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iived ; and that, let me tell you, is a good deal.” GOLDSMITH. " But I cannot agree that it was so. His literary reputation was dead long before his natural death. I consider an author's literary repatation to be alive only while his name will insare a good price for his copy from the booksellers. I will get you (to Johnson) a handred guineas for anything whatever that you shall write, if you pat your name to it.”
Dr. Goldsmith's new play, “She Stoops to Conquer," being men tioned ; Johnson. “I know of no comedy for many years that 528 su nach exhilarated an audience, that has answered so much the great end of comedy-making an audience merry."
Goldsmith having said, that Garrick's compliment to the Queen, which he introduced into the play of “ The Chances,” which he had altered and revised this year, was mean and gross flattery ;-JOHNSon." Why, Sir, I would not write, I would not give solemnly under my hand, a character beyond what I thought really true ; but a speech on the stage, let it flatter ever so extravagantly, is for. mular. It bas always been formular to flatter kings and queens ; 80 much so, that even in our church-service, we have, our most religious king,' used indiscriminately, whoever is king. Nay, they even flatter themselves ;-' we have been graciously pleased to grant.' No modern flattery, however, is so gross as that of the Augustan age, where the emperor was deified ;—' Præsens Divus habebitur Augustus.' And as to meanness" -- (rising into warmth) -_“ how is it mean in a player,—a showman,-a fellow who exhibits himself for a shilling, to flatter his queen ? The attempt, indeed, was dangerous ; for if it had missed, what became of Garrick, and what became of the queen ? As Sir William Temple says of a great general, it is necessary not only that his designs be formed in a masterly manner, but that they should be attended with success. Sir, it is right, at a time when the royal family is not generally liked, to let it be seen that the people like at least one of them." Sir Joshua REYNOLDS. “I do not perceive why the profession of a player should be despised ; for the great and ultimate end of all the employments of mankind is to produce amusement. duces more amusement than anybody." BosWELL. “You say, Dr. Johnson, that Garrick exhibits himself for a shilling. In this re
spect he is only on a footing with a lawyer, who exhibits himself for bis fee, and even will maintain any nonsense or absurdity, if the case require it. Garrick refuses a play or a part which he does not like : a lawyer never refuses." Johnson. “Why, Sir, what does this prove ? only that a lawyer is worse. Poswell is now iike Jack in • The Tale of a Tab," who, when he is puzzled by an argument, hangs himself. He thinks I shall cut him down, but I'll let him hang "-(laughing vociferously). Sir Joshua ReynoldS. “Mr. Boswell thinks that the profession of a lawyer being unquestionably honourable, if he can show the profession of a player to be more tonourable, he proves his argument."
alluodon is not to the Tale of a Tub, but to the History of worn full, chap. stille
Divder at Topham Beauclerk's—Boswell elected of The Club-Goldsmith in Company, and in
his Study–His Roman History—“Talking for Victory”-Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress Monuments in St. Paul's-Milton-Butler—“The Whole Duty of Man ”-Pung-Lay Patronago-The Bread Tree-Savage Life-Reasoning of Brutes-Toleration--Martyrdom --Doctring of the Trinity--Government of Ireland-Invocation of Saints—“Goldy "_Literary Property-State of Nature-Male Succession-Influence of the Seasons on the MindProjected Visit to the Hebrides.
On Friday, April 30, I dined with him at Mr. Beauclerk's, where were Lord Charlemont, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and some more members of the LITERARY CLUB, whom he had obligingly invited to meet me, as I was this evening to be balloted for as candidate for admission into that distinguished society. Johnson had done me the honour to propose me, and Beauclerk was very zealous for me.
Goldsmith being mentioned : Johnson. “ It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows. He seldom comes where he is not more ignorant than any one else." Sir Joshua REYNOLDS. “Yet there is no man whose company is more liked.”
Johnson. “To be sure, Sir. When people find a man of the most distinguished abilities as a writer, their inferior while he is with them, it must be highly gratifying to them.
