Slike strani

and see.


speak, upon the information which you gave me, dies before sixty, of a cold or consumption, dies, in that she had something to say, I am, &c., reality, by a violent death ; yet his death is borne

“ Sam. JOHNSON." with patience, only because the cause of his un

timely end is silent and invisible. Let us endeaJOHNSON TO THOMAS WARTON,

vour to see things as they are, and then inquire “London, June 1. 1758.

whether we ought to complain. Whether to see “ DEAR SIR, You will receive this by Mr.

life as it is, will give us much consolation, I know Baretti, a gentleman particularly entitled to the

not; but the consolation which is drawn from notice and kindness of the professor of poesy. He

truth, if any there be, is solid and durable: that has time but for a short stay, and will be glad to

which may be derived from error, inust be, like its have it filled up with as much as he can hear original, fallacious and fugitive. I am, dear, dear

Sir, your most humble servant, SAM. Johnson." “ In recommending another to your favour, I ought not to omit thanks for the kindness which

JOHNSON TO LANGTON, you have shown to myself. Have you any more

At Langton. notes on Shakspeare? I shall be glad of them. I see your pupil sometimes '; his mind is as

“Jan. 9. 1758 (1759). exalted as his stature. I am balf afraid of him ; “ Dearest SIR, - I must have indeed slept very but he is no less amiable than formidable. He fast, not to have been awakened by your etter. will, if the forwardness of his spring be not blasted, None of your suspicions are true; I am not much be a credit to you, and to the University. He richer than when you left me; and what is worse, brings some of my plays: with him, which he has my omission of an answer to your first letter will my permission to show you, on condition you will prove that I am not much wiser. But I go on as hide them from every body else. I am, dear I formerly did, designing to be some time or other Sir, &c.,

SAM. Johnson." both rich and wise; and yet cultivate neither mind

nor fortune. Do you take notice of my example, JOHNSON TO LANGTON,

and learn the danger of delay. When I was as you At Langton.

are now, towering in [the] confidence of twenty“ Sep. 21. 1758.

one, little did I suspect that I should be, at forty“ Dear Sir, I should be sorry to think that nine, what I now am. what engrosses the attention of my friend, should “ But you do not seem to need my admonition. have no part of mine. Your mind is now full of the You are busy in acquiring and in communicating fate of Durys; but his fate is past, and nothing re- knowledge, and while you are studying, enjoy the mains but to try what reflection will suggest to end of study, by making others wiser and happier. mitigate the terrors of a violent death, which is I was much pleased with the tale that you told me more formidable at the first glance, than on a nearer of being tutor to your sisters. I, who have no and more steady view. A violent death is never sisters nor brothers, look with some degree of invery painful; the only danger is, lest it should be nocent envy on those who may be said to be born unprovided. But if a man can be supposed to to friends *; and cannot see, without wonder, how make no provision for death in war, what can be rarely that native union is afterwards regarded. It the state that would have awakened him to the sometimes, indeed, happens, that some supervenient care of futurity? When would that man have cause of discord may overpower this original amity; prepared himself to die, who went to seek death but it seems to me more frequently thrown away without preparation ? What then can be the with levity, or lost by negligence, than destroyed reason why we lament more him that dies of a by injury or violence. We tell the ladies that good wound, than him that dies of a fever?. A man that wives make good husbands; I believe it is a more languishes with disease, ends his life with more certain position that good brothers make good pain, but with less virtue: he leaves no example to sisters. his friends, nor bequeaths any honour to his de- “I am satisfied with your stay at home, as Juvenal scendants. The only reason why we lament a with his friend's retirement to Cumæ : I know that soldier's death, is, that we think he might have your absence is best, though it be not best for me. lived longer ; yet this cause of grief is common to

• Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici, many other kinds of death, which are not so Laudo tamen vacuis quod sedem figere Cumis passionately bewailed. The truth is, that every Destinet, atque unum civem donare Sibyllæ.'s death is violent which is the effect of accident; Langton is a good Cumæ, but who must be every death which is not gradually brought on by Sibylla ? Mrs. Langton is as wise as Sibyl, and the miseries of age, or when life is extinguished for as good ; and will live, if iny wishes can prolong any other reason than that it is burnt out. He that life, till she shall in time be as old. But she differs

