« 이전계속 »
OF WEALTH-LORD MAXSFIELD-HARRINGTON's “NEGR TIQUE"-MOTTO ON JOHNSON'S PORTRAIT—“ Quos Deus VuLT PERDERE," &c.ON HAPPINESS — Johnson's POWERS OF CONVERSATION - MR. Welch - DR BUCHANAN-GRUB STREET-SIR WM. CHAMBERS-BISHOP HURD–RESERVE OF ENGLISHMEN - MORICE MORGANN, DERRICK, AND SMART
GREAT TWALMLEY"—A CHARADE-MR. CAMBRIDGE -JOHNSON'S LOVE OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS – ABP. STUART—“The TURKISH Spy"_MR. WINDHAM - MR. Lowe ON HOSPITALITY-Walled Gardens-MR. WALKER ON THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE-MOORFIELDS-A SINGULAR CHARACTER.
N Sunday, March 30, I found him at home in the evening, and had
the pleasure to meet with Dr. Brocklesby, whose reading, and knowledge of life, and good spirits, supply him with a never-failing source of conversation. He mentioned a respectable gentleman, who became extremely penurious near the close of his life. Johnson said there must have been a degree of madness about him. “Not at all, Sir,” said Dr. Brocklesby, “his judgment was entire.' Unluckily, however, he mentioned that, although he had a fortune of twenty-seven thousand pounds, he denied himself many comforts, from an apprehension that he could not afford them. “Nay, Sir,” cried Johnson,
when the judgment is so disturbed that a man cannot count, that is pretty well.'
I shall here insert a few of Johnson's sayings, without the formality of dates, as they have no reference to any particular time or place.
“The more a man extends and varies bis acquaintance the better." This, however, was meant with a just restriction ; for he, on another occasion, said to me, Sir, a man may be so much of everything, that he is nothing of anything."
"Raising the wages of day-labourers is wrong ; for it does not make
thern live better, but only makes them idler ; and idleness is a very bad thing for human nature.
It is a very good custom to keep a journal for a man's own use ; he may write upon a card a day all that is necessary to be written, after he has had experience of life. At first there is a great deal to be written, because there is a great deal of novelty ; but when once a man has settled his opinions, there is seldom much to be set down.”
“There is nothing wonderful in the Journal” which we see Swift kept in London ; for it contains slight topics, and it might soon be written.”
I praised the accuracy of an account-book of a lady whom I men. tioned. JOHNSON : Keeping accounts, Sir, is of no use when a man is spending his own money, and has nobody to whom he is to account. You won't eat less beef to-day, because you have written down what it cost yesterday.” I mentioned another lady who thought as he did, so that her husband could not get her to keep an account of the expense of the family, as she thought it enough that she never exceeded the sun allowed her. JOHNSON :
Sir, it is fit she should keep an account, because her husband wishes it; but I do not see its use. I maintained that keeping an account had this advantage, that it satisfies a man that his money has not been lost or stolen, which he might sometimes be apt to imagine, were there no written state of his expense; and besides, a calculation of economy, so as not to exceed one's income, cannot be made without a view of the different articles in figures, that one may see how to retrench in some particulars less necessary than others. This he did not attempt to answer.
Talking of an acquaintance of ours, whose narratives, which abounded in curious and interesting topics, were unhappily found to be very fabulous, I mentioned Lord Mansfield's having said to me, Suppose we believe one half of what he tells.” JOHNSON : " Ay; but we don't know which half to believe. By his lying we lose not only our reverence for him, but all comfort in his conversation. BOSWELL: “May we not take it as amusing fiction? JOHNSON :“ Sir, the misfortune is, that you will insensibly believe as much of it as you incline to believe.”
