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the same regard which you express for me
TO MR. JAMES ELPHINSTON. on every other occasion, will incline you to
“ September 25, 1750. forgive me. I am often, very often, ill; “Dear Sir,-You have, as I find by and, when I am well, am obliged to work: every kind of evidence, lost an excellent and, indeed, have never much used myself mother; and I hope you will not think me to punctuality. You are however, not incapable of partaking of your grief. I have to make unkind inferences, when I forbear a mother, now eighty-two years of age, to reply to your kindness; for be assured, whom, therefore, I must soon lose, unless I never receive a letter from you without it please God that she should rather mourn great pleasure, and a very warm sense of for me. I read the letters in which you reyour generosity and friendship, which I late your mother's death to Mrs. Strahan), heartily blame myself for not cultivating and think I do myself honour, when I tell with more care. În this, as in many other you that I read them with tears; but tears cases, I go wrong, in opposition to convic- are neither to you nor to me of any farther tion; for I think scarce any temporal good use, when once the tribute of nature has equally to be desired with the regard and been paid. The business of life summons familiarity of worthy men. I hope we us away from useless grief, and calls us to shall be some time nearer to each other, and the exercise of those virtues of which we have a more ready way of pouring out our are lamenting our deprivation.
est benefit which one friend can confer upon “ I am glad that you still find encourage- another is to guard, and excite, and elevate, ment to proceed in your publication, and his virtues. This your mother will suill shall beg' the favour of six more volumes perform, if you diligently preserve the memto add to my former six, when you can with ory of her life, and of her death: a life, so any convenience send them me. Please to far as I can learn, useful, wise, and innopresent a set in my name to Mr. Ruddiman!, cent; and a death resigned, peaceful, and of whom, I hear, that his learning is not his holy. I cannot forbear to mention, that highest excellence. I have transcribed the neither reason nor revelation denies you 10 mottos, and returned them, I hope not too hope, that you may increase her happiness late, of which I think many very happily by obeying her precepts; and that she may, performed. Mr. Cave has put the last in in her present state, look with pleasure upon the magazine ?, in which I think he did well. every act of virtue to which her instructions I beg of you to write soon, and to write or example have contributed 4. Whether often, and to write long letters, which I this be more than a pleasing dream, or hope in time to repay you; but you must a just opinion of separate spirits, is, indeed, be a patient creditor. I have, however, of no great importance to us, when we conthis of gratitude, that I think of you with sider ourselves as acting under the eye of regard, when I do not, perhaps, give the God; yet, surely, there is something pleasproofs which I ought, of being, sir, your ing in the belief, that our separation from most obliged and most humble servant, those whom we love is merely corporeal; “ Sam. Johnson." and it may be a great incitement to virtu
ous friendship, if it can be made probable This year he wrote to the same gentle that that union that has received the divine man another letter upon a mournful occa- approbation shall continue to eternity. sion.
There is one expedient by which you
may, in some degree, continue her presence. | Mr. Thomas Ruddiman, the learned gramma- If you write down minutely what you rerian of Scotland, well known for his various ex-member of her from her earliest years, you cellent works, and for his accurate editions of will read it with great pleasure, and receive several authours. He was also a man of a most from it many hints of soothing recollection, worthy private character. His zeal for the royal when time shall remove her yet farther from House of Stuart did not render him less estimable
and your grief shall be matured to venin Dr. Johnson's eye.-BOSWELL.
? If the Magazine here referred to be that for eration. To this, however painful for the October, 1752 (see Gent. Mag. vol. 22, p. 468), present, I cannot but advise you, as to a then this letter belongs to a later period.' 'If it re- source of comfort and satisfaction in the lates to the Magazine for September, 1750 (see time to come; for all comfort and all satisGent. Mag. vol. 20, p. 406), then it may be ascribed to the month of October in that year, and 3 [Sister to Mr. Elphinston.—Gent. Mag. shɔuld have followed the subsequent letter.- MA-1785, p. 755. It is to be observed, that, for LONE. [It seems clear from the expression of many of his early acquaintance, Johnson was inthe letter that it refers to Cave's first publication debted to the society of Mr. Strahan.- ED.) of the mottos, and was probably written in Oct. ^ ['This letter may, as the editor of the Gentle 1750 ; but in either case it should have followed man's Magazine observes (loc. cit.), be read as a the letter of the 25th Sept.; though the editor has commentary on the celebrated passages in Johnnot thought it worth while to disturb Mr. Bos- son's Meditations, relative to the intermediate well's original arrangement.—Ed.]
