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fellow, Mr. Hector, has obligingly furnished me with many particulars of his boyish days; and assured me that he never knew him corrected at school, but for talking and diverting other boys from their business. He seemed to learn by intuition; for though indolence and procrastination were inherent in his constitution, whenever he made an exertion he did more than any one else. In short, he is a memorable instance of what has been often observed, that the boy is the man in miniature; and that the distinguishing characteristicks of each individual are the same, through the whole course of life. His favourites used to receive very liberal assistance from him; and such was the submission and deference with which he was treated, such the desire to obtain his regard, that three of the boys, of whom Mr. Hector was sometimes one, used to come in the morning, as his humble attendants, and carry him to school. One in the middle stooped, while he sat upon his back, and one on each side supported him; and thus he was borne triumphant. Such a proof of the early predominance of intellectual vigour is very remarkable, and does honour to human nature. Talking to me once himself of his being much distinguished at school, he told me, "they never thought to raise me by comparing me to any one; they never said, Johnson is as good a scholar as such a one, but such a one is as good a scholar as Johnson; and this was said but of one, but of Lowe; and I do not think he was as good a scholar."

He discovered a great ambition to excel, which roused him to counteract his indolence. He was uncommonly inquisitive; and his memory was so tenacious, that he never forgot any thing that he either heard or read. Mr. Hector remembers having recited to him eighteen verses, which, after a little pause, he repeated verbatim, varying only one epithet, by which he improved the line.

He never joined with the other boys in their ordinary diversions: his only amusement was in winter, when he took a pleasure in being drawn upon the ice by a boy barefooted, who pulled him along by a garter fixed round him;

no very easy operation, as his size was remarkably large. His defective sight, indeed, prevented him from enjoying the common sports; and he once pleasantly remarked to me how wonderfully well he had contrived to be idle without them. Lord Chesterfield, however, has justly observed in one of his letters, when earnestly cautioning a friend against the pernicious effects of idleness, that active sports are not to be reckoned idleness in young people; and that the listless torpor of doing nothing, alone deserves that name. Of this dismal inertness of disposition, Johnson had all his life too great a share. Mr. Hector relates, that he could not oblige him more than by sauntering away the hours of vacation in the fields, during which he was more engaged in talking to himself than to his companion.

Dr. Percy, the bishop of Dromore, who was long intimately acquainted with him, and has preserved a few anecdotes concerning him, regretting that he was not a more diligent collector, informs me, that "when a boy he was immoderately fond of reading romances of chivalry, and he retained his fondness for them through life; so that," adds his lordship, "spending part of a summer at my parsonage-house in the country, he chose for his regular reading the old Spanish romance of Felixmarte of Hircania, in folio, which he read quite through. Yet I have heard him attribute to these extravagant fictions that unsettled turn of mind which prevented his ever fixing in any profession."

After having resided for some time at the house of his uncle, Cornelius Ford, Johnson was, at the age of fifteen, removed to the school of Stourbridge, in Worcestershire, of which Mr. Wentworth was then master. This step was taken by the advice of his cousin, the rev. Mr. Ford, a man in whom both talents and good dispositions were disgraced by licentiousness, but who was a very able judge

z Cornelius Ford, according to sir John Hawkins, was his cousin german, being the son of Dr. Joseph [Q. Nathanael,] Ford, an eminent physician, who was brother to Johnson's mother.-MALONE.

a He was a man, says Johnson, whose abilities, instead of furnishing convi

of what was right. At this school he did not receive so much benefit as was expected. It has been said, that he acted in the capacity of an assistant to Mr. Wentworth, in teaching the younger boys. "Mr. Wentworth," he told me," was a very able man, but an idle man, and to me very severe; but I cannot blame him much. I was then a big boy; he saw I did not reverence him; and that he should get no honour by me. I had brought enough with me, to carry me through; and all I should get at his school would be ascribed to my own labour, or to my former master. Yet he taught me a great deal."

He thus discriminated to Dr. Percy, bishop of Dromore, his progress at his two grammar schools: "At one, I learned much in the school, but little from the master; in the other, I learned much from the master, but little in the school."

The bishop also informs me, that "Dr. Johnson's father, before he was received at Stourbridge, applied to have him admitted as a scholar and assistant to the rev. Samuel Lea, M. A. head master of Newport school, in Shropshire; a very diligent good teacher, at that time in high reputation, under whom Mr. Hollis is said, in the memoirs of his life, to have been also educated. This application to Mr. Lea was not successful; but Johnson had afterwards the gratification to hear that the old gentleman, who lived to a very advanced age, mentioned it as one of the most memorable events of his life, "that he was very near having that great man for a scholar."

He remained at Stourbridge little more than a year, and then he returned home, where he may be said to have loitered, for two years, in a state very unworthy his uncommon abilities. He had already given several proofs of

vial merriment to the voluptuous and dissolute, might have enabled him to excel among the virtuous and the wise. Life of Fenton.-ED.

b He is said to be the original of the parson in Hogarth's Modern Midnight Conversation. Sir John Hawkins communicated to Mr. Nichols that the original of the parson was orator Henley. Nichols' Works of Hogarth, 4to. vol. ii. P. 110.

As was likewise the bishop of Dromore many years afterwards.--BoSWELL.

his poetical genius, both in his school exercises and in other occasional compositions. Of these I have obtained a considerable collection, by the favour of Mr. Wentworth, son of one of his masters, and of Mr. Hector, his schoolfellow and friend; from which I select the following specimens:

Translation of Virgil. Pastoral I.


Now, Tityrus, you, supine and careless laid,
Play on your pipe beneath this beechen shade;
While wretched we about the world must roam,
And leave our pleasing fields and native home,
Here at your ease you sing your amorous flame,
And the wood rings with Amarillis' name.


Those blessings, friend, a deity bestow'd,
For I shall never think him less than god;
Oft on his altar shall my firstlings lie,
Their blood the consecrated stones shall dye:
He gave my flocks to graze the flowery meads,
And me to tune at ease th' unequal reeds.


My admiration only I exprest,

(No spark of envy harbours in my breast,)
That, when confusion o'er the country reigns,

Το you alone this happy state remains.

Here I, though faint myself, must drive my goats,
Far from their ancient fields and humble cots.

This scarce I lead, who left on yonder rock
Two tender kids, the hopes of all the flock.
Had we not been
and careless grown,
This dire event by omens was foreshown;
Our trees were blasted by the thunder stroke,
And left-hand crows, from an old hollow oak,
Foretold the coming evil by their dismal croak.

Round Robin addressed to D. Johnson, with Facsimiles of the Signatures.

Metcalfe. Gibbon. Jos. Warton. Com Buche. Tho. Franklin.

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We the Circumscribers,
having read with great pleasure.
intended Epitaph for the Monument of
D. Goldsmith, which considered abstractedly
appears to be for elegant Composition and Masterly,
Style in every respect worthy of the Pen of its learned

Tam Johnson Jam: Jhafen Jaen: Johansen


in his 16th Year.

in his 35th Year.

Published by William Tickering, Londen, & Talbers & Wheeler, Oxford 1826

in his last Year.

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