« PreviousContinue »
the contemplation of the scenes which were now presented to him. He kept his hat off while he was upon any part of the ground where the cathedral had stood. He said well that Knox had set on a mob, without knowing where it would end; and that differing from a man in doctrine was no reason why you should pull his house down about his ears.* As we walked in the cloisters, there was a solemn echo, while he talked loudly of a proper retirement from the world
Nairne said he had an inclination to retire. I called Dr. Johnson's attention to this, that I might hear his opinion if it was right.Johnson: “ Yes, when he has done his duty to society. In general, as every man is obliged not only to love God, but his neighbour as himself,' he must bear his part in active life; yet there are exceptions. Those who are exceedingly scrupulous (which I do not approve, for I am no friend to scruples), and find their scrupulosity invincible, so that they are quite in the dark, and know not what they should do, or those who cannot resist temptations, and find they make them
* The cathedral and monasteries of St. Andrews were destroyed, all the authorities and inhabitants concurring, on the 14th of June, 1559. Henry VIII, had previously caused the destruction of Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh, Jedburgh, &c., and had given injunction that St. Andrews should be razed to the earth. “If Knox urged that 'to drive the rooks away, you must pull down the nests,' Henry VIII. had long before quoted the same adage for the same purpose. If Knox, at Perth and St. Andrews, preached violently or coarsely against image-worship, Queen Elizabeth appointed a scarcely ies3 vehement. Homily against Peril of Idolatry' to be read in every parish church of her rcalm. If, stirred up by Knox's sermons, the 'rascal multitude,' as he styled them, broke down shrine and statue, chantrey and chapel, the English mob had done the same in the early years of Edward VI., and the work of demolition had been completed by the forma! authority of that prince and his successor.” — Quarterly Review, June 1849.- Ep.
selves worse by being in the world without making it better, may retire. I never read of a hermit, but in imagination I kiss his feet; never of a monastery, but I could fall on my knees and kiss the pavement. But I think putting young people there who know uothing of life, nothing of retirement, is dangerous and wicked. It is a saying as old as Hesiod
Εργα νεών, βουλαι τε μέσων, ευχαι τε γερόντων.* That is a very noble line: not that young men should not pray, or old men not give counsel, but that every season of life has its proper duties. I have thought of retiring, and have talked of it to a friend ; but I find my vocation is rather to active life." I said, some young monks might be allowed to show that it is not age alone that can retire to pious solitude; but he thought this would only show that they could not resist temptation.
He wanted to mount the steeples, but it could not be done. There are no good inscriptions here. Bad Roman characters he ally
mistook for half Gothic, half Roman. One of the steeples, which he was told was in danger, he wished not to be taken down; " for," said he, “ it may fall on some of the posterity of John Knox; and no great matter !"Dinner was mentioned.—JOHNSON: “Ay, ay; amidst all these sorrowful scenes, I have no objection to dinner.”
We went and looked at the castle, where Cardinal Beaton was
* Let youth in deeds, in counsel man engage;
Prayer is the proper duty of old age.-Boswell. + The cathedral when entire had five towers and a great steeple; three of the towers remain, and are about a hundred feet in height. By grants from the Government, the ruins of St. Andrews, with those of a similar description throughout Scotland, are kept from further decay by occasional repairs.-ED.
murdered, * and then visited Principal Murison at his college, where is a good library-room; but the Principal was abundantly vain of it, for he seriously said to Dr. Johnson, “ You have not such a one in England."
The professors entertained us with a very good dinner. Present: Murison, Shaw, Cook, Hill, Haddo, Watson, Flint, Brown.t I observed, that I wondered to see him eat so well, after viewing so many sorrowful scenes of ruined religious magnificence. “Why,” said he, “I am not sorry, after seeing these gentlemen; for they are not sorry.” Murison said, all sorrow was bad, as it was murmuring against the dispensations of Providence.—JOHNSON: “Sir, sorrow is inherent in humanity. As you cannot judge two and two to be either five or three, but certainly four, so, when comparing a worse present state with a better which is past, you cannot but feel sorrow. It is not cured by reason, but by the incursion of present objects, which wear out the past. You need not murmur, though you are sorry."--Mu
“But St. Paul says, I have learnt, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.”—Johnson: “Sir, that relates to riches and poverty; for we see St. Paul, when he had a thorn in the flesh, prayed earnestly to have it removed; and then he could not be content.”. Murison, thus refuted, tried to be smart; and drank to Dr. Johnson,
Long may you lecture !" Dr. Johnson afterwards, speaking of his not drinking wine, said, “The Doctor spoke of lecturing (looking to him). I give all these lectures on water.”
He defended requiring subscription in those admitted to universities, thus: “As all who come into the country must obey the king, so all who come into an university must be of the Church."
