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NEXT day I found him at home in the morning. He praised Delany's "Observations on Swift;" said that his book and Lord Orrery's might both be true, though one viewed Swift more, and the other less favourably; and that, between both, we might have a complete notion of Swift.

Talking of a man's resolving to deny himself the use of wine, from moral and religious considerations, he said, "He must not doubt about it. When one doubts as to pleasure, we know what will be the conclusion. I now no more think of drinking wine than a horse does. The wine upon the table is no more for me than for the dog that is under the table."

On Thursday, April 9, I dined with him at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, with the Bishop of St. Asaph (Dr. Shipley), Mr. Allan Ramsay,' Mr. Gibbon, Mr. Cambridge, and Mr. Langton. Mr. Ramsay had lately returned from Italy, and entertained us with his observations upon Horace's villa, which he had examined with great care. I relished this much, as it brought fresh into my mind what I had viewed with great pleasure thirteen years before. The Bishop, Dr. Johnson, and Mr. Cambridge joined with Mr. Ramsay in recollecting the various lines in Horace relating to the subject.


'Lo que erà firme huió, solamente
Lo Fugitivo permanece y dura.""

JOHNSON: "Sir, that is taken from Janus Vitalis :

Horace's journey to Brundusium being mentioned, Sat. 1. i. 5, Johnson observed, that the brook which he describes is to be seen now, exactly as at that time: and that he had often wondered how it happened, that small brooks, such as this, kept the same situation for ages, notwithstanding earthquakes, by which even mountains have been changed, and agriculture, which produces such a variation upon the surface of the earth. CAMBRIDGE: 66 A Spanish writer has this thought in a poetical conceit." After observing that most of the solid structures of Rome are totally perished, while the Tiber remains the same, he adds,


immota labescunt;
Et quæ perpetuò sunt agitata manent."

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The Bishop said, it appeared from Horace's writings that he was a cheerful contented man. JOHNSON: "We have no reason to believe that, my Lord. Are we to think Pope was happy, because he says so in his writings? We see in his writings what he wished the state of his mind to appear. Dr. Young, who pined for preferment, talks with contempt of it in his writings, and affects to despise everything that he did not despise." BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH: "He was like other chaplains, looking for vacancies: but that is not peculiar to the clergy.

1 Allan Ramsay, painter to his Majesty, who died 10th of August, 1784, in the seventy-first year of his age, much regretted by his friends.-BOSWELL.

I remember when I was with the army, after the battle of Lafeldt, the officers seriously grumbled that no general was killed." CAMBRIDGE: "We may believe Horace more, when he says,—

'Romæ Tibur amem ventosus, Tibure Romam;'

than when he boasts of his consistency :

'Me constare mihi scis, et discedere tristem,
Quandocunque trahunt invisa negotia Romam."

BOSWELL: "How hard is it that man can never be at rest." RAMSAY:

"It is not in his nature to be at rest. When he is at rest, he is in the worst state that he can be in; for he has nothing to agitate him. He is then like the man in the Irish song



"There lived a young man in BallinaWho wanted a wife for to make him unaisy.'




Goldsmith being mentioned, Johnson observed that it was long before his merit came to be acknowledged that he once complained to him, in ludicrous terms of distress, "Whenever I write anything, the public make a point to know nothing about it:" but that his "Travelveller," brought him into high reputation. LANGTON: "There is not one bad line in that poem-no one of Dryden's careless verses." SIR JOSHUA: "I was glad to hear Charles Fox say, it was one of the finest poems in the English language." LANGTON: 66 Why were you glad? You surely had no doubt of this before." JOHNSON: "No; the merit of The Traveller' is so well established, that Mr. Fox's praise cannot augment it, nor his censure diminish it." SIR JOSHUA: "But his friends may suspect they had too great a partiality for him." JOHNSON: "Nay, Sir, the partiality of his friends was always against him. It was with difficulty we could give him a hearing. Goldsmith had no settled notions upon any subject; so he talked always at random. It seemed to be his intention to blurt out whatever was in his mind, and see what would become of it. He was angry too, when caught in an absurdity;

1 First published in 1765.-MALONE.

but it did not prevent him from falling into another the next minute. I remember Chamier,' after talking with him some time, said, 'Well, I do believe he wrote this poem himself: and, let me tell you, that is believing a great deal.' Chamier once asked him, what he meant by slow, the last word in the first line of 'The Traveller,'

'Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow.'

