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As Mr. Boswell's Journal has afforded such universal pleasure by the relation of minute incidents, and the great moralist's opinion of men and things, during his northern tour; it will be adding greatly to the anecdotical treasury, as well as making Mr. B. happy, to communicate part of a Dialogue that took place between Dr. Johnson and the author of this Congratulatory Epistle, a few months before the Doctor paid the great debt of nature. The Doctor was very cheerful on that day; had on a black coat and waistcoat, a black plush pair of breeches, and black worsted stockings; a handsome grey wig, a shirt, a muslin neckcloth, a black pair of buttons in his shirt sleeves, a pair of shoes ornamented with the very identical little buckles that accompanied the philosopher to the Hebrides; his nails were very neatly pared, and his beard fresh shaved with a razor fabricated by the ingenious Mr. Savigny.

P. P. Pray, Doctor, what is your opinion of Mr. Boswell's literary powers?

Johnson. Sir, my opinion is, that whenever Bozzy expires, he will create no vacuum in the region of literature he seems strongly affected by the cacoethes scribendi; wishes to be thought a rara avis; and in truth so he is your knowledge in ornithology, Sir, will easily discover to what species of bird I allude. [Here the Doctor shook his head and laughed.]

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P. P. What think you, Sir, of his account of Corsica? - of his character of Paoli?

Johnson. Sir, he hath made a mountain of a wart. But Paoli has The account is a farrago of disgusting egotism and pompous

virtues. inanity.

P. P. I have heard it whispered, Doctor, that, should you die before him, Mr. B. means to write your life.

Johnson. Sir, he cannot mean me so irreparable an injury. Which of us shall die first, is only known to the Great Disposer of events; but were I sure that James Boswell would write my life, I do not know whether I would not anticipate the measure by taking his. [Here he made three or four strides across the room, and returned to his chair with violent emotion.]

P. P. I am afraid that he means to do you the favour.

Johnson. He dares not - he would make a scarecrow of me. I give him liberty to fire his blunderbuss in his own face, but not to murder me. Sir, I heed not his avros pa.-Boswell write my life! why the fellow possesses not abilities for writing the life of an ephemeron.




- Arcades ambo,

Et cantare pares, et respondere, parati!



[Mr. Boswell and Madame Piozzi, the hero and heroine of our Eclogues, are supposed to have in contemplation the Life of Johnson; and, to prove their biographical abilities, appeal to Sir John Hawkins for his decision on their respective merits, by quotations from their printed anecdotes of the Doctor. Sir John hears them with uncommon patience, and determines very properly on the pretensions of the contending parties.]


WHEN Johnson sought (as Shakspeare says) that bourn,
From whence, alas! no travellers return;

In humbler English, when the Doctor died,
Apollo whimpered, and the Muses cried;
Parnassus moped for days, in business slack,

And, like a hearse, the hill was hung with black ;
Minerva, sighing for her favourite son,

Pronounced, with lengthened face, the world undone ;

Her owl too, hooted in so loud a style,

That people might have heard the bird a mile;
Jove wiped his eyes so red, and told his wife
He ne'er made Johnson's equal in his life;
And that 'twould be long time first, if ever,
His art could form a fellow half so clever ;!
Venus, of all the little Doves the dam,
With all the Graces, sobbed for brother Sam :
Such were the heavenly howlings for his death,
As if Dame Nature had resigned her breath.
Nor less sonorous was the grief, I ween,
Amidst the natives of our earthly scene:
From beggars to the great who hold the helm,

One Johnso-mania raged through all the realm.

Who (cried the world) can match his prose or rhyme?
O'er wits of modern days he towers sublime.

An oak, wide spreading o'er the shrubs below,
That round his roots, with puny foliage, blow;
A pyramid, amidst some barren waste,
That frowns o'er huts, the sport of every blast:

A mighty Atlas, whose aspiring head
O'er distant regions casts an awful shade.
By kings and vagabonds his tales are told,
And every sentence glows, a grain of gold !
Blest who his philosophic phiz can take,

Catch even his weaknesses - his noddle's shake,
The lengthened lip of scorn, the forehead's scowl,
The lowering eye's contempt, and bear-like growl.
In vain the critics vent their toothless rage;
Mere sprats, that venture war with whales to wage.
Unmoved he stands, and feels their force no more
Than some huge rock amidst the watery roar,
That calmly bears the tumults of the deep,
And howling tempests, that as well might sleep.

Strong, 'midst the Rambler's cronies, was the rag
To fill, with Sam's bon mots and tales, the page ;
Mere flies, that buzzed around his setting ray,
And bore a splendour on their wings away.
Thus round his orb the pigmy planets run,
And catch their little lustre from the sun.

At length rushed forth two candidates for fame,
A Scotsman one, and one a London dame:
That, by th' emphatic Johnson, christened Bozzy;
This, by the bishop's licence, Dame Piozzi;
Whose widow'd name, by topers loved, was Thrale,
Bright in the annals of election ale.

Each seized, with ardour wild, the grey goose quill:
Each set to work the intellectual mill.

