James Boswell.

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could not be changed for rhyme but with disadvantage.' _Ib_. p. 460. Of
Milton himself, he writes: - 'Whatever be the advantages of rhyme, I
cannot prevail on myself to wish that Milton had been a rhymer; for I
cannot wish his work to be other than it is; yet, like other heroes, he
is to be admired rather than imitated.' _Ib_. vii. 142. How much he felt
the power of Milton's blank verse is shewn by his _Rambler_, No. 90,
where, after stating that 'the noblest and most majestick pauses which
our versification admits are upon the fourth and sixth syllables,' he
adds: - ' Some passages [in Milton] which conclude at this stop [the
sixth syllable] I could never read without some strong emotions of
delight or admiration.' 'If,' he continues, 'the poetry of Milton be
examined with regard to the pauses and flow of his verses into each
other, it will appear that he has performed all that our language would
admit.' Cowper was so indignant at Johnson's criticism of Milton's blank
verse that he wrote: - 'Oh! I could thresh his old jacket till I made his
pension jingle in his pocket.' Southey's _Cowper_, iii. 315.

[156] One of the most natural instances of the effect of blank verse
occurred to the late Earl of Hopeton. His Lordship observed one of his
shepherds poring in the fields upon Milton's _Paradise Lost_; and having
asked him what book it was, the man answered, 'An't please your
Lordship, this is a very odd sort of an authour: he would fain rhyme,
but cannot get at it.' BOSWELL. 'The variety of pauses, so much boasted
by the lovers of blank verse, changes the measures of an English poet to
the periods of a declaimer; and there are only a few skilful and happy
readers of Milton, who enable their audience to perceive where the lines
end or begin. "Blank verse," said an ingenious critick, "seems to be
verse only to the eye."' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 141. In the _Life of
Roscommon_ (_ib_. p. 171), he says: - 'A poem frigidly didactick, without
rhyme, is so near to prose, that the reader only scorns it for
pretending to be verse.'

[157] Mr. Locke. Often mentioned in Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_.

[158] See vol. in. page 71. BOSWELL.

[159] It is scarcely a defence. Whatever it was, he thus ends it:-'It is
natural to hope, that a comprehensive is likewise an elevated soul, and
that whoever is wise is also honest. I am willing to believe that
Dryden, having employed his mind, active as it was, upon different
studies, and filled it, capacious as it was, with other materials, came
unprovided to the controversy, and wanted rather skill to discover the
right than virtue to maintain it. But inquiries into the heart are not
for man; we must now leave him to his judge.' Works, vii. 279.

[160] In the original _fright_. _The Hind and the Panther_, i. 79.

[161] In this quotation two passages are joined. _Works_, vii. 339, 340.

[162] 'The deep and pathetic morality of the _Vanity of Human Wishes_'
says Sir Walter Scott, 'has often extracted tears from those whose eyes
wander dry over the pages of professed sentimentality.' CROKER. It. drew
tears from Johnson himself. 'When,' says Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 50),
'he read his own satire, in which the life of a scholar is painted, he
burst into a passion of tears. The family and Mr. Scott only were
present, who, in a jocose way, clapped him on the back, and
said: - "What's all this, my dear Sir? Why you, and I, and Hercules, you
know, were all troubled with melancholy." He was a very large man, and
made out the triumvirate with Johnson and Hercules comically enough. The
Doctor was so delighted at his odd sally, that he suddenly embraced him,
and the subject was immediately changed.'

[163] In Disraeli's _Curiosities of Literature_, ed. 1834, iv. 180, is
given 'a memorandum of Dr. Johnson's of hints for the _Life of Pope_.'

[164] _Works_, viii. 345.

[165] 'Of the last editor [Warburton] it is more difficult to speak.
Respect is due to high place, tenderness to living reputation, and
veneration to genius and learning; but he cannot be justly offended at
that liberty of which he has himself so frequently given an example, nor
very solicitous what is thought of notes which he ought never to have
considered as part of his serious employments.' _Works_, v. 140. See
_post_, June 10,1784.

