« PreviousContinue »
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL. D.
In 1764 and 1765 it should seem that Dr. Johnson was so busily employed with his edition of Shakspeare, as to have had little leisure for any other literary exertion, or, indeed, even for private correspondence. He did not favour me with a single letter for more than two years, for which it will appear that he afterwards apologized.
He was, however, at all times ready to give assistance to his friends and others, in revising their works, and in writing for them, or greatly improving their dedications. In that courtly species of composition no man excelled Dr. Johnson. Though the loftiness of his mind prevented him from ever dedicating in his own person, he wrote a very great number of dedications for others. Some of these, the persons who were favoured with them are unwilling should be mentioned, from a too anxious apprehension, as I think, that they might be suspected of having received larger assistance; and some, after all the diligence I have bestowed, have escaped my enquiries. He told me, a great many years ago, “ he believed he had dedicated to all the royal family round;" and it was indifferent to him what was the subject of the work dedicated, provided it were innocent. He once dedicated some musick for the German flute to Edward duke of York. In writing dedications for others, he considered himself as by no means speaking his own sentiments.
Notwithstanding his long silence, I never omitted to write to him, when I had any thing worthy of communicating.