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Spelling Book, and dedicated it to the universe. was then placed with Mr. Hunter the head master of the grammar school in his native city, but, for two years before he came under his immediate tuition, was taught Latin by Mr. Hawkins, the usher. It is just that one, who, in writing the lives of men less eminent than himself, was always careful to record the names of their instructors, should obtain a tribute of similar respect for his own. By Mr. Price, who was afterwards head master of the same school, and whose name I cannot mention without reverence and affection, I have been told that Johnson, when late in life he visited the place of his education, shewed him a nook in the school-room, where it was usual for the boys to secrete the translations of the books they were reading; and, at the same time, speaking of his old master, Hunter, said to him, "He was not severe, Sir. A master ought to be severe. Sir, he was cruel." Johnson, however, was always ready to acknowledge how much he was indebted to Hunter for his classical proficiency. At the age of fifteen, by the advice of his mother's nephew, Cornelius Ford, a clergyman of considerable abilities, but disgraced by the licentiousness of his life, and who is spoken of in the Life of Fenton, he was removed to the grammar-school of Stourbridge, of which Mr. Wentworth was master. Here he did not remain much more than a twelvemonth, and, as he told Dr. Percy, learned much in the school, but

little from the master; whereas, with Hunter, he had learned much from the master, and little in the school. The progress he made was, perhaps, gained in teaching the other boys, for Wentworth is said to have employed him as an assistant. His compositions in English verse indicate that command of language which he afterwards attained. The two following years he accuses himself of wasting in idleness at home; but we must doubt whether he had much occasion, for self-reproach, when we learn that Hesiod, Anacreon, the Latin works of Petrarch, and "a great many other books not commonly known in the Universities," were among his studies.

His father, though a man of strong understanding, and much respected in his line of life, was not successful in business. He must, therefore, have had a firm reliance on the capacity of his son; for while he chided him for his want of steady application, he resolved on making so great an effort as to send him to the University; and, accompanying him thither, placed him, on the 31st of October, 1728, a commoner at Pembroke College, Oxford. Some assistance was, indeed, promised him from other quarters, but this assistance was never given; nor was his industry quickened by his necessities. He was sometimes to be seen lingering about the gates of his college; and, at others, sought for relief from the oppression of his mind in affected mirth and turbulent gaiety. So ex

treme was his poverty, that he was prevented by the want of shoes from resorting to the rooms of his schoolfellow, Taylor, at the neighbouring college of Christ Church; and such was his pride, that he flung away with indignation a new pair that he found left at his door. His scholarship was attested by a translation into Latin verse of Pope's Messiah; which is said to have gained the approbation of that poet. But his independent spirit, and his irregular habits, were both likely to obstruct his interest in the University; and, at the end of three years, increasing debts, together with the failure of remittances, occasioned by his father's insolvency, forced him to leave it without a degree. Of Pembroke College, in his Life of Shenstone, and of Sir Thomas Browne, he has spoken with filial gratitude. From his tutor, Mr. Jorden, whom he described as a "worthy man, but a heavy one," he did not learn much. What he read solidly, he said, was Greek; and that Greek, Homer and Euripides; but his favourite study was metaphysics, which we must suppose him to have investigated by the light of his own meditation, for he did not read much in it. With Dr. Adams, then a junior fellow, and afterwards master of the College, his friendship continued till his death.

Soon after his return to Lichfield, his father died; and the following memorandum, extracted from the little register which he kept in Latin, of the more re

markable occurrences that befel him, proves at once the small pittance that was left him, and the integrity of his mind: "1732, Julii 15. Undecim aureos deposui: quo die quicquid ante matris funus (quod serum sit precor) de paternis bonis sperare licet, viginti scilicet libras accepi. Usque adeo mihi fortuna fingenda est. Interea ne paupertate vires animi languescant nec in flagitium egestas abigat, cavendum.— 1732, July 15. I laid down eleven guineas. On which day, I received the whole of what it is allowed me to expect from my father's property, before the decease of my mother (which I pray may be yet far distant) namely, twenty pounds. My fortune therefore must be of my own making. Meanwhile, let me beware lest the powers of my mind grow languid through poverty, or want drive me to evil." the following day we find him setting out on foot for Market Bosworth, in Leicestershire, where he had engaged himself as an usher to the school of which Mr. Crompton was master. Here he described to his old school-fellow, Hector, the dull sameness of his life, in the words of the poet: Vitam continet una dies that it was as unvaried as the note of the cuckoo, and that he did not know whether it were more disagreeable for him to teach, or for the boys to learn the grammar rules. To add to his misery, he had to endure the petty despotism of Sir Wolstan Dixie, one of the patrons of the school. The trial of a few


months disgusted him so much with his employment, that he relinquished it, and, removing to Birmingham, became the guest of his friend Mr. Hector, who was a chirurgeon in that town, and lodged in the house of a bookseller; having remained with him about six months, he hired lodgings for himself. By Mr. Hector he was stimulated, not without some difficulty, to make a translation from the French, of Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia, for which he received no more than five guineas from the bookseller, who, by an artifice not uncommon, printed it at Birmingham, with the date of London in the title-page. To Mr. Hector, therefore, is due the impulse which first made Johnson an author. The motion being once given did not cease; for, having returned to Lichfield in 1735, he sent forth in August proposals for printing by subscription Politian's Latin Poems, with a Life of the Author, Notes, and a History of Latin Poetry, from the age of Petrarch to that of Politian. His reason for fixing on this era it is not easy to determine. Mussato ceded Petrarch, the interval between Petrarch and Politian is not particularly illustrated by excellence in Latin poetry; and Politian was much surpassed in correctness and elegance, if not in genius, by those who came after him-by Flaminio, Navagero, and Fracastorio. Yet in the hands of Johnson, such a subject would not have been wanting in instruction or entertainment. Such as were willing to subscribe,


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