Abbildungen der Seite

that will not fail to increase the evil. On the contrary, amuse, dissipate yourself; laugh at your own folly; treat it cavalierly, and the illusion will soon cease-one serious resolve, however, must be firmly made, resolutely kept, and which no consideration must forego, the determined, fixed, unalterable resolution, of never, never, never trusting yourself alone with the man of whom you feel yourself afraid.

I perceive that this letter is spun out to a considerable length; the warmth of my wishes for your happiness would dictate a great deal more, but it is time to conclude it, One thing, however, I must mention; it is of a delicate nature from a man to a woman, but my age and my motives will be a sufficient apology for the liberty I take. This important advice shall be conveyed in as few words as possible. Be nicely and scrupulously clean ; deficiency in this respect will unavoidably create disgust in a well-bred man I fear, in our country especially, this is not always sufficiently attended to; and a fatal experience has often opened a woman's eyes when the evil was irreparable.

Thus, my dear Miss — , I have hastily thrown on paper such thoughts as have occurred to me; they have no pretension to novelty, elegance, or even order: they are written solely with a view of being of some little advantage to you. May you deserve, by your prudent conduct, to be happy : this is my ardent wish! I have the honour to be, with great respect, Dear Madam, &c."

1785, May.


[ocr errors]

XLIV. To Springett Penn. Springetto Pennio*, Liberalium Artium studioso, Gulielmus

Sevelius, S. T. P. Tuam, qua te in patria reducem factum significasti, juvenis ornatissime, accepi ; et libens reditum tuum incolumem intellexi, non autem nuntium de matris tuæ ægritudine, cui meliorem valetudinem ex animo precor, et quam æstimo licet ignotam, satis superque persuasus, ex his quæ subinde audivi, singularis exempli eam esse matronam.

* This amiable young man was the eldest son of William Penn, proprietor and governor of Pennsylvania. He died about three years after the date of this letter, in the 21st year of his age.

At ecquis Italicæ, Belgicæque linguæ amor tibi etiamnum durat? ecquid in iis profecisti? an potius Latinæ eloquentiæ adhuc operam das? Si postremum præcipue tibi cordi sit, macte tua virtute; nam nihil tam alte natura constituit, teste Curtio, quod virtus non possit eniti.

Quæ cum ita sint, cur non gnaviter studiis incumberes ad assequendum intellectum eorum qui non solum nitide, sed et stylo paulo abstrusiore scripserunt. Cum enim prima funda inenta jam satis firmiter tibi jacta sunt, haud desperandum, sed strenue adnitendum, præsertim dum viret ætas, viget memoria, et vires florent, ut integram tandem solidamque linguæ Latinæ notitiam nanciscaris. At hoc sine frequenti, imo pene assidua præstantissimorum auctorum lectione haud comparatur, ideoque quandam quasi molestiam habere videtur. Verum quid refert! Juvenis es, firmus

es, et

[ocr errors]

Dulcia non meruit qui non gustavit amara. Omnein ergo laborem sperne, et tunc invenies postrema prioribus mullo jucundiora. Scilicet habent literarum studia, seu musæ (quas virgines esse aiunt) nescio quod incentivum, quo ad altiora non segniter, sed summa cum alacritate impellimur. Hic tamen spectandum, quod semper et ubique expedit, ne quid nimis ; quippe, quod caret alterna requie durabile non est, et quæ nimium diligimus, ea tandem efflictim deperimus, et pene insanientis instar extollimus. Sic igitur bonæ literæ amandæ, ut eas potius per vices pro oblectamento habeamus, quam totam ætatein in iis agendo eo demum pervadere, ut aliorum quæ maximi momenti sunt, nobis sordeat cura et prorsus vilescat ; quod vereor utique ne multis in sortem ceciderit.

At quid ego hæc ad te, cui parens est pius sane et prudens, qui bona virtutum semina tibi ingerendo, eximio suo exemplo præire tibi non definit. Perge igitur ut cæpisti, et Latinissimorum scriptorum lectioni te assuescas, ut studiorum tuorum messem reportare denique possis non contemnendam. Vale.

Amstelodami, vi. kalend. Novemb. clɔlɔcxciil 1785, July,

XLV, From Bishop Atterbury. MR. URBAN, The following letter fell accidentally into my hands. It is written in the autography of Dr. Atterbury, the famous


Bishop of Rochester; and, as it contains a curious specimen of his Latin prose, it will probably be acceptable to the readers of your entertaining Miscellany. Dr. Atterbury's skill in Latin verse is well known by his translation of Dryden's Absalon and Achitophel. The person to whom the letter is addressed is most probably Dr. Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, with whom Atterbury lived on terms of intimacy during his residence in college.