state of departed friends. -Ed.)
faction is sincerely wished you by, dear sir, | ous, considering how universally those volpour most obliged, most obedient, and most umes are now disseminated. Even the most
condensed and brilliant sentences which they “Sam. Johnson." contain, and which have very properly been
selected under the name of “ BEAUTIES 2," The Rambler has increased in fame as are of considerable bulk. But I may shortly in age. Soon after its first folio edition was observe, that the Rambler furnishes such an concluded it was published in six duodecimo assemblage of discourses on practical relivolumes !; and its author lived to see ten nu- gion and moral duty, of critical investigamervus editions of it in London, beside those tions, and allegorical and oriental tales, that of Ireland and Scotland.
no mind can be thought very deficient that I profess myself to have ever entertained has, by constant study and meditation, asa profound veneration for the astonishing similated to itself all that may be found force and vivacity of mind which the Ram- there. No. 7, written in Passion-week, on biler exhibits. That Johnson had penetra- abstraction and self-examination, and No. tson enough to see, and, seeing, would not 110, on penitence and the placability of the disguise
, the general misery of man in this Divine Nature, cannot be too often read. state of heing, may have given rise to the No. 54, on the effect which the death of a sup=rficial notion of his being too stern a friend should have upon us, though rather philisspher. But men of reflection will be too dispiriting, may be occasionally very sensibie that he has given a true representa- medicinal to the mind. Every one must tuon of human existence, and that he has, at suppose the writer to have been deeply imthe same time, with a generous benevolence, pressed by a real scene; but
he told me that displayed every consolation which our state was not the case; which shows how well his athords us; not only those arising from the fancy could conduct him to the “house of berpes of futurity, but such as may be at- mourning.” Some of these more solemn tained in the immediate progress through papers, I doubt not, particularly attracted lite
. He has not depressed the soul to de- the notice of Dr. Young, the author of Fondency and indifference. He has every “ The Night Thoughts,” of whom my estiwhere iaculcated study, labour, and exer- mation is such, as to reckon his applause an tuya
. Nay, he has shown, in a very odious honour even to Johnson. I have seen some bizht, a man, whose practice is to go about volumes of Dr. Young's copy of the Ramdarkening the views of others, by perpetual bler, in which he has marked the passages cmplaints of evil, and awakening those con- which he thought particularly excellent, by ruderations of danger and distress, which are, folding down a corner of the page; and such for the most part, lulled into a quiet oblivion. as he rated in a supereminent degree are This he has done very strongly in his char- marked by double folds. I am sorry that actor of Suspirius, (No. 55) from which some of the volumes are lost. Johnson Galdzmith took that of Croaker, in his com- was pleased when told of the minute attenaly of" The good-natured Man," as John- tion with which Young had signified his sub told me he acknowledged to him, and approbation of his essays. which is, indeed, very obvious.
