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Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1 by Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

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and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 22, 1773. Hannah More met Boswell when
he was carrying through the press his _Journal of a Tour to the
Hebrides_. 'Boswell tells me,' she writes, 'he is printing anecdotes of
Johnson, not his _Life_, but, as he has the vanity to call it, his
_pyramid_. I besought his tenderness for our virtuous and most revered
departed friend, and begged he would mitigate some of his asperities. He
said roughly: "He would not cut off his claws, nor make a tiger a cat,
to please anybody." It will, I doubt not, be a very amusing book, but, I
hope, not an indiscreet one; he has great enthusiasm and some fire.' H.
More's _Memoirs_, i. 403.

[100] Rambler, No. 60. BOSWELL.

[101] In the _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_.

[102] 'Mason's _Life of Gray_ is excellent, because it is interspersed
with letters which show us the _man_. His _Life of Whitehead_ is not a
life at all, for there is neither a letter nor a saying from first to
last.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 265.

[103] The Earl and Countess of Jersey, WRIGHT.

[104] Plutarch's _Life of Alexander_, Langhorne's Translation. BOSWELL.

[105] In the original, _revolving something_.

[106] In the original, _and so little regard the manners_.

[107] In the original, _and are rarely transmitted_.

[108] _Rambler_, No. 60. BOSWELL.

[109] Bacon's _Advancement of Learning_, Book I. BOSWELL.

[110] Johnson's godfather, Dr. Samuel Swinfen, according to the author
of _Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Johnson_, 1785, p. 10, was
at the time of his birth lodging with Michael Johnson. Johnson had
uncles on the mother's side, named Samuel and Nathanael (see _Notes and
Queries_, 5th S. v. 13), after whom he and his brother may have been
named. It seems more likely that it was his godfather who gave him
his name.

[111] So early as 1709 _The Tatler_ complains of this 'indiscriminate
assumption.' 'I'll undertake that if you read the superscriptions to all
the offices in the kingdom, you will not find three letters directed to
any but Esquires.... In a word it is now _Populus Armigerorum_, a people
of Esquires, And I don't know but by the late act of naturalisation,
foreigners will assume that title as part of the immunity of being
Englishmen.' _The Tatler_, No. 19.

[112] 'I can hardly tell who was my grandfather,' said Johnson. See
_post_, May 9, 1773.

[113] Michael Johnson was born in 1656. He must have been engaged in the
book-trade as early as 1681; for in the _Life of Dryden_ his son says,
'The sale of Absalom and Achitophel was so large, that my father, an old
bookseller, told me, he had not known it equalled but by Sacheverell's
Trial.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 276. In the _Life of Sprat_ he is
described by his son as 'an old man who had been no careless observer of
the passages of those times.' Ib. 392.

[114] Her epitaph says that she was born at Kingsnorton. Kingsnorton is
in Worcestershire, and not, as the epitaph says, 'in agro Varvicensi.'
When Johnson a few days before his death burnt his papers, some
fragments of his _Annals_ escaped the flames. One of these was never
seen by Boswell; it was published in 1805 under the title of _An Account
of the Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, from his Birth to his Eleventh Year,
written by himself_. In this he says (p. 14), 'My mother had no value
for my father's relations; those indeed whom we knew of were much lower
than hers.' Writing to Mrs. Thrale on his way to Scotland he said: 'We
changed our horses at Darlington, where Mr. Cornelius Harrison, a
cousin-german of mine, was perpetual curate. He was the only one of my
relations who ever rose in fortune above penury, or in character above
neglect.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 105. His uncle Harrison he described as
'a very mean and vulgar man, drunk every night, but drunk with little
drink, very peevish, very proud, very ostentatious, but luckily not
rich.' _Annals_, p. 28. In _Notes and Queries_, 6th S. x. 465, is given
the following extract of the marriage of Johnson's parents from the
Register of Packwood in Warwickshire:--

'1706. Mickell Johnsones of lichfield and Sara ford maried June the

[115] Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 3) records that Johnson told her that 'his
father was wrong-headed, positive, and afflicted with melancholy.'

[116] _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_, 3rd edit. p. 213 [Sept. 16].

[117] Stockdale in his _Memoirs_, ii. 102, records an anecdote told him
by Johnson of 'the generosity of one of the customers of his father.
"This man was purchasing a book, and pressed my father to let him have
it at a far less price than it was worth. When his other topics of
persuasion failed, he had recourse to one argument which, he thought,
would infallibly prevail:--You know, Mr. Johnson, that I buy an almanac
of you every year."'

[118] Extract of a letter, dated 'Trentham, St. Peter's day, 1716,'
written by the Rev. George Plaxton, Chaplain at that time to Lord Gower,
which may serve to show the high estimation in which the Father of our
great Moralist was held: 'Johnson, the Litchfield Librarian, is now
here; he propagates learning all over this diocese, and advanceth
knowledge to its just height; all the Clergy here are his Pupils, and
suck all they have from him; Allen cannot make a warrant without his
precedent, nor our quondam John Evans draw a recognizance _sine
directione Michaelis_.' _Gentleman's Magazine_, October, 1791. BOSWELL.

[119] In _Notes and Queries_, 3rd S. v. 33, is given the following
title-page of one of his books: '[Greek: Pharmako-Basauos]: _or the
Touchstone of Medicines, etc_. By Sir John Floyer of the City of
Litchfield, Kt., M.D., of Queen's College, Oxford. London: Printed for
Michael Johnson, Bookseller, and are to be sold at his shops at
Litchfield and Uttoxiter, in Staffordshire; and Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in
Leicestershire, 1687.'

[120] Johnson writing of his birth says: 'My father being that year
sheriff of Lichfield, and to ride the circuit of the county [Mr. Croker
suggests city, not being aware that 'the City of Lichfield was a county
in itself.' See Harwood's _Lichfield_, p. 1. In like manner, in the
Militia Bill of 1756 (_post_ 1756) we find entered, 'Devonshire with
Exeter City and County,' 'Lincolnshire with Lincoln City and County']
next day, which was a ceremony then performed with great pomp, he was
asked by my mother whom he would invite to the Riding; and answered,
"all the town now." He feasted the citizens with uncommon magnificence,
and was the last but one that maintained the splendour of the Riding.'
_Annals_, p. 10. He served the office of churchwarden in 1688; of
sheriff in 1709; of junior bailiff in 1718; and senior bailiff in 1725.'
Harwood's _Lichfield_, p. 449.

[121] 'My father and mother had not much happiness from each other. They
seldom conversed; for my father could not bear to talk of his affairs,
and my mother being unacquainted with books cared not to talk of
anything else. Had my mother been more literate, they had been better
companions. She might have sometimes introduced her unwelcome topic with
more success, if she could have diversified her conversation. Of
business she had no distinct conception; and therefore her discourse was
composed only of complaint, fear, and suspicion. Neither of them ever
tried to calculate the profits of trade, or the expenses of living. My
mother concluded that we were poor, because we lost by some of our
trades; but the truth was, that my father, having in the early part of
his life contracted debts, never had trade sufficient to enable him to
pay them and maintain his family; he got something, but not enough.'
_Annals_, p. 14. Mr. Croker noticing the violence of Johnson's language
against the Excise, with great acuteness suspected 'some cause of
_personal animosity_;' this mention of the trade in parchment (an
_exciseable_ article) afforded a clue, which has led to the confirmation
of that suspicion. In the records of the Excise Board is to be found the
following letter, addressed to the supervisor of excise at Lichfield:
'July 27, 1725. The Commissioners received yours of the 22nd instant,
and since the justices would not give judgment against Mr. Michael
Johnson, _the tanner_, notwithstanding the facts were fairly against
him, the Board direct that the next time he offends, you do not lay an
information against him, but send an affidavit of the fact, that he may
be prosecuted in the Exchequer.'

[122] See _post_, March 27, 1775.

[123] 'I remember, that being in bed with my mother one morning, I was
told by her of the two places to which the inhabitants of this world
were received after death: one a fine place filled with happiness,
called Heaven; the other, a sad place, called Hell. That this account
much affected my imagination I do not remember.' _Annals_, p. 19.

[124] Johnson's _Works_, vi. 406.

[125] Mr. Croker disbelieves the story altogether. 'Sacheverel,' he
says, 'by his sentence pronounced in Feb. 1710, was interdicted for
three years from preaching; so that he could not have preached at
Lichfield while Johnson was under three years of age. Sacheverel,
indeed, made a triumphal progress through the midland counties in 1710;
and it appears by the books of the corporation of Lichfield that he was
received in that town, and complimented by the attendance of the
corporation, "and a present of three dozen of wine," on June 16, 1710;
but then "the _infant Hercules of Toryism_" was just _nine months_ old.'
It is quite possible that the story is in the main correct. Sacheverel
was received in Lichfield in 1710 on his way down to Shropshire to take
possession of a living. At the end of the suspension in March 1713 he
preached a sermon in London, for which, as he told Swift, 'a book-seller
gave him L100, intending to print 30,000' (Swift's _Journal to Stella_,
April 2, 1713). It is likely enough that either on his way up to town or
on his return journey he preached at Lichfield. In the spring of 1713
Johnson was three years old.

[126] See _post_, p. 48, and April 25,1778 note; and Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Oct. 28, 1773.

[127] _Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson_, by Hester Lynch Piozzi, p. 11. Life of
Dr. Johnson_, by Sir John Hawkins, p. 6. BOSWELL.

[128] 'My father had much vanity which his adversity hindered from being
fully exerted.' _Annals_, p. 14.

[129] This anecdote of the duck, though disproved by internal and
external evidence, has nevertheless, upon supposition of its truth, been
made the foundation of the following ingenious and fanciful reflections
of Miss Seward, amongst the communications concerning Dr. Johnson with
which she has been pleased to favour me: 'These infant numbers contain
the seeds of those propensities which through his life so strongly
marked his character, of that poetick talent which afterwards bore such
rich and plentiful fruits; for, excepting his orthographick works, every
thing which Dr. Johnson wrote was Poetry, whose essence consists not in
numbers, or in jingle, but in the strength and glow of a fancy, to which
all the stores of nature and of art stand in prompt administration; and
in an eloquence which conveys their blended illustrations in a language
"more tuneable than needs or rhyme or verse to add more harmony."

'The above little verses also shew that superstitious bias which "grew
with his growth, and strengthened with his strength," and, of late years
particularly, injured his happiness, by presenting to him the gloomy
side of religion, rather than that bright and cheering one which gilds
the period of closing life with the light of pious hope.'

This is so beautifully imagined, that I would not suppress it. But like
many other theories, it is deduced from a supposed fact, which is,
indeed, a fiction. BOSWELL.

[130] _Prayers and Meditations_, p. 27. BOSWELL.

[131] Speaking himself of the imperfection of one of his eyes, he said
to Dr. Burney, 'the dog was never good for much.' MALONE.

[132] Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 1, 1773.

[133] 'No accidental position of a riband,' wrote Mrs. Piozzi, 'escaped
him, so nice was his observation, and so rigorous his demands of
propriety.' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 287. Miss Burney says:--
'Notwithstanding Johnson is sometimes so absent and always so
near-sighted, he scrutinizes into every part of almost everybody's
appearance [at Streatham].' And again she writes:--'his blindness is as
much the effect of absence [of mind] as of infirmity, for he sees
wonderfully at times. He can see the colour of a lady's top-knot, for he
very often finds fault with it.' Mme. D'Arblays _Diary_, i. 85, ii. 174.
'He could, when well, distinguish the hour on Lichfield town-clock.'
_Post_, p. 64.

[134] See _post_, Sept. 22, 1777.

[135] This was Dr. Swinfen's opinion, who seems also to have attributed
Johnson's short-sightedness to the same cause. 'My mother,' he says,
'thought my diseases derived from her family.' _Annals_, p. 12. When he
was put out at nurse, 'She visited me,' he says, 'every day, and used to
go different ways, that her assiduity might not expose her to ridicule.'