[166] The liberality is certainly measured. With much praise there is
much censure. _Works_, viii. 288. See _ante_, ii. 36, and Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 23.

[167] Of Johnson's conduct towards Warburton, a very honourable notice
is taken by the editor of _Tracts by Warburton and a Warburtonian, not
admitted into the Collection of their respective Works_. After an able
and 'fond, though not undistinguishing,' consideration of Warburton's
character, he says, 'In two immortal works, Johnson has stood forth in
the foremost rank of his admirers. By the testimony of such a man,
impertinence must be abashed, and malignity itself must be softened. Of
literary merit, Johnson, as we all know, was a sagacious but a most
severe judge. Such was his discernment, that he pierced into the most
secret springs of human actions; and such was his integrity, that he
always weighed the moral characters of his fellow-creatures in the
"balance of the sanctuary." He was too courageous to propitiate a rival,
and too proud to truckle to a superiour. Warburton he knew, as I know
him, and as every man of sense and virtue would wish to be known, - I
mean, both from his own writings, and from the writings of those who
dissented from his principles, or who envied his reputation. But, as to
favours, he had never received or asked any from the Bishop of
Gloucester; and, if my memory fails me not, he had seen him only once,
when they met almost without design, conversed without much effort, and
parted without any lasting impressions of hatred or affection. Yet, with
all the ardour of sympathetic genius, Johnson has done that
spontaneously and ably, which, by some writers, had been before
attempted injudiciously, and which, by others, from whom more successful
attempts might have been expected, has not _hitherto_ been done at all.
He spoke well of Warburton, without insulting those whom Warburton
despised. He suppressed not the imperfections of this extraordinary man,
while he endeavoured to do justice to his numerous and transcendental
excellencies. He defended him when living, amidst the clamours of his
enemies; and praised him when dead, amidst the _silence of his
friends_.'

Having availed myself of this editor's eulogy on my departed friend, for
which I warmly thank him, let me not suffer the lustre of his
reputation, honestly acquired by profound learning and vigorous
eloquence, to be tarnished by a charge of illiberality. He has been
accused of invidiously dragging again into light certain writings of a
person respectable by his talents, his learning, his station and his
age, which were published a great many years ago, and have since, it is
said, been silently given up by their authour. But when it is considered
that these writings were not _sins of youth_, but deliberate works of
one well-advanced in life, overflowing at once with flattery to a great
man of great interest in the Church, and with unjust and acrimonious
abuse of two men of eminent merit; and that, though it would have been
unreasonable to expect an humiliating recantation, no apology whatever
has been made in the cool of the evening, for the oppressive fervour of
the heat of the day; no slight relenting indication has appeared in any
note, or any corner of later publications; is it not fair to understand
him as superciliously persevering? When he allows the shafts to remain
in the wounds, and will not stretch forth a lenient hand, is it wrong,
is it not generous to become an indignant avenger? BOSWELL. Boswell
wrote on Feb. 16, 1789: - 'There is just come out a publication which
makes a considerable noise. The celebrated Dr. Parr, of Norwich,
has - wickedly, shall we say? - but surely wantonly - published Warburton's
_Juvenile Translations and Discourse on Prodigies_, and Bishop Kurd's
attacks on Jortin and Dr. Thomas Leland, with his _Essay on the Delicacy
of Friendship_.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 275. The 'editor,' therefore,
is Parr, and the 'Warburtonian' is Hurd. Boswell had written to Parr on
Jan. 10, 1791: - 'I request to hear by return of post if I may say or
guess that Dr. Parr is the editor of these tracts.' Parr's _Works_,
viii. 12. See also _ib_. iii. 405.

