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Aetat. 69.]

Mr. Oliver Edwards.


Dempster had observed in his letter to me upon the subject, that a great part of what was in his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland had been in his mind before he left London. JOHNSON. Why yes, Sir, the topicks were; and books of travels' will be good in proportion to what a man has previously in his mind; his knowing what to observe; his power of contrasting one mode of life with another. As the Spanish proverb says, "He, who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him." So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge.' BosWELL. The proverb, I suppose, Sir, means, he must carry a large stock with him to trade with.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir.' It was a delightful day: as we walked to St. Clement's church', I again remarked that Fleet-street was the most cheerful scene in the world'. 'Fleet-street (said I,) is in my mind more delightful than Tempé.' JOHNSON. 'Ay, Sir; but let it be compared with Mull.'

There was a very numerous congregation to-day at St. Clement's church, which Dr. Johnson said he observed with pleasure.

And now I am to give a pretty full account of one of the most curious incidents in Johnson's life, of which he himself has made the following minute on this day: 'In my return from church, I was accosted by Edwards', an old fellow-collegian, who had not seen me since 1729. He knew me, and asked if I remembered one Edwards; I did not at first recollect the name, but gradually as we walked along, recovered it, and told him a conversation that had passed at an ale-house between us. My purpose is to continue our acquaintance".'


See ante, ii. 433.

* Johnson recorded, (Pr. and Med. p. 163) :—' Boswell came in to go to Church... Talk lost our time, and we came to Church late, at the Second Lesson.'

3 See ante, i. 533.

* Oliver Edwards entered Pembroke College in June, 1729. He left

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The two fellow-collegians.

[A.D. 1778.

It was in Butcher-row that this meeting happened. Mr. Edwards, who was a decent-looking elderly man in grey clothes, and a wig of many curls, accosted Johnson with familiar confidence, knowing who he was, while Johnson returned his salutation with a courteous formality, as to a stranger. But as soon as Edwards had brought to his recollection their having been at Pembroke-College together nineand-forty years ago, he seemed much pleased, asked where he lived, and said he should be glad to see him in Bolt-court. EDWARDS. ‘Ah, Sir! we are old men now'.' JOHNSON, (who never liked to think of being old':) Don't let us discourage one another.' EDWARDS. 'Why, Doctor, you look stout and hearty, I am happy to see you so; for the newspapers told us you were very ill'.' JOHNSON, Ay, Sir, they are always telling lies of us old fellows.'

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Wishing to be present at more of so singular a conversation as that between two fellow-collegians, who had lived forty years in London without ever having chanced to meet, I whispered to Mr. Edwards that Dr. Johnson was going home, and that he had better accompany him now. So Edwards walked along with us, I eagerly assisting to keep up the conversation. Mr. Edwards informed Dr. Johnson that he had practised long as a solicitor in Chancery, but that he now lived in the country upon a little farm, about sixty acres, just by Stevenage in Hertfordshire, and that he came to London (to Barnard's Inn, No. 6), generally twice a week. Johnson appearing to me in a reverie, Mr. Edwards addressed himself to me, and expatiated on the pleasure of living in the country. BosWELL. I have no notion of this, Sir. What you have to entertain you, is, I think, exhausted in half an hour.' EDWARDS. 'What? don't you love to have hope realized? I see my grass, and my corn, and my trees growing. Now, for instance, I am curious to see if this frost has

1 'Edwards observed how many we have outlived. I hope, yet hope, that my future life shall be better than my past.' Pr. and Med. p. 166. 2 See post, April 30, 1778.

See ante, p. 251.


Aetat. 69.]

Johnson's idea of a clergyman.


not nipped my fruit-trees.' JOHNSON, (who we did not imagine was attending :) 'You find, Sir, you have fears as well as hopes.' So well did he see the whole, when another saw but the half of a subject.

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When we got to Dr. Johnson's house, and were seated in his library, the dialogue went on admirably. EDWARDS. 'Sir, I remember you would not let us say prodigious at College'. For even then, Sir, (turning to me,) he was delicate in language, and we all feared him". JOHNSON, (to Edwards :) From your having practised the law long, Sir, I presume you must be rich.' EDWARDS. 'No, Sir; I got a good deal of money; but I had a number of poor relations to whom I gave a great part of it.' JOHNSON. Sir, you have been rich in the most valuable sense of the word.' EDWARDS. But I shall not die rich.' JOHNSON. Nay, sure, Sir, it is better to live rich than to die rich.' EDWARDS. 'I wish I had continued at College.' JOHNSON. 'Why do you wish that, Sir?' EDWARDS. 'Because I think I should have had a much easier life than mine has been. I should have been a parson, and had a good living, like Bloxam and several others, and lived comfortably.' JOHNSON. Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have Chancery suits upon my hands than the cure of souls. No, Sir, I do not envy a clergyman's life as an easy life', nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.' Here taking himself up all of a sudden, he exclaimed, 'O! Mr. Edwards! I'll convince you that I recollect Do you remember our drinking together at an alehouse near Pembroke gate'. At that time, you told me of


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''Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.' Ante, i. 545.

