« ElőzőTovább »
unwilling to lose you. A dieu je vous recomman- die in thy favour, through Jesus Christ our Lord. de. I am, madam, your, &c.
Amen. I commend, &c. W. and H. B 2. “My compliments to my dear Miss.”
“ Transcribed June 26, 1768 3." TO THE SAME.
[On a close examination of the foregoing cor. (From Mrs. Piozzi's Collection, vol. i. p. 391.)
“ 1st January, 1755 1.
respondence, it will be seen that the personal
communications between Dr. Johnson and Miss “ DEAREST MADAM,—Though I am afraid your illness leaves you little leisure for the recep
Boothby were very limited, and that even during
her few and short visits to London their intercourse tion of airy civilities, yet I cannot forbear to pay you my congratulations on the new year; and to
was hardly as frequent as politeness would have declare my wishes, that your years to come may
required from common acquaintances.
The Editor admits that several of Miss Boothbe many and happy. In this wish indeed I include myself, who have none but you on whom by's letters contain expressions which, if we did
not consider the ages of the parties and all the othmy heart reposes ; yet surely I wish your good,
er circumstances of the case, would sound like even though your situation were such as should permit you to communicate no gratifications to,
something more tender than mere platonism; but
the slight intercourse between them during the dearest madam, your, &c.”
lady's subsequent visits to town seems to refute
that inference, " TO THE SAME.
The general phraseology of Johnson's notes, (From Mrs. Piozzi's Collection, vol. ii. p. 392.)
and the terms “my dearest” and “ my angel,”
“ (January 30, 1756.) “ DEAREST MADAM,-Nobody but you can re
seem strange ; but it must be recollected that
dearest dear, and similar superlatives of tendercompense me for the distress which I suffered on
ness, were usual with him in addressing Miss Monday night. Having engaged Dr. Lawrence
Reynolds and other ladies for whom he confessto let me know, at whatever hour, the state in which he left you ; I concluded, when he stayed addressed to Miss Boothby when she was dying,
edly felt nothing but friendship; and they were so long, that he stayed to see my dearest expire.
and when the hearts of both were softened by I was composing myself as I could to hear what
sickness and affliction, and warmed by spiritual yet I hoped not to hear, when his
communication. me word that you were better. Do you continue to grow better? Let my dear little Miss inform Lord Lyttleton for Miss Boothby's favour (see
As to the supposed rivalry between him and me on a card. I would not have you write, lest
ante, p. 276), it must be either a total mistake or it should hurt you, and consequently hurt like
an absurd exaggeration. Lord Lyttleton was, duwise, dearest madam, yours, &c.
ring the whole
of the acquaintance of Dr. John" TO THE SAME.
son and Miss Boothby, a married man, fondly at
tached to his wife, and remarkable for the punc“ Thursday, 8th January, 1756.
tilious propriety of his moral conduct; and the “HONOURED MADAM,-1 beg of you to endeavour to live. I have returned your Law; which, preference shown by Miss Boothby, and which
is said to have rankled in Johnson's heart, could however, I earnestly entreat you to give me.
have been nothing more than some incident in a am in great trouble; if you can write three words
morning visit, when Lord Lyttleton and Johnson to me, be pleased to do it. I am afraid to say
may have met in Cavendish-square, (for it seems much, and cannot say nothing when my dearest
certain that they never met in the country). We is in danger. “ The all-merciful God have mercy on you! I
have seen in the cases of Lord Chesterfield (vol.
i. pp. 110–11, n.) and of Miss Cotterell (vol. i. am, madam, your, &c.”
p. 104) how touchy Johnson was on such occa
sions, and how ready he was to take offence at any “ Miss Boothby died Friday, January 16, 1756 ;
thing that looked like slight. Some preference or upon whose death Dr. Johnson composed the fol.
superior respect shown by Miss Boothby to Lord lowing prayer. "Prayers and Meditations,' &c.