[168] In Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 213, it is said, that this
meeting was 'at the Bishop of St. - - 's [Asaph's]. Boswell, by his
'careful enquiry,' no doubt meant to show that this statement was wrong.
Johnson is reported to have said: - ' Dr. Warburton at first looked
surlily at me; but after we had been jostled into conversation he took
me to a window, asked me some questions, and before we parted was so
well pleased with me that he patted me.'

[169] 'Warburton's style is copious without selection, and forcible
without neatness; he took the words that presented themselves; his
diction is coarse and impure; and his sentences are unmeasured.'
Johnson's _Works_, viii. 288.

[170] Churchill, in _The Duellist (Poems_ ed. 1766, ii. 85), describes
Warburton as having

'A heart, which virtue ne'er disgraced;
A head where learning runs to waste.'

[171] _Works_, viii. 230.

[172] 'I never,' writes Mrs. Piozzi, 'heard Johnson pronounce the words,
"I beg your pardon, Sir," to any human creature but the apparently
soft and gentle Dr. Burney.' Burney had asked her whether she had
subscribed £100 to building a bridge. '"It is very comical, is it not,
Sir?" said I, turning to Dr. Johnson, "that people should tell such
unfounded stories." "It is," answered he, "neither comical nor serious,
my dear; it is only a wandering lie." This was spoken in his natural
voice, without a thought of offence, I am confident; but up bounced
Burney in a towering passion, and to my much amaze put on the hero,
surprising Dr. Johnson into a sudden request for pardon, and
protestation of not having ever intended to accuse his friend of a
falsehood.' Hayward's _Piozzi_, i. 312.

[173] In the original, '_nor_.' _Works_, viii. 311.

[174] In the original, '_either_ wise or merry.'

[175] In the original, '_stands upon record_'.

[176] _Works_, viii. 316. Surely the words 'had not much to say' imply
that Johnson had heard the answer, but thought little of its wit.
According to Mr. Croker, the repartee is given in Ruffhead's _Life of
Pope_, and this book Johnson had seen. _Ante_, ii. 166.

[177] Let me here express my grateful remembrance of Lord Somerville's
kindness to me, at a very early period. He was the first person of high
rank that took particular notice of me in the way most flattering to a
young man, fondly ambitious of being distinguished for his literary
talents; and by the honour of his encouragement made me think well of
myself, and aspire to deserve it better. He had a happy art of
communicating his varied knowledge of the world, in short remarks and
anecdotes, with a quiet pleasant gravity, that was exceedingly engaging.
Never shall I forget the hours which I enjoyed with him at his
apartments in the Royal Palace of Holy-Rood House, and at his seat near
Edinburgh, which he himself had formed with an elegant taste. BOSWELL.

[178] _Ante_, iii. 392.

[179] Boswell, I think, misunderstands Johnson. Johnson said (_Works_,
viii. 313) that 'Pope's admiration of the Great seems to have increased
in the advance of life.' His _Iliad_ he had dedicated to Congreve, but
'to his latter works he took care to annex names dignified with titles,
but was not very happy in his choice; for, except Lord Bathurst, none of
his noble friends were such as that a good man would wish to have his
intimacy with them known to posterity; he can derive little honour from
the notice of Cobham, Burlington, or Bolingbroke.' Johnson, it seems
clear, is speaking, not of the noblemen whom Pope knew in general, but
of those to whom he dedicated any of his works. Among them Lord
Marchmont is not found, so that on him no slight is cast.

[180] Neither does Johnson actually say that Lord Marchmont had 'any
concern,' though perhaps he implies it. He writes: - 'Pope left the care
of his papers to his executors; first to Lord Bolingbroke; and, if he
should not be living, to the Earl of Marchmont: undoubtedly expecting
them to be proud of the trust, and eager to extend his fame. But let no
man dream of influence beyond his life. After a decent time, Dodsley the
bookseller went to solicit preference as the publisher, and was told
that the parcel had not been yet inspected; and, whatever was the
reason, the world has been disappointed of what was "reserved for the
next age."' _Ib_. p. 306. As Bolingbroke outlived Pope by more than
seven years, it is clear, from what Johnson states, that he alone had
the care of the papers, and that he gave the answer to Dodsley.
Marchmont, however, knew the contents of the papers. _Ib_. p. 319.

