« 이전계속 »
Mrs. Desmoulins made tea; and she and I talked before him upon a topic which he had once borne patiently from me when we were by ourselves,--his not complaining of the world, because he was not called to some great office, nor had attained to great wealth. He flew into a violent passion, I confess with some justice, and commanded us to have done. “Nobody,” said he,“ has a right to talk in this manner, to bring before a man his own character, and the events of his life, when he does not choose it should be done. I never have sought the world : the world was not to seek me. It is rather wonderful that so much has been done for me. All the complaints which are made of the world are unjust. I never knew a man of merit neglected : it was generally by his own fault that he failed of success. A man may hide his head in a hole: he may go into the country, and publish a book now and then, which nobody reads, and then complains he is neglected. There is no reason why any person should exert himself for a man who has written a good book: he has not written it for any individual. I may as well make a present to a postman who brings me a letter. When patronage was limited, an author expected to find a Mecenas, and complained if he did not find one. Why should he complain? This Mæcenas has others as good as he, or others who have got the start of him.” BOSWELL : “But surely, Sir, you will allow that there are men of merit at the bar who never get practice.” JOHNSON : “Sir, you are sure that practice, is got from an opinion that the person employed deserves it best ; so that if a man of merit at the bar does not get practice, it is from error, not from injustice. He is not neglected. A horse that is brought to market may not be bought, though he is a very good horse: but that is from ignorance, not from intention."
There was in this discourse much novelty, ingenuity, and discrimi. nation, such as is seldom to be found. Yet I cannot help thinking that men of merit, who have no success in life, may be forgiven for lamenting, if they are not allowed to complain. They may consider it as hard that their merit should not have its suitable distinction. Though there is no intentional injustice towards them on the part of the world, their merit not having been perceived, they may yet repine against fortune or fate, or by whatever name they choose to call the supposed mythological power of Destiny. It has, however, occurred to me, as a consolatory thought, that men of merit should consider thus :—How much harder would it be, if the same persons had both all the merit and all the prosperity. Would not this be a miserable distribution for the poor dunces? Would men of merit exchange their intellectual superiority, and the enjoyments arising from it, for external distinction and the pleasures of wealth? If they would not, let them not envy others, who are poor where they are rich, a compensation which is made to them. Let thern look inwards and be satisfied ; recollecting, with conscious pride, what Virgil finely says of Corycius
Senex, and which I have, in another place, with truth and sincerity ap plied to Mr. Burke :
Regum æquabat opes animis." On the subject of the right employment of wealth, Johnson observed, “A man cannot make a bad use of his money, so far as regards society, if he do not hoard it; for if he either spends it or lends it out, society has the benefit. It is in general better to spend money than to give it away; for industry is more promoted by spending money than by giving it away. A man who spends his money is sure he is doing good with it: he is not sure when he gives it away. man who spends ten thousand a year will do more good than a man who spends two thousand, and gives away eight."
In the evening I came to him again. He was somewhat fretful from his illness. A gentleman asked him whether he had been abroad today. “Don't talk so childishly,” said he. “ You may as well ask if I hanged myself to-day.” I mentioned politics. JOHNSON: “Sir, I'd as soon have a man to break my bones as talk to me of public affairs, internal or external. I have lived to see things all as bad as they can be.”
Having mentioned his friend, the second Lord Southwell, he said, “Lord Southwell was the highest bred man, without insolence, that I ever was in company with; the most qualitied I ever saw. Lord Orrery was not dignified ; Lord Chesterfield was, but he was insolent Lord
is a man of coarse manners, but a man of abilities and information. I don't say he is a man I would set at the head of a nation, though perhaps he may be as good as the next Prime Minister that comes ; but he is a man to be at the head of a Club ;-I don't say our CLUB ;--for there is no such Club." BOSWELL: “But, Sir, was he not once a factious man?" JOHNSON : “O yes, Sir; as factious a fellow as could be found; one who was for sinking us all into the mob.” BOSWELL : “How then, Sir, did he get into favour with the King ? JOHNSON : “Because, Sir, I suppose he promised the King to do whatever the King pleased.”
He said, "Goldsmith's blundering speech to Lord Shelburne, which has been so often mentioned, and which he really did make to him, was only a blunder in emphasis :-'I wonder they should call your Lordship Malagrida, for Malagrida was a very good man;'-meant, I wonder · they should use Malagrida as a term of reproach."
Soon after this time I had an opportunity of seeing, by means of one of his friends, a proof that his talents, as well as his obliging service to authors, were ready as ever. He had revised “ The Village," an admirable poem, by the Reverend Mr. Crabbe. Its sentiments, as to the false
1 Letter to the People of Scotland against the Attempt to diminish the Number of the Lords of Session, 1786.-Boswell.
notions of rustic happiness and rustic virtue, were quite congenial with his own; and he had taken the trouble, not only to suggest slight corrections and variations, but to furnish some lines, when he thought he could give the writer's meaning better than in the words of the manuscript.
