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fecting one which describes the gradual torment suffered by the contemplation of an object of affectionate attachment visibly and certainly decaying into diffolution, must be of a hard and obftinate frame. To all the other excellencies of' Night Thoughts' let me add the great and peculiar one, that they contain not only the noblest sentiments of virtue and contemplations on immortality, but the Chriftian Sacrifice, the Divine Propitiation, with all its interesting circumstances, and confolations to a wounded spirit, folemnly and poetically displayed in such imagery and language as cannot fail to exalt, animate, and foothe the truly pious. No book whatever can be recommended to young persons with better hopes of seasoning their minds with vital religion, than Young's Night Thoughts."
Johnson said, that the description of the temple, in · The Mourning Bride,' was the finest poetical passage he had cver read; he recollccted none in Shakspeare equal to it. But said Garrick (who was present, all-alarmed for • the God of his idolatry'), we know not the extent and variety of his powers. We are to suppose there are such passages in his works, Shakspeare must not suffer from the badness of our memories.”—Johnson, diverted by this enthusiastic jealousy, went on with greater arPD 3
dour: No, Sir ; Congreve has nature,” (finiling on the tragick eagerness of Garrick); but compofing himself, he added, “ Sir, this is not comparing Congreve on the whole, with Shakespeare on the whole; but only maintaining that Congreve has one finer paslage than any that can be found in Shakespeare.
. Sir, a man may have no more than ten guineas in the world, but he may have those ten guineas in one piece ; and so may have a finer piece than a man who has ten thousand pounds; but then he has only one ten-guinea piece. What I mean is, that you can show me no passage where there is simply a description of material objects, without any intermixture of moral notions, which produces such an effect.” Mr, Murphy mentioned Shakespeare's description of the night before the battle of Agincourt; but it was observed, it had nen in it. Mr. Davies suggested the speech of Juliet, in which she figures herself awaking in the tomb of her ancestors. Some one mentioned the description of Dover Cliff, JOHNSON, No, Sir ; it should be all precipice, all vacuum. The : crows impede your fall.,. The diminished appearance of the boats, and other circumstances, 'aré all very good defcription ; but do not impress the mind' at once with the horrible idea of immense height, The im-, pression is divided ; you pass on by computa
tion from one stage of the tremendous space to another. Had the girl in · The Mourning Bride' said she could not cast her shoe to the top of one of the pillars in the temple, it would not have aided the idea, but weakened it." Again adverting to the passage in Congreve with high commendation, he said, 66 Shakerpeare never has six lines together without a fault. Perhaps you may find seven ; but it docs not refute my general assertion. if I come to an orchard, and say there's no fruit here, and then comes a poring man who finds two apples and three pears, and tells me, “Sir, you are mistaken, I have found both apples and pears,' I should laugh at him; what would that be to the purpose ?”
Talking of Shakspeare's witches, Johnson said, They are beings ot his own creation ; they are a compound of malignity and meannels, without any abilities; and are quite different from the Italian magician. King James says, in his “ Dæmonology,'' Magicians com: inand the devils ; witches are their servants.' The Italian magicians are elegant beings.” RAMSAY. Opera witches, not Drury Lane witches.”
“ Colman (said Johnson) is a note on his translation of Terence, talking of Shakspeare's learning, afks, What says Farmer to this ?
What says Johnson ?" Upon this he observed, « Sir, let Farmer answer for himself: I never engaged in this controversy. I always said, Shakspeare had Latin enough to grammaticiso his English."
The character of Mallet having been introduced, and spoken of flightingly by Goldsmith, Johnson said, “ Why, Sir, Mallet had talents enough to keep his literary reputation alive as long as he himself lived ; and that, let me tell you, is a good deal.”—GOLD
" But I cannot agree that it was fo. His literary reputation was dead long before his natural death. I consider an author's literary reputation to be alive only while his name will ensure a good price for his copy from the booksellers. I will get you (to Johnson) a hundred guineas for any thing whatever that you shall write, if you put your name to it.”
Mr. Boswell mentioned Mallet's tragedy of Elyira,' which had been acted the preceding winter at Drury-lane, and that the Honourable Andrew Erskine, Mr. Dempster, and himself, had joined in writing a pamphlet, entitled
Critical Strictures' against it. That the mildness of Dempster's disposition had, however, relented ; and he had candidly said, “ We have hardly a right to abuse this tragedy ; fot bad as it is, how yain should either of us be
to write one not near so good !"-Johnson.
Why no, Sir ; this is not just reasoning. You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made . you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables.”
Of Mr. Mallet he usually spoke with no great respect; he said, that he was ready for any dirty job ; that he had wrote against Byng at the instigation of the ministry, and was equally ready to write for hiin, provided he found bis account in it. " Mallet's Life of Bacon (said he) has no inconsiderable merit as an acute and elegant differtation relative to its subject ; but Mallet's mind was not comprehensive enough to embrace the vast extent of Lord Verulam's genius and research. Dr. Warburton therefore observed with witty justness, “ that Mallet in his Life of Bacon had forgotten that he was a philosopher ; and that if he should write the Life of the Duke of Marlborough, which he had undertaken to do, he would probably forget that he was a General."
Lord Hailes had sent Johnson a present of a curious little printed Poem, on repairing the University of Aberdeen, by David Malloch, which he thought would please Johnson, as affording clear evidence that Mallet had appeared even as a literary character by the name of Mallocb; his changing which to one of