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P. 65, 1. 10. Windham, William (1750–1810). An English statesman and orator. Macaulay in his Essay on Warren Hastings says, “There with eyes reverentially fixed on Burke, appeared the finest gentleman of the age, his form developed by every manly exercise, his face beaming with intelligence and spirit, the ingenuous, the chivalrous, the high-souled Windham.” However, in spite of his great gifts, he gained the disparaging title of “ weathercock ” from the instability of his opinions.

13. Frances Burney, afterwards Madame D'Arblay (1752– 1840). Her novels Evelina and Cecilia had the greatest vogue in their time. They are now rarely read, but her Journal and Letters are known everywhere. Read Macaulay's essay on Madame D'Arblay.

P. 66, 1. 3. Denham, Sir John (1615–1668). A royalist poet of mediocre ability.

3. Congreve, William (1672–1729). One of the leading dramatists of the Restoration.

3. Gay. See note on the Beggar's Opera, p. 78.

3. Prior, Matthew (1664–1721). A minor poet, especially noted for his “ society verse.”




1. Selections from Macaulay's Essay on Croker's

Edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson. Edinburgh Review, 1831.

Johnson grown old, Johnson in the fulness of his fame and in the enjoyment of a competent fortune, is better known to us than any other man in history. Everything about him, his coat, his wig, his figure, his face, his scrofula, his St. Vitus's dance, his rolling walk, his blinking eye, the outward signs which too clearly marked his approbation of his dinner, his insatiable appetite for fish-sauce and veal-pie with plums, his inextinguishable thirst for tea, his trick of touching the posts as he walked, his mysterious practice of treasuring up scraps of orange-peel, his morning slumbers, his midnight disputations, his contortions, his mutterings, his gruntings, his puffings, his vigorous, acute, and ready eloquence, his sarcastic wit, his vehemence, his insolence, his fits of tempestuous rage, his queer intimates, old Mr. Levett and blind Mrs. Williams, the cat Hodge and the negro Frank, all are as familiar to us as the objects by which we have been surrounded from childhood.

Johnson came up to London precisely at the time when the condition of a man of letters was most miser

able and degraded. It was a dark night State of

between two sunny days. The age of patauthors in the early ronage had passed away. The age of geneighteenth eral curiosity and intelligence had not century.

arrived. The number of readers is at present so great that a popular author may subsist in comfort and opulence on the profits of his works. In the reigns of William the Third, of Anne, and of George the First, even such men as Congreve and Addison would scarcely have been able to live like gentlemen by the mere sale of their writings. But the deficiency of the natural demand for literature was, at the close of the seventeenth and at the beginning of the eighteenth century, more than made up by artificial encouragement, by a vast system of bounties and premiums. There was, perhaps, never a time at which the rewards of literary merit were so splendid, at which men who could write well found such easy admittance into the most distinguished society, and to the highest honours of the state. The chiefs of both the great parties into which the kingdom was divided patronised literature with emulous munificence. Congreve, when he had scarcely attained his majority, was rewarded for his first comedy with places which made him independent for life. Smith, though his Hippolytus and Phædra failed, would have been consoled with three hundred a year but for his own folly. Rowe was not only Poet Laureate, but also landsurveyor of the customs in the port of London, clerk of the council to the Prince of Wales, and secretary of the Presentations to the Lord Chancellor. Hughes was secretary to the Commissions of the Peace. Ambrose Philips was judge of the Prerogative Court in Ireland. Locke was Commissioner of Appeals and of the Board of Trade. Newton was Master of the Mint. Stepney and Prior were employed in embassies of high dignity and importance. Gay, who commenced life as an apprentice to a silk-mercer, became a secretary of legation at five-and-twenty. It was to a poem on the Death of Charles the Second, and to the City and Country Mouse, that Montague owed his introduction into public life, his earldom, his garter, and

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