« ElőzőTovább »
Lord Hailes. Besides my constant and ra- « This afternoon I have given (tea] to
• As Mrs. Williams received a pension
from Mrs. Montagu, it was fit to notify her [“ TO MR. TOMKESON, IN SOUTHAMPTON- death. The account has brought me a let. STREET, COVENT GARDEN 1.
ter not only civil but tender; so I hope peace
* 1st October, 1783. is proclaimed.” “Sir,-I have known Mr. Lowe very familiarly a great while. I consider him as
“ London, Sth October, 1783. a man of very clear and vigorous under- “ Two nights ago Mr. Burke sat with me standing, and conceive his principles to be a long time. He seems much pleased with such that, whatever you transact with him, his journey. We had both seen Stonehenge you have nothing to expect from him un- this summer for the first time. I told him becoming a gentleman. am, sir, your
that the view had enabled me to confute two humble servant, 6 SAM. JOHNSON." opinions which have been advanced about
it. One, that the materials are not natural “ DR. JOHNSON TO MISS REYNOLDS.
stones, but an artificial composition hardened * 1st October, 1783. by time. This notion is as old as Camden's “ DEAR MADAM,—I am very ill in- time; and has this strong argument to supReyn. deed, and to my former illness is su- port it, that stone of that species is nowhere
peradded the gout. I am now with- to be found. The other opinion, advanced out shoes, and I have lately been almost mo- by Dr. Charlton, is, that it was erected by tionless.
the Danes. “ To my other afflictions is added solitude. “ Mr. Bowles made me observe, that the Mrs. Williams, a companion of thirty years, transverse stones were fixed on the perpenis gone. It is a comfort to me to have you dicular supporters by a
nob formed on the I am, madam, your most humble top of the upright stone, which entered into servant, “ Sam. JOHNSON." a hollow cut in the crossing stone. This is
a proof that the enormous edifice was raised “ TO MRS. THRALE.
by a people who had not yet the knowledge “ London, 6th October, 1783. of mortar 3; which cannot be supposed of Letters,
“I yet sit without shoes, with the Danes, who came hither in ships, and my foot upon a pillow, but my
were not ignorant certainly of the arts of pain and weakness are much life. This proves also the stones not to be abated, and I am no longer crawling upon factitious ; for they that could mould such two sticks. To the gout my mind is re- durable masses could do much more than conciled by another letter from Mr. Mudge, make mortar, and could have continued the in which he vehemently urges the exci- transverse from the upright part with the sion, and tells me that the gout will se- same paste. cure me from every thing paralytick : if this “ You have doubtless seen Stonehenge ; be true, I am ready to say to the arthritick
and if you have not, I should think it a pains, Deh! venite og ne di, durate, un hard task to make an adequate descrip
tion. My physician in ordinary is Dr. Brock
“ It is in my opinion to be referred to the lesby, who comes almost every day ; my earliest habitation of the island, as a druidical surgeon, in Mr. Pott's absence, is Mr.
monument of, at least, two thousand years ; Cruikshank, the present reader in Dr. Hun- probably the most ancient work of man ter's school. Neither of them, however,
upon the island.
Salisbury cathedral and do much more than look and talk. The
its neighbour Stonehenge are two eminent general health of my body is as good as you monuments of art and rudeness, and may have ever known it-almost as good as I show the first essay and the last perfection can remember.
in architecture." “ The carriage which you supposed made rough by my weakness was the common “ DR. JOHNSON TO MISS REYNOLDS. Salisbury stage, high_hung, and driven to
" 230 October, 1783. Salisbury in a day. I was not fatigued. “ DEAR MADAM,—Instead of hav
Reyn. “ Mr. "Pott has been out of town, but I ing me at your table, which cannot,
MS. expect to see him soon, and will then tell I fear, quickly happen, come, if you you something of the main affair, of which there seems now to be a better prospect.
3 [Surely not. · Wewho have the use of mor
tar use what are called mortices; similarin prin. 1 (Communicated by Mr.J.C. Freeling.–Ed.] ciple at least to the knobs and holloros of Sione. I see ante, p. 115.-Ed.]
