Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

TO MR. CAVE.

[ocr errors]

were written about this time, and that inagazines that have any thing of his or relating

to him. Johnson was now engaged in preparing

I thought my letter would be long, but it is an historical account of the British Parlia

now ended; and, I am, Sir, yours, &c., ment.

“ Sam. JOHNSON.

" The boy found me writing this almost in the TO MR. CAVE.

[No date.)

dark, when I could not quite easily read yours.

“I have read the Italian :-nothing in it is

well. “I BELIEVE I am going to write a long “ I had no notion of having any thing for the letter, and have therefore taken a whole sheet of inscription. I hope you don't think I kept it to paper. The first thing to be written about is our

extort a price. I could think of nothing till tohistorical design.

day. If you could spare me another guinea for “ You mentioned the proposal of printing in the history, I should take it very kindly, tonumbers, as an alteration in the scheme, but I night; but if you do not, I shall not think it an believe you mistook, some way or other, my injury.--I am almost well again.” meaning; I had no other view than that you might rather print too many of five sheets, than of five-and-thirty “With regard to what I shall say, on

the manner of proceeding, I would have it under “ You did not tell me your determination stood as wholly indifferent to me, and my opinion about the Soldier's Letter," which I am confident only, not my resolution. Emptoris sit eligere. was never printed. I think it will not do by.

I think the insertion of the exact dates of the itself, or in any other place, so well as the Mag. most important events in the margin, or of so Extraordinary. If you will have it all, I believe many events as may enable the reader to regulate you do not think I set it high, and I will be glad the order of facts with sufficient exactness, the if what you give, you will give quickly. proper medium between a journal, which has “ You need not be in care about something to regard only to time, and a history which ranges print, for I have got the State Trials, and shall facts according to their dependence on each other, extract Layer, Atterbury, and Macclesfield from and postpones or anticipates according to the them, and shall bring them to you in a fortnight; convenience of narration. I think the work after which I will try to get the South Sea ought to partake of the spirit of history, which | Report.' is contrary to minute exactness, and of the regu

[No date, nor signature.] larity of a journal, which is inconsistent with spirit. For this reason, I neither admit numbers I would also ascribe to him an Essay nor dates, nor reject them. “I am of your opinion with regard to placing

on the Description of China, from the most of the resolutions, &c., in the margin, and French of Du Halde.”+ think we shall give the most complete account of His writings in the “Gentleman's Magaparliamentary proceedings that can be contrived. zine” in 1743, are, the Preface, t the interwoven, require some other book to make Parliamentary Debates, t “Considerations them understood. I will date the succeeding on the Dispute between Crousaz and Warfacts with some exactness, but I think in the burton, on Pope's ‘ Essay on Man';'t in received money on this work, and found set down which, while he defends Crousaz, he shews 131. 29. 6d. reckoning the half-guinea of last an admirable metaphysical acuteness and Saturday: As you hinted to me that you had temperance in controversy ; "Ad Lauram many calls for money, I would not press you too hard, and therefore shall desire only, as I send it

parituram Epigramma ; and, A in, two guineas for a sheet of copy; the rest you Latin Translation of Pope's Verses on his may pay me, when it may be more convenient; Grotto”;* and, as he could employ his and even by this sheet-payment I shall, for some pen with equal success upon a small time, be very expensive. The Life of Savage I am ready to go

matter as a great, I suppose him to be the upon; and in Great Primer, and Pica notes, i author of an advertisement for Osborne, reckon on sending in half a sheet a day; but the concerning the great Harleian Catalogue. money for that shall likewise lie by in your hands till it is done. With the debates, shall not I have 2 I have not discovered what this was. B. business enough? if I had but good pens.

3 Angliacas inter pulcherrima Laura puellas, Towards Mr. Savage's Life what more have Mox uteri pondus de positura grave, you got? I would willingly have his trial, &c., Adsit, Laura, tibi facilis Lucina dolenti, and know whether his defence be at Bristol, and Neve tibi noceat prænituisse Dee. would have his collection of poems, on account Mr. Hector was present when this Epigrani of the Preface ;-“The Plain Dealer,"l-all the

was made impromptu. The first line was pro

posed by Dr. James, and Johnson was called 1 The Plain Dealer was published in 1724, and upon by the company to finish it, which he incontained some account of Savage. B.

stantly did. B.

