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Burgundy, and was exceedingly gay and entertaining.
I cannot withhold from my great friend a censure of at least culpable inattention to a nobleman, who, it has been shown, behaved to him with uncommon politeness.
except Lord Bathurst, none of Pope's noble friends were such as that a good man would wish to have his intimacy with them known to posterity.” This will not apply to Lord Mansfield, who was not ennobled in Pope's lifetime; but Johnson should have recollected, that Lord Marchmont was one of those noble friends. (1) He includes his lordship, along with Lord Bolingbroke, in a charge of neglect of the papers which Pope left by his will; when, in truth, as I myself pointed out to him, before he wrote that poet's life, the papers
committed to the sole care and judgment of Lord Bolingbroke, unless he (Lord Bolingbroke) shall not survive me;" so that Lord Marchmont has no concern whatever with them. After the first edition of the Lives, Mr. Malone, whose love of justice is equal to his accuracy, made, in my hearing, the same remark to Johnson; yet he omitted to correct the erropeous statement. (2) These particulars I mention, in the belief that there was only forgetfulness in my friend; but I owe this much to
(1) He said, on a subsequent occasion, that another of Pope's noble friends, “ Lord Peterborough, was a favourite of his." See post, 27th June, 1784. — C.
(2) This neglect, however, assuredly did not arise from any 1l-will towards Lord Marchmont, but from inattention; just as he neglected to correct his statement concerning the family of Thomson, the poet, after it had been shown to be erroneous. — M.
the Earl of Marchmont's reputation, who, were there no other memorials, will be immortalised by that line of Pope, in the verses on his Grotto : “ And the bright flame was shot through Marchmont's soul."
Various Readings in the Life of POPE. [Somewhat free] sufficiently bold in his criticism. “ All the gay [niceties] varieties of diction.
« Strikes the imagination with far [more] greater force.
“ It is [probably] certainly the noblest version of poetry which the world has ever seen.
“ Every sheet enabled him to write the next with [less trouble] more facility.
“No man sympathises with [vanity depressed] the sorrows of vanity.
“ It had been [criminal] less easily excused.
“ When he (threatened to lay down] talked of laying down his pen.
“ Society (is so named emphatically in opposition to] politically regulated, is a state contradistinguished from a state of nature.
“ A fictitious life of an [absurd] infatuated scholar. “ A foolish (contempt, disregard,] disesteem of kings.
“ His hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows [were like those of other mortals] acted strongly upon his mind.
“ Eager to pursue knowledge and attentive to [accumulate] retain it.
“ A mind [excursive] active, ambitious, and adven. turous.
“ In its (noblest] widest searches still longing to go forward.
“ He wrote in such a manner as might expose him to few [neglects] hazards.
“ The [reasonablėness] justice of my determination.
“ A [favourite] delicious employment of the poets.
“ More terrific and more powerful [beings] phantoms perform on the stormy ocean.
“ The inventor of [those] this petty [beings] nation. “ The [mind] heart naturally loves truth.”
In the Life of ADDISON we find an unpleasing account of his having lent Steele a hundred pounds, and “reclaimed his loan by an execution.” In the new edition of the Biographia Britannica, the authenticity of this anecdote is denied. But Mr. Ma. lone has obliged me with the following note concerning it :
“ March 15th, 1781.-Many persons having doubts concerning this fact, I applied to Dr. Johnson, to learn on what authority he asserted it. He told me, he had it from Savage, who lived in intimacy with Steele, and who mentioned, that Steele told him the story with tears in his eyes. Ben Victor, Dr. Johnson said, like. wise informed him of this remarkable transaction, from the relation of Mr. Wilkes the comedian, who was also an intimate of Steele’s. (') Some, in defence of Addison, have said, that 'the act was done with the good-natured view of rousing Steele, and correcting that profusion which always made him necessitous.' "If that were the case,' said Johnson, and that he only
(1) The late Mr. Burke informed me, in 1792, that Lady Dorothea Primrose, who died at a great age, I think in 1768, and had been well acquainted with Steele, told him the same story.
M.- Lady Dorothea was the sixth and youngest daughter of the first Earl of Roseberry, but she could not have been, at her death, in 1768, more than sixty-five, and was probably several years less, and could have been little more than a child when Addison died; so that her evidence as a contemporary is not worth much. If the story be at all true, the most probable explanation is that which was given by Mr. Thomas Sheridan (see post, 15th April, 1781), namely, that it was a friendly execution put in to screen Steele's goods from hostile creditors. A not infrequent practice, nor quite unjustifiable, if the debt be real. -C
wanted to alarm Seele, he would afterwards have re. turned the money to his friend, which it is not pretended he did.' * This too,' he added, "might be retorted by an advocate for Steele, who might allege, that he did not repay the loan intentionally, merely to see whether Addison would be mean and ungenerous enough to make use of legal process to recover it.
But of such spe. culations there is no end : we cannot dive into the hearts of men ; but their actions are open to observation.'
I then mentioned to him that some people thought that Mr. Addison's character was so pure, that the fact, though true, ought to have been suppressed. He saw no reason for this. If nothing but the bright side of characters should be shown, we should sit down in de. spondency, and think it utterly impossible to imitate them in any thing. The sacred writers,' he observed, 'reated the vicious as well as the virtuous actions of men ; which had this moral effect, that it kept mankind from despair, into which otherwise they would naturally fall, were they not supported by the recollection that others had offended like themselves, and by penitence and amendment of life had been restored to the favour of Heaven.' (1)
E. M.” The last paragraph of this note is of great importance ; and I request that my readers may
(1) I have since observed, that Johnson has further enforced the propriety of exhibiting the faults of virtuous and eminent men in their true colours, in the last paragraph of the 164th Number of his Rambler:-
“It is particularly the duty of those who consign illustrious names to posterity, to take care lest their readers be misled by ambiguous examples. That writer may be justly condemned as an enemy to goodness, who suffers fondness or interest to confound right with wrong, or to shelter the faults which even the wisest and the best have committed, from that ignominy which guilt ought always to suffer, and with which it should be more deeply stigmatised, when dignified by its neighbourhood to uncommon worth ; since we shall be in danger of beholding it without abhorrence, unless its turpitude be laid open, and the eye secured from the deception of airrounding splendour." - M.
consider it with particular attention. It will be afterwards referred to in this work.
Various Readings in the Life of Addison.
[But he was our first example.] He was, however, one of our earliest examples of correctness.
“ And Coverlook] despise their masters.
“ His instructions were such as the [state] character of his [own time] readers made [necessary] proper.
“ His purpose was to [diffuse] infuse literary curia osity by gentle and unsuspected conveyance [among] into the gay, the idle, and the wealthy.
“ Framed rather for those that [wish] are learning to write.
“ Domestic (manners] scenes.
In his Life of PARNELL, I wonder that Johnson omitted to insert an epitaph which he had long before composed for that amiable man, without ever writing it down, but which he was so good as, at my request, to dictate to me, by which means it has been preserved.
“ Hic requiescit THOMAS PARNELL, S. T. P.
Utrasque partes ita implevit,
Various Readings in the Life of PARNELL. “ About three years [after] afterwards.
[Did not much want] was in no great need of im provement.
“ But his prosperity did not last long (was clouded with that which took away all his powers of enjoying either profit or pleasure, the death of his wife, whom he is said to have lamented with such sorrow, as hastened