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world. The mode,” he said, was to fix upon a speaker's name, then to conjure up an
He wrote these debates with more velocity than any other of his productions ; often three columns of the magazine within the hour.
He once wrote ten pages one day,
572. Mr. Faden. Dr. Johnson said to me, I may possibly live, or rather breathe, three days, or perhaps three weeks ; but I find myself daily and gradually worse.
Before I quitted him, he asked, whether any of the family of Faden, the printer, were alive. Being told that the geographer near Charing Cross was Faden's son, he said, after a short pause,
“ I borrowed a guinea of his father nearly thirty years ago; be so good as to take this, and pay it for me.”
573. Last Interview. During the whole time of my intimacy with him, he rarely permitted me to depart without some sententious advice. At the latest of these affecting interviews, his words at parting were,
“ Take care of your eternal salvation. Remember to observe the Sabbath. Let it never be a day of business, nor wholly a day of dissipation.” He concluded his solemn farewell with, “ Let my words have their due weight. They are the words of a dying man.
I never saw him more. In the last five or six days of his life but few even of his most intimate friends were admitted. Every hour that could be abstracted from his bodily pains and infirmities, was spent in prayer and the warmest ejaculations; and in that pious, praiseworthy, and exemplary manner, he closed a life begun, continued, and ended in virtue.
ANECDOTES AND REMARKS,
BY ARTHUR MURPHY, ESQ. (1)
In the pre
574. Introductory. I ENJOYED the conversation and friendship of this excellent man more than thirty years. I thought it an honour to be so connected, and to this hour I reflect on his loss with regret: but regret, I know, has secret bribes, by which the judgment may be influenced, and partial affection may be carried beyond the bounds of truth. In the sent case, however, nothing needs to be disguised, and exaggerated praise is unnecessary.
575. First Interview. It was in the summer of 1754, that I became acquainted with Dr. Johnson. The cause of his first visit is related by Mrs. Piozzi nearly in the following manner :-“ Mr. Murphy being engaged in a periodical paper, the "Gray's Inn Journal,' was at a friend's house in the country, and, not being disposed to lose pleasure for business, wished to content his bookseller by some unstudied essay.
He therefore took up a French Journal Littéraire, and, translating something he liked, sent it away to town. Time, however, discovered that he translated from the French a • Rambler,' which had been taken from the English without acknowledgment. Upon this discovery,
(1) (From "An Essay on the Life and Genius of Samuel Johnson, LL. D." prefixed to his Works; and first published in 1792.)
Mr. Murphy thought it right to make his excuses to Dr. Johnson. He went next day, and found him covered with soot, like a chimney-sweeper, in a little room, as if he had been acting Lungs in the Alchymist, making ether. This being told by Mr. Murphy in company, • Come, come,' said Dr. Johnson, the story is black enough ; but it was a happy day that brought you first to
After this first visit, I by degrees grew intimate with Dr. Johnson.
576. Lord Bolingbroke. The first striking sentence that I heard from Dr. Johnson was in a few days after the publication of Lord Bolingbroke's posthumous works. Mr. Garrick asked him, “If he had seen them ?” “ Yes, I have seen them.”
“ What do you think of them ? ” “ Think of them !' He made a long pause, and then replied : " Think of them! A scoundrel and a coward ! A scoundrel, who spent his life in charging a gun against Christianity ; and a coward, who was afraid of hearing the report of his own gun; but left half a crown to a hungry Scotchman to draw the trigger after his death."
577. Picture of Himself. Johnson's reflections on his own life and conduct were always severe; and, wishing to be immaculate, he destroyed his own peace by unnecessary scruples. He tells us, that, when he surveyed his past life, he discovered nothing but a barren waste of time, with some disorders of body, and disturbances of mind very near to madness. His life, he says, from his earliest youth, was wasted in a morning bed; and his reigning sin was a general sluggishness, to which he was always inclined, and, in part of his life, almost compelled, by morbid melancholy and weariness of mind. This was his constitutional malady, derived, perhaps, from his father, who was, at times, overcast with a gloom that bordered on insanity.
In a Latin poem, to which he has prefixed as a title INNOI EEAYTON, he has left a picture of himself, drawn with as much truth, and as firm a hand, as can be
seen in the portraits of Hogarth or Sir Joshua Reynolds. The learned reader will find the original poem in the first volume of his Works; and it is hoped that a translation, or rather imitation, of so curious a piece will not be improper in this place :
AFTER REVISING AND ENLARGING THE ENGLISH LEXICON, OR
Beheld his Lexicon complete at last,
Doom'd to write Lexicons in endless woe. (1)
You lost good days, that might be better spent ;'
And the world's ample volume was your own.
Nor with immortal Scaliger compare.
(1) See Scaliger's epigram on this subject, communicated without doubt by Dr. Johnson, Gent. Mag. 1748.
“A mind like Scaliger's, superior still,
No grief could conquer, no misfortune chill.
“My task perform’d, and all my labours o'er,
For me what lot has Fortune now in store ?
“Whate'er I plan, I feel my powers confined
By Fortune's frown and penury of mind.
" What then remains ? Must I in slow decline
To mute inglorious ease old age resign?