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success of that work, had killed him. He this in evening observed of it, " That work was his death.”
Mr. Warton, not adverting to his meaning, answered, “ I believe so, from the great attention he bestowed on it.” Johnson. “ Nay, sir, he died of want of attention, if he died at all by that book."
Boswell said, “ In writing a life, a man's peculiarities should be mentioned, because they mark his character.” JOHNSON. “Sir, there is no doubt as to peculiarities : the question is, whether a man's vices should be mentioned; for instance, whether it should be mentioned, that Addison and Parnell drank too freely: for people will probably more easily indulge in drivking from knowing this; so that more ill may be done by the example, than good by telling the whole truth.” On this, Boswell remarks, “ Here was an instance of his varying from himself in talk; for when lord Hailes and he
sat one morning calmly conversing, in my house at F Edinburgh, I well remember that Dr. Johnson i maintained, that if a man is to write A Pane4 gyric, he may keep vices out of sight; but if he
professes to write A Life, he must represent it A really as it was ;' and when I objected to the danger
of telling that Parnell drank to excess, he said, that ' it would produce an instructive caution to avoid drinking, when it was seen, that even the learning
and genius of Parnell could be debased by it. And de in the Hebrides, he maintained, as appears from my
Journal, that a man's intimate friend should moution his faults, if he writes his life,"
When Dr. Johnson had finished some part of his tragedy of Irene, 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 ber 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!"
Soon after' Edwards's Canons of Criticism came out, Johnson was diving at Tonson the bookseller's, with Hayınan the painter, and some more company. Haymau related to sir Joshua Reynolds, that the conversation having turned upon Edwards's book, the gentlemen praised it much, and Johoson allowed its merit : but when they went farther, and appeared to put that author upon a level with War. burton, “ Nay,” said Johnson, “ he has given him some smart hits to be sure; but there is no propora tion between the two men ; they must not be named together. A fly, sir, may stiug a stately horse, and make him wince; but one is but an ina sect, and the other is a horse still."
On the 6th of March, 1754, came out lord Bolingbroke's works, published by Mr. David Mallet, Johnson, hearing of their tendency, was roused with a just indignation, and pronounced this memorable sentence upon the noble author and his editor: "Sir, he was a scoundrel, and a coward : a scoundrel, for charging a bluuderbuss against religion and morality; a coward, because he had not resolution to fire it off himself, but left half a crowu to a beggarly Scotchman, to draw the trigger after his death!"
“ One day,” says Boswell," he read to us a dissertation which he was preparing for the press, entitled, A History and Chronology of the Fabulous Ages. 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 a conversation afterwards, Mr. Wise talked much of his Cabiri, As we returned to Oxford in the evening, I out-walked Johnson, and he cried out, Suffiamina, 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.'
When the messenger, who carried the last sheet of Johnson's Dictionary to Millar, returned, John. son asked him, “ Well, what did he say?" " Sir," answered the messenger,
" he said, thank God, I have done with him.' " “ I am glad,” replied Johnson, with a smile, “ that he thanks God for any thing."
At a gentleman's seat in the west of England, in order to amuse him till dinner should be ready, he was taken out to walk in the garden. The master of the house, thinking it proper to introduce something scientific into the conversation, addressed him thus : “ Are you a botanist, Dr. Johnson ?" “ No, sir," answered Johnson, “ I am not a botanist; and, (alluding, no doubt, to his near-sightedness) should I wish to become a botanist, I must first turn myself into a reptile.”
When Mr. Davies first introduced Boswell to Johuson, he was much agitated; and, recollecting his prejudice against the Scotch, of which he had heard much, said to Davies, “ Don't tell where come from." “ From Scotland,” cried Davies, roguishly. “ Mr. Johnson," said Boswell, “ I do indeed come from Scotland, but I can't help it." To which Johnson replied, “ That, sir, I find is what a great many of your countrymen cannot help." • Mr. Ogilvie was unlucky enough to choose for the topic of his conversation the praises of his native country. He began with saying, that there was very rich land around Edinburgh. Goldsmith, who had studied physic there, contradicted this very untruly, with a speering laugh. Disconcerted a little by this, Mr. Ogilvie then took a new ground, where he probably thought himself perfectly safe; for he observed, that Scotland had a great many noble wild prospects. Johnson. “ I believe, sir, you have a great many: Norway, too, las noble wild prospects; and Lapland is remarkable for pro: digious poble wild prospects : but, sir, let me tell you, the voblest prospect which a Scotchimar ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England."
Johnson said he had lately been a long while at Lichfield, but bant grown very weary before he left it. BOSWELL, “ I wonder at that, sir; it is your 'native place.” JOHNSON. " Why, so is Scotland your native place.”
An essay, written by Mr. Deane, a divine of the church of England, maintaining the future life of brutes, by an explication of certain parts of the Scriptures, was mentioned, and the doctrine in. sisted on by a gentleman, who seemed fond of cu. rious speculation. Johnson, who did not like to hear of any thing concerning a future state, which was not authorized by the regular canons of orthodoxy, discouraged this talk'; and being offended at its continuation, he watched an opportunity to give the gentleman a blow of reprehension. So, when the poor speculatist, with a serious metaphysical pensive face, addressed him, “ But really, sir, when we see a very sensible dog, we don't know what to think of him,"—Johnson, rolling with joy at the thought which beamed in his eye, turned quickly round, and replied, " True, sir; and when we see a very foolish fellow, we don't know what to think of him.” He then rose up, strode to the fire, and stood for some time laughing and exulting.
• The late Alexander, earl of Eglintoune," says · Boswell, “ who loved wit more than wine, and men of genius more than sycophants, had a great admiration of Johnson ; but, from the remarkable elegance of his own manners, was, perhaps, too de. licately sensible of the roughness which sometimes appeared in Johnson's behaviour. One evening, when his lordship did me the honour to sup at my lodgings, with Dr. Robertson, and several other meu of literary distinction, he regretted that Johnson had not been educated with more refinement, and