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CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
TO THE IMITATIONS OF THE
THIRD AND TENTH SATIRES OF JUVENAL.
We will not examine here Johnson's poetical merits, since that discussion will more properly introduce his Lives of the Poets, but merely offer some few biographical remarks. In the poem of London, Mr. Boswell was of opinion, that Johnson did not allude to Savage, under the name of Thales, and adds, for his reason, that Johnson was not so much as acquainted with Savage when he wrote his London. About a month, however, before he published this poem, he addressed the following lines to him, through the Gentleman's Magazine, for April, 1738.
AD RICARDUM SAVAGE.
Humani studium generis cui pectore fervet
O colat humanum te, foveatque, genus !
We cannot certainly infer, from this, an intimacy with Savage, but it is more probable, that these lines flowed from a feeling of private friendship, than mere admiration of an author, in a public point of view; and they, at any rate, give credibility to the general opinion, that, under the name of Thales, the poet referred to the author of the Wanderer, who was, at this time, preparing for his retreat to Wales, whither he actually went in the ensuing year.
The names of Lydiat, Vane, and Sedley, which are brought forward in the poem on the Vanity of Human Wishes, as examples of inefficiency of either learning or beauty, to shield their
PRE FATORY OBSERVATIONS.
possessors from distress, have exercised inquiry. The following is the best account of them we can collect:
Tuomas LYDIAT was born in 1572. After passing through the studies of the wiversity of Oxford, with applause, lie was elected fellow of New college ; but his defective utterance induced him to resign his fellowship, in order to il void entering holy orders, and to live upon a smell patrimoni. Ile was highly esteemed by the accomplished and unfortunate prince Ilenry, son of James the first. But his hopes of provision in that quarter were blasted by that prince's premature death ; and he then accompanied the colebrated Usher into Ireland. After two or three years, he returned to England, and poverty induced him 100 to accept the rectory of Okerton, near Banbury, which he had before declined here be imprudently became security for the debts of a relation, and, being umable to pay, was imprisoned for several years. He was released, at last, by his patron, Usher, sir W'. Boswell, Dr. Pink, then warlen of Neir college, and arehbishop Laud, to whom he showed his gratitude by writing in defence of his measures of church-government. Ile now applied to Charles the first for his protection and encouragement to travel into the east, to collect Mss. but the embarrassed state of the king's affairs prevented liis petition from receiving attention. Listly, his well-known attachment to the royal cause drew upon him the repeated violence of the parliament troops, who plundered, imprisoned, and abused him, in the most cruel manner. He died in obscurity and indigence, in 1646. A stone was laid over his yrave in Okerton church, in 1669, by the society of New college, who also erected an honorary monument to his memory in the cloisters of their college. We have dwelt thus long on Lydiat's name, because, when this poem was published, it Was a subject of inquiry, ivho Lydint was, though some of his contemporaries, both in England and on the continent, ranked bim with lord Bacon, in mathematical and physical knowledge. For a more detailed account, see Chalmers' Biographical Dictionary, vol. xxi. whence the above facts have been extracted, and Gen