his rent, not without rating his landlady in a high tone for having used him so ill.'1

My next meeting with Johnson was on Friday the 1st of July, when he and I and Dr. Goldsmith supped at the Mitre. I was before this time pretty well acquainted with Goldsmith, who was one of the brightest ornaments of the Johnsonian school. Goldsmith's respectful attachment to Johnson was then at its height; for his own literary reputation had not yet distinguished him so much as to excite a vain desire of competition with his great Master. He had increased my admiration of the goodness of Johnson's heart by incidental remarks in the course of conversation; such as, when I mentioned Mr. Levet, whom he entertained under his roof, 'He is poor and honest, which is recommendation enough to Johnson'; and when I wondered that he was very kind to a man of whom I had heard a very bad character, 'He is now become miserable, and that ensures the protection of Johnson.'

Goldsmith attempting this evening to maintain, I suppose from an affectation of paradox, 'that know

1 It may not be improper to annex here Mrs. Piozzi's account of this transaction, in her own words, as a specimen of the extreme inaccuracy with which all her anecdotes of Dr. Johnson are related, or rather discoloured and distorted: 'I have forgotten the year, but it could scarcely, I think, be later than 1765 or 1766, that he was called abruptly from our house after dinner, and returning in about three hours, said he had been with an enraged author, whose landlady pressed him for payment within doors, while the bailiffs beset him without; that he was drinking himself drunk with Madeira, to drown care, and fretting over a novel, which, when finished, was to be his whole fortune, but he could not get it done for distraction, nor could he step out of doors to offer it for sale. Mr. Johnson, therefore, sent away the bottle, and went to the bookseller, recommending the performance, and desiring some immediate relief; which when he brought back to the writer, he called the woman of the house directly to partake of punch, and pass their time in merriment.-Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson.



ledge was not desirable on its own account, for it often was a source of unhappiness.' JOHNSON: Why, sir, that knowledge may in some cases produce unhappiness, I allow. But, upon the whole, knowledge, per se, is certainly an object which every man would wish to attain, although, perhaps, he may not take the trouble necessary for attaining it.'

Dr. John Campbell, the celebrated political and biographical writer, being mentioned, Johnson said, 'Campbell is a man of much knowledge, and has a good share of imagination. His Hermippus Redivivus is very entertaining, as an account of the Hermetic philosophy, and as furnishing a curious history of the extravagances of the human mind. If it were

merely imaginary it would be nothing at all. Campbell is not always rigidly careful of truth in his conversation; but I do not believe there is anything of this carelessness in his books. Campbell is a good man, a pious man. I am afraid he has not been in the inside of a church for many years;1 but he never passes a church without pulling off his hat. This shows that he has good principles. I used to go pretty

1 I am inclined to think that he was misinformed as to this circum stance. I own I am jealous for my worthy friend Dr. John Campbell. For though Milton could without remorse absent himself from public worship, I cannot. On the contrary, I have the same habitual impressions upon my mind with those of a truly venerable Judge, who said to Mr. Langton, 'Friend Langton, if I have not been at church on a Sunday, I do not feel myself easy. Dr. Campbell was a sincerely religious man. Lord Macartney, who is eminent for his variety of knowledge and attention to men of talents, and knew him well, told me that when he called on him in a morning he found him reading a chapter in the Greek New Testament, which he informed his Lordship was his constant practice. The quantity of Dr. Campbell's composition is almost incredible, and his labours brought him large profits. Dr. Joseph Warton told me that Johnson said of him, 'He is the richest author that ever grazed the common of literature.' [Prices in the last century for Histories and compilations were very high. Hawkes worth was paid £6000 for his collection of Travels.—Á. B.]

often to Campbell's on a Sunday evening, till I began to consider that the shoals of Scotchmen who flocked about him might probably say, when anything of mine was well done, “Ay, ay, he has learnt this of Cawmell!"'