[ocr errors]

1 Mr. Langton.- WARTON.

seen an amiable infant. The relation of a brother and a sister, 2 Part of the impression of the Shakspeare, which Dr. | particularly if they do not marry, appears to me of a very Johnson conducted alone, and published by subscription. singular nature. It is a familiar and tender friendship with This edition came out in 1765. - WARTON.

a female much about our own age ; an affection perhaps 3 Major-General Alexander Dury, of the First Regiment softened by the secret influence of the sex, but pure from any of Foot Guards, who fell in the gallant discharge of his duty, mixture of sensual desire - the sole species of Platonic love near St. Cas, in the well-known unfortunate expedition that can be indulged with truth, and without danger." Mem., against France, in 1758. His lady and Mr. Langton's mo- p. 25. — CROKER. ther were sisters. He left an only son, Lieutenant-Colonel 5 “Grieved though I am to see the man depart, Dury, who has a company in the same regiment. — BOSWELL. Who long has shared, and still must share my heart,

* Gibbon, in his Memoirs, alludes to this subject with good Yet (when I call my better judgment home) taste and feeling: -" From my childhood to the present

I praise his purpose ; to retire irom Rome, hour, I have deeply and sincerely regretted my sister, whose And give on Cumæ's solitary coast, lise was somewhat prolonged, and whom I remember to have

The Sibyl-one inhabitant to boast!" - GIFFORD.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

" 13th Jan. 1758.8

in this, that she has not scattered her precepts in his mother, for several years previous to her the wind, at least not those which she bestowed death. But he was constantly engaged in liteupon you.

rary labours which confined him to London; “ The two Wartons just looked into the town, and though he had not the comfort of seeing and were taken to see Cleone, where, David his aged parent, he contributed liberally to her [Garrick] says, they were starved for want of company to keep them warm. David and Doddy

support. have had a new quarrel, and, I think, cannot conveniently quarrel any more.

• Cleone' was well

[JOHNSON TO MRS. JOHNSON, acted by all the characters, but Bellamy* left no.

In Lichfield.? thing to be desired. I went the first night, and supported it as well as I might; for Doddy, you

“ HONOURED MADAM,— The account which Miss know, is my patron, and I would not desert him. (Porter) gives me of your health pierces my heart. The play was very well received. Doddy, after the

God comfort and preserve you and save you, for danger was over, went every night to the stage the sake of Jesus Christ. side, and cried at the distress of poor Cleone.

“ I would have Miss read to you from time to “ I have left off housekeeping, and therefore time the Passion of our Saviour, and sometimes made presents of the game which you were pleased the sentences in the Communion Service, beginning to send me. The pheasant I gave to Mr. Richard, Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, son, the bustard to Dr. Lawrence, and the pot I and I will give you rest. placed with Miss Williams, to be eaten by myself. “I have just now read a physical book, which She desires that her compliments and good wishes inclines me to think that a strong infusion of the may be accepted by the family; and I make the bark would do you good. Do, dear mother, same request for myself.


it. “ Mr. Reynolds has within these few days raised

Pray, send me your blessing, and forgive all his price to twenty guineas a head“, and Misss is that I have done amiss to you. And whatever you much employed in miniatures. I know not any would have done, and what debts you would have body (else) whose prosperity has increased since paid first, or any thing else that you would direct, you left them.

let Miss [Porter] put it down; I shall endeavour “ Murphy is to have his Orphan of China'

to obey you. acted next month; and is therefore, I suppose, “ I have got twelve guineas' to send you, bu happy. I wish I could tell you of any great good unhappily am at a loss how to send it to-night. If to which I was approaching, but at present my pros- I cannot send it to-night, it will come by the next pects do not much delight me; however, I am

post. always pleased when I find that you, dear Sir, re

“ Pray, do not omit any thing mentioned in this member your affectionate, humble servant,

letter. God bless you for ever and ever. – I am “ SAM. Johnson." your dutiful son,

Sam. Johnson."