[136] In 1738 Carte published a masterly 'Account of Materials, etc.,
for a History of England with the method of his undertaking.' (_Gent.
Mag_. viii. 227.) He proposed to do much of what has been since done
under the direction of the Master of the Rolls. He asked for
subscriptions to carry on his great undertaking, for in its researches
it was to be very great. In 1744 the City of London resolved to
subscribe L50 for seven years (ib. xiv: 393). In vol. i. of his history,
which only came down to the reign of John (published in 1748), he went
out of his way to assert that the cure by the king's touch was not due
to the 'regal _unction_'; for he had known a man cured who had gone over
to France, and had been there 'touched by the eldest lineal descendant
of a race of kings who had not at that time been crowned or _anointed_.'
(ib. xviii. 13.) Thereupon the Court of Common Council by a unanimous
vote withdrew its subscription, (ib. 185.) The old Jacobites maintained
that the power did not descend to Mary, William, or Anne. It was for
this reason that Boswell said that Johnson should have been taken to
Rome; though indeed it was not till some years after he was 'touched' by
Queen Anne that the Pretender dwelt there. The Hanoverian kings never
'touched.' The service for the ceremony was printed in the _Book of
Common Prayer_ as late as 1719. (_Penny Cyclo_. xxi. 113.) 'It appears
by the newspapers of the time,' says Mr. Wright, quoted by Croker, 'that
on March 30, 1712, two hundred persons were touched by Queen Anne.'
Macaulay says that 'Charles the Second, in the course of his reign,
touched near a hundred thousand persons.... The expense of the ceremony
was little less than ten thousand pounds a year.' Macaulay's
_England_, ch. xiv.

[137] See _post_, p. 91, note.

[138] _Anecdotes_, p. 10. BOSWELL.

[139] Johnson, writing of Addison's schoolmasters, says:--'Not to name
the school or the masters of men illustrious for literature is a kind of
historical fraud, by which honest fame is injuriously diminished. I
would therefore trace him through the whole process of his education.'
Johnson's _Works_, vii. 418.

[140] Neither the British Museum nor the Bodleian Library has a copy.

[141] 'When we learned _Propria qua maribus_, we were examined in the
Accidence; particularly we formed verbs, that is, went through the same
person in all the moods and tenses. This was very difficult to me, and I
was once very anxious about the next day, when this exercise was to be
performed in which I had failed till I was discouraged. My mother
encouraged me, and I proceeded better. When I told her of my good
escape, "We often," said she, dear mother! "come off best when we are
most afraid." She told me that, once when she asked me about forming
verbs I said, "I did not form them in an ugly shape." "You could not,"
said she "speak plain; and I was proud that I had a boy who was forming
verbs" These little memorials soothe my mind.' _Annals_, p. 22.

[142] 'This was the course of the school which I remember with pleasure;
for I was indulged and caressed by my master; and, I think, really
excelled the rest.' _Annals_, p. 23.

[143] Johnson said of Hunter:--'Abating his brutality, he was a very
good master;' _post_. March 21, 1772. Steele in the _Spectator_, No.
157, two years after Johnson's birth, describes these savage tyrants of
the grammar-schools. 'The boasted liberty we talk of,' he writes, 'is
but a mean reward for the long servitude, the many heartaches and
terrors to which our childhood is exposed in going through a grammar
school.... No one who has gone through what they call a great school but
must remember to have seen children of excellent and ingenuous natures
(as has afterwards appeared in their manhood); I say no man has passed
through this way of education but must have seen an ingenuous creature
expiring with shame, with pale looks, beseeching sorrow and silent
tears, throw up its honest eyes and kneel or its tender kneeds to an
inexorable blockhead to be forgiven the false quantity of a word in
making a Latin verse.' Likely enough Johnson's roughness was in part due
to this brutal treatment; for Steele goes on to say:--'It is wholly to
this dreadful practise that we may attribute a certain hardiness and
ferocity which some men, though liberally educated, carry about them in
all their behaviour. To be bred like a gentleman, and punished like a
malefactor, must, as we see it does, produce that illiberal sauciness
which we see sometimes in men of letters.'

[144] Johnson described him as 'a peevish and ill-tempered man,' and not
so good a scholar or teacher as Taylor made out. Once the boys perceived
that he did not understand a part of the Latin lesson; another time,
when sent up to the upper-master to be punished, they had to complain
that when they 'could not get the passage,' the assistant would not help
them. _Annals_, pp. 26, 32.

[145] One of the contributors to the _Athenian Letters_. See _Gent.
Mag_. liv. 276.

[146] Johnson, _post_, March 22, 1776, describes him as one 'who does
not get drunk, for he is a very pious man, but he is always muddy.'

[147] A tradition had reached Johnson through his school-fellow Andrew
Corbet that Addison had been at the school and had been the leader in a
barring out. (Johnson's _Works_, vii. 419.) Garrick entered the school
about two years after Johnson left. According to Garrick's biographer,
Tom Davies (p. 3), 'Hunter was an odd mixture of the pedant and the
sportsman. Happy was the boy who could slily inform his offended master
where a covey of partridges was to be found; this notice was a certain
pledge of his pardon.' Lord Campbell in his _Lives of the Chief
Justices_, ii. 279, says:--'Hunter is celebrated for having flogged
seven boys who afterwards sat as judges in the superior courts at
Westminster at the same time. Among these were Chief Justice Wilmot,
Lord Chancellor Northington, Sir T. Clarke, Master of the Rolls, Chief
Justice Willes, and Chief Baron Parker. It is remarkable that, although
Johnson and Wilmot were several years class-fellows at Lichfield, there
never seems to have been the slightest intercourse between them in after
life; but the Chief Justice used frequently to mention the Lexicographer
as "a long, lank, lounging boy, whom he distinctly remembered to have
been punished by Hunter for idleness." Lord Campbell blunders here.
Northington and Clarke were from Westminster School (Campbell's
_Chancellors_, v. 176). The schoolhouse, famous though it was, was
allowed to fall into decay. A writer in the _Gent. Mag_. in 1794 (p.
413) says that 'it is now in a state of dilapidation, and unfit for the
use of either the master or boys.'

[148] Johnson's observation to Dr. Rose, on this subject, deserves to be
recorded. Rose was praising the mild treatment of children at school, at
a time when flogging began to be less practised than formerly: 'But
then, (said Johnson,) they get nothing else: and what they gain at one
end, they lose at the other.' BURNEY. See _post_, under Dec. 17, 1775.

[149] This passage is quoted from Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 24, 1773.
Mr. Boyd had told Johnson that Lady Errol did not use force or fear in
educating her children; whereupon he replied, 'Sir, she is wrong,' and
continued in the words of the text.

Gibbon in his _Autobiography_ says:--'The domestic discipline of our
ancestors has been relaxed by the philosophy and softness of the age:
and if my father remembered that he had trembled before a stern parent,
it was only to adopt with his son an opposite mode of behaviour.'
Gibbon's _Works_, i. 112. Lord Chesterfield writing to a friend on Oct.
18, 1752, says:--'Pray let my godson never know what a blow or a
whipping is, unless for those things for which, were he a man, he would
deserve them; such as lying, cheating, making mischief, and meditated
malice.' Chesterfield's _Misc. Works_, iv. 130.

[150] Johnson, however, hated anything that came near to tyranny in the
management of children. Writing to Mrs. Thrale, who had told him that
she had on one occasion gone against the wish of her nurses, he
said:--'That the nurses fretted will supply me during life with an
additional motive to keep every child, as far as is possible, out of a
nurse's power. A nurse made of common mould will have a pride in
overcoming a child's reluctance. There are few minds to which tyranny is
not delightful; power is nothing but as it is felt, and the delight of
superiority is proportionate to the resistance overcome.' _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. 67.

[151] 'Sword, I will hallow thee for this thy deed.' 2 Henry VI, act iv.
sc. 10. John Wesley's mother, writing of the way she had brought up her
children, boys and girls alike, says:--'When turned a year old (and some
before) they were taught to fear the rod, and to cry softly; by which
means they escaped abundance of correction they might otherwise have
had.' Wesley's _Journal_, i. 370.

[152] 'There dwelt at Lichfield a gentleman of the name of Butt, to
whose house on holidays he was ever welcome. The children in the family,
perhaps offended with the rudeness of his behaviour, would frequently
call him the great boy, which the father once overhearing said:--'You
call him the great boy, but take my word for it, he will one day prove a
great man.' Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 6.

[153] See _post_, March 22, 1776 and Johnson's visit to Birmingham in
Nov. 1784.

[154] 'You should never suffer your son to be idle one minute. I do not
call play, of which he ought to have a good share, idleness; but I mean
sitting still in a chair in total inaction; it makes boys lazy and
indolent.' Chesterfield's _Misc. Works_, iv. 248.

[155] The author of the _Reliques_.

[156] The summer of 1764.

[157] Johnson, writing of _Paradise Lost_, book ii. l. 879, says:--'In
the history of _Don Bellianis_, when one of the knights approaches, as I
remember, the castle of Brandezar, the gates are said to open, _grating
harsh thunder upon their brazen hinges_.' Johnson's _Works_, v. 76. See
_post_, March 27, 1776, where 'he had with him upon a jaunt Il Palmerino
d'Inghilterra.' Prior says of Burke that 'a very favourite study, as he
once confessed in the House of Commons, was the old romances, _Palmerin
of England_ and _Don Belianis of Greece_, upon which he had wasted much
valuable time.' Prior's _Burke_, p. 9.

[158] Hawkins (_Life_, p. 2) says that the uncle was Dr. Joseph Ford 'a
physician of great eminence.' The son, Parson Ford, was Cornelius. In
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 15, 1773, Johnson mentions an uncle who very
likely was Dr. Ford. In _Notes and Queries_, 5th S. v. 13, it is shown
that by the will of the widow of Dr. Ford the Johnsons received L200 in
1722. On the same page the Ford pedigree is given, where it is seen that
Johnson had an uncle Cornelius. It has been stated that 'Johnson was
brought up by his uncle till his fifteenth year.' I understand Boswell
to say that Johnson, after leaving Lichfield School, resided for some
time with his uncle before going to Stourbridge.

[159] He is said to be the original of the parson in Hogarth's _Modern
Midnight Conversation_. BOSWELL.

In the _Life of Fenton_ Johnson describes Ford as 'a clergyman at that
time too well known, whose abilities, instead of furnishing convivial
merriment to the voluptuous and dissolute, might have enabled him to
excel among the virtuous and the wisc.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 57.
Writing to Mrs. Thrale on July 8, 1771, he says, 'I would have been glad
to go to Hagley [close to Stourbridge] for I should have had the
opportunity of recollecting past times, and wandering _per montes notos
et flumina nota_, of recalling the images of sixteen, and reviewing my
conversations with poor Ford.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 42. See also _post_,
May 12, 1778.

[160] See _post_, April 20, 1781.

[161] As was likewise the Bishop of Dromore many years afterwards.

[162] Mr. Hector informs me, that this was made almost _impromptu_, in
his presence. BOSWELL.

[163] This he inserted, with many alterations, in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_, 1743 [p. 378]. BOSWELL. The alterations are not always for
the better. Thus he alters

'And the long honours of a lasting name'


'And fir'd with pleasing hope of endless fame.'

[164] Settle was the last of the city-poets; _post_, May 15, 1776.

[165] 'Here swells the shelf with Ogilby the great.' Dunciad, i. 141.

[166] Some young ladies at Lichfield having proposed to act _The
Distressed Mother_, Johnson wrote this, and gave it to Mr. Hector to
convey it privately to them. BOSWELL. See _post_, 1747, for _The
Distressed Mother_.

[167] Yet he said to Boswell:--'Sir, in my early years I read very hard.
It is a sad reflection, but a true one, that I knew almost as much at
eighteen as I do now' (_post_, July 21, 1763). He told Mr. Langton, that
'his great period of study was from the age of twelve to that of
eighteen' (Ib. note). He told the King that his reading had later on
been hindered by ill-health (_post_, Feb. 1767).

[168] Hawkins (_Life_, p. 9) says that his father took him home,
probably with a view to bring him up to his own trade; for I have heard
Johnson say that he himself was able to bind a book. 'It were better
bind books again,' wrote Mrs. Thrale to him on Sept. 18, 1777, 'as you
did one year in our thatched summer-house.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 375. It
was most likely at this time that he refused to attend his father to
Uttoxeter market, for which fault he made atonement in his old age
(_post_, November, 1784).

[169] Perhaps Johnson had his own early reading in mind when he thus
describes Pope's reading at about the same age. 'During this period of
his life he was indefatigably diligent and insatiably curious; wanting
health for violent, and money for expensive pleasures, and having
excited in himself very strong desires of intellectual eminence, he
spent much of his time over his books; but he read only to store his
mind with facts and images, seizing all that his authors presented with
undistinguishing voracity, and with an appetite for knowledge too eager
to be nice.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 239.

[170] Andrew Corbet, according to Hawkins. Corbet had entered Pembroke
College in 1727. Dr. Swinfen, Johnson's god-father, was a member of the
College. I find the name of a Swinfen on the books in 1728.

