for want of time will be one of those amuse this waste hour of darkness and vacuity ? which must be made by all, whose hope is not If I turn my thoughts upon myself, what do I full of immortality ; and to this, the previous perceive but a poor helpless being, reduced by a review of life, and reflections you have made, blast of wind to weakness and misery? How my are necessary. I am persuaded you had not time present distemper was brought upon me I can to say more, or you could not bave concluded give no account, but impute it to some sudden your last as you did. A moment's reflection would have prevented a needless wish.
3 (His mother was still alive and resident in Lichfield, “ Have you read Mr. Law ? not cursorily, but but he never again visited that town during her life. See with attention ? I wish you would consider him. ante, vol. 1: pp. 124 n. and 161.-ED.)
4 (Probably Saturday, 27th December, 1755. These • His appeal to all that doubt, &c.' I think the undated votes it is not easy to arrange ; but the order the most clear of all his later writings; and, in rec- Editor has assigned to them seems probable, and is conommending it to you, I shall say no more or less sistent with the contents. It seems that while Johnson
was labouring under some kind of feverish cold, Miss than what you will see he says in his advertise- Boothby herself fell ill of a disease of which she died in ment to the reader,
5 In Dr. Johnson's handwriting.–WRIGHT. (Proba1 (Anie, p. 478.-Ed.)
bly Sunday, 28th Dec. 1755. Miss Boothby_seems to 2 (By prolong she must mean delay.-ED]
have come to town in the preceding month.-ED.) VOL. II.
succession of cold to heat; such as in the common fer the rest, till I am more able. Dear sir, you road of life cannot be avoided, and against which affectionate friend,
“ H. BOOTHBY. no precaution can be taken.
“ Give Cooper some tickets. « Of the fallaciousness of hope and the uncer “I am glad you sent for the hock. Mr. Fitzler. tainty of schemes, every day gives some new bert has named it more than once. proof; but it is seldom heeded, till something “ Thank you for saving me from what indeed rather felt than seen awakens attention. This might have greatly hurt me, had I heard or stea illness, in which I have suffered something, and in a paper such a feared much more, has depressed my confidence aud elation ; and made me consider all that I had “ DR. JOHNSON TO MISS BOOTHBY. promised myself, as less certain to be attained or
“ Wednesday, December 31, 1755. enjoyed. I bave endeavoured to form resolutions “MY SWEET ANGEL,-I have read your of a better life ; but I forin them weakly, under book, I am afraid you will think without any the consciousness of an external motive. Not great improvement ; whether you can read my that I conceive a time of sickness, a time improp-notes, I know not. You ought not to be ofiended; er for recollection and good purposes, which I I am perhaps as sincere as the writer. In zu believe diseases and calamities often sent to pro- things that terminate here I shall be much guided duce, but because no man can know how little by your influence, and should take or leave big his performance will answer to his promises ; and your direction; but I cannot receive my religion designs are nothing in human eyes till they are from any huinan band. I desire however to be realised by execution.
instructed, and am far from thinking mysef “ Continue, my dearest, your prayers for me, perfect. that no good resolution may be vain. You think, “I beg you to return the book when you bure I believe, better of me than I deserve. I hope looked into it. I should not have written wha! to be in time what I wish to be ; and what I was in the margin, had I not had it from you, er have hitherto satisfied myself too readily with had I not intended to show it you. only wishing.
“ It affords me a new conviction, that in these "Your billet brought me, what I much wished bouks there is little new, except new forms of es. to have, a proof that I am still remembered by pression; which may be sonjetimes taken, erea you at the hour in which I must desire it. by the writer, for new doctrines.
“ The doctor' is anxious about you. He "] sincerely hope that God, whom you so thinks you too negligent of yourself; if you will much desire to serve aright, will bless yoa, and promise to be cautious, I will exchange promises, restore you to health, if he sees it best. Surely no as we bave already exchanged injunctions. How- human understanding can pray for any thing iesever, do not write to me more than you can easi- poral otherwise than conditionally. Dear unged, ly bear ; do not interrupt your ease to write at all. do not forget me. My heart is full of teodernas
“ Mr. Fitzherbert sent to-day to offer me some “ It has pleased God to permit me to be much wine; the people about me say I ought to accept better; which I believe will please you. it. I shall therefore be obliged to him if he will “ Give me leave, who have thought rch on send me a bottle.
