paper; he shook his head, and answered, “ too wordy.' Langton At another time, when one was reading his tragedy of Irene,' to a company at a house in the country, he left the room: and somebody having asked him the reason of this, he replied, “Sir, I thought it had been better.'

“ Talking of a point of delicate scrupulosity of moral conduct, he said to Mr. Langton, “Men of harder minds than ours will do many things from which you and I would shrink; yet, sir, they will, perhaps, do more good in life than we. But let us try to help one another. If there be a wrong twist, it may be set right. It is not probable that two people can be wrong the same way.'

“Of the preface to Capel's Shakspeare, he said, • If the man would have come to me, I would have endeavoured to "endow his purposes with words;" for as it is, he doth “gabble monstrously'.”

“ He related that he had once in a dream a contest of wit with some other person, and that he was very inuch mortified by imagining that his opponent had the better of him. “Now,' said he, one may mark here the effect of sleep in weakening the power of reflection; for had not my judgment failed me, I should have seen, that the wit of this supposed antagonist, by whose superiority I felt myself depressed, was as much furnished by me, as that which I thought I had been uttering in my own character.'

One evening in company, an ingenious and learned gentleman read to him a letter of compliment which he had received from one of the professors of a foreign university. Johnson, in an irritable fit, thinking there was too much ostentation, said, 'I never receive any

(Prospero to Caliban.“ When thou wouldst gabble like a thing most brutish, I endowed thy purposes with words.” Tempest, act i. scene 2.Ep.) VOL. IV.


Langton of these tributes of applause from abroad. One in

stance I recollect of a foreign publication, in which mention is made of l'illustre Lockman

“ Of Sir Joshua Reynolds, he said, “Sir, I know no man who has passed through life with more observation than Reynolds.

“ He repeated to Mr. Langton, with great energy, in the Greek, our Saviour's gracious expression concerning the forgiveness of Mary Magdalene ?, 'H Floris σε σέσωκέ σε πορείου εις ειρήνην. “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace 3.' He said, “ The manner of this dismission is exceedingly affecting.'

“ He thus defined the difference between physical and moral truth : ‘Physical truth is, when you tell a thing as it actually is. Moral truth is, when you tell a thing sincerely and precisely as it appears to you.


say such a one walked across the street; if he really did so, I told a physical truth. If I thought so, though I should have been mistaken, I told a moral truth .'

Huggins", the translator of Ariosto, and Mr. Thomas Warton, in the early part of his literary life, had a dispute concerning that poet, of whom Mr. Warton, in his · Observations on Spenser's Fairy Queen,' gave some account which Huggins attempted to answer with violence, and said, 'I will militate no Langton longer against his nescience.' Huggins was master of the subject, but wanted expression. Mr. Warton's knowledge of it was then imperfect, but his manner lively and elegant. Johnson said, “It appears to me, that Huggins has ball without powder, and Warton powder without ball.'

Secretary to the British Herring Fishery, remarkable for an extraordinary number of occasional verses, not of eminent merit.—BOSWELL. (He was an indefatigable translator for the booksellers, having acquired a knowledge of the languages, as Dr. Johnson told Sir J. Hawkins, by living at coffee. houses frequented by foreigners." Mr. Tyers says, “ that Lockman was a very worthy man, greatly beloved by his friends, and respected even by Pope ;" and he adds, “ that it is a pity that he who composed so many of the lives in the “General Dictionary' should himself not have one in the Biographia."Rhapsody on Popy, p. 104.- Ep.)

? It does not appear that the woman forgiven was Mary Magdalene.KEARNEY. [In the heading of this chapter, Luke vii. it is said, " he showeth by occasion of Mary Magdalene :” but it would rather appear by the follow. ing chapter, verse 2, that she is not the person here mentioned. Hall.)

3 Luke vii. 50.-- BoswELL. 4 This account of the difference between moral and physical truth is in Locke's “ Essay on Human l'nderstanding,” and many other books.-KEARNEY.

s (see ante, vol. 1. 371.- En.)

“ Talking of the farce of • High Life below Stairs,' he said, 'Here is a farce which is really very diverting when you see it acted, and yet one may read it and not know that one has been reading any thing at all.'

“ He used at one time to go occasionally to the green-room of Drury-lane theatre, where he was much regarded by the players, and was very easy and facetious with them. He had a very high opinion of Mrs. Clive's comick powers, and conversed more with her than with any of them. He said, 'Clive, sir, is a good thing to sit by; she always understands what you say.' And she said of him, “I love to sit by Dr. Johnson ; he always entertains me. One night, when • The Recruiting Officer was acted, he said to Mr. Holland, who had been expressing an apprehension that Dr. Johnson would disdain the works of Farquhar, “No, sir, I think Farquhar a man whose writings have considerable merit.'

