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the style and diction of the whole work*, then intended to make only four vols. with power to alter, expunge, or add, as he liked. He was also to supply notes, occasionally, especially concerning those dramatic poets with whom he had been chiefly conversant. He also engaged to write several of the Lives; which (as we are told,) he, accordingly, performed. He was farther useful in striking out all the Jacobitical and Tory sentiments, which Shiells had industriously interspersed wherever he could bring them in;-and, as the success of the work appeared, after all, very doubtful, he was contented with twenty-one pounds for his labour, befide a few fets of the books, to disperse among his friends.-Shiells had nearly seventy pounds; beside the advantage of many of the best lives in the work being commu-' nicated by friends to the undertaking; and for which Mr. Shiells had the same consideration as for the rest, being paid by the sheet, for the whole. He was, however, so angry with his Whiggith supervisor, (The. like his father, being a vio. lent stickler for the political principles which prevailed in the reign of George the Second,) for so unmercifully mutilating his copy, and scouting his politics, that he wrote Cibber a chal. lenge : but was prevented from sending it, by the publisher, who fairly laughed him out of his fury. The proprietors, too, were discontented, in the end, on account of Mr. Cibber's unexpected industry; for his corrections and alterations in the proof-heets were lo numerous and considerable, that the printer made for them a grievous addition to his bill; and, in fine, all parties were dissatisfied. On the whole, the work was productive of no profit to the undertakers; who had agreed, in case of success, to make Cibber a present of some addition to the twenty guineas which he had received, and for which his receipt is now in the booksellers' hands. We are farther afsured, that he actually obtained an additional fum, when he, soon after, (in the year 1758,) unfortunately embarked for Dublin, on an engagement for one of the theatres there : but the ship was cast away, and every person on board perifhed, There were about 60 paflengers, among whom was the Earl of Drogheda, with many other persons of consequence and property.
As to the alleged design of making the compilement pass for the work of old Mr. Cibber, the charge seems to have been founded on a fomewhat uncharitable construction. We are
* They were also desirous of fome name to it, disliking anonymous publications, especially to compilements; and that of CIBBER was deemed of better found than the name of SHIELLS, wbich was to: tally unknown to the public ; and The, accordingly consented.
affured that the thought was not harboured by some of the proprietors, who are still living, and we hope that it did not occur to the first designer of the work, who was also the printer of it; and who bore a respectable character.
We have been induced to enter, thus circumstantially, into the foregoing detail of facts relating to the Lives of the Poets compiled by Meffrs, Cibber and Shiells, from a fincere regard to that facred principle of TRUTH, to which Dr. Johnson lo sigidly adhered, according to the best of his knowlege ; and which, we believe, no consideration would have prevailed on him to violate. - In regard to the matter, which we now dirmiss, he had, no doubt, been mifled by partial and wrong information : Shiells was the Doctor's amanuensis; he had quarrelled with Cibber; it is natural to suppose that he told his story in his own way; and it is certain that he was not ca very sturdy moralist.
Speaking of poets, and poetry, Johnson declared that poetry is not translateable. Mr. B. had given his opinion, that the translation of poetry could be only imitation. The Doctor's remark was this:
• You may translate books of science exactly. You may also translate history, in so far as it is not embellished with oratory, which is poetical. Poetry, indeed, cannot be tranflated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve languages; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a language, if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language.'
This remark is certainly just; and it may stand as an apology for the general failure of translators, in their endeavours to transfuse the beauties of ancient poets into a modern language, or from one modern language into another; fince none can be totally condemned for not performing impoffibilities, Dr. Johnson's opinion may, however, have some tendency toward discouraging future attempts at poetic translation :-in which case, the generality of readers, who have little learning, may be deprived of a considerable portion of their literary entertainment and information.