medicine, to propose to you an easy, and I thias “There bas gone about a report that I died to a very probable remedy for indigestion and isday, which I mention, lest you should hear it and bricity of the bowels. Dr. Lawrence bas told the be alarmed. You see that I think my death may your case. Take an oance of dried orange peel alarm you; which, for me, is to think very highly finely powdered, divide it into scruples, and take of earthly friendship. I believe it arose from the one scruple at a time in any manner; the best way is death of one of my neighbours. You know Des perhaps to drink it in a glass of hui red port, or to Cartes' argument, “I think; therefore I am.' It eat it first, and drink the wine after it
. If yea is as good a consequence, ' 1 write; therefore I am mix cinnamon or nutmeg with the powder, it were alive. I might give another, ‘1 am alive; there- not worse; but it will be more balky, and so more fore I love Miss Boothby;' but that I hope our troublesome. This is a medicine not digesing, friendship may be of far longer duration than life. not costly, easily tried, and if not found usefa, I am, dearest madam, with sincere affection, easily left off, yours, “SAM. Johnson." “I would not have you offer it to the doctors
mine. Physicians do not love intruders; yet do MISS BOOTHBY TO DR. JOHNSON. not take it without his leave. But do not be
["December, 17552.] easily put off, for it is in my opinion very hsely “MY DEAR SIR, -Would I was able to reply to help you, and not likely to do you bara: do fully to both your kind letters! but at present I not take too much in haste; a scrupie once in
I trust we shall both be better soon, three hours, or about five scruples a day, will the with a blessing upon our good doctor's means. i sufficient to begin; or less, if you find any aversion. have been, as he can tell you, all obedience. As I think using sugar with it might be bad; if synap, an answer to one part of your letter, I have sent use old syrup of quinces; but even that I do not you a little book 3. God bless you. I must de- like. I should think better of conserve of shoes. 1 (Dr. Lawrence.- Ep.)
Has the doctor mentioned the bark? In powder 2 in Dr. Johnson's handwriting.–WRIGHT. you could hardly take it; perhaps you might take
3 (Probably not one of Law's works, mentioned in the the infusion. letter of the 11th October. Dr. Johnson told Mr. Bos.
“Do not think me troublesome, I am fall of well (ante, vol. i. p. 24) that Law's Serious Call was the first book that ever awoke him to a sense of real religion.
I love you and honour you, and am very The work, whatever it was, lent him by Miss Boothby, he does not seem to have approved.--Ed.)
4 (See ante, vol. I. p. 512-ED |
anwilling to lose you. A dieu je vous recom- may die in thy favour, through Jesus Christ our mande. I am, madam, your, &c.
Lord. Amen. I commend, &c. W. and H. B : “My compliments to my dear Miss."
“ Transcribed June 26, 1768 3." " TO THE SAME.
[On a close examination of the foregoing (From Mrs. Piozzi's Collection, vol. ii. p. 391.) correspondence, it will be seen that the personal
“ ist January, 1755 1. communications between Dr. Johnson and Miss "* DEAREST MADAM,
,-Though I am afraid Boothby were very limited, and that even during your illness leaves you little leisure for the recep- her few and short visits to London their intercourse iion of airy civilities, yet I cannot forbear to pay was hardly as frequent as politeness would have you my congratulations on the new year; and to required from common acquaintances. declare my wishes, that your years to come may The Editor admits that several of Miss Boothby's be many and happy. In this wish indeed I include letters contain expressions which, if we did not myself, who have nove but you on whom my consider the ages of the parties and all the other heart reposes; yet surely I wish your good, even circumstances of the case, would sound like somethough your situation were such as should permit thing more tender than mere platonism; but the you to communicate no gratifications to, dearest slight intercourse between them during the lady's madam, your, &c.”
subsequent visits to town seems to refute that in
ference. “ TO THE SAME.
