Slike strani

Oct. 14.]



Alberti's Description of Italy, much of what Addison has given us in his Remarks'. He said, The collection of passages from the Classicks has been made by another Italian: it is, however, impossible to detect a man as a plagiary in such a case, because all who set about making such a collection must find the same passages; but, if you find the same applications in another book, then Addison's learning in his Remarks tumbles down. It is a tedious book; and, if it were not attached to Addison's previous reputation, one would not think much of it. Had he written nothing else, his name would not have lived. Addison does not seem to have gone deep in Italian literature: he shews nothing of it in his subsequent writings. He shews a great deal of French learning. There is, perhaps, more knowledge circulated in the French language than in any other. There is more original knowledge in English.' 'But the French (said I) have the art of accommodating literature.' JOHNSON. 'Yes,

1 Remarks on Several Parts of Italy (ante, ii. 397). Johnson (Works, vii. 424) says of these Travels:- Of many parts it is not a very severe censure to say that they might have been written at home.' He adds that the book, though awhile neglected, became in time so much the favourite of the publick, that before it was reprinted it rose to five times its price.'

2 See ante, iii. 288, and iv. 274.


Johnson (Works, viii. 320) says of Pope that he had before him not only what his own meditation suggested, but what he had found in other writers that might be accommodated to his present purpose.' Boswell's use of the word is perhaps derived, as Mr. Croker suggests, from accommoder, in the sense of dressing up or cooking meats. This word occurs in an amusing story that Boswell tells in one of his Hypochondriacks (London Mag. 1779, p. 55):-A friend of mine told me that he engaged a French cook for Sir B. Keen, when ambassador in Spain, and when he asked the fellow if he had ever dressed any magnificent dinners the answer was:-" Monsieur, j'ai accommodé un dîner qui faisait trembler toute la France."' Scott, in Guy Mannering (ed. 1860, iii. 138), describes Miss Bertram's solicitude to soothe and accommodate her parent.' See ante, iv. 46, note 1, for accommodated the ladies.' To sum up, we may say with Justice Shallow :- Accommodated! it comes of accommodo; very good; a good phrase.' 2 Henry IV, act iii. sc. 2.




Description of a printing-house.

[Oct. 14. Sir: we have no such book as Moreri's Dictionary'.' BosWELL. 'Their Ana' are good.' JOHNSON. A few of them are good; but we have one book of that kind better than any of them; Seldon's Table-talk. As to original literature, the French have a couple of tragick poets who go round the world, Racine and Corneille, and one comick poet, Moliere.' BOSWELL. 'They have Fenelon.' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, Telemachus is pretty well.' BOSWELL. And Voltaire, Sir.' JOHNSON. He has not stood his trial yet. And what makes Voltaire chiefly circulate is collection; such as his Universal History.' BOSWELL. 'What do you say to the Bishop of Meaux?' JOHNSON. 'Sir, nobody reads him3.' He would not allow Massilon and Bourdaloue to go round the world. In general, however, he gave the French much praise for their industry.

He asked me whether he had mentioned, in any of the papers of the Rambler, the description in Virgil of the entrance into Hell, with an application to the press; for (said he) I do not much remember them.' I told him, 'No.' Upon which he repeated it :

'Vestibulum ante ipsum, primisque in faucibus orci,
Luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;

Pallentesque habitant Morbi, tristisque Senectus,
Et metus, et malesuada Fames, et turpis Egestas,
Terribiles visu formæ; Lethumque, Laborque'.'

"Louis Moréri, né en Provence, en 1643. On ne s'attendait pas que l'auteur du Pays d'amour, et le traducteur de Rodriguez, entreprît dans sa jeunesse le premier dictionnaire de faits qu'on eût encore vu. Ce grand travail lui coûta la vie... Mort en 1680.' Voltaire's Works, ed. 1819, xvii. 133.

Johnson looked upon Ana as an English word, for he gives it in his Dictionary.

'I take leave to enter my strongest protest against this judgement. Bossuet I hold to be one of the first luminaries of religion and literaIf there are who do not read him, it is full time they should begin. BOSWELL.

'Just in the gate, and in the jaws of hell.
Revengeful cares, and sullen sorrows dwell;


Oct. 14.]

Materials for Johnson's LIFE.


'Now, (said he,) almost all these apply exactly to an authour: all these are the concomitants of a printing-house.' I proposed to him to dictate an essay on it, and offered to write it. He said, he would not do it then, but perhaps would write it at some future period.

The Sunday evening that we sat by ourselves at Aberdeen, I asked him several particulars of his life, from his early years, which he readily told me; and I wrote them down before him. This day I proceeded in my inquiries, also writing them in his presence. I have them on detached

sheets. I shall collect authentick materials for THE LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.; and, if I survive him, I shall be one who will most faithfully do honour to his memory. I have now a vast treasure of his conversation, at different times, since the year 1762', when I first obtained his acquaintance; and, by assiduous inquiry, I can make up for not knowing him sooner.

