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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
FRONTISPIECE, JOHNSON'S INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE III.
TITLE-PAGE, PORTRAIT OF JOHNSON, FROM A PAINTING BY SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
PORTRAIT OF ROUSSEAU, FROM AN OLD PRINT
COMUND BURKE, FROM A SCARCE ETCHING
DR. JOHNSON'S CHAIR, SKETCHED FROM THE ORIGINAL, IN THE POSSESSION OF GEORGE
JAMES SQUIBB, ESQ.
OLD BUCKINGHAM HOUSE, FROM A SCARCE PRINT
PORTRAIT OF FIELDING. FROM A SKETCH BY HOGARTH
PORTRAIT OF DR. KOBERTSON, FROM A PAINTING BY SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
PORTRAIT OF DR. MOUNSEY, FROM AN OLD PRINT
STRATFORD JUBILEE, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING
BOSWELL IN THE COSTUME OF A CORSICAN CHIEF, FROM AN ENGRAVING
PORTRAIT OF GENERAL PAOLI, FROM A PAINTING BY R. COSWAY
PORTRAIT OF OLIVER GOLDSMITH, FROM PAINTING BY SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
SISTER OF SIR JOSHUA
PORTRAIT OF MR. WILLIAM STRAHAN, THE KING'S PRINTER, FROM THE ORIGINAL
RANELAGH, FROM A SCARCE PRINT
LANGTON HALL, FROM AN ENGRAVING
PORTRAIT OF DR. BEATTIE, FROM AN ENGRAVING
PORTRAIT OF THE HON. THOMAS ERSKINE, FROM A SCARCE PRINT
GEORGE STEEVENS, FROM A PAINTING BY ZOFFANI
JOHNSON AT ST. CLEMENT DANES' CHURCH, FROM AN ORIGINAL SKETCH
POETS' CORNER, WESTMINSTER ABBEY, FROM AN ORIGINAL SKETCH
SNOWDON, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING
JAMES MACPHERSON, FROM A PAINTING BY SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
. 161 162 164
EXTERIOR OF DRURY-LANE THEATRE, 1775, FROM AN OLD PRINT
COURT-YARD OF MR. STRAHAN'S HOUSE, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING
MR. HECTOR, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING IN THE POSSESSION OF WILLIAM SALT, ESQ. 284
MISS ANNA SEWARD, FROM AN OLD PRINT
MRS, LUCY PORTER'S HOUSE, FROM AN ORIGINAL SKETCH, 1851
STOWHILL-RESIDENCES OF MES. ASTON AND MRS. GASTREL, FROM AN ORIGINAL
BOSWELL RETURNS ΤΟ ENGLAND VOLTAIRE'S COMPARISON OF POPE AND DRYDEN-
IN 1764 and 1765 it should seem that Dr. Johnson was so busily employed with his edition of Shakspeare, as to have had little leisure for any other literary exertion, or, indeed, even for private correspondence. He did not favour me with a single letter for more than two years, for which it will appear that he afterwards apologised.
He was, however, at all times ready to give assistance to his friends, and others, in revising their works, and in writing for them, or greatly improving their dedications. In that courtly species of composition no man excelled Dr. Johnson. Though the loftiness of his mind prevented him from ever dedicating in his own person, he wrote a very great number of dedications for others. Some of these, the persons who were favoured with them, are unwilling should be mentioned, from a too
anxious apprehension, as I think, that they might be suspected of having received larger assistance; and some, after all the diligence I have bestowed, have escaped my inquiries. He told me, a great many years ago, "he believed he had dedicated to all the royal family round; and it was indifferent to him what was the subject of the work dedicated, provided it were innocent. He once dedicated some music for the German flute, to Edward Duke of York. In writing dedications for others, he considered himself as by no means speaking his own sentiments.