[171] In the Caution Book of Pembroke College are found the two
following entries:--

'Oct. 31, 1728. Recd. then of Mr. Samuel Johnson Commr. of Pem. Coll. ye
summ of seven Pounds for his Caution, which is to remain in ye Hands of
ye Bursars till ye said Mr. Johnson shall depart ye said College leaving
ye same fully discharg'd.

Recd. by me, John Ratcliff, Bursar.'

'March 26, 1740. At a convention of the Master and Fellows to settle the
accounts of the Caution it appear'd that the Persons Accounts
underwritten stood thus at their leaving the College:

Caution not Repay'd
Mr. Johnson L7 0 0
Battells not discharg'd
Mr. Johnson L7 0 0

Mr. Carlyle is in error in describing Johnson as a servitor. He was a
commoner as the above entry shows. Though he entered on Oct. 31, he did
not matriculate till Dec. 16. It was on Palm Sunday of this same year
that Rousseau left Geneva, and so entered upon his eventful career.
Goldsmith was born eleven days after Johnson entered (Nov. 10, 1728).
Reynolds was five years old. Burke was born before Johnson left Oxford.

[172] He was in his twentieth year. He was born on Sept. 18, 1709, and
was therefore nineteen. He was somewhat late in entering. In his _Life
of Ascham_ he says, 'Ascham took his bachelor's degree in 1534, in the
eighteenth year of his age; a time of life at which it is more common
now to enter the universities than to take degrees.' Johnson's _Works_,
vi. 505. It was just after Johnson's entrance that the two Wesleys began
to hold small devotional meetings at Oxford.

[173] Builders were at work in the college during all his residence.
'July 16, 1728. About a quarter of a year since they began to build a
new chapel for Pembroke Coll. next to Slaughter Lane.' Hearne's
_Remains_, iii. 9.

[174] _Athen. Oxon_. edit. 1721, i. 627. BOSWELL.

[175] Johnson would oftener risk the payment of a small fine than attend
his lectures.... Upon occasion of one such imposition he said to
Jorden:--"Sir, you have sconced [fined] me two pence for non-attendance
at a lecture not worth a penny." Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 9. A passage in
Whitefield's _Diary_ shows that the sconce was often greater. He once
neglected to give in the weekly theme which every Saturday had to be
given to the tutor in the Hall 'when the bell rang.' He was fined
half-a-crown. Tyerman's _Whitefield_, i. 22. In my time (1855-8) at
Pembroke College every Saturday when the bell rang we gave in our piece
of Latin prose--themes were things of the past.

[176] This was on Nov. 6, O.S., or Nov. 17, N.S.--a very early time for
ice to bear. The first mention of frost that I find in the newspapers of
that winter is in the _Weekly Journal_ for Nov. 30, O.S.; where it is
stated that 'the passage by land and water [i.e. the Thames] is now
become very dangerous by the snow, frost, and ice.' The record of
meteorological observations began a few years later.

[177] Oxford, 20th March, 1776. BOSWELL.

[178] Mr. Croker discovers a great difference between this account and
that which Johnson gave to Mr. Warton (_post_, under July 16, 1754).
There is no need to have recourse, with Mr. Croker, 'to an ear spoiled
by flattery.' A very simple explanation may be found. The accounts refer
to different hours of the same day. Johnson's 'stark insensibility'
belonged to the morning, and his 'beating heart' to the afternoon. He
had been impertinent before dinner, and when he was sent for after
dinner 'he expected a sharp rebuke.'

[179] It ought to be remembered that Dr. Johnson was apt, in his
literary as well as moral exercises, to overcharge his defects. Dr.
Adams informed me, that he attended his tutors lectures, and also the
lectures in the College Hall, very regularly. BOSWELL.

[180] Early in every November was kept 'a great gaudy [feast] in the
college, when the Master dined in publick, and the juniors (by an
ancient custom they were obliged to comply with) went round the fire in
the hall.' Philipps's _Diary, Notes and Queries_, 2nd S., x. 443. We can
picture to ourselves among the juniors in November 1728, Samuel Johnson,
going round the fire with the others. Here he heard day after day the
Latin grace which Camden had composed for the society. 'I believe I can
repeat it,' Johnson said at St. Andrew's, 'which he did.' Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 19, 1773.

[181] Seven years before Johnson's time, on Nov. 5, 'Mr. Peyne, Bachelor
of Arts, made an oration in the hall suitable to the day.'
Philipps's _Diary_.

[182] Boswell forgot Johnson's criticism on Milton's exercises on this
day. 'Some of the exercises on Gunpowder Treason might have been
spared.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 119.

[183] It has not been preserved. There are in the college library four
of his compositions, two of verse and two of prosc. One of the copies of
verse I give _post_, under July 16, 1754. Both have been often printed.
As his prose compositions have never been published I will give one:--

'Mea nec Falernae
Temperant Vites, neque Formiani Pocula Colles.'

'Quaedam minus attente spectata absurda videntur, quae tamen penitus
perspecta rationi sunt consentanea. Non enim semper facta per se, verum
ratio occasioque faciendi sunt cogitanda. Deteriora ei offerre cui
meliorum ingens copia est, cui non ridiculum videtur? Quis sanus hirtam
agrestemque vestem Lucullo obtulisset, cujus omnia fere Serum opificia,
omnia Parmae vellera, omnes Tyri colores latuerunt? Hoc tamen fecisse
Horatium non puduit, quo nullus urbanior, nullus procerum convictui
magis assuetus. Maecenatem scilicet norat non quaesiturum an meliora
vina domi posset bibere, verum an inter domesticos quenquam propensiori
in se animo posset invenire. Amorem, non lucrum, optavit patronus ille
munifentissimus (_sic_). Pocula licet vino minus puro implerentur, satis
habuit, si hospitis vultus laetitia perfusus sinceram puramque amicitiam
testaretur. Ut ubi poetam carmine celebramus, non fastidit, quod ipse
melius posset scribere, verum poema licet non magni facit (_sic_),
amorem scriptoris libenter amplectitur, sic amici munuscula animum
gratum testantia licet parvi sint, non nisi a superbo et moroso
contemnentur. Deos thuris fumis indigere nemo certe unquam credidit,
quos tamen iis gratos putarunt, quia homines se non beneficiorum
immemores his testimoniis ostenderunt.'


[184] 'The accidental perusal of some Latin verses gained Addison the
patronage of Dr. Lancaster, afterwards Provost of Queen's College, by
whose recommendation he was elected into Magdalen College as a Demy' [a
scholar]. Johnson's _Works_, vii. 420. Johnson's verses gained him
nothing but 'estimation.'

[185] He is reported to have said:--'The writer of this poem will leave
it a question for posterity, whether his or mine be the original.'
Hawkins, p. 13.

[186] 'A Miscellany of Poems by several hands. Published by J. Husbands,
A.M., Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxon., Oxford. Printed by Leon.
Lichfield, near the East-Gate, In the year MDCCXXXI.' Among the
subscribers I notice the name of Richard Savage, Esq., for twenty
copies. It is very doubtful whether he paid for one. Pope did not
subscribe. Johnson's poem is thus mentioned in the preface:--'The
translation of Mr. Pope's Messiah was deliver'd to his Tutor as a
College Exercise by Mr. Johnson, a commoner of Pembroke College in
Oxford, and 'tis hoped will be no discredit to the excellent original.'

[187] See _post_, under July 16, 1754.

[188] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 6, 1773.

[189] _Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of Dr.
Johnson,_ by John Courtenay, Esq., M.P. BOSWELL.

[190] Hector, in his account of Johnson's early life, says:--'After a
long absence from Lichfield, when he returned, I was apprehensive of
something wrong in his constitution which might either impair his
intellect or endanger his life; but, thanks to Almighty God, my fears
have proved falsc.' Hawkins, p. 8. The college books show that Johnson
was absent but one week in the Long Vacation of 1729. It is by no means
unlikely that he went to Lichfield in that week to consult Dr. Swinfen
about his health. In that case his first attack, when he tried to
overcome the malady by frequently walking to Birmingham, must have been
at an earlier date. In his time students often passed the vacation at
the University. The following table shows the number of graduates and
undergraduates in residence in Pembroke College at the end of each
fourth week, from June to December 1729:--

Members in residence.
June 20, 1729 . . . 54
July 18, " . . . 34
Aug. 15, " . . . 25
Sept. 12, " . . . 16
Oct. 10, " . . . 30
Nov. 7, " . . . 52
Dec. 5, " . . . 49

At Christmas there were still sixteen men left in the college. That
under a zealous tutor the vacation was by no means a time of idleness is
shown by a passage in Wesley's _Journal_, in which he compares the
Scotch Universities with the English. 'In Scotland,' he writes, 'the
students all come to their several colleges in November, and return home
in May. So they _may_ study five months in the year, and lounge all the
rest! O where was the common sense of those who instituted such
colleges? In the English colleges everyone _may_ reside all the year, as
all my pupils did; and I should have thought myself little better than a
highwayman if I had not lectured them every day in the year but
Sundays.' Wesley's _Journal_, iv. 75. Johnson lived to see Oxford empty
in the Long Vacation. Writing on Aug. 1, 1775, he said:--'The place is
now a sullen solitude.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 294.

[191] Johnson, perhaps, was thinking of himself when he thus criticised
the character of Sir Roger de Coverley. 'The variable weather of the
mind, the flying vapours of incipient madness, which from time to time
cloud reason without eclipsing it, it requires so much nicety to exhibit
that Addison seems to have been deterred from prosecuting his own
design.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 431.

[192] Writing in his old age to Hector, he said,--'My health has been
from my twentieth year such as has seldom afforded me a single day of
ease' (_post_, under March 21, 1782). Hawkins writes, that he once told
him 'that he knew not what it was to be totally free from pain.'
Hawkins, p. 396.

[193] See _post_, Oct. 27, 1784, note.

[194] In the _Rambler_, No. 85, he pointed out 'how much happiness is
gained, and how much misery escaped, by frequent and violent agitation
of the body.' See _post_, July 21, 1763, for his remedies against

[195] Thirty-two miles in all. Southey mentions that in 1728, the
Wesleys, to save the more money for the poor, began to perform their
journeys on foot. He adds,--'It was so little the custom in that age for
men in their rank of life to walk any distance, as to make them think it
a discovery that four or five-and-twenty miles are an easy and safe
day's journey.' Southey's _Wesley_, i. 52.

[196] Boswell himself suffered from hypochondria. He seems at times to
boast of it, as Dogberry boasted of his losses; so that Johnson had some
reason for writing to him with seventy, as if he were 'affecting it from
a desire of distinction.' _Post_, July 2, 1776.

[197] Johnson on April 7, 1776, recommended Boswell to read this book,
and again on July 2 of the same year.

[198] On Dec. 24, 1754, writing of the poet Collins, who was either mad
or close upon it, he said,--'Poor dear Collins! I have often been near
his state.' Wooll's _Warton_, p. 229. 'I inherited,' Johnson said, 'a
vile melancholy from my father, which has made me mad all my life, at
least not sober.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 16, 1773. 'When I survey
my past life,' he wrote in 1777, 'I discover nothing but a barren waste
of time, with some disorders of body and disturbances of the mind very
near to madness.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 155. Reynolds recorded that 'what
Dr. Johnson said a few days before his death of his disposition to
insanity was no new discovery to those who were intimate with him.'
Taylor's _Reynolds_, ii. 455. See also _post_ Sept. 20, 1777.

[199] Ch. 44.

[200] 'Of the uncertainties of our present state, the most dreadful and
alarming is the uncertain continuance of reason.' _Rasselas_, ch. 43.

[201] Boswell refers to Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_., pp. 77, 127), and Hawkins
(_Life_, pp. 287-8).

[202] 'Quick in these seeds is might of fire and birth of heavenly
place.' Morris, _Aeneids_, vi. 730.

[203] On Easter Sunday 1716 during service some pieces of stone from the
spire of St. Mary's fell on the roof of the church. The congregation,
thinking that the steeple was coming down, in their alarm broke through
the windows. Johnson, we may well believe, witnessed the scene. The
church was pulled down, and the new one was opened in Dec. 1721.
Harwood's _Lichfield_, p. 460.

