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and six stately horses ?. JOHNSON. “

Why, sir, the truth is, they both drive coaches and six; but Dryden's horses are either galloping or stumbling: Pope's go at a steady even trot ?." He said of Goldsmith's “ Traveller,” which had been published in my absence, “ There has not been so fine a poem since Pope's time.”

And here it is proper to settle, with authentick precision, what has long floated in publick report, as to Johnson's being himself the authour of a considerable part of that poem. Much, no doubt, both of the sentiments and expression were derived from conversation with him"; and it was certainly submitted to his friendly revision : but in the year 1783, he at my request marked with a pencil the lines which he had furnished, which are only line 420th,



“To stop too fearful, and too faint to go;"

and the concluding ten lines, except the last couplet but one, which I distinguish by the italic character :

• How small of all that human hearts endure,

That part which kings or laws can cause or cure.
Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find ;
With secret course which no loud storms annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestick joy:

1 It is remarkable that Mr. Gray has employed somewhat the same image to characterise Dryden. He indeed furnishes his car with but two horses ; but they are of “ethereal race:”

“ Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car,

Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
With necks in thunder clothed, and long resounding pace.

Ode on the Progress of Poesy.--BoswELL. ? [Johnson, in the life of Pope, has made a comparison between him and Dryden, in the spirit of this correction of Voltaire's metaphor. It is one of the most beautiful critical passages in our language, and was probably suggested to Johnson's mind by this conversation, although he did not make use of the same illustration.—ED.]

3 [This rests on no authority whatever, and may well be doubted. The Traveller is a poem which, in a peculiar degree, seems written from the personal ob. servation and feelings of its author.. ED.)

The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel,
To men remote from power, but rarely known,
Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own."

He added, “These are all of which I can be sure.” They bear a small proportion to the whole, which consists of four hundred and thirty-eight verses. Goldsmith, in the couplet which he inserted', mentions Luke as a person well known, and superficial readers have passed it over quite smoothly; while those of more attention have been as much perplexed by Luke as by Lydiat, in “The Vanity of Human

, Wishes." The truth is, that Goldsmith himself was in a mistake. In the 6

In the “ Respublica Hungarica,there is an account of a desperate rebellion in the year 1514, headed by two brothers, of the name of Zeck, George and Luke.” When it was quelled, George, not Luke, was punished by his head being encircled with a red hot-iron crown: “coronâ candescente ferreâ coronatur.The same severity of torture was exercised on the Earl of Athol, one of the murderers of King James I. of Scotland.

Dr. Johnson at the same time favoured me by marking the lines which he furnished to Goldsmith's “Deserted Village,” which are only the last four :

“ That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,

As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away:
While self-dependent power can time defy,

As rocks resist the billows and the sky.” Talking of education, “ People have nowadays (said he) got a strange opinion that every thing should be taught by lectures. Now, I cannot see that lec- ,

[This is a strange way of speaking of the lines of an author in his own poem -Johnson's were rather the insertion ; and it must be observed that they could only have been alterations of, or substitutions for other lines, conveying, though perhaps in less effective language, the same or similar sentiments.--Ed.]

? On the iron crown, see Mr. Steevens's note 7, on act iv. scene i. of Richard III. It seems to be alluded to in Macbeth, act iv. scene i. : “Thy crown does sear,” &c. See also Gough's Camden, vol. iii. p. 396. — BLAKEWAY.

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tures can do so much good as reading the books from which the lectures are taken. I know nothing that can be best taught by lectures, except where experiments are to be shown. You

You may teach chymistry by lectures :-you might teach making of shoes by lectures!"

At night I supped with him at the Mitre tavern, that we might renew our social intimacy at the original place of meeting. But there was now a considerable difference in his way of living. Having had an illness', in which he was advised to leave off wine, he had, from that period, continued to abstain from it, and drank only water or lemonade.

I told him that a foreign friend of his , whom I had met with abroad, was so wretchedly perverted to infidelity, that he treated the hopes of immortality with brutal levity; and said, “ As man dies like a dog, let him lie like a dog.” JOHNSON. “ If he dies like a dog, let him lie like a dog." I added, that this man said to me, “I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.” JOHNSON. “Sir, he must be very singular in his opinion, if he thinks himself one of the best of men; for none of his friends think him so." —He said, “No honest man could be a Deist; for no man could be so after a fair examination of the proofs of Christianity.” I named Hume. JOHNSON. “No, sir; Hume owned to a clergyman in the bishoprick of Durham, that he had never read the New Testament with attention.”-I mentioned Hume's notion, that all who are happy are equally happy; a little miss with a new gown at a dancing-school ball, a general at the head of a victorious army, and an orator after having made an eloquent speech in a

[Probably the severe fit of hypochondria referred to ante, vol. i. p 501,-Ep.]