" Émuxit jam puto plus quam semestre spatium, ex quo a te, vir plurimum colende! tuis consiliis, monitis, et donis auctus cumulatusque discesserim : et tamen nihil'a me interim datum est literarum, nihil tibi gratiarum quidem! Habes confitentem reum, ita tamen fatentem, ut delicti, si quod fuerit, imputationem non tam defugere studeat, quam amplecti. Sic enim egomet mihi persuası

nihil isto hominum genere turpius, nihil indignius, quam qui in patronorum laudibus multi sunt, in gratiis referendis etiam nimii, non quod collocati muneris novo ipsi sub onere laborent, sed ut specie gratulationis majora eliciant, quam quæ pridem acceperint, ita per beneficia ad beneficium viam struunt; et aucupum more quicquid uspiam prædæ nacti sunt, id ipsum ita disponunt, ita exornant, ut ini sui societatem aviculas etiam plures trahat

. Et sane quod a literis scribendis tantisper me continui, neque ignavus yti spero, neque ingratus apud te audiam; quippe qui verebar ne festinata nimis gratiarum actione, non tam veteri beneficio satisfactum esse viderer, quam aucupari novum. En tandem literas ! nulla tamen, quod solet, carminum sarcina onustas: ne forte musis æquo addictior videar, adeoque non horas tantum subsecivas sed et dies integros in poematiis scribendis collocasse. Et profecto id ipsum mihi jampridem obstitit, quo minus poeticam quandam farraginem ante oculos tuos exponerem, quæ publici quidem juris facta cum sit, deberet recta ad te proficisci ; nisi id vetuisset cum tua, vir plurimum reverende, auctoritas, tum nostra, quantulacunque sit, verecundia. Restat jam, ut abjectis nugis, sapere tandem incipiam, et derelictis amanioribus musarum diverticulis,per omnifariæ doctrinæ cainpos longe lateque expatior. Et profecto, cum, ut rei literariæ sedulo operam navem, multa sint quæ exhortentur, inulta etiam quæ accendant, nihil tamen mihi acriores stimulos injecit, quam ut exinde dignum aliquid moliar cui tuum, vir optime! inscribatur noinen : adeoque palam in omnibus et reipsa innotescat, quod nunc clanculum et verbo tenus profiteor

Favoris scilicet tui perquam studiosum eşse 1785, July.


XLVL Dr. Johnson to a young Clergyman, a Fellow of a College

in Cambridge.


Bolt-court, Aug. 30, 1780. Not many days ago Dr. Lawrance shewed me a letter, in which you make mention of me; I hope, therefore, you will not be displeased that I endeavour to preserve your good-will by some observations which your letter suggested to me.

You are afraid of falling into some improprieties in the daily service, by reading to an audience that requires no exactness. Your fear, I hope, secures you from danger.

I They who contract absurd habits are such as have no fear. It is impossible to do the same thing very often without some peculiarity of manner; but that manner may be good or bad, and a little care will at least preserve it from being bad; to make it very good, there must, I think, be something of natural or casual felicity, which cannot be taught.

Your present method of making your sermons seems very judicious. Few frequent preachers can be supposed to have sermons more their own than your's will be. Take care to register somewhere or other the authors from whom your several discourses are borrowed, and do not imagine that you shall always remember even what perhaps you now think it impossible to forget.

My advice, however, is, that you attempt from time to time an original sernion, and in the labour of composition do not burden your mind with too much at once; do not exact from yourself, at one effort of excogitation, propriety of thought and elegance of expression. Invent first, and then embellish. The production of something, where nothing was before, is an act of greater energy than the expansion or decoration of the thing produced. Set down diligently your thoughts, as they rise, in the first words that occur, and when you have matter, you will easily give it form; nor perhaps will this method be always necessary : for by habit your thoughts and diction will fow together,

The composition of sermons is not very difficult ; the di, visions not only help the memory of the hearer, but direcť the judgment of the writer; they supply sources of inven, tion, and keep every part in its proper place.

What I like least in your letter is your account of the manners of your parish; from which I gather, that it has


been long neglected by the parson. The Dean of Carlisle*, who was then a little rector in Northamptonshire, told me that it might be discerned whether or no there was a clergyman resident in the parish, by the civil or savage manners of the people. Such a congregation as yours stands in much need of reformation ; and I would not have you think it impossible to reform them. A very savage parish was civilised by a decayed gentlewoman, who came among them to teach a petty school. My learned friend, Dr. Wheeler, of Oxford, when he was a young man, had the care of a neighbouring parish for Gifteen pounds a year, which he was never paid ; but he counted it a convenience that it compelled him to make a sermón weekly. One woman he could not bring to the communion ; and, when he reproved or exhorted her, she only answered that she was no scholar. He was advised to set some good woman or man of the parish, a little wiser than herself, to talk to her in language level to her mind. Such honest, I may call them holy, artifices, must be practised by every clergyman, for all means must be tried by which souls may be saved. Talk to your people, however, as much as you can, and you will find, that the more frequently you converse with them upon religious subjects, the more willingly they will attend, and the more submissively they will learn. A clergyman's diligence always makes him venerable. I think I have now only to say, that in the momentous work you have undertaken, I pray God to bless you.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant, 1785, May.


XLVII. Dr. Johnson to Warren Hastings, Esq. Governor-General

in Bengal.

Jan. 9, 1781. AMIDST the importance and multiplicity of affairs in which your great office engages you, í take the liberty of recalling your attention for a moment to literature, and will not prolong the interruption by an apology, which your character makes needless.


* Dr. Percy,

« ZurückWeiter »