« AnteriorContinuar »
(Notes on Boswell's note on Pages 470, 471.) Mrs. Piozzi records (Anecdotes, p. 120) that Johnson told her,
When Boyse was almost perishing with hunger, and some money was produced to purchase him a dinner, he got a bit of roast beef, but could not eat it without ketch-up; and laid out the last halfguinea he possessed in truffles and mushrooms, eating them in bed too, for want of clothes, or even a shirt to sit up in.'
Hawkins (Life, p. 159) gives 1740 as the year of Boyse's destitution.
He was,' he says, 'confined to a bed which had no sheets; here, to procure food, he wrote; his posture sitting up in bed, his only covering a blanket, in which a hole was made to admit of the employment of his arm.'
Two years later Boyse wrote the following verses to Cave from a spunging-house :
* Hodie, teste coelo summo,
Pro a te favore dato.
He adds that he hopes to have his O.le on the British Nation done that day. This Ode, which is given in the Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 383, contains the following verse, which contrasts sadly with the poor poet's case :
'Thou, sacred isle, amidst thy ambient main,
* It is not likely that Johnson called a sixpence 'a serious consideration. He who in his youth would not let his comrades say prodigious (ante, iii. 345) was not likely in his old age so to misuse a word.
Hugh Kelly is mentioned ante, ii. 54, note 2, and iii. 129.
from Sky to Rasay, that the spurs were lost. See post, v. 186.
* Dr. White's Bampton Lectures of 1784 ' became part of the triumphant literature of the University of Oxford,' and got the preacher a Christ Church Canonry. Of these Lectures Dr. Parr had written about one-fifth part. White, writing to Parr about a passage in the manuscript of the last Lecture, said :-'I fear I did not clearly explain myself; I humbly beg the favour of you to make my meaning more intelligible. On the death of Mr. Badcock in 1789, a note for £500 from White was found in his pocket-book. White pretended that this was remuneration for some other work; but it was believed on good grounds that Badcock had begun what Parr had completed, and that these famous Lectures were mainly their work. Badcock was one of the writers in the Monthly Rezicne. Johnstone's Life of Dr. Farr, i. 218–278. For Badcock's correspondence with the cditor of the Monthly Review, see Boidlvian M1S. Adi. C. 90.
* Virgilium vidi tantum.' Ovid, Tristia, iv. 10. 51. ? Mackintosh says of Priestley :-Frankness and disinterestedness in the arowal of his opinion were his point of honour.' He goes on to point out that there was 'great mental power in him wasted and scattered.' Life of Mackintosh, i. 349. See ante, ii. 142, and iv. 274, 275 for Johnson's opinion of Priestley.
* Badcock, in using the term 'index-scholar,' was referring no doubt to Pope's lines :
“How Index-learning turns no student pale,
The Dunciad, i. 279.
(Notes on Boswell's note on pages 485, 486.) * The last lines of the inscription on this urn are borrowed, with a slight change, from the last paragraph of the last Rambler. Johnson's Works, iii. 465, and ante, i. 262. Johnson visited Colonel Myddelton on August 29, 1774, in his Tour to Wales. See post, v. 516.
? Johnson, writing to Dr. Taylor on Sept. 3, 1783, said :-'I sat to Opey (sic) as long as he desired, and I think the head is finished, but it [is] not much admired. Notes and Queries, 6th S., v. 481. Hawkins (Life of Johnson, p. 569) says that in 1784 ' Johnson resumed sitting to Opie, but,' he adds, “I believe the picture was never finished.'
Of this picture, which was the one painted for Beauclerk (ante, iv. 208), it is stated in Johnson's IVorks, ed. 1787, xi. 204, that 'there is in it that appearance of a labouring working mind, of an indolent reposing body, which he had to a very great degree.'
* It seems almost certain that the portrait of Johnson in the Common Room of University College, Oxford, is this very mezzotinto. It was given to the College by Sir William Scott, and it is a mezzotinto from Opie's portrait. It has been reproduced for this work, and will be found facing page 278 of volume iii. Scott's inscription on the back of the frame is given on page 278, note 2, of the same volume.
