페이지 이미지

ated about three miles from Oxford, to see Mr. [Francis] Wise, Radclivian librarian, with whom Johnson was much pleased. At this place, Mr. Wise had fitted up a house and gardens, in a singular manner, but with great taste. Here was an excellent library, particularly a valuable collection of books in Northern literature, with which Johnson was often very busy. One day Mr. Wise read to us a dissertation which he was preparing for the press, intitled "A History and Chronology of the fabulous Ages." (1) Some old divinities of Thrace, related to the Titans, and called the Cabiri, made a very important part of the theory of this piece ; and in conversation afterwards, Mr. Wise talked much of his Cabiri. As we returned to Oxford in the evening, I outwalked Johnson, and he cried out Sufflamina, a Latin word which came from his mouth with peculiar grace, and was as much as to say, Put on your drag chain. Before we got home, I again walked too fast for him; and he now cried out, Why, you walk as if you were pursued by all the Cabiri in a body.' In an evening we frequently took long walks from Oxford into the country, returning to supper. Once, in our way home, we viewed the ruins of the abbeys of Oseney and Rewley, near Oxford. After at least half an hour's silence, Johnson said, 'I viewed them with indignation!' We had then a long conversation on Gothic buildings; and in talking of the form of old halls, he said, 'In these halls, the fire place was anciently always in the middle of the room, till the Whigs removed it on one side.' (2) About this time

(1) [This work was not published till 1764. The author died in 1767: five years before his death, the following anticipation of it appeared in the London papers: "Dec. 9. 1762, died the Rev. Solomon Wise, greatly regretted by the studious part of

university of Oxford. His death was occasioned by a olent cold, contracted by too close attendance in the Bodleian and Radcliffe libraries."]

(2) What can this mean? What had the Whigs to do with removing the smoky hearths from the centre of the great halls to

[graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed]

there had been an execution of two or three criminals at Oxford on a Monday. Soon afterwards, one day at dinner, I was saying that Mr. Swinton(), the chaplain of the gaol, and also a frequent preacher before the university, a learned man, but often thoughtless and absent, preached the condemnation-sermon on repentance, before the convicts, on the preceding day, Sunday; and that in the close he told his audience, that he should give them the remainder of what he had to say on the subject, the next Lord's Day. Upon which, one of our company, a doctor of divinity, and a plain matter-of-fact man, by way of offering an apology for Mr. Swinton, gravely remarked, that he had probably preached the same sermon before the university: Yes, Sir (says Johnson), but the university were not to be hanged the next morning.'

"I forgot to observe before, that when he left Mr. Meeke, (as I have told above,) he added, 'About the same time of life, Meeke was left behind at Oxford to feed on a fellowship, and I went to London to get my living now, Sir, see the difference of our literary characters!" (2)

a more commodious chimney at the side? — C. - [Does it not mean, that, after the Revolution, stoves were so placed, that they warmed only those who got good places near them? -FONNEREAU. It is probably a mere jest against modern improvements.]

(1) [The Re John Swinton, B. D. of Ch. Ch., one of the chief writers of the Universal History, died in 1777, aged 79.]

(2) Curis acuens mortalia corda. Poverty was the stimulus which made Johnson exert a genius naturally, it may be supposed, more vigorous than Meeke's, and he was now beginning to enjoy the fame, of which so many painful years of distress and penury had laid the foundation. Meeke had lived an easy life of decent competence; and on the whole, perhaps, as little envied Johnson, as Johnson him: the goodness and justice of Providence equalise, to a degree not always visible at first sight, the happiness of mankind-nec vixit malè qui natus moriensque fefellit. Meeke died about September, 1743..-C

The following letter was written by Dr. Johnson to Mr. Chambers, of Lincoln College, afterwards Sir Robert Chambers, one of the judges in India (1):


"[London,] Nov. 21. 1754.

"DEAR SIR, The commission which I delayed to trouble you with at your departure, I am now obliged to send you; and beg that you will be so kind as to carry it to Mr. Warton, of Trinity, to whom I should have written immediately, but that I know not if he be yet come back to Oxford.

"In the catalogue of MSS. of Gr. Brit., see vol. i. page 18. MSS. Bodl. MARTYRIUM XV. martyrum sub Juliano, auctore Theophylacto.

"It is desired that Mr. Warton will inquire, and send word, what will be the cost of transcribing this manuscript.

"Vol. ii. p. 32. Num. 1022. 58. COLL. Nov. Commentaria in Acta Apostol. -Comment. in Septem

Epistolas Catholicas.

"He is desired to tell what is the age of each of these manuscripts; and what it will cost to have a transcript of the two first pages of each.

"If Mr. Warton be not in Oxford, you may try if you can get it done by any body else; or stay till he comes, according to your own convenience. It is for an Italian literato.

(1) Sir Robert Chambers was born in 1737, at Newcastle-onTyne, and educated at the same school with Lord Stowell and his brother the Earl of Eldon, and afterwards (like them) a member of University College. It was by visiting Chambers, when a fellow of University, that Johnson became acquainted with Lord Stowell; and when Chambers went to India, Lord Stowell, as he expressed it to me, "seemed to succeed to his place in Johnson's friendship."— Č.

« 이전계속 »