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having that habit; which he regrets, and which those who know the numerous opportunities he had of gathering the rich fruits of Johnsonian wit and wisdom, must ever regret. I however found, in conversation with him, that a good store of “ Johnsoniana” was treasured in his mind ; and I compared it to Herculaneum, or some old Roman field, which, when dug, fully rewards the labour employed. The authenticity of every article is unquestionable. For the expression, I, who wrote them down in his presence, am partly answerable.
Theocritus is not deserving of very high respect as a writer ; as to the pastoral part, Virgil is very evidently superior. He wrote, when thero had been a larger influx of knowledge into the world than when Theocritus lived. Theocritus does not abound in description, though living in a beau. tiful country: the manners painted are coarse and gross. Virgil has much more description, more sentiment, more of nature, and more of art. Some of the most excellent parts of Theocritus are, where Castor and Pollux, going with the other Argonauts, land on the Bebrycian coast, and there fall into a dispute with Amycus, the king of that country ; which is as well conducted as Euripides could have done it ; and the battle is well related. Afterwards they carry off a woman, whose two brothers come to recover her, and expostulate with Castor and Pollux on their injustice; but they pay no regard to the brothers, and a battle ensues, where Castor and his brother are triumphant. Theocritus seems not to have seen that the brothers have the advantage in their argument over his Argonaut heroes. • The Sicilian Gossips' is a piece of merit.'
“Callimachus is a writer of little excellence. The chief thing to be learned from him is his account of Rites and Mythology; which, though desirable to be known for the sake of understanding other parts of ancient authors, is the least pleasing or valuable part of their writings."
“Maittaire's account of the Stephani, is a heavy book. He seems to have been a puzzle-headed man, with a large share of scholarship, but with little geometry or logic in his head, without method, and possessed of little genius. He wrote Latin verses from time to time, and published a set in his old age, which he called ' Senilia ;' in which he shows so little learning or taste in writing, as to make Carteret a dactyl. In matters of genealogy it is necessary to give the bare names as they are ; but in poetry, and in prose of any elegance in the writing, they require to have inflection given to them. His book of the Dialects is a sad heap of confusion. The only way to write on them is to tabulate them with notes, added at the bottom of the page, and references.'
1 The name of Michael Maittaire, as a learned critic and bibliographer, has been so Tully established, that these sweeping censures appear so be entirely uncalled for. His Editions of the Greek and Latin classics, which are extremely numerous, are celebrated
for their learning and accuracy; and his great work, “The Annales Typographici ab Artis Inventione," still maintains itself as a valuable standard authority. He was born in France and educated at Christ Church, Oxford, of which college he became second master. He was born in 1868, and died in 1747.-ED.
" It may be questioned, whether there is not some mistake as to the methods of employing the poor, seemingly on a supposition that there is a certain portion of work left undone for want of persons to do it; but if that is otherwise, and all the materials we have are actually worked up, or all the manufactures we can use or dispose of are already executed, then what is given to the poor, who are to be set at work, must be taken from some who now have it ; as time must be taken for learning (according to Sir William Petty's observation), a certain part of those very materials that, as it is, are properly worked up, must be spoiled by the unskilfulness of novices. We may apply to well-meaning but misjudging persons, in particulars of this nature, what Giannone said to a monk, who wanted what he called to convert him : 'Tu sei santo, ma tu non sei filosopho.' It is an unhappy circumstance that one might give away five hundred pounds in a year to those that importune in the streets, and not do any good.”
“There is nothing more likely to betray a man into absurdity, than condescension ; when he seenis to suppose his understanding too powerful for his company."
‘Having asked Mr. Langton if his father and mother had sat for their pictures, which he thought it right for each generation of a family to do, and being told they had opposed it, he said, “Sir, among the anfractuosities of the human mind, I know not if it may not be one, that there is a superstitious reluctance to sit for a picture.'
John Gilbert Cooper related, that soon after the publication of his Dictionary, Garrick being asked by Johnson what people said of it, told him, that among other animadversions, it was objected that he cited authorities which were beneath the dignity of such a work, and mentioned Richardson. Nay,' said Johnson, ' I have done worse than that: I have cited thee, David.'”