* 3

THE ODE TO FRIENDSHIP

51

more

TO DR. BIRCH.

SIR,

But I should think myself much It has been circulated, I know not with wanting, both to my illustrious friend and what authenticity, that Johnson considered my readers, did I not introduce here, Dr. Birch as a dull writer, and said of him, with than ordinary respect, an

“ Tom Birch is as brisk as a bee in con exquisitely beautiful Ode, which has not versation ; but no sooner does he take a been inserted in any of the collections of pen in his hand, than it becomes a torpedo Johnson's poetry, written by him at a very to him, and benumbs all his faculties.” early period, as Mr. Hector informs me, That the literature of this country is much and inserted in the “Gentleman's Maga. indebted to Birch's activity and diligence zine” of this year.

must certainly be acknowledged. We

have seen that Johnson honoured him with FRIENDSHIP, an ODE.*

a Greek Epigram ; and his correspondence FRIENDSHIP, peculiar boon of heav'n,

with him, during many years, proves The noble mind's delight and pride,

that he had no mean opinion of him.? To men and angels only giv'n,

To all the lower world deny'd. While love unknown among the blest, Parent of thousand wild desires,

“ Thursday, Sept. 29, 1743The savage and the human breast Torments alike with raging fires ;

I hope you will excuse me for troubling you With bright, but oft destructive, gleam,

on an occasion on which I know not whom else Alike o'er all his lightnings fly;

I can apply to; I am at a loss for the Lives and Thy lambent glories only beam

Characters of Earl Stanhope, the two Craggs, Around the fav’rites of the sky.

and the minister Sunderland ; and beg that you

will inform (me) where I may find them, and send Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys

any pamphlets, &c., relating to them to Mr. Cave On fools and villains ne'er descend :

to be perused for a few days by, Sir, your most In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,

humble servant, And hugs a flatterer for a friend.

" SAM. JOHNSON.” Directress of the brave and just,

O guide us through life's darksome way! His circumstances were at this time emAnd let the tortures of mistrust On selfish bosoms only prey.

barrassed ; yet his affection for his mother

was so warm, and so liberal, that he took Nor shall thine ardour cease to glow,

upon himself a debt of hers, which, When souls to blissful climes remove : What rais'd our virtue here below,

though small in itself, was then considerShall aid our happiness above.

which I have endeavoured to explain and faciliI Johnson had now an opportunity of tate: and you are, therefore, to consider this obliging his schoolfellow, Dr. James, of rewards of merit, and if otherwise, as one of the whom he once observed, “no man brings inconveniences of eminence. However you shall more mind to his profession.”. James receive it, my design cannot be disappointed ; published this year his “Medicinal Dic- will shew that I do not found my hopes of approtionary,” in three volumes folio. Johnson, bation upon the ignorance of my readers, and as I understood from him, had written, or that I fear his censure least, whose knowledge is assisted in writing, the proposals for this most extensive. I am Sir, your most obedient

humble servant, R. JAMES." B. work; and being very fond of the study

Richard Mead (1675--1754) studied at Utrecht of physic, in which James was his master, Leyden, and Padua, where he took his doctor's he furnished some of the articles. He, degree. He was appointed physician to St. however, certainly wrote for it the Dedi- Thomas's Hospital, and was a strong supporter of cation to Dr. Mead, t which is conceived works on his profession.

inoculation for small-pox. He published several with great address, to conciliate the

1 Thomas Birch(1705—66), originally a Quaker, patronage of that very eminent man.? afterwards a clergyman of the Church of England.

He was chaplain to Lord Kilmarnock, who was

executed for his share in the Rebellion of 1745 ; TO DR. MEAD.

a voluminous writer, and an honest, industrious “Sir,—That the Medicinal Dictionary is He left his library and collection of manudedicated to you, is to be imputed only to your scripts to the British Museum, of which he was a reputation for superior skill in those sciences trustee.