The general phraseology of Johnson's notes, (From Mrs. Piozzi's Collection, vol. ii. p. 392.) and the terms " my dearest” and “my angel,”
"(January 30, 1756.) seem strange; but it must be recollected that “ DEAREST MADAM,- Nobody but you can dearest dear, and similar superlatives of tenderrecompense me for the distress which I suffered ness, were usual with him in addressing Miss on Monday night. Having engaged Dr. Lawrence Reynolds and other ladies for whom he confessto let me know, at whatever hour, the state in edly felt nothing but friendship; and they were which he left you; I concluded, when he stayed addressed to Miss Boothby when she was dying, so long, that he stayed to see iny dearent expire. and when the hearts of both were softened by I was composing myself as I could to hear what sickness and affliction, and warmed by spiritual yet I hoped not to hear, when his servant brought communication. ine word that you were better. Do you continue As to the supposed rivalry between him and to grow better? Let my dear little Miss inform Lord Lyttelton for Miss Boothby's favour (seo me on a card. I would not have you write, lestunte, p. 276), it must be either a total mistake or it should hurt you, and consequently hurt likewise, an absurd exaggeration. Lord Lyttelton was, dearest madam, yours, &c."
during the whole of the acquaintance of Dr. Johnson and Miss Boothby, a married man, fondly
attached to his wife, and remarkable for the puoc“ Thursday, 8th January, 1756. tilious propriety of his moral conduct; and the “ HONOURED MADAM, --1 beg of you to en- preference shown by Miss Boothby, and which deavour to live. I have returned your Law; is said to have rankled in Johnson's heart, could which, however, I earnestly entreat you to give have been nothing more than some incident in a
I am in great trouble; if you can write three morning visit, when Lord Lyttelton and Johnson words to me, be pleased to do it. I am afraid to may have met in Cavendish-square, (for it seems y much, and cannot say nothing when my certain that they never met in the country). We cearest is in danger.
have seen in the cases of Lord Chesterfield (vol. “ The all-merciful God have mercy on you! I i. pp. 110–11, n,) and of Miss Cotterell (vol. i. am, madam, your, &c."
p. 104) how touchy Johnson was on such occa
sions, and how ready he was to take offence at any " Miss Boothby died Friday, January 16, thing that looked like slight. Some preference or 1756; upon whose death Dr. Johnson composed superior respect shown by Miss Boothby to Lord the following prayer. “Prayers and Medita- Lyttelton's rank and public station (he was chantions,' &c. p. 25.
cellor of the exchequer in 1755) no doubt offended "H!!! Boothby's death, January, 1756.-0 the sensitive pride of Johnson, and occasioned the Lord God, Almighty disposer of all things, in dislike which he confessed to Mrs. Thrale he felt whose hands are life and death, who givest com- for Lord Lyttelton; but an amorous rivalry between forts and takes them away, I return thee thanks them is not only absurd, but impossible.—Ed.] for the good exaniple of Hill Boothby, whom thou hast now taken away; and implore thy grace that I may improve the opportunity of instruction
No. VIII. which thou hast afforded me, by the knowledge of her life, and by the sense of her death; tbato [Note on the words balance of misery, may consider the uncertainty of my present state,
p. 387.) and apply myself earnestly to the duties which The Reverend Mr. Ralph Churton, Fellow of thou hast set before me, that, living in thy fear, 1 Brazen-Nose College, Oxford, has favoured me
2 (These initials mean, no doubt, Mr. Williams, who (Johnson throughout his life was liable to the inad- died a few months before, and Hill Boothby.-ED.) vertence of using the date of the old year in the first days 3 (It is not easy to say why Dr. Johnson marked serof the new; and has evidently, the Editor thinks, done so eral of his prayers, as transcribed. Such a fact appears in this case; as it does not seem that Miss Boothby was quite immaterial, but no donbt had some particular obill in January, 1755.--ED)
TO THE SAME.
with the following remarks on my work, which the sacred volume which at first sight promises so he is pleased to say, “I have hitherto extolled, much to lend its sanction to these dark and des and cordially approve."
