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the Latin and Greek languages, by SAMUEL JOHNSON." But the only pupils who were put under his care were the celebrated David Garrick and his brother George, and a Mr. Offely, a young gentleman of good fortune, who died early. As yet, his name had nothing of that celebrity which afterward commanded the highest attention and respect of mankind. Had such an advertisement appeared after the publication of his London, or his Rambler, or his Dictionary, how would it have burst upon the world! with what eagerness would the great and the wealthy have embraced an opportunity of putting their sons under the learned tuition of SAMUEL JOHNSON! The truth, however, is, that he was not so well qualified for being a teacher of elements, and a conductor in learning by regular gradations, as men of inferior powers of mind. His own acquisitions had been made by fits and starts, by violent irruptions in the regions of knowledge; and it could not be expected that his impatience would be subdued, and his impetuosity restrained, so as to fit him for a quiet guide to novices. The art of communicating instruction, of whatever kind, is much to be valued; and I have ever thought that those who devote themselves to this employment, and do their duty with diligence and success, are entitled to very high respect from the community, as Johnson himself often maintained. Yet I am of opinion, that the greatest abilities are not only not required for this office, but render a man less fit for it. While we acknowledge the justness of Thomson's beautiful remark,1

"Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot!"

we must consider that this delight is perceptible only by "a mind at ease," a mind at once calm and clear; but that a mind gloomy and impetuous, like that of Johnson,

1 The Seasons, "Spring," 1149. Thomson was writing not of the drudgery of a schoolmaster, but of the first education of a child by its parents.



cannot be fixed for any length of time in minute attention, and must be so frequently irritated by unavoidable slowness and error in the advances of scholars, as to perform the duty, with little pleasure to the teacher, and no great advantage to the pupils. Good temper is a most essential requisite in a preceptor. Horace paints the character as bland:

-Ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi
Doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima."

Sat. 1. 1. 1. 25.

Johnson was not more satisfied with his situation as the master of an academy, than with that of the usher of a school; we need not wonder, therefore, that he did not keep his academy above a year and a half. From Mr. Garrick's account he did not appear to have been profoundly reverenced by his pupils. His oddities of manner, and uncouth gesticulations, could not but be the subject of merriment to them; and in particular, the young rogues used to listen at the door of his bed-chamber, and peep through the key-hole, that they might turn into ridicule his tumultuous and awkward fondness for Mrs. Johnson, whom he used to name by the familiar appellation of Tetty or Tetsey; which, like Betty or Betsey, is provincially used as a contraction for Elizabeth, her Christian name, but which to us seems ludicrous, when applied to a woman of her age and appearance. Mr. Garrick described her to me as very fat, with a bosom of more than ordinary protuberance, with swelled cheeks, of a florid red, produced by thick painting, and increased by the liberal use of cordials; flaring and fantastic in her dress, and affected both in her speech and her general behaviour. I have seen Garrick exhibit her, by his exquisite talent of mimicry, so as to excite the heartiest bursts of laughter; but he, probably, as is the case in all such representations, considerably aggravated the picture.1

1 He certainly did, if Mrs. Piozzi is to be believed, as that lady tells us in her Anecdotes that she saw a picture of Mrs. Johnson at Lichfield which made her out a pretty woman, and was assured

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That Johnson well knew the most proper course to be pursued in the instruction of youth, is authentically ascertained by the following paper in his own handwriting, given about this period to a relation, and now in the possession of Mr. John Nichols :


"WHEN the introduction, or formation of nouns and verbs, is perfectly mastered, let them learn Corderius, by Mr. Clarke; beginning at the same time to translate out of the introduction, that by this means they may learn the syntax. Then let them proceed to Erasmus, with an English translation, by the same author.

"Class II. Learns Eutropius and Cornelius Nepos, or Justin,

with the translation.

