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1784. few days before his death he transmitted to his friend
Mr. John Nichols, a list of the authours of the UniÆtat. 75.
the fables, both allegorical and historical; with references to the poets.
History of the State of Venice, in a compendious manner. “ Aristotle's Ethicks, an English translation of them, with notes.
“Geographical Dictionary, from the French.
“ Hierocles upon Pythagoras, translated into English, perhaps with notes This is done by Norris.
“ A book of Letters, upon all kind of subjects.
“ Claudian, a new edition of his works, cum notis variorum, in the manner of Burman. “ Tully's Tusculan questions, a translation of them.
Tully's De Naturâ Deorum, a translation of those books. “ Benzo's New History of the New World, to be translated. “ Machiavel's History of Florence, to be translated.
“ History of the Revival of Learning in Europe, containing an account of whatever contributed to the restoration of literature ; such as controversies, printing, the destruction of the Greek empire, the encouragement of great men, with the lives of the most eminent patrons, and most eminent early professors of all kinds of learning in different countries.
“ A Body of Chronology, in verse, with historical notes.
“A Table of the Spectators, Tatlers, and Guardians, distinguished by figures into six degrees of value, with notes, giving the reasons of preference or degradation.
“A Collection of Letters from English authours, with a preface giving some account of the writers; with reasons for selection, and criticism upon styles; remarks on each letter, if needful.
“A Collection of Proverbs from various languages. Jan. 6,53.
“A Dictionary to the Common Prayer, in imitation of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible. March,- 52.
A Collection of Stories and Examples, like those of Valerius Maximus. Jan. 10,-53.
“ From Ælian, a volume of select Stories, perhaps from others. Jan. 28,-53.
“ Collection of Travels, Voyages, adventures, and Descriptions of Countries.
Dictionary of Ancient History and Mythology,
versal History, mentioning their several shares in 1784. that work. It has, according to his direction, been
« Treatise on the Study of Polite Literature, containing the history of learning, directions for editions, commentaries, &c.
• Maxims, Characters, and Sentiments, after the manner of Bruyere, collected out of ancient authors, particularly the Greek with Apophthegms.
“ Classical Miscellanies, Select Translations from ancient Greek and Latin authours.
« Lives of Illustrious Persons, as well of the active as the learned, in imitation of Plutarch.
Judgement of the learned upon English authours. “ Poetical Dictionary of the English tongue. “ Considerations upon the present state of London. “ Collection of Epigrams, with notes and observations.
“ Observations on the English language, relating to words, phrases, and modes of Speech.
“ Minutiæ Literariæ, Miscellaneous reflections, criticisms, emendations, notes:
History of the Constitution. “ Comparison of Philosophical and Christian Morality, by sentences collected from the moralists and fathers. " Plutarch's Lives, in English, with notes.
POETRY and works of IMAGINATION. Hymn to Ignorance. - The Palace of Sloth,
a vision. “ Coluthus, to be translated. “ Prejudice,-a poetical essay. “ The Palace of Nonsense,ếa vision.”
Johnson's extraordinary facility of composition, when he shook off his constitutional indolence, and resolutely sat down to write, is admirably described hy Mr. Courtenay, in his “ Poetical Review," which I have several times quoted :
“ While through life's maze he sent a piercing view,
1784. deposited in the British Museum, and is printed in
the Gentleman's Magazine for December, 1784.9 Ætat. 75.