Lyttleton's rank and public station (he was chan
cellor of the exchequer in 1755) no doubt offended “ Hill Boothby's death, January, 1756.-0 Lord
the sensitive pride of Johnson, and occasioned the God, Almighty disposer of all things, in whose
dislike which he confessed to Mrs. Thrale he felt hands are life and death, who givest comforts and
for Lord Lyttleton ; but an amorous rivalry betakest them away, I return thee thanks for the
tween them is not only absurd, but impossible. good example of Hill Boothby, whom thou hast
-Ed.] now taken away ; and implore thy grace that I may improve the opportunity of instruction which
No. VIII, thou hast afforded me, by the knowledge of her life, and by the sense of her death; that I may [Note on the words balance of misery, p. 387.) consider the uncertainty of my present state, and
The Reverend Mr. Ralph Churton, Fellow of apply myself earnestly to the duties which thou
Brazen-Nose College, Oxford, has favoured me hast set before me, that, living in thy fear, I may
2 (These initials mean, no doubt, Mr. Williams, who i [Johnson throughout his life was liable to the inad- died a few months before, and Hill Boothby.--Ep.) vertence of using the date of the old year in the first days 3 [It is not easy to say why Dr. Jobnson marked sev of the new ; and has evidently, the Editor thinks, done so eral of his prayers, as transcribed. Such a fact appears in this case; as it does not seem that Miss Boothby was quite immaterial, but no doubt had some particular obill in January, 1755.-ED.)
with the following remarks on my work, which sacred volume which at first sight promises so he is pleased to say, “I have hitherto extolled, much to lend its sanction to these dark and desand cordially approve.".
ponding notions as the book of Ecclesiastes, The chief part of what I have to observe is which so often, and so emphatically, proclaims contained in the following transcript from a letter the vanity of things sublunary. But the design to a friend, which, with his concurrence, I copied of this whole book (as it has been justly observfor this purpose; and, whatever may be the merit ed) is not to put us out of conceit with life, but to or justness of the remarks, you may be sure that cure our vain expectations of a complete and perbeing written to a most intimate friend, without fect happiness in this world : to convince us, that any intention that they ever should go further, there is no such thing to be found in mere exterthey are the genuine and undisguised sentiments nal enjoyments ;-and to teach us to seek for hapof the writer :
piness in the practice of virtue, in the knowledge
" 6th January, 1792. and love of God, and in the hopes of a better life. “Last week I was reading the second volume For this is the application of all: Let us hear, &c. of Boswell's Johnson,' with increasing esteem xii. 13. Not only his duty, but his happiness too: for the worthy author, and increasing veneration For God, &c. v. 14.-See Sherlock on Proviof the wonderful and excellent man who is the dence,' p. 299. subject of it. The writer throws in, now and “ The New Testament tells us, indeed, and then, very properly, some serious religious reflec- most truly, that sufficient unto the day is the evil tions ; but there is one remark, in my mind an Chereof :' and, therefore, wisely forbids us to inobvious and just one, which I think he has not crease our burdens by forebodings of sorrows; but made, that Johnson's ' morbid melancholy,' and I think it nowhere says, that even our ordinary constitutional infirmities, were intended by Provi- afflictions are not consistent with a very considerdence, like St. Paul's thorn in the flesh, to check able degree of positive comfort and satisfaction. intellectual conceit and arrogance; which the con- And, accordingly, one whose sufferings as well as sciousness of his extraordinary talents, awake as merits were conspicuous assures us, that in prohe was to the voice of praise, might otherwise portion 'as the sufferings of Christ abounded in have generated in a very culpable degree. Ano- them, so their consolation also abounded by ther observation strikes me, that in consequence
