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and laid in bed all day, and with the most active resolutions possible been the most indolent mortal living. He was a good man by nature, a great man by genius, we are now to enquire what he was by compulsion.

Johnson's first style was naturally energetic, his middle style was turgid to a fault, his latter style was softened down and harmonized into periods, more tuneful and more intelligible. His execution was rapid, yet his mind was not easily provoked into exertion; the variety we find in his writings was not the variety of choice arising from the impulse of his proper genius, but tasks imposed upon him by the dealers in ink, and contracts on his part submitted to in satisfaction of the pressing calls of hungry want; for, painful as it is to relate, I have heard that illustrious scholar assert (and he never varied from the truth of fact) that he subsisted himself for a considerable space of time upon the scanty pittance of fourpence halfpenny per day. How melancholy to reflect that his vast trunk and stimulating appetite were to be supported by what will barely feed the weaned infant! Less, much less, than Master Betty has earned in one night, would have cheered the mighty mind and maintained the athletic body of Samuel Johnson in comfort and abundance for a twelvemonth. Alas ! I am not fit to paint his character; nor is there need of it; Etiam mortuus loquitur : every man, who can buy a book, has bought a Boswell; Johnson is known to all the reading world. I also knew him well, respected him highly, loved him sincerely : it was never my chance to see him in those moments of moroseness and ill humour, which are imputed to him, perhaps with truth, for who would slander him ? But I am not warranted by any experience of those humours to speak of him otherwise than of a friend, who always met me with kindness, and from whom I never separated without regret.—When I sought his company he had no capricious excuses for withholding it, but lent himself to every invitation with cordiality, and brought good humour with him, that gave life to the circle he was in. He presented himself always in his fashion of apparel ; a brown coat with metal buttons, black waistcoat and worsted stockings, with a flowing bob wig was the style of his wardrobe, but they were in perfectly good trim, and with the ladies, which he generally met, he had nothing of the slovenly philosopher about him ; he fed heartily, but not voraciously, and was extremely courteous in his commendations of any dish, that pleased his palate ; he

suffered his next neighbour to squeeze the China oranges into his wine glass after dinner, which else perchance had gone aside, and trickled into his shoes, for the good man had neither straight sight nor steady nerves. At the tea table he had considerable demands


his favourite beverage, and I remember when Sir Joshua Reynolds at my house reminded him that he had drank eleven cups, he replied—“Sir, I did not count your glasses of wine, why should you number up my cups of tea : And then laughing in perfect good humour he added—“Sir, I should have released the lady from any further trouble, if it had not been for your remark; but you have reminded me that I want one of the dozen, and I must request Mrs. Cumberland to round up my number—" When he saw the readiness and complacency, with which my wife obeyed his call, he turned a kind and cheerful look upon her and said—“Madam, I must tell you for your comfort you have escaped much better than a certain lady did awhile ago, upon whose patience I intruded greatly more than I have done on yours; but the lady asked me for no other purpose but to make a Zany of me, and set me gabbļing to a parcel of people I knew nothing of; so, Madam, I had my revenge of her ; for I swallowed five and twenty cups of her tea, and did not treat her with as many words—" I can only say my wife would have made tea for him as long as the New River could have supplied her with water.

It was on such occasions he was to be seen in his happiest moments, when animated by the cheering attention of friends, whom he liked, he would give full scope to those talents for narration, in which I verily think he was unrivalled both in the brilliancy of his wit, the flow of his humour, and the energy of his language. Anecdotes of times past, scenes of his own life, and characters of humourists, enthusiasts, crack-brained projectors and a variety of strange beings, that he had chanced upon, when detailed by him at length, and garnished with those episodical remarks, sometimes comic, sometimes grave, which he would throw in with infinite fertility of fancy, were a treat, which though not always to be purchased by five and twenty cups of tea, I have often had the happiness to enjoy for less than half the number. He was easily led into topics; it was not easy to turn him from them; but who would wish it ? wanted to show himself off by getting up and riding upon him,

If a man

he was sure to run restive and kick him off; you might as safely have backed Bucephalus, before Alexander had lunged him. Neither did he always like to be over-fondled ; when a certain gentleman out-acted his part in this way, he is said to have demanded of him—“What provokes your risibility, Sir ? Have I said any thing that you understand ?—Then I ask pardon of the rest of the company,” But this is Henderson's anecdote of him, and I won't swear he did not make it himself. The following apology however I myself drew from him, when speaking of his tour I observed to him upon some passages as rather too sharp upon a country and people who had entertained him so bandsomely—“Do you think so, Cumbey?" he replied.“ Then I give you leave to say, and you may quote me for it, that there are more gentlemen in Scotland than there are shoes.”