• The castle of St. Andrews is connected with many interesting historical associations. It was the residence of the chivalrous James I. of Scotland and the prison of Gawin Douglas and George Buchanan. In front of its walls George Wishart, the Protestant martyr, suffered on the 1st of March, 1515. “The executioner having kindled the fire, the powder that was fastened to his body blew up. The captain of the castle, who stood near him, perceiving that he was yet alive, bade him be of good courage and commend his soul to God. • This flame,' said he, ‘hath scorched my body, yet hath it not daunted my spirit; but he who from yonder high place beholdeth us with such pride shall within a few days lie in the same spot as ignominiously as now he is seen proudly to rest himself."" The allusion here was to Cardinal David Beaton, who from one of the towers of the castle, seated on a cushion, surveyed the spectacle of Wishart's death. About fifteen months afterwards, May 29th, 1546, Beaton was murdered in the castle by Norman Leslie, son of the Earl of Rothes, Kirkaldy of Grange, and others, who, besides revenging the death of Wishart, had a private feud with the cardinal.-ED.
+ Of these St. Andrews Professors, Dr. George Hill, the youngest, became the most distinguished. He succeeded Dr. Robertson as leader of the moderate party in the Church, and was author of “ Theological Institutes," and other works. He died December 19th, 1819. Principal Murison, who boasted so egregiously of the College Library, and, what is more remarkable, seems to have astonished and silenced Johnson by the boast, died July 30, 1779.--Ed.
And here I must do Dr. Johnson the justice to contradict a very absurd and ill-natured story as to what passed at St. Andrews. It has been circulated, that, after grace was said in English, in the usual manner, he with the greatest marks of contempt, as if he had held it to be no grace in an university, would not sit down till he had said grace aloud in Latin. This would have been an insult indeed to the gentlemen who were entertaining us. But the truth was precisely thus. In the course of conversation at dinner, Dr. Johnson, in very good humour, said, “I should have expected to have heard a Latin grace, among so many learned men: we had always a Latin grace at Oxford. I believe I can repeat it.” Which he did, as giving the learned men in one place a specimen of what was done by the learned men in another place.
We went and saw the church in which is Archbishop Sharp's monument.* I was struck with the same kind of feelings with which
the churches of Italy impressed me. I was much pleased to see Dr. Johnson actually in St. Andrews, of which we had talked so long. Professor Haddo was with us this afternoon, along with Dr. Watson. We looked at St. Salvator's College. The rooms for students seemed very commodious, and Dr. Johnson said the chapel was the neatest place of worship he had seen. The key of the library could not
• The monument was commissioned from Holland by the Archbishop's son, Sir William Sharp of Scotscraig. It is a very elaborate work, composed of black and white marble with an urn containing a long inscription, and under it a bas-relief representation of the murder of Archbishop Sharp on Magus Muir, May 3rd, 1679. The assassination of the prelate, as is well known, was the work of a band of fanatics, nine in number, the principal parties being a landed proprietor, Hackston of Rathillet, and his brotherin-law, Balfour of Kinloch or Burley, of whom Scott has given so vivid a portraiture in "Old Mortality.” The archbishop's tomb was completely repaired and renovated in 1819, and on this occasion it was found that the vault had been opened and the bones of the arclıbishop carried away!- ED.
ve found; for it seems Professor Hill, who was out of town, had taken it with him. Dr. Johnson told a joke he had heard of a monastery abroad, where the key of the library could never be found.
It was somewhat dispiriting to see this ancient archiepiscopal city now sadly deserted. We saw in one of its streets a remarkable proof of liberal toleration; a nonjuring clergyman strutting about in his canonicals, with a jolly countenance and a round belly, like a wellfed monk.
We observed two occupations united in the same person, who had hung out two sign-posts. Upon one was, “ James Hood, White Iron Smith” (i.e., Tin-plate Worker). Upon another, “ The Art of Fencing taught, by James Hood." Upon this last were painted some trees, and two men fencing, one of whom had hit the other in the eye, to show his great dexterity; so that the art was well taught.Johnson: “Were I studying here, I should go and take a lesson. I remember Hope, in his book on this art, says the Scotch are very good fencers.”
We returned to the inn, where we had been entertained at dinner, and drank tea in company with some of the Professors, of whose civilities I beg leave to add my humble and very grateful acknowledgment to the honourable testimony of Dr. Johnson in his Journey."
We talked of composition, which was a favourite topic of Dr. Watson's, who first distinguished himself by lectures on rhetoric.-JohnSON: “I advised Chambers, and would advise every young man heginning to compose, to do it as fast as he can, to get a habit of having his mind to start promptly; it is so much more difficult to improve in speed than in accuracy."—WATSON: “I own I am for much attention to accuracy in composing, lest one should get bad habits of doing it in a slovenly manner.”—JOHNSON: “Why, sir, you are confounding doing inaccurately with the necessity of doing inaccurately. A man knows when his composition is inaccurate, and when he thinks fit he'll correct it. But, if a man is accustomed to compose slowly, and with difficulty, upon all occasions, there is danger that he may not compose at all, as we do not like to do that which is not done easily; and, at any rate, more time is consumed in a small matter than ought to be."—Watson: “ Dr. Hugh Blair has taken a week to compose a sermon.”—JOHNSON: “Then, sir, that is for want of the habit of composing quickly, which I am insisting one should acquire "*_WATSON : “Blair was not composing all the
* Paley's direction in his College lectures was, “As to preaching, if your situation requires a sermon every Sunday, make one and steal five."-ED.