Christ.' 2 Cor. i. 5. It is needless to cite, as in. of the same natural indisposition, and habitual deed it would be endless even to refer to the mulsickliness (for he says he scarcely passed one day titude of passages in both Testaments holding without pain after his twentieth year), he consid. out, in the strongest language, promises of blesered and represented human life as a scene of sings, even in this world, to the faithful servants much greater misery than is generally experienc- of God. I will only refer to St. Luke, xviii. 29, ed. There may be persons bowed down with af- 30, and 1 Tim. iv. 8. flictions all their days; and there are those, no “Upon the whole, setting aside instances of doubt, whose iniquities rub them of rest; but nei- great and lasting bodily pain, of minds peculiarly ther calamities nor crimes, I hope and believe, do oppressed by melancholy, and of severe temporal so much and so generally abound, as to justify calamities, from which extraordinary cases we the dark picture of life which Johnson's imagina. surely should not form our estimate of the general tion designed, and his strong pencil delineated. tenour and complexion of life ; excluding these This I am sure, the colouring is far too gloomy from the account, I am convinced that as well for what I have experienced, though, as far as I the gracious constitution of things which Provi. can remember, I have had more sickness (1 do dence has ordained, as the declarations of scripnot say more severe, but only more in quantity) ture and the actual condition of individuals, authan falls to the lot of most people. But then thorize the sincere Christian to hope that his humdaily debility and occasional sickness were far ble and constant endeavours to perform his duty, overbulanced by intervenient days, and, perhaps, chequered as the best life is with many failings, weeks void of pain, and overflowing with comfort.
will be crowned with a greater degree of present So that in short, to return to the subject, human peace, serenity, and comfort, than he could realife, as far as I can perceive from experience or ob- sonably permit himself to expect, if he measured servation, is not that state of constant wretched- his views and judged of life from the opinion of ness which Johnson always insisted it was: wbich Dr. Johnson, often and energetically expressed in misrepresentation, for such it surely is, his biog- the memoirs of him, without any animadversion rapher has not corrected, I suppose, because, un- or censure by his ingenious biographer. If he happily, he has himself a large portion of melan- himself, upon reviewing the subject, shall see the choly in his constitution, and fancied the portrait matter in this light, he will, in an octavo edition, a faithful copy of life.”
which is eagerly expected, make such additional The learned writer then proceeds thus in his remarks or corrections as he shall judge fit; lest letter to me:
the impressions which these discouraging passa“ I have conversed with some sensible men on ges may leave on the reader's mind should in a this subject, who all seem to entertain the same degree hinder what otherwise the whole spirit and sentiments respecting life with those which are energy of the work tends, and, I hope, success. expressed or implied in the foregoing paragraph. fully, to promote,-pure morality and true reliIt might be added, that as the representation here gion.” spoken of appears not consistent with fact and ex- Though I have, in some degree, obviated any perience, so neither does it seem countenanced reflections against my illustrious friend's dark by scripture. There is, perhaps, no part of the views of life, when considering, in the course of
this work, his “ Rambler” and his “ Rasselas,” I has borrowed, with an account of the liberties he am obliged to Mr. Churton for complying with my has taken in telling the stories ; his life, and an request of his permission to insert his remarks, exact etymological glossary. being conscious of the weight of what he judi- “ Aristotle's Rhetorick, a translation of it into ciously suggests as the melancholy in my own English. constitution. His more pleasing views of life, " A Collection of Letters, translated from the I hope, are just. Valeant quantum valere modern writers, with some account of the several possunt.
authours. Mr. Churton concludes his letter to me in these "Oldham's Poems, with notes, historical and words: “Once, and only once, I had the satisfac- critical. tion of seeing your illustrious friend; and as I feel “Roscommon's Poems, with notes. a particular regard for all whom he distinguished “ Lives of the Philosophers, written with a with his esteem and friendship, so I derive much polite air, in such a manner as may divert as well pleasure from reflecting that I once beheld, as instruct. though but transiently, near our college gate, one “History of the Heathen Mythology, with an whose works will for ever delight and improve explication of the fables, both allegorical and histhe world, who was a sincere and zealous son of torical ; with references to the poets. the church of England, an honour to his country, “History of the State of Venice, in a compenand an ornament to human nature.”
