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and was done in that of St. Evremond, who “ died,” says Atterbury, “ renouncing the Christian religion ; yet the church of Westminster thought fit, in honour to his memory, to give his body room in the Abbey, and allow him to be buried there gratis, so far as the chapter were concerned, though he left 8001. sterling behind him, which is thought every way an unaccountable piece of management.” How striking the contrast between St. Evremond and Johnson ! ( )
(1) (“ It must be told, that a dissatisfaction was expressed in the public papers that he was not buried with all possible funeral rites and honours. In all processions and solemnities something will be forgotten or omitted. Here no disrespect was intended. The executors did not think themselves justified in doing more than they did; for only a little cathedral service, accompanied with lights and music, would have raised the price of interment. In this matter fees ran high ; they could not be excused; and the expenses were to be paid from the property of the deceased. His funeral expenses amounted to more than two hundred pounds. Future monumental charges may be defrayed by the generosity of subscription."- Gentleman's Magazine, 1785, p. 91)., probably by Mr. Tyers. It is supposed that the fees were not returned, and it is to be added, that all Dr. Johnson's friends, but especially Mr. Malone and Mr. Steevens, were indignant at the mean and selfish spirit which the dean and chapter exhibited on this occasion ; but they were especially so against Dr. Taylor, not only for not having prevailed on his colleagues to show more respect to his old friend, but for the un feeling manner in which he himself performed the burial service.-C.)
BY MISS REYNOLDS. (')
321. « Clarissa Harlowe.” The first time I was in company with Dr. Johnson which was at Miss Cotterell's (), I well remember the flattering notice he took of a lady present, on her saying that she was inclined to estimate the morality of every person according as they liked or disliked - Clarissa Harlowe.”
He was a great admirer of Richardson's works in general, but of “ Clarissa” he always spoke with the highest enthusiastic praise. He used to say, that it was the first book in the world for the knowledge it displays of the human heart.
322. Richardson. Yet of the author I never heard him speak with any degree of cordiality, but rather as if impressed with some cause of resentment against him ; and this has been imputed to something of jealousy, not to say envy, on account of Richardson's having engrossed the attentions and affectionate assiduities of several very ingenious literary ladies, whom he used to call his adopted daughters, and for whom Dr. Johnson had conceived a paternal
(1) (From a MS. entitled “ Recollections of Dr. Johnson," communicated, in 1829, to Mr. Croker, by Mr. Palmer, grand-nephew of Sir Joshua Reynolds. OF Miss Reynolds, Dr. Johnson thought so highly, that he once said to Mrs. Piozzi, “ I never knew but one mind which would bear a microscopical examination, and that is dear Miss Reynolds', and hers is very near to purity itself.” -C.]
(2) [The daughter of Rear Admiral Cotterell.]
affection (particularly for two of them, Miss Carter and Miss Mulso, now Mrs. Chapone), previous to their acquaintance with Richardson ; and it was said, that he thought himself neglected by them on his account.
323. Female Friendship. Dr. Johnson set a higher value upon female friendship than, perhaps, most men ; which may reasonably be supposed was not a little enhanced by his acquaintance with those ladies, if it was not originally derived from them. To their society, doubtless, Richardson owed that delicacy of sentiment, that feminine excellence, as I may say, that so peculiarly distinguishes his writings from those of his own sex in general, how high soever they may soar above the other in the more dignified paths of literature, in scientific investigations, and abstruse inquiries.
324. What is Love? Dr. Johnson used to repeat, with very apparent delight, some lines of a poem, written by Miss Mulso :
Say, Stella, what is Love, whose cruel power
Robs virtue of content, and youth of joy?
Produced to light the mischief-making boy?
The smiling babe on beds of roses lay ;
His infant beauties open’d on the day.” (1)
325. An Inn. Dr. Johnson had an uncommonly retentive memory for every thing that appeared to him worthy of observation. Whatever he met with in reading, particularly poetry, I believe he seldom required a revisal to be able to repeat verbatim. If not literally so, his deviations were generally improvements. This was the case, in some respects, in
(1) (Johnson paid the first of these stanzas the great and undeserved compliment of quoting it in his Dictionary, under the word “ QUATRAIN."-C.]
of “ The Inn," which I learned from hearing Dr. Johnson repeat it ; and I was surprised, on seeing it lately among the author's works for the first time, to find it so different. One stanza he seems to have extemporised himself :
“ And once again I shape my way
Through rain, through shine, through thick and thin,
A kind reception at an inn.” (1)
326. Quick Reading. He always read amazingly quick, glancing his eye from the top to the bottom of the page in an instant. If he made any pause, it was a compliment to the work ; and, after seesawing over it a few minutes, generally repeated the passage, especially if it was poetry.
327. Pope's “ Essay on Man.” One day, on taking up Pope's “Essay on Man,” a particular
passage seemed more than ordinarily to engage his attention ; so much so, indeed, that, contrary to his usual custom, after he had left the book and the seat in which he was sitting, he returned to revise it, turning over the pages with anxiety to find it, and then repeated -
“ Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair,
List under Reason, and deserve her care :
Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name.” His task, probably, was the whole paragraph, but these lines only were audible.
328. Favourite Verses. He seemed much to delight in reciting verses, particu
(1) [The lines in the corrected edition of Shenstone's works run thus :
“ Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been,
The warmest welcome at an inn."]
larly from Pope. Among the many I have had the pleasure of hearing him recite, the conclusion of the “ Dunciad,” and his Epistle to Jervas," seemed to claim his highest admiration :
“ Led by some rule that guides, but not constrains,
And finish'd more through happiness than pains," (1) he used to remark, was a union that constituted the ultimate degree of excellence in the fine arts.
Two lines from Pope's “ Universal Prayer” I have heard him quote, in very serious conversation, as his theological creed :
“ And binding Nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will."
Some lines also he used to repeat in his best manner, written in memory of Bishop Boulter (?), which I believe are not much known :
“ Some write their wrongs in marble: he, more just,
Stoop'd down serene and wrote them in the dust;
329. Goldsmith. Of Goldsmith's “ Traveller” he used to speak in terms of the highest commendation. A lady (3) I remember, who had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Johnson read it from the beginning to the end on its first coming out, to testify her admiration of it, exclaimed, “ I never more shall think Dr. Goldsmith ugly."
In having thought so, however, she was by no means singular ; an instance of which I am rather inclined to mention, because it involves a remarkable one of Dr. Johnson's ready wit : for this lady, one evening being in a large party, was called upon after supper for her toast,
, and seeming embarrassed, she was desired to give the ugliest man she knew; and she immediately named Dr.
(1) Epistle to Jervas.- REYNOLDS.