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He said, that the dispute as to the comparative excellence of Homer or Virgil was inaccurate. :“ We must consider (said he) whether "Homer was not the greatest poet, though Virgil may have produced the finest poem. Virgil was indebted to Homer for the whole invention of the structure of an epic poem, and for many of his beauties.”
Mr. Boswell one day found fault with Foote for indulging his talent of ridicule at the expence of his visitors, which he colloquially termed making fools of his company. - Johnson. “ Why, Sir, when
you go to see Foote, you do not go to see a saint; you go to see a man who will be entertained at your house, and then bring you on a public stage'; who will entertain you at his house for the very purpose of bringing you on a publie stage. Sir, he does not make fools of his company; they whoin he exposes are fools already: he only brings them into action.”—BOSWELL. “ Foote has a great deal of humour?"-J.“ Yes, Sir.”-B.." He has a singular talent of exhibiting character."-J..“ Sir, it is not a talent; it is a vice; it is what others abstain from. It is not comedy, which exhibits the character of a species, as that of a miser gathered from many misers : it is farce, which exhibits individuals.” -B. “ Did not he think of exhibiting you, Sir?” -J. “ Sir, fear restrained him; he knew I would
have broken his bones. I would have saved him the trouble of cutting off a leg; I would not have Jeft him a leg to cut off.”—B. “ Pray, Sir, is not Foote an infidel?”—J. “ I do not know, Sir, that the fellow is an infidel ; but if he be an in-fidel, he is an infidel as a dog is an infidel; that is to say, be has never thought upon the subject.”-B. “ . I suppose, Sir, he has thought-superficially, and seized the first notions which occurred to his mind."-J. “Why then, Sir, still he is like a doy, that snatches the piece next him. Did you never observe that dogs have not the power of comparing? A dog will take a small bit of meat as readily as a large, when both are before him.”
Johnson said, “ Foote was not a good mimic." One of the company added, “ A merry Andrew, a buffoon.”-J.“ But he has wit too, and is not deficient in ideas, or in fertility and variety of imagery, and not empty of reading; he has knowledge enough to fill up his part.
his part. One species of wit he has in an eminent degree, that of escape.
You drive him into a corner with both hands; but he's gone, Sir, when you think you have got him, like an animal that jumps over your head. Then he has a great range
for wit; he never lets truth stand between him and a jest, and he is sometimes mighty coarse. Garrick is under many restraints from which Foote is
free."-WILKES. “ Garrick's wit is more like Lord Chesterfield's." -J. “The first time I was in company with Foote was at Fitzherbert's. Having no good opinion of the fellow, I was resolved not to be pleased; and it is very difficult to please a man against his will. I went on eating my dinner pretty sullenly, affecting not to mind him; but the dog was so very comical, that I was obliged to lay down my knife and fork, throw myself back upon my chair, and fairly laugh it out. No, Sir, he was irresistible. He upon one occasion experienced, in an extraordinary degree, the efficacy of his powers of entertaining. Amongst the many and various modes which he tried of getting money, he became a partner with a small-beer brewer, and he was to have a share of the profits for procuring customers amongst his numerous acquaintance.Fitzherbert was one who took his small-beer; but it was so bad that the servants resolved not to drink it. They were at some loss how to notify their resolution, being afraid of offending their master, who they knew liked Foote much as a companion. At last they fixed upon a little black boy, who was rather a favourite, to be their deputy, and deliver their remonstrance ; and having invested him with the whole authority of the kitchen, he was to inform Mr. Fitz : herbert, upon a certain day, that they would
drink Foote's small-beer no longer. On that day Foote happened to dine at Fitzherbert's, and this boy served at table; he was so delighted with Foote's stories, and merriment, and grimace, that when he went down stairs he told them, . This is the finest man I have ever seen. I will not deliver your message. I will drink his smallbeer.' Somebody observed that Garrick could not have done this.-WILKES. 6 Garrick would have made the small-beer still smaller. He is now leaving the stage; but he will play Scrub all his life." I knew (says Mr. Boswell) that Johnson would let nobody attack Garrick but himself, as Garrick once said to me, and I had heard him praise his liberality ; so to bring out his commendation of his celebrated pupil, I said, loudly, “ I have heard Garrick is liberal.”-J. “ Yes, Sir, I know that Garrick has given away more money than any man in England that I am acquainted with, and that not from ostentatious views. Garrick was very poor when he began life; so when he came to have money, he probably was very unskilful in giving away, and saved when he should not. But Garrick began to be liberal as soon as he could; and I am of opinion, the reputation of avarice which he has had has been very lucky for him, and prevented his having many enemies. You despise a man for avarice, but do not hate him. Garrick might have been
much better attacked for living with more splendor than is suitable to a player ; if they had had the wit to have assaulted him in that quarter, they might have galled bim more. But they have kept clamouring about his avarice, which has rescued him from much obloquy and envy.”
Mrs. Thrale praised Garrick's talent for light gay poetry; and, as a specimen, repeated bis song in Florize and Perdita,' and dwelt with peculiar pleasure on this line:
“I'd smile with the simple, and feed with the poor.”
-Johnson. “ Nay, my dear lady, this will never do. Poor David! Sinile with the simple? ---What folly is that. And who would feed with the poor that can help it? No, no; let me smile with the wise, and feed with the rich.”— Mr. Boswell says, “I repeated this sally.to Garrick, and wondered to find his sensibility as a writer not a little irritated by it. To sooth him, I observed, that Johnson spared none of us; and I quoted the passage in Horace, in which, he compares one who attacks his friends for the sake of a laugh to a pushing ox that is marked by a bunch of hay put upon his horns; fænum habet in cornu.' 56 Aye (said Garrick vehemently), he has a whole mow of it."
Soon after the publication of the Dictionary, Garrick being asked by Johnson what people