dious manner. His letter was accompanied with a present from “ Aristotle's Ethicks, an English translation of himself of his “Sermons at the Bampton Lec- them, with notes. ture," and from his friend, Dr. Townson, the “Geographical Dictionary from the French. venerable rector of Malpas, in Cheshire, of his (Utrecht.] Ms. “ Discourses on the Gospels,” together with the “Hierocles upon Pythagoras, translated into following extract of a letter from that excellent English, perhaps with notes. This is done by person, who is now gone to receive the reward Norris. (Nov. 9th, 1752.) MS. of his labours: “Mr. Boswell is not only very “ A book of Letters, upon all kinds of subentertaining in his works, but they are so replete jects. with moral and religious sentiments, without an “Claudian, a new edition of his works, cum instance, as far as I know, of a contrary tenden- notis variorum, in the manner of Burman. cy, that I cannot help having a great estcem for “ Tully's Tusculan questions, a translation of him; and if you think such a trifle as a copy of them. the Discourses, ex dono authoris, would be ad “ Tully's De Naturâ Deorum, a translation of ceptable to him, I should be happy to give him those books. this small testimony of my regard."
“ Benzo's New History of the New World, to Such spontaneous testimonies of approbation be translated. from such men, without any personal acquaint- “ Machiavel's History of Florence, to be transance with me, are truly valuable and encouraging. lated.
“ History of the Revival of Learning in Europe, containing an account of whatever contributed to
the restoration of literature ; such as controverNo. IX.
sies, printing, the destruction of the Greek empire, [CATALOGUE, or List of Designs, referred to in the encouragement of great men, with the lives
of the most eminent patrons, and most eminent
early professors of all kinds of learning in different “ Divinity.
“ A Body of Chronology, in verse, with histor“ A small book of precepts and directions for ical notes. (Nov. 9th, 1752.) MS. piety; the hint taken from the directions in Mor- “A Table of the Spectators, Tatlers, and ton's exercise.
Guardians, distinguished by figures into six de“ PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, AND
grees of value, with notes, giving the reasons of
preference or degradation. GENERAL.
“A Collection of Letters from English au“History of Criticism, as it relates to judging thours, with a preface giving some account of of authours, from Aristotle to the present age. the writers; with reasons for selection, and An account of the rise and improvements of that criticism upon styles ; remarks on each letter, if art: of the different opinions of authours, ancient needful. and modern.
“A Collection of Proverbs from various lan“ Translation of the History of Herodian. guages. Jan. 6th,–53.
“New edition of Fairfax's Translation of Tas. “A Dictionary to the Common Prayer, in im80, with notes, glossary, &c.
itation of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible. “Chaucer, a new edition of him, from manu- March—52. scripts and old editions, with various readings, “ A Collection of Stories and Examples, like conjectures, remarks on his language, and the those of Valerius Maximus. Jan. 10th, -53. changes it had undergone from the earliest times * From Ælian, a volume of select Stories, perto his age, and from his to the present; with haps from others. Jan. 28th, - 53. notes explanatory of customs, &c. and references Collection of Travels, Voyages, Adventures, to Boccace, and other authours, from whom he and Descriptions of Countries.
“Dictionary of Ancient History and Mythology. | leaves, of a translation into English of Sallust,
“ Treatise on the Study of Polite Literature, De Bello Catilinario. When it was done i containing the history of learning, directions for have no notion; but it seems to have no very editions, commentaries, &c.
superiour merit to mark it as his. Besides the “Maxims, Characters, and Sentiments, after publications heretofore mentioned, I am satisfied, the manner of Bruyere, collected out of ancient from internal evidence, to admit also as genuine authours, particularly the Greek, with Apoph- the following, which, notwithstanding all my thegms.
chronological care, escaped me in the course of "Classical Miscellanies, Select Translations this work : from ancient Greek and Latin authours.