[ocr errors]

1

man.

"Sir,

able to him. This appears from the follow- was marked by profligacy, insolence and ing letter which he wrote to Mr. Levett, ingratitude : yet, as he undoubtedly had of Lichfield, the original of which lies now a warm and vigorous, though unregulated before me.

mind, had seen life in all its varieties, and

been much in the company of the statesTO MR. LEVETT; IN LICHFIELD.

men and wits of his time, he could com" December 1, 1743.

municate to Johnson an abundant supply

of such materials as his philosophical "I An extremely sorry that we have encroached so much upon your forbearance with curiosity most eagerly desired ; and, as respect to the interest, which a great perplexity of Savage's misfortunes and misconduct had affairs hindered me from thinking of with that reduced him to the lowest state of attention that I ought, and which I am not im- wretchedness as a writer for his bread, his mediately able to remit to you, but will pay it (I visit to St. John's Gate naturally brought think twelve pounds) in two months. upon this, and on the future interest of that mort Johnson and him together.? gage, as my own debt; and beg that you will

It is melancholy to reflect, that Johnson be pleased to give me directions how to pay it

, I and Savage were sometimes in such exand not mention it to my dear mother. If it be necessary to pay this in less time, I believe I can treme indigence, that they could not pay do it ; but I take two months for certainty, and beg an answer whether you can allow me so much

2 Sir John Hawkins gives the world to under: time. I think myself very much obliged to your stand, that Johnson, Being an admirer of forbearance, and shall csteem it a great happiness genteel manners, was captivated by the address. to be able to serve you.

and demeanour of Savage, who, as to his ex

I have great oppor. terior, was to a remarkable degree accomplished." tunities of dispersing any thing that you may

Hawkins's Life, p. 52. think it proper to make public. I will give a

But Sir John's notions note for the money, payable at the time men

of gentility must appear somewhat ludicrous, tioned, to any one here that you shall appoint from his stating the following circumstance as I am, Sir, your most obedient and most humble presumptive evidence that Savage was a good

swordsman: “ That he understood the exercise of servant,

“ SAM. JOHNSON.

a gentleman's weapon, may be inferred from the

use made of it in that rash encounter which is At Mr. Osborne's, bookseller,

related in his life.". The dexterity here alluded “ in Gray's Inn."

10 was, that Savage, in a nocturnal fit of drunken

ness, stabbed a man at a coffee-house, and killed It does not appear that he wrote any him: for which he was tried at the Old Bailey, thing in 1744 for the “Gentleman's Maga- describes him as having." A grave and manly zine, but the Preface.† His“ Life of deportment, a solemn dignity of mien; but Barretier” was now re-published in a pam- which, upon a nearer acquaintance, softened into phlet by itself. But he produced one

an engaging casiness of manners.' work this year, fully sufficient to maintain Johnson admired him for that knowledge which

he himself so much cultivated, and what kindness the high reputation which he had acquired. he entertained for him, appears from the following This was THE LIFE OF RICHARD SAV. lines in the Gentleman's Magazine for April,

written by AGE”;* a man, of whom it is difficult 1738, which I am assured were

Johnson : to speak impartially, without wondering

Ad RICARDUM SAVAGE. that he was for some time the intimate companion of Johnson ; for his character

Humani studium generis cui pectore fervet,

O colat humanum te foveatque genus.' B. As a specimen of his temper, I insert the following letter from him to a noble Lord [Tyr- The original title, given by Croker, is as absurd connel], to whom he was under great obligations, as the lines themselves. but who, on account of his bad conduct, was "Ad Ricardum Savage, Arm: Ifumani generis obliged to discard him. The original was in the amatorem. hands of the late Francis Cockayne Cust, Esq., To Richard Savage, Esquire, the lover of the one of his Majesty's Counsel learned in the law :

human race. Right Honourable BRUTE and Booby,-I find you want (as Mr. is pleased to hint) to 3 The following striking proof of Johnson's swear away my life, that is, the life of your extreme indigence, when he published the Life of creditor, because he asks you for a debt.-The Savage, was, (says Malone,) communicated to public shall soon be acquainted with this, to Mr. Boswell, hy Mr. Richard Stowe, of Apsley, judge whether you are not fitter to be an Irish in Bedfordshire, from the information of Mr. Evidence, than to be an Irish Peer. ---I defy and Walter Harte, author of the Life of Gustavus despise you.