P ? (Probably Baretti. Ed.]

A peasant


great assembly. JOHNSON. “Sir, that all who are happy are equally happy, is not true. and a philosopher may be equally satisfied, but not equally happy. Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness. A peasant has not capacity for having equal happiness with a philosopher.” I remember this very question very happily illustrated in opposition to Hume, by the Rev. Mr. Robert Brown, at Utrecht. “ A small drinking-glass and a large one (said he) may be equally full, but the large one holds more than the small."

Dr. Johnson was very kind this evening, and said to me, “ You have now lived five-and-twenty years, and you have employed them well.” “ Alas, sir (said I), I fear not. Do I know history? Do I know mathematicks? Do I know law?” JOHNSON. “

“Why, sir, though you may know no science so well as to be able to teach it, and no profession so well as to be able to follow it, your general mass of knowledge of books and men renders you very capable to make yourself master of any science, or fit yourself for any profession.” I mentioned that a gay friend had ad

serves, that "

1 Bishop Hall, in discussing this subject, has the same image : “ Yet so conceive of these heavenly degrees, that the least is glorious. So do these vessels differ, that all are full.Epistles, Dec. iii. cap. 6. “ Of the different degrees of heavenly glory.' This most learned and ingenious writer, however, was not the first who suggested this image; for it is found also in an old book entitled “ A Work worth the reading,” by Charles Gibbon, 4to. 1591. In the fifth dialogue of this work, in which the question debated is, “whether there be de grees of glorie in heaven," or difference of paines in hell,” one of the speakers ob

no doubt in the world to come (where the least pleasure is unspeakable), it cannot be but that he which hath bin most afflicted here shall conceive and receive more exceeding joy than he which hath bin touched with lesse tribu.

and yet the joyes of heaven are fitlie compared to vessels filled with licour, of all quantities ; for everie man shall have his full measure there.” By “ all quantities,” this writer (who seems to refer to a still more ancient authour than himself), I suppose, means different quantities.--MALONE.

[All these illustrations, like most physical illustrations of moral subjects, are imperfect. A little miss and a great general are not full of the same liquor : the peasant's cup may be as full as the philosopher's, but one may be full of water and the other of wine. Moral and intellectual feelings are not to be esti, mated by quantity only, but by the quality also.--Ed.]



vised me against being a lawyer, because I should be excelled by plodding blockheads. JOHNSON. “Why, sir, in the formulary and statutory part of law, a plodding blockhead may excel; but in the ingenious and rational part of it, a plodding blockhead can never excel.”

I talked of the mode adopted by some to rise in the world, by courting great men', and asked him whether he had ever submitted to it. JOHNSON. “Why, sir, I never was near enough to great men, to court them. You may be prudently attached to great men, and yet independent. You are not to do what you think wrong; and, sir, you are to calculate, and not pay too dear for what you get. You must not give a shilling's worth of court for sixpence worth of good. But if you can get a shilling's worth of good for sixpence worth of court, you are a fool if you do not

pay court."


He said, “If convents should be allowed at all, they should only be retreats for persons unable to serve the publick, or who have served it. It is our first duty to serve society”; and after we have done that, we may attend wholly to the salvation of our own souls. A youthful passion for abstracted devotion should not be encouraged."

” I introduced the subject of second sight, and other


1 [See ante, vol. i. p. 101.-ED.)

[This observation has given offence, as if it seemed to sanction the postponement of the care of our salvation, until we should have performed all our duties to society; which would be, in fact, an adjournment sine die. But Dr. Johnson was talking of monastic retirement, and, from the context, as well as from his own practice, it is clear that he must have meant, that an entire abstraction from the world, and an exclusive dedication to recluse devotion, was not justifiable as long as any of our duties to society were unperformed. Bishop Taylor, who will not be suspected of worldliness, has a sentiment not dissimilar: “ If our youth be chaste and temperate, moderate and industrious, proceeding, through a prudent and sober manhood, to a religious old age, then we have lived our whole duration, and shall never die."--Holy Dying, c. i. s. 3. Neither the bishop nor Dr. Johnson could mean that youth and manhood should not be religious, but that they should not be religious to the exclusion of the social duties of industry, prudence, &c. See post, 19th August, 1773, where Johnson quotes from Hesiod, a line which Bishop Taylor had probably in his mind. -ED.)

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