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“ ver wished for; while the man of general “knowledge can often benefit, and always

please.” The advice Johnson scems to have pursued with a good inclination. His reading was always desultory, seldom resting on any particular author, but rambling from one book to another, and, by hasty snatches, hoarding up a variety of knowledge. It may be proper in this place to mention another general rule laid down by Ford for Johnson's future conduct : “ You will make your way

the more " easily in the world, as you are contented to

dispute no man's claim to conversation ex“cellence : they will, therefore, more willingly " allow your pretensions as a writer.” “ But, says Mrs. Piozzi, “the features of peculiarity, " which mark a character to all succeeding ge

nerations, are slow in coming to their growth." That ingenious lady adds, with her usual vivacity,

“ Can one, on such an occasion, forbear recollecting the predictions of Boileau's father, who said, stroking the head of the young satirist, this little man has too much wit, but he will never speak ill of any one'?"

On Johnson's return from Cornelius Ford, Mr. Hunter, then master of the Free-school at Lichfield, refused to receive him again on that foundation. At this distance of time, what his reasons were, it is vain to enquire; but to refuse assistance to a lad of promising genius must be pronounced harsh and illiberal. It did not, however, stop the progress of the young student's education. He was placed at another school, at Stourbridge in Worcestershire, un

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der the care of Mr. Wentworth. Having gone through the rudiments of classic literature, he returned to his father's house, and was probabiy intended for the trade of a bookseller. He has been heard to say that he could bind a book. At the end of two years, being then about nineteen, he went to assist the studies of a young gentleman, of the name of Corbett, to the University of Oxford; and on the Sist of October, 1728, both were entered of Pembroke College; Corbett as a gentleman-commoner, and Johnson as a commoner. The college tutor, Mr. Jordan, was a man of no genius; and Johnson, it seems, shewed an early contempt of mean abilities, in one or two instances behaving with insolence to that gentleman. Of his general conduct at the university there are no particulars that merit attention, except the translation of Pope's Messiah, which was a college exercise imposed upon him as a task by Mr. Jordan. Corbett left the university in about two years, and Johnson's salary ceased, He was, by consequence, straitened in his circumstances; but he still remained at college. Mr. Jordan the tutor, went ofl' to a living; and was succeeded by Dr. Adams, who afterwards became head of the college, and was esteemed through life for his learning, his talents, and his amiable character. Johnson grew more regular in bis attendance. Ethics, theology, and classic literature, were his favourite studies. He discovered, notwithstanding, early symptoms of that wandering disposition of nuind which adhered to him to the end of his life. in his

His reading was by fits and starts, undirected to any particular science. General philology, agreeably to his cousin Ford's advice, was the object of his ambition. He received, at that time, an early impression of piety, and a taste for the best authors, ancient and modern. It may, notwithstanding, be questioned whether, except his Bible, he ever read a book entirely through. Late in life, if any' man praised a book

presence, he was sure to ask, “ Did you read it through ?” If the answer was in the affirmative, he did not seem willing to believe it. He continued at the university till the want of pecuniary supplies obliged him to quit the place. He obtained, however, the assistance of a friend, and returning in a short time, was able to complete a residence of three years. The history of his exploits at Oxford, he used to say, was best known to Dr. Taylor and Dr. Adams. Wonders are told of his memory, and, indeed, all who knew him late in life.can witness that he retained that faculty in the greatest vigour.

From the university Johnson returned to Lichfield. His father died soon after, December 1731 ; and the whole receipt out of his effects, as appeared by a memorandum in the son's hand-writing, dated 15th June, 1732, was no more than twenty pounds *. In this exi

* The entry of this is remarkable for his early resolution to preserve through life a fair and upright character.

1732, Junii 15. Undecim aureos deposui, quo die, quidquid ante matris funus (quod serum sit precor) de paternis bonis sperare licet, viginti scilicet libras, aç:

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gence, determined that poverty should never depress his spirits nor warp his integrity, he became under-master of a Grammar-school at Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. That resource, however, did not last long. Disgusted by the pride of Sir Wolstan Dixie, the patron of that little seminary, he left the place in discontent, and ever spoke of it with abhorrence. In 1733 he went on a visit to Mr. Hector, who had been his school-fellow, and was then a surgeon at Birmingham, lodging at the house of Warren, a bookseller. At that place Johnson translated a Voyage to Abyssinia, written by Jerome Lobo, a Portugueze missionary. This was the first literary work from the pen of Dr. Johnson. His friend Hector was occasionally his amanuensis. The work was, probably, undertaken at the desire of Warren, the bookseller, and was printed at Birmingham; but it appears in the Literary Magazine, or History of the Works of the Learned, for March, 1735, that it was published by Bettesworth and Hitch, Paternoster-row. It contains a narrative of the endeavours of a company of missionaries to convert the people of Abyssinia to the Church of Rome. In the preface to this work Johnson obseryes, “ that the Portuguese traveller, con

trary to the general view of his countrymen, has amused his readers with no romantic ab" surdities, or incredible fictions. He appears,

by his modest and unaffected narration, to 6 cepi. Usque adeo mihi mea fortuna fingenda est intes rea, et ne paupertate vires animi languescant, ne in fa. 6 gitia egestas adigat, cavendum."

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“have described things as he saw them; to have

copied nature from the life; and to have con“sulted his senses, not his imagination. He “ meets with no basilisks, that destroy with “their eyes; his crocodiles devour their prey, “ without tears; and his cataracts fall from the “rock, without deafening the neighbouring in“ liabitants. The reader will here find no re“gions cursed with irremediable barrenness, or “ blessed with spontaneous fecundity; no per

petual gloom, or unceasing sun-shine: nor “ are the nations, here described, either void “ of all sense of humanity, or consummate in “all private and social virtues: here are no “ Hottentots without religion, polity, or articu“ late language; no Chinese perfectly polite, “and completely skilled in all the sciences: he “will discover, what will always be discovered

by a diligent and impartial enquirer, that

wherever human nature is to be found, there “ is a mixture of vice and virtue, a contest of

passion and reason; and that the Creator “ doth not appear partial in his distributions, “ but has balanced, in most countries, their

particular inconveniences by particular fa“ jours.”—We have here an early specimen of Johnson's manner : the vein of thinking and the frame of the sentences are manifestly his: we see the infant Hercules. The translation of Lobo's Narrative has been reprinted lately in a separate volume, with some other tracts of Dr. Johnson's, and therefore forms no part of this edition ; but a compendious account of so interesting a work as Father Lobo's dig,

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