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cala, a province of the kingdom of Goiama, fall of this mighty stream, from so great a the most fertile and agreeable part of the Abys- height, makes a noise that may be heard at a sinian dominions. On the Eastern side of the considerable distance ; but it was not found, country, on the declivity of a mountain, whose that the neighbouring inbabitants were deaf. descent is so easy, that it seems a beautiful After the cataract, the Nile collects its scattered plain, is that source of the Nile, which has been stream among the rocks, which are so near each sought after at so much expense and labour. other, that in Lobo's time, a bridge of beams, This spring, or rather these two springs, are on which the whole imperial army passed, was two holes, each about two feet diameter, a laid over them. Sultan Sequed has since built stone's cast distant from each other. One of a stone bridge of one arch, in the same place, them is about five feet and a half in depth. for which purpose he procured masons from InLobo was not able to sink his plummet lower, dia. Here the river alters its course, and passes perhaps, because it was stopped by roots, the through various kingdoms, such as Amhara, whole place being full of trees, A line of ten Olaca, Choaa, Damot, and the kingdom of Goifeet did not reach the bottom of the other. ama, and, after various windings, returns withThese springs are supposed by the Abyssins to in a short day's journey of its spring. To purbe the vents of a great subterraneous lake. At sue it through all its mazes, and accompany it a small distance to the South, is a village called round the kingdom of Goiama, is a journey of Guix, through which you ascend to the top of twenty-nine days. From Abyssinia, the river the mountain, where there is a little bill, which passes into the countries of Fazulo and Ombarthe idolatrous Agaci hold in great veneration. ca, two vast regions little known, inhabited by Their priest calls them together to this place nations entirely different from the Abyssins. once a year : and every one sacrifices a cow, or Their hair, like that of the other blacks in those more, according to the different degrees of wealth regions, is short and curled. In the year 1615, and devotion. Hence we have sufficient proof, Rassela Christos, Lieutenant-General to Sultan that these nations always paid adoration to the Sequed, entered those kingdoms in a hostile Deity of this famous river.
manner; but, not being able to get intelligence, “ As to the course of the Nile, its waters, af- returned without attempting any thing. As the ter the first rise, run towards the East, about empire of Abyssinia terminates at these desthe length of a musket-shot : tben, turning cents, Lobo followed the course of the Nile no northward, continue hidden in the grass and farther, leaving it to range over barbarous kingweeds for about a quarter of a league, when doms, and convey wealth and plenty into Ægypt, they re-appear amongst a quantity of rocks. which owes to the annual inundations of this The Nile from its source proceeds with so in- river its envied fertility.* Lobo knows nothing considerable a current, that it is in danger of of the Nile in the rest of its passage, except that being dried up by the hot season; but soon re- it receives great increase from many other rivers, ceiving an increase from the Gemma, the Keltu, bas several cataracts like that already described, the Bransa, and the other smaller rivers, it ex. and that few fish are to be found in it; that pands to such a breadth in the plains of Boad, scarcity is to be attributed to the river horse and which is not above three days' journey from its the crocodile, which destroy the weaker inhabitsource, that a musket-ball will scarcely fly from ants of the river. Something, likewise, must one bank to the other. Here it begins to run be imputed to the cataracts, where fish cannot northward, winding, however, a little to the fall without being killed. Lobo adds, that neiEast, for the space of nine or ten leagues, and ther he, nor any with whom he conversed about then enters the so-much-talked-of Lake of Dam- the crocodile, ever saw him weep; and therebia, flowing with such violent rapidity, that its fore all that bath been said about his tears must waters may be distinguished through the whole be ranked among the fables invented for the passage, which is no less than six leagues. Here
amusement of children. begins the greatness of the Nile. Fifteen miles further, in the land of Alata, it rushes precipitately from the top of a high rock, and forms the very foot of the rock; and, allowing that there was a
seat or bench (which there is not) in the middle of the one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. pool, it is absolutely impossible, by any excrtion of human Lobo says, he passed under it without being wet, strength, to have arrived at it. But it may be asked, can and resting himself, for the sake of the coolness, Mr. Bruce say, what was the face of the country in the was charmed with a thousand delightful rain- year 1622, when Lobo saw the magnificent sight which he bows, which the sunbeams painted on the water, formed since; and Lobo, perhaps, was content to sit
has described ? Mr. Bruce's pool of water may have been in all their shining and lively colours." The down without a bench.