[181] This neglect did not arise from any ill-will towards Lord
Marchmont, but from inattention; just as he neglected to correct his
statement concerning the family of Thomson the poet, after it had been
shewn to be erroneous (_ante_, in. 359). MALONE.

[182] _Works, vii. 420._

[183] Benjamin Victor published in 1722, a _Letter to Steele_, and in
1776, _Letters, Dramatic Pieces, and Poems_ Brit. Mus. Catalogue.

[184] Mr. _Wilks_. See _ante_, i. 167, note 1.

[185] See _post_, p. 91 and Macaulay's _Essay on Addison_ (ed. 1974, iv.
207).

[186] 'A better and more Christian man scarcely ever breathed than
Joseph Addison. If he had not that little weakness for wine - why we
could scarcely have found a fault with him, and could not have liked him
as we do.' Thackery's _English Humourists_, ed. 1858, p. 94.

[187] See _ante_, i. 30, and iii. 155.

[188] See _post_, under Dec. 2, 1784.

[189] Parnell 'drank to excess.' _Ante_, iii. 155.

[190] I should have thought that Johnson, who had felt the severe
affliction from which Parnell never recovered, would have preserved this
passage. BOSWELL.

[191] Mrs. Thrale wrote to Johnson in May, 1780:-'Blackmore will be
rescued from the old wits who worried him much to your disliking; so, a
little for love of his Christianity, a little for love of his physic, a
little for love of his courage - and a little for love of contradiction,
you will save him from his malevolent critics, and perhaps do him the
honour to devour him yourself.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 122. See
_ante_, ii. 107.

[192] 'This is a tribute which a painter owes to an architect who
composed like a painter; and was defrauded of the due reward of his
merit by the wits of his time, who did not understand the principles of
composition in poetry better than he did; and who knew little, or
nothing, of what he understood perfectly, the general ruling principles
of architecture and painting.' Reynolds's _Thirteenth Discourse_.

[193] Johnson had not wished to write _Lyttelton's Life_. He wrote to
Lord Westcote, Lyttelton's brother, 'My desire is to avoid offence, and
be totally out of danger. I take the liberty of proposing to your
lordship, that the historical account should be written under your
direction by any friend you may be willing to employ, and I will only
take upon myself to examine the poetry.' - Croker's _Boswell_, p.650.

[194] It was not _Molly Aston_ (_ante_ i. 83) but Miss Hill Boothby
(_ib_.) of whom Mrs. Thrale wrote. She says (_Anec_. p.160): - 'Such was
the purity of her mind, Johnson said, and such the graces of her manner,
that Lord Lyttelton and he used to strive for her preference with an
emulation that occasioned hourly disgust, and ended in lasting
animosity.' There is surely much exaggeration in this account.

[195] Let not my readers smile to think of Johnson's being a candidate
for female favour; Mr. Peter Garrick assured me, that he was told by a
lady, that in her opinion Johnson was 'a very _seducing man_.'
Disadvantages of person and manner may be forgotten, where intellectual
pleasure is communicated to a susceptible mind; and that Johnson was
capable of feeling the most delicate and disinterested attachment,
appears from the following letter, which is published by Mrs. Thrale
[_Piozzi Letters_, ii. 391], with some others to the same person, of
which the excellence is not so apparent: -

'TO MISS BOOTHBY. January, 1755.

