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1771. nature, that it abhors a vacuum : our minds cannot Ætat. 62.
be empty; and evil will break in upon them, if they
tristitiam et metus
« Portare ventis.'
“ If we perform our duty, we shall be safe and steady, - Sive per,' &c. whether we climb the Highlands, or are tost among the Hebrides ; and I hope the time will come when we may try our powers both with cliffs and water. I see but little of Lord Elibank, I know not why; perhaps by my own fault, I am this day going into Staffordshire and Derbyshire for six weeks.
“ I am, dear Sir,
« And most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, IN LEICESTER-FIELDS.
“ WHEN I came to Lichfield, I found that my portrait had been much visited, and much admired. Every man has a lurking wish to appear considerable in his native place; and I was pleased with the dignity conferred by such a testimony of your regard.
“ Be pleased, therefore, to accept the thanks of, Sir, your most obliged,
“ And most bumble servant, « Ashbourn in Derbyshire,
« SAM. JOHNSON." July, 17, 1771. “ Compliments to Miss Reynolds."
TO DR. JOHNSON.
Ætat. 620 MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburgh, July 27, 1771. “ The bearer of this, Mr. Beattie, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Aberdeen, is desirous of being introduced to your acquaintance. His genius and learning, and labours in the service of virtue and religion, render him very worthy of it; and as he has a high esteem of your character, I hope you will give him a favourable reception. I ever am, &c.
" JAMES BOSWELL."
TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ. AT LANGTON, NEAR
“ I Am lately returned from Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The last letter mentions two others which
you have written to me since you received my pamphlet. Of these two I never had but one, in which
mentioned a design of visiting Scotland, and, by consequence, put my journey to Langton out of my thoughts. My summer wanderings are now over, and I am engaging in a very great work, the revision of my Dictionary ; from which I know not, at present, how to get loose. If you
have observed, or been told, any errours or omissions, you will do me a great favour by letting ine know them.
Lady Rothes, I find, has disappointed you and herself. Ladies will have these tricks. The Queen and Mrs. Thrale, both ladies of experience, yet both missed their reckoning this summer. I hope, a few months will recompense your uneasiness.
1771. “ Please to tell Lady Rothes how highly I value
the honour of her invitation, which it is my purpose Ætat. 62.
to obey as soon as I have disengaged myself. In the mean time I shall hope to hear often of her Ladyship, and every day better news and better, till I hear that
you have both the happiness, which to both is very sincerely wished, by, Sir,
“ Your most affectionate, and
“ Most humble servant, “ August 29, 1771.
“ Sam. JOHNSON."
In October I again wrote to him, thanking him for his last letter, and his obliging reception of Mr. Beattie ; informing him that I had been at Alnwick lately, and had good accounts of him from Dr. Percy.
In his religious record of this year we observe that he was better than usual, both in body and mind, and better satisfied with the regularity of his conduet. But he is still “ trying his ways" too rigourously. He charges himself with not rising early enough ; yet he mentions what was surely a sufficient excuse for this, supposing it to be a duty seriously required, as he all his life appears to have thought it. “ One great hindrance is want of rest; my nocturnal complaints grew less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to repair the deficiencies of the night."3 Alas ! how hard would it be, if this indulgence were to be imputed to a sick man as a crime. In his retrospect on the following Easter-eve, he says, “When I review the last year, I am able to recollect so little done, that shame and sorrow, though perhaps too weakly, come upon me.
Prayers and Meditations, p. 101.
Had he been judging of any one else in the same 1771. circumstances, how clear would he have been on the
Ætat. 62. favourable side. How very difficult, and in my opinion almost constitutionally impossible it was for him to be raised early, even by the strongest resolutions, appears from a note in one of his little paper-books, (containing words arranged for his Dictionary,) written, I suppose, about 1753: “ I do not remember that since I left Oxford, I ever rose early by mere choice, but once or twice at Edial, and two or three times for the Rambler.” I think he had fair ground enough to have quieted his mind on the subject, concluding that he was physically incapable of what is at best but a commodious regulation.
In 1772 he was altogether quiescent as an authour; 1772. but it will be found, from the various evidences which
Ætat. 63. I shall bring together, that his mind was acute, lively and vigorous.
TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
“ Be pleased to send to Mr. Banks, whose place of residence I do not know, this note, which I have sent open, that, if you please, you may read it. " When you send it, do not use your own seal.
“ I am, Sir,
" Your most humble servant, « Feb. 27, 1772.
16 SAM, JOHNSON.'
TO JOSEPH BANKS, ESQ.
Perpetua ambitd bis terrà premia lactis
“ Hæc habet altrici Capra secunda Jovis." A Thus translated by a friend : VOL. II.
SIR, Ætat. 63.
“ I RETURN thanks to you and to Dr. Solander for the pleasure which I received in yesterday's conversation. I could not recollect a motto for your Goat, but have given her one. You, Sir, may perhaps have an epick poem from some happier pen than, Sir,
- Your most humble servant, " Johnson's.court, Fleet-street, “SAM. JOHNSON."
February 27, 1772.
TO DR. JOHNSON.
MY DEAR SIR,
" It is hard that I cannot prevail on you te write to me oftener. But I am convinced that it is in vain to expect from you a private correspondence with any regularity. I must, therefore, look upon you as a fountain of wisdom, from whence few rills are communicated to a distance, and which must be approached at its source, to partake fully of its virtues.
“I am coming to London soon, and am to appear in an appeal from the Court of Session in the House of Lords. A schoolmaster in Scotland was, by a court of inferior jurisdiction, deprived of his office, for being somewhat severe in the chastisement of his scholars. The court of Session considering it to be dangerous to the interest of learning and education, to lessen the. dignity of teachers, and make them
- In fame scarce second to the nurse of Jove,
« This, Goat, who twice the world had traversed round, “ Deserving both her master's care and love,
“ Ease and perpetual pasture now has found."