+ 27th October.
can, to dine this day with me. It will give pleased with. Upon her answering that she peasure to a sick friend.
thought the character of Queen Catharine, · Let me know whether you can come. in Henry the Eighth, the most natural : •1 I am, madam, yours affectionately,
think so too, madam,' said he ; and when“ Sam. JOHNSON.” ever you perform it, I will once more hobble
out to the theatre myself.' Mrs. Siddons “ DR. JOHNSON TO MISS REYNOLDS.
promised she would do herself the honour of “ London, 27th October, 1783.
acting his favourite part for him ; but many “ MY DEAREST DEAR,—I am able enough circumstances happened to prevent the reto write, for I have now neither sickness nor
presentation of King Henry the Eighth during pain ; only the gout has left my ankles some- the Doctor's life 3. what weak.
* In the course of the evening he thus * While the weather favours you, and the gave his opinion upon the merits of some of air does you good, stay in the country : when the principal performers whom he rememyou come home I hope we shall often see bered to have seen upon the stage. Mrs. one another, and enjoy that friendship to Porter in the vehemence of rage, and Mrs. which no time is likely to put an end on the Clive in the sprightliness of humour, I have part of, madam, your most humble servant,
never seen equalled. What Clive did best, “SAM. JOHNSON." she did better than Garrick; but could not He this autumn received a visit from the
do half so many things well : she was a
better romp than any I ever saw in nature. celebrated Mrs. Siddons. He gives this ac
Pritchard, in common life, was a vulgar count of it in one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale.
idiot ; she would talk of her gownd: but,
when she appeared upon the stage, seemed “ Mrs. Siddons, in her visit to me, behaved
to be inspired by gentility and understandwith great modesty and propriety, and left
ing. I once talked with Colley Cibber,
and thought him ignorant of the principles nothing behind her to be censured or des
of his art. Garrick, madam, was no depised. Neither praise nor money, the two
claimer ; there was not one of his own scenepowerful corruptors of mankind, seem to
shifters who could not have spoken To be or have depraved her. I shall be glad to see
not to be better than he did : yet he was the her again. Her brother Kemblet calls on
only actor I ever saw, whom I could call me, and pleases me very well. Mrs. Siddons
a master both in tragedy and comedy ; and I talked of plays ; and she told me her
though I liked him best in comedy. A true intention of exhibiting this winter the characters of Constance, Catharine, and Isabel
conception of character, and natural exla 2, in Shakspeare.”
pression of it, were his distinguished excel
lences.' Having expatiated, with his usual Mr. Kemble has favoured me with the
force and eloquence, on Mr. Garrick's ex
traordinary eminence as an actor, he confollowing minute of what passed at this
cluded with this compliment to his social visit:
talents : · And after all, madam, I thought 6 When Mrs. Siddons came into the room,
him less to be envied on the stage than at there happened to be no chair ready for her, which he observing said, with a smile, · Ma the head of a table.”
Johnson, indeed, had thought more upon dam, you who so often occasion a want of
the subject of acting than might be generseats to other people will the more easily excuse the want of one yourself.
ally supposed. Talking of it one day to
Mr. Kemble, he said, “ Are you, sir, one “ Having placed himself by her, he, with
of those enthusiasts who believe yourself great good-humour, entered upon a consider
transformed into the very character you ation of the English drama; and, among other inquiries, particularly asked her which represent?”. Upon Mr. Kemble's answer
ing that he had never felt so strong a per. of Shakspeare's characters she was most
suasion himself ; “ To be sure not, sir, 1 (This great actor and amiable and accom- said Johnson ; “the thing is impossible. plished man left the stage in 18, and died 26th And if Garrick really believed himself to be February, 1823, at Lausanne. In his own day that monster, Richard the Third, he dehe had no competitor in any walk of tragedy'; served to be hanged every time he performand those who remembered Barry, Mossop, ed it 4." Henderson, and Garrick admitted, that in characters of high tragic dignity, such as Hamlet, 3 [It was played many years after with critiCoriolanus, Alexander, Cato, he excelled all his cal attention to historical accuracy, and with predecessors, almost as much as his sister did great success. Mrs. Siddons played Catharine ; all actresses in the female characters of the same Mr. Kemble, Wolsey ; Mr. Charles Kemble, heroic class.--Ed.)