DEAREST MADAM,

Though I am afraid your illness leaves you little leisure for the
reception of airy civilities, yet I cannot forbear to pay you my
congratulations on the new year; and to declare my wishes that your
years to come may be many and happy. In this wish, indeed, I include
myself, who have none but you on whom my heart reposes; yet surely I
wish your good, even though your situation were such as should permit
you to communicate no gratifications to, dearest, dearest Madam, Your,
&c. SAM JOHNSON.' (BOSWELL.)

[196] Horace, _Odes_, iv. 3.2, quoted also _ante_, i.352, note.

[197] The passage which Boswell quotes in part is as follows: - 'When
they were first published they were kindly commended by the _Critical
Reviewers_; [i.e. the writers in the _Critical Review_. In some of the
later editions of Boswell these words have been printed, _critical
reviewers_; so as to include all the reviewers who criticised the work];
and poor Lyttelton, with humble gratitude, returned, in a note which I
have read, acknowledgements which can never be proper, since they must
be paid either for flattery or for justice.' _Works_, viii.491. Boswell
forgets that what may be proper in one is improper in another.
Lyttelton, when he wrote this note, had long been a man of high
position. He had 'stood in the first rank of opposition,' he had been
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and when he lost his post, he had been
'recompensed with a peerage.' See _ante_, ii. 126.

[198] See _post_, June 12 and 15, 1784.

[199] He adopted it from indolence. Writing on Aug. 1, 1780, after
mentioning the failure of his application to Lord Westcote, he
continues: - 'There is an ingenious scheme to save a day's work, or part
of a day, utterly defeated. Then what avails it to be wise? The plain
and the artful man must both do their own work. - But I think I have got
a life of Dr. Young.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 173.

[200] _Gent. Mag._ vol. lv. p. 10. BOSWELL.

[201] By a letter to Johnson from Croft, published in the later editions
of the _Lives_, it seems that Johnson only expunged one passage. Croft
says: - 'Though I could not prevail on you to make any alteration, you
insisted on striking out one passage, because it said, that, if I did
not wish you to live long for your sake, I did for the sake of myself
and the world.' _Works_ viii.458.

[202] The Late Mr. Burke. MALONE.

[203] See_post_, June 2, 1781.

[204] Johnson's _Works_, viii 440.

[205] _Ib._ p.436

[206] 'Eheu! fugaces, Postume, Postume, Labuntur anni.' 'How swiftly
glide our flying years!' FRANCIS. Horace, _Odes_, ii.14. i.

[207] The late Mr. James Ralph told Lord Macartney, that he passed an
evening with Dr. Young at Lord Melcombe's (then Mr. Dodington) at
Hammersmith. The Doctor happening to go out into the garden, Mr.
Dodington observed to him, on his return, that it was a dreadful night,
as in truth it was, there being a violent storm of rain and wind. 'No,
Sir, (replied the Doctor) it is a very fine night. The LORD is
abroad.' BOSWELL.

[208] See _ante_, ii.96, and iii.251; and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept.
30.

[209] 'An ardent judge, who zealous in his trust, With warmth gives
sentence, yet is always just.' Pope's _Essay on Criticism_, l.677.

[210] _Works_, viii.459. Though the _Life of Young_ is by Croft, yet the
critical remarks are by Johnson.

[211] _Ib._ p.460.

[212] Johnson refers to Chambers's _Dissertation on Oriental Gardening_,
which was ridiculed in the _Heroic Epistle_. See _post_, under May 8,
1781, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 13.

[213] Boswell refers to the death of Narcissa in the third of the _Night
Thoughts_. While he was writing the _Life of Johnson_ Mrs. Boswell was
dying of consumption in (to quote Young's words)

The rigid north,
Her native bed, on which bleak
Boreas blew.'

She died nearly two years before _The Life_ was published.

[214] _Proverbs_, xviii.14.

[215] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 16.

[216] See vol. i. page 133. BOSWELL.