Malone. In 1759, in the month of January, his mother died, at the great age of ninety, an event

JOHNSON TO MISS PORTER, which deeply affected him; not that “his mind had acquired no firmness by the contemplation

At Mrs. Johnson's, in Lichfield. of mortality;" & but that his reverential affection for her was not abated by years, as indeed “ MY DEAR Miss, - I think myself obliged to you he retained all his tender feelings even to the beyond all expressiop of gratitude for your care of latest period of his life. I have been told, that my dear mother.

God grant it may not be withhe regretted much his not having gone to visit out success. Tell Kitty 10 that I shall never forget

[ocr errors]

" 16th Jan. 1759.

1 Mr. Dodsley, the author of Cleone, first played 2nd Dec., bridge Wells in 1748 (antè, p. 58.), Oxford in 1754 (antà, p. 88.). 1758 BOSWELL.

We shall see presently, that Johnson felt remorse for this ? The well-known Miss George Ann Bellamy, who played neglect. - CROKER. the heroine. - CROKER.

Since the publication of the third edition of this work, 3 The author of Clarissa. - BOSWELL.

the following letters of Dr. Johnson, occasioned by the last * Sir Joshua afterwards greatly advanced his price. I have illness of his mother, were obligingly communicated to Mr. been informed by Sir Thomas Lawrence, his admirer and Malone, by the Rev. Dr. Vyse. They are placed here agreerival, that in 1767 his prices were two hundred guineas for the ably to the chronological order almost uniformly observed Pasie length, one hundred for the half-length, seventy for the hy the author ; and so strongly evince Dr. Johnson's piety kil-cat, and bfty for (what is called) the three-quarters. But and tenderness of heart, that every reader must be gratifie

Ten on these prices some increase must have been made, as by their insertion. - MALONE. I have added some others. Horace Walpole said, " Sir Joshua, in his old age, becomes CROKER. asaricious. He had one thousand guineas for my picture of

8 Written by mistake for 1759, as the subsequent letters the three ladies Waldegrave."- Walpoliana. This picture

show. On the outside of the letter of the 13th was written are kaif lengths of the three ladies on one canvas. - CROKER. by another hand — " Pray acknowledge the receipt of this

Mins Reynolds, the sister of Sir Joshua. - CROKER. by return of post, without fail."- MALONE. 6 Hawkins, p. 395. Mr. Boswell contradicts Hawkins, for

9 Six of these twelve guineas Johnson appears to have the mere pleasure, as it would seem, of doing so. The reader borrowed from Mr. Allen, the printer. See Hawkins's Life must observe that Mr. Boswell's work is full of anecdotes of v Johnson, p 366. n. - MALONE. Johnson's want of firmness in contemplating inortality :

10 Catherine Chambers, Mrs. Johnson's maid-servant. She I see a striking instance sub Oct. 26. 1769 :) and though died in October, 1767. Sce Dr. Johnson's Prayers and Johnson may have been in theory an affectionate son, there Meditations, p. 71.: " Sunday, Oct. 18. 1767. Yesterday, Oct, is reason to lear that he had never visited Lichfield, and, 17., I took my leave for ever of my dear old friend, Catherine consecurntly, not seen bis mother, since 1737. Mr. Bos- Chambers, who came to live with my mother about 1724, will alloze as an excuse, that he was engaged in literary and has been but little parted from us since. She buried my labours, which confined him to London. Such an excuse for father, my brother, and my mother. She is now fifty-eight an absence of twenty years is idle ; besides, it is stated that years old." - MALONE. Johnson visited Ashbourne about 1740 (antè, p. 20.), Tun

Lord Jesus receive your net - I am, dear, dear mother, your

SAM. Johnson."