“ Talking of expense, he observed, with what munificence a great merchant will spend his money, both from his having it at command, and from his enlarged views by calculation of a good effect upon the whole. “Whereas,' said he, you will hardly ever find a country gentleman, who is not a good deal disconcerted at an unexpected occasion for his being obliged to lay out ten pounds.
“When in good humour, he would talk of his own writings with a wonderful frankness and candour, and would even criticise them with the closest severity. One day, having read over one of his Ramblers, Mr. Langton asked him how he liked that paper ; he shook his head, and answered, “ Too wordy.' At another time, when one was reading his tragedy of Irene,' to a company at a house in the country, he lef the room ; and somebody having asked him the reason of this, he re. plied, “Sir, I thought it had been better.''
“Talking of a point of delicate scrupulosity of moral conduct, he said to Mr. Langton, “Men of harder minds than ours will do many
things from wliich you and I would shrink; yet, Sir, they will, perhaps, do more good in life than we. But let us try to help one another. If there be a wrong twist, it may be set right. It is not probable that two people can be wrong the same way.
“Of the preface to Capel's Shakspeare," he said, 'If the man would have come to me, I would have endeavoured to endow his purposes with words : for as it is, he doth gabble monstrously.””
“He related, that he had once in a dream a contest of wit with some other person, and that he was very much mortified by imagining that his opponent had the better of him. “Now,' said he,' one may mark here the effect of sleep in weakening the power of reflection ; for had not my judgment failed me, I should have seen, that the wit of this supposed antagonist, by whose superiority I felt myself depressed, was as much furnished by me, as that which I thought I had been uttering in my own character.”
One evening, in my company, an ingenious and learned gentleman read to him a letter of compliment which he had received from one of the professors of a foreign university. Johnson, in an irritable fit, thinking there was too much ostentation, said, 'I never receive any of these tributes of applause from abroad. One instance I recollect of a foreign publication, in which mention is made of l’illustre Lockman.'” 2
“Of Sir Joshua Reynolds, he said, “Sir, I know no man who has passed through life with more observation than Reynolds.'
“He repeated to Mr. Langton, with great energy in the Greek, our Saviour's gracious expression concerning the forgiveness of Mary Magdalen,8 Η πίστις σου σέσωκέ σε πορεύoυ εις ειρήνην Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.' (Luke vii. 50.) He said, the manner of this dismission is exceedingly affecting.'
“He thus defined the difference between physical and moral truth : * Physical truth is, when you tell a thing as it actually is. Moral truth is, when you tell a thing sincerely and precisely as it appears to you. I say such a one walked across the street: if he really did so, I told a physical truth. If I thought so, though I should have been mistaken, I told a moral truth.'
“ Huggins, the translator of Ariosto, and Mr. Thomas Warton, in the early part of his literary life, had a dispute concerning that poet, of whom Mr. Warton, on his 'Observations on Spenser's Fairy Queen,' gave some account which Huggins attempted to answer with violence,
1 It is said that Capel spent more than twenty years in preparing this edition of Shakspeare. He was not only a dramatic critic, but the editor of a volume of ancient poetry entitled “Prolusiones,” and other works. He was born in 1713, and died in 1781.-ED.
2 Secretary to the British Herring Fishery, remarkable for an extraordinary number of occasional verses, not of eminent merit.-Boswell.
3 It does not appear that the woman forgiven was Mary Magdalen.—Kearney.
4 This account of the diíference between moral and physical truth is in Locke's “ Essay on Human Understanding," and many other books.—KEARNEY,
and said, 'I will militate no longer against his nescience.' Huggins was master of the subject, but wanted expression. Mr. Warton's knowiedge of it was then imperfect, but his manner lively and elegant. Johnson said, 'It appears to me, that Huggins has ball without powder, and Warton powder without ball.'
“ Talking of the farce of High Life below Stairs,' he said, 'Here is a farce which is really very diverting, when you see it acted; and yet one may read it, and not know that one has been reading anything at all."
