Графични страници
PDF файл


field in 1756, and Earl of Mansfield in 1776. His judicial decisions were notoriously severe. Horace Walpole speaks of him as one, “who never felt pity and never relented unless terrified,” and as one " who hated the popular party as much as he loved severity."

23. Macpherson, James (1738–1796) obtained a remarkable notoriety by his alleged discovery of the “ Poems of Ossian” in the Erse language. These he claimed to have translated. In 1762 he published Fingal, an Epic Poem in Six Books, and the following year Temora, an Epic Poem in Eight Books. They created a great sensation, were translated into every modern European language, and gave rise to a fierce controversy. Critics demanded a sight of the originals, but Macpherson never gratified them.

P. 54, 1. 2. Johnson reiterated the charge of forgery in the following letter: –


“ I received your foolish and impudent letter. Any violence offered me I shall do my best to repel; and what I cannot do for myself, the law shall do for me. I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat, by the menaces of a ruffian.

" What would you have me retract ? I thought your book an imposture; I think it an imposture still. For this opinion I have given my reasons to the publick, which I here dare you to refute. Your rage I defy. Your abilities, since your Homer, are not so formidable, and what I hear of your morals, inclines me to pay regard not to what you say, but to what you shall prove. You may print this if you will.

" Sam. Johnson."

24. Kenricks, Campbells, MacNicols, and Hendersons. Obscure writers who would now be entirely forgotten had they not attacked Johnson.

P. 55, 1. 7. Maxime, si tu vis, cupio contendere tecum." “O greatest one, if you are willing, I desire to contend with you."

20. Bentley, Richard (1662 – 1742). England's greatest classical scholar. His famous Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris was the first attempt to apply the principles of historical criticism to the authenticity of ancient writings. In Macaulay's Life of Francis Atterbury (Encyclopædia Britannica) is a very entertaining account of the famous discussion on Phalaris and of Bentley's part in it. The “apothegm” in full is, “It is a maxim with me that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself.” — Monk's Life of Bentley,

p. 90.

P. 56, 1. 14. Taxation no Tyranny. This was intended to offset the effect of the great Whig orations, such as Burke's Conciliation with America. The pamphlet, however, was better than Macaulay will allow. 66 Johnson's sentiments towards his fellow subjects in America have never, so far as I know, been rightly stated. It was not because they fought for liberty that he had come to dislike them. A man who, bursting forth with generous indignation has said: “The Irish are in a most unnatural state ; for we see the minority prevailing over the majority,' was not likely to wish that our plantations should be tyrannically governed. The man who, in company with some grave men at Oxford, gave as his toast, “Here's to the next insurrection of the negroes in the West Indies,' was not likely to condemn insurrection in general. The key to his feelings is found in his indignant cry, `How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes ?' He hated slavery as perhaps no man of his time hated it. In 1756, he described Jamaica as a place of great wickedness, a den of tyrants, and a dungeon of slaves.'”— Hill's Boswell, Vol. II., Appendix B.

18. Sheridan, Richard Brinsley Butler (1751-1816). A celebrated dramatist and orator. Two of his comedies, the Rivals and the School for Scandal, still hold the stage ; and his speech at the “impeachment of Warren Hastings is still remembered as perhaps the very grandest triumph of oratory in a time prolific of such triumphs." See Macaulay's Essay on Warren Hastings.

20. Wilson, Richard (1714-1782). The first great English landscape painter,

P. 58, 1. 4. Cowley, Abraham (1618–1667). Although quite forgotten now, Cowley's poetry was once considered equal to that of Spenser and Shakespeare.

8. The Restoration. The return in 1660 of the Stuarts after the rule of the Long Parliament and the Cromwells.

15. The wits of Button. "Button's" was a coffee-house in London frequented by Addison and his group of admirers. Read Macaulay's essay on Addison, and Pope's sarcastic lines in the Epistle to Arbuthnot.

Cibber, Colley (1671-1757). A noted actor and dramatist, one of the patentees of Drury Lane Theatre, and poet laureate in 1730. His adaptations of some of Shakespeare's plays still remain the “acting editions.''

17. Orrery, John Boyle, Earl of Cork and Orrery. He wrote a life of Swift.

17. Swift, Jonathan (1667–1745). The greatest of English satirists, and the most original writer of his time. A clever


versifier, but a master straightforward prose. His Gulliver's Travels are immortal. There is a fine sketch of him in Macaulay's essay on Addison.

19. Services of no very honourable kind to Pope. “Savage was of great use to Mr. Pope, in helping him to little stories, and idle tales, of many persons whose names, lives, and writings had been long since forgot, had not Mr. Pope mentioned them in his Dunciad. This office was too mean for anyone but inconsistent Savage, who, with a great deal of absurd pride, could submit to servile offices ; and, for the vanity of being thought Mr. Pope's intimate, made no scruple of frequently sacrificing a regard to sincerity or truth.”— Cibber's Lives of the Poets, Vol. V., p. 266.

P. 60, 1. 8. Dryden, John (1631–1700). The greatest poet of the Restoration. His satires and fables are masterpieces of their kind. Together with Sir William Temple, Dryden is regarded as having founded modern English prose style. His Alexander's Feast and Ode on St. Cecilia's Day are still read with pleasure.

9. Gray, Thomas (1716–1771) will always be remembered for his perfect Elegy written in a Country Churchyard, — the best

poem of its kind in English literature. 13. Malone, Edmond (1741–1812). A great Shakespearian critic and commentator.

P. 61, 1. 3. Robertson, William (1721-1793). His History of Charles V. is still a standard work.

P. 62, l. 13. A music master from Brescia. His name was Piozzi, and he was really an honest, estimable man, making Mrs. Thrale very happy in her second marriage. Macaulay here merely echoes the prevailing British contempt for “fiddlers” and musicians generally. See article “ Piozzi” in the Encyclopædia Britannica.

P. 63, 1. 22. The Ephesian Matron. A story from Petronius retold in Jeremy Taylor's Holy Dying, last chapter. The "matron attempted to weep herself to death in the tomb of her departed husband, but fell in love with a soldier who was guarding the corpses of some robbers that were hanging near by. In order to save her new lover from punishment, one of the corpses having been stolen while they had been conversing, she gave him the body of her defunct husband to hang in its place.

22. The two pictures. See Hamlet, Act III., Sc. IV.

P. 64, 1. 10. The feeling described, etc. 6. The secret horrour of the last is inseparable from a thinking being, whose life is limited, and to whom death is dreadful. We always make a secret comparison between a part and the whole; the termination of any period of life reminds us that life itself has likewise its termination; when we have done any thing for the last time, we involuntary reflect that a part of the days allotted to us are past, and that as more is past, there is less remaining.

“I hope that my readers are already disposed to view every incident with seriousness, and improve it by meditation; and that, when they see this series of trifles brought to a conclusion, they will consider that, by outliving the Idler, they have passed weeks, months, and years, which are no longer in their power; that an end must in time be put to everything great as to everything little; that to life must come its last hour, and to this system of being its last day, the hour in which probation ceases, and repentance will be vain; the day in which every work of the hand, and imagination of the heart, shall be brought to judgment, and an everlasting futurity shall be determined by the past.” — (From the last number of the Idler.)

« ПредишнаНапред »