* After comparing this description with that lately given by Mr. Bruce, the reader will judge whether Lobo
is to lose the honour of having been at the head of the This Mr. Bruce, the late traveller, avers to be a down- Nile near two centuries before any other European tra right falsehood. He says, a dcep pool of water reaches to veller.
“ As to the causes of the inundations of the correctness, will be most likely to understand Nile, Lobo observes, that many an idle hypo- its idiom, its grammar, and its peculiar graces thesis has been framed. Some theorists ascribe of style. What man of taste would willingly it to the high winds, that stop the current, and forego the pleasure of reading Vida, Fracastorius, force the water above its banks. Others pre- Sannazaro, Strada, and others, down to the late tend a subterraneous communication between elegant productions of Bishop Lowth? The the Ocean and the Nile, and that the sea, when history which Johnson proposed to himself violently agitated, swells the river. Many are would, beyond all question, have been a valuable of opinion, that this mighty flood proceeds from addition to the history of letters; but his project the melting of the snow on the mountains of failed. His next expedient was to offer his asEthiopia ; but so much snow and such prodi-sistance to Cave, the original projector of the gious heat are never met with in the same Gentleman's Magazine. For this purpose he region. Lobo never saw snow in Abyssinia, sent his proposals in a letter, offering, on reasonexcept on Mount Semen in the kingdom of able terms, occasionally to fill some pages with Tigre, very remote from the Nile; and on poems and inscriptions never printed before; Namara, which is, indeed, not far distant, but with fugitive pieces that deserved to be revived, where there never falls snow enough to wet, and critical remarks on authors ancient and when dissolved, the foot of the mountain. To modern. Cave agreed to retain him as a corthe immense labours of the Portuguese, mankind respondent and contributor to the Magazine. is indebted for the knowledge of the real cause What the conditions were cannot now bs of these inundations, so great and so regular. known; but.certainly they were not sufficient to By them we are informed, that Abyssinia, hinder Johnson from casting his eyes about him where the Nile rises, is full of mountains, and, in quest of other employment. Accordingly, in in its natural situation, is much higher than 1735, he made overtures to the Rev. Mr. BudEgypt; that in the winter, from June to Sep-worth, Master of a Grammar-school at Breretember, no day is without rain; that the Nile wood, in Staffordshire, to become his assistant. receives in its course, all the rivers, brooks, and This proposition did not succeed. Mr. Budtorrents, that fall from those mountains, and, worth apprehended, that the involuntary moby necessary consequence, swelling above its tions, to which Johnson's nerves were subject, banks, fills the plains of Egypt with inunda- might make him an object of ridicule with his tions, which come regularly about the month of scholars, and, by consequence, lessen their reJuly, or three weeks after the beginning of the spect for their master. Another mode of adrainy season in Ethiopia. The different degrees vancing himself presented itself about this time. of this flood are such certain indications of the Mrs. Porter, the widow of a mercer in Birfruitfulness or sterility of the ensuing year, that mingham, admired his talents. It is said that it is publicly proclaimed at Cairo how much the she had about eight hundred pounds; and that water hath gained during the night.”
