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Oct. 17.]

Johnson's verses on Inchkenneth.

Huc ego delatus placido per cœrula cursu
Scire locum volui quid daret ille novi.
Illic Leniades humili regnabit in aula,

Leniades magnis nobilitatus avis:

Una duas habuit casa cum genitore puellas,
Quas Amor undarum fingeret esse deas:
Non tamen inculti gelidis latuere sub antris,
Accola Danubii qualia sævus habet;
Mollia non deerant vacuæ solatia vitæ,
Sive libros poscant otia, sive lyram.
Luxerat illa dies, legis gens docta supernæ

Spes hominum ac curas cum procul esse jubet,
Ponti inter strepitus sacri non munera cultus
Cessarunt; pietas hic quoque cura fuit:
Quid quod sacrifici versavit femina libros,
Legitimas faciunt pectora pura preces'.

Quo vagor ulterius? quod ubique requiritur hic est;
Hic secura quies, hic et honestus amor".


Boswell wrote to Johnson on Feb. 2, 1775, ( ante, ii. 338):-' Lord Hailes bids me tell you he doubts whether

"Legitimas faciunt pectora pura preces,"

be according to the rubrick, but that is your concern; for you know, he is a Presbyterian.'


' In Johnson's Works, i. 167, these lines are given with amendments and additions, mostly made by Johnson, but some, Mr. Croker believes, by Mr. Langton. In the following copy the variations are marked in italics.


Parva quidem regio sed religione priorum
Clara Caledonias panditur inter aquas.
Voce ubi Cennethus populos domuisse feroces
Dicitur, et vanos dedocuisse deos.

Huc ego delatus placido per cærula cursu,
Scire locus volui quid daret iste novi.
Illic Leniades humili regnabat in aula,
Leniades, magnis nobilitatus avis.

Una duas cepit casa cum genitore puellas,
Quas Amor undarum crederet esse deas.
Nec tamen inculti gelidis latuere sub antris,
Accola Danubii qualia sævus habet.
Mollia non desunt vacuæ solatia vitæ

Sive libros poscant otia, sive lyram.



Young Col's merits.

[Oct. 18.


We agreed to pass this day with Sir Allan, and he engaged to have every thing in order for our voyage to-morrow.

Being now soon to be separated from our amiable friend young Col, his merits were all remembered. At Ulva he had appeared in a new character, having given us a good prescription for a cold. On my mentioning him with warmth, Dr. Johnson said, 'Col does every thing for us: we will erect a statue to Col.' 'Yes, said I, and we will have him with his various attributes and characters, like Mercury, or any other of the heathen gods. We will have him as a pilot; we will have him as a fisherman, as a hunter, as a husbandman, as a physician.'

I this morning took a spade, and dug a little grave in the floor of a ruined chapel', near Sir Allan M'Lean's house, in

Fulserat illa dies, legis qua docta supernæ

Spes hominum et curas gens procul esse jubet.
Ut precibus justas avertat numinis iras,
Et summi accendat pectus amore boni.

Ponti inter strepitus non sacri munera cultus
Cessarunt, pietas hic quoque cura fuit.
Nil opus est æris sacra de turre sonantis
Admonitu, ipsa suas nunciat hora vices,
Quid, quod sacrifici versavit fœmina libros?
Sint pro legitimis pura labella sacris.

Quo vagor ulterius? quod ubique requiritur hic est,
Hic secura quies, hic et honestus amor.

Mr. Croker says of the third line from the end, that in a copy of these verses in Johnson's own hand which he had seen, 'Johnson had first written

He then wrote

Sunt pro legitimis pectora pura sacris.

Legitimas faciunt pura labella preces. That line was erased, and the line as it stands in the Works is substituted in Mr. Langton's hand, as is also an alteration in the 16th line, velit into jubet.' Jubet however is in the copy as printed by Boswell. Mr. Langton edited some, if not all, of Johnson's Latin poems. (Ante, iv. 443, 444.)

'Boswell, who is very pious, went into the chapel at night to per

Oct. 18.]

Success in trade.


which I buried some human bones I found there. Dr. Johnson praised me for what I had done, though he owned, he could not have done it. He shewed in the chapel at Rasay' his horrour at dead men's bones. He shewed it again at Col's house. In the Charter-room there was a remarkable large shin-bone, which was said to have been a bone of John Garve, one of the lairds. Dr. Johnson would not look at it; but started away.

At breakfast, I asked, 'What is the reason that we are angry at a trader's having opulence'?' JOHNSON. Why, Sir, the reason is, (though I don't undertake to prove that there is a reason,) we see no qualities in trade that should entitle a man to superiority. We are not angry at a soldier's getting riches, because we see that he possesses qualities which we have not. If a man returns from a battle, having lost one hand, and with the other full of gold, we feel that he deserves the gold; but we cannot think that a fellow, by sitting all day at a desk, is entitled to get above us.' BOSWELL. But, Sir, may we not suppose a merchant to be a man of an enlarged mind, such as Addison in the Spectator describes Sir Andrew Freeport to have been?' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, we may suppose any fictitious character. We may suppose a philosophical day-labourer, who is happy in reflecting that, by his labour, he contributes to the fertility of the earth, and to the support of his fellow-creatures; but we find no such philosophical day-labourer. A

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form his devotions, but came back in haste for fear of spectres. Piozzi Letters, i. 173.

