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Library of Pembroke College. They lie there to this day for inspection and examination. It is not to be said that they bear traces of being prepared for the press ; but every line of them attests the extraordinary diligence with which Johnson revised and corrected them. No manuscripts could more loudly proclaim that he did not mean them to be destroyed : he meant them to be preserved. Any man with a conscience would have shuddered at the very notion of destroying a record which bore the stamp of suffering and sorrow; of groans and tears, of fervent hopes and passionate aspirations. This was solemnly given by Johnson to Strahan for publication, and whatever he might have thought of its revelations, as a man of honour he had only to fulfil Johnson's solemn commission.— Editor.
JOHNSON'S CATALOGUE OF SCHEMES,
WITH BOSWELL'S OBSERVATIONS ON IT.
“ A SMALL book of precepts and directions for piety; the hint taken from the directions in Morton's Exercise.
“PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, AND LITERATURE IN GENERAL.
“History of Criticism, as it relates to judging of authours, from Aristotle to the present age. An account of the rise and improvements of that art; of the different opinions of authours, ancient and modern.
“ Translation of the History of Herodian.
“New edition of Fairfax's Translation of Tasso, with notes, glossary, &c.
“ Chaucer, a new edition of him, from manuscripts and old editions, with various readings, conjectures, remarks on his language, and the changes it had undergone from the earliest times to his age, and from his to the present; with notes explanatory of customs, &c., and references to Boccace, and other authours, from whom he has borrowed, with an account of the liberties he has taken in telling the stories ; his life, and an exact etymological glossary.
“ Aristotle's Rhetorick, a translation of it into English.
“ A Collection of Letters, translated from the modern writers with some account of the several authours.
“Oldham's Poems, with Notes, historical and critical. “Roscommon's Poems, with notes.
“ Lives of the Philosophers, written with a polite air, in such a manner as may divert as well as instruct.
“ History of the Heathen Mythology, with an explication of the fables, both allegorical and historical ; with references to the poets.
“History of the State of Venice, in a compendious manner. “ Aristotle's Ethics, an English translation of them, with notes. “Geographical Dictionary, from the French.
“ Hierocles upon Pythagoras, translated into English, perhaps with notes. This is done by Norris.
“ A book of Letters, upon all kinds of subjects.
“Claudian, a new edition of his works, cum notis variorum, in the manner of Burman.
“ Tully's Tusculan questions, a translation of them. “ Tully's De Naturâ Deorum, a translation of those books. “ Benzo's New History of the New World, to be translated. “Machiavel's History of Florence, to be translated.
“History of the Revival of Learning in Europe, containing an account of whatever contributed to the restoration of literature; such as controversies, printing, the destruction of the Greek empire, the encouragement of great men, with the lives of the most eminent patrons, and most eminent early professors of all kinds of learning in different countries.
“A Body of Chronology, in verse, with historical notes.
“A Table of the Spectators, Tatlers, and Guardians, distinguished by figures into six degrees of value, with notes giving the reasons of preference or degradation.
“A Collection of Letters from English authors, with a preface, giving some account of the writers; with reasons for selection and criticism upon styles; remarks on each letter, if needful.
“ A Collection of Proverbs from various languages. Jan. 6, --53.
“ A Dictionary to the Common Prayer, in imitation of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible. March, -52.
“A Collection of Stories and Examples, like those of Valerius Maximus. Jan. 30, 453.
“ From Ælian, a volume of select Stories, perhaps from others. Jan. 28th, —53.
“ Collection of Travels, Voyages, Adventures, and Descriptions of Countries.
“Dictionary of Ancient History and Mythology.
“ Treatise on the Study of Polite Literature, containing the history of learning, directions for editions, commentaries, &c.
“Maxims, Characters, and Sentiments, after the manner of Bruyère, collected out of ancient authors, particularly the Greek, with Apophthegms.
“ Classical Miscellanies, Select Translations from ancient Greek and Latin authours.