“ He used at one time to go occasionally to the green-room of Drury-lane Theatre, where he was much regarded by the players, and was very easy and facetious with them. He had a very high opinion of Mrs. Clive's? comic powers, and conversed more with her than with any of them.
He said, “ Clive, Sir, is a good thing to sit by; she always understands what you say.' And she said of him, “I love to sit by Dr. Johnson ; he always entertains me.' One night, when The Recruiting Officer' was acted, he said to Mr. Holland, who had been expressing an apprehension that Dr. Johnson would disdain the works of Farquhar :: No, Sir, I think Farquhar a man whose writings have considerable merit.
“His friend Garrick was so busy in conducting the drama, that they could not have so much intercourse as Mr. Garrick used to profess an anxious wish that there should be. There might, indeed, be
1 Mrs. Catherine Clive was the daughter of an Irish gentleman named Ruftar, and the wife of Mr. Clive the barrister ; from whom she had separated before entering upon the stage. Her wit and intelligence caused_her society to be courted by persons of the first rank and station. She died in 1785.-ED.
2 George Farquhar was an Irishman, and one of the most successful dramatic writers of the time in which he flourished. His first production was, “ Love in a Bottle," which was performed at Drury-lane, in 1698, with complete success. But his best and last effort was the well-known comedy of “The Beaux Stratagem." He was born at London. derry, in 1678, and died at the premature age of 29, when he had arrived at the zenith of popularity.
3 In a letter written by Johnson to a friend in Jan. 1742-3, he says, “I never see Garrick."-MALONE.
something in the contemptuous severity as to the merit of acting, which this old preceptor nourished in himself, that would mortify Garrick after the great applause which he received from the audience. For though Johnson said of him, 'Sir, a man who has a nation to admire him every night, may well be expected to be somewhat elated ;' yet he would treat theatrical matters with a ludicrous slight. He mentioned one evening, 'I met David coming off the stage, dressed in a woman's riding-hood, when he acted in The Wonder. I came full upon him, and I believe he was not pleased.'
“Once he asked Tom Davies, whom he saw drest in a fine suit of clothes, ' And what art thou to-night ?' Tom answered, “The Thane of Ross ;' (which it will be recollected is a very inconsiderable character.) O brave!' said Johnson.”
“Of Mr. Longley, at Rochester, a gentleman of very considerable learning, whom Dr. Johnson met there, he said, 'My heart warms towards him. I was surprised to find in him such nice acquaintance with the metre in the learned languages : though I was somewhat mortified that I had it not so much to myself, as I should have thought.'”
Talking of the minuteness with which people will record the sayings of eminent persons, a story was told, that when Pope was on a visit to Spence at Oxford, as they looked from the window they saw a gentleman commoner, who was just come in from riding, amusing himself with whipping at a post. Pope took occasion to say, 'That young gentleman seems to have little to do.' Mr. Beauclerk observed,
Then, to be sure, Spence turned round and wrote that down ;' and went on to say to Dr. Johnson, 'Pope, Sir, would have said the same of you, if he had seen you distilling.' JOHNSON: 'Sir, if Pope had told me of my distilling, I would have told him of his grotto.'
"He would allow no settled indulgence of idleness upon principle, and always repelled every attempt to urge excuses for it. A friend one day suggested, that it was not wholesome to study soon after dinner. JOHNSON: *Ah, Sir, don't give way to such a fancy. At one time of my life I had taken it into my head that it was not wholesome to study between breakfast and dinner. “Mr. Beauclerk one day repeated to Dr. Johnson Pope's lines,
'Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten metropolitans in preaching well :' Then, asked the Doctor, “Why did Pope say this ?' JOHNSON : “Sir, he hoped it would vex somebody.'
“Dr. Goldsmith, upon occasion of Mrs. Lennox's bringing out a play,' said to Dr. Johnson at the Club, that a person had advised him
1 Probably “ The Sisters," a comedy performed one night only, at Covent Garden, in 1769. Dr. Goldsmith wrote an excellent epilogue to it. Mrs. Lennox, whose maiden: name was Ramsay, died in London in distressed circumstances, in her eighty-fourth year, January 4, 1804.-Malone.