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exercise may be a pretty thing for a school-boy; 1770. but it is no treat for a man.'
Ætat. 61. “ Speaking of Boetius, who was the favourite writer of the middle ages, he said it was very surprising, that upon such a subject, and in such a situation, he should be magis philosphus qu im Christianus.
Speaking of Arthur Murphy, whom he very much loved, “I don't know (said he,) that Arthur can be classed with the very first dramatick writers; yet at present I doubt much whether we have any think superiour to Arthur.'
“ Speaking of the national debt, he said, it was an idle dream to suppose that the country could sink under it. Let the publick creditors be ever so clamorous, the interest of millions must ever prevail over that of thousands.
“ Of Dr. Kennicott's Collations, he observed, that though the text should not be much mneded thereby, yet it was no small advantage to know, that we had as good a text as the most consummate industry and diligence could procure.
“ Johnson observed, that so many objections might be made to every thing, that nothing could overcome them but the necessity of doing something. No man would be of any profession, as simply opposed to not being of it: but every one must do something
“ He remarked, that a London parish was a very comfortless thing; for the clergyman seldom knew the face of one out of ten of his parishioners.
« Of the late Mr. Mallet he spoke with no great respect: said, he was ready for any dirty jcb: that
1770. he had wrote against Byng at the instigation of the Ætat. 51. ministry, and was equally ready to write for him,
provided he found his account in it.
" A gentleman who had been very unhappy in marriage, married immediately after his wife died : Johnson said, it was the triumph of hope over experience.
“ He observed, that a man of sense and education should meet a suitable companion in a wife. It was a miserable thing when the conversation could only be such as, whether the mutton should be boiled or roasted, and probably a dispute about that.
“ He did not approve of late marriages, observing that more was lost in point of time, than compensated for by any possible advantages.
Even ill assorted marriages were preferable to cheerless celibacy.
* Of old Sheridan he remarked, that he neither wanted parts nor literature; but that his vanity and Quixotism obscured his merits.
“ He said, foppery was never cured; it was the bad stamina of the mind, which, like those of the body, were never rectified : once a coxcomb, and always a coxcomb.
Being told that Gilbert Cowper called him the Caliban of literature; “Well, (said he,) I must dub him the Punchinello.'
“ Speaking of the old Earl of Cork and Orrery, he said, 'that man spent his life in catching at an object, [literary eminence,] which he had not power to grasp.'
" To find a substitution for violated morality, he said, was the leading feature in all peryersions of religion."
« He often used to quote, with great pathos, those 1770: fine lines of Virgil :
Ætat. 61. Optima quæque dies miseris mortalibus ævi • Prima fugit ; subeunt morbi, tristisque senectus, * Et labor, et duræ rapit inclementia mortis.'
Speaking of Homer, whom he venerated as the prince of poets, Johnson remarked that the advice given to Diomed by his father, when he sent him to the Trojan war, was the noblest exhortation that could be instanced in any heathen writer, and comprised in a single line :
which, if I recollect well, is translated by Dr. Clarke thus : semper appetere præstantissima, et omnibus aliis antecellere.
“ He observed, it was a most mortifying reflection for any man to consider, what he had done, compared with what he might have done.'
“ He said few people had intellectual resources sufficient to forego the pleasures of wine. They could not otherwise contrive how to fill the interval between dinner and supper.
“ He went with me, one Sunday, to hear my old Master, Gregory Sharpe, preach at the Temple.--In the prefatory prayer, Sharpe ranted about Liberty, as a blessing most feryently to be implored, and its con
[Dr. Maxwell's memory has deceived him. Glaucus is the person who received this counsel ; and Clarke's translation of the passage (Il. z. 1. 208,) is as follows :
“ Ut semper fortissime rem gererem, et superior virtute essem aliis." J. B.-0.] VOL, II.
1770. tinuance prayed for. Johnson observed that our Ætat. 61. liberty was in no sort of danger :- he would have
done much better, to pray against our licentiousness.
One evening at Mrs. Montagu's, where a splendid company was assembled, consisting of the most eminent literary characters, I thought he seemed highly pleased with the respect and attention that were shewn him, and asked him on our return home, if he was not highly gratified by his visit : “ No, Sir, (said he) not highly gratified; yet I do not recollect to have passed many evenings with fewer objections."
“ Though of no high extraction himself, he had much respect for birth and family, especially among ladies. He said, adventitious accomplishments may be possessed by all ranks; but one may easily distinguish the born gentlewoman.'
" He said, 'the poor in England were better provided for, than in any other country of the same extent: he did not mean little Cantons, or petty Republicks. Where a great proportion of the people (said he,) are suffered to languish in helpless misery, that country must be ill policed, and wretchedly governed: a decent provision for the poor, is the true test of civilization.—Gentlemen of education, he observed, were pretty much the same in all countries; the condition of the lower orders, the poor especially, was the true mark of national discrimination.'
• When the corn-laws were in agitation in Ireland, by which that country has been enabled not only to feed itself, but to export corn to a large amount; Sir Thomas Robinson observed, that those laws might be prejudicial to the corn-trade of England. Sir Thomas, (said he,) you talk the language of a savage: what, Sir? would you prevent any people from 1770.
. feeding themselves, if by any honest means they can
Ætat. 61. do it.'
“ It being mentioned, that Garrick assisted Dr. Brown, the author of the Estimate,' in some dramatick composition, 'No, Sir ; (said Johnson,) he would no more suffer Garrick to write a line in his play, than he would suffer him to mount his pulpit.'
“ Speaking of Burke, he said, "It was commonly observed he spoke too often in parliament ; but nobody could
he did not speak well, though too frequently and too familiarly.'
Speaking of economy, he remarked, it was hardly worth while to save anxiously twenty pounds a year. If a man could save to that degree, so as to enable him to assume a different rank in society, then, indeed, it might answer some purpose.
“ He observed, a principal source of erroneous judgement was, viewing things partially and only on one side: as for instance, fortune-hunters, when they contemplated the fortunes singly and separately, it was a dazzling and tempting object; but when they came to possess the wives and their fortunes together, they began to suspect they had not made quite so good a bargain.
“ Speaking of the late Duke of Northumberland living very magnificently when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, somebody remarked, it would be difficult to find a suitable successor to him: then exclaimed Johnson, he is only fit to succeed himself.
“ He advised me, if possible, to have a good ore chard.
He knew, he said, a clergyman of small income, who brought up a family very reputably, which he chiefly fed with apple dumplins.