sum to a person in Johnson's circumstances was Such is the account of the Nile and its inun-an affluent fortune. A marriage took place, dations, which it is hoped will not be deemed and to turn his wife's money to the best advanan improper or tedious digression, especially as tage, he projected the scheme of an academy for the whole is an extract from Johnson's transla- | education. Gilbert Walmsley, at that time tion. He is all the time the actor in the scene, Registrar of the Ecclesiastical Court of the and in his own words relates the story. Having Bishop of Litchfield, was distinguished by his finished this work, he returned, in February erudition, and the politeness of his manners. 1734, to his native city, and, in the month of He was the friend of Johnson, and, by his August following, published proposals for print- weight and influence endeavoured to promote ing by subscription the Latin Poems of Politian, his interest. The celebrated Garrick, whose with the History of Latin Poetry, from the father, Captain Garrick, lived at Litchfield, Era of Petrarch, to the time of Politian ; and was placed in the new seminary of education, also the Life of Politian, to be added by the by that gentleman's advice.-Garrick was then Editor, Samuel Johnson, The book to be about eighteen years old. An accession of seven printed in thirty octavo sheets, price five shil- or eight pupils was the most that could be oblings. It is to be regretted that this project tained, though notice was given by a public adfailed for want of encouragement. Johnson, it vertisement,* that at Edial, near Litchfield, in seems, differed from Boileau, Voltaire, and Staffordshire, young gentlemen are boarded and D'Alembert, who had taken upon them to pro- taught the Latin and Greek Languages, by scribe all modern efforts to write with elegance Samuel Johnson. in a dead language. For a decision pronounced The undertaking proved abortive. Johnson in so high a tone, no good reason can be assigned. baving now abandoned all hopes of promoting The interests of learning require that the diction his fortune in the country, determined to become of Greece and Rome should be cultivated with care; and he who can write a language with * See the Gentleman's Magazine for 1736, p. 418.
an adventurer in the world at large. His young ( afterwards the biographer of his first and most pupil, Garrick, had formed the same resolution; useful patron. To be engaged in the translation and, accordingly, in March, 1787, they arrived of some important book was still the object in London together. Two such candidates for which Johnson had in view. For this purpose fame, perhaps never before that day entered the he proposed to give the History of the Council metropolis together. Their stock of money was of Trent, with copious notes, then lately added soon exhausted. In his visionary project of an to a French edition. Twelve sheets of this academy, Johnson had probably wasted his wife's work were printed, for which Johnson received substance; and Garrick's father had little more forty-nine pounds, as appears by his receipt in than his balf-pay. The two fellow-travellers the possession of Mr. Nichols, the compiler of had the world before them, and each was to that entertaining and useful work, the Gentlechoose his road to fortune and to fame. They man's Magazine. Johnson's translation was brought with them genius, and powers of mind, never completed : a like design was offered to peculiarly formed by nature for the different vo- the public, under the patronage of Dr. Zachary cations to which each of them felt himself in- Pearce ; and by that contention both attempts clined. They acted from the impulso of young were frustrated. Johuson had been commended minds, even then meditating great things, and by Pope for the translation of the Messiah into with courage anticipating success. Their friend Latin verse; but he knew no approach to so Mr. Walmsley, by a letter to the Rev. Mr. Col- eminent a man. With one, however, who was son, who, it seems, was a great mathematician, connected with Pope, he became acquainted at exerted bis good offices in their favour. He gave St. John's Gate; and that person was no other notice of their intended journey. “ Davy Gar- than the well-known Richard Savage, whose rick,” he said, “ will be with you next week; life was afterwards written by Johnson, with and Johnson, to try his fate with a tragedy, and great elegance, and a depth of moral reflection. to get himself employed in some translation Savage was a man of considerable talents. His either from the Latin or French. Johnson is a address, his various accomplishments, and, above very gnod scholar and a poet, and I have great all, the peculiarity of his misfortunes, recomhopes will turn out a fine tragedy writer. If it mended him to Johnson's notice. They became should be in your