I will venture to say, that in no writings To point out the numerous subjects which whatever can be found more bark and steel the Rambler treats, with a dignity and per- for the mind, if I may use the expression; was uity which are there united in a manner more that can brace and invigorate every wheb we shall in vain look for any where manly and noble sentiment. No. 32, on they would take up too large a portion of patience, even under
extreme misery, is wonis task, and would, I trust, be superflu- derfully lofty, and as much above the rant
of stoicism, as the sun of Revelation is * Tha is not quite accurate,
In the Gent. brighter than the twilight of Pagan philosoNax. for Nov. 1751, while the work was yet phy. I never read the following sentence procreding, is an advertisement, announcing that without feeling my frame thrill: “ I think fost soluines of the Rambler would speedily be there is some reason for questioning whethprobleted; and, it is believed that they were pub- er the body and mind are not so proportionsat in the next mouth. The fifth and sixth vol- ed, that the one can bear all which can be
s, with tables of contents, and translations of inflicted on the other; whether virtue cana pautos, were published in July, 1752, by Payne the orginal publisher), three months after the 2 Dr. Johnson was gratified by seeing this redown of te work. When the Rambler was collection, and wrote to Mr. Kearsley, bookseller, lored into volumes, Johnson revised and correct in Fleet street, the following note:-es throughout Mr. Boswell was not aware of “Mr. Johnson sends compliments to Mr. Kears
s curcunstance, which has lately been discov- ley, and begs the favour of seeing him as soon ed, and accurately stated, by Mr. Alexander as he can. Dainese, in a new edition of these and various with him
the last edition of what he has honoured
Mr. Kearsley is desired to bring Ver periodical essays, under the title kalaysta.”_MALONE.
“ The with the name of BEAUTIES. May 20, 1782.”
not stand its ground as long as life, and its pointed satire. [Sophron was
Piozad, whether a soul well principled will not be likewise a picture drawn from realisooner separated than subdued.”
ty; and by Gelidus, the philosopher, he Though instruction be the predominant meant to represent Mr. Coulson, a mathepurpose of the Rambler, yet it is enlivened matician, who formerly lived at Rocheswith a considerable portion of amusement. ter. The man immortalized for purring Nothing can be more erroneous than the like a cat was, as he told Mrs. Piozzi, one notion which some persons have entertain- Busby, a proctor in the Commons. He ed, that Johnson was then a retired authour, who barked so ingeniously, and then called ignorant of the world; and, of consequence, the drawer to drive away the dog, was fathethat he wrote only from his imagination, to Dr. Salter, of the Charterhouse. He who when he described characters and manners. sung a song, and, by correspondent motions He said to me that, before he wrote that of his arm, chalked out a giant on the wall, work, he had been “running about the was one Richardson, an attorney +.] world,” as he expressed it, more than al- For instances of fertility of fancy, and acmost any body; and I have heard him relate, curate description of real life, I appeal to with much satisfaction, that several of the No. 19, a man who wanders from one procharacters in the Rambler were drawn so fession to another, with most plausible reanaturally, that when it first circulated in sons for every change: No. 34, female fasnumbers, a club in one of the towns in Es- tidiousness and timorous refinement: No. sex imagined themselves to be severally ex- 82, a virtuoso who has collected curiosities: hibited in it, and were much incensed against No. 88, petty modes of entertaining a coma person who, they suspected, had thus pany, and conciliating kindness: No. 182, made thenı objects of publick notice; nor fortune-hunting: No. 194—195, a tutor's were they quieted till authentick assurance account of the follies of his pupil: No. 197 was given them, that the Rambler was —198, legacy-hunting: He has given a written by a person who had never heard specimen of his nice observation of the mere of any one of them. Some of the charac- external appearances of life, in the following ters are believed to have been actually drawn passage in No. 179, against affectation, that from the life ?, particularly that of Prospero frequent and most disgusting quality: " He from Garrick 3, who never entirely forgave that stands to contemplate the crowds that
fill the streets of a populous city will see [This anecdote was, according to Mrs. Piozzi; many passengers, whose air and motions it communicated to Johnson by Mr. Murphy, but will be difficult to behold without contenipt (as the lady tells it), with details which savour more of a desire to make a good story than to tell and laughter: but if he examine what are
the a true one. See Piozzi, p. 180.—Ev.]