Boswell most likely never knew that in the year 1790 Mr. Seward, in the name of Cadell the publisher, had asked Parr to write a Life of Johnson. Johnstone's Life of Parr, iv. 678. Parr, in his amusing vanity, was as proud of this Life as if he had written it. “It would have been,” he said, “the third most learned work that has ever yet appeared. The most learned work ever published I consider Bentley On the Epistles of Phalaris; the next Salmasius On the Hellenistic Language." Alluding to Boswell's Life he continued, "Mine should have been, not the droppings of his lips, but the history of his mind."' Field's Life of Parr, i. 164.
In the epitaph that he first sent in were found the words ‘Probabili Poetae.'
• In arms,' wrote Parr, ‘were all the Johnsonians: Malone, Steevens, Sir W. Scott, Windham, and even Fox, all in arms. The epithet was cold. They do not understand it, and I am a Scholar, not a BellesLettres man.'
Parr had wished to pass over all notice of Johnson's poetical character. To this, Malone said, none of his friends of the Literary Club would agree. He pointed out also that Parr had not noticed that part of Johnson's genius, which placed him on higher ground than perhaps any other quality that can be named-the universality of his knowledge, the promptness of his mind in reproducing it on all occasions in conversation, and the vivid eloquence with which he clothed his thoughts, however suddenly called upon. Parr, regardless of Johnson's rule that ‘in lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath' (ante, ii. 466), replied, that if he mentioned his conversation he should have to mention also his roughness in contradiction, &c. As for the epithet probabili, he never reflected upon it without almost a triumphant feeling in its felicity. Nevertheless he would change it into 'poetae sententiarum et verborum ponderibus admirabili.' Yet these words,
“energetic and sonorous’ though they were, 'fill one with a secret and invincible loathing, because they tend to introduce into the epitaph a character of magnificence.' With every fresh objection he rose in importance. He wrote for the approbation of real scholars of generations yet unborn. “That the epitaph was written by such or such a man will, from the publicity of the situation, and the popularity of the subject, be long remembered.' Johnstone's Life of Parr, iv. 694-712. No objection seems to have been raised to the five pompous lines of perplexing dates and numerals in which no room is found even for Johnson's birth and birth-place.
· After I had written the epitaph,' wrote Parr to a friend, ‘Sir Joshua Reynolds told me there was a scroll. I was in a rage. A scroll! Why, Ned, this is vile modern contrivance. I wanted one train of ideas. What could I do with the scroll? Johnson held it, and Johnson must speak in it. I thought of this, his favourite maxim, in the Life of Milton [Johnson's Works, vii. 77],
«"Οτι τοι εν μεγάροισι κακόν τ' αγαθόν τε τέτυκται.” In Homer [Odyssey, iv. 392] you know—and shewing the excellence of Moral Philosophy. There Johnson and Socrates agree. Mr. Seward, hearing of my difficulty, and no scholar, suggested the closing line in the Rambler [ante, i. 262, note 1]; had I looked there I should have anticipated the suggestion. It is the closing line in Dionysius's Periegesis,
«Αυτών εκ μακάρων αντάξιος είη αμοιβή.” I adopted it, and gave Seward the praise. Oh,” quoth Sir William Scott, “jakápwv is Heathenish, and the Dean and Chapter will hesitate.” The more fools they,” said I. But to prevent disputes I have altered it. «Έν μακάρεσσι πόνων αντάξιος είη αμοιβή.''
Johnstone's Life of Parr, iv. 713. Though the inscription on the scroll is not strictly speaking part of the epitaph, yet this mixture of Greek and Latin is open to the censure Johnson passed on Pope's Epitaph on Craggs. • It
may be proper to remark,' he said, “the absurdity of joining in the same inscription Latin and English, or verse and prose. If either language be preferable to the other, let that only be used; for no reason can be given why part of the information should be given in one tongue and part in another on a tomb more than in any other place, or on any other occasion.' Johnson's Works, viii. 353.
Bacon the sculptor was anxious, wrote Malone, 'that posterity should know that he was entitled to annex R.A. to his name.' IV.–33