Cromwell. There is a very interesting picture, 2 (Isabella in Shakspeare's Measure for Mea- by Harlow (since engraved), of the trial-scene, sure. Mrs. Siddons had made her first appear- with portraits of all the performers. -Ed.) ance in Isabella in The Fatal Marriage.--Ed.] 4 [Mr. Kemble told the Editor that the occa
My worthy friend, Mr. John Nichols, was My two last years have passed under present when Mr. Henderson, the actor, paid the pressure of successive diseases. I have a visit to Dr. Johnson, and was received in a lately had the gout with some severity. But very courteous manner 1.
I wonderfully escaped the operation which I found among Dr. Johnson's papers the | I mentioned, and am upon the whole refollowing letter to him, from the celebrated stored to health beyond my own expectaMrs. Bellamy ? :
“ As we daily see our friends die round us, 6 TO DR. JOHNSON.
we that are left must cling closer, and, if we “No. 10 Duke-street, St. James's, 11th May, 1783. can do nothing more, at least pray for one
“Sir,—The flattering remembrance of the another; and remember, that as others die partiality you honoured me with some years we must die too, and prepare ourselves ago, as well as the humanity you are known diligently for the last great trial. to possess, has encouraged me to solicit your madam, yours affectionately, patronage at my benefit.
“ SAM. JOHNSON." By a long chancery suit, and a complicated train of unfortunate events, I am re
[“ TO MRS. THRALE. duced to the greatest distress; which obliges
“ London, 13th November, 1783. me, once more, to request the indulgence of “Since you have written to me
Letters, the publick.
with the attention and tenderness of “Give me leave to solicit the honour of ancient time 4, your letters give me p. 325. your company, and to assure you, if you a great part of the pleasure which a life of grant my request, the gratification I shall solitude admits. You will never bestow any feel from being patronized by Dr. Johnson share of your good-will on one who deserves will be infinitely superiour to any advantage better. Those that have loved longest love that may arise from the benefit; as I am, best. A sudden blaze of kindness may by with the profoundest respect, sir, your most a single blast of coldness be extinguished; obedient, humble servant,
but that fondness which length of time has “G. A. BELLAMY." connected with many circumstances and
occasions, though it may for a while be deI am happy in recording these particulars, pressed by disgust or resentment, with or which prove that my illustrious friend lived without a cause, is hourly revived by acto think much more favourably of players cidental recollection. To those that have than he appears to have done in the early lived long together, every thing heard and part of his life 3.
every thing seen recalls some pleasure com
municated or some benefit conferred, some “ TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD.
petty quarrel or some slight endearment. “ Bolt-court, Fleet-street, 10th Nov. 1783. Esteem of great powers, or amiable quali« DEAR MADAM,—The death of
Mr. ties newly discovered, may embroider a Porter, of which your maid has sent an ac- day or a week, but a friendship of twenty count, must have very much surprised you. years is interwoven with the texture of The death of a friend is almost always un- life. A friend may be often found and expected : we do not love to think of it, and lost; but an old friend never can be found, therefore are not prepared for its coming and nature has provided that he cannot easily He was, I think, a religious man, and there be lost. fore that his end was happy.
• Death has likewise visited my mournful “ You seem to mention Lord Kilmurrey 5 habitation. Last month died Mrs. Williams, as a stranger. We were at his house in who had been to me for thirty years in the Cheshire; and he one day dined with Sir place of a sister : her knowledge was great Lynch. What he tells of the epigram is and her conversation pleasing. I now live in not true, but perhaps he does not know it to cheerless solitude.
be false. Do not you remember how he re
joiced in having no park?-he could not dission on which he had felt himself the most af- oblige his neighbours by sending them no fected—the most personally touched--was in venison."] playing the last scene of The Stranger with Mrs. Siddons. Her pathos, he said, in that part al- A pleasing instance of the generous atways overcame him.-Ed.]
i See Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1791.BosweLL.