“ His friend Garrick was so busy in conducting the drama, that they could not have so much intercourse as Mr. Garrick used to profess an anxious wish that there should be '. There might indeed be something in the contemptuous severity as to the merit of acting, which his old preceptor nourished in himself, that would mortify Garrick after the great applause which he received from the audience. For though Johnson

1 In a letter written by Jolinson to a friend in Jan. 1742-3, he says, “I never see Garrick.”_MALONE.

Langton said of him, “Sir, a man who has a nation to admire

him every night may well be expected to be somewhat elated ;' yet he would treat theatrical matters with a ludicrous slight. He mentioned one evening,

I met David coming off the stage, drest in a woman's riding-hood, when he acted in The Wonder; I came full upon him, and I believe he was not pleased.'

“Once he asked Tom Davies, whom he saw drest in a fine suit of clothes, ' And what art thou to-night?' Tom answered, “ The Thane of Ross;' which it will be recollected is a very inconsiderable character. 'O, brave!' said Johnson.

“Of Mr. Longley', at Rochester, a gentleman of very considerable learning, whom Dr. Johnson met there, he said, "My heart warms towards him. I was surprised to find in him such a nice acquaintance with the metre in the learned languages; though I was somewhat mortified that I had it not so much to myself as I should have thought.'

“Talking of the minuteness with which people will record the sayings of eminent persons, a story was told, that when Pope was on a visit to Spence at Oxford, as they looked from the window they saw a gentleman commoner, who was just come in from riding, amusing himself with whipping at a post. Pope took occasion to say, “That young gentleman seems to have little to do.' Mr. Beauclerk observed, . Then to be sure, Spence turned round and wrote that down ;' and went on to say to Dr. Johnson, • Pope, sir, would have said the same of you, if he had seen you distilling.' Johnson. “Sir, if Pope had told me of my distilling, I would have told him of his grotto.

· (A barrister ; Recorder of rochester, father of the editor's amiable friend, the present master of Harrow. He died in 1822.-Ed.]

| This would have been a very inadequate retort, for Johnson's chemistry was a mere pastime, while Pope's grotto was, although ornamented, a useful,

“He would allow no settled indulgence of idleness Langton upon principle, and always repelled every attempt to urge excuses for it. A friend one day suggested, that it was not wholesome to study soon after dinner. JOHNSON. “Ah, sir, don't give way to such a fancy. At one time of my life I had taken it into my head that it was not wholesome to study between breakfast and dinner.'

“Mr. Beauclerk one day repeated to Dr. Johnson Pope's lines, · Let modest Foster, if he will, excel

Epist. to Ten metropolitans in preaching well;" Then asked the doctor, Why did Pope say this ?' Johnson. “Sir, he hoped it would vex somebody''

“ Dr. Goldsmith, upon occasion of Mrs. Lennox's bringing out a play”, said to Dr. Johnson at the Club, that a person had advised him to go and hiss it, because she had attacked Shakspeare in her book called •

Shakspeare Illustrated.' Johnson. •And did not you tell him that he was a rascal ?' GOLDSMITH. “No, sir, I did not. Perhaps he might not mean what he said.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, sir, if he lied, it is a different thing.' Colman slily said (but it is

Sat. v. 131.

and even necessary work. Johnson has explained his views of this point very copiously in his life of Pope ; where he says, “ that being under the necessity of making a subterraneous passage to a garden on the other side of the road, Pope adorned it with fossil bodies, and dignified it with the title of a grottoa place of silence and retreat from which he endeavoured to persuade his frierds and himself that care and passions could be excluded. A grotto is not often the wish or pleasure of an Englishman, who has more frequent need to solicit than to exclude the sun ; but Pope's excavation was requisite as an entrance to his garden; and as some men try to be proud of their defects, he extracted an ornament from an inconvenience, and vanity produced a grotto where necessity enforced a passage.” This (–and a good deal more of the same tone follows-) is surely treating a trifling circumstance with more pomp and verbosity than the occasion required.--Ed.)

Dr. James Foster was an eminent preacher among the dissenters ; and Pope professes to prefer his merit in so humble a station to the more splendid ministry of the metropolitans. Pope's object certainly was to vex the clergy; but Mr. Beauclerk probably meant to ask – what is' by no means so clear--how these two lines bear on the general design and argument.--ED.)

• Probably “The Sisters,” a comedy performed one night only, at Covent Garden, in 1769. Dr. Goldsmith wrote an excellent epilogue to it.-MALONE.

« 前へ次へ »