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peare;" and observing that the doctor made no entry in any book of the subscriber's name, ventured diffidently to ask whether he would please to have the gentleman's address, that it might be properly inserted in the printed list of subscribers “I shall print no list of subscribers,” said Johnson, with great abruptness; but almost immediately recollecting himself, added very complacently, “Sir, I have two very cogent reasons for not printing any list of subscribers; one, that I have lost all the names; the other, that I have spent all the money."-690.
I ASKED him if he was not dissatisfied with having so small a share of wealth, and none of those distinctions in the state which are the objects of ambition. He had only a pension of £300 a vear. Why was he not in such circumstances as to keep his coach ? Why had he not some considerable office Johnson. “Sir, I have never complained of the world ; nor do I think that I have reason to complain. It is rather to be won. dered at that I have so much. My pension is more out of the usual course of things than any instance that I have known. Here, sir, was a man, avowedly no friend to government at the time, who got a pension without asking for it. I never courted the great; they sent for me; but I think they now give me up. They are satisfied; they have seen enough of me." Upon my observing that I could not believe this, for they must cer. tainly be highly pleased by his conversation; conscious of his own superiority, he answered, “No, sir; great lords and great ladies don't love to have their mouths stopped.” When I warmly declared how happy I was at all times to hear him, “Yes, sir," said he, “but if you were Lord Chancellor it would not be so: you would then consider your own dignity.”—691.
Johnson's conversation was by much too strong for a person accustomed to obsequiousness and flattery : it was mustard in a young child's mouth !--- Mrs. Thrale, 692
A WISE Tory and a wise Whig, I believe, will agree. Their principles are the same, though their modes of thinking are different. A high Tory makes government unintelligible; it is lost in the clouds. A violent Whig makes it impracticable. -Johnson.
JOHNSON talked little to us in the carriage, being chiefly occupied in reading Dr. Watson's second volume of “ Chemical Essays,” which he liked very well, and his own “ Prince of Abyssinia," on which he seemed to be intensely fixed, baving told us that he had not looked at it since it was first finished. --Boswell (1781).
WHEN we entered Mr. Young's parlour, Johnson addressed
him, with a very polite bow, “Sir, I had the curiosity to come and see this place. I had the honour to know that great man vour father." I said to Mr. Young that I had been told his father was cheerful. “Sir,” said he, “he was too well bred a man not to be cheerful in company; but he was gloomy when alone. He never was cheerful after my mother's death, and he had met with many disappointments.”_693.
If a man declares he cannot help acting in a particular way, and is irresistibly impelled, there can be no confidence in him, no more than in a tiger.-Johnson, 694.
TO JUDGE of the reasonableness of the scheme of redemption, it must be considered as necessary to the government of the universe that God should make known his perpetual and irreconcileable detestation of moral evil. He might indeed punish, and punish only the offenders; but as the end of punishment is not revenge of crimes, but propagation of virtue, it was more becoming the Divine clemency to find another manner of proceeding less destructive to man, and at least equally powerful to promote goodness.
A PARISH clerk should be a man who is able to make a will or write a letter for anybody in the parish.--695.
JOHNSON told us that he had in one day written six sheets of a translation from the French, adding, “I should be glad to see it now. I wish that I had copies of all the pamphlets written against me, as it is said Pope had. Had I known that I should make so much noise in the world I should have been at pains to collect them. I believe there is hardly a day in which there is not something about me in the newspapers.”Boswell.
AUGUST 9th, 3 p.m., Ætat. 72, in the summer-house at Streatham.-After innumerable resolutions formed and neglected, I have retired hither to plan a life of greater diligence, in hope that I may yet be useful, and be daily better prepared to appear before my Creator and my Judge, from whose infinite mercy I humbly call for assistance and support. My purpose is to pass eight hours every day in some serious employment. Having prayed, I purpose to employ the next six weeks upon the Italian language for my settled study.-- Johnson, 698.
OXFORD, October 17th, 1781.–On Monday evening arrived at the Angel Inn, at Oxford, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Barber, without any sinister accident.-699.
I am very much deserted; but complaint is useless.-(1782) 701.
My dwelling is but melancholy. Both Williams and Desmoulins and myself are very sickly; Frank is not well; and poor Levett died in his bed the other day by a sudden stroke. I suppose not one minute passed between health and death. So un. certain are human things. Such is the appearance of the world about me; but whatever befalls us, though it is wise to be serious, it is useless and foolish, and perhaps sinful, to be gloomy.-702.
It was Dr. Johnson's custom, when he wrote to Dr. Lawrence, concerning his own health, to use the Latin language. [Dr. Lawrence had long been his friend and confidant. A conversation Mrs. Thrale saw them hold together in Essex-street, one day in the year 1781 or 1782, was a singular and melancholy one. Dr. Johnson was exceedingly ill, and she accompanied him thither for advice. The physician was, however, in some re spect more to be pitied than the patient: Johnson was panting under an asthma and dropsy; but Lawrence had been brought home that very morning struck with the palsy, from which he had, two hours before they came, strove to awaken himself by blisters : they were both deaf, and scarce able to speak besides; one from difficulty of breathing, the other from paralytic debility. To give and receive medical counsel, therefore, they fairly sat down on each side a table in the doctor's gloomy apartment, and agreed to write Latin billets to each other. “ You," said Johnson, “are timide and gelidè;" finding that his friend had prescribed palliative not drastic remedies. “It is not me," replied poor Lawrence, in an interrupted voice; “ 'tis nature that is gelidè and timidè.”- Croker. ]-Boswell.
