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made war upon his enemies tenderly, often distressed his subjects cruelly."
He used to say of Gray, the poet, that he was the very Torre of poetry. He played his corruscations so speciously, that his steel dust was mistaken by many for a shower of gold. ↓
A gentleman reading to Dr. Johnson, Garrick's Ode on the Stratford Jubilee, when he came to the following couplet,
The little loves like bees
"Clust'ring and climbing up his knees.”
could not help exclaiming, "What damned stuff here is!" "Very bad to be sure, Sir," says the Doctor, "but I should hope 'tis not my friend David's writing, but rather Mrs. Garrick's woman."
"I hope, Sir," says a friend," that the man I recommended to sit up with you (during his last indisposition) was both wakeful and alert!" "Sir," answered the Doctor, "his vigilance was that of a dormouse, and his activity that of a turnspit on his first entrance into a wheel."
MR. BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON.
JOHNSON, previous to his removing to the unìversity, read a great deal in a desultory manner, without any scheme of study, as chance threw books. in his way, and inclination directed him through them. He used to mention one curious instance of his casual reading, when but a boy: having imagined that his brother had hid some apples behind a large folioupon an upper shelf in his father's shop, he climbed up to search for them. There were no apples; but the large folio proved to be Petrarch, whom he had seen mentioned, in some preface, as one of the restorers
of learning. His curiosity having been thus excited, he sat down with avidity, and read a great part of the book. What he read during these two years, he told Mr. B. was not works of mere amusement, "not voyages and travels, but all literature, Sir, all ancient writers, all manly; though but little Greek, only some of Anacreon and Hesiod; but in this irregular manner (added he) I had looked into a great many books, which were not commonly known at the universities, where they seldom read any books but what are put into their hands by their tutors; so that when I came to Oxford, Dr. Adams, master of Pembroke College, told me, I was the best qualified for the University that he had ever known come there."
No man had a more ardent love of literature, or a higher respect for it. His apartment in Pembroke College was that upon the second floor over the gateway. The enthusiasts of learning will ever contemplate it with veneration. One day, while he was sitting in it, quite alone, Dr. Panting, then master of the College, whom he called "a fine Jacobite fellow," overheard him uttering this soliloquy, in his strong emphatic voice: “Well, I have a mind to see what is done in other places of learning. I'll go and visit the Uni- ~ versities abroad. I'll go to France and Italy. I'll go to Padua. And I'll mind my business. For an Athenian blockhead is the worst of all blockheads."
The following curious account of his journey, with his wife, to church, on the nuptial morn, was given to Mr. B. by the Doctor himself. "Sir, she had read the old romances, and had got into her head the fantastical notion that a woman of spirit should use her lover like a dog. So, Sir, at first she told me that I rode too fast, and she could not keep up with me; and when I rode a little slower, she passed me, and complained that I lagged behind. I was not to be made the slave of caprice; and I resolved to begin as I meant to end. I therefore pushed on briskly till I was fairly out of her sight. The road lay between two hedges, so. I was sure she could not miss it; and I contrived that
she should soon come up with me. When she did, I observed her to be in tears."
The following beautiful ODF to FRIENDSHIP, written at an early period of his life, was never before printed:
FRIENDSHIP, peculiar boon of Heav'n,
While Love, unknown among the blest,
Torments alike with raging fires.
Around the fav'rites of the sky.
Thy gentle flow of guiltless joys
On fools and villains ne'er descend;
And hugs a flatt'rer for a friend..
Directress of the brave and just,
O guide us thro' life's darkfome way!
Nor shall thine ardours cease to glow,
A few days before the first of his Essays, intituled the Rambler, came out, there started another competitor for fame, in the same form, under the title of "The Tatler Revived," which was born but to die." Johnson was not very happy in the choice of his title, "The Rambler," which certainly is not suited to a series of grave and moral discourses; which the Italians have literally, but ludicrously, translated by Il Vagabondo. He gave Sir Joshua Reynolds the following account of its getting this name: "What must
must be done, Sir, will be done. When I was to begin publishing that paper, I was at a loss how to name it; I sat down at night upon my bedside, and resolved that I would not go to sleep till I had fixed its title. The Rambler seemed the best that occurred, and I took it."
With what devout and conscientious sentiments this Paper was undertaken, is evidenced by the following prayer, which he composed and offered up on the occasion: "Almighty GoD, the giver of all good things, without whose help all labour is ineffectual, and without whose grace all wisdom is folly; grant, I beseech Thee, that in this undertaking thy Holy Spirit / may not be with-held from me, but that I may promote thy glory, and the salvation of myself and others: -grant this, O LORD, for the sake of thy son, JESUS CHRIST. Amen."
The first Paper of the Rambler was published on Tuesday the 20th of March, 1750; and its author was enabled to continue it, without interruption, every Tuesday and Friday, till Saturday the 17th of March, 1752, on which day it closed. Notwithstanding his constitutional indolence, his depression of spirits, and his labour in carrying on his Dictionary, he answered the stated calls of the press twice a week from the stores of his mind, during all that time having received. no assistance, except four billets in No. 10, by Miss Mulso, now Mrs. Chapone; No. 30, by Mrs. Catherine Talbot; No. 97, by Mr. Samuel Richardson,. whom he describes, in an introductory note, as An author who has enlarged the knowledge of human nature, and taught the passions to move at the command of virtue;" and Numbers 44 and 100, by Mrs. Eliza-beth Carter.
Posterity will be astonished when they are told, upon. the authority of Johnson himself, that many of these discourses, which we should suppose had been laboured with all the slow attention of literary leisure, were written in haste, as the moment pressed, without even being read over by him before they were printed. It can be accounted for only in this way; that by reading. and
and meditation, and a very close inspection of life, he had accumulated a great fund of miscellaneous knowledge, which, by a peculiar promptitude of mind, was ever ready at his call, and which he had constantly accustomed himself to clothe in the most apt and energetic expression. Sir Joshua Reynolds once asked him by what means he had attained his extraordinary accuracy and flow of language. He told him, that he had early laid it down as a fixed rule to do his best on every occasion; and in every company to impart whatever he knew in the most forcible language he could put it in; and that by constant practice, and never suffering any careless expressions to escape him, or attempting to deliver his thoughts without arranging them in the clearest manner, it became habitual to him.
As the Rambler was entirely the work of onė man, there was of course, such an uniformity in its texture, as very much to exclude the charm of variety; and the grave, and often solemn cast of thinking, which distinguished it from other periodical papers, made it, for some time, not generally liked. So slowly did this excellent work, of which twelve editions have now issued from the press, gain upon the world at large, that even in the closing number the author says, "I have never been much a favourite of the public."
Johnson told Mr. B. with an amiable fondness, a little pleasing circumstance relative to this work. Mrs. Johnson, in whose judgment and taste he had great confidence, said to him, after a few numbers of the Rambler had come out, "I thought very well of you before; but I did not imagine you could have written any thing equal to this." Distant praise, from whatever quarter, is not so delightful as that of a wife whom a man loves and esteems. Her approbations may be said to come home to his bosom ;" and being so near, its effect is most sensible and permanent.
In 1751, we are to consider him as carrying on both his Dictionary and Rambler. But he also wrote "The Life of Cheynel," in the miscellany called "The Student; and the Reverend Dr. Douglas having, with uncommon acuteness, clearly detected a gross forgery