[204] 'Sept. 23, 1771. I have gone voluntarily to church on the week day
but few times in my life. I think to mend. April 9, 1773. I hope in time
to take pleasure in public worship. April 6, 1777. I have this year
omitted church on most Sundays, intending to supply the deficience in
the week. So that I owe twelve attendances on worship. I will make no
more such superstitious stipulations, which entangle the mind with
unbidden obligations.' _Pr. and Med_. pp. 108, 121, 161. In the
following passage in the _Life of Milton_, Johnson, no doubt, is
thinking of himself:--'In the distribution of his hours there was no
hour of prayer, either solitary or with his household; omitting public
prayers he omitted all.... That he lived without prayer can hardly be
affirmed; his studies and meditations were an habitual prayer. The
neglect of it in his family was probably a fault for which he condemned
himself, and which he intended to correct, but that death as too often
happens, intercepted his reformation.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 115. See
_post_, Oct. 10, 1779.

[205] We may compare with this a passage in Verecundulus's letter in
_The Rambler_, No. 157:--'Though many among my fellow students [at the
university] took the opportunity of a more remiss discipline to gratify
their passions, yet virtue preserved her natural superiority, and those
who ventured to neglect were not suffered to insult her.' Oxford at this
date was somewhat wayward in her love for religion. Whitefield
records:--'I had no sooner received the sacrament publicly on a week-day
at St. Mary's, but I was set up as a mark for all the polite students
that knew me to shoot at. By this they knew that I was commenced
Methodist, for though there is a sacrament at the beginning of every
term, at which all, especially the seniors, are by statute obliged to be
present, yet so dreadfully has that once faithful city played the
harlot, that very few masters, and no undergraduates but the Methodists
attended upon it. I daily underwent some contempt at college. Some have
thrown dirt at me; others by degrees took away their pay from me.'
Tyerman's _Whitefield_, i. 19. Story, the Quaker, visiting Oxford in
1731, says, 'Of all places wherever I have been the scholars of Oxford
were the rudest, most giddy, and unruly rabble, and most mischievous.'
Story's _Journal_, p. 675.

[206] John Wesley, who was also at Oxford, writing of about this same
year, says:--'Meeting now with Mr. Law's _Christian Perfection_ and
_Serious Call_ the light flowed in so mightily upon my soul that
everything appeared in a new view.' Wesley's _Journal_, i. 94.
Whitefield writes:--'Before I went to the University, I met with Mr.
Law's _Serious Call_, but had not then money to purchase it. Soon after
my coming up to the University, seeing a small edition of it in a
friend's hand I soon procured it. God worked powerfully upon my soul by
that and his other excellent treatise upon Christian perfection.'
Tyerman's _Whitefield_, i. 16. Johnson called the _Serious Call_ 'the
finest piece of hortatory theology in any language;' _post_, 1770. A few
months before his death he said:--'William Law wrote the best piece of
parenetic divinity; but William Law was no reasoner;' _post_, June 9,
1784. Law was the tutor of Gibbon's father, and he died in the house of
the historian's aunt. In describing the _Serious Call_ Gibbon
says:--'His precepts are rigid, but they are founded on the gospel; his
satire is sharp, but it is drawn from the knowledge of human life; and
many of his portraits are not unworthy of the pen of La Bruyere. If he
finds a spark of piety in his reader's mind he will soon kindle it to a
flame.' Gibbon's _Misc. Works_, i. 21.

[207] Mrs. Piozzi has given a strange fantastical account of the
original of Dr. Johnson's belief in our most holy religion. 'At the age
of ten years his mind was disturbed by scruples of infidelity, which
preyed upon his spirits, and made him very uneasy, the more so, as he
revealed his uneasiness to none, being naturally (as he said) of a
sullen temper, and reserved disposition. He searched, however,
diligently, but fruitlessly, for evidences of the truth of revelation;
and, at length, _recollecting_ a book he had once seen [_I suppose at
five years old_] in his father's shop, intitled _De veritate
Religionis_, etc., he began to think himself _highly culpable_ for
neglecting such a means of information, and took himself severely to
task for this sin, adding many acts of voluntary, and, to others,
unknown _penance_. The first opportunity which offered, of course, he
seized the book with avidity; but, on examination, _not finding himself
scholar enough to peruse its contents_, set his heart at rest; and not
thinking to enquire whether there were any English books written on the
subject, followed his usual amusements and _considered his conscience as
lightened of a crime_. He redoubled his diligence to learn the language
that contained the information he most wished for; but from the pain
which _guilt [namely having omitted to read what he did not
understand_,] had given him, he now began to deduce the soul's
immortality [_a sensation of pain in this world being an unquestionable
proof of existence in another_], which was the point that belief first
stopped at; _and from that moment resolving to be a Christian_, became
one of the most zealous and pious ones our nation ever produced.'
_Anecdotes_, p. 17.

This is one of the numerous misrepresentations of this lively lady,
which it is worth while to correct; for if credit should be given to
such a childish, irrational, and ridiculous statement of the foundation
of Dr. Johnson's faith in Christianity, how little credit would be due
to it. Mrs. Piozzi seems to wish, that the world should think Dr.
Johnson also under the influence of that easy logick, _Stet pro ratione
voluntas_. BOSWELL. On April 28, 1783, Johnson said:--'Religion had
dropped out of my mind. It was at an early part of my life. Sickness
brought it back, and I hope I have never lost it since.' Most likely it
was the sickness in the long vacation of 1729 mentioned _ante_, p. 63.

[208] In his _Life of Milton_, writing of _Paradise Lost_, he
says:--'But these truths are too important to be new; they have been
taught to our infancy; they have mingled with our solitary thoughts and
familiar conversations, and are habitually interwoven with the whole
texture of life.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 134.

[209] Acts xvi. 30.

[210] Sept. 7, Old Style, or Sept. 18, New Style.

[211] 'He that peruses Shakespeare looks round alarmed, and starts to
find himself alone.' Johnson's _Works_, v. 71. 'I was many years ago so
shocked by Cordelia's death, that I know not whether I ever endured to
read again the last scenes of the play till I undertook to revise them
as an editor.' Ib. p. 175.

[212] He told Mr. Windham that he had never read through the Odyssey
completely. Windham's _Diary_, p. 17. At college, he said, he had been
'very idle and neglectful of his studies.' Ib.

[213] 'It may be questioned whether, except his Bible, he ever read a
book entirely through. Late in life, if any man praised a book in his
presence, he was sure to ask, 'Did you read it through?' If the answer
was in the affirmative, he did not seem willing to believe it.' Murphy's
_Johnson_, p. 12. It would be easy to show that Johnson read many books
right through, though, according to Mrs. Piozzi, he asked, 'was there
ever yet anything written by mere man that was wished longer by its
readers excepting Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and the Pilgrim's
Progress?' Piozzi's Anec., p. 281. Nevertheless in Murphy's statement
there is some truth. See what has been just stated by Boswell, that 'he
hardly ever read any poem to an end,' and _post_, April 19, 1773 and
June 15, 1784. To him might be applied his own description of
Barretier:--'He had a quickness of apprehension and firmness of memory
which enabled him to read with incredible rapidity, and at the same time
to retain what he read, so as to be able to recollect and apply it. He
turned over volumes in an instant, and selected what was useful for his
purpose.' Johnson's _Works_, vi. 390.

[214] See _post_, June 15, 1784. Mr. Windham (_Diary_, p. 17) records
the following 'anecdote of Johnson's first declamation at college;
having neglected to write it till the morning of his being (sic) to
repeat it, and having only one copy, he got part of it by heart while he
was walking into the hall, and the rest he supplied as well as he could
extempore.' Mrs. Piozzi, recording the same ancedote, says that 'having
given the copy into the hand of the tutor who stood to receive it as he
passed, he was obliged to begin by chance, and continue on how he
could.... "A prodigious risk, however," said some one. "Not at all,"
exclaims Johnson, "no man, I suppose, leaps at once into deep water who
does not know how to swim."' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 30.

[215] He told Dr. Burney that he never wrote any of his works that were
printed, twice over. Dr. Burney's wonder at seeing several pages of his
_Lives of the Poets_, in Manuscript, with scarce a blot or erasure, drew
this observation from him. MALONE. 'He wrote forty-eight of the printed
octavo pages of the _Life of Savage_ at a sitting' (_post_, Feb. 1744),
and a hundred lines of the _Vanity of Human Wishes_ in a day (_post_,
under Feb. 15, 1766). The _Ramblers_ were written in haste as the moment
pressed, without even being read over by him before they were printed
(_post_, beginning of 1750). In the second edition, however, he made
corrections. 'He composed _Rasselas_ in the evenings of one week'
(_post_, under January, 1759). '_The False Alarm_ was written between
eight o'clock on Wednesday night and twelve o'clock on Thursday night.'
Piozzi's _Anec_., p. 41. '_The Patriot_' he says, 'was called for on
Friday, was written on Saturday' (_post_, Nov. 26, 1774).

[216] 'When Mr. Johnson felt his fancy, or fancied he felt it,
disordered, his constant recurrence was to the study of arithmetic.'
Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 77. 'Ethics, or figures, or metaphysical reasoning,
was the sort of talk he most delighted in;' ib. p. 80. See _post_,
Sept. 24, 1777.

[217] 'Sept. 18, 1764, I resolve to study the Scriptures; I hope in the
original languages. 640 verses every Sunday will nearly comprise the
Scriptures in a year.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 58. '1770, 1st Sunday after
Easter. The plan which I formed for reading the Scriptures was to read
600 verses in the Old Testament, and 200 in the New, every week;' ib.
p. 100.

[218] 'August 1, 1715. This being the day on which the late Queen Anne
died, and on which George, Duke and Elector of Brunswick, usurped the
English throne, there was very little rejoicing in Oxford.... There was
a sermon at St. Marie's by Dr. Panting, Master of Pembroke.... He is an
honest gent. His sermon took no notice, at most very little, of the Duke
of Brunswick.' Hearne's _Remains_, ii. 6.

[219] The outside wall of the gateway-tower forms an angle with the wall
of the Master's house, so that any one sitting by the open window and
speaking in a strong emphatic voice might have easily been overheard.

[220] Goldsmith did go to Padua, and stayed there some months. Forster's
_Goldsmith_, i. 71.

[221] I had this anecdote from Dr. Adams, and Dr. Johnson confirmed it.
Bramston, in his _Man of Taste_, has the same thought: 'Sure, of all
blockheads, scholars are the worst.' BOSWELL. Johnson's meaning,
however, is, that a scholar who is a blockhead must be the worst of all
blockheads, because he is without excusc. But Bramston, in the assumed
character of an ignorant coxcomb, maintains that _all_ scholars are
blockheads on account of their scholarship. J. BOSWELL, JUN. There is, I
believe, a Spanish proverb to the effect that, 'to be an utter fool a
man must know Latin.' A writer in _Notes and Queries_ (5th S. xii. 285)
suggests that Johnson had in mind Acts xvii. 21.

[222] It was the practice in his time for a servitor, by order of the
Master, to go round to the rooms of the young men, and knocking at the
door to enquire if they were within; and if no answer was returned to
report them absent. Johnson could not endure this intrusion, and would
frequently be silent, when the utterance of a word would have ensured
him from censure, and would join with others of the young men in the
college in hunting, as they called it, the servitor who was thus
diligent in his duty, and this they did with the noise of pots and
candlesticks, singing to the tune of Chevy Chase the words in the
old ballad,--

'To drive the deer with hound and horn!' _Hawkins_, p. 12. Whitefield,
writing of a few years later, says:--'At this time Satan used to terrify
me much, and threatened to punish me if I discovered his wiles. It being
my duty, as servitor, in my turn to knock at the gentlemen's rooms by
ten at night, to see who were in their rooms, I thought the devil would
appear to me every stair I went up.' Tyerman's _Whitefield_, i. 20.

[223] See _post_, June 12, 1784.

[224] Perhaps his disregard of all authority was in part due to his
genius, still in its youth. In his _Life of Lyttelton_ he says:--'The
letters [Lyttelton's _Persian Letters_] have something of that
indistinct and headstrong ardour for liberty which a man of genius
always catches when he enters the world, and always suffers to cool as
he passes forward.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 488.

[225] Dr. Hall [formerly Master of the College] says, 'Certainly not
all.' CROKER.

[226] 'I would leave the interest of the fortune I bequeathed to a
college to my relations or my friends for their lives. It is the same
thing to a college, which is a permanent society, whether it gets the
money now or twenty years hence; and I would wish to make my relations
or friends feel the benefit of it;' _post_, April 17, 1778. Hawkins
(_Life_, p. 582,) says that 'he meditated a devise of his house to the
corporation of that city for a charitable use, but, it being freehold he
said, "I cannot live a twelvemonth, and the last statute of Mortmain
stands in my way."' The same statute, no doubt, would have hindered the
bequest to the College.