We were struck with the fombre complexion of a remark which fell from Dr. Johnson, on his visiting, in company with our author, Lord Scarsdale's fine seat, Keddlestone, near Derby. Mr. B. was delighted with the magnificence of the building, with the extensive park, and with the fine verdure, covered with deer, cattle, and Meep.' The number of cld oaks, of an immenfe fize, 'filled me, (fays he,) with a sort of respectful admiration : for one of them, fixty pounds was offered. The excellent smooth gravel roads; the large piece of water, formed
by his Lordship from fome small brooks, with a handsome barge upon it; the venerable Gothic church, now the family chapel, just by the house; in short, the grand groupe of objects agitated and distended my mind in a molt agreeable man
One fhould think, faid I, that the proprietor of all this must be happy."-" Nay, Sir, (said Johnson,) all this excludes but one evil-Poverty.'
The remark of a lady on this grave and unleasonable refleetion was admirable: “ It is true, all this excludes only one EVIL ; but how much GOOD does it let in !" Vol. II. p. 148, the note.
The following passage, among a multitude of others, which might be selected from these multifarious volumes, will serve to evince the amazing fertility and force of Johnson's imagination, even when employed on the most common topics, and on fuch events as usually pass unnoticed by ordinary minds :
Vol. II. p. 242, We talk'd,' fays our biographer, 'of a gentleman who, we apprehended, was gradually involving his circumstances, by bad management. Dr. Johnson observed, that " waking a fortune, is evaporation by a thousand imperceptible means. If it were a stream, they would stop it,-were he a gamefter, it could be said he had hopes of winning. Were he a bankrupt in trade, he might have grown rich; but he has neither spirit to spend, nor resolution to spare. He does not spend fast enough to have pleasure from it. He has the crime of prodigality, and the wretchedness of parfimony. If a man is killed in a duel, he is killed as many a one has been killed; but it is a sad thing to lie down and die, to bleed to death, because he has not fortitude enough to fear the wound, or even to fow it up." - I cannot, adds Mr. B. but pause a moment to admire the fecundity of fancy, and choice of language, which, in this instance, and, indeed, on almost all occasions, he displayed. It was well observed by Dr. Percy, now Bishop of Dromore, “ the conversation of Dr. Johnson is strong and clear, and may be compared to an antique itatue, where every vein aod muscle is diftinct and bold. Ordinary conversation resembles an inferior caft.”
It is now time for us to close our excerpts from a work that contains an almost inexhaustible store of wonderfully varied materials, from which not only this month's Review, but many Reviews, might be amply enriched. The great difficulty tbat we have had to encounter, in giving a sketch of Mr. B.'s performance, (for it is but a mere outline of it that we could pretend to offer to our readers,) was, the selection of passages, as proper specimens : but to convey an adequate idea of the admirable sayings *, remarks, and literary correspondence, of the
* We cannot sufficiently commend our author for his accuracy in fo uniformly preserving the exact Ayle and diction of Johnson, in tinguished genius whose life, works, and conversacion, are the subject of these volumes, was impossible, within the limits of a periodical pamphlet of moderate fize. We must, therefore, after all, refer, for farther fatisfaction, to Mr. Bofwell's compilement at large; in which the candid reader, who seeks for rational entertainment, and moral instruction, will reap an abundant harvest; though he will, possibly, meet with some things that may neither prove acceptable to every taste, nor suit with every opinion.-We now come to the promised conclusion of this article-Mr. Bofwell's general character of Dr. Johason *; fomewhat abbreviated, to save room.
• His figure was large, and well formed, and his countenance had the cart of an ancient tacue ; yet his appearance was rendered somewhat uncouch, by convulsive cramps, by the scars of that distemper which it was once imagined the royal touch could core to aod by a slovenly mode of dress. He had the use of only one eye ; yet so much does mind govern and even supply the deficiency of orgaos, that his visual perceptions, as far as they extended, were uncommonly quick and accurate. So morbid was his temperament, that he never knew the natural joy of a free and vigorons use of his limbs : when he walk'd, it was like the struggling gait of one in fetters; when he rode, he had no command or direction of his horse, but was carried as if in a balloon f. That, with his conftitution and habits of life, he should have lived seventy-five years, is a proof that an inherent vivida vis is a powerful preservative of the humar frame.