1 In his Life of Swift, he thus spcaks of this Journal:
“In the midst of his power and his politics, he kept a journal of his visits, his walks, his interviews with ministers, and quarrels with his servant, and transmitted it to Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Dingley, to whom he knew that whatever befel him was interesting. and no account could be too minute. Whether these diurnal trifles were properly exposed
eyes which had never received any pleasure from ihe Dean, may be reasonably doubted: they have, however, some odd attractions : the reader finding frequent mention of names which he has been used to consider as important, goes on in hope of information; and as there is nothing to fatigue attention, if he is disappointed, he can hardly complain."
It may be added, that the reader not only hopes to find, but does find, in this very entertaining Journal, much curious information, respecting persons and things, which he will in vain sees for in other books of the same period.-MALONE.
It is remarkable, that notwithstanding their congeniality in politics, he never was acquainted with a late eminent noble judge [Mansfield], whom I have heard speak of him, as a writer, with great respect. Johnson, I know not upon what degree of investigation, entertained no exalted opinion of his lordship’s intellectual character. Talking of him to me one day, he said, “It is wonderful, Sir, with how little real superiority of mind men can make an eminent figure in public life.” He expressed himself to the same purpose concerning another law-lord, who, it seems, once took a fancy to associate with the wits of London ; but with so little success, that Foote said, “What can he mean by coming among us? He is not only dull himself, but the cause of dulness in others." Trying him by the test of his colloquial powers, Johnson had found him very defective. He once said to Sir Joshua Reynolds, “ This man now has been ten years about town, and has made nothing of it ;" meaning as a companion. He said to me, “I never heard anything from him in company that was at all striking; and depend upon it, Sir, it is when you come close to a man in conversation, that you discover what his real abilities are: to make a speech in a public assembly is a knack. Now I honour Thurlow, Sir; Thurlow is a fine fellow ; he fairly puts his.
mind to yours.
After repeating to him some of his pointed, lively sayings, I said, "It is a pity, Sir, you don't always remember your own good things, that you may have a laugh when you will.” JOHNSON : “Nay, Sir, it is better that I forget them, that I may be reminded of them, and have a laugh on their being brought to my recollection.”
When I recalled to him his having said as we sailed Lochlomond, " That if he wore anything fine, it should be very fine;" I observed that all his thoughts were upon a great scale. JOHNSON : “Depend upon it, Sir, every man will have as fine a thing as he can get; as large a diamond for his ring.” BOSWELL : “Pardon me, Sir; a man of a narrow mind will not think of it ; a slight trinket will satisfy him :
* Nec sufferre queat majoris pondera gemme.' I told him I should send him some “Essays” that I had written, which I hoped he would be so good as to read, and pick out the good
JOHNSON : “Nay, Sir, send me only the good ones ; don't make we pick them.”
I heard him once say, “Though the proverb ‘Nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia,' does not always prove true, we may be certain of the converse of it, ' Nullum numen adest, si sit imprudentia."
1 Knowing as well as I do what precision and elegance of oratory his Lordship can display, I cannot but suspect that his unfavourable appearance in a social circle, which drew such animadversions upon him, must be owing to a cold affectation of consequence, from being reserved and stiff. If it be so, and he might be an agreeable man if he would, we cannot be sorry that he misses his aim.-BosWELL.
2 Under the title of “The Hypochondriac."-Malone.
Once, when Mr. Seward was going to Bath, and asked his communds, he said, “Tell Dr. Harrington that I wish he would publish another volume of the ‘Nugæ Antique ; 'l it is a very pretty book.” 2 Mr. Seward seconded this wish, and recommended to Dr. Harrington to dedicate it to Johnson, and take for his motto what Catullus says to Cornelius Nepos :
-namque tu solebas,
Meas esse aliquid putare NUGAS.” As a small proof of his kindliness and delicacy of feeling, the following circumstance may be mentioned :-One evening, when we were in the street together, and I told him I was going to sup at Mr. Beauclerk's, he said, “I'll go with you.” After having walked part of the way, seeming to recollect something, he suddenly stopped, and said, “I cannot go,-but I do not love Beauclerk the less. On the frame of his portrait, Mr. Beauclerk had inscribed,
Inculto latet hoc sub corpore." After Mr. Beauclerk's death, when it became Mr. Langton's property, he made the inscription be defaced. Johnson said complacently, “ It was kind in you to take it off ;” and then, after a short pause, added, “and not unkind in him to put it on.”
