Slike strani



[A.D. 1750.

Tatler Revived', which I believe was born but to die?' Johnson was, I think, not very happy in the choice of his title, The Rambler, which certainly is not suited to a series of grave and moral discourses; which the Italians have literally, but ludicrously translated by Il Vagabondo3; and which has been lately assumed as the denomination of a vehicle of licentious tales, The Rambler's Magazine. He gave Sir Joshua Reynolds the following account of its getting this name : ‘What must be done, Sir, will be done. When I was to begin publishing that paper, I was at a loss how to name it. I sat down at night upon my bedside, and resolved that I would not go to sleep till I had fixed its title. The Rambler seemed the best that occurred, and I took it!

With what devout and conscientious sentiments this paper was undertaken, is evidenced by the following prayer, which he composed and offered up on the occasion : 'Almighty God, the giver of all good things, without whose help all labour is ineffectual, and without whose grace all wisdom is folly; grant, I beseech Thee, that in this undertakings thy Holy Spirit may not be with-held from me, but that I may promote thy glory, and the salvation of myself and others : grant this, O LORD, for the sake of thy son JESUS CHRIST. Ameno.

The first paper of the Rambler was published on Tuesday the 20th of March, 1750 ; and its authour was enabled to continue it, without interruption, every Tuesday and Friday, till Saturday the

I 'Two new designs have appeared Sallad, which, by a curious coinciabout the middle of this month dence, was afterwards applied to [March, 1750], one entitled, The himself by Goldsmith : Tatler Revived; or The Christian Our Garrick's a sallad, for in him Philosopher and Politician, half a sheet, price 2d. (stamped); the other, Oil, vinegar, sugar, and saltness The Rambler, three half sheets (un agree!' [Retaliation, line 11.] stamped); price 2d.' Gent. Mag. xx. At last, the company having sepa126.

rated, without any thing of which they Pope's Essay on Man, ii. 10. approved having been offered, Dods3 See post, under Oct. 12, 1779. ley himself thought of The World.

I have heard Dr. Warton men BOSWELL. tion, that he was at Mr. Robert 5 In the original MS. 'in this my Dodsley's with the late Mr. Moore, undertaking,' and below, 'the salvaand several of his friends, considering tion both of myself and others.' what should be the name of the Prayers and Meditations, p. 9. periodical paper, which Moore had BOSWELL. undertaken. Garrick proposed The

[ocr errors]

we see



Aetat. 41.]

Revision of The RAMBLER.


17th of March, 1752', on which day it closed. This is a strong confirmation of the truth of a remark of his, which I have had occasion to quote elsewhere?, that ‘a man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it?;' for, notwithstanding his constitutional indolence, his depression of spirits, and his labour in carrying on his Dictionary, he answered the stated calls of the press twice a week from the stores of his mind, during all that time; having received no assistance, except four billets in No. 10, by Miss Mulso, now Mrs. Chapone* ; No. 30, by Mrs. Catharine Talbot"; No. 97, by Mr. Samuel Richardson, whom he describes in an introductory note as “An author who has enlarged the knowledge of human nature, and taught the passions to move at the command of virtue;' and Nos. 44 and 100 by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter.

Posterity will be astonished when they are told, upon the authority of Johnson himself, that many of these discourses, which we should suppose had been laboured with all the slow attention of literary leisure, were written in haste as the moment pressed, without even being read over by him before they were printed". It can be accounted for only in this way; that by

' In the original folio edition of • Dr. Birch says :-—'The propriethe Rambler the concluding paper is tor of the Rambler, Cave, told me dated Saturday, March 17. But that copy was seldom sent to the Saturday was in fact March 14. press till late in the night before the This circumstance is worth notice, day of publication, Croker's Bosfor Mrs. Johnson died on the 17th. well, p. 121, note. See post, April MALONE.

12, 1776, and beginning of 1781. * Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Johnson carefully revised the 3d edit. p. 28. [Aug. 16, 1773]. Bos Ramblers for the collected edition. WELL.

The editor of the Oxford edition of 3 'Gray had a notion not very pecu Johnson's Works states (ii. x), that liar, that he could not write but at cer the alterations exceeded six thoutain times, or at happy moments ; a sand.' The following passage from fantastic foppery, to which my kind the last number affords a good inness for a man of learning and virtue stance of this revision. wishes him to have been superior.' Johnson's Works, viii. 482. See post,

First edition. uncier April 15, 1758.

'I have never complied with tem* Her correspondence with Rich porary curiosity, nor furnished my ardson and Mrs. Carter was pub readers with abilities to discuss the lished in 1807.

topic of the day; I have seldom s The correspondence between her exemplified my assertions by living and Mrs. Carter was published in characters ; from my papers there1808.

man could hope either




Johnson's rapid composition.

[A.D. 1750.

reading and meditation, and a very close inspection of life, he had accumulated a great fund of miscellaneous knowledge, which, by a peculiar promptitude of mind, was ever ready at his call, and which he had constantly accustomed himself to clothe in the most apt and energetick expression. Sir Joshua Reynolds once asked him by what means he had attained his extraordinary accuracy and flow of language. He told him, that he had early laid it down as a fixed rule to do his best on every occasion, and in every company; to impart whatever he knew in the most forcible language he could put it in ; and that by constant practice, and never suffering any careless expressions to escape him, or attempting to deliver his thoughts without arranging them in the clearest manner, it became habitual to him'.

