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of knowledge; and from his powers of reasoning, the love of disputation and the vain-glory of superior vigour. His piety, in some instances, bordered on superstition. He was willing to believe in preternatural agency, and thought it not more strange that there should be evil spirits than evil men'. Even the question about second-sight held him in suspense. 'Secondsight,' Mr. Pennant tells us, 'is a power of seeing images impressed on the organs of sight by the power of fancy, or on the fancy by the disordered spirits operating on the mind. It is the faculty of seeing spectres or visions, which represent an event actually passing at a distance, or likely to happen at a future day. In 1771, a gentleman, the last who was supposed to be possessed of this faculty, had a boat at sea in a tempestuous night, and, being anxious for his freight, suddenly started up, and said his men would be drowned, for he had seen them pass before him with wet garments and dropping locks. The event corresponded with his disordered fancy. And thus,' continues Mr. Pennant, 'a distempered imagination, clouded with anxiety, may make an impression on the spirits; as persons, restless and troubled with indignation, see various forms and figures while they lie awake in bed. This is what Dr. Johnson was not willing to reject 3. He wished for some positive proof of communications with another world. His benevolence embraced the whole race of man, and yet was tinctured with particular prejudices. He was pleased with the minister in the Isle of Sky, and loved him so much that he began to wish him not a Presbyterian 3.


1 Life, v. 45.

2 Apparently quoted from Pennant's Tour in Scotland, 1769, 4th ed., p. 198.

3 Johnson (Works, ix. 107) thus sums up his examination of secondsight:-'There is against it, the seeming analogy of things confusedly seen, and little understood; and for it, the indistinct cry of natural persuasion, which may be, perhaps, resolved at last into prejudice and tradition. I never could advance my curiosity to conviction; but came away at last only willing to believe.'

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To that body of Dissenters his zeal for the Established Church made him in some degree an adversary; and his attachment to a mixed and limited Monarchy led him to declare open war against what he called a sullen Republican'. He would rather praise a man of Oxford than of Cambridge'. He disliked a Whig, and loved a Tory. These were the shades of his character, which it has been the business of certain party-writers to represent in the darkest colours 3.

Since virtue, or moral goodness, consists in a just conformity of our actions to the relations in which we stand to the Supreme Being and to our fellow-creatures, where shall we find a man who has been, or endeavoured to be, more diligent in the discharge of those essential duties? His first prayer was composed in 1738; he continued those fervent ejaculations of piety to the end of his life. In his meditations we see him scrutinizing himself with severity, and aiming at perfection unattainable by man. His duty to his neighbour consisted in universal benevolence, and a constant aim at the production of happiness. Who was more sincere and steady in his friendships? It has been said that there was no real affection between him and Garrick. On the part of the latter, there might be some corrosions of jealousy. The character of PROSPERO, in the Rambler, No. 200, was, beyond all question, occasioned by Garrick's ostentatious display of furniture and Dresden china 5. It was surely fair to take from this incident a hint for a moral

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to Garrick was ever austere, like that of a schoolmaster to one of his scholars.' Percy says that 'Johnson kept Garrick much in awe.' Life, i. 99, n. I. Boswell describes how one evening 'Garrick played round Johnson with a fond vivacity, taking hold of the breasts of his coat, and, looking up in his face with a lively archness, complimented him on the good health which he seemed then to enjoy; while the sage, shaking his head, beheld him with a gentle complacency.' Ib. ii. 82.

5 Ib. i. 216.


essay; and, though no more was intended, Garrick, we are told, remembered it with uneasiness. He was also hurt that his Lichfield friend did not think so highly of his dramatic art as the rest of the world. The fact was, Johnson could not see the passions as they rose and chased one another in the varied features of that expressive face; and by his own manner of reciting verses, which was wonderfully impressive', he plainly shewed that he thought there was too much of artificial tone and measured cadence in the declamation of the theatre. The present writer well remembers being in conversation with Dr. Johnson near the side of the scenes during the tragedy of King Lear when Garrick came off the stage, he said, 'You two talk so loud you destroy all my feelings.' 'Prithee,' replied Johnson, 'do not talk of feelings, Punch has no feelings. This seems to have been his settled opinion; admirable as Garrick's imitation of nature always was, Johnson thought it no better than mere mimickry. Yet it is certain that he esteemed and loved Garrick; that he dwelt with pleasure on his praise; and used to declare, that he deserved his great success, because on all applications for charity he gave more than was asked.



Ante, p. 347.

Life, iv. 7, 243; v. 38. Post, in Reynolds's Dialogues.