[227] Garrick refused to act one of Hawkins's plays. The poet towards
the end of a long letter which he signed,--'Your much dissatisfied
humble servant,' said:--'After all, Sir, I do not desire to come to an
open rupture with you. I wish not to exasperate, but to convince; and I
tender you once more my friendship and my play.' _Garrick Corres_. ii.
8. See _post_, April 9, 1778.

[228] See Nash's _History of Worcestershire_, vol. i. p. 529. BOSWELL.
To the list should be added, Francis Beaumont, the dramatic writer; Sir
Thomas Browne, whose life Johnson wrote; Sir James Dyer, Chief Justice
of the King's Bench, Lord Chancellor Harcourt, John Pym, Francis Rous,
the Speaker of Cromwell's parliament, and Bishop Bonner. WRIGHT. Some of
these men belonged to the ancient foundation of Broadgates Hall, which
in 1624 was converted into Pembroke College. It is strange that Boswell
should have passed over Sir Thomas Browne's name. Johnson in his life of
Browne says that he was 'the first man of eminence graduated from the
new college, to which the zeal or gratitude of those that love it most
can wish little better than that it may long proceed as it began.'
Johnson's _Works_, vi. 476. To this list Nash adds the name of the Revd.
Richard Graves, author of _The Spiritual Quixote_, who took his degree
of B.A. on the same day as Whitefield, whom he ridiculed in
that romance.

[229] See _post_, Oct. 6, 1769, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 15, 1773.

[230] In his _Life of Shenstone_ he writes:--'From school Shenstone was
sent to Pembroke College in Oxford, a society which for half a century
has been eminent for English poetry and elegant literature. Here it
appears that he found delight and advantage; for he continued his name
in the book ten years, though he took no degree.' Johnson's _Works_,
viii. 408. Johnson's name would seem to have been in like manner
continued for more than eleven years, and perhaps for the same reasons.
(_Ante_, p. 58 note.) Hannah More was at Oxford in June 1782, during one
of Johnson's visits to Dr. Adams. 'You cannot imagine,' she writes,
'with what delight Dr. Johnson showed me every part of his own
college.... After dinner he begged to conduct me to see the college; he
would let no one show it me but himself. "This was my room; this
Shenstone's." Then, after pointing out all the rooms of the poets who
had been of his college, "In short," said he, "we were a nest of
singing-birds. Here we walked, there we played at cricket." [It may be
doubted whether he ever played.] He ran over with pleasure the history
of the juvenile days he passed there. When we came into the Common Room,
we spied a fine large print of Johnson, framed and hung up that very
morning, with this motto: "And is not Johnson ours, himself a host;"
under which stared you in the face, "From Miss More's _Sensibility_"'
Hannah More's _Memoirs_, i. 261. At the end of 'the ludicrous analysis
of Pocockius' quoted by Johnson in the _Life of Edmund Smith_ are the
following lines:--'Subito ad Batavos proficiscor, lauro ab illis
donandus. Prius vero Pembrochienses voco ad certamen poeticum.' Smith
was at Christ Church. He seems to be mocking the neighbouring 'nest of
singing-birds.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 381.

[231] Taylor matriculated on Feb. 24, 1729. Mr. Croker in his note has
confounded him with another John Taylor who matriculated more than a
year later. Richard West, writing of Christ Church in 1735,
says:--'Consider me very seriously here in a strange country, inhabited
by things that call themselves Doctors and Masters of Arts; a country
flowing with syllogisms and ale, where Horace and Virgil are equally
unknown.' Gray's _Letters_, ii. I.


'Si toga sordidula est et rupta
calceus alter
Pelle patet.'
'Or if the shoe be ript, or patches put.'

Dryden, _Juvenal_, iii. 149.

Johnson in his _London_, in describing 'the blockhead's insults,' while
he mentions 'the tattered cloak,' passes over the ript shoe. Perhaps the
wound had gone too deep to his generous heart for him to bear even to
think on it.

[233] 'Yet some have refused my bounties, more offended with my
quickness to detect their wants than pleased with my readiness to
succour them.' _Rasselas_, ch. 25. 'His [Savage's] distresses, however
afflictive, never dejected him; in his lowest state he wanted not spirit
to assert the natural dignity of wit, and was always ready to repress
that insolence which the superiority of fortune incited; ... he never
admitted any gross familiarities, or submitted to be treated otherwise
than as an equal.... His clothes were worn out; and he received notice
that at a coffee-house some clothes and linen were left for him.... But
though the offer was so far generous, it was made with some neglect of
ceremonies, which Mr. Savage so much resented that he refused the
present, and declined to enter the house till the clothes that had been
designed for him were taken away.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 161 and 169.


'Haud facile emergunt quorum
virtutibus obstat
Res angusta domi.'

Juvenal, _Sat_. iii. 164.

Paraphrased by Johnson in his _London_, 'Slow rises worth by poverty

[235] Cambridge thirty-six years later neglected Parr as Oxford
neglected Johnson. Both these men had to leave the University through
poverty. There were no open scholarships in those days.

[236] Yet his college bills came to only some eight shillings a week. As
this was about the average amount of an undergraduate's bill it is clear
that, so far as food went, he lived, in spite of Mr. Carlyle's
assertion, as well as his fellow-students.

[237] Mr. Croker states that 'an examination of the college books proves
that Johnson, who entered on the 31st October, 1728, remained there,
even during the vacations, to the 12th December, 1729, when he
personally left the college, and never returned--though his _name_
remained on the books till 8th October, 1731.' I have gone into this
question at great length in my _Dr. Johnson: His Friends and His
Critics_, p. 329. I am of opinion that Mr. Croker's general conclusion
is right. The proof of residence is established, and alone established,
by the entries in the buttery books. Now these entries show that
Johnson, with the exception of the week in October 1729 ending on the
24th, was in residence till December 12, 1729. He seems to have returned
for a week in March 1730, and again for a week in the following
September. On three other weeks there is a charge against him of
fivepence in the books. Mr. Croker has made that darker which was
already dark enough by confounding, as I have shewn, two John Taylors
who both matriculated at Christ Church. Boswell's statement no doubt is
precise, but in this he followed perhaps the account given by Hawkins.
He would have been less likely to discover Hawkins's error from the fact
that, as Johnson's name was for about three years on the College books,
he was so long, in name at least, a member of the College. Had Boswell
seen Johnson's letter to Mr. Hickman, quoted by Mr. Croker (Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 20), he would at once have seen that Johnson could not
have remained at college for a little more than three years. For within
three years all but a day of his entrance at Pembroke, he writes to Mr.
Hickman from Lichfield, '_As I am yet unemployed_, I hope you will, if
anything should offer, remember and recommend, Sir, your humble servant,
Sam. Johnson.'

In Boswell's _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_ (Aug. 15, 1773) there
is a very perplexing passage bearing on Johnson's residence at College.
'We talked of Whitefield. He said he was at the same college with him,
and knew him before he began to be better than other people.' Now
Johnson, as Boswell tells us, read this journal in manuscript. The
statement therefore seems to be well-established indeed. Yet Whitefield
did not matriculate till Nov. 7, 1732, a full year after Johnson,
according to Boswell, had left Oxford. We are told that, when Johnson
was living at Birmingham, he borrowed Lobo's _Abyssinia_ from the
library of Pembroke College. It is probable enough that a man who
frequently walked from Lichfield to Birmingham and back would have
trudged all the way to Oxford to fetch the book. In that case he might
have seen Whitefield. But Thomas Warton says that 'the first time of his
being at Oxford after quitting the University was in 1754' (_post_,
under July 16, 1754).

[238] 'March 16, 1728-9. Yesterday in a Convocation Mr. Wm. Jorden of
Pembroke Coll. was elected the Univ. of Oxford rector of Astocke in com.
Wilts (which belongs to a Roman Catholic family).' Hearne's _Remains_,
iii. 17. His fellowship was filled up on Dec. 23, 1730. Boswell's
statement therefore is inaccurate. If Johnson remained at college till
Nov. 1731, he would have really been for at least ten months Adams's
pupil. We may assume that as his name remained on the books after Jorden
left so he was _nominally_ transferred to Adams. It is worthy of notice
that Thomas Warton, in the account that he gives of Johnson's visit to
Oxford in 1754, says:--'He much regretted that his _first_ tutor
was dead.'

[239] According to Hawkins (_Life_, pp. 17, 582 and _post_, Dec. 9,
1784) Johnson's father was at one time a bankrupt. Johnson, in the
epitaph that he wrote for him (_post_, Dec. 2, 1784) describes him as
'bibliopola admodum peritus,' but 'rebus adversis diu conflictatus.' He
certainly did not die a bankrupt, as is shown by his leaving property to
his widow and son, and also by the following MS. letter, that is
preserved with two others of the same kind in Pembroke College.

Ashby, April 19, 1736.

Good Sr.,

I must truble you again, my sister who desiurs her survis to you, & begs
you will be so good if you can to pravale with Mr. Wumsley to paye you
the little money due to her you may have an opertunity to speak to him &
it will be a great truble for me to have a jerney for it when if he
pleasd he might paye it you, it is a poore case she had but little left
by Mr. Johnson but his books (not but he left her all he had) & those
sold at a poore reat, and be kept out of so small a sume by a gentleman
so well able to paye, if you will doe yr best for the widow will be
varey good in you, which will oblige yr reall freund JAMES BATE.

To Mr. John Newton

a Sider Seller at Litchfield.

Pd. L5 to Mr. Newton.

In another hand is written,

To Gilbert Walmesley Esq.

at Lichfield.

And in a third hand,

Pd. L5 to Mr. Newton.

The exact amount claimed, as is Shewn by the letter, dated Jan. 31,
1735, was L5 6s. 4d. There is a yet earlier letter demanding payment of
L5 6s. 4d. as 'due to me' for books, signed D. Johnson, dated
Swarkstone, Aug. 21, 1733. It must be the same account. Perhaps D.
Johnson was the executor. He writes from Ashby, where Michael Johnson
had a branch business. But I know of no other mention of him or of James
Bate. John Newton was the father of the Bishop of Bristol. _Post_, June
3,1784, and Bishop Newton's _Works_, i. I.

[240] Johnson, in a letter to Dr. Taylor, dated Aug. 18, 1763, advised
him, in some trouble that he had with his wife, 'to consult our old
friend Mr. Howard. His profession has acquainted him with matrimonial
law, and he is in himself a cool and wise man.' _Notes and Queries_, 6th
S. v. 342. See _post_, March 20, 1778, for mention of his son.

[241] See _post_, Dec. 1, 1743, note. Robert Levett, made famous by
Johnson's lines (_post_, Jan. 20, 1782), was not of this family.

[242] Mr. Warton informs me, 'that this early friend of Johnson was
entered a Commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, aged seventeen, in 1698;
and is the authour of many Latin verse translations in the _Gent. Mag_.
(vol. xv. 102). One of them is a translation of:

'My time, O ye Muses, was happily spent.' &c.

He died Aug, 3, 1751, and a monument to his memory has been erected in
the Cathedral of Lichfield, with an inscription written by Mr. Seward,
one of the Prebendaries. BOSWELL.

[243] Johnson's _Works_, vii. 380.

[244] See _post_, 1780, note at end of Mr. Langton's 'Collection.'

[245] See _post_, 1743.

[246] See _post_ April 24, 1779.

[247] Hawkins (_Life_, p. 61) says that in August, 1738 (? 1739),
Johnson went to Appleby, in Leicestershire, to apply for the mastership
of Appleby School. This was after he and his wife had removed to London.
It is likely that he visited Ashbourne.

[248] 'Old Meynell' is mentioned, _post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's
'Collection,' as the author of 'the observation, "For anything I see,
foreigners are fools;"' and 'Mr. Meynell,' _post_, April 1, 1779, as
saying that 'The chief advantage of London is, that a man is always _so
near his burrow_.'

[249] See _post_, under March 16, 1759, note, and April 21, 1773. Mr.
Alleyne Fitzherbert was created Lord St. Helens.

[250] See _post_, 1780, end of Mr. Langton's 'Collection.'

