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1782. “ To be sick, and to see nothing but sickness and Srdeath, is but a gloomy state ; but I hope better Ætat. 73.
times, even in this world, will come, and whatever this world may with-hold or give, we shall be happy in a better state. Pray for me, my dear Lucy.
.66 Make my compliments to Mrs. Cobb, and Miss Adey, and my old friend, Hetty Bailey, and to all the Lichfield ladies. I am, dear Madam,
“Yours, affectionately, “Bolt-court, Fleet-street,
66 SAM. JOHNSON." March 19, 1782.
On the day on which this letter was written, he thus feelingly mentions his respected friend, and physician, Dr. Lawrence:" Poor Lawrence has almost lost the sense of hearing; and I have lost the conversation of a learned, intelligent, and communicative companion, and a friend whom long familiarity has much endeared. Lawrence is one of the best men whom I have known.-- Nostrum omnium miserere Deus.")
It was Dr. Johnson's custom when he wrote to Dr. Lawrence concerning his own health, to use the Latin language. I have been favoured by Miss Lawrence with one of these letters as a specimen:
T. LAWRENCIO, Medico; s. “ Novum frigus, nova tussis, nova spirandi difficultas, novam sanguinis missionem suadent, quam tamen te inconsulto nolim fieri. Ad te venire vix possum, nec est cur ad me venias. Licere vel non licere une
? Prayers and Meditations, p. 207.
verbo dicendum est; cæterà mihi et Holderos relique 1782. ris. Si per te licet, imperatur nuncio Holderum ad me Ætat. 75 deducere.
“ Mais Calendis, 1782.
“ Postquàm tu discesseris, qud me vertam ",
* Mr. Holder, in the Strand, Dr. Johnson's apothecary. :19 Soon after the above letter, Dr. Lawrence left London, but not before the palsy had made so great a progress as to render him unable to write for himself. The following are extracts from letters addressed by Dr. Johnson to one of his daughters: “ “You will easily believe with what gladness I read that you had heard once again that voice to which we have all so often delighted to attend. May you often bear it. If we had his mind, and his tongue, we could spare the rest. . . .
“I am not vigorous, but much better than when dear Dr. Law rence held my pulse the last time. Be so kind as to let me know, from one little interval to another, the state of his body. I am pleased that he remembers me, and hope that it never can be possible for me to forget him, July 22, 1782. .“ I am much delighted even with the small advances which dear Dr. Lawrence makes towards recovery. If we could have again but his mind, and his tongue in his mind, and his right hand, we should not much lament the rest. 'I should not despair of helping the swelled hand by electricity, if it were frequently and diligently supplied.
“ Let me know from time to time whatever happens; and I hope I need not tell you, how much I am interested in every change, Aug. 26, 1782."
“ Though the account with which you-favoured me in your last letter could not give me the pleasure that I wished, yet I was glad to receive it;, for my affection to my dear friend makes me desirous of knowing his state, whatever it be. I beg, therefore, that you continue to let me know, from time to time, all that you observe.
“ Many fits of severe illness have, for about three months past, forced my kind physician often upon my mind. I am now better; and hope gratitude, as well as distress, can be a motive to remembrance. Bolt-court, Fleet-street, Feb. 4, 1783."
1782. word TO CAPTAIN LANGTON,' IN ROCHESTER. Ætat.73.
6 DEAR SIR,
“ It is now long since we saw one another; and, whatever has been the reason, neither you have written to me, nor I to you. To let friendship die away by negligence and silence, is certainly not wise. It . is voluntarily to throw away one of the greatest comforts of this weary pilgrimage, of which when it is, as it must be taken finally away, he that travels on alone, will wonder how his esteem could be so little. Do not forget me; you see that I do not forget you. It is pleasing in the silence of solitude to think, that there is one at least, however distant, of whose benevolence there is little doubt, and whom there is yet hope of seeing again.
“ Of my life, from the time we parted, the history is mournful. The spring of last year deprived me of Thrale, a man whose eye for fifteen years had scarcely been turned upon me but with respect or tenderness; for such another friend, the general course of human things will not suffer man to hope. I passed the Summer at Streatham, but there was no Thrale; and having idled away the summer with a weakly body and neglected inind, I made a journey to Staffordshire on the edge of winter. The season was dreary, I was sickly, and found the friends sickly whom I went to see. After a sorrowful sojourn, I returned to a habitation possessed for the present by two sick women, where my dear old
* Mr. Langton being at this time on duty at Rochester, he is addressed by his military title.
friend, Mr. Levett, to whom as he used to tell me, 1782. I owe your acquaintance, died a few weeks ago, 73 suddenly in his bed; there passed not, I believe, a minute between health and death. At night, as ati Mrs. Thrale's, I was musing in my chamber, I thought with uncommon earnestness, that however I might alter my mode of life, or whithersover I might remove, I would endeavour to retain Levett about me; in the morning my servant brought me word that Levett was called to another state, a state for which, I think, he was not unprepared, for he was very useful to the poor. How much soever I valued him, I now wish that I had valued him more.?
" I have myself been ill more than eight weeks of a disorder, from which at the expence of about fifty ounces of blood, I hope I am now recovering.
“ You, dear Sir, have, I hope, a more cheerful scene; you see George fond of his book, and the pretty misses airy and lively, with my own little Jenny equal to the best: and in whatever can contribute to your quiet or pleasure, you have Lady Rothes ready to concur. May whatever you enjoy of good be increased, and whatever you suffer of evil be . diminished. I am, dear Sir,
“ Your humble servant, • Bolt-court, Fleet-street,
2 Johnson has here expressed a sentiment similar to that contained in one of Shenstone's stanzas, to which in his life of that poet he has given high praise :
“ I prized every hour that went by,
“ Beyond all that had pleas'd me before;
“ TO MR. HECTOR, IN BIRMINGHAM.*
6 DEAR SIR,
“ I hope I do not very grossly flatter myself to imagine that you and dear Mrs. Careless4 will be glad to hear some account of me. I performed the journey to London with very little inconvenience, and came safe to my habitation, where I found nothing but ill health, and, of consequence, very little cheerfulness. I then went to visit a little way into the country, where I got a complaint by a cold which has hung eight weeks upon me, and from which I am, at the expence of fifty ounces of blood, not yet free. I am afraid I must once more owe my recovery to warm weather, which seems to make no advances towards us.
" Such is my health, which will, I hope, soon grow better. In other respects I have no reason to complain. I know not that I have written any thing more generally commended than the Lives of the Poets; and have found the world willing enough to caress me, if my health had invited me to be in much company; but this season I have been almost wholly employed in nursing myself.
- When summer comes I hope to see you again, and will not put off my visit to the end of the year. I have lived so long in London, that I did not re- ' member the difference of seasons.
9 A part of this letter having been torn off, I have, from the evident meaning, supplied a few words and half words at the ends and beginning of lines.
• See Vol. II. p. 479.