« 이전계속 »
gratifying to Mr. Garrick. Upon this occasion I particularly lamented that he had not that warmth of friendship for his brilliant pupil, which we may suppose would have had a benignant effect on both. When almost every man of eminence in the literary world was happy to partake in this festival of genius, the absence of Johnson could not but be wondered at and regretted. The only trace of him there, was in the whimsical advertisement of a haberdasher, who sold Shaksperian ribands of various dyes ; and, by way of illustrating their appropriation to the bard, introduced a line from the celebrated Prologue, at the opening of Drury Lane theatre :
“Each change of many-colour'd life he drew." From Brighthelmstone Dr. Johnson wrote me the following letter; which they who may think that I ought to have suppressed, must have less ardent feelings than I have always avowed. ()
(1) In the Preface to my Account of Corsica, published in 1768, I thus express myself:
“He who publishes a book, affecting not to be an author, and professing an indifference for literary fame, may possibly impose upon many people such an idea of his consequence as he wishes may be received. For my part, I should be proud to be known as an author, and I have an ardent ambition for literary fame; for, of all possessions, I should imagine literary fame to be the most valuable. A man who has been able to furnish a book, which has been approved by the world, has established himself as a respectable character in distant society, without any danger of having that character lessened by the observation of his weaknesses. To preserve an uniform dignity among those who see us every day, is hardly possible; and to aim at it, must put us under the fetters of perpetual restraint. The author of an approved book may allow his natural disposition an easy play, and yet indulge the pride of superior genius, when he considers that by those who know him only as an author, he never ceases to he respected Such an author, when in his hours of gloom and discontent, may have the consolation to think, that his writings are, at that very time, giving pleasure to numbers; and such an author may cherish the hope of being remembered after death, which has been a great object to the noblest minds in all ages."
LETTER 118. TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ Brighthelmstone, Sept 9. 1769. “ DEAR SIR, — Why do you charge me with unkindness ? I have omitted nothing that could do you good, or give you pleasure, unless it be that I have forborne to tell you my opinion of your Account of Corsica.' I believe my opinion, if you think well of my judgment, might have given you pleasure ; but when it is considered how much vanity is excited by praise, I am not sure that it would have done you good. Your History is like other histories, but your Journal is, in a very high degree, curious and delightful. There is between the history and the journal that difference which there will always be found between notions borrowed from without, and notions generated within. Your history was copied from books; your journal rose out of your own experience and observation. You express images which operated strongly upon yourself, and you have impressed them with great force upon your readers. I know not whether I could name any narrative by which curiosity is better excited, or better gratified.
“I am glad that you are going to be married ; and as I wish you well in things of less importance, wish you well with proportionate ardour in this crisis of your life. What I can contribute to your happiness, I should be very unwilling to withhold; for I have always loved and valued you, and shall love you and value you still more, as you become more regular and useful: effects which a happy marriage will hardly fail to produce.
“ I do not find that I am likely to come back very soon from this place. I shall, perhaps, stay a fortnight longer; and a fortnight is a long time to a lover absent from his mistress. Would a fortnight ever have an end ? I am, dear Sir, your most affectionate humble servant,
General Paoli. Observance of Sunday. Rousseau
and Monboddo. Love of Singularity. London Life. Artemisias. Second Marriages. Scotch Gardening. Vails. Prior, Garrick's Poetry.
History. Whitfield. The Corsicans. Good Breeding. Fate and Free-will. Goldsmith's Tailor. The Dunciad. Dryden. Congreve. Sheridan. Mrs. Montagu's Essay. - Lord Kames.
Burke.- Ballad of Hardyknute. — Fear of Death.
Sympathy with Distress. Foote.-Buchanan. Baretti's Trial. Mandeville.
AFTER his return to town, we met frequently, and I continued the practice of making notes of his conversation, though not with so much assiduity as I wish I had done. At this time, indeed, I had a sufficient excuse for not being able to appropriate so much time to my journal; for General Paoli (1), after Corsica had been overpowered by the monarchy of France, was now no longer at the head of his brave countrymen; but, having with difficulty escaped from
(1) [In 1755, Pascal Paoli was appointed first magistrate and general of Corsica. He had been educated at Naples, and was a captain in the service of King Don Carlos. He was tall, young, handsome, learned, and eloquent. In 1769, a French army, commanded by Marshal de Vaux, landed in Corsica. The inhabitants fought resolutely; but, driven to the south of the island, Paoli embarked, June 16., in an English ship at PortoVecchio, landed at Leghorn, crossed the continent, and repaired to London, where he was every where received with tokens of the greatest admiration, both by the people and their princes.
- NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE, Mémoires, tom. iv. p. 36.]
his native island, had sought an asylum in Great Britain ; and it was my duty, as well pleasure, to attend much upon him. Such particulars of Johnson's conversation at this period as I have committed to writing, I shall here introduce, without any strict attention to methodical arrangement. Sometimes short notes of different days shall be blended together, and sometimes a day may seem important enough to be separately distinguished.
He said, he would not have Sunday kept with rigid severity and gloom, but with a gravity and simplicity of behaviour. (1)
I told him that David Hume had made a short collection of Scotticisms. “I wonder,” said Johnson, “ that he should find them.” (?)
He would not admit the importance of the question concerning the legality of general warrants. “Such a power,” he observed, “must be vested in every government, to answer particular cases of necessity ; and there can be no just complaint but when it is abused, for which those who administer government must be answerable. It is a matter of such indifference, a matter about which the people care so very
(1) He ridiculed a friend who, looking out on Streatham Common from our windows one day, lamented the enormous wickedness of the times, because some birdcatchers were busy there one fine Sunday morning. “ While half the Christian world is permitted,” said he, “to dance and sing, and celebrate Sunday as a day of festivity, how comes your puritanical spirit so offended with frivolous and empty deviations from exactness? Whoever loads life with unnecessary scruples, Sir,” continued he, “provokes the attention of others on his conduct, and incurs the censure of singularity without reaping the reward of superior virtue." - Piozzi.
(2) The first edition of Hume's History of England was full of Scotticisms, many of which he corrected in subsequent edi. tions, M.
Little, that were a man to be sent over Britain'to offer them an exemption from it at a halfpenny a piece, very few would purchase it.” This was a specimen of that laxity of talking, which I had heard him fairly acknowledge; for, surely, while the power of granting general warrants was supposed to be legal, and the apprehension of them hung over our heads, we did not possess that security of freedom, congenial to our happy constitution, and which, by the intrepid exertions of Mr. Wilkes, has been happily established.
He said, “ The duration of parliament, whether for seven years or the life of the king, appears to me so immaterial, that I would not give half a crown to turn the scale one way or the other. The habeas corpus is the single advantage which our government has over that of other countries.” (1)
On the 30th of September we dined together at the Mitre. I attempted to argue for the superior happiness of the savage life, upon the usual fanciful topics. Johnson. “Sir, there can be nothing more false. The savages have no bodily advantages beyond those of civilised men. They have not better health ; and as to care or mental uneasiness, they are not above it, but below it, like bears. No, Sir; you are not to talk such paradox : let me have no more on't. It cannot entertain, far less can it instruct. Lord Monboddo, one of your Scotch judges, talked a great deal of such nonsense. I suffered him ; but I will not suffer you.” Boswell. “But, Sir, does
(1) Did he reckon the power of the Commons over the public purse as nothing? and did he calculate how long the habeas corpus might exist, if the freedom of the press were destroyed, and the duration of parliaments unlimited ? -C.