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1781. have returned the money to his friend, which it is not Se pretended he did.'—*This, too, (he added,) might
be retorted by an advocate for Steele, who might al. ledge, that he did not repay the loan intentionally, merely to see whether Addison would be mean and ungenerous enough to make use of legal process to recover it. But of such speculations there is no end: we cannot dive into the hearts of men ; but their actions are open to observation.'
I then mentioned to him that some people thought that Mr. Addison's character was so purę, that the fact, though true, ought to have been suppressed. He saw no reason for this. If nothing but the bright side of characters should be shrewn, we should sit down in despondency, and think it utterly impossible to imitate them in any thing. The sacred writers (he observed) related the vicious as well as the virtuous actions of men; which had this moral effect, that it kept mankind from despair, into which otherwise they would naturally fall, where they not supported by the recollection that others had offended like themselves, and by penitence and amendment of life had been restored to the favour of Heaven." .“ March 15, 1782.
The last paragraph of this note is of great importance; and I request that my readers may consider it with particular attention. It will be afterwards refered to in this work.
: Various readings in the life of Addison.
“ [But he was our first example] He was, however, one of our earliest examples of correctness.
“ And Coverlook] despise their masters.
“ His instructions were such as the state) character of his [own time] readers made (necessary] proper.
“ His purpose was to [diffuse) infuse literary curio. sity by gentle and unsuspected conveyance [among] into the gay, the idle, and the wealthy.
“ Framed rather for those that [wish] are learning not to write.
“ Domestick (manners] scenes.”
In his life of PARNELL, I wonder that Johnson omitted to insert an Epitaph which he had long before composed for that amiable man, without ever writing it down, but which he was so good as, at my request, to dictate to me, by which means it has been preserved.
“ Hic requiescit Thomas Parnell, S.T. P.
" Qui sacerdos pariter et poeta,
Various readings in the Life of PARNELL. “ About three years (after] afterwards,
“ [Did not much want] was in no great need of im. provement.
“ But his prosperity did not last long [was clouded with that which took away all his po vers of enjoying either profit or pleasure, the death of his wife, whom he is said to have lamented with such sorrow, as
- 1781. •hastened his end.:] His end, whatever was the cause, zo was now approaching.
“ In the Hermit, the [composition] narrative, as it is less airy, is less-pleasing.”
In the Life of BLACKMORE, we find that writer's reputation generously cleared by Johnson from the cloud of prejudice which the malignity of contemporary wits had raised around it. In this spirited exertion of justice, he has been imitated by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in his praise of the architecture of Vanburgh.
We trace Johnson's own character in his observations on Blackmore's “ magnanimity as an authour." --" The incessant attacks of his enemies, whether serious or merry, are never discovered to have disturbed his quiet, or to have lessened his confidence in himself.” Johnson, I recollect, once told me, laughing heartily, that he understood it had been said of him, “ He appears not to feel; but when he is alone, depend upon it, he suffers sadly.” I am as certain as I can be of any man's real sentiments, that he enjoyed the perpetual shower of little hostile arrows as evidences of his fame.
Various readings in the Life of BLACKMORE. “T0 [set] engage poetry (on the side] in the cause of virtue.
“ He likewise [established) enforced the truth of Revelation.
5 I should have thought that Johnson who had felt the severe affliction from which Parnell never recovered, would have preserved this passage.
[He omitted it, doubtless, because he afterwards learned that, however he might have lamented his wife, his end was lastened by other means. M.]
« [Kindness) benevolence was ashamed to favour. 1781.
“ His practice, which was once [very extensive] Ætat.72. invidiously great.
“ There is scarcely any distemper of dreadful name [of] which he has not (shewn] taught his reader how [it is to be opposed] to oppose.
“Of this [contemptuous) indecent arrogance.
“ [He wrote] but produced likewise a work of a different kind.
“ At least (written) compiled with integrity.
“ Faults which many tongues [we, u desirous] would have made haste to publish.
“ But though he [had not] could not boast of much critical knowledge.
“ He [used) waited for no felicities of fancy.
“ Or had ever elated his [mind] views born to that ideal perfection which every [mind) genius born to excel is condemned always to pursue and never overtake.
4c The [first great] fundamental principle of wisdom and of virtue.
Various readings in the Life of Philips. “ His dreadful (rival] antagonist Pope.
“ They [have not often much] are not loaded with thought.
" In his translation from Pindar, he will not be denied to have reached] found the art of reaching all the obscurity of the Theban bard.”
Various readings in the Life of CONGREVE. "! Congreve's conversation must sruely have been at least equally pleasing with his writings.
“ It apparently [requires) pre-supposes a familiar knowledge of many characters.
“ Reciprocation of [similes) conceits.
“Love for Love; a comedy [inore drawn from life] of nearer alliance to life.
“ The general character of his miscellanies is, that they shew little wit and [no] little virtue.
“ [Perhaps] certainly he had not the fire requisite for the higher species of lyrick poetry."
Various readings in the Life of TICKELL.
“ Fiction (unnaturally) unskilfully compounded of Grecian deities and Gothick fairies.”
Various readings in the Life of Akeyside, “ For [another) a different purpose. “ [A furious] an unnecessary and outrageous zeal.
“ Something which] what he called and thought liberty.
" A [favourer of innovation] lover of contradiction.
“: Mr. Dyson with [a zeal] an ardour of friendship.
In the Life of LYTTELTON, Johnson seems to have been not favourably disposed towards that nobleman, Mrs. Thrale suggests that he was offended by Molly Aston's preference of his Lordship to him. I can
Let not my readers smile to think of Johnson's being a candidate for female favour; Mr. Peter Garrick assured me, that he was told by a lady, that in her opinion Johnson was “ a very seducing