ponding notions as the book of Ecclesiastes, which The chief part of what I have to observe is so often, and so emphatically, proclaims the fancontained in the following transcript from a letter ity of things sublunary. But the design of this to a friend, which, with his concurrence, I copied whole book (as it has been justly observed) is a for this purpose; and, whatever may be the merit to put us out of conceit with life, but to cure oat or justness of the remarks, you may be sure that vain cxpectations of a complete and perfect hap. being written to a most intimate friend, without piness in this world: to convince as, that there is any intention that they ever should go further, no such thing to be found in mere external enjoy. they are the genuine and undisguised sentiments ments;—and to teach us to seek for happiness in of the writer:
the practice of virtue, in the knowledge and love
4 6th January, 1792. of God, and in the hopes of a better life. For “ Last week I was reading the second volume this is the application of all : Let us hear, &c. of Boswell's Johnson,' with increasing esteem xii. 13. Not only his duty, but his happiness too: for the worthy author, and increasing veneration For God, &c. v. 14.-See Sherlock on Proriof the wonderful and excellent man who is the dence,' p. 299. subject of it. The writer throws in, now and “« The New Testament tells us, indeed, and then, very properly, some serious religious reflec- most truly, that 'sufficient unto the day is the evil tions; but there is one remark, in my mind an thereof : and, therefore, wisely forbids us to iaobvious and just one, which I think he has not crease our burden by forebodings of sorrows: bat made, that Johnson's 'morbid melancholy,' and I think it nowhere says, that even our ordinary constitutional infirmities, were intended by Provi- afflictions are not consistent with a rery considerdence, like St. Paul's thorn in the flesh, to check able degree of positive comfort and satisfaction
. intellectual conceit and arrogance; which the con- And, accordingly, one whose sufferings as well as sciousness of his extraordinary talents, awake as merits were conspicuous assures us, that in pohe was to the voice of praise, might otherwise portion as the sufferings of Christ abounded in have generated in a very culpable degree. Ano- them, so their consolation also abounded by ther observation strikes me, that in consequence Christ.' 2 Cor. i. 5. It is needless to cite, as in. of the same natural indispositron, and habitual deed it would be endless even to refer to, the sickliness (for he says he scarcely passed one day multitude of passages in hoth Testaments holding without pain after bis twentieth year), he consid- out, in the strongest language, promises of oles ered and represented human life as a scene of sings, even in this world, to the faithful servants much greater misery than is generally experienced. of God. I will only refer to St. Luke, ivül 23,
There inay be persons bowed down with affliction | 30, and 1 Tim. iv. 8. all their days; and there are those, no doubt, Upon the whole, setting aside instances of whose iniquities rob them of rest; but neither ca- great and lasting bodily pain, of minds peculiardy lamities nor crimes, 1 hope and believe, do so oppressed by melancholy, and of severe terporal much and so generally abound, as to justify the calamities, from which extraordinary cases we dark picture of life which Johnson's imagination surely should not form our estimate of the general designed, and his strong pencil delineated. This tenour and complexion of life ; excluding these I am sure,
the colouring is far too gloomy for what from the account, I am convinced that as well I have experienced, though, as far as I can re the gracious constitution of things which Prosi. member, I have had more sickness (I do not say dence has ordained, as the declarations of scriptare more severe, but only more in quantity) than falls and the actual experience of individuals, authorto the lot of most people. But then daily debility ize the sincere Christian to hope that his hou.ble and occasional sickness were far overbalanced by and constant endeavours to perform his duty, intervenient days, and, perhaps, weeks void of chequered as the best life is with many failing pain, and overtiowing with comfort. So that in will be crowned with a greater degree of present short, to return to the subject, human life, as far peace, serenity, and comfort, than he could te as I can perceive froin experience or observation, sonably perunit himself to expect, if he measured is not that state of constant wretchedness which his views and judged of life from the opinion of Johnson always insisted it was: which misrepre- Dr. Johnson, often and energetically expressed in sentation, for such it surely is, his biographer has the memoirs of hin, without any animadversion not corrected, I suppose, because, unhappily, he or censure by his ingenious biógrapher. If he h:18 himself a large portion of melancholy in his himself, upon reviewing the subject, shall see the constitution, and fancied the portrait a faithful copy matter in this light, he will, in an octavo ednien, of life.”
which is eagerly expected, make such addrenal The learned writer then proceeds thus in his remarks or corrections as he shall judge fit ; lest letter to nre:
the impressions which these discouraging pasares “ I have conversed with some sensible men on may leave on the reader's mind should in a de this subject, who all seem to entertain the same gree hinder what otherwise the whole spirit and sentiments respecting life with those which are energy of the work tends, and, I hope, success expressed or implied in the foregoing paragraph. fully, to promote,-pure morality and true reliIt might be added, that as the representation here gion.” spoken of appears not consistent with fact and ex
Though I have, in some degree, obviated any perience, so neither does it seem to be countenanc- reflections against my illustrious friend's dark ed by scripture. There is, perhaps, no part of views of life
hen considering, in the course of
this work, his “ Rambler" and his “ Rasselas," I has borrowed, with an account of the liberties he am obliged to Mr. Charton for complying with my has taken in telling the stories; his life, and an request of liis permission to insert his remarks, exact etymological glossary. being conscious of the weight of what he judi- “ Aristotle's Rhetorick, a translation of it into ciously suggests as to the melancholy in my own English. coustirution. His more pleasing views of life, “A Collection of Letters, translated from the I hope, are just. Valeant quantum valere modem writers, with some account of the several possunt.