Notwithstanding his long silence, I never omitted to write to him, when I had anything worthy of communicating. I generally kept copies of my letters to him, that I might have a full view of our correspondence, and never be at a loss to understand any reference in his letters. He kept the greater part of mine very carefully; and a short time before his death was attentive enough to seal them up in bundles, and order them to be delivered to me, which was accordingly done. Amongst them I found one, of which I had not made a copy, and which I own I read with pleasure at the distance of almost twenty years. It is dated November, 1765, at the palace of Pascal Paoli, in Corte, the capital of Corsica, and is full of generous enthusiasm. After giving a sketch of what I had seen and heard in that island, it proceeded thus :— "I dare to call this a spirited tour. I dare to challenge your appropation."
This letter produced the following answer, which I found on my arrival at Paris :
À M. M. BOSWELL, CHEZ M. WATERS, BANQUIER, À PARIS.
Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, January 14, 1766. Apologies are seldom of any use. We will delay till your arrival the reasons, good or bad, which have made me such a sparing and ungrateful correspondent. Be assured, for the present, that nothing has lessened either the esteem or love with which I dismissed you at Harwich. Both have been increased by all that I have been told of you by yourself or others; and when you return, you will return to an unaltered, and, I hope, unalterable friend.
"All that you have to fear from me is the vexation of disappointing me. No man loves to frustrate expectations which have been formed in his favour; and the pleasure which I promise myself from your journals and remarks is so great, that perhaps no degree of attention or discernment will be sufficient to afford it.
"Come home, however, and take your chance. I long to see you, and to hear you; and hope that we shall not be so long separated again. Come home, and expect such welcome as is due to him, whom a wise and noble curiosity has led, where perhaps no native of this country ever was before.
"I have no news to tell you that can deserve your notice; nor would I willingly lessen the pleasure that any novelty may give you at your return. I am afraid we shall find it difficult to keep among us a mind which has been so long feasted with variety. But let us try what esteem and kindness can effect.
"As your father's liberality has indulged you with so long a ramble, I doubt not but you will think his sickness, or even his desire to see you, a sufficient reason for hastening your return. The longer we live, and the more we think, the higher value we learn to put on the friendship and tenderness of parents and of friends. Parents we can have but once; and he promises himself too much, who enters life with the expectation of finding many friends. Upon some motive, I hope, that you will be here soon; and am willing to think that it will be an inducement to your return, that it is sincerely desired by, "Dear Sir, your affectionate and humble servant,
I returned to London in February, and found Dr. Johnson in a good house in Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, in which he had accommodated Miss Williams with an apartment on the ground-floor, while Mr. Levett occupied his post in the garret ; his faithful Francis was still attending upon him. He received me with much kindness. The fragments of our first conversation, which I have preserved, are these: I told him that Voltaire, in a conversation with me, had distinguished Pope and Dryden thus :-" Pope drives a handsome chariot, with a couple of neat trim nags; Dryden a coach, and six stately horses." JOHNSON: "Why Sir, the truth is, they both drive coaches and six; but Dryden's horses are either galloping or stumbling: Pope's go at a steady even trot."1 He said of Goldsmith's "Traveller," which had been published in my absence, "There has not been so fine a poem since Pope's time.”
And here it is proper to settle, with authentic precision, what has long floated in public report, as to Johnson's being himself the author of a considerable part of that poem. Much, no doubt, both of the sentiments and expression were derived from conversation with him : and it was certainly submitted to his friendly revision: but in the year 1783, he at my request marked with a pencil the lines which he had furnished, which are only line 420th,
"To stop too fearful, and too faint to go;"
and the concluding ten lines, except the last couplet but one, which I distinguish by the italic character :
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which kings or laws can cause or cure.
Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find;
With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
1 It is remarkable that Mr. Gray ("Ode on the Progress of Poesy") has employed somewhat the same image to characterise Dryden. He, indeed, furnishes his car with but two horses; but they are of "ethereal race:"
"Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
With necks in thunder cloth'd, and long-resounding pace."-Boswell.