He said, “How few of his friends' houses would a man choose to be at, when he is sick!” He mentioned one or two. I recollect only Thrale's.
He observed, “There is a wicked inclination in most people to suppose an old man decayed in his intellects. If a young or middle-aged when leaving a company,
does not recollect where he laid his hat, t is nothing ; but if the same inattention is discovered in an old man, people will shrug up their shoulders, and say, ‘his memory is going.
When I once talked to him of some of the sayings which every body repeats, but nobody knows where to find; such as, Quos DEUS vult perdere, prius dementat; he told me that he was once offered ten guineas to point out from whence Semel insanivimus omnes was taken. Нө could not do it; but many years afterwards met with it by chance in Johannes Baptista Mantuanus.3
1. It has since appeared.-Boswell.
2 A new and greatly improved edition of this very curious collection was published by Mr. Park in 1804, in 2 vols. 8vo. In this edition the letters are chronologically arranged, and the account of the Bishops, which was formerly printed from a very corrupt copy, is taken from Sir John Harrington's original manuscript which he presented to Henry, Prince of Wales, and is now in the Royal Library in the Museum.-Malone.
8 The words occur (as Mr. Bindley observes to me), in the First Eclogue of Mantuanus, De honesto Amore, &c.
“Id commune malum; semel insanivimus omnes." With the following elucidation of the other saying—Quos Deus (it should rather be Quem
I am very sorry that I did not take a note of an eloquent argument in which he maintained that the situation of Prince of Wales was the happiest of any person's in the kingdom, even beyond that of the Sovereign. I recollect only—the enjoyment of hope,--the high superiority of rank, without the anxious cares of government,--and a great degree of power, both from natural influence wisely used, and from the sanguine expectations of those who look forward to the chance of future favour.
Sir Joshua Reynolds communicated to me the following particu
Johnson thought the poems, published as translations from Ossian, had so little merit, that he said, “ Sir, a man might write such stuff for ever, if he would abandon his mind to it."
He said, “A man should pass a part of his time with the laughers, by which means anything ridiculous or particular about him might be presented to his view, and corrected.” I observed, he must have been a
Jupiter; vult perdere, prius dementat—Mr. Boswell was furnished by Mr. Richard How, of Apsley, in Bedfordshire, as communicated to that gentleman by his friend Mr. Joho Pitts, late Rector of Great Brickhill, in Buckinghamshire:
"Perhaps no scrap of Latin whatever has been more quoted than this. It occasionally falls even from those who are scrupulous even to pedantry in their Latinity, and will not admit a word into their compositions which has not the sanction of the first age. The word demento is of no authority, either as a verb active or neuter. After a long search, for the purpose of deciding a bet, some gentlemen of Cambridge found it arnong the fragments of Euripides, in what edition I do not recollect, where it is given as a translation of a Greek Iambic:
Ον Θεός θέλει απολέσαι, πρώτ' αποφρενοί. The above scrap was found in the hand-writing of a suicide of fashion, Sir D. O., some years ago, lying on the table of the room where he had destroyed himself. The suicide was a man of classical acquirements: he left no other paper behind him." Another of these proverbial sayings
“Incidit in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim," I some years ago, in a note on a passage in “ The Merchant of Venice," traced to its
It occurs (with a slight variation) in “ The Alexandreis,” of Philip Gaultier (a poet of the thirteenth century), which was printed at Lyons in 1558. Darius is the person addressed :
Quo tendis inertem,
Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim."
A line not less frequently quoted than any of the preceding, was suggested for inquiry, several years ago, in a note on “ The Rape of Lucrece:"
“ Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris :" But the author of this verse has not, I believe, been discovered.-MALONE.