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cery, but that he now lived in the country upon a little farm, about sixty acres, just by Stevenage in Hertfordshire, and that he came to London (to Barnard's inn, No. 6,) generally twice a week. Johnson appearing to be in a reverie, Mr. Edwards addressed himself to me, and expatiated on the pleasure of living in the country. BosWELL. “ I have no notion of this, sir. What
What you have to entertain you, is, I think, exhausted in balf an hour.” EDWARDS. “What! don't you love to have hope realized? I see my grass, and my corn, and my trees growing. Now, for instance, I am curious to see if this frost has not nipped my fruit-trees.” JOHNSON, (who we did not imagine was attending.) “You find, sir, you have fears as well as hopes."-So well did he see the whole, when another saw but the half of a subject.
When we got to Dr. Johnson's house, and were seated in his library, the dialogue went on admirably. EDWARDS. Sir, I remember you would not let us say prodigious at college. For even then, sir, (turning to me,) he was delicate in language, and we all feared him ?." JOHNSON, (to Edwards.) “ From your having practised the law long, sir, I presume you must be rich.” EDWARDS. No, sir: I got a good deal of money; but I had a number of poor relations to whom I gave a great part of it.” Johnson. “Sir, you have been rich in the most valuable sense of the word.”. EDWARDS. “ But I shall not die rich." Johnson. “Nay, sure, sir, it is better to live rich than to die rich.” EDWARDS. “I wish I had continued at college." JOHNSON. “ Why do you wish that, sir?" EDWARDS.“ Because I think I should have had a much easier life than mine has been. I should have been a parson, and had a good living, like Bloxham and several others, and lived comfortably.” JOHNSON. “Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not easy, I have always considered a clergyman as the
Johnson said to me afterwards, “ Sir, they respected me for my literature; and yet it was not great but by comparison. Sir, it is amazing how little literature there is in the world.-BOSWELL.
father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have chancery suits upon my hands than the cure of souls. No, sir; I do not envy a clergyman's life as an easy life; nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.”—Here, taking himself up all of a sudden, he exclaimed, “O! Mr. Edwards, I'll convince you that I recollect you. Do you remember our drinking together at an alehouse near Pembroke-gate ? At that time you told me of the Eton boy, who, when verses on our Saviour's turning water into wine were prescribed as an exercise, brought up a single line, which was highly admired:
Vidit et erubuit lympha pudica Deum m; and I told you of another fine line in Camden’s Remains, an eulogy upon one of our kings, who was succeeded by his son, a prince of equal merit:
Mira cano, sol occubuit, nox nulla secuta est.” EDWARDS. “ You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.”—Mr. Burke, sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Courtenay, Mr. Malone, and, indeed, all the eminent men to whom I have mentioned this, have thought it an exquisite trait of character. The truth is, that philosophy, like religion, is too generally supposed to be hard and severe, at least so grave as to exclude all gaiety.
m This line has frequently been attributed to Dryden, when a king's scholar at Westminster. But neither Eton nor Westminster have in truth any claim to it, the line being borrowed, with a slight change, (as Mr. Bindley has observed to me,) from an epigram by Richard Crashaw, which was published in his Epigrammata Sacra, first printed at Cambridge, without the author's name, in 1634, 8vo.—The original is much more elegant than the copy,
the water being personified, and the word on which the point of the epigram turns being reserved to the close of the line :
Aquæ in vinum versæ.
Quæ rosa mirantes tam va mutat aquas ?
Nympha pudica Deum vidit, et erubuit.—MALONE.
EDWARDS. “I have been twice married, doctor. You, I suppose, have never known what it was to have a wife.” JOHNSON. “ Sir, I have known what it was to have a wife, and,” in a solemn tender faltering tone, “I have known what it was to lose a wife.-It had almost broke my heart."
EDWARDS. “How do you live, sir? For my part, I must have my regular meals, and a glass of good wine. I find I require it.” JOHNSON. “I now drink no wine, sir. Early in life I drank wine : for many years I drank
I then for some years drank a great deal.” EDWARDS. “Some hogsheads, I warrant you.” JOHNSON. " I then had a severe illness, and left it off, and I have never begun it again. I never felt any difference upou myself from eating one thing rather than another, nor from one kind of weather rather than another. There are people, I believe, who feel a difference; but I am not one of them. And as to regular meals, I have fasted from the Sunday's dinner to the Tuesday's dinner, without any inconvenience. I believe it is best to eat just as one is hungry; but a man who is in business, or a man who has a family, must have stated meals. I am a straggler. I may leave this town and go to Grand Cairo, without being missed here, or observed there.” EDWARDS.