4 [This is the first letter in which we perceive ? [An actress who published memoirs of her a serious coldness towards Mrs. Thrale, but it is life.--Ed.)
clear that it had existed some time prior to this : [Johnson's dislike to players in early life was date, though it certainly had not been so early as nothing more than his jealousy of Garrick's sud- Mr. Boswell supposed.-Ed.) den elevation. After Ğarrick's death he began 5 (See ante, vol. i. p. 481, and p. 190 of this " to think more favourably of them."-Ed.] vol.--ED.)
tention of one of his friends has been dis- whom all who knew his lordship, even covered by the publication of Mrs. Thrale's those who differed from him in politicks, Collection of Letters. In a letter to one of remember with much respect.
the Miss Thrales, he writes, * A
friend, whose name I will tell when [“ DR. JOHNSON TO MISS REYNOLDS. your mamma has tried to guess it, sent to
" 27th November, 1783. my physician to inquire whether this long “ DEAR MADAM,—I beg that you train of illness had brought me into diffi
will let me know by this messenger
Reyn. culties for want of money, with an invita- whether you will do me the honour tion to send to him for what occasion re- of dining with me, and, if you will, whether quired. I shall write this night to thank we shall eat our dinner by our own selves, or lum, having no need to borrow.” And after- call Mrs. Desmoulins. Í am, dearest dear,
wards, in a letter to Mrs. Thrale, your most humble servant,
“ Sam. JOHNSON.”] you, that the generous man was Gerard llamilton. I returned him a very thankful
The Earl of Carlisle having written a and respectful letter.”
tragedy, entitled The Father's ReI applied to Mr. Hamilton, by a common
venge, some of his lordship's friends apfriend, and he has been so obliging as to
plied to Mrs. Chapone 3, to prevail on Dr. let me have Johnson's letter to him upon
Johnson to read and give his opinion of it, this occasion, to adorn my collection.
which he accordingly did, in a letter to that
lady. Sir Joshua Reynolds having inform4 TO THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM GERARD ed me that this letter was in Lord Carlisle's HAMILTON.
possession, though I was not fortunate " 19th November, 1783. enough to have the honour of being known “ DEAR SIR,—Your kind inquiries after
to his lordship, trusting to the general cour. my affairs, and your generous offers, have tesy of literature, I wrote to him, requestbeen communicated to me by Dr. Brock- ing the favour of a copy of its, and to be lesby. I return thanks with great sincerity, permitted to insert it in my Life of Dr. having lived long enough to know what
Johnson. His lordship was so good as to gratitude is due to such friendship; and en
comply with my request, and has thus entreat that my refusal may not be imputed
abled me to enrich my work with a very to sullenness or pride. I am, indeed, in no fine piece of writing, which displays both want. Sickness is, by the generosity of my
the critical skill and politeness of my illus. physicians, of little expense to me.
But if trious friend; and perhaps the curiosity any unexpected exigence should press me,
which it will excite may induce the noble you shall see, dear sir, how cheerfully I can and elegant authour to gratify the world by be obliged to so much liberality. I am, sir, the publication of a performance of which your most obedient and most humble ser
Dr. Johnson has spoken in such terms. vant,
“Sam. JOHNSON." I find in this, as in former years, notices
" 28th November, 1783. of his kind attention to Mrs. Gardiner, who,
“ MADAM-By sending the tragedy to though in the humble station of a tallow- me a second time 5, I think that a very honchandler upon Snow-hill, was a woman of
ourable distinction has been shown me; excellent good sense, pious, and charitable 1. and I did not delay the perusal, of which I She told me she had been introduced to am now to tell the effect. him by Mrs. Masters 2, the poetess, whose “ The construction of the play is not volumes he revised, and, it is said, illumina- completely regular: the stage is too often ted here and there with a ray of his own vacant, and the scenes are not sufficiently genius. Mrs. Gardiner was very zealous connected. This, however, would be call. for the support of the ladies' charity-school, ed by Dryden only a mechanical defect; in the parish of St. Sepulchre.
It is con
which takes away little from the power of fined to females ; and, I am told, it afford- the poem, and which is seen rather than ed a hint for the story of “ Betty Broom ”
felt. in « The Idler." Johnson this year, I find, “A rigid examiner of the diction might, obtained for it a sermon from the late Bish- perhaps, wish some words changed, and op of St. Asaph, Dr. Shipley, whom he, in some lines more vigorously terminated. one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale, character. ises as “ knowing and conversable ;" and 3 [Miss Mulso. See ante, p. 239.-Ed.)
4 A few copies only of this tragedy have been i In his will Dr. Johnson left her a book "at printed, and given to the authour's friends.—Bogher election, to keep as a token of remembrance." -MALONE. (See ante, vol. i. p. 102. She 5 Dr. Johnson having been very ill when the died in 1789, æt. 74 -Ed.]
tragedy was first sent to him, had declined the 3 (Ante, vol. i. p. 102.-Ed.)
consideration of it.--BOSWELL.