“Lives of Illustrious Persons, as well of the active as the learned, in imitation of Plutarch.
“Judgment of the learned upon English authours,
“Observations on the English Language, relating to words, phrases, and modes of Speech.
“Minutiæ, Literariæ, Miscellaneous reflections, criticisms, emendations, notes.
“ History of the Constitution.
“ Comparison of Philosophical and Christian Morality, by sentences collected from the moralists and fathers.
“ Plutarch's Lives, in English, with notes.
“POETRY AND WORKS OF IMAGINATION.
“Hymn to Ignorance.
Johnson's extraordinary facility of composition, when he shook off his constitutional indolence, and resolutely sat down to write, is admirably described by Mr. Courtenay, in his “Poeticai Review,” which I have several times quoted :-
• While through life's maze he sent a piercing view,
The lively image, the deep-searching thought,
We shall in vain endeavour to know with exact precision every production of Johnson's pen. He owned to me that he had written about forty sermons; but as I understood that he had given or sold them to different persons, who were to preach them as their own, he did not consider himself at liberty to acknowledge them. Would those who were thus aided by him, who are still alive, and the friends of those who are dead, fairly inform the world, it would be obligingly gratifying a reasonable curiosity, to which there should, I think, now be no objection. Two volumes of them, published since his death, are sufficiently ascertained ; see vol. iii. p. 206. I have before me in his handwriting a fragment of twenty quarto leaves, of a translation into English of Sallust, De Bello Catilinario. When it was done I have no notion : but it seems to have no very superior merit to mark it as his. Besides the publications heretofore mentioned, I am satisfied, from internal evidence, to admit also as genuine the following, which, notwithstanding all my chronological care, escaped me in the course of this work :
“ Considerations on the Case of Dr. Trapp's Sermons," of published in 1739, in the “ Gentleman's Magazine." It is a very ingenious defence of the right of abridging an author's work, without being held as infringing his property. This is one of the nicest questions in the Law of Literature; and I cannot help thinking, that the indulgence of abridging is often exceedingly injurious to anthors and booksellers, and should in very few cases be permitted. At any rate, to prevent difficult and uncer. tain discussion, and give an absolute security to authors in the property of their labours, no abridgment whatever should be permitted till after the expiration of such a number of years as the legislature may be pleased to fix.
But, though it has been confidently ascribed to him, I cannot allow that he wrote a Dedication to both Houses of Parliament of a book entitled “ The Evangelical History Harmonised." He was no croaker, no declaimer against the times. He would not have written “That we are fallen upon an age in which corruption is not barely universal, is universally confessed.” Nor, “ Rapine preys on the public without opposition, and perjury betrays it withont inquiry." Nor would he, to excite a speedy reformation, have conjured up such phantoms of terror as these: -"A few years longer, and perhaps all endeavours will be in vain. We may be swallowed by an earthquake; we may be delivered to our enemies." This is not Johnsonian.
There are, indeed, in this Dedication several sentences constructed upon the model of those of Johnson. But the imitation of the form, without the spirit of his style, has been so general, that this of itself is not sufficient evidence. Even our newspaper writers aspire to it. In an account of the funeral of Edwin, the comedian, in “The Diary" of Nov. 9, 1790, that son of drollery is thus described :-“A man who had so often cheered the sullenness of vacancy, and suspended the approaches of sorrow." And in “ The Dublin Evening Post," August 16, 1791, there is the following paragraph :-“It is a singular circumstance, that in a city like this, containing 200,000 people, there are three months in the year during which no place of public amusement is open. Long vacation is here a vacation from pleasure, as well as business; nor is there any mode of passing the listless evenings of declining summer, but in the riots of a tavern, or the stupidity of a coffee-house.”
I have not thought it necessary to specify every copy of verses written by Johnson, it being my intention to publish an authentic edition of all his poetry, with notes. (See Note, page 335.)