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CONTENTS OF VOL. IV.
THE LIFE ,OF
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
EING disappointed in my hopes of meeting Johnson this
year, so that I could hear none of his admirable sayings, I shall compensate for this want" by inserting a collection of them, for which I am indebted to my worthy friend Mr. Langton, whose kind communications have been separately interwoven in many parts of this work. Very few articles of this collection were committed to writing by himself, he not having that habit ; which he regrets, and which those who know the numerous opportunities he had of gathering the rich fruits of Johnsonian wit and wisdom, must ever regret. I however found, in conversations with him, that a good store of Fohnsoniana was treasured in his mind;' and I compared it to Herculaneum, or some old
Nothing can compensate for Ramsay. Piozzi Letters, ii. 107. this want this year of all years. On May 1, he wrote :-'At Mrs. Johnson's health was better than it Ord's, I met Mrs. Bhad been for long, and his mind [Buller), a travelled lady, of great happier perhaps than it had ever spirit, and some consciousness of her been. The knowledge that in his own abilities. We had a contest of Lives of the Poets, he had done, and gallantry an hour long, so much to was doing good work, no doubt was the diversion of the company that at very cheering to him. At no time Ramsay's last night, in a crowded had he gone more into society, and room, they would have pitted us at no time does he seem to have en again. There were Smelt, [one of joyed it with greater relish. “How the King's favourites and the Bishop do you think I live?' he wrote on of St. Asaph, who comes to every April 25. 'On Thursday, I dined place; and Lord Monboddo, and Sir with Hamilton, and went thence to Joshua, and ladies out of tale. Ib. Mrs. Ord. On Friday, with much p. III. The account that Langton company at Reynolds's. On Satur gives of the famous evening at Mrs. day, at Dr. Bell's. On Sunday, at Vesey's, 'when the company began Dr. Burney's; at night, came Mrs. to collect round Johnson till they beOrd, Mr. Greville, &c. On Monday came not less than four, if not five with Reynolds, at night with Lady deep (ante, May 2, 1780), is lively Lucan ; to-day with Mr. Langton; enough ; but “the particulars of the to-morrow with the Bishop of St. conversation which he neglects, BosAsaph ; on Thursday with Mr. well would have given us in full. Bowles ; Friday — ; Saturday, 2 In 1792, Miss Burney, after reat the Academy ; Sunday with Mr. cording that Boswell told some of his VOL. IV.
Theocritus and Virgil.
Roman field, which when dug, fully rewards the labour employed The authenticity of every article is unquestionable. For th expression, I, who wrote them down in his presence, am part| answerable.
‘Theocritus is not deserving of very high respect as a writer as to the pastoral part, Virgil is very evidently superiour. H wrote when there had been a larger influx of knowledge into th world than when Theocritus lived. Theocritus does not abour in description, though living in a beautiful country: the manne painted are coarse and gross. Virgil has much more descriptio more sentiment, more of Nature, and more of art. Some of t1 most excellent parts of Theocritus are, where Castor and Pollu going with the other Argonauts, land on the Bebrycian coa and there fall into a dispute with Amycus, the King of th country; which is as well conducted as Euripides could hay done it ; and the battle is well related. Afterwards they car off a woman, whose two brothers come to recover her, and e postulate with Castor and Pollux on their injustice; but the pay no regard to the brothers, and a battle ensues, where Cast and his brother are triumphant. Theocritus seems not to ha seen that the brothers have the advantage in their argume over his Argonaut heroes. The Sicilian Gossips is a piece merit.'
* Callimachus is a writer of little excellence. The chief this to be learned from him is his account of Rites and Mythology which, though desirable to be known for the sake of understan ing other parts of ancient authours, is the least pleasing or val able part of their writings.'
‘Mattaire's account of the Stephani' is a heavy book. } seems to have been a puzzle-headed man, with a large share scholarship, but with little geometry or logick in his head, witho method, and possessed of little genius. He wrote Latin vers from time to time, and published a set in his old age, which called 'Senilia ;' in which he shews so little learning or taste Johnsonian stories, continues :-'Mr. man has some time in his life Langton told some stories in imita ambition to be a wag." Mn tion of Dr. Johnson ; but they be D'Arblay's Diary, v. 307. came him less than Mr. Boswell, and Stephanorum Historia, vi only reminded me of what Dr. John ipsorum ac libros complectens. La son himself once said to me—“Every don, 1709.