“Considerations on the Case of Dr. Trapp's “Lives of Illustrious Persons, as well of the Sermons," t published in 1739, in the “Gentleactive as the learned, in imitation of Plutarch. man's Magazine.” It is a very ingenious defence
“ Judgment of the learned upon English Au- of the right of abridging an authour's work, withthours,
out being held as infringing his property. This “Poetical Dictionary of the English tongue. is one of the nicest questions in the Law of Lit
“Consideration upon the present State of Lon- erature; and I cannot help thinking, that the don.
indulgence of abridging is often exceedingly inju“ Collection of Epigrams, with notes and ob- rious to authours and booksellers, and should in servations.
very few cases be permitted. At any rate, to “Observations on the English Language, rela- prevent difficult and uncertain discussion, and give ting to words, phrases, and modes of speech. an absolute security to authours in the property of
“Minutiæ, Literariæ, Miscellaneous Reflec- their labours, no abridgement whatever should be tions, Criticisms, Emendations, Notes.
permitted till after the expiration of such a numHistory of the Constitution.
ber of years as the legislature may be pleased to “Comparison of Philosophical and Christian fix. Morality, by sentences collected from the moral- But, though it has been confidently ascribed to ists and fathers.
him, I cannot allow that he wrote a dedication to “Plutarch's Lives in English, with notes. both houses of parliament of a book entitled
“The Evangelical History Harmonized." He “ POETRY AND WORKS OF IMAGINATION,
was no croaker, no declaimer against the times, “Hymn to Ignorance.
He would not have written " That we are fallen “ The Palace of Sloth,-a vision.
upon an age in which corruption is not barely uni“Coluthus, to be translated.
versal, is universally confessed.” Nor, “Rapine “ Prejudice,--a poetical essay.
preys on the publick without opposition, and per“ The Palace of Nonsense,-a vision." jury betrays it without inquiry." Nor would he,
to excite à speedy reformation, have conjured up Johnson's extraordinary facility of composition, when he shook off his constitutional indolence,
such phantoms of terror as these: “A few years and resolutely sat down to write, is admirably
longer, and perhaps all endeavours will be in described by Mr. Courtenay, in his “ Poetical
vain. We may be swallowed by an earthquake;
we may be delivered to our enemies.” This is Review,” which I have several times quoted :
not Johnsonian. “While through life's maze he sent a piercing view, There are, indeed, in this dedication several His mind expansive to the object grew. With various stores of erudition fraught,
sentences constructed upon the model of those of The lively image, the deep-searching thought,
Johnson. But the imitation of the form, without Slept in repose :--but when the moment press'd, the spirit of his style, has been so general, that The bright ideas stood at once confess'd;
this of itself is not sufficient evidence. Even our Instant his genius sped its vigorous rays, And o'er the letter'd world diffused a blaze.
newspaper writers aspire to it. In an account As womb'd with fire the cloud electrick flies,
of the funeral of Edwin, the comedian, in “The And calmly o'er th' horizon seems to rise :
Diary” of Nov. 9, 1790, that son of drollery is Touch'd by the pointed steel, the lightning flows, thus described : « A man who had so often And all th' expanse with rich effulgence glows."
cheered the sullenness ot' vacancy, and suspended We shall in vain endeavour to know with ex- the approaches of sorrow.” And in “The Dubact precision every production of Johnson's pen. lin Evening Post," August 16, 1791, there is the He owned to me that he had written about forty following paragraph: “It is a singular circumsermons; but as I understood that he had given stance, that in a city like this, containing 200,000 or sold them to different persons, who were to people, there are three months in the year during preach them as their own, he did not consider which no place of publick amusement is open. himself at liberty to acknowledge them. Would Long vacation is here a vacation from pleasure, those who were thus aided by him, who are still as well as business; nor is there any mode of passalive, and the friends of those who are dead, fair- ing the listless evenings of declining summer, Jy inform the world, it would be obligingly grati- but in the riots of a tavern, or the stupidity of a fying a reasonable curiosity, to which there should, coffee-house." I think, now be no objection. Two volumes of I have not thought it necessary to specify every them, published since his death, are sufficiently copy of verses written by Johnson, it being my ascertained. Ante, p. 124. I have before me intention to publish an authentick edition of all in his handwriting a fragment of twenty quarto his poetry, with notes.