“ Slept in repose ;-—but when the moment press'd,
We shall in vain endeavour to know with exact precision every production of Johnson's pen. He owned to me, that he had written about forty sermons; but as I understood that he had given or sold them to different persons, who were to preach them as their own, he did not consider himself at liberty to acknowledge them. Would those who were thus aided by him, who are still alive, and the friends of those who are dead, fairly inform the world, it would be obligingly gratifying a reasonable curiosity, to which there should, I think, now be no objection. Two volumes of them, published since his death, are sufficiently ascertained; see Vol. II. p. 250.--I have before me, in his hand-writing, a fragment of twenty quarto leaves, of a translation into English of Sallust, De Bello Catilinario. When it was done I have no notion; but it seems to have no very superiour merit to mark it as his. Besides the publications heretofore mentioned, I am satisfied, from internal evidence, to admit also as genuine the following, which, notwithstanding all my chronological care, escaped me in the course of this work :
“ Considerations on the Case of Dr. Trapp's Sermons,"+ published in 1739, in the Gentleman's Magazine. It is a very ingenious defence of the right of abridging an authour's work, without being held as infringing his property. This is one of the nicest questions in the Law of Literature; and I cannot help thinking, that the indulgence of abridging is often exceedingly injurio us to authours and booksellers, and should in very few cases be permitted. At any rate, to prevent difficult and uncertain discussion, and give an absolute security to authours in the property of their labours, no abridgement whatever should be permitted, till after the expiration of such a nunber of years as the Legislature may be pleased to fix.
During his sleepless nights he amused himself by 1784. translating into Latin verse, from the Greek, many Ætat.75.
But, though it has been confidently ascribed to him, I cannot allow that he wrote a Dedication to both Houses of Parliament of a book entitled “ The Evangelical History Harmonized.” He was no croaker ; no declaimer against the times. He would not have written, “ That we are fallen upon an age in which corruption is not barely universal, is universally confessed.” Nor, “ Rapine preys on the publick without opposition, and perjury betrays it without inquiry." Nor would he, to excite a speedy reformation, have conjured up such phantoms of terrour as these : 'A few years longer, and perhaps all endeavours will be in vain. We may be swallowed by an earthquake: we may be delivered to our enemies." This is not Johnsonian.
There are, indeed, in this Dedication several sentences construca ted upon the model of those of Johnson, But the imitation of the form, without the spirit of his style, has been so general, that this of itself is not sufficient evidence. Even our newspaper writers aspire to it. In an account of the funeral of Edwin, the comedian, in “ The Diary” of Nov. 9, 1790, that son of drollery is thus described : “ A man who had so often cheered the sullenness of va. cancy, and suspended the approaches of sorrow.” And in “The Dublin Evening Post," August 16, 1791, there is the following paragraph : " It is a singular circumstance, that in a city like this, containing 200,000 people, there are three months in the year during which no place of publick amusement is open. Long vacation is here a vacation from pleasure, as well as business ; nor is there any node of passing the listless evenings of declining summer, but in the riots of a tavern, or the stupidity of a coffee-house."
I have not thought it necessary to specify every copy of verses written by Johnson, it being my intention to publish an authentick edition of all his Poetry, with notes.
6 [As the letter accoinpanying this list, (which fully supports the observation in the text,) was written but a week before Dr. Johnson's death, the reader may not be displeased to find it here preserved :
TO MR. NICHOLS. “ The late learned Mr. Swinton, having one day remarked that one man, meaning, I suppose, no man but himself, could assign
1784. of the epigrams in the Anthologia. These transla
tions, with some other poems by him in Latin, he gave to his friend Mr. Langton, who, having added
all the parts of the Ancient Universal History to their proper authours, at the request of Sir Robert Chambers, or of myself, gave the account which I now transmit to you in his own hand ; being willing that of so great a work the history should be known, and that each writer should receive his due proportion of praise from posterity.
“ I recommend to you to preserve this scrap of literary intelligence in Mr. Swinton's own hand, or to desposite it in the Museum, that the veracity of this account may never be doubted.
“ I am, Sir,
“ Your most humble servant, • Dec. 6, 1784.
" Sam. JOHNSON."
on the independency of the Arabs. The Cosmogony, and a small part of the History imniediately following; by Mr. Sale.
To the birth of Abraham chiefly by Mr. Shelvock.
Xenophon's Retreat; by the same.
History of the Persians and the Constantinopolitan Empire ; by Dr. Campbell.
History f the Romans; by Mr.Bower.]