appearances that thus powerfully excite Thut of GELIDUS, in No. 24, from Profes- his risibility, he will find among them neisor Colson, and that of EUPHUEs in the same pa
ther poverty nor disease, nor any involuntaper, which, with many others,was doubtless drawn ry or painful defect. The disposition to from the life. EUPHUES, I once thought, might derision and insult is awakened by the softhave been intended to represent either Lord ness of foppery, the swell of insolence, the Chesterfield or Soanne Jonyns; but Mr. Bindley, liveliness of levity, or the solemnity of granwith more probability, thinks that George Bubb deur; by the sprightly trip, the stately walk, Doddington, who was remarkable for the homeli- the formal strut, and the losty mien; by gesness of his person, and the finery of his dress, tures intended to catch the eye, and by looks was the person meant under that character. MALONE. [See (ante, p. 38) reasons for doubting Johnson's temper, which almost amounted to enthat Gelidus could be meant for Professor Col- vy, there is none that seems, all the circumstances
The folly of such guesses at characters is considered, more unjustifiable than this would forcibly exemplified in Mr. Malone's producing have been. Hawkins, however, who seldom three such different candidates for that of Eu- missed an opportunity of displaying Johnson's phues, as Lord Chesterfield, Soame Jenyns, and faults or frailties, docs not, even, when censurBubb Doddington!- Ed.]
ing his conduct towards Garrick, allude to this 3 [Having just seen Garrick’s generous and offence. (See Life p. 421). Let us therefore successful endeavours to advance the fame and hope, that the other biographers made an appliimprove the fortunes of his friend, it were melocation of the character of Prospero which Johnancholy to be obliged, by the evidence of Bos- son did not intend.—En.) well, Murphy, and Mrs. Piozzi, to believe that 4 [These characters are alluded to in the conJohnson meant to satirize that amiable, inoffen- clusion of the 188th Rambler, but so slightly that sive, and (to him) most friendly man, whose pro- it seems hardly worth while to inquire whether fession, as well as his personal feelings, rendered the hints were furnished by observation or invenhim peculiarly sensitive to such attacks. Mr. tion. As to the anecdote told of the elder Dr. Murphy, with less taste and good nature than is Salter, it could have only been, as Mr. Chalmers usual to him, seems to make light of poor Gar- observes, the repetition of some story of his youthrick’s vexation; but amongst the many instances ful days, for he was 70 years of age before be which have been adduced of that infirmity of became a member of the Ivy-lane club.—ED.)
elaborately formed as evidences of impor- idle charge has been echoed from one bab
bler to another, who have confounded John[Of the allegorical papers in the son's Essays with Johnson's Dictionary; Rambler, Labour and Rest (No. 83) and because he thought it right in a lexicon
was Johnson's favourite; but Sero- of our language to collect many words which tious (No 165), the man who returns late had fallen into disuse, but were supported in life to receive honours in his native coun- by great authorities, it has been imagined try, and meets with mortification instead of that all of these have been interwoven into respert, was considered by him as a master- his own compositions. That some of them Pirce in the science of life and manners.] have been adopted by him unnecessarily,
Every page of the Rambler shows a mind may, perhaps, be allowed; but, in general, lening with classical allusions and poetical they are evidently an advantage, for withimagery: illustrations from other writers out them his stately ideas would be confined are, upon all occasions, so ready, and min- and cramped. " He that thinks with more glie so easily
, in his periods, that the whole extent than another, will want appears of one uniform vivid texture. words of a larger meaning 3.” He
Idler, The style of this work has been censured once told me, that lie had formed by sonne shallow criticks as involved and turgid
, and abounding with antiquated and word not authorized by former writers; but hard words. So ill-founded is the first part where are we to seek authorities for ' resuscitation, of this objection, that I will challenge all orbity, volant, fatuity, divaricate, asinine, narwho may honour this book with a perusal, and innumerable others of the same stamp, which
