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Yet let him know, crowned heads are sacred things,
And bid him reverence more the best of kings;
Still on his Pegasus continue jogging,
And give that Boswell's back another Hogging.”
Such was the dream that waked the sleepy knight,
And oped again his eyes upon the light -
Who, mindless of old Johnson and his frown,
And stern commands to knock the couple down,
Resolved to keep the peace ; and, in a tone
Not much unlike a mastiff o'er a bone,
He grumbled that, enabled by the nap,
He now could meet more biographic scrap.
Then nodding with a magistratic air,
To further anecdote he called the fair.
MADAME PIOZZI. (1)
Dear Doctor Johnson loved a leg of pork,
And hearty on it would his grinders work:
He liked to eat it so much over-done,
That one might shake the flesh from off the bone.
A veal pie too, with sugar crammed and plums,
Was wondrous grateful to the Doctor's gums.
One Thursday morn did Doctor Johnson wake,
And call out, “ Lanky! Lanky! by mistake ;
But recollecting, “ Bozzy! Bozzy !” cried
For in contractions Johnson took a pride!
Whene'er our friend would read in bed by night,
Poor Mr. Thrale and I were in a fright;
For blinking on his book, too near the flame,
Lo! to the fore-top of his wig it came !
Burnt all the hairs away, both great and small,
Down to the very net-work, named the caul. (3)
At Corrachatachin's, in hoggism sunk,
I got with punch, alas ! confounded drunk.
(1) [“ A leg of pork, boiled till it dropped from the bone, or a veal pie with plums and sugar, were his favourite dainties.'')
(2) [“ On Thursday morning, when Dr. Johnson awaked, he called • Lanky'! having, I suppose, been thinking of Langton ; but corrected himself, and cried, • Bozzy!' He has a way of contracting the names of his friends.")
(3) ["He would read in bed by night. In general his wigs were very shabby, and the foreparts were burned away by the near approach of the candle which his short-sightedness rendered necessary.”]
(4) [“ A fourth bowl of punch was made. It was near five when I got to bed. I awaked at noon with a severe headach. I was much vexed that I
Much was I vexed that I could not be quiet,
But like a stupid blockhead breed a riot.
I scarcely knew how 'twas I reeled to bed.
Next morn I waked with dreadful pains of head:
And terrors too, that of my peace did rob me —
For much I feared the moralist would mob me.
But as I lay along a heavy log,
The Doctor, entering, called me drunken dog.
Then up rose I, with apostolic air,
And read in Dame M'Kinnon's book of prayer ;
In hopes, for such a sin, to be forgiven
And make, if possible, my peace with Heaven.
'Twas strange, that in that volume of divinity,
I oped the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity,
And read these words: — Pray, be not drunk with wine;
Since drunkenness doth make a man a swine."
MADAME Piozzi. (1)
One day, with spirits low and sorrow filled,
I told him I had got a cousin killed :
“My dear," quoth he, “ for heaven's sake hold your canting :
Were all your cousins killed, they'd not be wanting :
Though Death on each of them should set his mark
Though every one were spitted like a lark
Roasted, and given that dog there for a meal ;
The loss of them the world would never feel.
At Anoch, at M‘Queen's we went to bed ;
A coloured hankerchief wrapped Johnson's head :
He said, “God bless us both good night !” and ther
I, like a parish clerk, pronounced, Amen!
My good companion soon with sleep was seized
But I by vermin vile was sadly teazed :
Methought a spider, with terrific claws,
Was striding from the wainscot to my jaws :
had been guilty of such a riot, and afraid of a reproof from Dr. Johnson. • Sir,' said I, they kept me up!' He answered, “No, you kept them up, you drunken dog.' Taking up Mrs. M.Kinnon's prayer-book, I opened it at the twentieth Sunday after Trinity, in the epistle for which I read, And be not drunk with wine, wherein there is excess.”]
(1) [“ When I one day lamented the loss of a first cousin killed, Prithee, my dear, said he, have done with canting: how would the world be worse for it, if all your relations were at once spitted like larks, and roasted for Presto's supper !”]
