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up in his arms, and without any ceremony placed him upon the arm of a tree which was near, and then continued running as if he had met with a hard match. He afterwards returned with much exultation to release his friend from the no very pleasant situation in which he had left him.
677. Boswell's Life of Johnson. Cowper, the poet, speaking of Boswell's Life of Johnson, observed, that though it was so much abused, it presented the best portrait that had ever been given of the great English moralist ; adding, that mankind would be gratified indeed, if some contemporary of Shakspeare and Milton had given the world such a history of those unri
678. Party Heat. Doctor, afterwards Dean Maxwell, sitting in company with Johnson, they were talking of the violence of parties, and what unwarrantable and insolent lengths mobs will sometimes run into. Why, yes, Sir," says Johnson, “they'll do any thing, no matter how odd, or desperate, to gain their point; they'll catch hold of the red-hot end of a poker, sooner than not get possession of it.”
679. Ellsfield. - Francis Wise. - The Cabiri.
In the course of Johnson's visit to Oxford in 1754, (says Mr. Thomas Warton,) we walked three or four times to Ellsfield, a village beautifully situated about three miles from Oxford, to see Mr. Francis Wise, Radclivian librarian, with whom Johnson was much pleased. At this place Mr. Wise had fitted up a house and gardens, in a singular manner, but with great taste. Mr. Wise read to us a dissertation which he was preparing for the press, entitled “ A History of the Fabulous Ages. Some old divinities of Thrace, related to the Titans and called the Cabiri, made a very important part of the theory of this piece ; and in conversation afterwards, Mr. Wise talked much of his Cabiri. returned to Oxford in the evening, I outwalked John
Nov. 18.174%. I was forced to make so many journey to the White Horse, that with Zravelling with a fervent and painlerd cost me rear 20.9 could have sunt as much about the proble, but thought I show have but little thanks for it; though a believe I could have settled its age meaning thereby with greater exactress than I have done. But let others pussue the enquiry, it is enough for me that I have shewn the monument.
son, and he called out Sufftamina — a Latin word which came from his mouth with peculiar grace, and was as much as to say, Put on your drag chain. Before we got home, I again walked too fast for him ; and he now cried out, “ Why, you walk as if you were pursued by all the Cabiri in a body.
680. Count de Holcke. (') In the year 1768, the King of Denmark visited England, and amongst the gentlemen of his suite was Count de Holcke, grand master of the wardrobe, a gentleman of considerable celebrity for polite learning and classical erudition. This gentleman had heard much of Dr. Johnson's literary fame, and was therefore anxious to see him. Through the interest of Dr. Brocklesby, he was enabled to pay Johnson a morning visit. They had a long conversation. Next day Count de Holcke dined with Lord Temple in Pall Mall, where he met Mr. William Gerard Hamilton (commonly called Single-speech Hamilton), who, knowing of his visit to Johnson, asked him what he thought of the Doctor ? Holcke replied, that of all the literary impostors and pedants he had ever met with, he thought Johnson the greatest — “so shallow a fellow,” he said, “ he had never seen!” 681. A German Traveller's Description of Johnson in
1768. (9) I am just returned from a visit to Samuel Johnson, the colossus of English literature, who combines profound knowledge with wit, and humour with serious wisdom, and whose exterior announces nothing of these qualities ; for in the proportions of his form are exactly those of the sturdy drayman. To this he alludes in his delineation of the Idler : “ The diligence of an Idler is rapid and impetuous ; as ponderous bodies, forced into velocity, move with violence proportionate to their weight.”
His manners are boorish, and his eye cold as his raillery ; never is it animated with a glance that betrays
(1) This and the two following are from the Monthly Magazine.]
archness or acuteness; he constantly seems to be, and not seldom he really is, absent and distracted. He had invited Colman and me by letter, and forgot it.
We surprised him, in the strictest sense of the word, at the country seat of Mr. Thrale, whose lady, a genteel agreeable Welshwoman, by way of amusement reads and translates Greek authors. Here Johnson lives and reigns (for he is fond of acting the dominator ), as if he were in the midst of his own family. He received us in a friendly manner, though a certain air of solemness and pomposity never left him, which is interwoven with his manners as well as with his style. In conversation he rounds his periods, and speaks with a tone almost theatrical ; but whatever he says becomes interesting by a certain peculiar character with which it is stamped. We spoke of the English language ; and I remarked, “ that it passed through its different epochs quicker than other languages : there is a greater difference,” said I, “between your present writers and the celebrated club of authors in the reign of Queen Ann, than between the French of the present and the last century. They make incursions into foreign ground, and lavishly squander the easily acquired plunder ; for they follow not the counsel of Swift, to adopt, indeed, new words, but never after to reject them.”
“We conquer," interrupting me, said one of the guests, “new words in a fit of enthusiasm, and give them back again in cold blood, as we do our conquests on the making of peace. you not,” asked I, “ thus losers with regard to posterity ? For your writings will be scarcely intelligible to the third succeeding generation. “ New words," replied Johnson, “ are well-earned riches. When a nation enlarges its stock of knowledge and acquires new ideas, it must necessarily have a suitable vesture for them. Foreign idioms, on the contrary, have been decried as dangerous ; and the critics daily object to me my Latinisms, which, they say, alter the character of our language : but it is seriously my opinion, that every language must be servilely formed after the model of some one of the ancient, if we wish to give durability to our works.” Do you not think that there is some truth in this sophistry ? A dead language,