I am, your determined adversary, Adolphus, and tutor to Lord Chesterfield's son. R. S.” B.

“Soon after Savage's Life was published, Mr.

[ocr errors]

56 THE LIFE OF SAVAGE"

53

of other poets.

for a lodging ; so that they have wan which he proposes to mention, to the time of his

retirement to Swansea in Wales. dered together whole nights in the streets. Yet in these almost incredible scenes of of Bristol, the account will be continued from

“ From that period, to his death in the prison distress, we may suppose that Savage materials still less liable to objection; his own mentioned many of the anecdotes with letters, and those of his friends, some of which which Johnson afterwards enriched the will be inserted in the work, and abstracts of

others subjoined in the margin. life of this unhappy companion, and those It may be reasonably imagined, that others

may have the same design; but as it is not He told Sir Joshua Reynolds, that one

credible that they can obtain the same materials,

it must be expected they will supply, from innight in particular, when Savage and he vention the want of intelligence; and that under walked round St. James's Square for want the title of 'The Life of Savage,' they will pubof a lodging, they were not at all depressed lish only, a novel, filled with romantic advenby their situation ; but in high spirits and perhaps, gratify the lovers of truth and wit, by brimful of patriotism, traversed the giving me leave to inform them in your Magazine, R square for several hours, inveighed against that my account will be published in 8vo by Mr. the minister, and “resolved they would Roberts, in Warwick-lane.”

[No signature.] stand by their country.

I am afraid, however, that by associating In February, 1744, it accordingly came with Savage, who was habituated to the forth from the shop of Roberts, between dissipation and licentiousness of the town, whom and Johnson I have not traced any Johnson, though his good principles re- connexion, except the casual one of this mained steady, did not entirely preserve publication. In Johnson's “Life of Sathat conduct, for which, in days of greater vage,” although it must be allowed that simplicity, he was remarked by his friend its moral is the reverse of—“Respicero Mr. Hector ; but was imperceptibly led exemplar vita morumque jubebo,” a very into some indulgences which occasioned useful lesson is inculcated, to guard men much distress to his virtuous mind.

of warm passions from a too free indulThat Johnson was anxious that an gence of them ; and the various incidents authentic and favourable account of his are related in so clear and animated a extraordinary friend should first get manner, and illuminated throughout with possession of the public attention, is so much philosophy, that it is one of the evident from a letter which he wrote in the most interesting narratives in the English “Gentleman's Magazine” for August of language. Sir Joshua Reynolds told me, the year preceding its publication. that upon his return from Italy he met

with it in Devonshire, knowing nothing “Mr. URBAN,

of its author, and began to read it while “As your collections shew how often you he was standing with his arm leaning have owed the ornaments of your poetical pages against a chimney-piece. It seized his ingenious Mr. Savage, I doubt not but you have attention so strongly, that, not being able so much regard to his memory as to encourage to lay down the book till he had finished any design that may have a tendency to the it, when he attempted to move, he found preservation of it from insults or calumniese his arm totally benumbed. The rapidity entreat you to inform the public, that his life with which this work was composed, is a will speedily be published by a person who was wonderful circumstance. Johnson has favoured with his confidence, and received from been heard to say, “I wrote forty-eight himself an account of most of the transactions

of the printed octavo pages of the Life of Harte dined with Edward Cave, and occasionally Savage at a sitting ; but then I sat up all praised it. Soon after, meeting him, Cave said, night.”i You made a man very happy t'other day.' He exhibits the genius of Savage to the How could that be,' says Harte; 'nobody was there but ourselves. Cave answered by remind 1 Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd edit. ing him that a plate of victuals was sent behind p. 35. B. Johnson received fifteen guineas from

screen, which was to Johnson, dressed so Cave for the book, which reached a second shabbily, that he did not choose to appear ; but edition in 1748, a third in 1767, and a fourth in on hearing the conversation, he was highly 1769. A French translation was published in delighted with the encomiums on his book.'

