Imagens das páginas

gramma ;* and, A Latin Translation of Pope's Verses on his Grotto; and as he could employ his pen with equal success upon a small matter as a great, I suppose him to be the author of an advertisement for Osborne, concerning the great Harleian Catalogue.

But I should think myself much wanting, both to my illustrious friend and my readers, did I not introduce here, with more than ordinary respect, an exquisitely beautiful ode, which has not been inserted in any of the collections of Johnson's poetry, written by him at a very early period, as Mr. Hector informs me, and inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine of this year.

FRIENDSHIP, peculiar boon of heav'n,
The noble mind's delight and pride,
To men and angels only giv'n,
To all the lower world deny'd.

While love, unknown among the blest,
Parent of thousand wild desires,

The savage and the human breast
Torments alike with raging fires ;

Quales nec olim vel Ptolemæia
Jactabat uxor, sidereo in choro
Utcunque devotæ refulgent
Verticis exuviæ decori;

Nec diva mater, cum similem tuæ

Mentita formam, et pulchrior aspici,

Permisit incomptas protervis

Fusa comas agitare ventis.

In vol. xiv. p. 46, of the same work, an elegant epigram was inserted, in answer to the foregoing ode, which was written by Dr. Inyon, of Pulham in Norfolk, a physician, and an excellent classical scholar :


O cui non potuit, quia culta, placere puella,

Qui speras Musam posse placere tuam ?—MALONE.

With bright, but oft destructive, gleam,
Alike o'er all his lightnings fly;
Thy lambent glories only beam
Around the fav'rites of the sky.

Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys
On fools and villains ne'er descend;
In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,

And hugs a flatterer for a friend.

Directress of the brave and just,

O guide us through life's darksome way!
And let the tortures of mistrust

On selfish bosoms only prey.

Nor shall thine ardour cease to glow,

When souls to blissful climes remove :
What rais'd our virtue here below,

Shall aid our happiness above.

Johnson had now an opportunity of obliging his schoolfellow Dr. James, of whom he once observed, “ no man brings more mind to his profession." James published, this year his Medicinal Dictionary, in three volumes folio. Johnson, as I understood from him, had written, or assisted in writing, the proposals for this work; and being very fond of the study of physick, in which James was his master, he furnished some of the articles. He, however, certainly wrote for it the dedication to Dr. Mead,+ which is conceived with great address, to conciliate the patronage of that very eminent man P.


SIR, That the Medicinal Dictionary is dedicated to you, is to be imputed only to your reputation for superiour skill in those sciences which I have endeavoured to explain and facilitate: and you are, therefore, to consider this address, if it be agreeable to you, as one of the rewards of merit; and if otherwise, as one of the inconveniencies of eminence.

However you shall receive it, my design cannot be disappointed; because this publick appeal to your judgement will show that I do not found my hopes of approbation upon the ignorance of my readers, and that I fear his censure the least whose knowledge is most extensive. I am, sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,




It has been circulated, I know not with what authenticity, that Johnson considered Dr. Birch as a dull writer, and said of him, "Tom Birch is as brisk as a bee in conversation; but no sooner does he take a pen in his hand, than it becomes a torpedo to him, and benumbs all his faculties." That the literature of this country is much indebted to Birch's activity and diligence must certainly be acknowledged. We have seen that Johnson honoured him with a Greek epigram'; and his correspondence with him, during many years, proves that he had no mean opinion of him.


"Thursday, Sept. 29, 1743. "SIR,-I hope you will excuse me for troubling you on an occasion on which I know not whom else I can apply to; I am at a loss for the lives and characters of earl Stanhope, the two Craggs, and the minister Sunderland; and beg that you will inform [me] where I may find them, and send any pamphlets, etc. relating to them to Mr. Cave to be perused for a few days by, sir,

"Your most humble servant,


His circumstances were at this time embarrassed; yet his affection for his mother was so warm and so liberal, that he took upon himself a debt of hers, which, though small in itself, was then considerable to him. This appears from the following letter which he wrote to Mr. Levett, of Lichfield, the original of which lies now before me.