" 230 Jan. 1759.3 Vje vid conceive my sorrow for the loss of my er of the best mother. If she were to live suur, surely I should behave better to her. But she s happy, and what is past is nothing to her ; sunt for me, since I cannot repair my faults to her, i bope repentance will efface them. I return you

and all those that have been good to her my sin* ** derest thanks, and pray God to repay you all with we want dan latinite advantage. Write to me, and comfort me,

e dear child. I shall be glad likewise, if Kitty will

write to me. I shall send a bill of twenty pounds

I in a few days, which I thought to have brought to W dear, my mother ; but God suffered it not. I have not

power or composure to say much more. God bless you, and bless us all. I am, dear Miss, your affectionate humble servant, Sam. Johnson."



* 25th Jan. 1759.

* 20th Jan. 1759.

[ocr errors]

ar vou are too
bana w waly tell you,
se on that can possibly

( The beginning is torn and lost.)
mind bless you for

* You will forgive me if I am not yet so composed was very post, however as to give any directions about any thing. But you

are wiser and better than I, and I shall be pleased Que we wer dutiful son,

with all that you shall do. It is not of any use for Sad. Johnson."

me now to come down*; nor can I bear the place.

If you want any directions, Mr. Howard 5 will adin VISS PORTER,

vise you. The twenty pounds I could not get a

bill for to-night, but will send it on Saturday. I I wil if it be possible, come am, my dear, your affectionate servant, We grant I may yet (find) my Pearson MSS.

San. Johnson."6 **Arvuering and sensible. Do not tell Repost her. If I miss to write next

I am, my dearest Miss,

“ 6th Feb. 1759. SAM. Johnson,"

“Dear Miss, - I have no reason to forbear

writing, but that it makes my heart heavy, and I () the other side.

had nothing particular to say which might not be

** 20th Jan. 1759 delayed to the next post ; but had no thoughts of " Drak HONOURED Mother', - Neither your ceasing to correspond with my dear Lucy, the only vondition nor your character make it fit for me to

person now left in the world with whom I think exy much. You have been the best mother, and I myself connected. There needed not my dear Vicepe the best woman in the world. I thank you mother's desire, for every heart must lean to some or your indulgence to me, and beg forgiveness of body, and I have nobody but you; in whom I put All edat I have done ill, and all that I have omitted all my little affairs with too much confidence to to do well. God grant you his Holy Spirit, and desire you to keep receipts, as you prudently pro

everlasting happiness, for Jesus posed.

[ocr errors]

receive you to

This letter was written on the second leaf of the pre- randums, was on the 23d of January, 1759.” It is clear, from ondling addressed to Miss Porter. - MALONE.

all these letters, that he did not personally attend on that So in the prayer which he composed on this occasion : occasion, and the memorandum mentioned must have re. * Almighty God, merciful Father, in whose hands are life and

ferred to the date or expenses of the funeral, and not to his death, sanenity unto me the sorrow which I now feel. for

own presence. Rasselas was not written, nor of course, it give me te hatever I have done unkindly to my mother, and may be presumed, sold, till two months later. - CROKER. Aatreer I have omitted to do kindly. Make me to remember

Mr. Howard was a proctor in the Ecclesiastical Court, her go precepts and good example, and to reform my life and resided in the Close. CROKER. according to thy holy word," &c. – Prayers and Meditations, 6 " No.41. of the Idler," says Hawkins, " though it takes p. 31. - MALONE.

the character of a letter to the author, was written by John3 Mrs. Johnson probably died on the 20th or 21st January, son himself on his mother's death, and may be supposed to and was buried on the day this letter was written. - describe as truly as pathetically his sentiments on the sepaMALONE

ration of friends and relations. But it is observable that the * Mr. Murphy states :

"With this supply (the price of Idlers, which now bear the dates of the 13th and 20th JanuRasselas) Johnson set out for Lichfield ; but did not arrive in

ary, are on trivial subjects, and are even written in a vein of time to close the eyes of a parent whom he loved. He pleasantry. --- Croker. attended the funeral, which, as appears among his memo

« PrejšnjaNaprej »