Did he mean tardiness of locomotion? Goldsmith, who would say something without consideration, answered, 'Yes.' I was sitting by, and said, 'No, Sir; you do not mean tardiness of locomotion; you mean that sluggishness of mind which comes upon a man in solitude.' Chamier believed then that I had written the line, as much as if he had seen me write it. Goldsmith, however, was a man, who, whatever he wrote, did it better than any other man could do. He deserved a place in Westminster Abbey; and every year he lived, would have deserved it better. He had indeed been at no pains to fill his mind with knowledge. He transplanted it from one place to another; and it did not settle in his mind; so he could not tell what was in his own books."

We talked of living in the country. JOHNSON: "No wise man will go to live in the country, unless he has something to do which can be better done in the country. For instance: if he is to shut himself up for a year to study a science, it is better to look out to the fields, than to an opposite wall. Then if a man walks out in the country, there is nobody to keep him from walking in again; but if a man walks out in London, he is not sure when he shall walk in again. A great city is, to be sure, the school for studying life; and 'the proper study of mankind

is man,' as Pope observes." BOSWELL: "I fancy London is the best place for society: though I have heard that the very first society of Paris is still beyond anything that we have here." JOHNSON: "Sir, I question if in Paris such a company as is sitting round this table could be got together in less than half a-year. They talk in France of the felicity of men and women living together: the truth is, that there the men are not higher than the women, they know no more than the women do, and they are not held down in their conversation by the presence of women.' RAMSAY: "Literature is upon the growth; it is in its spring in France; here it is rather passée." JOHNSON: "Literature was in France long before we had it. Paris was the second city for the revival of letters: Italy had it first, to be sure. What have we done for literature, equal to what was done by the Stephani and others in France? Our literature came to us through France. Caxton printed only two books, Chaucer and Gower, that were not translations


1 Anthony Chamier, Esq., a member of the LITERARY CLUB, and Under-Secretary of State. He died Oct. 12 1780.-MALONE.

from the French; and Chaucer, we know, took much from the Italians. No, Sir, if literature be in its spring in France, it is a second spring; it is after a winter. We are now before the French in literature; but we had it long after them in England; any man who wears a sword and a powdered wig, is ashamed to be illiterate. I believe it is not so in France. Yet there is, probably, a great deal of learning in France, because they have such a number of religious establishments; so many men who have nothing else to do but to study. I do not know this; but I take it upon the common principles of chance. Where there are many shooters, some will hit."

We talked of old age. Johnson (now in his seventieth year), said "It is a man's own fault, it is from want of use, if his mind grows torpid in old age." The bishop asked, if an old man does not lose faster than he gets. JOHNSON: "I think not, my Lord, if he exerts himself." One of the company rashly observed, that he thought it was happy for an old man that insensibility comes upon him. JOHNSON (with a noble elevation and disdain): "No, Sir, I should never be happy by being less rational." BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH: "Your wish then, Sir, is γηράσκειν διδασκόμενος.” JOHNSON: "Yes, my Lord." His Lordship mentioned a charitable establishment in Wales, where people were maintained, and supplied with everything, upon the condition of their contributing the weekly produce of their labour; and he said they grew quite torpid for the want of property. JOHNSON: "They have no object for hope. Their condition cannot be better. It is rowing without a port."

One of the company asked him the meaning of the expression in Juvenal, unius lacertæ. JOHNSON : I think it clear enough; as much ground as one may have a chance to find a lizard upon."

Commentators have differed as to the exact meaning of the expression by which the poet intended to enforce the sentiment contained in the passage where these words occur. It is enough that they mean to denote even a very small possession, provided it be a man's own •—

"Est aliquid, quocunque loco, quocunque recessu,
Unius sese dominum fecisse lacerta." 2

This season there was a whimsical fashion in the newspapers of applying Shakspeare's words to describe living persons well known in the world; which was done under the title of "Modern Characters from Shakspeare;" many of which were admirably adapted. The fancy took so much, that they were afterwards collected into a pamphlet.

1 To grow old in learning.

2 Juvenal, Sat. iii. 230.-Thus translated by Gifford :

"And sure-in any corner we can get

To call one lizard ours, is something yet."

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