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Phrase that time has flung away
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.”
Wearing out life's evening grey,
Scarce repressed the starting tear
Come my lad, and drink some beer.'” The following is an impromptu conceit. “To Mrs. Thrale, on her completing her thirtyfifth year.”
“ Oft in danger, yet alive,
We are come to thirty-five;
Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.” There is a pleasing mixture of wisdom and humour in the following stanza written to Miss Thrale on hearing her consulting a friend as to a dress and hat she was inclined to wear
“ Wear the gown and wear the hat
Snatch thy pleasures wbile they last,
Johnson's friends Garrick and Foote, although so great in the mimetic art, do not deserve any particular mention as writers of comedy.
It is said that Garrick went to a school in Tichfield at which Johnson was an usher, and that master and pupil came up to London together to seek their fortunes. But although Garrick became the first of comic actors, he produced nothing literary but a few indifferent farces. The same may be said of Foote, who was also a celebrated wit in conversation. Johnson said, “For loud, obstreporous, broadfaced mirth, I know not his equal.”
One of Dr. Johnson's friends was Mrs. Charlotte Lennox to whom he gives the palm among literary ladies. Up to this time there were few lady humorists, and none of an altogether respectable description. But Mrs. Lennox appeared as a harbinger of that refined and harmless plsasantry which has since sparkled through the pages of our best authoresses. She wrote a comedy, poems, and novels, her most remarkable production being the Female Quixote. Here a young lady who had been reading romances, enacts the heroine with very amusing results. In plan the work is a close imitation of Don Quixote, but the character is not so natural as that drawn by Cervantes.
Dodsley—“A Muse in Livery”_"The Devil's a Dunce”
“The Toy Shop”—Fielding-Smollett.
N OBERT DODSLEY was born in 1703. Il He was the son of a schoolmaster in Mansfield, but went into domestic service as a footman, and held several respectable situations. While in this capacity, he employed his leisure time in composing poetry, and he appropriately named his first production “A Muse in Livery.” The most pleasant and interesting of these early poems is that in which he gives an account of his daily life, showing how observant a footman may be. It is in the form of an epistle:— “Dear friend,
Since I am now at leisure,
This done, with expeditious care
To dress myself I straight prepare, I clean my buckles, black my shoes, Powder my wig and brush my clothes, Take off my beard and wash my face, And then I'm ready for the chase. Down comes my lady's woman straight, • Where's Robin ?' Here!' •Pray take your hat And go-and go-and go-and goAnd this and that desire to know.' The charge received, away run I And here and there, and yonder fly, With services and 'how d'ye does,' Then home return well fraught with news. Here some short time does interpose Till warm effluvias greet my nose, Which from the spits and kettles fly, Declaring dinner time is nigh. To lay the cloth I now prepare With uniformity and care; In order knives and forks are laid, With folded napkins, salt, and bread : The sideboards glittering too appear With plate and glass and china-ware. Then ale and beer and wine decanted, And all things ready which are wanted. The smoking dishes enter in, To stomachs sharp a grateful scene; Which on the table being placed, And some few ceremonies past, They all sit down and fall to eating, Whilst I behind stand silent waiting. This is the only pleasant hour Wbich I have in the twenty-four. For wbilst I unregarded stand, With ready salver in my hand, And seem to understand no more Than just what's called for out to pour, I hear and mark the the courtly phrases, And all the elegance that passes; Disputes maintained without digression, With ready wit and fine expression; The laws of true politeness stated, And wbat good breeding is, debated.
This happy hour elapsed and gone, The time for drinking tea comes on, The kettle filled, the water boiled, The cream provided, biscuits piled,
And lamp prepared, I straight engage
After the early dinner and“ dish” of tea, his mistress goes out visiting in the evening, and Dodsley precedes her with a flambeau.
Another fancy was entitled “ The Devil's a Dunce,” was directed against the Pope. * Two friends apply to him for absolution, one rich and the other poor. The rich man obtained the pardon, but the poor sued in vain, the Pope replying:
“I cannot save you if I would,
Nor would I do it if I could.”
* Dodsley was never averse from having a hit at the church, as in the epigram :
“ Cries Sylvia to a reverend dean
Wbat reason can be given,
That there are none in heaven?
She quick returns the jest,