[251] Johnson, writing to Dr. Taylor on July 31, 1756, said, 'I find
myself very unwilling to take up a pen, only to tell my friends that I
am well, and indeed I never did exchange letters regularly but with dear
Miss Boothby.' _Notes and Queries_, 6th S. v. 304. At the end of the
_Piozzi Letters_ are given some of his letters to her. They were
republished together with her letters to him in _An Account of the Life
of Dr. Samuel Johnson_, 1805.

[252] The words of Sir John Hawkins, P. 316. BOSWELL. 'When Mr. Thrale
once asked Johnson which had been the happiest period of his past life,
he replied, "it was that year in which he spent one whole evening with
Molly Aston. That, indeed," said he, "was not happiness, it was rapture;
but the thoughts of it sweetened the whole year." I must add that the
evening alluded to was not passed tete-a-tete, but in a select company
of which the present Lord Kilmorey was one. "Molly," says Dr. Johnson,
"was a beauty and a scholar, and a wit and a whig; and she talked all in
praise of liberty; and so I made this epigram upon her--She was the
loveliest creature I ever saw--

'Liber ut esse velim suasisti
pulchra Maria;
Ut maneam liber--pulchra Maria

'Will it do this way in English, Sir,' said I:--

'Persuasions to freedom fall oddly
from you;
If freedom we seek--fair Maria,

'It will do well enough,' replied he; 'but it is translated by a lady,
and the ladies never loved Molly Aston.'" Piozzi's _Anec_., p. 157. See
_post_, May 8, 1778.

[253] Sir Thomas Aston, Bart., who died in January, 1724-5, left one
son, named Thomas also, and eight daughters. Of the daughters, Catherine
married Johnson's friend, the Hon. Henry Hervey [_post, 1737]; Margaret,
Gilbert Walmsley. Another of these ladies married the Rev. Mr. Gastrell
[the man who cut down Shakspeare's mulberry tree, _post_, March 25,
1776]; Mary, or _Molly_ Aston, as she was usually called, became the
wife of Captain Brodie of the navy. MALONE.

[254] Luke vi. 35.

[255] If this was in 1732 it was on the morrow of the day on which he
received his share of his father's property, _ante_, p. 80. A letter
published in _Notes and Queries_, 6th S. x. 421, shews that for a short
time he was tutor to the son of Mr. Whitby of Heywood.

[256] Bishop Hurd does not praise Blackwall, but the Rev. Mr. Budworth,
headmaster of the grammar school at Brewood, who had himself been bred
under Blackwall. MALONE. Mr. Nichols relates (_post_, Dec. 1784) that
Johnson applied for the post of assistant to Mr. Budworth.

[257] See _Gent. Mag_. Dec. 1784, p. 957. BOSWELL.

[258] See _ante_, p. 78.

[259] The patron's manners were those of the neighbourhood. Hutton,
writing of this town in 1770, says,--'The inhabitants set their dogs at
me merely because I was a stranger. Surrounded with impassable roads, no
intercourse with man to humanize the mind, no commerce to smooth their
rugged manners, they continue the boors of nature.' _Life, of W.
Hutton_, p. 45.

[260] It appears from a letter of Johnson's to a friend, dated
Lichfield, July 27, 1732, that he had left Sir Wolstan Dixie's house
recently, before that letter was written. MALONE.

[261] 'The despicable wretchedness of teaching,' wrote Carlyle, in his
twenty-fourth year, when he was himself a teacher, 'can be known only to
those who have tried it, and to Him who made the heart and knows it all.
One meets with few spectacles more afflicting than that of a young man
with a free spirit, with impetuous though honourable feelings, condemned
to waste the flower of his life in such a calling; to fade in it by slow
and sure corrosion of discontent; and at last obscurely and unprofitably
to leave, with an indignant joy, the miseries of a world which his
talents might have illustrated and his virtues adorned. Such things have
been and will be. But surely in that better life which good men dream
of, the spirit of a Kepler or a Milton will find a more propitious
destiny.' Conway's _Carlyle_, p. 176.

[262] This newspaper was the _Birmingham Journal_. In the office of the
_Birmingham Daily Post_ is preserved the number (No. 28) for May 21,
1733. It is believed to be the only copy in existence. Warren is
described by W. Hutton (_Life_, p. 77) as one of the 'three eminent
booksellers' in Birmingham in 1750. 'His house was "over against the
Swan Tavern," in High Street; doubtless in one of the old half-timbered
houses pulled down in 1838 [1850].' Timmins's _Dr. Johnson in
Birmingham_, p. 4.

[263] 'In the month of June 1733, I find him resident in the house of a
person named Jarvis, at Birmingham.' Hawkins, p. 21. His wife's maiden
name was Jarvis or Jervis.

[264] In 1741, Hutton, a runaway apprentice, arrived at Birmingham. He
says,--'I had never seen more than five towns, Nottingham, Derby,
Burton, Lichfield and Walsall. The outskirts of these were composed of
wretched dwellings, visibly stamped with dirt and poverty. But the
buildings in the exterior of Birmingham rose in a style of elegance.
Thatch, so plentiful in other places, was not to be met with in this.
The people possessed a vivacity I had never beheld. I had been among
dreamers, but now I saw men awake. Their very step along the street
showed alacrity. Every man seemed to know what he was about. The faces
of other men seemed tinctured with an idle gloom; but here with a
pleasing alertness. Their appearance was strongly marked with the modes
of civil life.' _Life of W. Hutton_, p. 41.

[265] Hutton, in his account of the Birmingham riots of 1791, describing
the destruction of a Mr. Taylor's house, says,--'The sons of plunder
forgot that the prosperity of Birmingham was owing to a Dissenter,
father to the man whose property they were destroying;' ib. p. 181.

[266] Johnson, it should seem, did not think himself ill-used by Warren;
for writing to Hector on April 15, 1755, he says,--'What news of poor
Warren? I have not lost all my kindness for him.' _Notes and Queries_,
6th S. iii. 301.

[267] That it is by no means an exact translation Johnson's _Preface_
shows. He says that in the dissertations alone an exact translation has
been attempted. The rest of the work he describes as an epitome.

[268] In the original, _Segued_.

[269] In the original, _Zeila_.

[270] Lobo, in describing a waterfall on the Nile, had said:--'The fall
of this mighty stream from so great a height makes a noise that may be
heard to a considerable distance; but I could not observe that the
neighbouring inhabitants were at all deaf. I conversed with several, and
was as easily heard by them as I heard them,' p. 101.

[271] In the original, _without religion, polity, or articulate

[272] See _Rambler_, No. 103. BOSWELL. Johnson in other passages
insisted on the high value of curiosity. In this same _Rambler_ he
says:--'Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of
a vigorous intellect.' In the allegory in _Rambler_, No. 105, he calls
curiosity his 'long-loved protectress,' who is known by truth 'among the
most faithful of her followers.' In No. 150 he writes:--'Curiosity is in
great and generous minds the first passion and the last; and perhaps
always predominates in proportion to the strength of the contemplative
faculties.' In No. 5 he assert that 'he that enlarges his curiosity
after the works of nature demonstrably multiplies the inlets to

[273] Rasselas, _post_, 1759.

[274] Hawkins (p. 163) gives the following extract from Johnson's
_Annales_:--'Friday, August 27 (1734), 10 at night. This day I have
trifled away, except that I have attended the school in the morning, I
read to-night in Roger's sermoms. To-night I began the breakfast law
(sic) anew.'

[275] May we not trace a fanciful similarity between Politian and
Johnson? Huetius, speaking of Paulus Pelissonius Fontanerius, says, '...
in quo Natura, ut olim in Angelo Politiano, deformitarem oris
excellentis ingenii praestantia compensavit.' _Comment, de reb. ad eum
pertin_. Edit. Amstel. 1718, p. 200. BOSWELL. In Paulus Pelissonius
Fontanerius we have difficulty in detecting Mme. de Sevigne's friend,
Pelisson, of whom M. de Guilleragues used the phrase, 'qu'il abusait de
la permission qu'ont les hommes d'etre laids.' See _Mme. de Sevigne's
Letter_, 5 Jan., 1674. CROKER.

[276] The book was to contain more than thirty sheets, the price to be
two shillings and sixpence at the time of subscribing, and two shillings
and sixpence at the delivery of a perfect book in quires. BOSWELL.
'Among the books in his library, at the time of his decease, I found a
very old and curious edition of the works of Politian, which appeared to
belong to Pembroke College, Oxford.' HAWKINS, p. 445. See _post_, Nov.,
1784. In his last work he shews his fondness for modern Latin poetry. He
says:--'Pope had sought for images and sentiments in a region not known
to have been explored by many other of the English writers; he had
consulted the modern writers of Latin poetry, a class of authors whom
Boileau endeavoured to bring into contempt, and who are too generally
neglected.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 299.

[277] A writer in _Notes and Queries_, 1st S. xii. 266, says 'that he
has a letter written by Nathanael, in which he makes mention of his
brother "scarcely using him with common civility," and says, "I believe
I shall go to Georgia in about a fortnight!"' Nathanael died in
Lichfield in 1737; see _post_, Dec. 2, 1784, for his epitaph. Among the
MSS. in Pembroke College Library are bills for books receipted by Nath.
Johnson and by Sarah Johnson (his mother). She writes like a person of
little education.

[278] Miss Cave, the grand-niece of Mr. Edward Cave, has obligingly
shewn me the originals of this and the other letters of Dr. Johnson, to
him, which were first published in the _Gent. Mag_. [lv. 3], with notes
by Mr. John Nichols, the worthy and indefatigable editor of that
valuable miscellany, signed N.; some of which I shall occasionally
transcribe in the course of this work. BOSWELL. I was able to examine
some of these letters while they were still in the possession of one of
Cave's collateral descendants, and I have in one or two places corrected
errors of transcription.

[279] Sir John Floyer's Treatise on Cold Baths. _Gent. Mag_. 1734, p.
197. BOSWELL. This letter shews how uncommon a thing a cold bath was.
Floyer, after recommending 'a general method of bleeding and purging'
before the patient uses cold bathing, continues, 'I have commonly cured
the rickets by dipping children of a year old in the bath every morning;
and this wonderful effect has encouraged me to dip four boys at
Lichfield in the font at their baptism, and none have suffered any
inconvenience by it.' (For mention of Floyer, see _ante_, p. 42, and
_post_, March 27 and July 20, 1784.) Locke, in his _Treatise on
Education_, had recommended cold bathing for children. Johnson, in his
review of Lucas's _Essay on Waters_ (_post_, 1756), thus attacks cold
bathing:--'It is incident to physicians, I am afraid, beyond all other
men, to mistake subsequence for consequence. "The old gentleman," says
Dr. Lucas, "that uses the cold bath, enjoys in return an uninterrupted
state of health." This instance does not prove that the cold bath
produces health, but only that it will not always destroy it. He is well
with the bath, he would have been well without it.' _Literary
Magazine_, p. 229.

[280] A prize of fifty pounds for the best poem on 'Life, Death,
Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.' See _Gent. Mag_. vol. iv. p. 560. N.
BOSWELL. 'Cave sometimes offered subjects for poems, and proposed prizes
for the best performers. The first prize was fifty pounds, for which,
being but newly acquainted with wealth, and thinking the influence of
fifty pounds extremely great, he expected the first authors of the
kingdom to appear as competitors; and offered the allotment of the prize
to the universities. But when the time came, no name was seen among the
writers that had ever been seen before; the universities and several
private men rejected the province of assigning the prize.' Johnson's
_Works_, vi. 432.

[281] I suspect that Johnson wrote 'the Castle _Inn_, Birmingham.'

[282] Mrs. Piozzi gives the following account of this little composition
from Dr. Johnson's own relation to her, on her inquiring whether it was
rightly attributed to him:--'I think it is now just forty years ago,
that a young fellow had a sprig of myrtle given him by a girl he
courted, and asked me to write him some verses that he might present her
in return. I promised, but forgot; and when he called for his lines at
the time agreed on--Sit still a moment, (says I) dear Mund' [see _post_,
May 7, 1773, for Johnson's 'way of contracting the names of his
friends'], 'and I'll fetch them thee--So stepped aside for five minutes,
and wrote the nonsense you now keep such a stir about.' _Anec_. p. 34.