I KNOW not that I have written anything more generally commended than the “Lives of the Poets ;” and have found the world willing enough to caress me, if my health had invited me to be much in company.- Johnson, 703.
In age we feel again that love of our native place and our early friends, which, in the bustle or amusements of middle life, were overborne and suspended. You and I should now naturally cling to one another: we have outlived most of those who could pretend to rival us in each other's kindness. In our walk through life we have dropped our companions, and are now to pick up such as chance may offer us, or to travel on alone. You, indeed, have a sister with whom you can divide the day: I have no natural friend left; but Providence bas been pleased to preserve me from neglect; I have not wanted such alleviations of life as friendship could supply. My health has been from my twentieth year such as has seldom afforded me a single day of ease; but it is at least not worse ; and I
sometimes make myself believe that it is better. My disorders are, however, still sufficiently oppressive.-(To Hector, 1782) 704.
March 20th (1782).—The ministry is dissolved. I prayed with Francis and gave thanks.
I am glad the ministry is removed. Such a bunch of imbecility never disgraced a country.-(1782) 705.
POVERTY, my dear friend, is so great an evil, and pregnant with so much temptation and so much misery, that I cannot but earnestly enjoin you to avoid it. Live on what you have ; live if you can on less; do not borrow either for vanity or pleasure; the vanity will end in shame, and the pleasure in regret: stay therefore at home till you have saved money for your journey hither. “The Beauties of Johnson,” are said to have got money to the cellector; if the “Deformities” have the same success, I shall be still a more extensive benefactor.-(TO Boswell, from London, 1782) 706.
Hannah MORE was at this dinner, [at Bishop Porteus', 1782) and sat next to Johnson. She urged him to take a little wine : he replied, “I can't drink a little, child; therefore I never touch it. Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.”—Croker.
HANNAH MORE writes :—“Oxford, June 13th, 1782.– Who do you think is my principal cicerone at Oxford ? only Dr. Johnson! and we do so gallant it about. You cannot imagine with what delight he showed me every part of his own college, nor how rejoiced Henderson looked to make one in the party. Dr. Adams, the Master of Pembroke, bad contrived a very pretty piece of gallantry. We spent the day and evening at his house. After dinner Johnson begged to conduct me to see the college; he would let no one show it me but himself: “ This was my room ; this Shenstone's." Then, after pointing out all the rooms of the poets who had been of his college, “ In short,” said he, “we were a nest of singing birds. Here we walked ; there we played at cricket.” He ran over with pleasure the history of the juvenile days he passed there. When he came into the common room we spied a fine large print of Johnson, framed, and hung up that very morning, with this motto: 'And is not Johnson ours, himself a host ř' Under which stared you in the face, ‘From Miss More's “ Sensibility.” This little incident amused us; but, alas ! Johnson looks very ill indeed, spiritless and wan. However, he made an effort to be cheerful.”—708.
By physic and abstinence I grew better, and am now reason
ably easy, though at a great distance from health. I am afraid, however, that health begins after seventy, and long before, to have a meaning different from that which it had at thirty. But it is culpable to murmur at the established order of the creation, as it is vain to oppose it.-Johnson, 709.
DISpain to regulate your own practice by the practice of another, or by any other principle than the desire of doing right.—710.
Sir, the superiority of a country gentleman over the people upon his estate is very agreeable ; and he who says he does not feel it to be agreeable lies, for it must be agreeable to have a casual superiority over those who are by nature equal with us.--712.
Johnson talked with regret and indignation of the factious opposition to government at this time (1783), and imputed it in a great measure to the Revolution. “Sir,” said he, in a low voice, having come nearer to me, while his old prejudices seemed to be fermenting in his mind, “this Hanoverian family is isolée bere. They have no friends. Now the Stuarts had friends, who stuck by them so late as 1745. When the right of the king is not reverenced, there will not be reverence for those appointed by the king.”— Boswell.
TALKING of conversation, Johnson said, “There must, in the first place, be knowledge—there must be materials ; in the second place, there must be a command of words ; in the third place, there must be imagination, to place things in such views as they are not commonly seen in; and, in the fourth place, there must be presence of mind, and a resolution that is not to be overcome by failures : this last is an essential requisite; for want of it many people do not excel in conversation. Now I want it; I throw up the game upon losing a trick.”_713.
It has been observed and wondered at, that Mr. Charles Fox never talked with any freedom in the presence of Dr. Johnson; though it is well known, and I myself can witness,
agreeable. Johnson's own experience, however, of that gentleman's reserve, was a sufficient reason for his going on thus: “Fox never talks in private company; not from any determination not to talk, but because he has not the first motion. A man who is used to the applause of the House of Commons has no wish for that of a private company. A man accustomed to throw for a thousand pounds, if set down to throw for sixpence, would not be at the pains to count his dice. Burke's talk is the ebullition of his mind. He does