"December 1, 1743.

"SIR,-I am extremely sorry that we have encroached so

a Sir John Hawkins asserts this to have been Johnson's opinion of Birch. See his Life of Johnson, p. 209.-Ed.

r See Johnson's Works, vol. i. p. 170.-Ed.

much upon your forbearance with respect to the interest, which a great perplexity of affairs hindered me from thinking of with that attention that I ought, and which I am not immediately able to remit to you, but will pay it (I think twelve pounds) in two months. I look upon this, and on the future interest of that mortgage, as my own debt; and beg that you will be pleased to give me directions how to pay it, and not to mention it to my dear mother. If it be necessary to pay this in less time, I believe I can do it; but I take two months for a certainty, and beg an answer whether you can allow me so much time. I think myself very much obliged to your forbearance, and shall esteem it a great happiness to be able to serve you. I have great opportunities of dispersing any thing that you may think it proper to make publick. I will give a note for the money, payable at the time mentioned, to any one here that you shall appoint. I am, sir,

"Your most obedient

" and most humble servant,

“At Mr. Osborne's, bookseller, in Gray's Inn.”

It does not appear that he wrote any thing in 1744 for the Gentleman's Magazine, but the preface. His Life of Barretier was now republished in a pamphlet by itself. But he produced one work this year, fully sufficient to maintain the high reputation which he had acquired. This was the Life of Richard Savage:* a man of whom it is difficult to speak impartially, without wondering that he was for some time the intimate companion of Johnson; for his characters was marked by profligacy, insolence, and

As a specimen of his temper, I insert the following letter from him to a noble lord, to whom he was under great obligations, but who, on account of his bad conduct, was obliged to discard him. The original was in the hands of the late Francis Cockayne Cust, esq. one of his majesty's counsel learned in the law.

Right Honourable BRUTE and BOOBY,

I find you want (as Mr.

is pleased to hint) to swear away my life, that is, the life of your creditor, because he asks you for a debt.-The publick

ingratitude; yet, as he undoubtedly had a warm and vigorous, though unregulated mind, had seen life in all its varieties, and been much in the company of the statesmen and wits of his time, he could communicate to Johnson an abundant supply of such materials as his philosophical curiosity most eagerly desired; and as Savage's misfortunes and misconduct had reduced him to the lowest state of wretchedness as a writer for bread, his visits to St. John's Gate naturally brought Johnson and him togethert.

It is melancholy to reflect, that Johnson and Savage were sometimes in such extreme indigence", that they shall soon be acquainted with this, to judge whether you are not fitter to be an Irish evidence, than to be an Irish peer.-I defy and despise you.

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t Sir John Hawkins gives the world to understand, that Johnson, "being an admirer of genteel manners, was captivated by the address and demeanour of Savage, who, as to his exterior, was to a remarkable degree accomplished.”— Hawkins's Life, p. 52. But sir John's notions of gentility must appear somewhat ludicrous, from his stating the following circumstance as presumptive evidence that Savage was a good swordsman: "That he understood the exercise of a gentleman's weapon, may be inferred from the use made of it in that rash encounter which is related in his Life.” The dexterity here alluded to was, that Savage, in a nocturnal fit of drunkenness, stabbed a man at a coffeehouse, and killed him: for which he was tried at the Old Bailey, and found guilty of murder.

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Johnson, indeed, describes him as having "a grave and manly deportment, a solemn dignity of mien: but which, upon a nearer acquaintance, softened into an engaging easiness of manners. How highly Johnson admired him for that knowledge which he himself so much cultivated, and what kindness he entertained for him, appears from the following lines in the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1738, which I am assured were written by Johnson.


Humani studium generis cui pectore fervet

O colat humanum te foveatque genus.


u The following striking proof of Johnson's extreme indigence, when he published the Life of Savage, was communicated to Mr. Boswell by Mr. Richard Stowe, of Apsley, in Bedfordshire, from the information of Mr. Walter Harte, author of the Life of Gustavus Adolphus.

"Soon after Savage's Life was published, Mr. Harte dined with Edward

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