It was included in the Lives of the Poets,

1771.

best advantage, in the specimens of his His schoolfellow and friend, Dr. Taylor, poetry which he has selected, some of told me a pleasant anecdote of Johnson's which are of uncommon merit. We, triumphing over his pupil, David Garrick. indeed, occasionally find such vigour and When that great actor had played some such point, as might make us suppose little time at Goodman's Fields, Johnson that the generous aid of Johnson had been and Taylor went to see him perform, and imparted to his friend. Mr. Thomas afterwards passed the evening at a tavern Warton made this remark to me; and, in with him and old Giffard. Johnson, who support of it, quoted from the poem was ever depreciating stage players, after entitled “The Bastard,” a line in which censuring some mistakes in emphasis, the fancied superiority of one Stamped which Garrick had committed in the course in Nature's mint with ecstasy,” is con- of that night's acting, said, “The players, trasted with a regular lawful descendant of Sir, have got a kind of rant, with which some great and ancient family :

they run on, without any regard either to

accent or emphasis.” Both Garrick and “No tenth transmitter of a foolish face."

Giffard were offended at this sarcasm, and But the fact is that this poem was pub- endeavoured to refute it; upon which lished some years before Johnson and Johnson rejoined, Well- now, I'll give Savage were acquainted.

you something to speak, with which you It is remarkable, that in this bio are little acquainted, and then we shall graphical disquisition there appears a very see how just my observation is. That strong symptom of Johnson's prejudice shall be the criterion. Let me hear you against players ; a prejudice which repeat the ninth Commandment, “Thou may be attributed to the following shalt not bear false witness against thy causes : first, the imperfection of his neighbour.”). Both tried at it, said Dr. organs, which were so defective that he Taylor, and both mistook the emphasis, was not susceptible of the fine impressions which should be upon not and false which theatrical excellence produces upon witness. 2. Johnson put them right, and the generality of mankind; secondly, the enjoyed his victory with great glee. cold rejection of his tragedy ; and, lastly,

His “Life of Savage” was no sooner the brilliant success of Garrick, who had published, than the following liberal been his pupil, who had come to London praise was given to it, in

· The at the same time with him, not in a much Champion,” a periodical paper : more prosperous state than himself, and whose talents he undoubtedly rated low, author, as just and well written a piece as of its

" This pamphlet is, without flattery to its compared with his own. His being out kind I ever saw ; so that at the same time that stripped by his pupil in the race of im- it highly deserves, it certainly stands very little mediate fame, as well as of fortune, in need of this recommendation.

tory of the unfortunate person, whose memoirs probably made him feel some indignation, compose this work, it is certainly penned with as thinking that whatever might be equal accuracy and spirit, of which I am so much Garrick's merits in his art, the reward was

the better judge, as I know many of the facts

mentioned to be strictly true, and very fairly too great when compared with what the related. Besides, it is not only the story of Mr. most successful efforts of literary labour Savage, but innumerable incidents relating to could attain. At all periods of his life other persons, and other affairs, which renders Johnson used to talk coniemptuously, tive and valuable performance.

this a very amusing, and, withal, a very instruc

The author's of players ; but in this work he speaks of them with peculiar acrimony; for which, i Giffard was manager of the theatre in Goodperhaps, there was formerly too much man's ields, where Garrick made his first reason from the licentious and dissolute appearance in London, October 19, 1741. manners of those engaged in that profes- statement

? I suspect Dr. Taylor was inaccurate in this

The emphasis should be equally upon sion. It is but justice to add, that in our shalt and not, as

to form the own time such a change has taken place, negative injunction; and false witness, like the that there is no longer room for such be marked by any peculiar emphasis, but only be an unfavourable distinction.

distinctly enunciated. B.

As to the his

both

concur

« AnteriorContinuar »