cotic, vulnerary, empireumatic, papilionaceous,' ti point out any English writer whose lan- abound in and disgrace his pages?—for obtund, guage conveys his meaning with equal force disruption, sensory, or panoply, all occurring in and perspicuity. It must, indeed, be al- the short compass of a single essay in the Ramwed, that the structure of his sentences is bler;-or for • cremation, horticulture, germinaexpanded, and often has somewhat of the tion, and decussation,' within a few pages in his inversion of Latin; and that he delighted to Life of Browne? They may he found, perhaps, espress familiar thoughts in philosophical in the works of forn.er writers, but they make no language; being in this the reverse of Socra- part of the English language. They are the illetes, who, it is said, reduced philosophy to the gitimate offspring of learning by vanity.” It is simplicity of common life. But let us at- wonderful, that, instead of asking where these tend w what he himself says in his conclud- words were to be found, Dr. Burrowes did not ing paper: "When common words were think of referring to Jolinson's own dictionary. bu puteasing to the ear, or less distinct in their He would have found good authorities for almost signification, I have familiarized the terms erery one of them; for instance, for resuscitation, of philosophy, by applying them to popular Milton and Bacon are quoted; for volant, Milton ura;" And, as to the second part of this and Phillips; for fatuity, Arbuthnot; for asinine, obyertion, upon a late careful revision of the Milton; for narcotic and vulnerary, Browne work , I can with confidence say, that it is though these authorities, which Dr. Burrowes
for germination, Bacon, and so on. But alamaring how few of those words, for which might have found in the dictionary, are a sufficient it has been unjustly characterised, are act
answer to his question, let it be also observed, calls to be found in it: I am sure not the that many of these words were in use in more faproportion of one to each paper. This miliar authors than Johnson chose to quote, and
that the majority of them are now become faPet his style did not escape the harmless shafts miliar, which is a sufficient proof that the English pleasant humour; for the ingenious Bounell language has not considered them as illegitimate. Thornton published a mock Rambler in the Dm- -Ed.) notage Joumal.—BOSWELL.- [And Mr. Mur- [This is a truism in the disguise of a sophism. pbs, an coinmenting on this passage, quotes the “ He that thinks with more extent will," no Par glervation of Dryden: “If so many for- doubt,“ want words of a larger meaning,” but est words are poured in upon us, it looks as if the words themselves may be plain and simple; ses were designed not to assist the natives but to the number of syllables, and oro-rotundity (if report them.” Life, p. 157.–Ed.]
one may venture to use the expression) of the (Ur. Boswell's zeal carries him too far: sound of a word can never add much, and may, lacca's style
, especially in the Rambler, is fre- in some cases, do injury to the meaning. What pour la turgid, even to ridicule; but he has been words were ever written of a larger meaning une vien censured with a malicious flippancy, than the following, which, however, are the most ante Boswell may be excused for resenting; simple and elementary that can be found—“ God ed even graver critics have sometimes treated said, Let there be light, and there was light!”' wah inconsiderate injustice; for instance, - If we were to convert the proposition in the Idler,
lint Dr. Burrowes (now Dean of Cork), in and say, that “ he who thinks feebly needs bigger *** Ensay on the style of Dr. Johnson,” words to cover his inanity,” we should be nearer posted in the first volume of the Transactions the truth. But it inust be admitted (as Mr. Bos the Royal Irish Academy (1787), observes: well soon after observes) that Johnson (though Fotzson says that he has rarely admitted any he, in some of his works, pushed his peculiarities
his style upon that of Sir William Temple, name him, would stamp a reverence on the and upon®“ Chambers's Proposal for his opinion. Dictionary 1." He certainly was mistaken; [That Jolinson owed his excelor if he imagined at first that he was imi- lence as a writer to the divines and tating Temple, he was very unsuccessful 2; others of the last century, Sir John for nothing can be more unlike than the sim- Hawkins attests, from having been the witplicity of Temple, and the richness of John- ness of his course of reading, and heard him
Their styles differ as plain cloth and declare his sentiments of their works. brocade. Temple, indeed, seems equally Hooker he admired for his logical precision, erroneous in supposing that he himself had Sanderson for his acuteness, and T'aylor for formed his style upon Sandys's View of the his amazing erudition; Sir Thomas Browne State of Religion in the Western Parts of for his penetration, and Cowley for the ease the World.