He talked very contemptuously of Churchill's poetry, observing that it had a temporary currency only from its audacity of abuse, and being filled with living names, and that it would sink into oblivion.' I ventured to hint that he was not quite a fair judge, as Churchill had attacked him violently. JOHNSON : 'Nay, sir, I am a very fair judge. He did not attack me violently till he found I did not like his poetry; and his attack on me shall not prevent me from continuing to say what I think of him, from an apprehension that it may be ascribed to resentment. No, sir, I called the fellow a blockhead at first, and I will call him a blockhead still. However, I will acknowledge that I have a better opinion of him now than I once had, for he has shown more fertility than I expected. To be sure, he is a tree that cannot produce good fruit: he only bears crabs. But, sir, a tree that produces a great many crabs is better than a tree which produces only a few.'

In this depreciation of Churchill's poetry I could not agree with him. It is very true that the greatest part of it is upon the topics of the day, on which account, as it brought him great fame and profit at the time, it must proportionably slide out of the public attention as other occasional objects succeed. But Churchill had extraordinary vigour both of thought and expression. His portraits of the players will ever be valuable to the true lovers of the drama,

and his strong caricatures of several eminent men of his age will not be forgotten by the curious. Let me add, that there is in his works many passages which are of a general nature; and his 'Prophecy of Famine' is a poem of no ordinary merit. It is, indeed, falsely injurious to Scotland; but therefore may be allowed a greater share of invention.

Bonnell Thornton had just published a burlesque 'Ode on St. Cecilia's Day,' adapted to the ancient British music, viz., the salt-box, the Jew's harp, the marrow-bones and cleaver, the hum-strum or hurdygurdy, etc. Johnson praised its humour, and seemed much diverted with it. He repeated the following passage:

'In strains more exalted the salt-box shall join,

And clattering and battering and clapping combine;
With a rap and a tap while the hollow side sounds,
Up and down leaps the flap, and with rattling rebounds.'1

I mentioned the periodical paper called The Connoisseur. He said it wanted matter. No doubt it had not the deep thinking of Johnson's writings. But surely it has just views of the surface of life, and in a very sprightly manner. His opinion of The World was not much higher than that of The Connoisseur.

Let me here apologise for the imperfect manner in which I am obliged to exhibit Johnson's conversation

1 [In 1769 I set for Smart and Newbery Thornton's burlesque 'Ode on St. Cecilia's Day.' It was performed at Ranelagh in masks, to a very crowded audience, as I was told; for I then resided in Norfolk. Beard sung the salt-box song, which was admirably accompanied on that instrument by Brent, the fencing-master, and father of Miss Brent, the celebrated singer; Skeggs on the broom-stick, as bassoon; and a remarkable performer on the Jew's harp,- Buzzing twangs the iron lyre.' Cleavers were cast in bell-metal for this entertainment. All the performers of the old woman's Oratory, employed by Foote, were, I believe, employed at Ranelagh on this occasion.-B.]

at this period. In the early part of my acquaintance with him, I was so rapt in admiration of his extraordinary colloquial talents, and so little accustomed to his peculiar mode of expression, that I found it extremely difficult to recollect and record his conversation with its genuine vigour and vivacity. In progress of time, when my mind was, as it were, strongly impregnated with the Johnsonian æther, I could with much facility and exactness carry in my memory and commit to paper the exuberant variety of his wisdom and wit.

At this time Miss Williams,1 as she was then called, though she did not reside with him in the Temple under his roof, but had lodgings in Bolt Court, Fleet Street, had so much of his attention that he every night drank tea with her before he went home, however late it might be, and she always sat up for him. This, it may be fairly conjectured, was not alone a proof of his regard for her, but of his own unwillingness to go into solitude, before that unseasonable hour at which he had habituated himself to expect the oblivion of repose. Dr. Goldsmith, being a privileged man, went with him this night, strutting away, and calling to me with an air of superiority, like that of an esoteric over an exoteric disciple of a sage of antiquity, 'I go to Miss Williams.' I confess I then envied him this mighty privilege, of which he seemed so proud; but it was not long before I obtained the same mark of distinction.

On Tuesday the 5th of July I again visited John

1 [See vol. i. p. 247. This lady resided in Dr. Johnson's house in Gough Square from about 1753 to 1758; and in that year, on his removing to Gray's Inn, she went into lodgings. At a subsequent period she again became an inmate with Johnson in Johnson's Court.-M.]

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