[217] 'In his economy Swift practised a peculiar and offensive
parsimony, without disguise or apology. The practice of saving being
once necessary, became habitual, and grew first ridiculous, and at last
detestable. But his avarice, though it might exclude pleasure, was never
suffered to encroach upon his virtue. He was frugal by inclination, but
liberal by principle; and if the purpose to which he destined his little
accumulations be remembered, with his distribution of occasional
charity, it will perhaps appear, that he only liked one mode of expense
better than another, and saved merely that he might have something to
give.' _Works_, viii.222.

[218] _Ib_. p.225.

[219] Mr. Chalmers here records a curious literary anecdote - that when a
new and enlarged edition of the _Lives of the Poets_ was published in
1783, Mr. Nichols, in justice to the purchasers of the preceding
editions, printed the additions in a separate pamphlet, and advertised
that it might be had _gratis_. Not ten copies were called for. CROKER.

[220] See _ante_, p.9, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 15.

[221] _Works_, vii. Preface.

[222] From this disreputable class, I except an ingenious though not
satisfactory defence of HAMMOND, which I did not see till lately, by the
favour of its authour, my amiable friend, the Reverend Mr. Bevill, who
published it without his name. It is a juvenile performance, but
elegantly written, with classical enthusiasm of sentiment, and yet with
a becoming modesty, and great respect for Dr. Johnson. BOSWELL.

[223] Before the _Life of Lyttelton_ was published there was, it seems,
some coolness between Mrs. Montagu and Johnson. Miss Burney records the
following conversation in September 1778. 'Mark now,' said Dr. Johnson,
'if I contradict Mrs. Montagu to-morrow. I am determined, let her say
what she will, that I will not contradict her.' MRS. THRALE. 'Why to be
sure, Sir, you did put her a little out of countenance last time she
came.'...DR. JOHNSON. 'Why, Madam, I won't answer that I shan't
contradict her again, if she provokes me as she did then; but a less
provocation I will withstand. I believe I am not high in her good graces
already; and I begin (added he, laughing heartily) to tremble for my
admission into her new house. I doubt I shall never see the inside of
it.' Yet when they met a few days later all seemed friendly. 'When Mrs.
Montagu's new house was talked of, Dr. Johnson in a jocose manner,
desired to know if he should be invited to see it. "Ay, sure," cried
Mrs. Montagu, looking well pleased, "or else I shan't like it."' Mme.
D'Arblay's _Diary_, i.118, 126. 'Mrs. Montagu's dinners and assemblies,'
writes Wraxall, 'were principally supported by, and they fell with, the
giant talents of Johnson, who formed the nucleus round which all the
subordinate members revolved.' Wraxall's _Memoirs_, ed. 1815, i.160.

[224] Described by the author as 'a body of original essays.' 'I
consider _The Observer,'_ he arrogantly continues, 'as fairly enrolled
amongst the standard classics of our native language.' Cumberland's
_Memoirs_, ii.199. In his account of this _Feast of Reason_ he quite as
much satirises Mrs. Montagu as praises her. He introduces Johnson in it,
annoyed by an impertinent fellow, and saying to him: - 'Have I said
anything, good Sir, that you do not comprehend?' 'No, no,' replied he,
'I perfectly well comprehend every word you have been saying.' 'Do you
so, Sir?' said the philosopher, 'then I heartily ask pardon of the
company for misemploying their time so egregiously.' _The Observer_,
No. 25.

[225] Miss Burney gives an account of an attack made by Johnson, at a
dinner at Streatham, in June 1781, on Mr. Pepys (_post_, p. 82), 'one of
Mrs. Montagu's steadiest abettors.' 'Never before,' she writes, 'have I
seen Dr. Johnson speak with so much passion. "Mr. Pepys," he cried, in a
voice the most enraged, "I understand you are offended by my _Life of
Lord Lyttelton_. What is it you have to say against it? Come forth, man!
Here am I, ready to answer any charge you can bring."' After the quarrel
had been carried even into the drawing-room, Mrs. Thrale, 'with great



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