way, I doubt not but you will united in the closest intimacy. Both had great be ready to recommend and assist your country- parts, and they were equally under the pressure men.” Of Mr. Walmsley's merit, and the ex- of want. Sympathy joined them in a league of cellence of his character, Johnson bas left a friendship. Johnson has been often heard to beautiful testimonial at the end of the Life of relate, that he and Sarage walked round GrosEdward Smith. It is reasonable to conclude, venor-square till four in the morning ; in the that a mathematician, absorbed in abstract spe- course of their conversation reforming the culations, was not able to find a sphere of action world, dethroning princas, establishing new for two men who were to be the architects of forms of government, and giving laws to the their own fortune. In three or four years after several states of Europe ; till, fatigued at length wards Carrick caine forth, with talents that with their legislative office, they began to feel the astonished the public. He began his career at want of refreshment, but could not muster up Goodman’s-fields, and there, monstratus falis more than fourpence-halfpenny. Savage, it is Vespasianus! he chose a lucrative profession, true, had many vices : but vice could never strike and consequently soon emerged from all his dif- its roots in a mind like Johnson's, seasoned early ficulties. Johnson was left to toil in the humble with religion, and the principles of moral recti. walks of literature. A tragedy, as appears by tude. His first prayer was composed in the Walmsley's letter, was the whole of his stock. year 1738. He had not at that time renounced This, most probably, was IRENE; but, if then the use of wine ; and, 10 doubt, occasionally enfinished, it was doomed to wait for a more happy joyed his friend and his bottle. The love of late period. It was offered to Fleetwood, and reject- hours, which followed bim through life, was, ed. Johnson looked round him for employment. perhaps, originally contracted in company with Having, while he remained in the country, cor- Savage. However that may be, their connecresponded with Cave, under a feigned name, he tion was not of long duration. In the year 1788, now thought it time to make himself known to a Savage was reduced to the last distress. Mr. man whom he considered as a patron of litera- | Pope, in a letter to him, expressed his concern ture. Cave had announced, by public advertise- for “the miserable withdrawing of bis pension ment, a prize of fifty pounds for the best poem after the death of the Queen;" and gave him on Life, Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell; hopes that, “in a short time, he should find and this circumstance diffused an idea of his himself supplied with a competence, without any liberality. Johnson became connected with him dependence on those little creatures whom we in business, and in a close and intimate acquaint- are pleased to call the Great.” The scheme ance. Of Cave's character it is unnecessary to proposed to him was, that he should retire to say any thing in this place, as Johnson was Swansea in Wales, and receive an allowance of
fifty pounds a year, to be raised by subscription; prevail upon you to write to Dean Swift, to Pope was to pay twenty pounds. This plan, persuade the University of Dublin to send a though finally established, took more than a diploma to me, constituting this poor man year before it was carried into execution. In Master of Arts in their University. They the mean time, the intended retreat of Savage highly extol the man's learning and probity, called to Johnson's mind the third Satire of Ju- and will not be persuaded, that the University venal, in which that poet takes leave of a friend, will make any difficulty of conferring such a who was withdrawing himself from all the favour upon a stranger, if he is recommended vices of Rome. Struck with this idea, he wrote by the Dean. They say he is not afraid of that well-known poem, called London. The the strictest examination, though he is of so first lines manifestly point to Savage.
long a journey; and yet he will venture it, if
the Dean thinks it necessary, choosing rather to “ Though grief and fondness in my breast rebel, die upon the road, than to be starved to death in When injured Thales bids the town farewell; translating for booksellers, which has been his Yet still my calmer thoughts his choice commend;
only subsistence for some time past. I praise the hermit, but regret the friend ; Resolved at length, from Vice and London far,
“ I fear there is more difficulty in this affair To breathe in distant fields a purer air ;
than these good-natured gentlemen apprehend, And fixed on Cambria's solitary shore,
especially as their election cannot be delayed Give to St. David one true Briton more."
longer than the 11th of next month.