authours. Mr. Churton concludes his letter to me in these “Oldham's Poenis, with notes, historical and words: “Once, and only once, I had the satisfac- critical. tion of seeing your illustrious friend; and as I feel « Roscommon's Poems, with notes. a particular regard for all whom he distinguished “Lives of the Philosophers, written with a with his esteem and friendship, so I derive much polite air, in such a manner as may divert as well pleasure from reflecting that I once beheld, as instruct. though but Iransiently, near our college gate, one “ History of the Heathen Mythology, with an whose works will for ever delight and improve explication of the fables, both allegorical and histhe world, who was a sincere and zealous son of torical; with references to the poets. the church of England, an honour to his country, “ History of the State of Venice, in a compenand an ornament to human nature."
dious manner. His lelter was accompanied with a present from “ Aristotle's Ethicks, an English translation of himself of bis “ Sermons at the Bampton Lec-them, with notes. ture," and from his friend, Dr. Townson, the Geographical Dictionary from the French. venerable rector of Malpas, in Cheshire, of his (Ctrecht.) MS. " Discourses on the Gospels,” together with the “ Hierocles upon Pythagoras, translated into following extract of a letter from that excellent English, perhaps with notes. This is done by person, who is now gone to receive the reward Norris. (Nov. 9th, 1752.] MS. of his labours : “ Mr. Boswell is not only very “ A book of Letters, upon all kinds of subentertaining in his works, but they are so replete jects. with moral and religious sentiments, without an “ Claudian, a new edition of his works, cum instance, as far as I know, of a contrary tenden- notis variorum, in the manner of Burman. cy, that I cannot help having a great esteem for “ Tully's Tusculan questions, a translation of him; and if you think such a trifle as a copy of them. the Discourses, ex dono authoris, would be ac- “Tully's De Naturâ Deorum, a translation of ceptable to him, I should be happy to give him those books. this small testimony of my regard."
“ Benzo's New History of the New World, to Such spontaneous testimonies of approbation be translated. from such men, without any personal acquaint- “ Machiavel's History of Florence, to be transance with ine, are truly valuable and encouraging. lated.
“ History of the Revival of Learning in Europe, containing an account of whatever contributed to
the restoration of literature ; such as controverNo. IX.
sies, printing, the destruction of the Greek empire,
the encouragement of great men, with the lives (CATALOGUE, or List of Designs, referred of the most eminent patrons, and most eminent to in p. 429.]
early professors of all kinds of learning in different
countries. “ DIVINITY.
“A Body of Chronology, in verse, with histor“A small book of precepts and directions for ical notes. [Nov. 9th, 1752.] MS. piety; the hint taken from the directions in Mor- “ A Table of the Spectators, Tatlers, and ton's exercise.
Guardians, distinguished by figures into six degrees
of value, with notes, giving the reasons of prefer« PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, AND LITERATURE
ence or degradation.
“ A Collection of Letters from English au“ History of Criticism, as it relates to judging thours, with a preface giving some account of
authours, from Aristotle to the present age. the writers ; with reasons for selection, and An account of the rise and improvements of that criticism upon styles ; remarks on each letter, if art; of the different opinions of authours, ancient needsul. and modern.
"A Collection of Proverbs from various lan“ Translation of the History of Herodian. guages. Jan. 6th,-53.
“ New edition of Fairfax's Translation of Tas- "A Dictionary to the Common Prayer, in imso, with noles, glossary, &c.
itation of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible. « Chaucer, a new edition of him, from manu- March-52. scripts and old editions, with various readings, “A Collection of Stories and Examples, like conjectures, remarks on his language, and the those of Valerius Maximus. Jan. 10th,-53. changes it had undergone from the earliest times “ From Elian, a volume of select Stories, perto his age, and from his to the present ; with haps from others. Jan. 28th,-53. notes explanatory of customs, &c. and references Collection of Travels, Voyages, Adventures, to Boccace, and other authours, from whom he and Descriptions of Countries,