What Goldsmith comically says of himself is very true,-he always gets the better when he argues alone
; ing, that he is master of a subject in his study, and can write well upon it; but when he comes into company, grows confused, and unable to talk. Take him as a poet, his · Traveller' is a very fine performance ; ay, and so is his · Deserted Village,' were it not sometimes too much the echo of bis · Traveller. Whether, indeed, we take him as a poet,—as a comic writer, -or as an historian, be stands in the first class." Boswell. “ An historian ! My dear Sir, you surely will not rank his compilation of the Roman History with the works of other historians of this age ?" Johnson. “Why, who
GOLDSMITH AND ROBERTSON.
wre before him ? BOSWELL. “ Hume, Robertson,-Lord Lyttelton.” Johnson (bis antipathy to the Scotch beginning to rise). “I have not read Hume ; but, doubtless, Goldsmith's History is better than the verbiage of Robertson, or the foppery of Dalrymple.” BOSWELL. “Will you not admit the superiority of Robertson, in whose History' we find such penetration, such painting ?” JohnSON. “Sir, you must consider how that penetration and that painting are employed. It is not history, it is imagination. He wbo describes what he never saw, draws from fancy. Robertson paints minds as Sir Joshua paints faces in a history-piece : he imagines an heroic countenance. You must look upon Robertson's work as romance, and try it by that standard. History it is not. Besides, Sir, it is the great excellence of a writer to put into his book as much as his book will hold. Goldsmitu has done this in his History. Now Robertson might have put twice as much into his book. Robertson is like a man who has packed gold in wool : the wool takes up more room than the gold. No, Sir; I always thought Robertson would be crushed by his own weight-would be buried under his own ornaments. Goldsmith tells you shortly all you want to know: Robertson detains you a great deal too long. No war will read Robertson's cumbrous detail a second time ; but Gold smith's plain narrative will please again and again. I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils : * Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. Goldsmith's abridgement is better than that of Lucius Florus or Eutropius ; and I will venture to say, that if you compare him with Vertot, in the same places of the Roman History, you will find that he excels Vertot. Sir, he has the art of compiling, and of saying every thing he has to say in a pleasing manner. He is now writing a Natural History, and will make it as entertaining as a Persian tale."
I cannot dismiss the present topic without observing, that it is probable that Dr. Johnson, who owned that he often “talked for victory," rather urged plausible objections to Dr. Robertson's excellent historical works, in the ardour of contest, than expressed his
! Robertson's Charles V. and Goldsmith's Roman History were both published in 1764
real and decided opinion; for it is not easy to suppuse, that he should so widely differ from the rest of the literary world.
Johnson. “I remember once being with Goldsmith in Westmuidster Abbey. While we surveyed the Poets' Corner, I said to him
Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.?
When we got to Temple Bar he stopped me, pointed to the heads upon it, and slily whispered me,
Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebiter ISTIS." "9
Johnson praised John Bunyan highly. "His Pilgrim's Progress' has great merit, both for invention, imagination, and the conduct of the story ; and it has had the best evidence of its merit, the general and continued approbation of mankind. Few books, I believe, have had a more extensive sale. It is remarkable that it begins very much like the poem of Dante ; yet there was no translation of Dante when Bunyan wrotc. There is reason to think that he had read Spenser."
A proposition which had been agitated, that monuments to eminent persons should, for the time to come, be erected in St. Paul's church, as well as in Westminster Abbey, was mentioned ; and it was asked, who should be honoured by having his monument first erected there. Somebody suggested Pope. Johnson. “Why, Sir, as Pope was a Roman Catholic, I would not have his to be first. I think Milton's rather should have the precedence.' I think more highly of him now than I did at twenty. There is more thinking in him and in Butler, than in any of our poets."
Some of the company expressed a wonder why the author of so excellent a book as The whole Duty of Man" should conceal bimself.* Johnson. There
be different reasons assigned for this,
1 Ovid. de Art. Amand. I. ii. v. 13.
3 Here is another instance of bis bigh admiration of Milton as a poet, notwithstanding his just abhorrence of that sour republican's political principles. His candour and discrimina sion are equally conspicuous. Let us hear no more of his “injustice to Milton.”
• In a manuscript in the Bodleian Library several circumstances are stated, which strongly mcline me to believe that Dr. Accepted Frewen, Archbishop of York, was the author of this Work-M.