see this matter in the same light that it appears Johnson at that time lodged at Greenwich. co me, I hope you will burn this, and pardon He there fixes the scene, and takes leave of his me for giving you so much trouble about an friend ; who, he says in his Life, parted from impracticable thing ; but, if you think there is him with tears in his eyes. The poem, when a probability of obtaining the favour asked, I finished, was offered to Cave. It happened, am sure your humanity and propensity to rehowever, that the late Mr. Dodsley was the lieve merit in distress will incline you to serve purchaser, at the price of ten guineas. It was the poor man, without my adding any more to published in 1738 ; and Pope, we are told, said, the trouble I have already given you, than as“ The author, whoever he is, will not be long suring you, that I am, with great trath, concealed :" alluding to the passage in Terence, Ubi, ubi est, diu celari non potest. Notwithstand
“ Your faithful humble servant, ing that prediction, it does not appear that, be
“ Gower." sides the copy-money, any advantage accrued to Trentham, Aug. 1st." the author of a poem, written with the elegance and energy of Pope. Johnson, in August 1738, This scheme miscarried. There is reason to went, with all the fame of his poetry, to offer think, that Swift declined to meddle in the buhimself a candidate for the mastership of the siness ; and to that circumstance Johnson's school at Appleby, in Leicestershire. The sta- known dislike of Swift has been often imputed. tutes of the place required, that the person cho- It is mortifying to pursue a man of merit sen should be a Master of Arts. To remove through all his difficulties; and yet this narrathis objection, the then Lord Gower was indu- tive must be, through many following years, ced to write to a friend, in order to obtain for the history of Genius and Virtue struggling Johnson a Master's degree in the University of with Adversity. Having lost the school at Dublin, by the recommendation of Dr. Swift. Appleby, Johnson was thrown back on the meThe letter was printed in one of the Magazines, tropolis. Bred to no profession, without relaand was as follows :
tions, friends, or interest, he was condemned to drudgery in the service of Cave, bis only pa
tron. In November 1738 was published a trans“ Mr. Samuel Johnson (author of London, a lation of Crousaz’s Examen of Pope's Essay Satire, and some other poetical pieces), is a on Man; “ containing a succinct View of the native of this county, and much respected by System of the Fatalists, and a Confutation of some worthy gentlemen in the neighbourhood, their Opinions ; with an Illustration of the who are trustees of a charity-school, now va- Doctrine of Free-Will; and an Inquiry, what cant; the certain salary of which is sixty view Mr. Pope might have in touching upon pounds per year, of which they are desirous the Leibnitzian Philosophy, and Fatalism. By to make him master ; but unfortunately he is Mr. Crousaz, Professor of Philosophy and Manot capable of receiving their bounty, which thematics at Lausanne.” This translation has would make him happy for life, by not being been generally thought a production of Jobna Master of Arts, which, by the statutes of the son's pen; but it is now known, that Mrs. school, the master of it must be.
Elizabeth Carter has acknowledged it to be one “ Now, these gentlemen do me the honour to of her early performances. It is certain, howthink, that I have interest enough in you, to ever, that Johnson was eager to promote the
publication. He considered the foreign philo- | What habits he contracted in the course of that sopher as a man zealous in the cause of religion; acquaintance cannot now be known. The amand with him he was willing to join against the bition of excelling in conversation, and that system of the Fatalists, and the doctrine of pride of victory, which, at times, disgraced a Leibnitz. It is well known that Warburton man of Johnson's genius, were, perhaps, native wrote a vindication of Mr. Pope ; but there is blemishes. A fierce spirit of independence, reason to think that Johnson conceived an early even in the midst of poverty, may be seen in prejudice against the Essay on Man; and what Savage ; and, if not thence transfused by Jobnonce took root in a mind like his, was not easily son into his own manners, it may, at least, be eradicated. His letter to Cave on this sub- supposed to have gained strength from the exject is still extant, and may well justify Sir ample before him. During that connection there John Hawkins, who inferred that Johnson was was, if we believe Sir John Hawkins, a short the translator of Crousaz. The conclusion of separation between our author and his wife ; the letter is remarkable. “ I am yours, Im- but a reconciliation soon took place. * Johnson PRANSUS." If by that Latin word was meant loved her, and showed his affection in various that he had not dined, because he wanted the modes of gallantry, which Garrick used to renmeans, who can read it, even at this bour, with- der ridiculous by his mimicry. The affectation out an aching heart?