In my first edition I was induced to doubt the authenticity of this
account, by the following circumstantial statement in a letter to me
from Miss Seward, of Lichfield:--'_I know_ those verses were addressed
to Lucy Porter, when he was enamoured of her in his boyish days, two or
three years before he had seen her mother, his future wife. He wrote
them at my grandfather's, and gave them to Lucy in the presence of my
mother, to whom he showed them on the instant. She used to repeat them
to me, when I asked her for _the Verses Dr. Johnson gave her on a Sprig
of Myrtle, which he had stolen or begged from her bosom_. We all know
honest Lucy Porter to have been incapable of the mean vanity of applying
to herself a compliment not _intended_ for her.' Such was this lady's
statement, which I make no doubt she supposed to be correct; but it
shews how dangerous it is to trust too implicitly to traditional
testimony and ingenious inference; for Mr. Hector has lately assured me
that Mrs. Piozzi's account is in this instance accurate, and that he was
the person for whom Johnson wrote those verses, which have been
erroneously ascribed to Mr. Hammond.

I am obliged in so many instances to notice Mrs. Piozzi's incorrectness
of relation, that I gladly seize this opportunity of acknowledging, that
however often, she is not always inaccurate.

The author having been drawn into a controversy with Miss Anna Seward,
in consequence of the preceding statement, (which may be found in the
_Gent. Mag_. vol. liii. and liv.) received the following letter from Mr.
Edmund Hector, on the subject:


'I am sorry to see you are engaged in altercation with a Lady, who seems
unwilling to be convinced of her errors. Surely it would be more
ingenuous to acknowledge, than to persevere.

'Lately, in looking over some papers I meant to burn, I found the
original manuscript of the _Myrtle_, with the date on it, 1731, which I
have inclosed.

'The true history (which I could swear to) is as follows: Mr. Morgan
Graves, the elder brother of a worthy Clergyman near Bath, with whom I
was acquainted, waited upon a lady in this neighbourhood, who at parting
presented him the branch. He shewed it me, and wished much to return the
compliment in verse. I applied to Johnson, who was with me, and in about
half an hour dictated the verses which I sent to my friend.

'I most solemnly declare, at that time Johnson was an entire stranger to
the Porter family; and it was almost two years after that I introduced
him to the acquaintance of Porter, whom I bought my cloaths of.

'If you intend to convince this obstinate woman, and to exhibit to the
publick the truth of your narrative, you are at liberty to make what use
you please of this statement.

'I hope you will pardon me for taking up so much of your time. Wishing
you _multos et felices annos_, I shall subscribe myself,

'Your obliged humble servant,


Jan. 9th, 1794.

BOSWELL. For a further account of Boswell's controversy with Miss
Seward, see _post_, June 25, 1784.

[283] See _post_, beginning of 1744, April 28, 1783, and under Dec. 2,

[284] See _post_, near end of 1762, note.

[285] In the registry of St. Martin's Church, Birmingham, are the
following entries:--'Baptisms, Nov. 8, 1715, Lucy, daughter of Henry
Porter. Jan. 29, 1717 [O. S.], Jarvis Henry, son of Henry Porter.
Burials, Aug. 3, 1734, Henry Porter of Edgbaston.' There were two sons;
one, Captain Porter, who died in 1763 (Croker's _Boswell_, p. 130), the
other who died in 1783 (_post_, Nov. 29, 1783).

[286] According to Malone, Reynolds said that 'he had paid attention to
Johnson's limbs; and far from being unsightly, he deemed them well
formed.' Prior's _Malone_, p. 175. Mrs. Piozzi says:--'His stature was
remarkably high, and his limbs exceedingly large; his features were
strongly marked, and his countenance particularly rugged; though the
original complexion had certainly been fair, a circumstance somewhat
unusual; his sight was near, and otherwise imperfect; yet his eyes,
though of a light-grey colour, were so wild, so piercing, and at times
so fierce, that fear was, I believe, the first emotion in the hearts of
all his beholders.' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 297. See _post_, end of the
book, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, near the beginning.

[287] If Johnson wore his own hair at Oxford, it must have exposed him
to ridicule. Graves, the author of _The Spiritual Quixote_, tells us
that Shenstone had the courage to wear his own hair, though 'it often
exposed him to the ill-natured remarks of people who had not half his
sensc. After I was elected at All Souls, where there was often a party
of loungers in the gateway, on my expostulating with Mr. Shenstone for
not visiting me so often as usual, he said, "he was ashamed to face his
enemies in the gate."'

[288] See _post_, 1739.

[289] Mrs. Johnson was born on Feb. 4, 1688-9. MALONE. She was married
on July 9, 1735, in St. Werburgh's Church, Derby, as is shewn by the
following copy of the marriage register: '1735, July 9, Mar'd Sam'll
Johnson of ye parish of St Mary's in Litchfield, and Eliz'th Porter of
ye parish of St Phillip in Burmingham.' _Notes and Queries_, 4th S. vi.
44. At the time of their marriage, therefore, she was forty-six, and
Johnson only two months short of twenty-six.

[290] The author of the _Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr.
Johnson_, 1785, p. 25, says:--'Mrs. Porter's husband died insolvent, but
her settlement was secured. She brought her second husband about seven
or eight hundred pounds, a great part of which was expended in fitting
up a house for a boarding-school.' That she had some money can be almost
inferred from what we are told by Boswell and Hawkins. How other-wise
was Johnson able to hire and furnish a large house for his school?
Boswell says that he had but three pupils. Hawkins gives him a few more.
'His number,' he writes (p. 36) 'at no time exceeded eight, and of those
not all were boarders.' After nearly twenty months of married life, when
he went to London, 'he had,' Boswell says, 'a little money.' It was not
till a year later still that he began to write for the _Gent. Mag_. If
Mrs. Johnson had not money, how did she and her husband live from July
1735 to the spring of 1738? It could scarcely have been on the profits
made from their school. Inference, however, is no longer needful, as
there is positive evidence. Mr. Timmins in his _Dr. Johnson in
Birmingham_ (p. 4) writes:--'My friend, Mr. Joseph Hill, says, A copy of
an old deed which has recently come into my hands, shews that a hundred
pounds of Mrs. Johnson's fortune was left in the hands of a Birmingham
attorney named Thomas Perks, who died insolvent; and in 1745, a bulky
deed gave his creditors 7_s_. 4_d_. in the pound. Among the creditors
for L100 were "Samuel Johnson, gent., and Elizabeth his wife, executors
of the last will and testament of Harry Porter, late of Birmingham
aforesaid, woollen draper, deceased." Johnson and his wife were almost
the only creditors who did not sign the deed, their seals being left
void. It is doubtful, therefore, whether they ever obtained the amount
of the composition L36 13_s_. 4_d_.'

[291] Sir Walter Scott has recorded Lord Auchinleck's 'sneer of most
sovereign contempt,' while he described Johnson as 'a dominie, monan
auld dominie; he keeped a schule, and cau'd it an acaadamy.' Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 397, note.

[292] 'Edial is two miles west of Lichfield.' Harwood's _Lichfield_, p.

[293] Johnson in more than one passage in his writings seems to have in
mind his own days as a schoolmaster. Thus in the _Life of Milton_ he
says:--'This is the period of his life from which all his biographers
seem inclined to shrink. They are unwilling that Milton should be
degraded to a schoolmaster; but, since it cannot be denied that he
taught boys, one finds out that he taught for nothing, and another that
his motive was only zeal for the propagation of learning and virtue; and
all tell what they do not know to be true, only to excuse an act which
no wise man will consider as in itself disgraceful. His father was
alive; his allowance was not ample; and he supplied its deficiencies by
an honest and useful employment.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 75. In the
_Life of Blackmore_ he says:--'In some part of his life, it is not known
when, his indigence compelled him to teach a school, an humiliation with
which, though it certainly lasted but a little while, his enemies did
not forget to reproach him, when he became conspicuous enough to excite
malevolence; and let it be remembered for his honour, that to have been
once a school-master is the only reproach which all the perspicacity of
malice, animated by wit, has ever fixed upon his private life.'
Johnson's _Works_, viii. 36.

[294] In the original _To teach. Seasons, Spring_, l. 1149, Thomson is
speaking, not of masters, but of parents.

[295] In the _Life of Milton_, Johnson records his own experience.
'Every man that has ever undertaken to instruct others can tell what
slow advances he has been able to make, and how much patience it
requires to recall vagrant inattention, to stimulate sluggish
indifference, and to rectify absurd misapprehension.' Johnson's
_Works_, vii. 76.


'As masters fondly soothe their
boys to read
With cakes and sweetmeats.'

_Francis_, Hor. i. _Sat_. I. 25.

[297] As Johnson kept Garrick much in awe when present, David, when his
back was turned, repaid the restraint with ridicule of him and his
dulcinea, which should be read with great abatement. PERCY. He was not
consistent in his account, for 'he told Mrs. Thrale that she was a
_little painted puppet_ of no value at all.' 'He made out,' Mrs. Piozzi
continues, 'some comical scenes, by mimicking her in a dialogue he
pretended to have overheard. I do not know whether he meant such stuff
to be believed or no, it was so comical. The picture I found of her at
Lichfield was very pretty, and her daughter said it was like. Mr.
Johnson has told me that her hair was eminently beautiful, quite
_blonde_ like that of a baby.' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 148.

[298] Mr. Croker points out that in this paper 'there are two separate
schemes, the first for a school--the second for the individual studies
of some young friend.'

[299] In the _Rambler_, No. 122, Johnson, after stating that 'it is
observed that our nation has been hitherto remarkably barren of
historical genius,' praises Knolles, who, he says, 'in his _History of
the Turks_, has displayed all the excellencies that narration
can admit.'

[300] Both of them used to talk pleasantly of this their first journey
to London. Garrick, evidently meaning to embellish a little, said one
day in my hearing, 'we rode and tied.' And the Bishop of Killaloe
informed me, that at another time, when Johnson and Garrick were dining
together in a pretty large company, Johnson humorously ascertaining the
chronology of something, expressed himself thus: 'that was the year when
I came to London with two-pence half-penny in my pocket.' Garrick
overhearing him, exclaimed, 'eh? what do you say? with two-pence
half-penny in your pocket?'--JOHNSON, 'Why yes; when I came with
two-pence half-penny in _my_ pocket, and thou, Davy, with three
half-pence in thine.' BOSWELL.

[301] See _Gent. Mag_., xxiv. 333.

[302] Mr. Colson was First Master of the Free School at Rochester. In
1739 he was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge.
MALONE. Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 49) says that 'by Gelidus the
philosopher (_Rambler_, No. 24), Johnson meant to represent Colson.'

[303] This letter is printed in the _Garrick Corres_. i. 2. There we
read _I doubt not_.

[304] One curious anecdote was communicated by himself to Mr. John
Nichols. Mr. Wilcox, the bookseller, on being informed by him that his
intention was to get his livelihood as an authour, eyed his robust frame
attentively, and with a significant look, said, 'You had better buy a
porter's knot.' He however added, 'Wilcox was one of my best friends.'
BOSWELL. Hawkins (_Life_, p. 43) states that Johnson and Garrick had
soon exhausted their small stock of money in London, and that on
Garrick's suggestion they applied for a loan to Wilcox, of whom he had a
slight knowledge. 'Representing themselves to him, as they really were,
two young men, friends and travellers from the same place, and just
arrived with a view to settle here, he was so moved with their artless
tale, that on their joint note he advanced them all that their modesty
would permit them to ask (five pounds), which was soon after punctually
repaid.' Perhaps Johnson was thinking of himself when he recorded the
advice given by Cibber to Fenton, 'When the tragedy of Mariamne was
shewn to Cibber, it was rejected by him, with the additional insolence
of advising Fenton to engage himself in some employment of honest
labour, by which he might obtain that support which he could never hope
from his poetry. The play was acted at the other theatre; and the brutal
petulance of Cibber was confuted, though perhaps not shamed, by general
applausc.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 56. Adam Smith in the _Wealth of
Nations_ (Book i. ch. 2) says that 'the difference between the most
dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street-porter,
for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit,
custom, and education.' Wilcox's shop was in Little Britain. Benjamin
Franklin, in 1725, lodged next door to him. 'He had,' says Franklin
(_Memoirs_, i. 64), 'an immense collection of second-hand books.
Circulating libraries were not then in use; but we agreed that on
certain reasonable terms I might read any of his books.'

[305] Bernard Lintot (_post_, July 19, 1763) died Feb. 3, 1736. _Gent.
Mag_. vi. 110. This, no doubt, was his son.

