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1766. stantly. You gain, at least, what is no small advanEtat. 57. tage, security from those troublesome and wearisome
discontents, which are always obtruding themselves upon a mind vacant, unemployed, and undetermined.
“ You ought to think it no small inducement to diligence and perseverance, that they will please father. We all live
We all live upon the hope of pleasing somebody; and the pleasure of pleasing ought to be greatest, and at last always will be greatest, when our endeavours are exerted in consequence of our duty.
“ Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent: deliberation, which those who begin it by prudence, and continueit with subtilty, must, after long expence of thought, conclude by chance. To prefer one future mode of life to another, upon just reasons, requires faculties which it has not pleased our Creator to give us.
“ If therefore the profession you have chosen has some unexpected inconveniencies, console yourself by reflecting that no profession is without them; and that all the importunities and perplexities of business are softness and luxury, compared with the incessant cravings of vacancy, and the unsatisfactory expedients of idleness.
* Hæc sunt quæ nostri potui te voce monere;
“ As to your History of Corsica, you have no materials which others have not, or may not have. You have, somehow, or other, warmed your imagination. I wish there were some cure, like the lover's leap, for all heads of which some single idea has obtained an unreasonable and irregular possession. 1766. Mind your own affairs, and leave the Corsicans to
Ætat. 57, theirs. I am, dear Sir,
“ Your most humble servant, “ London, Aug. 21, 1766.
“ ŞAM. JOHNSON."
TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON,
MUCH ESTEEMED AND DEAR SIR,
“ Auchinleck, Nov. 6, 1766. “ I PLEAD not guilty to
* * “ Having thus, I hope, cleared myself of thecharge brought against me, I presume you will not be displeased if I escape the punishment which you have decreed for me unheard. If you have discharged the arrows of criticism against an innocent man, you must rejoice to find they have missed him, or have not been pointed so as to wound him.
- To talk no longer in allegory, I am, with all deference, going to offer a few observations in defence of my Latin, which you have found fault with.
* You think I should have used spei primæ, instead of spei altere. Spes is, indeed, often used to express something on which we have a future dependence, as in Virg. Eclog. i, l. 14.
modo namque gemellos Spem gregis ah silice in nudá connixa reliquit,' and in Georg. ii. I. 473.
Spemque gregemque simul,' for the lambs and the sheep. Yet it is also used to
* The passage omitted explained the transaction to which the preceding letter had alluded.
1766. express any thing on which we have a present depen
dence, and is well applied to a man of distinguished Etat. 57.
influence --our support, our refuge, our præsidium, as Horace calls Mæcenas. So, Æneid xii. l. 57, Queen Amata addresses her son-in-law, Turnus :
Spes tu nunc una;' and he was then no future hope, for she adds,
decus imperiumque Latini · Te penes. which might have been said of my Lord Bute some years ago. Now I consider the present Earl of Bute to be ' Excelsie familiæ de Bute spes prima;' and my Lord Mountstuart, as his eldest son, to be spes altera. So in Æneid xii. l. 168, after having mentioned Pater Æneas, who was the present spes, the reigning spes, as my German friends would
say, the spes prima, the poet adds,
Et juxta Ascanius, magnæ spes altera Roma.' “ You think alteræ ungrammatical, and you
tell me it should have been alteri. : You must recollect, that in old times alter was declined regularly; and when the ancient fragments preserved in the Juris Civilis Fontes were written, it was certainly declined in the way that I use it. This, I should think, may protect a lawyer who writes alterce in a dissertation upon part of his own science. But as I could hardly venture to quote fragments of old law to so classical a man as Mr. Johnson, I have not'made an accurate search into these remains, to find examples of what I am able to produce in poetical composition. We find in Plaut. Rudens, act iii. scene 4,
Nam huic alteræ patria quæ sit profecto nescio. Plautus įs, to be sure, an old comick writer; but in
the days of Scipio and Lelius, we find Terent. Heau. 1766. tontim. act ii. scene 3.
Ætat. 57. hoc ipsa in itinere alteræ Dum narrat, forte audivi.' “ You doubt my having authority for using genus absolutely, for what we call family, that is, for illustrious extraction. Now I take genus in Latin, to have much the same signification with birth in English; both in their primary meaning expressing simply descent, but both made to stand xat'lgoxenus for noble descent. Ģenus is thus used in Hor. lib. ii. Sat. v. l. 8.
* Et genus et virtus, nisi cum re, vilior alga est, And in lib. i. Epist. vi. l. 37.
* Et genus et forman Regina pecunia donat.' And in the celebrated contest between Ajax and Ulysses, Ovid's Metamorph. lib. xiii. 1. 140.
Nam genus et proavos, et quæ non fecimus ipsi, . Vix ea nostra voco.'
“ Homines nullius originis, for nullis orti majoribus, or nullo loco nati, is, “ you are afraid, barbarous.”
Origo is used to signify extraction, as in Virg. Æneid is 286,
Nascetur pulchrů Trojanus origine Cæsar.' and in Æneid s. 1. 618,
Ille tamen nostra deducit origine nomen.' and as nullus is used for obscure, isit not in thegenius of the Latin language to write nullius originis, for obscure extraction ?
“ I have defended myself as well as I could.
" Might I venture to differ from you with regard to the utility of vows? I am sensible that it would be
1766. very dangerous to make vows rashly, and without a
due consideration. But I cannot help thinking that Ætat. 57
they may often be of great advantage to one of a variable judgement and irregular inclinations. I always remember a passage in one of your letters to our Italian friend Baretti; where talking of the monastick life, you say you do not wonder that serious men should put themselves under the protection of a religious order, when they have found how unable they are to take care of themselves. For my own part, without affecting to be a Socrates, I am sure I have a more than ordinary struggle to maintain with the Evil Principle; and all the methods I can devise are little enough to keep me tolerably steady in the paths of rectitude.
“ I am ever, with the highest veneration,
“ James BoswELL,"
It appears from Johnson's diary, that he was this year at Mr. Thrale's, from before Midsummer till after Michaelmas, and that he afterwards passed a month at Oxford. He had then contracted a great intimacy with Mr. Chambers of that University, afterwards Sir Robert Chambers, one of the Judges in India
He published nothing this year in his own name; but the noble dedication* to the King, of Gwyn's.“ London and Westminster Improved,” was written by him; and he furnished the Preface, and several of the pieces, which compose a volume of Miscel. lanies by Mrs. Anna Williams, the blind lady who