Ditto, 12mo. for Cooke's Poets
1816 V. Duke of Dorset's picture at Knole, now Lord Plymouth's; a copy of No. II.)
[BY BARRY. About Full face, finished only as far as the shoulders, 1781. and copied into one of the large pictures now in
the room of the Society of Arts in the Adelphi.
1829) BY OPIE. Three-quarter face, to the left. Engraved in an oval, prefixed to Dictionary folio J. Heath
1786 (Do. 4to.
I. J. De Claussin 1813] BY MISS REYNOLDS. [1783. A miniature. This portrait did not please Dr. J., who styled it " Johnson's grimly ghost.")
BY MR. ZOFFANIJ.
BY O. HUMPHREY. 1773. A miniature.
The note on Dr. Johnson's portraits being in
complete, the Editor is obliged to Mr. John Murray, junior, for considerable additions to the list, which are distinguished by brackets.] Date of
Drawn by Engraver's
engraving. (Head in a small oval T. Trotter T. Trotter
1782] Profile in oval, to the left, without wig Do. Do.
1784 Whole length, in the dress worn by him on the journey to the Hebrides, with his stick, folio Do. Do.
1786 (Side-face, to right, the countenance haggard, and exhibiting marks of decay. This was prob ably the last portrait for which Dr. Johnson sat it was finished a short time before his death T. Trotter T. Trotter
1786] [Do. prefixed to Harding's Shakspeare; draw ing belonged to Dr. Farmer Do.
1792] Side-face, to right J. Harding Do.
Engraver's name. Date of painting.
engraving. (Prior to A miniature, painter unknown, which belong1752. ed to Mrs. Johnson, now in the possession of
Dr. Harwood. See preface, p. viii. n.
First engraved for this edition, size of the original
No artist's name or date)
well's sale for seventy guineas. Dr. Johnson in
various editions of this work.
without wig; showing the nervous habit to
Sir Joshua is said to have had in his mind this
James Watson 1770
S. W. Reynolds.
Mrs. D. Turner.]
W. C. Edwards 1828
1823 8vo. mezzotint for the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds
S. W. Reynolds.)
sion of Watson Taylor, Esq. Three-quarter
1782 Medallion, profile to left, with wig, prefixed to the Dictionary F. Bartolozzi Bartolozzi
1785 Ditto for Sharpe's Johnsoniana Do. G. Murray
1820 A wood-cut, on the title-page of Sharpe's edition of this work, in 1 vol. Do. Thompson
1830 (A small oval, profile to right N. Gardiner N. Gardiner
1786. 8vo. profile to right
P. S. Lambourn P. S. Lambourn 1791) Profile to left, prefixed to Johnsoniana Unknown J. Taylor
1756 For “Lavater's Essays on Physiognomy," in which Johnson's countenance is analysed upon
the principles of that fanciful writer. 1748.
(A view of Tunbridge Wells, in which Dr. and Mrs. Johnson are introduced; the figures very small. See vol. i. p. 36. Loggan.
* Brother of Mr. Townley, of the Commons, an ingenious artist, who resided some time at Berlin, and has the honour of being engraver to his Majesty the King of Prussia. This is one of the finest mezzotintos that ever was executed ; and what renders it of extraordinary value, the plate was destroyed after four or five impressions only were taken off. One of them is in the possession of Sir William Scott.—BOSWELL. [It is probable that these four or five were merely early impressions taken off from the same plate, the dedication to Mr. Boswell, which distinguishes them, having been erased after they were printed.-J. MORRAY, JUN.)