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Ante, p. 193.

John Gerves, or John the Giant, of whom Dr. Johnson relates a curious story; Works, ix. 119.

'Lord Chatham in the House of Lords, on Nov. 22, 1770, speaking of the honest, industrious tradesman, who holds the middle rank, and has given repeated proofs that he prefers law and liberty to gold,' had said: I love that class of men. Much less would I be thought to reflect upon the fair merchant, whose liberal commerce is the prime source of national wealth. I esteem his occupation, and respect his character.' Parl. Hist. xvi. 1107.



Johnson's intrepidity.

[Oct. 18. merchant may, perhaps, be a man of an enlarged mind; but there is nothing in trade connected with an enlarged mind'.' I mentioned that I had heard Dr. Solander say he was a Swedish Laplander'. JOHNSON. Sir, I don't believe he is a Laplander. The Laplanders are not much above four feet high. He is as tall as you; and he has not the copper colour of a Laplander.' BOSWELL. But what motive could he have to make himself a Laplander?' JOHNSON. Why, Sir, he must either mean the word Laplander in an extensive sense, or may mean a voluntary degradation of himself. "For all my being the great man that you see me now, I was originally a Barbarian;" as if Burke should say, "I came over a wild Irishman." Which he might say in his present state of exaltation.'

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Having expressed a desire to have an island like Inchkenneth, Dr. Johnson set himself to think what would be necessary for a man in such a situation. Sir, I should build me a fortification, if I came to live here; for, if you have it not, what should hinder a parcel of ruffians to land in the night, and carry off every thing you have in the house, which, in a remote country, would be more valuable than cows and sheep? add to all this the danger of having your throat cut.' BOSWELL. I would have a large dog.' JOHNSON. 'So you may, Sir; but a large dog is of no use but to alarm.' He, however, I apprehend, thinks too lightly of the power of that animal. I have heard him say, that he is afraid of no

1 See ante, iii. 434.

'He was born in Nordland in Sweden, in 1736. In 1768 he and Mr. Banks accompanied Captain Cook in his first voyage round the world. He died in 1782. Knight's Eng. Cyclo. v. 578. Miss Burney wrote of him in 1780:-'My father has very exactly named him, in calling him a philosophical gossip.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 305. Horace Walpole the same year, just after the Gordon Riots, wrote (Letters, vii. 403):-'Who is secure against Jack Straw and a whirlwind? How I abominate Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, who routed the poor Otaheitans out of the centre of the ocean, and carried our abominable passions amongst them! not even that poor little speck could escape European restlessness.' See ante, ii, 170.


Oct. 18.]

A strange custom.


dog. He would take him up by the hinder legs, which would render him quite helpless,-and then knock his head against a stone, and beat out his brains.' Topham Beauclerk told me, that at his house in the country, two large ferocious dogs were fighting. Dr. Johnson looked steadily at them for a little while; and then, as one would separate two little boys, who were foolishly hurting each other, he ran up to them, and cuffed their heads till he drove them asunder'. But few men have his intrepidity, Herculean strength, or presence of mind. Most thieves or robbers would be afraid to encounter a mastiff.

I observed, that, when young Col talked of the lands belonging to his family, he always said, ' my lands'. For this he had a plausible pretence; for he told me, there has been a custom in this family, that the laird resigns the estate to the eldest son when he comes of age, reserving to himself only a certain life-rent. He said, it was a voluntary custom; but I think I found an instance in the charter-room, that there was such an obligation in a contract of marriage. If the custom was voluntary, it was only curious; but if founded on obligation, it might be dangerous; for I have been told, that in Otaheité, whenever a child is born, (a son, I think,) the father loses his right to the estate and honours, and that this unnatural, or rather absurd custom, occasions the murder of many children.

'Boswell tells this story again, ante, ii. 341. Mrs. Piozzi's account (Anec. p. 114) is evidently so inaccurate that it does not deserve attention; she herself admits that Beauclerk was truthful. In a marginal note on Wraxall's Memoirs, she says:- Topham Beauclerk (wicked and profligate as he wished to be accounted), was yet a man of very strict veracity. Oh Lord! how I did hate that horrid Beauclerk !' Hayward's Piozzi, i. 348. Johnson testified to the correctness of Beauclerk's memory and the fidelity of his narrative.' Ante, ii. 464.

''Mr. Maclean of Col, having a very numerous family, has for some time past resided at Aberdeen, that he may superintend their education, and leaves the young gentleman, our friend, to govern his dominions with the full power of a Highland chief.' Johnson's Works, ix. 117.


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