[306] Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 195) says that being in London in 1746
he dined frequently with a club of officers, where they had an excellent
dinner at ten-pence. From what he adds it is clear that the
tavern-keeper made his profit on the wine. At Edinburgh, four years
earlier, he and his fellow-students used to get 'at four-pence a-head a
very good dinner of broth and beef, and a roast and potatoes every day,
with fish three or four times a-week, and all the small beer that was
called for till the cloth was removed' (_ib_. p. 63). W. Hutton, who in
1750 opened a very small book-shop in Birmingham, for which he paid rent
at a shilling a week, says (_Life of Hutton_, p. 84): 'Five shillings a
week covered every expense; as food, rent, washing, lodging, &c.' He
knew how to live wretchedly.

[307] On April 17, 1778, Johnson said: 'Early in life I drank wine; for
many years I drank none. I then for some years drank a great deal. I
then had a severe illness, and left it off, and I have never begun it
again.' Somewhat the same account is given in Boswell's _Hebrides_,
Sept. 16, 1773. Roughly speaking, he seems to have been an abstainer
from about 1736 to at least as late as 1757, and from about 1765 to the
end of his life. In 1751 Hawkins (_Life_, p. 286) describes him as
drinking only lemonade 'in a whole night spent in festivity' at the Ivy
Lane Club. In 1757 he described himself 'as a hardened and shameless
tea-drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only tea'
(Johnson's _Works_, vi. 21). It was, I believe, in his visit to Oxford
in 1759 that 'University College witnessed his drinking three bottles of
port without being the worse for it' (_post_, April 7, 1778). When he
was living in the Temple (between 1760-65) he had the frisk with Langton
and Beauclerk when they made a bowl of _Bishop_ (_post_, 1753). On his
birthday in 1760, he 'resolved to drink less strong liquors' (_Pr. and
Med_. p. 42). In 1762 on his visit to Devonshire he drank three bottles
of wine after supper. This was the only time Reynolds had seen him
intoxicated. (Northcote's _Reynolds_, ii. 161). In 1763 he affected
Boswell's nerves by keeping him up late to drink port with him (_post_,
July 14, 1763). On April 21, 1764, he records: 'From the beginning of
this year I have in some measure forborne excess of strong drink' (_Pr.
and Med_. p. 51). On Easter Sunday he records: 'Avoided wine' (_id_. p.
55). On March 1, 1765, he is described at Cambridge as 'giving Mrs.
Macaulay for his toast, and drinking her in two bumpers.' It was about
this time that he had the severe illness (_post_, under Oct. 17, 1765,
note). In Feb. 1766, Boswell found him no longer drinking wine. He
shortly returned to it again; for on Aug. 2, 1767, he records, 'I have
for some days forborne wine;' and on Aug. 17, 'By abstinence from wine
and suppers I obtained sudden and great relief' (_Pr. and Med_. pp. 73,
4). According to Hawkins, Johnson said:--'After a ten years' forbearance
of every fluid except tea and sherbet, I drank one glass of wine to the
health of Sir Joshua Reynolds on the evening of the day on which he was
knighted' (Hawkins's _Johnson's Works_ (1787), xi. 215). As Reynolds was
knighted on April 21, 1769 (Taylor's _Reynolds_, i. 321), Hawkins's
report is grossly inaccurate. In Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 16, 1773,
and _post_, March 16, 1776, we find him abstaining. In 1778 he persuaded
Boswell to be 'a water-drinker upon trial' (_post_, April 28, 1778). On
April 7, 1779, 'he was persuaded to drink one glass of claret that he
might judge of it, not from recollection.' On March 20, 1781, Boswell
found that Johnson had lately returned to wine. 'I drink it now
sometimes,' he said, 'but not socially.' He seems to have generally
abstained however. On April 20, 1781, he would not join in drinking
Lichfield ale. On March 17, 1782, he made some punch for himself, by
which in the night he thought 'both his breast and imagination
disordered' (_Pr. and Med_. p. 205). In the spring of this year Hannah
More urged him to take a little wine. 'I can't drink a _little_, child,'
he answered; 'therefore I never touch it' (H. More's _Memoirs_, i. 251).
On July 1, 1784, Beattie, who met him at dinner, says, 'he cannot be
prevailed on to drink wine' (Beattie's _Life_, p. 316). On his death-bed
he refused any 'inebriating sustenance' (_post_, Dec. 1784). It is
remarkable that writing to Dr. Taylor on Aug. 5, 1773, he said:--'Drink
a great deal, and sleep heartily;' and that on June 23, 1776, he again
wrote to him:--'I hope you presever in drinking. My opinion is that I
have drunk too little, and therefore have the gout, for it is of my own
acquisition, as neither my father had it nor my mother' (_Notes and
Queries_, 6th S. v. pp. 422, 3). On Sept. 19, 1777 (_post_), he even
'owned that in his opinion a free use of wine did not shorten life.'
Johnson disapproved of fermented liquors only in the case of those who,
like himself and Boswell, could not keep from excess.

[308] Ofellus, or rather Ofella, is the 'rusticus, abnormis sapiens,
crassaque Minerva' of Horace's _Satire_, ii. 2. 3. What he teaches is
briefly expressed in Pope's Imitation, ii. 2. 1:

'What, and how great, the virtue and the art
To live on little with a cheerful heart
(A doctrine sage, but truly none of mine);
Let's talk, my friends, but talk before we dine.'

In 1769 was published a worthless poem called _The Art of Living in
London_; in which 'instructions were given to persons who live in a
garret, and spend their evenings in an ale-house.' _Gent. Mag_. xxxix.
45. To this Boswell refers.

[309] 'Johnson this day, when we were by ourselves, observed how common
it was for people to talk from books; to retail the sentiments of
others, and not their own; in short, to converse without any originality
of thinking. He was pleased to say, "You and I do not talk from books."'
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 3, 1773.

[310] The passage to Ireland was commonly made from Chester.

[311] The honourable Henry Hervey, third son of the first Earl of
Bristol, quitted the army and took orders. He married a sister of Sir
Thomas Aston, by whom he got the Aston Estate, and assumed the name and
arms of that family. Vide Collins's _Peerage_. BOSWELL.

[312] The following brief mention of Greenwich Park in 1750 is found in
one of Miss Talbot's Letters. 'Then when I come to talk of
Greenwich--Did you ever see it? It was quite a new world to me, and a
very charming one. Only on the top of a most inaccessible hill in the
park, just as we were arrived at a view that we had long been aiming at,
a violent clap of thunder burst over our heads.'--_Carter and Talbot
Corres_, i. 345.

[313] At the Oxford Commemoration of 1733 Courayer returned thanks in
his robes to the University for the honour it had done him two years
before in presenting him with his degree. _Dr. Johnson: His Friends and
his Critics_, p. 94.

[314] This library was given by George IV to the British Museum. CROKER.

[315] Ovid, Meta. iii. 724.

[316] Act iii. sc. 8.

[317] Act i. sc. 1.

[318] Act ii. sc. 7.

[319] _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_, 3rd edit. p. 232 [Sept. 20,
1773]. BOSWELL.

[320] Johnson's letter to her of Feb. 6, 1759, shows that she was, at
that time, living in his house at Lichfield. Miss Seward (_Letters_, i.
116) says that 'she boarded in Lichfield with his mother.' Some passages
in other of his letters (Croker's _Boswell_, pp. 144, 145, 173) lead me
to think that she stayed on in this house till 1766, when she had built
herself a house with money left her by her brother.

[321] See _post_, Oct. 10, 1779.

[322] He could scarcely have solicited a worse manager. Horace Walpole
writing in 1744 (_Letters_, i. 332) says: 'The town has been trying all
this winter to beat pantomimes off the stage very boisterously.
Fleetwood, the master of Drury-Lane, has omitted nothing to support them
as they supported his house. About ten days ago, he let into the pit
great numbers of Bear-garden _bruisers_ (that is the term) to knock down
everybody that hissed. The pit rallied their forces and drove them out.'

[323] It was not till volume v. that Cave's name was given on the
title-page. In volumes viii. and ix., and volumes xii. to xvii. the name
is Edward Cave, Jun. Cave in his examination before the House of Lords
on April 30, 1747, said:--'That he was concerned in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_ at first with his nephew; and since the death of his nephew he
has done it entirely himself.' _Parl. Hist_. xiv. 59.

[324] Its sale, according to Johnson, was ten thousand copies. _Post_,
April 25, 1778. So popular was it that before it had completed its ninth
year the fifth edition of some of the earliest numbers was printed.
Johnson's _Works_, v. 349. In the _Life of Cave_ Johnson describes it as
'a periodical pamphlet, of which the scheme is known wherever the
English language is spoken.' _Ib_. vi. 431.

[325] Yet the early numbers contained verses as grossly indecent as they
were dull. Cave moreover advertised indecent books for sale at St.
John's Gate, and in one instance, at least, the advertisement was in
very gross language.

[326] See _post_, April 25, 1778.

[327] While in the course of my narrative I enumerate his writings, I
shall take care that my readers shall not be left to waver in doubt,
between certainty and conjecture, with regard to their authenticity;
and, for that purpose, shall mark with an _asterisk_ (*) those which he
acknowledged to his friends, and with a _dagger_ (dagger) those which
are ascertained to be his by internal evidence. When any other pieces
are ascribed to him, I shall give my reasons. BOSWELL.

[328] Hawkins says that 'Cave had few of those qualities that constitute
the character of urbanity. Upon the first approach of a stranger his
practice was to continue sitting, and for a few minutes to continue
silent. If at any time he was inclined to begin the discourse, it was
generally by putting a leaf of the _Magazine_ then in the press into the
hand of his visitor and asking his opinion of it. He was so incompetent
a judge of Johnson's abilities that, meaning at one time to dazzle him
with the splendour of some of those luminaries in literature who
favoured him with their correspondence, he told him that, if he would in
the evening be at a certain alehouse in the neighbourhood of
Clerkenwell, he might have a chance of seeing Mr. Browne and another or
two of the persons mentioned in the preceding note. [The note contained
the names of some of Cave's regular writers.] Johnson accepted the
invitation; and being introduced by Cave, dressed in a loose horseman's
coat, and such a great bushy uncombed wig as he constantly wore, to the
sight of Mr. Browne, whom he found sitting at the upper end of a long
table, in a cloud of tobacco-smoke, had his curiosity gratified.' [Mr.
Carlyle writes of 'bushy-wigged Cave;' but it was Johnson whose wig is
described, and not Cave's. On p. 327 Hawkins again mentions his 'great
bushy wig,' and says that 'it was ever nearly as impenetrable by a comb
as a quickset hedge.'] Hawkins's _Johnson_, pp. 45-50. Johnson, after
mentioning Cave's slowness, says: 'The same chillness of mind was
observable in his conversation; he was watching the minutest accent of
those whom he disgusted by seeming inattention; and his visitant was
surprised, when he came a second time, by preparations to execute the
scheme which he supposed never to have been heard.' Johnson's
_Works_, vi. 434.

[329] 'The first lines put one in mind of Casimir's Ode to Pope Urban:--

"Urbane, regum maxime, maxime
Urbane vatum."

The Polish poet was probably at that time in the hands of a man who had
meditated the history of the Latin poets.' Murphy's _Johnson_, p. 42.

[330] Cave had been grossly attacked by rival booksellers; see _Gent.
Mag_., viii. 156. Hawkins says (_Life_, p. 92), 'With that sagacity
which we frequently observe, but wonder at, in men of slow parts, he
seemed to anticipate the advice contained in Johnson's ode, and forbore
a reply, though not his revenge.' This he gratified by reprinting in his
own Magazine one of the most scurrilous and foolish attacks.

[331] A translation of this Ode, by an unknown correspondent, appeared
in the _Magazine_ for the month of May following:

'Hail, URBAN! indefatigable man,
Unwearied yet by all thy useful toil!
Whom num'rous slanderers assault in vain;
Whom no base calumny can put to foil.
But still the laurel on thy learned brow
Flourishes fair, and shall for ever grow.

'What mean the servile imitating crew,
What their vain blust'ring, and their empty noise,
Ne'er seek: but still thy noble ends pursue,
Unconquer'd by the rabble's venal voice.
Still to the Muse thy studious mind apply,
Happy in temper as in industry.

'The senseless sneerings of an haughty tongue,
Unworthy thy attention to engage,
Unheeded pass: and tho' they mean thee wrong,
By manly silence disappoint their rage.
Assiduous diligence confounds its foes,
Resistless, tho' malicious crouds opposc.

'Exert thy powers, nor slacken in the course,
Thy spotless fame shall quash all false reports:
Exert thy powers, nor fear a rival's force,
But thou shalt smile at all his vain efforts;
Thy labours shall be crown'd with large success;
The Muse's aid thy Magazine shall bless.

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