1781. have put into the volume, of which I beg your ac

Ætat. 7. ceptance.

« Men in your station seldom have presents totally disinterested; my book is received, let me now make my request.

“There is, Sir, somewhere within your government, a young adventurer, one Chauncey Lawrence, whose father is one of my oldest friends. Be pleased to shew the young man what countenance is fit, whether he wants to be restrained by your authority, or encouraged by your favour. His father is now President of the College of Physicians, a man venerable for his knowledge, and inore venerable for his virtue.

“I wish you a prosperous government, a safe return, and a long enjoyment of plenty and tranquillity,

66 I am, Sir,
" Your most obedient

." And most humble servant,
" London, Dec. 20, 1774. “ SAM. Johnson."


66 SIR,

-“ Jan. 9, 1781. “ AMIDST the importance and multiplicity of affairs in which your great office engages you, I take the liberty of recalling your attention for a moment to literature, and will not prolong the interruption by an apology which your character makes needless.

“ Mr. Hoole, a gentleman long known, and long esteemed in the India-House, after having translated

? « Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland.”

Tasso, has undertaken Ariosto. How well he is 1781. qualified for his undertaking he has already shewn.

Ætat. 72. He is desirous, Sir, of your favour in promoting his proposals, and flatters me by supposing that my testimony may advance his interest.

“ It is a new thing for a clerk of the India-House to translate poets; it is new for a Governor of Bengal to patronize learning. That he may find his ingenuity rewarded, and that learning may flourish under your protection, is the wish of, Sir,

“ Your most humble servant,

“ SAM. Johnson."

I wrote to him in February, complaining of having been troubled by a recurrence of the perplexing question of Liberty and Necessity ;-and mentioning that I hoped soon to meet him again in London.



“I HOPED you had got rid of all this hypocrisy of misery. What have you to do with Liberty and Necessity? Or what more than to hold your tongue about it? Do not doubt but I shall be most heartily glad to see you here again, for I love every part about you but your affectation of distress.

“ I have at last finished my Lives, and have laid up for you a load of copy, all out of order, so that it will amuse you a long time to set it right. Come to me, my dear Bozzy, and let us be as happy as we

1781. can. We will go again to the Mitre, and talk old Ætz.72 times over.

“ I am, dear Sir,

Yours affectionately, “ March 14, 1781.


On Monday, March 19, I arrived in London, and on Tuesday, the 20th, met him in Fleet-street, walking, or rather indeed moving along; for his peculiar march is thus described in a very just and picturesque manner, in a short Life of him published very soon after his death:~" When he walked the streets, what with the constant roll of his head, and the concomitant motion of his body, he appeared to make his way by that motion, independent of his feet." That he was often much stared at while he advanced in this manner, may easily be believed; but it was not safe to make sport of one so robust as he was. Mr. Langton saw him one day, in a fit of absence, by a sudden start, drive the load off a porter's back, and walk forward briskly, without being conscious of what he had done. The porter was very angry, but stood still, and eyed the huge figure with much earnestness, till he was satisfied that his wisest course was to be quiet, and take up his burthen again.

Our accidental meeting in the street after a long

* Published by Kearsley, with this well-chosen motto:

- From his cradle
“ He was a SCHOLAR, and a ripe and good one:
" And to add greater honours to his age
66 Than man could give him, he died fearing Heaven,"


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separation, was a pleasing surprize to us both. He 1781. stepped aside with me into Falcon-court, and made kind enquiries about my family, and as we were in a hurry guing different ways, I promised to call on him next day; he said he was engaged to go out in the morning. “Early, Sir?” said I. JOHNSON. “ Why, Sir, a London inorning does not go with the sun."

I waited on him next evening, and he gave me a great portion of his original manuscript of his · Lives of the Poets,' which he had preserved for me. · I found on visiting his friend, Mr. Thrale, that he was now very ill, and had removed, I suppose by the solicitation of Mrs. Thrale, to a house in Grosvenorsquare. I was sorry to see him sadly changed in his appearance.

He told me I might now have the pleasure to see Dr. Johnson drink wine again, for he had lately returned to it. When I mentioned this to Johnson, he said, " I drink it now sometimes, but not socially." The first evening that I was with him at Thrale's, I observed he poured a large quantity of it into a glass, and swallowed it greedily. Every thing about his character and manners was forcible and violent; there never was any moderation; many a day did he fast, many a year did he refrain from wine; but when he did eat, it was voraciously; when he did drink wine, it was copiously. He could practise abstinence, but not temperance.

Mrs. Thrale and I had a dispute, whether Shakspeare or Milton had drawn the most admirable picture of a man. I was for Shakspeare; Mrs. Thrale

• Shakspeare makes Hamlet thus describe his father :

" See what a grace was seated on this brow:
" Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,

1781. for Milton; and after a fair hearing, Johnson decided Ætat. 72. for my opinion.

I told him of one of Mr. Burke's playful sallies upon Dean Marlay: “ I don't like the Deanery of Ferns, it sounds so like a barren title.”—“ Dr. Heath should have it;" said I. Johnson laughed, and condescending to trifle in the same mode of conceit, suggested Dr. Moss.

He said, “ Mrs. Montagu has dropt me. Now, Sir, there are people whom one should like very well to drop, but would not wish to be dropped by.” He certainly was vain of the society of ladies, and could make himself very agreeable to them, when he chose it; Sir Joshua Reynolds agreed with me that he could. Mr. Gibbon, with his usual sneer, controverted it, perhaps in resentment of Johnson's having talked with some disgust of his ugliness, which one would

" An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; :
“ A station like the herald, Mercury,
« New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
“ A combination, and a form, indeed,
" Where erery God did seem to set his seal,
« To give the world assurance of a man."

Milton thus pourtrays our first parent, Adam :

“ His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd
“ Absolute rule; and hyacinthin locks
“ Round from his parted forelock manly hung

“ Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad." .
? [It is strange, that the picture drawn by the unlearned Shak-
speare, should be full of classical images, and that by the learned
Milton, void of them.-Milton's description appears to me more
picturesque. K.]

2 [Dr. Richard Marlay, afterwards Lord Bishop of Waterford; a very amiable, benevolent, and ingenious man. He was chosen a member of the LITERARY CLUB in 1777, and died in Dublin, July 2, 1902, in his 75th year. M.]

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