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“ Mr. Beauclerk one day repeated to Dr. Johnson, 1780. . Pope's lines,
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Then asked the Doctor, “Why did Pope say this?'
“ 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 to go and hiss it, because she had attacked Shakspeare in her book called
Shakspeare Illustrated.' Johnson. And did not you tell him that he was a rascal ?" Gold
• No, Sir, I did not. Perhaps he might not mean what he said.' JOHNSON.
'Nay, Sir, if he lied, it is a different thing. Colman slily said, (but it is believed Dr. Johnson did not hear him,) · Then the proper expression should have been,-Sir, if you don't lie, you're a rascal.”
“ His affection for Topham Beauclerk was so great, that when Beauclerk was labouring under that severe illness which at last occasioned his death, Johnson said, (with a voice faultering with emotion,) 'Sir, I would walk to the extent of the diameter of the earth to save Beauclerk.”
“ One night at the Club he produced a translation of an Epitaph which Lord Elibank had written in English, for his Lady, and requested of Johnson to turn it into Latin for him. Having read Domina de
• (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. M.]
1780. North et Gray, he said to Dyer, “You see, Sir, what Ætat. 71°
barbarism we are compelled to make use of, when modern titles are to be specifically mentioned in Latin inscriptions. When he had read it once aloud, and there had been a general approbation expressed by the company, he addressed himself to Mr. Dyer in particular, and said, “Sir, I beg to have your judgement, for I know your nicety.' Dyer then very properly desired to read it over again ; which having done, he pointed out an incongruity in one of the sentences. Johnson immediately assented to the observation, and said, “Sir, this is owing to an alteration of a part of the sentence, from the form in which I had first written it; and I believe, Sir, you may have remarked, that the making a partial change, without a due regard to the general structure of the sentence, is a very frequent cause of errour in coinposition.”
“ Johnson was well acquainted with Mr. Dossie, authour of a treatise on Agriculture ; and said of him, “Sir, of the objects which the Society of Arts have chiefly in view, the chymical effects of bodies operating upon other bodies, he knows more than almost any man.' Johnson, in order to give Mr. Dossie his vote to be a member of this Society, paid up an arrear which had run on for two years. On this occasion he mentioned a circumstance, as characteristick of the Scotch. One of that nation, (said he,) who had been a candidate, against whom I had voted, came up to me with a civil salutation. Now, Sir, this is their way. An Englishman would have stomached it, and been sulky, and never have taken further notice of you; but a Scotchman, Sir, though
you vote nineteen times against him, will accost you 1780. with equal complaisance after each time, and the
Æțat. 71, twentieth time, Sir, he will get your vote.”
“ Talking on the subject of toleration, one day when some friends were with him in his study, he made his usual remark, that the State has a right to regulate the religion of the people, who are the children of the State. A clergyman having readily acquiesced in this, Johnson, who loved discussion, observed, ' But, Sir, you must go round to other States than our own. You do not know what a Bramin has to say for himself. In short, Sir, I have got no further than this: Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.”
“A man, he observed, should begin to write soon; for, if he waits till his judgement is matured, his inability, through want of practice to express his conceptions, will make the disproportion so great between what he sees, and what he can attain, that he will probably be discouraged from writing at all. As a proof of the justness of this remark, we may instance what is related of the great Lord Granville;o that after he had written his letter giving an account of the battle of Dettingen, he said, “Here is a letter, expressed in terms not good enough for a tallowchandler to have used.”
Here Lord Macartney remarks, " A Bramin or any cast of the Hindoos will neither admit you to be of their religion, nor be conyerted to yours:---a thing which struck the Portuguese with the greatest astonishinent, when they first discovered the East ļodies."
9 [John, the first Earl Granville, who died, January 2, 1763. M.]
Talking of a Court-martial that was sitting upon Ætat, 71.
a very momentous publick occasion, he expressed much doubt of an enlightened decision; and said, that perhaps there was not a member of it, who in the whole course of his life, had ever spent an hour by himself in balancing probabilites.”
“ Goldsmith one day brought to the CluB a printed Ode, which he, with others, had been hearing read by its authour in a publick room, at the rate of five shillings each for admission. One of the company having read it aloud, Dr. Johnson said, • Bolder words and more timorous meaning, I think never were brought together.”
“ Talking of Gray’s Odes, he said, “They are forced plants, raised in a hot-bed; and they are poor plants; they are but cucumbers after all. A gentleman present, who had been running down Ode-writing in general, as a bad species of poetry, unluckily said, “Had they been literally cucumbers, they had been better things than Odes.'— Yes, Sir, (said Johnson,) for a hog."
“ His distinction of the different degrees of attainment of learning was thus marked upon two occasions. Of Queen Elizabeth he said, “She had learning enough to have given dignity to a bishop;' and of Mr. Thomas Davies he said, “Sir, Davies has learning enough to give credit to a clergymán."
“ He used to quote, with great warmth, the saying of Aristotle recorded by Diogenes Laertius; that there was the same difference between one learned and unlearned, as between the living and the dead."
" It is very remarkable, that he retained in his memory very slight and trivial, as well as importan
things. As an instance of this, it seems that an in- 1780. ferior domestick of the Duke of Leeds had attempted tat. 71. to celebrate his Grace's marriage in such homely rhymes as he could make; and this curious composition having been sung to Dr. Johnson, he got it by heart, and used to repeat it in a very pleasant man
Two of the stanzas were these:
When the Duke of Leeds shall married be • To a fine young lady of high quality, *How happy will that gentlewoman be In his Grace of Leeds's good company.
• She shall have all that's fine and fair,
And the best of silk and sattin shall wear; "And ride in a coach to take the air, And have a house in St. James's-square.”
* The correspondent of the Gentleman's Magazine who subscribes himself SCIOLUS, furnishes the following supplement:
“ A lady of my acquaintance remembers to have heard her uncle sing those homely stanzas more than forty-five years ago. He repeated the second thus ;
She shall breed young lords and ladies fair,
And remembered a third which seems to have been the introductory one, and is believed to have been the only remaining one:
When the Duke of Leeds shall have made his choice
It is with pleasure I add that this stanza could never be more truly applied than at this present time (1792.]