Forth rushed to light their books but who should say Which bore the palm of anecdote away?

This to decide the rival wits agreed,

Before Sir John their tales and jokes to read,
And let the knight's opinion in the strife
Declare the properest pen to write Sam's life.
Sir John, renowned for musical palavers
The prince, the king, the emperor of quavers!
Sharp in solfeggi, as the sharpest needle,
Great in the noble art of tweedle-tweedle;
Whose volume, though it here and there offends,
Boasts German merit- makes by bulk amends.

Like schoolboys, lo! before a two-armed chair,
That held the knight wise judging, stood the pair ;
Or like two ponies on the sporting ground,
Prepared to gallop when the drum should sound;
The couple ranged · for victory both as keen

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As for a tottering bishopric a dean,

Or patriot Burke for giving glorious bastings

To that intolerable fellow Hastings.

Thus with their songs contended Virgil's swains,
And made the valleys vocal with their strains,
Before some grey-beard swain, whose judgment ripe
Gave goats for prizes to the prettiest pipe.

"Alternately, in anecdotes, go on ;

But first begin you, madam," cried Sir John.
The thankful dame, low curt'sied to the chair,
And thus, for victory panting, read the Fair:


Sam Johnson was of Michael Johnson born,
Whose shop of books did Lichfield town adorn:
Wrong-headed, stubborn as a haltered ram;
In short, the model of our Hero Sam ;
Inclined to madness, too for when his shop
Fell down, for want of cash to buy a prop,

For fear the thieves should steal the vanished store,
He duly went each night and locked the door.

(BOZZY. 2)

Whilst Johnson was in Edinburgh, my wife,
To please his palate, studied for her life;
With every rarity she filled her house,
And gave the Doctor, for his dinner, grouse.


Dear Doctor Johnson was in size an ox,
And from his uncle Andrew learned to box;
A man to wrestlers and to bruisers dear,
Who kept the ring in Smithfield a whole year.

BOZZY. (4)

At supper, rose a dialogue on witches,

When Crosbie said there could not be such bitches;

And that 'twas blasphemy to think such hags

Could stir up storms, and, on their broomstick nags,
Gallop along the air with wondrous pace,

And boldly fly in God Almighty's face.

(1) ["Michael Johnson, the father of Samuel, was a bookseller of Lichfield; a very pious and worthy man, but wrong-headed, positive, and afflicted with melancholy. When his shop had fallen half down, for want of money to repair it, he locked the door every night, though any body might walk in at the back part."-Anecdotes.]

(2)["My wife took care that our great guest should not be deficient. We gave him for dinner our Scotch muir-fowl, or grouse.]

(3) ["Mr. Johnson was conversant in boxing, which science he had learned from his uncle Andrew, who kept the ring in Smithfield a whole year."]

(4) ["At supper witchcraft was introduced. Mr. Crosbie said, he thought it blasphemy to suppose evil spirits counteracting the Deity, and raising storms to destroy his creatures: Johnson answered, your arguments will not overturn the belief of witchcraft."]

But Johnson answered him, "There might be witches
Nought proved the non-existence of the bitches."


When Thrale, as nimble as a boy at school,
Jumped, though fatigued with hunting, o'er a stool;
The Doctor, proud the same grand feat to do,
His powers exerted, and jumped over too.
And though he might a broken back bewail,
He scorned to be eclipsed by Mr. Thrale.


At Ulinish, our friend, to pass the time,
Regaled us with his knowledges sublime:
Showed that all sorts of learning filled his nob;
And that in butchery he could bear a bob
He sagely told us of the different feat
Employed to kill the animals we eat.

"An ox," says he, " in country and in town,
Is by the butchers constantly knocked down;
As for that lesser animal, a calf,

The knock is really not so strong by half,

The beast is only stunned; but as for goats,

And sheep, and lambs - the butchers cut their throats.
Those fellows only want to keep them quiet,

Not choosing that the brutes should breed a riot." (2)


When Johnson was a child and swallowed pap,
'Twas in his mother's old maid Catharine's lap :
There, whilst he sat, he took in wondrous learning;
For much his bowels were for knowledge yearning;
There heard the story which we Britons brag on,
The story of St. George and eke the Dragon.

BOZZY. (4)

When Foote his leg by some misfortune broke,
Says I to Johnson, all by way of joke,

(1) ["Because he saw Mr. Thrale one day leap over a stool, to show that he was not tired after a chace of fifty miles or more, he jumped over it too."]

(2)["His variety of information is surprising. He showed that he knew something of butchery. Different animals,' said he, are killed differently. An ox is knocked down, and a calf stunned; but a sheep has its throat cut. The butchers have no view to the ease of the animal, but only to make them quiet, for their own safety and convenience.'"]

(3) ["Dr. Johnson first learned to read of his mother and her old maid Catharine, in whose lap he well remembered sitting while she explained to him the story of St. George and the Dragon."]

(4) ["When Foote broke his leg, I observed that it would make him fitter for taking off George Faulkner as Peter Paragraph, poor George having a wooden leg. Dr. Johnson said, George will rejoice at the depeditation of

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