A Newcastle ship-master, who house, intruded himself upon us.

happened to be in the He was much in liquor,

and talked nonsense about his being a man for Wilkes and

And pale diseases, and repining age;
Want, fear, and famine's unresisted rage;

Here toils and death, and death's half-brother, sleep,
Forms terrible to view their sentry keep.'

Dryden, Eneid, vi. 273. BOSWELL. Voltaire, in his Essay Sur les inconvéniens attachés à la Littérature (Works, xliii. 173), says: Enfin, après un an de refus et de négociations, votre ouvrage s'imprime; c'est alors qu'il faut ou assoupir les Cerbères de la littérature ou les faire aboyer en votre faveur.' He therefore carries on the resemblance one step further,

'Cerberus haec ingens latratu regna trifauci'

Eneid, vi. 417.

'It was in 1763 that Boswell made Johnson's acquaintance. Ante, i. 453.


* It is no small satisfaction to me to reflect, that Dr. Johnson read this, and, after being apprized of my intention, communicated to me, at subsequent periods, many particulars of his life, which probably could not otherwise have been preserved. BOSWELL. See ante, i. 30.




Johnson's impatience.

[Oct. 14.

Liberty, and against the ministry. Dr. Johnson was angry, that a fellow should come into our company, who was fit for no company.' He left us soon.

Col returned from his aunt, and told us, she insisted that we should come to her house that night. He introduced to us Mr. Campbell, the Duke of Argyle's factor in Tyr-yi. He was a genteel, agreeable man. He was going to Inverary, and promised to put letters into the post-office for us'. now found that Dr. Johnson's desire to get on the main land, arose from his anxiety to have an opportunity of conveying letters to his friends.

After dinner, we proceeded to Dr. M'Lean's, which was about a mile from our inn. He was not at home, but we were received by his lady and daughter, who entertained us so well, that Dr. Johnson seemed quite happy. When we had supped, he asked me to give him some paper to write letters. I begged he would write short ones, and not expatiate, as we ought to set off early. He was irritated by this, and said, 'What must be done; must be done: the thing is past a joke.' 'Nay, Sir, (said I,) write as much as you please; but do not blame me, if we are kept six days before we get to the main land. You were very impatient in the morning: but no sooner do you find yourself in good quarters, than you forget that you are to move.' I got him paper enough, and we parted in good humour.

Let me now recollect whatever particulars I have omitted. In the morning I said to him, before we landed at Tobermorie,' We shall see Dr. M'Lean, who has written The History of the M'Leans.' JOHNSON. I have no great patience to stay to hear the history of the M'Leans. I would rather hear the History of the Thrales.' When on Mull, I said, 'Well, Sir, this is the fourth of the Hebrides that we have been upon.' JOHNSON. Nay, we cannot boast of the number we have seen. We thought we should see many more. We thought of sailing about easily from island to

Though Mull is, as Johnson says, the third island of the Hebrides in extent, there was no post there. Piozzi Letters, i. 170.


Oct. 15.]

The lateness of the season.


island; and so we should, had we come at a better season'; but we, being wise men, thought it would be summer all the year where we were. However, Sir, we have seen enough to give us a pretty good notion of the system of insular life.'

Let me not forget, that he sometimes amused himself with very slight reading; from which, however, his conversation shewed that he contrived to extract some benefit. At Captain M'Lean's he read a good deal in The Charmer, a collection of songs'.


We this morning found that we could not proceed, there being a violent storm of wind and rain, and the rivers being impassable. When I expressed When I expressed my discontent at our confinement, Dr. Johnson said, Now that I have had an opportunity of writing to the main land, I am in no such haste.' I was amused with his being so easily satisfied; for the truth was, that the gentleman who was to convey our letters, as I was now informed, was not to set out for Inverary for some time; so that it was probable we should be there as soon as he: however, I did not undeceive my friend, but suffered him to enjoy his fancy.

Dr. Johnson asked, in the evening, to see Dr. M'Lean's books. He took down Willis de Anima Brutorum3, and pored over it a good deal.

'This observation is very just. The time for the Hebrides was too late by a month or six weeks. I have heard those who remembered their tour express surprise they were not drowned. WALTER SCOTT. "The Charmer, a Collection of Songs Scotch and English. Edinburgh, 1749.

'By Thomas Willis, M.D. It was published in 1672. In this work he maintains that the soul of brutes is like the vital principle in man, that it is corporeal in its nature and perishes with the body. Although the book was dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, his orthodoxy, a matter that Willis regarded much, was called in question.' Knight's Eng. Cyclo. vi. 741. Burnet speaks of him as 'Willis, the great physician.' History of his Own Time, ed. 1818, i. 254. See Wood's Athenae, iii. 1048.

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