and unaffected structure of his periods. The The style of Johnson was, undoubtedly, tinsel of Sprat disgusted him, and he could much formed upon that of the great writers but just endure the smooth verbosity of Tilin the last century, Hooker, Bacon, Sander- lotson. Hammond and Barrow he thought son, Hakewill, and others; those“GIANTS,” | involved; and of the latter that he was unas they were well characterised by a REAT necessarily prolix 4.] PERSONAGE 3, whose authority, were I to We may, with the utmost propriety, ap
ply to his learned style that passage of Horto an absurd extent) has been on the whole a benefactor to our language; he has introduced ace, a part of which he has taken as the
motto to his Dictionary: more dignity into our style, more regularity into our grammatical construction, and given a fuller“ Cum tabulis animum censoris sumet honesti; and more sonorous sound to the march of our | Audebit quæcumque parům splendoris habebunt sentences and the cadence of our periods.—ED.) Et sine pondere erunt, et honore indigna ferentur,
| The paper here alluded to was, I believe, Verba movere loco, quamvis invita recedant, Chamber's Proposal for a second and improved Et versentur adhuc intra penetralia V estæ. edition of his Dictionary, which, I think, appear- Obscurata diu populo bonus eruet, atque ed in 1738. This proposal was probably in Proferet in lucem speciosa vocabula rerum, circulation in 1737, when Johuson first came to Quæ priscis memorata Catonibus atque Cethegis, London.-MALONE.
Nunc situs informis premit et deserta vetustas: · The author appears to me to have misunder- Adsciscet nova, quæ genitor produxerit asus: stood Johnson in this instance. He did not, Vehemens, et liquidus, puroque simillimus amni, I conceive, mean to say that, when he first began Fundet opes Latiumque beabit divite lingua.” to write, he made Sir William Temple his mod
Epist. I. ii. e. 2. el, with a view to form a style that should resemble his in all its parts; but that he formed his style To so great a master of thinking, to one on that of Temple and others, by taking from of such vast and various knowledge as Johneach those characteristic excellencies which were son, might have been allowed a liberal inmost worthy of imitation. See this matter further dulgence of that licence which Horace claims explained under April 9, 1778 ; where, in a con- in another place: versation at Sir Joshua Reynold's, Johnson himself mentions the particular improvements which
Si forté necesse est Temple made in the English style. These, Indiciis monstrare recentibus abdita rerum, doubtless, were the objects of his imitation, so far as that writer was his model.—MALONE. vi. 4. It is to be observed, that Mr. Boswell, in
: [Here is an instance of the difficulty of ex- his first edition, attributed this anecdote to “one plaining, after the lapse of a very few years, cir- whose authority, &c.:" in subsequent editions he cumstances once of great notoriety. My learned changed "one" into GREAT PERSONAGE." and excellent friend, the Bishop of Ferns, writes -Ed.] to me, “State that this Great Personage was 4 [The editor has thought it right to preserve his late majesty, George the Third. Every one the foregoing, as the evidence of an eye-witness to knows it now, but who will know it fifty years Johnson's course of reading; though it may be hence?”. No doubt the generality of readers well doubted whether Sir J. Hawkins has prehave understood Mr. Boswell to refer to the late served exactly the characteristic qualities which king; but, although the Editor has made very ex- he attributed to these illustrious men. It is not tensive inquiries amongst those who were most easy to conceive how the erudition of Taylor or likely to know, he has not been able to discover the penetration of Browne could have improved any precise authority on this point, nor has he Johnson's style; nor is it likely that Johnson would obtained even a conjecture as to the person to have celebrated the eloquent and subtile Taylor whom, or the occasion on which, his majesty for erudition alone, or the pious and learned used this happy expression. The editor had for- Browne for mere penetration." Johnson's friend, merly heard, but he does not recollect from whom, Mr. Fitzherbert, said (see post, 8th April, 1775) that when, on some occasion, the great divines that “ it was not every man who could carry a of the 17th century were mentioned in the king's bon mot ;" certainly Hawkins was not a man presence, his majesty said, “ Yes—there were likely to convey adequately Dr. Johnson's critical CIAnts in those days,”-in allusion to Genesis, I opinion of Jeremy Taylor.--Ed.)