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written."-B.“ What I wish to know is, what serinons afford the best specimen of English pulpit eloquence."-J. “We have no sermons addressed to the passions that are good for any thing; if you mean that kind of eloquence.”-A CLERGYMAN (whose name I do not recollect) asked, “ Were not Dodd's sermons addressed to the passions?”-J. “ They were nothing, Sir, be they addressed to what they may.”
Sir Joshua Reynolds praised “ Mudge's Sermons.”—Johnson. “Mudge's Sermons are good, but not practical. He grasps more sense than he can hold; he takes more corn that he can make into meal; he opens a wide prospect, but so distant, that it is indistinct. I love · Blair's Sermons.' Though the dog is a Scotchman, and a Presbyterian, and every thing he should not be, I was the first to praise them. Such was my candour (smiling).”—Mrs. BoscAWEN. “ Such his great merit to get the better of all your prejudices.”—J. “Why, Madam, let us compound the matter; let us ascribe it to my candour and his merit.”
Somebody observed, that the life of a mere literary man could not be very entertaining.-Johnson said, “ But it certainly may. This is a remark which has been made and repeated without justice. Why should the life of a literary: man be less entertaining than the life of any
other man? Are there not as interesting varieties in such a life? As a literary life it may be very entertaining.”-Boswell. “ But it must be better surely, when it is diversified with a little active variety-such as his having gone to Jamaica; or, his having gone to the Hebrides.' Johnson was not displeased at this.
Speaking of a certain literary friend, “ He is a very pompous puzzling fellow (said he); he lent mé a letter once that somebody had written to him, no matter what it was about; but he wanted to have the letter back, and expressed a mighty value for it; be hoped it was to be met with again, he would not lose it for a thousand pounds. I laid my hand upon it soon afterwards, and gave it him. I believe I said, I was very glad to have met with it. O, then he did not know that it signified any thing. So you see, when the letter was lost it was worth a thousand pounds, and when it was found it was not worth a farthing."
An author of most anxious and restless vanity being mentioned, “ Sir (said he), there is not a young sapling upon Parnassus more severely blown about by every wind of criticism than that
Talking of a certain clergyman of extraordinary character, who by exerting his talents in writing on temporary topics, and displaying un
cómmon boldness, had raised himself to affluence, a gentleman maintained that they ought not to be indignant at his success; for merit of every sort was entitled to reward.“ Sir (said Johnson), I will not allow this man to have merit. No, Sir; what he has is rather the contrary; I will, indeed, allow him courage, and on this account we so far give him credit. We have more respect for a man who robs boldly on the highway, than for a fellow who jumps out of a ditch, and knocks you down behind your back. Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.”
Johnson was by no means of opinion, that every man of a learned profession should consider it as incumbent upon him, or as necessary to his credit, to appear as an author. When, in the ardour of ambition for literary fame, I regretted to him one day that an eminent Judge had nothing of it, and therefore would leave no perpetual monument of himself to posterity, “ Alas, Sir (said Johnson), what a mass of confusion should we have, if every Bishop and every Judge, every Lawyer, Physician, and Divine, were to write books."
At another time he said, I was angry with Hurd about Cowley, for having published a selection of his works; but upon better considera
tion, I think there is no impropriety in a man's. publishing as much as he chooses of any author, if he does not put the rest out of the way. A man, for instance, may print the Odes of Horace alone.”
Talking of those writers who had affected to imitate his style, Johnson said, “ The imitators of my style have not hit it. Miss Aikin has done it best; for she has imitated the sentiment as well as the diction."
He observed, that a gentleman of eminence in literature had got into a bad style of late. “ He puts (said he) a very common thing in a strange dress till he does not know it himself, and thinks other people do not know it.”-BosWELL. “ That is owing to his being so much versantin old English Poetry.”—JOHNSON.“What is that to the purpose, Sir? If I say a man is drunk, and you tell me it is owing to his taking so much drink, the matter is not mended. No, Sir, ****** has taken to an odd mode. For example; he'd write thus:
“ Hermit hoar, in solemn cell,
Gray evening is common enough; but evening gray he'd think fine.Stay ;--we'll make out the
Hermit hoar, in solemn cell,
“ Wearing out life's evening gray; “Smite thy bosom, sage, and tell,
" What is bliss? and which the way?”
BOSWELL. “ But why smite his bosom, Sir?” JOHNSON. Why to shew he was in earnest.” (smiling). Johnson at an after period added the following stanza:
“ Thus I spoke; and speaking sigh’d;
“Scarce repress'd the starting tear; “ When the smiling sage replied,
“ Come, my lad, and drink some beer,"
Speaking of a collection being made of all the English Poets who had published a volume of poems, Johnson said, that a
" Mr. Coxeter, whom he knew, had gone the greatest length towards this; having collected about five hundred volumes of poets whose works were little known; but that upon his death Tom Osborne bought them, and they were dispersed, which he thought a pity, as it was curious to see any series complete; and in every volume of poems something good may be found.”
In his review of Warton's Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope,' Johnson has given the following salutary' caution :-“Nothing but experience could evince the frequency of false information, or enable any man to conceive that so many groundless reports should be pro