Johnson in two notes on A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act i. sc. 4, ridicules the players. 'Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiringroom, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. . . . Here Bottom again discovers a true genius for the Stage by his solicitude for propriety of dress, and his deliberation which beard to chuse among many beards all unnatural.'


Adam Smith wrote of players :'It seems absurd at first sight that we should despise their persons, and yet reward their talents with the most profuse liberality.' Wealth of Nations, Bk. i. ch. 10. See also ib., Bk. ii. ch. 3.

This was written, though not published, before he joined the Literary Club, where he met Garrick, who pronounced his conversation flabby. Life, iv. 24, n. 2. In Gil Blas, Bk. iii. chs. 11 and 12, is shown why an author so often despises actors.

3 Murphy (Life of Garrick, p. 378) says:-'Dr. Johnson often said that, when he saw a worthy family in distress, it was his custom to collect charity among such of his friends as he knew to be affluent; and on those occasions he received from Garrick more than from any other person, Garrick's

Garrick's death he never talked of him without a tear in his eyes'. He offered, if Mrs. Garrick would desire it of him, to be the editor of his works and the historian of his life 2. It has been mentioned that on his death-bed he thought of writing a Latin inscription to the memory of his friend 3. Numbers are still living who know these facts, and still remember with gratitude the friendship which he shewed to them with unaltered affection for a number of years. His humanity and generosity, in proportion to his slender income, were unbounded. It has been truly said, that the lame, the blind, and the sorrowful, found in his house a sure retreat 5. A strict adherence to truth he considered as a sacred obligation, insomuch that, in relating the most minute anecdote, he would not allow himself the smallest addition to embellish his story. The late Mr. Tyers, who knew Dr. Johnson intimately, observed, 'that he always talked as if he was talking upon oath. After a long acquaintance with this excellent man, and an attentive retrospect to his whole conduct, such is the light in which he appears to the writer of this essay. The following lines of Horace may be deemed his picture in miniature:

Iracundior est paulo; minus aptus acutis

Naribus horum hominum; rideri possit, eo quod
Rusticius tonso toga defluit, et male laxus

In pede calceus hæret; at est bonus, ut melior vir
Non alius quisquam; at tibi amicus; at ingenium ingens
Inculto latet hoc sub corpore 8.

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It remains to give a review of Johnson's works; and this, it is imagined, will not be unwelcome to the reader.

Like Milton and Addison, he seems to have been fond of his Latin poetry. Those compositions shew that he was an early scholar; but his verses have not the graceful ease that gave so much suavity to the poems of Addison. The translation of the Messiah labours under two disadvantages; it is first to be compared with Pope's inimitable performance, and afterwards with the Pollio of Virgil. It may appear trifling to remark, that he has made the letter o, in the word Virgo, long and short in the same line; VIRGO, VIRGO PARIT 3. But the translation has great merit, and some admirable lines. In the odes there.

Or his large shoes, to raillery

His hair ill cut, his robe that positions . . . . seems to commend
aukward flows,
the earliness of his own proficiency
to the notice of posterity.' Works,
vii. 67. 'Addison's Latin compo-
sitions seem to have had much of
his fondness.' Ib. p. 421.


The man you love; yet is he not possess'd

Of virtues, with which very few are blest?

While underneath this rude uncouth disguise

A genius of extensive knowledge lies.'

Francis's Horace, Book i. Sat. 3. 1. 29. 'On the frame of Johnson's portrait, Mr. Beauclerk had inscribed,Ingenium ingens


Inculto latet hoc sub corpore." After Mr. Beauclerk's death, when it became Mr. Langton's property, he made the inscription be defaced. Johnson said complacently, "It was kind in you to take it off;" and then after a short pause added, “and not unkind in him to put it on." Life, iv. 180.

'His versibus indicari ac velut pingi Virgilium tradit vetus interpres.' Delphine Horace.

'Milton was at this time [in his student days] eminently skilled in the Latin tongue; and he himself, by annexing the dates to his first com

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Works, i. 155, l. 10.

4 'This translation has been praised and magnified beyond its merits. In it are many hard and unclassical expressions, a great want of harmony, and many unequal and un-virgilian lines. I was once present at a dispute on this subject betwixt a person of great political talents, and a scholar who had spent his life among the Greek and Roman classics. Both were intimate friends of Johnson. The former, after many objections had been made to this translation by the latter, quoted a line which he thought equal to any he ever had read :— "-juncique tremit variabilis umbra.

The green reed trembles -" The Scholar (Pedant if you will)

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