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Burke the first man everywhere.

[Sept. 30.' a little wrong-headed.' He carried the company along with him; and yet the truth is, that if he had always worn a night-cap, as is the common practice, and found the Highlanders did not wear one, he would have wondered at their barbarity; so that my hit was fair enough.


There was as great a storm of wind and rain as I have almost ever seen, which necessarily confined us to the house; but we were fully compensated by Dr. Johnson's conversation. He said, he did not grudge Burke's being the first man in the House of Commons, for he was the first man every where; but he grudged that a fellow who makes no figure in company, and has a mind as narrow as the neck of a vinegar cruet, should make a figure in the House of Commons, merely by having the knowledge of a few forms, and being furnished with a little occasional information'. He told us, the first time he saw Dr. Young was at the house of Mr. Richardson, the author of Clarissa. He was sent for, that the doctor might read to him his Conjectures on orig inal Composition', which he did, and Dr. Johnson made his

'He did not mention the name of any particular person; but those who are conversant with the political world will probably recollect more persons than one to whom this observation may be applied. BOSWELL. Mr. Croker thinks that Lord North was meant. For his ministry Johnson certainly came to have a great contempt (ante, iv. 161). If Johnson was thinking of him, he differed widely in opinion from Gibbon, who describes North as 'a consummate master of debate, who could wield with equal dexterity the arms of reason and of ridicule.' Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 221. On May 2, 1775, he wrote: -If they turned out Lord North to-morrow, they would still leave him one of the best companions in the kingdom.' Ib. ii. 135.

'Horace Walpole is speaking of this work, when he wrote on May 16, 1759 (Letters, iii. 227) :—' Dr. Young has published a new book, on purpose, he says himself, to have an opportunity of telling a story that he has known these forty years. Mr. Addison sent for the young Lord Warwick, as he was dying, to shew him in what peace a Christian could die—unluckily he died of brandy—nothing makes a Christian die in peace like being maudlin! but don't say this in Gath, where you are.'


Sept. 30.]

Dr. Young.


remarks; and he was surprized to find Young receive as novelties, what he thought very common maxims. He said, he believed Young was not a great scholar, nor had studied regularly the art of writing'; that there were very fine things in his Night Thoughts', though you could not find twenty lines together without some extravagance. He repeated two passages from his Love of Fame,-the characters of Brunetta' and Stella', which he praised highly. He said Young

''His [Young's] plan seems to have started in his mind at the present moment; and his thoughts appear the effect of chance, sometimes adverse, and sometimes lucky, with very little operation of judgment. . . . His verses are formed by no certain model; he is no more like himself in his different productions than he is like others. He seems never to have studied prosody, nor to have had any direction but from his own ear. But with all his defects, he was a man of genius and a poet.' Johnson's Works, viii. 458, 462. Mrs. Piozzi (Synonymy, ii. 371) tells why Dr. Johnson despised Young's quantity of common knowledge as comparatively small. 'Twas only because, speaking once upon the subject of metrical composition, he seemed totally ignorant of what are called rhopalick verses, from the Greek word, a club-verses in which each word must be a syllable longer than that which goes before, such as:

"Spes deus aeternae stationis conciliator.' 'He had said this before. Ante, ii. 111.

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'Brunetta's wise in actions great and rare,

But scorns on trifles to bestow her care.

Thus ev'ry hour Brunetta is to blame,

Because th' occasion is beneath her aim.

Think nought a trifle, though it small appear;

Small sands the mountains, moments make the year,

And trifles life. Your care to trifles give,

Or you may die before you truly live.'

Love of Fame, Satire vi.

Johnson often taught that life is made up of trifles. See ante,

i. 502.

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But hold," she cries, "lampooner, have a care;
Must I want common sense, because I'm fair?"
O no see Stella; her eyes shine as bright,
As if her tongue was never in the right;
And yet what real learning, judgment, fire!
She seems inspir'd, and can herself inspire:



Dr. Doddridge's epigram.

[Sept. 30.

pressed him much to come to Wellwyn. He always intended it, but never went'. He was sorry when Young died. The cause of quarrel between Young and his son, he told us, was, that his son insisted Young should turn away a clergyman's widow, who lived with him, and who, having acquired great influence over the father, was saucy to the son. Dr. Johnson said, she could not conceal her resentment at him, for saying to Young, that 'an old man should not resign himself to the management of any body.' I asked him, if there was any improper connection between them. No, Sir, no more than between two statues. He was past fourscore, and she a very coarse woman. She read to him, and I suppose made his coffee, and frothed his chocolate, and did such things as an old man wishes to have done for him.'

