« VorigeDoorgaan »
Sir, these are objects which are not seen at the same time nor in the same place." Bozz. “I think, Sir, that old women in general are used to see ghosts.” Pozz. “Yes, Sir, and their conversation is full of the subject : I would have an old woman to record such conversations; their loquacity tends to minuteness.”
We talked of a person who had a very bad character. Pozz. “ Sir, he is a scoundrel.” Bozz. “ I hate a scoundrel.” Pozz. “ There you are wrong:
don't hate scoundrels. Scoundrels, Sir, are useful. There are many things we cannot do without scoundrels. I would not choose to keep company with scoundrels, but something may be got from them.' Bozz. “ Are not scoundrels generally fools ?” Pozz. “ No, Sir, they are not. A scoundrel must be a clever fellow; he must know many things of which a fool is ignorant. Any man may be a fool. I think a good book might be made out of scoundrels. I would have a Biographia Flagitiosa, the Lives of Eminent Scoundrels, from the earliest accounts to the present day.” I mentioned hanging: I thought it a very awkward situation. Pozz. “No, Sir, hanging is not an awkward situation ; it is proper, Sir, that a man whose actions tend towards flagitious obliquity should appear perpendicular at last.” I told him that I had lately been in company with some gentlemen, every one of 'whom could recollect some friend or other who had been hanged. Pozz. “ Yes, Sir, that is the easiest way. We know those who have been hanged; we can recollect that: but we cannot number those who deserve it; it would not be decorous, Sir, in a mixed company. No, Sir, that is one of the few things which we are compelled to think.”
Our regard for literary property () prevents our making a larger extract from the above important work. We have, however, we hope, given such passages as will tend to impress our readers with a high idea of this vast undertaking.—Note by the Author.
(1) (This alludes to the jealousy about copyright, which Mr. Boswell carried so far that he actually printed separately, and entered at Stationers' Hall, Johnson's Letter to Lord Chesterfield, and the account of Johnson's Conversation with George III. at Buckingham House, to prevent his rivals making use of them. — C.]
No. II. — DR. JOHNSON'S GHOST.
[From the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. Ivi. p. 427.]
'Twas at the solemn hour of night
When men and spirits meet,
Repair’d to Boswell's feet.
His face was like the full orb'd moon
Wrapt in a threatening cloud,
And winds that bluster loud.
Terrific was his angry look,
His pendent eyebrows frown'd; Thrice in his hand he wav'd a book,
Then dash'd it on the ground.
“Behold,” he cry'd, “perfidious man!
This object of my rage : Bethink thee of the sordid plan
That form’d this venal page.
“ Was it to make this base record,
That you my friendship sought ;
Each undigested thought?
“Dar'st thou pretend that, meaning praise,
Thou seek'st to raise my name; When all thy babbling pen betrays
But gives me churlish fame?
“ Do readers in these annals trace
The man that's wise and good ?
Illib'ral, fierce, and rude :
“ A traveller, whose discontent
No kindness can appease ;
In all he hears and sees :
“One whose ingratitude displays
The most ungracious guest;
With bitter, biting jest.
“Ah! would, as o'er the hills we sped,
And climb'd the sterile rocks,
“ Thy adulation now I see,
And all its schemes unfold :
To turn me into gold.
“So keepers guard the beasts they show,
And for their wants provide;
And travel by their side.
“O! were it not that, deep and low,
Beyond thy reach I'm laid,
JOHNSON a mummy made."
He ceas'd, and stalk'd from Boswell's sight
With fierce indignant mien,
By sage Ulysses seen.
Dead paleness Boswell's cheek o'erspread,
His limbs with horrow shook ;
And burnt his fatal book.
And thrice he call'd on Johnson's name,
Forgiveness to implore !
And word wrote never more.
No. III. - A POSTHUMOUS WORK OF S. JOHNSON.
AN ODE. APRIL 15. 1786.
By George COLMAN, Esq.
St. Paul's deep bell, from stately tow'r,
Blue burnt the midnight taper ;
Printing the Morning Paper.
I gave the Public works of merit,
Applause crown'd all my labours :
The scoff of friends and neighbours.
They speak me insolent and rude,
The child of Pride and Vanity;
And infantine inanity.
Such idle rhymes, like Sybils' leaves,
The gath'rer proves a scorner.
To sleep in Poets' CORNER.
No. IV.-A POETICAL AND CONGRATULATORY
EPISTLE TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
On his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, with the celebrated Doctor
By Peter PINDAR, Esq. (1)
– Τρώεσσιν έβούλετο κουδος ορέξαι.
O BOSWELL, Bozzy, Bruce, whate'er thy name,
(1) [Dr. Walcot, published in 1787.]