EDWARDS. “Don't you eat supper, sir?" JOHNSON. “ No, sir.” EDWARDS. “For my part, now, I consider supper as turnpike through which one must pass in order to get to bed."
Johnson. “You are a lawyer, Mr. Edwards. Lawyers know life practically. A bookish man should always have them to converse with. They have what he wants.” EDWARDS. “I am grown old: I am sixty-five.” JOHNSON. “I shall be sixty-eight next birth-day. Come, sir, drink water, and put in for a hundred.”
Mr. Edwards mentioned a gentleman who had left his whole fortune to Pembroke college. Johnson. “Whe
n I am not absolutely sure but this was my own suggestion, though it is truly in the character of Edwards.-BOSWELL.
ther to leave one's whole fortune to a college be right, must depend upon circumstances. I would leave the interest of the fortune I bequeathed to a college to my relations or my friends, for their lives. It is the same thing to a college, which is a permanent society, whether it gets the money now or twenty years hence; and I would wish to make my relations or friends feel the benefit of it."
This interview confirmed my opinion of Johnson's most humane and benevolent heart. His cordial and placid behaviour to an old fellow-collegian, a man so different from himself, and his telling him that he would go down to his farm and visit him, showed a kindness of disposition very rare at an advanced age. He observed, “how wonderful it was that they had both been in London forty years without baving ever once met, and both walkers in the street too.” Mr. Edwards, when going away, again recurred to his consciousness of senility; and, looking full in Johnson's face, said to him, “ You'll find in Dr. Young,
O my coevals! remnants of yourselves.” Johnson did not relish this at all; but shook his head with impatience. Edwards walked off, seemingly highly pleased with the honour of having been thus noticed by Dr. John
When he was gone, I said to Johnson, I thought him but a weak man. Johnson. “Why, yes, sir. Here is a man who has passed through life without experience: yet I would rather have him with me than a more sensible man who will not talk readily. This man is always willing to say what he has to say.” Yet Dr. Johnson bad himself by no means that willingness which he praised so much, and I think so justly: for who has not felt the painful effect of the dreary void, when there is a total silence in a company for any length of time; or, which is as bad, or perhaps worse, when the conversation is with difficulty kept up by a perpetual effort?
Johnson once observed to me, Tom Tyers described me the best: Sir,' said he, you are like a ghost: you never speak till you are spoken to.'” VOL. III.
The gentleman whom he thus familiarly mentioned, was Mr. Thomas Tyers, son of Mr. Jonathan Tyers, the founder of that excellent place of publick amusement, Vauxhall gardens, which must ever be an estate to its proprietor, as it is peculiarly adapted to the taste of the English nation; there being a mixture of curious show,-gay exhibition,musick, vocal and instrumental, not too refined for the general ear ;-for all which only a shilling is paido; and, though last not least, good eating and drinking for those who choose to purchase that regale. Mr. Thomas Tyers was bred to the law; but having a handsome fortune, vivacity of temper, and eccentricity of mind, he could not confine himself to the regularity of practice. He therefore ran about the world with a pleasant carelessness, amusing every body by his desultory conversation. He abounded in anecdote, but was not sufficiently attentive to accuracy. I therefore cannot venture to avail myself much of a biographical sketch of Johnson which he published, being one among the various persons ambitious of appending their names to that of my illustrious friend. That sketch is, however, an entertaining little collection of fragments. Those which he published of Pope and Addison are of higher merit; but his fame must chiefly rest upon his Political Conferences, in which be introduces several eminent persons delivering their sentiments in the way of dialogue, and discovers a considerable share of learning, various knowledge, and discernment of character. This much may I be allowed to say of a man who was exceedingly obliging to me, and who lived with Dr.
• In summer, 1792, additional and more expensive decorations having been introduced, the price of admission was raised to two shillings. I cannot approve of this. The company may be more select; but a number of the honest commonalty are, I fear, excluded from sharing in elegant and innocent entertainment. An attempt to abolish the one-shilling gallery at the playhouse has been very properly counteracted.--Boswell.
In the summer of 1826, the price of admission was three shillings and sixpence, and on charity concert nights half a guinea. The decorations were proportionably splendid, but indeed the company was not proportionably select.--Ev...