Dr. Doddridge being mentioned, he observed that he was author of one of the finest epigrams in the English language. It is in Orton's Life of him. The subject is his family motto,-Dum vivimus, vivamus; which, in its primary signification, is, to be sure, not very suitable to a Christian divine; but he paraphrased it thus:

"Live, while you live, the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day.
Live, while you live, the sacred preacher cries,
And give to GOD each moment as it flies.
Lord, in my views let both united be;
I live in pleasure, when I live to thee."

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How then (if malice rul'd not all the fair)
Could Daphne publish, and could she forbear?
We grant that beauty is no bar to sense,
Nor is't a sanction for impertinence.'

Love of Fame, Satire v. Johnson called on Young's son at Welwyn in June, 1781. Ante, iv. 138. Croft, in his Life of Young (Johnson's Works, viii. 453), says that 'Young and his housekeeper were ridiculed with more ill-nature than wit in a kind of novel published by Kidgell in 1755, called The Card, under the name of Dr. Elwes and Mrs. Fusby.'

'Memoirs of Philip Doddridge, ed. 1766, p. 171.

I asked

Sept. 30.]

Hume a Tory by chance.


I asked if it was not strange that government should permit so many infidel writings to pass without censure. JOHNSON. 'Sir, it is mighty foolish. It is for want of knowing their own power. The present family on the throne came to the crown against the will of nine tenths of the people'. Whether those nine tenths were right or wrong, it is not our business now to enquire. But such being the situation of the royal family, they were glad to encourage all who would be their friends. Now you know every bad man is a Whig; every man who has loose notions. The church was all against this family. They were, as I say, glad to encourage any friends; and therefore, since their accession, there is no instance of any man being kept back on account of his bad principles; and hence this inundation of impiety'.' I observed that Mr. Hume, some of whose writings were very unfavourable to religion, was, however, a Tory. JOHNSON. 'Sir, Hume is a Tory by chance' as being a Scotchman; but not upon a principle of duty; for he has no principle. If he is any thing, he is a Hobbist.'

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There was something not quite serene in his humour tonight, after supper; for he spoke of hastening away to London, without stopping much at Edinburgh. I reminded him that he had General Oughton and many others to see. JOHNSON. Nay, I shall neither go in jest, nor stay in jest. I shall do what is fit.' BOSWELL. Ay, Sir, but all I desire is, that you will let me tell you when it is fit.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I shall not consult you.' BOSWELL. If you are to run away from us, as soon as you get loose, we will keep you confined in an island.' He was, however, on the whole, very good company. Mr. Donald M'Leod expressed very well the gradual impression made by Dr. Johnson on those who are so fortunate as to obtain his acquaintance.

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1 So late as 1783 he said 'this Hanoverian family is isolée here.' Ante, iv. 190.

2 See ante, ii. 93, where he hoped that 'this gloom of infidelity was only a transient cloud.'

' Boswell has recorded this saying, ante, iv. 224.



On keeping records.

[Oct. 1.

you see him first, you are struck with awful reverence; then you admire him;-and then you love him cordially.'

I read this evening some part of Voltaire's History of the War in 1741', and of Lord Kames against Hereditary Indefeasible Right. This is a very slight circumstance, with which I should not trouble my reader, but for the sake of observing that every man should keep minutes of whatever he reads. Every circumstance of his studies should be recorded; what books he has consulted; how much of them he has read; at what times; how often the same authors; and what opinions he formed of them, at different periods of his life. Such an account would much illustrate the history of his mind'.


I shewed to Dr. Johnson verses in a magazine, on his Dictionary, composed of uncommon words taken from it :

'Little of Anthropopathy' has he,' &c.

He read a few of them, and said, 'I am not answerable for all the words in my Dictionary.' I told him that Garrick kept a book of all who had either praised or abused him. On the subject of his own reputation, he said, 'Now that I see it has been so current a topick, I wish I had done so too; but it could not well be done now, as so many things are scattered in news-papers.' He said he was angry at a boy of Oxford, who wrote in his defence against Kenrick; because it was doing him hurt to answer Kenrick. He was told afterwards, the boy was to come to him to ask a favour. He first thought to treat him rudely, on account of his

1 In 1755 an English version of this work had been published. Gent. Mag. 1755, p. 574. In the Chronological Catalogue on p. 343 in vol. 66 of Voltaire's Works, ed. 1819, it is entered as 'Histoire de la Guerre de 1741, fondue en partie dans le Précis du siècle de Louis XV. Boswell is here merely repeating Johnson's words, who on April 11 of this year, advising him to keep a journal, had said, 'The great thing to be recorded is the state of your own mind.' Ante, ii. 249. 3 This word is not in his Dictionary.



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