« AnteriorContinuar »
sir, he has printed some of his works, and perhaps bought the property of some of them. The intimacy is such as one of the professors here may have with one of the carpenters who is repairing the college." But, (said Gerard,) I saw a letter from him to this printer, in which he says, that the one half of the clergy of the church of Scotland are fanaticks, and the other half infidels."-JOHNSON. "Warburton has accustomed himself to write letters just as he speaks, without thinking any more of what he throws out. When I read Warburton first, and observed his force, and his contempt of mankind, I thought he had driven the world before him; but I soon found that was not the case; for Warburton, by extending his abuse, rendered it ineffectual."
He told me, when we were by ourselves, that he thought it very wrong in the printer, to shew Warburton's letter, as it was raising a body of enemies against him. He thought it foolish in Warburton to write so to the printer; and added, “Sir, the worst way of being intimate, is by scribbling." He called Warburton's " Doctrine of Grace" a poor performance, and so he said was Wesley's Answer. "Warburton, he observed, had laid himself very open. In particular, he was weak enough to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people had spoken with tongues, had spoken languages which they never knew before; a thing as absurd as to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people had been known to fly."
I talked of the difference of genius, to try if I could engage Gerard in a disquisition with Dr. Johnson; but I did not succeed. I mentioned, as
a curious fact, that Locke had written verses. JOHNSON. "I know of none, sir, but a kind of exercise prefixed to Dr. Sydenham's Works, in which he has some conceits about the dropsy, in which water and burning are united; and how Dr. Sydenham removed fire by drawing off water, contrary to the usual practice, which is to extinguish fire by bringing water upon it.I am not sure that there is a word of all this; but it is such kind of talk."
* All this, as Dr. Johnson suspected at the time, was the immediate invention of his own lively imagination; for there is not one word of it in Mr. Locke's complimentary performance. My readers will, I have no doubt, like to be satisfied, by comparing them; and, at any rate, it may entertain them to read verses composed by our great metaphysician, when a Bachelor in Physick.
AUCTORI, IN TRACTATUM EJUS DE FEBRIBus.
Febriles æstus, victumque ardoribus orbeni
Nam post mille artes, inedicæ tentamina curæ,
Dum quærit medicus febris caussamque, modumque,
Quas tractat patitur flammas, & febre calescens,
Qui tardos potuit morbos, artusque trementes,
Sic faber exesos fulsit tubicine muros ;
Dum trahit antiquas lenta ruina domos.
We spoke of Fingal. Dr. Johnson said calmly, "If the poems were really translated, they were certainly first written down. Let Mr. Macpherson deposite the manuscript in one of the colleges at Aberdeen, where there are people who can judge; and, if the professors certify the authenticity, then there will be an end of the controversy. If he does not take this obvious and easy method, he gives the best
Non bilem ille movet, nulla hic pituita; Salutis
Quis ipsis major febribus ardor inest.
Dum sæpe incerto, quo calet, igne perit:
Jam secura suas foveant præcordia flammas,
Quem Natura negat, dat Medicina modum.
Dum dubia est inter spemque metumque salus ;
Quis tandem arte nova domitam mitescere Pestem
Has gelida exstingui non nisi morte putas?
Pestis quæ superat cuneta, triumphus eris.
Te simul & mundum qui manet, ignis erit.
J. LOCK, A. M. Ex. Aede Christi, Oxon.
reason to doubt; considering too, how much is against it à priori.”
We sauntered after dinner in Sir Alexander's garden, and saw his little grotto, which is hung with pieces of poetry written in a fair hand. It was agreeable to observe the contentment and kindness of this quiet, benevolent man. Professor Macleod was brother to Macleod of Talisker, and brotherin-law to the Laird of Col. He gave me a letter to young Col. I was weary of this day, and began to think wishfully of being again in motion. I was uneasy to think myself too fastidious whilst I fancied Dr. Johnson quite satisfied. But he owned to me that he was fatigued and teased by Sir Alexander's doing too much to entertain him. I said, it was all kindness.-JOHNSON. "True, sir; but sensation is sensation."-BOSWELL. "It is so: we feel pain equally from the surgeon's probe, as from the sword of the foe."
We visited two booksellers' shops, and could not find Arthur Johnson's Poems. We went and sat near an hour at Mr. Riddoch's. He could not tell' distinctly how much education at the college here costs, which disgusted Dr. Johnson. I had pledged myself that we should go to the inn, and not stay supper. They pressed us, but he was resolute. I saw Mr. Riddoch did not please him. He said to me, afterwards, "Sir, he has no vigour in his talk." But my friend should have considered that he himself was not in good humour; so that it was not easy to talk to his satisfaction. We sat contentedly at our inn. He then became merry, and observed how little we had either heard or said
at Aberdeen; that the Aberdenians had not started a single mawhin (the Scottish word for hare) for us to pursue.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 24.
We set out about eight in the morning, and breakfasted at Ellon. The landlady said to me, "Is not this the great Doctor that is going about through the country? "I said, "Yes."" Ay, (said she,) we heard of him. I made an errand into the room on purpose to see him. There's something great in his appearance: it is a pleasure to have such a man in one's house; a man who does so much good. If I had thought of it, I would have shewn him a child of mine, who has had a lump on his throat for some time."-"But, (said I,) he is not a doctor of physick."-" Is he an oculist?" said the landlord." No, (said I,) he is only a very learned man."-LANDLORD. "They say he is the greatest man in England, except Lord Mansfield."-Dr. Johnson was highly entertained with this, and I do think he was pleased too. He said, "I like the exception: to have called me the greatest man in England, would have been an unmeaning compliment but the exception marked that the praise was in earnest; and, in Scotland, the exception must be Lord Mansfield, or-Sir John Pringle."
He told me a good story of Dr. Goldsmith. Graham, who wrote "Telemachus, a Masque," was sitting one night with him and Dr. Johnson, and was half drunk. He rattled away to Dr. Johnson: "You are a clever fellow, to be sure; but you cannot write an essay like Addison, or verses like