of soft and fasbiopable airs did not become an With a mind naturally vigorous, and quick- unwieldy figure: his admiration was received ened by necessity, Johnson formed a multiplici. by the wife with the flutter of an antiquated ty of projects; but most of them proved abor-coquette; and both, it is well known, furnished tive. A number of small tracts issued from his matter for the lively genius of Garrick. pen with wonderful rapidity ; such as “ Mar. It is a mortifying reflection, that Johnson, MOx NORFOLCIENSE; or an Essay on an ancient with a store of learning and extraordinary taprophetical Inscription, in Monkish Rhyme, lents, was not able, at the age of thirty, to force discovered at Lynn in Norfolk. By Probus his way to the favour of the public. Slow rises Britannicus.” This was a pamphlet agaiost Sir worth, by poverty depressed. “ He was still,” as Robert Walpole. According to Sir John Haw. he says himself, “ to provide for the day that kins, a warrant was issued to apprehend the was passing over him.” He saw Cave involved Author, who retired with bis wife to an obscure in a state of warfare with the numerous comlodging near Lambeth Marsh, and there eluded petitors, at that time struggling with the Genthe search of the messengers. But this story tleman's Magazine ; and gratitude for such suphas no foundation in truth. Johnson was ne- plies as Johnson received dictated a Latin Odo ver known to mention such an incident in his on the subject of that contention. The first life ; and Mr. Steele (late of the Treasury) lines, caused diligent search to be made at the proper
“ Urbane, nullis fesse laboribus, offices, and no trace of such a proceeding could
Urbane, nullis victe calumniis," be found. In the same year (1739) the Lord Chamberlain prohibited the representation of a put one in mind of Casimir's Ode to Pope Urtragedy, called Gustavus Vasa, by Henry ban : Brooke. Under the mask of irony, Johnson published “ A Vindication of the Licenser from
“ Urbane, regum maxime, maxime
Urbane vatum.". the malicious and scandalous Aspersions of Mr. Brooke.” Of these two pieces Sir John Haw- The Polish poet was, probably, at that time, in kins says “ they have neither learning nor wit, the bands of a man who had meditated the hisnor a single ray of that genius which bas since tory of the Latin poets. Guthrie the historian blazed forth ;” but, as they have lately been re- bad from July 1736 composed the parliamentary printed, the reader, who wishes to gratify his speeches for the Magazine ; but, from the begincuriosity, is referred to the fourteenth volume of ning of the session, which opened on the 19th of Johnson's works, published by Stockdale. The N.vemter 1740, Johnson succeeded to that delives of Boerhaave, Blake, Barratier, Father partment, and continued it from that time to the Paul, and others, were, about that time, printed debate on spirituous liquors, which happened in in the Gentleman's Magazine. The subscrip- the House of Lords in February 1742-3. The tion of fifty pounds a year for Savage was com eloquence, the force of argument, and the splenpleted ; and in July 1739, Johnson parted with dour of language displayed in the several the companion of his midnight hours never to speeches, are well known, and universally adsee him more. The separation was, perhaps, mired. The whole has been collected in two an advantage to him, who wanted to make a volumes by Mr. Stockdale, and may form a proright use of his time, and even then beheld with per supplement to this edition. That Johnson self-reproach the waste occasioned by dissipa- was the author of the debates during that period tion. His abstinence from wine and strong li- was not generally known; but the secret tranquers began soon after the departure of Savage. spired several years afterwards, and was avowed