But I don't relish these sayings, and I am to blame for retailing them; we can no more judge of men by these droppings from their lips, than we can guess at the contents of the river Nile by a pitcher of its water. If we were to estimate the wise men of Greece by Laertius's scraps of their sayings, what a parcel of old women should we account them to have been !

The expanse of matter, which Johnson had found room for in his intellectual storehouse, the correctness with which he had assorted it, and the readiness with which he could turn to any article that he wanted to make present use of, were the properties in him which I contemplated with the most admiration. Some have called him a savage : they were only so far right in the resemblance, as that, like the savage, he never came into suspicious company without his spear in his hand and his bow and quiver at his back. In quickness of intellect few ever equalled him, in profundity of erudition many have surpassed him. I do not think he had a pure and classical taste, nor was apt to be best pleased with the best authors, but as a general scholar he ranks very high. When I would have consulted him upon certain points of literature, whilst I was making my collections from the Greek dramatists for my essays in “ The Observer," he candidly acknowledged that his studies had not lain amongst them, and certain it is there is very little shew of literature in his “Ramblers,” and in the passage, where he quotes Aristotle, he has not correctly given the meaning of the original. But this was merely the result of haste and inattention, neither is he so

As an

are in

to be measured, for he had so many parts and properties of scholarship about him, that you can only fairly review him as a man of general knowledge. As a poet his translations of Juvenal gave him a name in the world, and gained him the applause of Pope. He was a writer of tragedy, but his “ Irene” gives him no conspicuous rank in that department. essayist he merits more consideration ; his “Ramblers" every body's hands; about them opinions vary, and I rather believe the style of these essays is not now considered as a good model; this he corrected in his more advanced age, as may be seen in his “ Lives of the Poets," where his diction, though occasionally elaborate and highly metaphorical, is not nearly so inflated and ponderous, as in the “Ramblers.” He was an acute and able critic; the enthusiastic admirers of Milton and the friends of Gray will have something to complain of, but criticism is a task which no man executes to all men's satisfaction. His selection of a certain passage in the “Mourning Bride' of Congreve which he extols so rapturously, is certainly a most unfortunate sample; but unless the oversights of a critic are less pardonable than those of other men, we may pass this over in a work of merit, which abounds in beauties far more prominent than its defects, and much more pleasing to contemplate. In works professedly of fancy he is not very copious; yet in his

Rasselas we have much to admire, and enough to make us wish for more. It is the work of an illuminated mind, and offers many wise and deep reflections, cloathed in beautiful and harmonious diction. We are not indeed familiar with such personages as Johnson has imagined for the characters of his fable, but if we are not exceedingly interested in their story, we are infinitely gratified with their conversation and remarks. In conclusion, Johnson's æra was not wanting in men to be distinguished for their talents, yet if one was to be selected out as the first great literary character of the time, I believe all voices would concur in naming him. Let me here insert the following lines, descriptive of his character, though not long since written by me and to be found in a public print-



“ Herculean strength and a Stentorian voice,
Of wit a fund, of words a countless choice :
In learning rather various than profound,

In truth intrepid, in religion sound :
A trembling form and a distorted sight,
But firm in judgment and in genius bright;
In controversy seldom known to spare,
But humble as the Publican in prayer ;
To more, than merited his kindness, kind,
And, though in manners harsh, of friendly mind;
Deep ting'd with melancholy's blackest shade,
And, though prepard to die, of death afraid
Such Johnson was; of him with justice vain,
When will this nation see his like again ?”

Oliver Goldsmith began at this time to write for the stage, and it is to be lamented that he did not begin at an earlier period of life to turn his genius to dramatic compositions, and much more to be lamented, that, after he had begun, the succeeding period of his life was so soon cut off. There is no doubt but his genius, when more familiarised to the business, would have inspired him to accomplish great things. His first comedy of “ The Goodnatured Man" was read and applauded in its manuscript by Edmund Burke, and the circle, in which he then lived and moved: under such patronage it came with those testimonials to the director of Covent Garden theatre, as could not fail to open all the avenues to the stage, and bespeak all the favour and attention from the performers and the public, that the applauding voice of him, whose applause was fame itself, could give it. This comedy has enough to justify the good opinion of its literary patron, and secure its author against any loss of reputation, for it has the stamp of a man of talents upon it, though its popularity with the audience did not quite keep pace with the expectations, that were grounded on the fiat it had antecedently been honoured with. It was a first effort, however, and did not discourage its ingenious author from invoking his Muse a second time. It was now, whilst his labours were in projection, that I first met him at the British Coffee-house, as I have already related somewhat out of place. He dined with us as a visitor, introduced as I think by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and we held a consultation upon the naming of his comedy, which some of the company had read, and which he detailed to the rest after his manner with a great deal of good humour. Somebody suggested—“She Stoops to Conquer" —and that title was agreed upon. When I perceived an embarrassment in his manner towards me, which I could readily account for, I lost no time to put him at his ease, and I flatter

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