1 I shall give an instance, marking the original by Roman, and Johnson's substitution in Italic characters :
“In fairer scenes, where peaceful pleasures spring,
Tityrus, the pride of Mantuan swains, might sing;
Where Fancy leads, or Virgil led the way?"
If Tityrus found the golden age again,
Where Virgil, not where Fancy, leads the way?" Here we find Johnson's poetical and critical powers undiminished. I must, however, observe, that the aids he gave to this poem, as to “The Traveller," and “Deserted Village," of Goldsmith, were so small as by no means to impair the distinguishing merit of the author.--BOSWELL.
PENURIOUSNESS OF WEALTH-LORD MANSFIELD-HARRINGTON'S “ NUGB ANTIQUÆ"-MOTTO on Johnson's PORTRAIT—"Quos Deus vulT PERDERE," &c.ON HAPPINESS- Johnson's POWERS OF CONVERSATION - MR. Welch - DR. BUCHANAN-GRUB STREET-SIR WM. CHAMBERS-BISHOP HURD-RESERVE OP ENGLISHMEN – Morice MORGANN, DERRICK, AND SMART
GREAT TWALMLEY" - A CHARADE-MR. CAMBRIDGE -JOHNSON'S LOVE OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS - ABP. STUART—"The TURKISH SPY"-MR. WINDHAM - MR. Lowe ON HOSPITALITY-WALLED Gardens-MR. WALKER ON THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE-MOORFIELDS-A SINGULAR CHARACTER.
the pleasure to meet with Dr. Brocklesby, whose reading, and knowledge of life, and good spirits, supply him with a never-failing source of conversation. He mentioned a respectable gentleman, who became extremely penurious near the close of his life. Johnson said there must have been a degree of madness about him. “Not at all, Sir,” said Dr. Brocklesby, “his judgment was entire.” Unluckily, however, he mentioned that, although he had a fortune of twenty-seven thousand pounds, he denied himself many comforts, from an apprehension that he could not afford them. “Nay, Sir," cried Johnson, “when the judgment is so disturbed that a man cannot count, that is pretty well.
I shall here insert a few of Johnson's sayings, without the formality of dates, as they have no reference to any particular time or place.
“The more a man extends and varies his acquaintance the better.” This, however, was meant with a just restriction ; for he, on another occasion, said to me, “Sir, a man may be so much of everything, that he is nothing of anything.'
Raising the wages of day-labourers is wrong; for it does not make
them live better, but only makes them idler ; and idleness is a very bad thing for human nature.”
"It is a very good custom to keep a journal for a man's own use ; he may write upon a card a day all that is necessary to be written, after he has had experience of life. At first there is a great deal to be written, because there is a great deal of novelty ; but when once a man has settled his opinions, there is seldom much to be set down.”
“There is nothing wonderful in the Journal? which we see Swift kept in London ; for it contains slight topics, and it might soon be written.”
I praised the accuracy of an account-book of a lady whom I men. tioned. JOHNSON : “Keeping accounts, Sir, is of no use when a man is spending his own money, and has nobody to whom he is to account. You won't eat less beef to-day, because you have written down what it cost yesterday.” I mentioned another lady who thought as he did, so that her husband could not get her to keep an account of the expense of the family, as she thought it enough that she never exceeded the sum allowed her. JOHNSON : “Sir, it is fit she should keep an account, because her husband wishes it; but I do not see its use." I maintained that keeping an account had this advantage, that it satisfies a man that his money has not been lost or stolen, which he might sometimes be apt to imagine, were there no written state of his expense; and besides, a calculation of economy, so as not to exceed one's income, cannot be made without a view of the different articles in figures, that one may see how to retrench in some particulars less necessary than others. This he did not attempt to answer.
Talking of an acquaintance of ours, whose narratives, which abounded in curious and interesting topics, were unhappily found to be very fabulous, I mentioned Lord Mansfield's having said to me, pose we believe one half of what he tells.' JOHNSON : “Ay; but we don't know which half to believe. By his lying we lose not only our reverence for him, but all comfort in his conversation.” BOSWELL: “May we not take it as amusing fiction?” JOHNSON: “Sir, the misfortune is, that you will insensibly believe as much of it as you incline to believe.”
1 In his Life of Swift, he thus speaks of this Journal:
" In the midst of his power and his politics, he kept a journal of his visits, his walks, his interviews with ministers, and quarrels with his servant, and transmitted it to Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Dingley, to whom he knew that whatever befel him was interesting, and no account could be too minute. Whether these diurnal trifles were properly exposed to eyes which had never received any pleasure from the Dean, may be reasonably doubted: they have, however, some odd attractions: the reader finding frequent mention of names which he has been used to consider as important, goes on in hope of information; and as there is nothing to fatigue attention, if he is disappointed, he can hardly complain."
It may be added, that the reader not only hopes to find, but does find, in this very entertaining Journal, much curious information, respecting persons and things, which he will in vain seek for in other books of the same period.-MALONE.