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late Lord Lyttleton advised her to read.” JOHNSON. “Sir, she has not read them: she shows none of this impetuosity to me: she does not know Greek, and, I fancy, knows little Latin. She is willing you should think she knows them ; but she does not say she does!"
BOSWELL. “Mr. Harris, who was present, agreed with her.” JOHNSON. “Harris was laughing at her, sir. Harris is a sound sullen scholar; he does not like interlopers. Harris, however, is a prig, and a bad prig. I looked into his book, and thought he did not understand his own system.” BOSWELL. " He says plain things in a formal and abstract way, to be sure; but his method is good : for to have clear notions upon any subject, we must have recourse to analytick arrangement." JOHNSON. “Sir, it is what every body does, whether they will or no. But sometimes things may be made darker by definition. I see a cow. I define her, Animal quadrupes ruminans cornutum. But a goat ruminates, and a cow may have no horns. Cow is plainer.” BOSWELL. “I think Dr. Franklin's definition of Man a good one-'A tool-making animal.'” JOHN
But inany a man never made a tool: and suppose a man without arms, he could not make a tool."
* [All this must be truncated and distorted. Mrs. Montagu did not say that she had read these authors, but had been advised to read them; and the inference from what she did say might be, that she had read Gibbon instead : and surely the word " impetuosity” must be a mistake, arising, perhaps, from Mr. Boswell's not being able to decipher his own manuscript. Then, again, Mr. Harris is said to agree with her-in what?-in thinking that Gibbon's History gave, in an elegant manner, the substance of the writers of the medii ævi. How could this be laughing at her? Mr. Boswell says elsewhere of himself, brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio-Ed.]
? What my friend meant by these words concerning the amiable philosopher of Salisbury, I am at a loss to understand. A friend suggests, that Johnson thought his manner as a writer affected, while at the same time the matter did not compensate for that fault. In short, that he meant to make a remark quite different from that which a celebrated gentleman made on a very eminent physician : He is a coxcomb, but a satisfactory coxcomb.--BOSWELL. The celebrated gentleman here alluded to was the late Right Honourable William Gerard Hamilton.-MALONE.
Talking of drinking wine, he said, “ I did not leave off wine, because I could not bear it; I have drunk three bottles of port without being the worse for it. University College has witnessed this.” BosWELL. “Why then, sir, did you leave it off?" JOHNSON. “Why, sir, because it is so much better for a man to be sure that he is never to be intoxicated, never to lose the power over himself. I shall not begin to drink wine again till I grow old', and want it.” BOSWELL. “I think, sir, you once said to me, that not to drink wine was a great deduction from life.” Johnson. “It is a diminution of pleasure, to be sure; but I do not say a diminution of happiness. There is more happiness in being rational.” BOSWELL. “ But if we could have pleasure always, should not we be happy? The greatest part of men would compound for pleasure." Johnson. “Supposing we could have pleasure always, an intellectual man would not compound for it. The greatest part of men would compound, because the greatest part of men are gross." BOSWELL. “ I allow there may be greater pleasure than from wine. I have had more pleasure from your conversation. I have indeed; I assure you I have.” JOHNSON. “When we talk of pleasure, we mean sensual pleasure. *** * *2 Philosophers tell you, that pleasure is contrary to happiness. Gross men prefer animal pleasure. So there are men who have preferred living among savages. Now what a wretch must he be, who is content with such conversation as can be had among savages! You
You may remember an officer at Fort Augustus, who had served in America, told us of a woman whom they were obliged to bind, in order to get her back from savage life.” BOSWELL. “ She must have been an animal, a beast.” JOHNSON, “Sir, she was a speaking cat."
1[He was now in his seventieth year. Ed.] "ÎTwo lines are here omitted. ED.
I mentioned to him that I had become very weary in company where I heard not a single intellectual sentence, except that a man who had been settled ten years in Minorca was become a much inferiour man to what he was in London, because a man's mind grows narrow in a narrow place.” JOHNSON. “ A man's mind grows narrow in a narrow place, whose mirid is enlarged only because he has lived in a large place: but what is got by books and thinking is preserved in a narrow place as well as in a large place. A man cannot know modes of life as well in Minorca as in London; but he may study mathematicks as well in Minorca.” BOSWELL. “I don't know, sir : if you
had remained ten years in the Isle of Col, you would not have been the man that you now are." JOHNSON. “ Yes, sir, if I had been there from fifteen to twenty-five; but not if from twenty-five to thirtyfive.” BOSWELL. “I own, sir, the spirits which I have in London make me do every thing with more readiness and vigour. I can talk twice as much in London as any where else."
