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to the name of the min commended very candidly acknowledge the eloquence of the eulogist. Some rigorous idolaters of the unhappy race of Stuart míay yet censure me even for this dispasfionate revival of such a character ;, but you, my liberal friend to the freedom of literary discussion, you will fuggeft torime, that the minds of our countrymen in general afpire to Roman magnanimity, in rendering justice to great qualities in men, who were occasionally the objects of public deteftation, and you join with me in admiring that example of such magnanimity, to which I particularly allude. Nothing is more honorable to ancient Rome, than her generosity in allowing a statue of Hannibal to be raised and admired within the walls of the very, city, which it was the ambition of his life to distress and destroy.
In emulation of that fpirit, which delights-to honor the excellencies of an illustrious antagonist, I have endeavoured to preserve in my own mind, and to express on every proper occasion, my unshaken regard for the rare faculties and virtues of a late extraordinary biographer, whom it has been my lot to encounter continually as a very
bitter, and sometimes, I think, an insidious enemy to the great poet, whose memory I have fervently wished to rescue from indignity and detraction. The asperity of Johnson towords Milton has often ftruck the fond admirers of the poet in various points of view; in one moment it excites laughter, in another indignation; now it reminds us of the weapon of Goliah as described by Cowley;
" A sword fo great, that it was only fit
now it prompts us to exclaim, in the words of an angry Roman:
" Nec bellua tetrior ulla eft
I have felt, I confess, these different emotions of resentment in perusing the various sarcasms of the auftere critic against the object of my poetical idolatry, but I have tried, and I hope with some fuccess, to correct the animosity they must naturally excite, by turning to the more temperate works of that very copious and admirable writer,
particularly to his exquisite paper in the Rambler (N° 54) on the deaths and asperity of literary men. It is hardly possible, I think, to read the paper I have mentioned without losing, for some time at least, all sensations of difpleasure towards the eloquent, the tender moralift, and teflecting, with a sort of friendly fatisfaction, that, as long as the language of England exifts, the name of JOHNSON will remain, and deserve to remain,
Magnum & memorabile nomen,
As long as eloquence and morality are objects of public regard, we must revere that great mental physician, who has given to us all, infirm mortals as the beft of us are, such admirable prescriptions for the regimen of mind, and we fhould rather speak in sorrow than in anger, when we are forced to recollect, that, like other physicians, however able and perfect in theory, he failed to correct the infirmity of his own morbid spirit. You, my dear Warton, whom an oppofite temperament has made a critic of a more airy and cheerful complexion, you are one of the beft
witnesses that I could possibly produce, if I had
I have presumed to say, that Johnson fome-
" A book was writ of late called Tetrachordon."
The sonnet is, in truth, contemptible enough, if we suppose that Milton intended it as a serious composition ; but I apprehend it was an idle lufus poeticus , and either meant as a ludicrous parody on some other sonnet which has sunkinto oblivion, or merely written as a trifling pastime, to show that it is possible to compose a fonnet with words most unfriendly to rbyme. · However this may be, it was barbarous surely towards Milton (and, I might add, towards the poetry of England) to exhibit this unhappy little production, in so conspicuous a manner, as a specimen of English sonnets. Yet I perceive it is possible to give a milder interpretation of Johnson's design in his display of this unfortunatė sonnet; and as I moft fincerely wish not to charge him with more malevolence towards Milton than he really exerted, I will observe on this occasion, that as he had little, or rather no relish for fonnets, which the stern ló-, gician seems to have despifed as perplexing trifles ( difficiles nuge) he might only mean to deter young poetical students from a kind of verse that he disliked, by leading them to remark, how the greatest of our poets had failed in this petty