TO MRS. CHAPONE.
But from such petty imperfections what [“ DR. JOHNSON TO MISS REYNOLDS. writer was ever free?
230 December, 1783. “ The general form and force of the dia- · DEAREST MADAM,-You shall logue is of more importance. It seems to doubtless be very welcome to me on
Reyn. want that quickness of reciprocation which Christmas day. I shall not dine characterises the English drama, and is not alone, but the company will all be people always sufficiently fervid or animated. whom we can stay with or leave. I will
“Of the sentiments, I remember not one expect you at three, if I hear no more. I that I wished omitted. In the imagery I am this day a little better. I am, dear cannot forbear to distinguish the compari- madam, your most humble servant, son of joy succeeding grief to light rushing
“SAM. JOHNSON. on the eye accustomed to darkness l. It “I mean, do not be later than three; for seems to have all that can be desired to as I am afraid I shall not be at church, you make it please. It is new, just, and de- cannot come too soon." lightful.
« With the characters, either as conceiv- I consulted him on two questions of a ed or preserved, I have no fault to find ; but very different nature: one, Whether the was much inclined to congratulate a writer unconstitutional influence exercised by the who, in defiance of prejudice and fashion, peers of Scotland in the election of the repmade the archbishop a good man, and resentatives of the commons, by means of scorned all thoughtless applause, which a fictitious qualifications, ought not to be revicious churchman would have brought sisted; the other, What in propriety and him.
humanity should be done with old horses The catastrophe is affecting. The unable to labour. I gave him some acfather and daughter both culpable, both count of my life at Auchinleck; and exwretched, and both penitent, divide be- pressed my satisfaction that the gentlemen tween them our pity and our sorrow. of the county had, at two publick meetings,
Thus, madam, I have performed what elected me their præses or chairman. I did not willingly undertake, and could not decently refuse. The noble writer will be
“ TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. pleased to remember that sincere criticism
“ London, 24th Dec. 1783. ought to raise no resentment, because judg
“ DEAR SIR,—Like all other men who ment is not under the control of will ; but have great friends, you begin to feel the involuntary criticism, as it has still less of pangs of neglected merit; and all the comchoice, ought to be more remote from pos
fort that I can give you is, by telling you sibility of offence. I am, &c.
that you have probably more pangs to feel, “ SAM. JOHNSON." and more neglect to suffer. You have, in
deed, begun to complain too soon; and 1 TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD.
hope I am the only confidant of your dis“ London, 29th Nov. 1783.
content. Your friends have not yet had “ DEAR MADAM,—You may perhaps think
leisure to gratify personal kindness; they me negligent that I have not written to you
have hitherto been busy in strengthening
their ministerial interest. If a vacancy again upon the loss of your brother; but condolences and consolations are such com
happens in Scotland, give them early intelmon and such useless things, that the omis- ligence : and as you can serve government sion of them is no great crime ; and my own
as powerfully as any of your probable comdiseases occupy my mind and engage my
petitors, you may make in some sort a warcare. My nights are miserably restless,
rantable claim. and my days, therefore, are heavy. I try,
« Of the exaltations and depressions of however, to hold up my head as high as I
your mind you delight to talk, and I hate
to hear. Drive all such fancies from you. “ I am sorry that you health is impaired :
“On the day when I received your letperhaps the spring and the summer may, in
ter, I think, the foregoing page was writsome degree, restore it; but if not, we must
ten; to which one disease or another has submit to the inconveniences of time, as to
hindered me from making any additions. I the other dispensations of Eternal Good
am now a little better. But sickness and ness. Pray for me, and write to me, or let solitude press me very heavily. I could Mr. Pearson write for you. I am, &c.
bear sickness better, if I were relieved from “Sam. JOHNSON.”
« The present dreadful confusion of the
publick ought to make you wrap yourself 1“1 could have borne my woes; that stranger Joy Wounds while it smiles :- the long-imprison'd wretch,
up in your hereditary possessions, which, Emerging from the night of his damp cell,
though less than you may wish, are more Shrinks from the sun's bright beams; and that which than you can want; and in an hour of re
Alings Gladness o'er all to him is agony."-BOSWELL. ligious retirement return thanks to Godo