Gambar halaman

not addressed, but Mr. Langton's family believe it was intended for Mr. Boswell:

"MY DEAR SIR, — After many conflicting hopes and fears respecting the event of this heavy return of illness which has assailed our honoured friend Dr. Johnson, since his arrival from Lichfield, about four days ago the appearances grew more and more awful, and this afternoon at eight o'clock, when I arrived at his house to see how he should be going on, I was acquainted at the door, that about three quarters of an hour before, he had breathed his last. I am now writing in the room where his venerable remains exhibit a spectacle, the interesting solemnity of which, difficult as it would be in any sort to find terms to express, so to you, my dear Sir, whose own sensations will paint it so strongly, it would be of all men the most superfluous to attempt to

662. Johnson at Oxford.—Kettel-Hall.

When Johnson, in the year 1754, made an excursion to Oxford for the purpose of consulting the libraries, preparatory to the publication of his Dictionary, he took up his residence at Kettel-Hall; a building originally intended for the use of the commoners of Trinity, with which college it had a communication. "This was the first time," says Mr. Thomas Warton, "of the Doctor's being there after quitting the University. I went with him to his old college, Pembroke. He was highly pleased to find all the college servants which he had left there still remaining, particularly a very old butler; and expressed great satisfaction at being recognised by them, and conversed with them familiarly. He waited on the master, Dr. Ratcliffe, who received him very coldly. Johnson at least expected that the master would order a copy of his Dictionary, now near publication; but the master did not choose to talk on the subject, never asked Johnson to dine, nor even to visit him while he staid at college. After we had left the lodgings, Johnson said to There lives a man who lives by the revenues of literature, and will not move a finger to support it: if I come to live at Oxford, I shall take up my abode at Trinity." 663. Preface to Shakspeare. (')


It would be difficult to find in the English language, of equal variety and length, four such compositions as Burke's

(1) [This and the seven following are from "The Diary of a Lover of Literature," by T. Green of Ipswich, 4to. 1810; and since continued in the Gentleman's Magazine.]


longer conversation with gonal Oxford. I wanted to tech with you

about a work which I have sov in hand. I am writing the Stiftery of English Porty:

: a

plan chich I once

[merged small][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

to proceed.


Gray had one on Intention of Thingserts ht he dropped it; as you my see диорред by con adontisement to his Novo as ades. Frin. All. Ox. Jun. 23. 17 69.

T. Warton.

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors]

Speech to the Electors of Bristol, Johnson's Preface to Shakspeare, Parr's Dedication to Hurd, and Lowth's Letter to Warburton.

664. " Panting Time."

Johnson, perhaps, caught his "Panting Time toiled after him in vain," from Young's " And leave praise panting in the distant vale."

665. "The Happy Valley."

Looked over Rennell's Memoir of his Map of Hindostan. The secluded valley of Cashmere,-forming, between the parallels of 34 and 35°, an oval hollow eighty miles by fifty; blooming with perennial spring, refreshed with cascades and streams and lakes, and enriched with mountainous ridges towering into the regions of eternal snow, was perhaps Johnson's prototype for the Happy Valley of Amhara in "Rasselas."

666. Gray.

It is curious to hear Gray, in his tenth letter to Horace Walpole, say, "The same man's verses" (Johnson's, at the opening of Garrick's theatre)" are not bad”—of one who was destined afterwards to sit in imperial judgment on him and all his tribe.

667. Johnson's Conversation.

Had a long and interesting conversation with (Sir James) Mackintosh. He spoke highly of Johnson's prompt and vigorous powers in conversation, and, on this ground, of Boswell's Life of him. Burke, he said, agreed with him ; and affirmed, that this work was a greater monument to Johnson's fame, than all his writings put together.

668. "Pleasures of Hope."

Read Campbell's Pleasures of Hope. The beautiful allusion with which this poem opens, is borrowed from one in Johnson's collections for the Rambler; which, I believe, he never employed, but which was certainly too good to be lost.

669. Dr. Bernard.

Mr. Monney told me he had often met Johnson, and imitated his manner very happily. Johnson came on a visit to the president of his college (Jesus) at Oxford, Dr. Bernard. Dr. Bernard ventured to put a joke upon Johnson; but being terrified by a tremendous snarl, Indeed, indeed, Doctor, believe me," said he, "I meant nothing." "Sir," said Johnson, "if you mean nothing, say nothing!" and was quiet for the rest of the evening.

670. Johnson's "Letters."


Johnson's Letters to Mrs. Thrale raise him, if possible, still higher than ever in my esteem and veneration. His wonderful insight into the real springs of human actions is often apparent where he trifles most; and when he summons his powers, he pours new and unexpected light, even on the clearest and most obvious topics. His fertility of logical invention is probably unrivalled.

671. Johnson at Chester.

Johnson visited Chester in 1774, in company with Mr., Mrs., and Miss Thrale. "We walked," he says, "round the walls, which are complete, and contain one mile, three quarters, and one hundred and one yards within them are many gardens: they are very high, and two may walk very commodiously side by side. On the inside is a rail: there are towers from space to space, not very frequent, and I think not all complete." It would seem that, while at Chester, a little dispute between Johnson and Mrs. Thrale took place; for the lady thus writes to Mr. Duppa: "Of those ill-fated walls Dr. Johnson might have learned the extent from any one. He has since put me

fairly out of countenance by saying, 'I have known my Mistress fifteen years, and never saw her fairly out of humour but on Chester wall:' it was because he would keep Miss Thrale beyond her hour of going to bed to walk on the wall, where, for the want of light, I apprehended some accident to her — perhaps to him." (')

(1) [From the Piozzi MSS.]

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »