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of diligence, by which every face was clouded, and every motion agitated.” The gentle Tranquilla informs us, that she “ had not passed the earlier part of life without the flattery of courtship, and the joys of triumph ; but had danced the round of gaiety amidst the murmurs of envy and the gratulations of applause, , had been attended from pleasure to pleasure by the great, the sprightly, and the vain, and had seen her regard solicited by the obsequiousness of gallantry, the gaiety of wit, and the timidity of love." Surely Sir John Falstaff himself did not wear his petticoats with a worse grace.

The reader may well cry out, with honest Sir Hugh Evans, “I like not when a ’oman has a great peard : I spy a great peard under her muffler."


II. Selections from Carlyle's Essay on Boswell's Life of

Johnson. - Fraser's Magazine, 1832.

[This is in a way an answer to Macaulay's Essay.] The great man does, in good truth, belong to his own age; nay, more so than


other man; being properly the synopsis and epitome of such age with its interests and influences : but belongs likewise to all ages, otherwise he is not great. What was transitory in him passes away ; and an immortal part remains, the significance of which is in strict speech inexhaustible,

as that of every real object is. Aloft, conspicuous, on his enduring basis, he stands there, serene, unaltering; silently addresses to every new generation a new lesson and monition. Well is his Life worth writing, worth interpreting; and ever, in the new dialect of new times, of re-writing and re-interpreting.

Of such chosen men was Samuel Johnson: not ranking among the highest, or even the high, yet distinctly admitted into that sacred band; whose existence was no idle Dream, but a Reality which he

transacted awake ; nowise a Clotheshorse and Patent Digester, but a genuine Man. By nature he was gifted for the noblest of earthly tasks, that of Priesthood, and Guidance of mankind; by destiny, moreover, he was appointed to this task, and did actually, according to strength, fulfil the same: so that always the question, How ; in what spirit; under what shape ? remains for us to be asked and answered concerning him.

The Contradiction which yawns wide enough in every Life, which it is the meaning and task of Life to reconcile, was in Johnson's wider than

Johnson's in most. Seldom, for any man, has the contradic

tions. contrast between the ethereal heavenward side of things, and the dark sordid earthward, been more glaring: whether we look at Nature's work with him or Fortune's, from first to last, heterogeneity, as of sunbeams and miry clay, is on all hands manifest. Whereby indeed, only this was declared, That much Life had been given him; many things to triumph over, a great work to do. Happily also he did it; better than the most.

Nature had given him a high, keen-visioned, almost poetic soul; yet withal imprisoned it in an inert, unsightly body: he that could never rest had not limbs that would move with him, but only roll and waddle: the inward eye, all-penetrating, all-embracing, must look through bodily windows that were dim, halfblinded; he so loved men, and never once saw the human face divine'! Not less did he prize the love of men; he was eminently social; the approbation of his fellows was dear to him, "valuable,' as he owned, “if from the meanest of human beings :' yet the first impression he produced on every man was to be one of aversion, almost of disgust. By Nature it was farther ordered that the imperious Johnson should be born poor : the ruler-soul, strong in its native royalty, generous, uncontrollable, like the lion of the woods, was to be housed then in such a dwelling-place: of Disfigurement, Disease, and lastly of a Poverty which itself made him the servant of servants. Thus was the born king likewise a born slave: the divine spirit of Music must awake imprisoned amid dull-croaking universal Discords; the Ariel finds himself encased in the coarse hulls of a Caliban. So is it more or less, we know (and thou, O Reader, knowest and feelest even now), with all men: yet with the fewest men in any such degree as with Johnson.

In fact, if we look seriously into the condition of Authorship at that period, we shall find that Johnson had undertaken one of the ruggedest of all

Authorpossible enterprises; that here as elsewhere

ship" in Fortune had given him unspeakable Con


time. tradictions to reconcile. For a man of Johnson's stamp, the Problem was twofold: First, not only as the humble but indispensable condition of all else, to keep himself, if so might be, alive; but secondly, to keep himself alive by speaking forth the Truth that was in him, and speaking it truly, that is, in the clearest and fittest utterance the Heavens had enabled him to give it, let the Earth say to this what she liked. Of which twofold Problem if it be hard to solve either member separately, how incalculably more so to solve it, when both are conjoined, and work with endless complication into one another! He that finds himself already kept alive can sometimes (unhappily not always) speak a little truth; he that finds himself able and willing, to all lengths, to speak lies, may, by watching how the wind sits, scrape together a livelihood, sometimes of great splendor: he, again, who finds himself provided with neither endowment, has but a ticklish game to play, and shall have praise if he win it. Let us look a little at both faces of the matter; and see

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