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to order him to make English verses, and would oblige him to correct and retouch them over and over, and at last could say, “ These are good rhymes.”

At eight years of age, he was committed to one Taverner a priest, who taught him the rudiments of the Latin and Greek. At this time he met with Ogleby's Homer, which seized his attention; he fell next upon Sandys's Ovid, and remembered thesetwo translations with pleasure to the end of his life.

About ten, being at school near Hyde-ParkCorner, he was taken to the play-house, and was so struck with the splendour of the drama, that he formed a kind of play out of Ogleby's Homer, intermixed with verses of his own. He persuaded the head-boys to act this piece, and Ajax was performed by his master's gardener. They were habited according to the pictures in Ogleby. At twelve he retired with his father to Windsor-Forest, and formed himself by study in the best English poets.

In this extract it was thought convenient to dwell chiefly upon such observations as relate immediately to Pope, without deviating with the author into incidental inquiries. We intend to kindle, not to extinguish, curiosity, by this slight sketch of a work abounding with curious quotations and pleasing disquisitions. Hemust bemuchacquainted. with literary history, both of remote and late times, who does not find in this essay many things which he did not know before: and if there be any too learned to be instructed in facts or opinions, he may yet properly read this book as a just specimen of literary moderation.





Contributions begun at London, Dec. 18, 1758,

for clothing French Prisoners of War.


(E Committee entrusted with the money con

tributed to the relief of the subjects of France, now prisoners in the British dominions, here lay before the publick an exact account of all the sums received and expended, that the donors may judge how properly their benefactions have been applied.

Charity would lose its name, were it influenced by so mean a motive as human praise : it is therefore not intended to celebrate by any particular memorial, the liberality of single persons, or distinct societies; it is sufficient that their works praise them.

Yet he who is far from seeking honour, may very justly obviate censure. If a good example has been set, it may lose its influence by misrepresentation; and to free charity from reproach, is itself a charitable action.

Against the relief of the French only one argument has been brought; but that one is so popular and specious, that if it were to remain unexamined, it would by many be thought irrefragable. It has been urged, that charity, like other virtues, may be improperly and unseasonably exerted; that while we are relieving Frenchmen, there remain many Englishmen unrelieved; that while we lavish pityon our enemies, we forget the misery of our friends.

Grant this argument all it can prove, and what is the conclusion ? ---That to relieve the French is a good action, but that a better may be conceived. This is all the result, and this all is very little. To do the best can seldom be the lot of man: it is sufficient if, when opportunities are presented, he is ready to do good. How little virtue could be practised, if beneficence were to wait always for the most proper objects, and the noblest occasions; occasions that may never happen, and objects that may never be found.

It is far from certain, that a single Englishman will suffer by the charity to the French. New scenes of misery make new impressions, and much of the charity which produced these donations, may be supposed to have been generated by a species of calamity never known among us before. Some imagine that the laws have provided all necessary relief in common cases, and remit the poor to the care of the publick ; some have been deceived by fictitious misery, and are afraid of encouraging imposture; many have observed want to be the effect of vice, and consider casual almsgivers as patrons of idleness. But all these difficulties vanish in the present case: weknow that for the Prisoners of War there is no legal provision ; we see their distress, and are certain of its cause; we know that they are

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poor and naked, and poor and naked without a crime.

But it is not necessary to make any concessions. The opponents of this charity must allow it to be good, and will not easily prove it not to be the best. That charity is best, of which the consequences are most extensive: the relief of enemies has a tendency to unite mankind in fraternal affection; to soften the acrimony of adverse nations, and dispose them to peace and amity: in the mean time, it alleviates captivity, and takes away something from the miseries of war. The rage of war, however mitigated, will always fill the world with calamity and horrour: let it not then be unnecessarily extended; let animosity and hostility cease together; and no man be longer deemed an enemy, than while his sword is drawn against us.

The effects of these contributions may, perhaps, reach still further. Truth is best supported by virtue: we may hope from those who feel or who see our charity, that they shall no longer detest as heresy that religion, which makes its professors the followers of Him, who has commanded us to “ do

good to them that hate us."





BY those who have compared the military genius

of the English with that of the French nation, it is remarked, that the French officers will always lead, if the soldiers will follow ; and that the English soldiers will always follow, if their officers will lead.

In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness; and, in this comparison, our officers seem to lose what our soldiers gain. I know not any reason for supposing that the English officers are less willing than the French to lead; but it is, I think, universally allowed, that the English soldiers are more willing to follow. Our nation may boast, beyond any other people in the world, of a kind of epidemick bravery, diffused equally through all its ranks. We can shew a peasantry of heroes, and fill our armies with clowns, whose courage may vie with that of their general.

There may be some pleasure in tracing the causes of this plebeian magnanimity. The qualities which

* This short paper was added to some editions of The Idler, when collected into volumes, but not by Dr. Johnson, as Mr. Boswell asserts, nor to the early editions of that work.


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