'Johnson said to me afterwards, 'Sir, they respected me for my literature; and yet it was not great but by comparison. Sir, it is amazing how little literature there is in the world.' BOSWELL. 3 See ante, i. 371.

Very near the College, facing the passage which leads to it from



Recollections of College life.

[A.D. 1778.

the Eton boy, who, when verses on our SAVIOUR'S turning water into wine were prescribed as an exercise, brought up a single line, which was highly admired,——

"Vidit et erubuit lympha pudica DEUM',"

and I told you of another fine line in Camden's Remains, an eulogy upon one of our Kings, who was succeeded by his son, a prince of equal merit :

"Mira cano, Sol occubuit, nox nulla secuta est"."

EDWARDS. 'You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in'.'-Mr. Burke, Sir

Pembroke Street, still stands an old alehouse which must have been old in Johnson's time.

This line has frequently been attributed to Dryden, when a King's Scholar at Westminster. But neither Eton nor Westminster have in truth any claim to it, the line being borrowed, with a slight change, from an Epigram by Crashaw :

'JOANN. 2,

'Aquæ in vinum versæ.

'Unde rubor vestris et non sua purpura lymphis?
Quæ rosa mirantes tam nova mutat aquas?
Numen, convivæ, præsens agnoscite numen,
Nympha pudica DEUM vidit, et erubuit.'


What gave your springs a brightness not their own?
What rose so strange the wond'ring waters flushed?
Heaven's hand, oh guests; heaven's hand may here be known;
The spring's coy nymph has seen her God and blushed.


He that made the verse following (some ascribe it to Giraldus Cambrensis) could adore both the sun rising, and the sun setting, when he could so cleanly honour King Henry II, then departed, and King Richard succeeding.

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"Mira cano, Sol occubuit, nox nulla sequuta est."' Camden's Remains (1870), p. 351.

When Mr. Hume began to be known in the world as a philosopher, Mr. White, a decent, rich merchant of London, said to him :—“I am surprised, Mr. Hume, that a man of your good sense should think of being a philosopher. Why, I now took it into my head to be a philosopher for some time, but tired of it most confoundedly, and very soon gave it up." "Pray, Sir," said Mr. Hume, "in what branch of philosophy did you employ your researches? What books did you


Aetat. 69.]

Regular meals and fasting.


Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Courtenay, Mr. Malone, and, indeed, all the eminent men to whom I have mentioned this, have thought it an exquisite trait of character. The truth is, that philosophy, like religion, is too generally supposed to be hard and severe, at least so grave as to exclude all gaiety.


I find Early I then

EDWARDS. 'I have been twice married, Doctor. You, I suppose, have never known what it was to have a wife.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I have known what it was to have a wife, and (in a solemn tender faultering tone) I have known what it was to lose a wife.-It had almost broke my heart.' EDWARDS. How do you live, Sir? For my part, I must have my regular meals, and a glass of good wine. I require it.' JOHNSON. 'I now drink no wine, Sir. in life I drank wine: for many years I drank none. for some years drank a great deal.' EDWARDS. 'Some hogsheads, I warrant you.' JOHNSON. 'I then had a severe illness, and left it off', and I have never begun it again. I never felt any difference upon myself from eating one thing rather than another, nor from one kind of weather rather than another'. There are people, I believe, who feel a difference; but I am not one of them. And as to regular meals, I have fasted from the Sunday's dinner to the Tuesday's dinner, without any inconvenience. I believe it is best to eat just as one is hungry: but a man who is in business, or a man who has a family, must have stated meals. I am a straggler. I may leave this town and go to Grand Cairo, without being missed here or observed there.' EDWARDS.

read ?" "Books?" said Mr. White; "nay sir, I read no books, but I used to sit you whole forenoons a-yawning and poking the fire." Boswelliana, p. 221. The French were more successful than Mr. Edwards in the pursuit of philosophy. Horace Walpole wrote from Paris in 1766 (Letters, iv. 466) :—‘The generality of the men, and more than the generality, are dull and empty. They have taken up gravity, thinking it was philosophy and English, and so have acquired nothing. in the room of their natural levity and cheerfulness.'

1 See ante, ii. 9.

See ante, i. 384.

› See ante, i. 542, and Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 4.


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