Of Goldsmith, he said, “ He was not an agreeable companion, for he talked always for fame? A man who does so never can be pleasing. The man who talks to unburden his mind is the man to delight you. An eminent friend of ours * is not so agreeable as the variety of his knowledge would otherwise inake him, because he talks partly from ostentation.”
Soon after our arrival at Thrale's, I heard one of the maids calling eagerly on another to go to Dr. Johnson. I wondered what this could mean. I afterwards learnt, that it was to give her a Bible,
(Sec ante, vol. ii. p. 179. 188. 502, and vol. iii. p. 401. En. ? (Mr. Burke. ED.)
which he had brought from London as a present to her.
He was for a considerable time occupied in reading “ Memoires de Fontenelle," leaning and swinging upon the low gate into the court, without his hat.
I looked into Lord Kaimes's “ Sketches of the History of Man;" and mentioned to Dr. Johnson his censure of Charles the Fifth, for celebrating his funeral obsequies in his life-time, which, I told him, I had been used to think a solemn and affecting act. JOHNSON. “Why, sir, a man may dispose his mind to think so of that act of Charles; but it is so liable to ridicule, that if one man out of ten thousand laughs at it, he 'll make the other nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine laugh too.” I could not agree with
hiin in this. Hawk. Apoph.
[Johnson thought very well of Lord Kaimes's p. 209. Elements of Criticism ; of others of his writings he
thought very indifferently, and laughed much at his opinion that war was a good thing occasionally, as so much valour and virtue were exhibited in it. "A fire,” says Johnson, “ might as well be thought a good thing; there is the bravery and address of the firemen in extinguishing it; there is much humanity exerted in saving the lives and properties of the poor sufferers; yet,” says he, “after all this, who can say a fire is a good thing ?"]
Sir John Pringle had expressed a wish that I would ask Dr. Johnson's opinion what were the best English sermons for style. I took an opportunity to-day of mentioning several to him. “ Atterbury?” JOHNSON. “Yes, sir, one of the best.” BOSWELL. “Tillotson?” JOHNSON. “Why, not now.
I should not advise a preacher at this day to imitate Tillotson's style; though I don't know; I should be cautious of objecting to what has been applauded by so many suffrages.--South is one of the best, if you except his peculiarities, and his violence, and sometimes coarseness of language.-Seed has a very fine style; but he is not very theological.--Jortin's sermons are very elegant. Sherlock's style, too, is very elegant, though he has not made it his principal study.--And you may add Smalridge. All the latter preachers have a good style. Indeed, nobody now talks much of style: every body composes pretty well.
There are no such inharmonious periods as there were a hundred years ago. I should recommend Dr. Clarke's sermons, were he orthodox. However, it is very well known where he is not orthodox, which was upon the doctrine of the Trinity, as to which he is a condemned heretick, so one is aware of it." Boswell. “I like Ogden's Sermons on Prayer very much, both for neatness of style and subtilty of reasoning.” JOHNSON. "I should like to read all that Ogden has written.” BOSWELL. “What I wish to know is, what sermons afford the best specimen of English pulpit eloquence." JOHNSON. “We have no sermons addressed to the passions, that are good for any thing; if
you mean that kind of eloquence.” A CLERGYMAN (whose name I do not recollect). “Were not Dodd's sermons addressed to the passions ?” JohnSON. " They were nothing, sir, be they addressed to
what they may."
At dinner, Mrs. Thrale expressed a wish to go and see Scotland, JOHNSON. “Seeing Scotland, madam, is only seeing a worse England. It is seeing the flower gradually fade away to the naked stalk. Seeing the Hebrides, indeed, is seeing quite a different scene.”
Our poor friend, Mr. Thomas Davies, was soon to have a benefit at Drury-lane Theatre, as some relief