Yet he was not altogether unprepared as a periodical writer; for I have in my possession a small duodecimo volume, in which he has written, in the form of Mr. Locke's Common-Place Book, a variety of hints for essays on different subjects. He has marked upon the first blank leaf of it, ‘To the 1 28th page, collections for the Rambler ;' and in another place, 'In fifty-two there were seventeen provided ; in 97—21; in 190—25.

At a subsequent period (probably after the work was finished) he added, 'In all, taken of provided materials, 30?!

Sir John Hawkins, who is unlucky upon all occasions, tells us, that “this method of accumulating intelligence had been practised by Mr. Addison, and is humourously described in one of the

censures of his enemies or praises of himself, and they only could be expected to peruse them, whose passions left them leisure for the contemplation of abstracted truth, and whom virtue could please by her native dignity without the assistance of modish ornaments.' Gent. Mag. xxii. 117.

Revised edition. *I have never complied with temporary curiosity, nor enabled my readers to discuss the topic of the day; I have rarely exemplified my assertions by living characters; in my papers no man could look for censures of his enemies, or praises

[blocks in formation]

Astat. 41.]

Hints for The RAMBLER.


Spectators', wherein he feigns to have dropped his paper of notanda, consisting of a diverting medley of broken sentences and loose hints, which he tells us he had collected, and meant to make use of. Much of the same kind is Johnson's Adversaria?' But the truth is, that there is no resemblance at all between them. Addison's note was a fiction, in which unconnected fragments of his lucubrations were purposely jumbled together, in as odd a manner as he could, in order to produce a laughable effect. Whereas Johnson's abbreviations are all distinct, and applicable to each subject of which the head is mentioned.

For instance, there is the following specimen :

Youth's Entry, &c. 'Baxter's account of things in which he had changed his mind as he grew up. Voluminous. No wonder.-If every man was to tell, or mark, on how many subjects he has changed, it would make vols, but the changes not always observed by man's self.From pleasure to bus. [business) to quiet ; from thoughtfulness to reflect. to piety; from dissipation to domestic. by impercept. gradat. but the change is certain. Dial” non progredi, progress. esse conspicimus. Look back, consider what was thought at some dist. period.

Hope predom. in youth. Mind not willingly indulges un. pleasing thoughts. The world lies all enameled before him, as a distant prospect sun-gilt* ; inequalities only found by coming to it. Love is to be all joy-children excellent-Fame to be constant-caresses of the great-applauses of the learned-smiles of Beauty.

* Fear of disgrace-bashfulness—Finds things of less importance. Miscarriages forgot like excellencies ;-if remembered, of no import. Danger of sinking into negligence of reputation. Lest the fear of disgrace destroy activity.

* Confidence in himself. Long tract of life before him.-No thought of sickness.-Embarrassment of affairs.-Distraction of I No. 46.

it is gone.' Glanville, quoted in John• Hawkins's Life of Johnson, p. son's Dictionary. 268 (p. 263} BOSWELL.

* This most beautiful image of the 3 *The sly shadow steals away enchanting delusion of youthful prosupon the dial, and the quickest eye pect has not been used in any of 20 distinguish no more than that Johnson's essays. BOSWELL.



Hints for The RAMBLER.

(A.D. 1750.

[ocr errors]

family. Publick calamities.—No sense of the prevalence of bad habits.—Negligent of time-ready to undertakecareless to pursue—all changed by time.

Confident of othersunsuspecting as unexperienced-imagining himself secure against neglect, never imagines they will venture to treat him ill. Ready to trust; expecting to be trusted. Convinced by time of the selfishness, the meanness, the cowardice, the treachery of men. 'Youth ambitious, as thinking honours easy to be had.

Different kinds of praise pursued at different periods. Of the gay in youth. dang. hurt, &c. despised.

‘ Of the fancy in manhood. Ambit.-stocks-bargains.-Of the wise and sober in old age-seriousness—formality-maxims, but general-only of the rich, otherwise age is happy—but at last every thing referred to riches-no having fame, honour, influence, without subjection to caprice.

· Horace'.

Hard it would be if men entered life with the same views with which they leave it, or left as they enter it.—No hope no undertaking---no regard to benevolence-no fear of dis

grace, &c.

'Youth to be taught the piety of age-age to retain the honour of youth.'

This, it will be observed, is the sketch of Number 196 of the Rambler. I shall gratify my readers with another specimen :

Confederacies difficult; why. "Seldom in war a match for single persons-nor in peace; therefore kings make themselves absolute. Confederacies in learning-every great work the work of one. Bruy. Scholar's friendship like ladies. Scribebamus, &c. Mart. the apple of discord--the laurel of discord-the poverty of criticism. Swift's opinion of the power of six geniuses united?. That union scarce

i From Horace (Ars Poet. l. 175) Down with our ebb of life decreashe takes his motto for the number:

ing glide.

FRANCIS. Multa ferunt anni venientes com 2 Lib. xii. 96 [95]. 'In Tuccam moda secum,

æmulum omnium suorum studiorMulta recedentes adimunt.'

um. MALONE. The blessings flowing in with life's 3 • There never appear,' says Swift, full tide

‘more than five or six men of genius


« PrejšnjaNaprej »