• Man, (continues the biographer,) is, in general, made up of contradi&tory qualities, and these will ever thew themselves in all the repetitions here given, of what was said by him in the various conversations that are rehearsed in this work; and it is more. over to be observed, thac Mr. B. (a North Briton,) has so feldom made the Doctor utter a Scotticism! We have remarked, en paffent, but two instances, viz. p. 26. of vol. ii. · The chaplain of a bishop whom I was to aslift in writing some memoirs, could tell me almeji nothing.' Again, ib. p. 192, Addison, in one of his Spectalors, commends the judgment of a king, who rewarded a man who had attained the art of darting barley-corns through the eye of a needle, by giving him a bushel of barley; on which Johnson semarked "He has been a king of Scotland, where barley is scarce."
Our author observes, in a note, that much of the original character of the Do&tor, which was given of him in his (Mr. B.'s) Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, is here adopted. + Johnson himself was actually touched, bus not cured, by Q. Anne.
Those who have seen the ungainly motions of an air balloon, in the original fimplicity of its first exhibitions, before the appendages were contrived for the accommodation of aerial travellers, can best form an adequate idea of the propriety of this comparison; which, ia our opinion, is very happily applied.
strange fucceflion, where a consistency in appearance at least, if not in reality, has not been attained by long habits of philosophical discipline. In proportion to the native vigor of the mind, the con. tradictory qualities will be the more prominent, and more difficulo to be adjusted, and therefore we are noc co wonder that Johnson exhibited an eminent example of this remark which I have made upon human nature. At different times he seemed a different man, in some respects ; not, however, in any great or essential article, on which he had fully employed his mind and settled certain prin. ciples of duty, but only in his manners, and in displays of argument and fancy in his talk. He was prone to superftition, but not to credulity. Though his imagination might incline him to a belief of the marvellous and the mysterious, his vigorous reason ex2. mined the evidence with jealousy. He was a sincere and zealous Chriftian, of high church of England and monarchical principles, which he would not tamely suffer to be questioned ; and had, perhaps, at an early period, narrowed his mind somewhat 100 much, both as to religion and politics., His being impressed with the dan. ger of extreme latitude in either, though he was of a very independent spirit, occasioned his appearing somewhat unfavourable to the prevalence of that noble freedom of spirit which is the best porn fellion of man. Nor can it be denied that he had many prejudices, which, however, frequently fuggefted many of his pointed sayings, that rather thew a playfulness of fancy, than any settled malignity. He was fleady and in flexible in maintaining the obligations of religion and moraliiy, boih from a regard for the order of society, and from a veneration for the Great Source of all order į correct, nay fern in his talle ; hard to please, and easily offended; impetuous and irritable in his temper, but of a humane and benevolent heart, which Mewed itself not only in a most liberal charity, as far as his circumstances would allow, but in a thousand instances of active benevolence. He was afflicted with a bodily disease which made him reftless and frein fol, and with a constitutional melancholy, the clouds of which darkened the brightness of his fancy, and gave a gloomy cast to the whole course of his thinking: we therefore ought not to wonder at bis fallies of impatience and pallion, especially when provoked by obtrusive ignorance, or presuming petulance; and allowance must be made for his uttering hasty and satirical fallies, even against his best friends. And surely, when it is conGdered that " amida fickness and sorrow," he exerted his faculties in so many works for the benefit of mankind, and particularly that he achieved the great
and admirable Dillionary of our language, we must be astonished at his resolution. The foleon text of him to whom much is given, much will be required," seems to have been ever present to his Dvind, in a rigorous sense, and to have made him dissatisfied with his labours, and acts of goodness, however comparatively great ; so that the unavoidable consciousness of his superiority was, in that refpe&, a cause of disquiet. He suffered so much from this, and from ine gloom which perpetually haunted him, and made solitude frightful, that it may be laid of him, “ if in this life only he had