"N.B. The first class gets for their part every morning the rules which they have learned before, and in the afternoon learns the Latin rules of the nouns and verbs.

by Miss Porter that it was a good likeness. Garrick stood in considerable awe of Johnson to his face, and used to console himself by making fun of him and his wife behind his back. Bishop Percy, who has warned us not to take Garrick's descriptions too seriously, says that Johnson was by no means so repulsive as has been commonly supposed, that his countenance when in a good humour was not disagreeable, and that "many ladies have thought his features might not be unattractive when he was young." On the other hand Dr. Thomas Campbell has left a very unflattering portrait of the great man in his Diary of a Visit to England in 1775: "He has the aspect of an idiot, without the faintest ray of sense gleaming from any one feature-with the most awkward garb and unpowdered grey wig, on one side only of his headhe is for ever dancing the devil's jig, and sometimes he makes the most drivelling effort to whistle some thought in his absent paroxysms. . . . His awkwardness at table is just what Chesterfield described, and his roughness of manners kept pace with that." Campbell was an Irish clergyman, of some repute in his day as a writer, who met Johnson several times at the Thrales' and elsewhere as will be seen in the course of this book. His Diary was first published at Sydney in New South Wales in 1854. For the curious manner of its discovery in that colony, and for further particulars of its writer, see Mr. Napier's second volume, appendix v., and his Johnsoniana for the Diary itself.



"They are examined in the rules which they have learned, every Thursday and Saturday.

"The second class does the same whilst they are in Eutropius; afterward their part is in the irregular nouns and verbs, and in the rules for making and scanning verses. They are examined as the first.

"Class III. Ovid's Metamorphoses in the morning, and Cæsar's Commentaries in the afternoon.

"Practise in the Latin rules till they are perfect in them; afterward in Mr. Leed's Greek Grammar. Examined as before. "Afterward they proceed to Virgil, beginning at the same time to write themes and verses, and to learn Greek: from thence passing on to Horace, &c. as shall seem most proper.

"I know not well what books to direct you to, because you have not informed me what study you will apply yourself to. I believe it will be most for your advantage to apply yourself wholly to the languages, till you go to the University. The Greek authors I think it best for you to read are these:

"Cebes. "Elian.

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"Theocritus. "Euripides.



Attic and Doric.

"Thus you will be tolerably skilled in all the dialects, beginning with the Attic, to which the rest must be referred.

"In the study of Latin, it is proper not to read the latter authors, till you are well versed in those of the purest ages; as Terence, Tully, Cæsar, Sallust, Nepos, Velleius Paterculus, Virgil, Horace, Phædrus.

"The greatest and most necessary task still remains, to attain a habit of expression, without which knowledge is of little use. This is necessary in Latin, and more necessary in English; and can only be acquired by a daily imitation of the best and correctest authors.1


While Johnson kept his academy, there can be no doubt that he was insensibly furnishing his mind with various

1 Croker has pointed out that this paper contains two schemes, one for a school, the other for the individual studies of some young friends. It is obvious from Boswell's admiration for this paper that he did not know "the most proper course to be pursued in the instruction of youth."


knowledge; but I have not discovered that he wrote any thing, except a great part of his tragedy of Irene. Mr. Peter Garrick, the elder brother of David, told me that he remembered Johnson borrowing the Turkish History of him, in order to form his play from it. When he had finished some part of it, he read what he had done to Mr. Walmsley, who objected to his having already brought his heroine into great distress, and asked him, "How can you possibly contrive to plunge her into deeper calamity?" Johnson, in sly allusion to the supposed oppressive proceedings of the court of which Mr. Walmsley was registrar, replied, "Sir, I can put her into the Spiritual Court!"

Mr. Walmsley, however, was well pleased with this proof of Johnson's abilities as a dramatic writer, and advised him to finish the tragedy, and produce it on the stage.

Johnson now thought of trying his fortune in London, the great field of genius and exertion, where talents of every kind have the fullest scope and the highest encouragement. It is a memorable circumstance that his pupil David Garrick went thither at the same time, with

1 Knolles' History of the Turks. See The Rambler (122). “Old Knolles," said Byron at Missolonghi a few weeks before his death, was one of the first books that gave me pleasure when a child; and I believe it had much influence on my future wishes to visit the Levant, and gave perhaps the oriental colouring which is observed in my poetry." Byron's Life and Works, ix. 141, Ed.


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2 Both of them used to talk pleasantly of this their first journey to London. Garrick, evidently meaning to embellish a little, said one day in my hearing, "We rode and tied." And the Bishop of Killaloe, [Dr. Barnard,] informed me, that at another time, when Johnson and Garrick were dining together in a pretty large company, Johnson humorously ascertaining the chronology of something, expressed himself thus: "That was the year when I came to London with twopence halfpenny in my pocket." Garrick overhearing him, exclaimed, "Eh? what do you say? with twopence halfpenny in your pocket?"-JOHNSON. "Why, yes; when I came with twopence halfpenny in my pocket, and thou, Davy, with three halfpence in thinc." B.

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