(2) [“ Dr. Johnson slept with a coloured handkerchief tied round his head. He said, "God bless us both, good night.' I pronounced Amen! He fell asleep immediately. I fancied myself bit by innumerable vermin, and that a spider was travelling towards my mouth. At last I fell into insensibility.")
But slumber soon did every sense entrap;
And so I sunk into the sweetest nap.
MADAME Piozzi. (1)
Travelling in Wales, at dinner-time we got on
Where, at Lleweny, lives Sir Robert Cotton.
At table, our great Moralist to please
Says I “ Dear Doctor, a'n't these charming peas ?
Quoth he (to contradict and run bis rig),
“Madam, they possibly might please a pig."
Of thatching well the Doctor knew the art,
And with his thrashing wisdom made us start:
Described the greatest secrets of the mint
And made folks fancy that he had been in't.
Of hops and malt, 'tis wondrous what he knew;
And well as any brewer he could brew.
MADAME PIOZZI. (3)
In ghosts the Doctor strongly did believe,
And pinn'd his faith on many a liar's sleeve :
He said to Doctor Lawrence, “ Sure I am,
I heard my poor dear mother call out, · Sam !
When young, ('twas rather silly, I allow,)
Much pleased was I to imitate a cow.
One time, at Drury-lane, with Doctor Blair,
My imitations made the play-house stare !
So very charming was I in my roar,
That both the galleries clapped, and cried, “ Encore !"
Blest be the general plaudit and the laugh -
I tried to be a jackass and a calf :
(1) [" When we went into Wales, and spent some time at Sir Robert Cotton's at Lleweny, one day at dinner I meant to please Mr. Johnson particularly with a dish of very young peas. “Are not they charming ?' said I to him. • Perhaps,' said he, they would be so - to a pig.'”]
(2) [" He talked of thrashing and thatching, and gave us an account of the whole process of tanning. His variety of information is surprising.”]
(3) [" He one day said to me, I can recollect telling Dr. Lawrence many years ago, that a long time after my poor mother's death, I heard her voice call Sam !'"]
(4) [" A great many years ago, when Dr. Blair and I were sitting together in the pit of Drury-lane playhouse, in a wild freak of youthful extravagance, I entertained the audience prodigiously by imitating the lowings of a cow. The universal cry of the galleries was, Encore the cow!' In the pride of my heart, I attempted imitations of some other animals, but with very inferior effect. My revered friend, anxious for my fame, with an air of the utmost gravity and earnestness, addressed me thus, My dear sir, I would confine myself to the cow.'"']
But who, alas ! in all things can be great ?
In short, I met a terrible defeat:
So vile I brayed and bellowed, I was hissed —
Yet all who knew me wondered that I missed.
Blair whispered me, “ You've lost your credit now;
Stick, Boswell, for the future, to your cow.”
MADAME Piozzi. (1)
On Mr. Thrale's old Hunter Johnson rode -
Who, with prodigious pride, the beast bestrode;
And as on Brighton Downs he dashed away,
Much was he pleased to hear a sportsman say,
That, at a chase, he was as tight a hand,
As e'er an ill-bred lubber in the land.
We sailed about Loch Lomond in a bout,
And made a landing on each isle of 'note ;
But why the beauties of a scence describe,
So oft narrated by the travelling tribe !
One morning, Johnson on the Isle of Mull,
Was of his politics excessive full :
Quoth he, “ That Pulteney was a rogue, 'tis plain -
Besides, the fellow was a Whig in grain.”
Then to his principles he gave a banging,
And swore no Whig was ever worth a hanging.
“ 'Tis wonderful,” says he, “and makes one stare,
To think the livery chose John Wilkes lord mayor :
A dog, of whom the world could nurse no hopes —
Prompt to debauch their girls, and rob their shops."
Sir, I believe that anecdote a lie;
But grant that Johnson said it — by the by,
As Wilkes unhappily your friendship shared,
The dirty anecdote might well be spared.
(1) [“ He rode on Mr. Thrale's old hunter with a good firmness. He was proud to be amongst the sportsmen; and I think no praise ever went so close to his heart, as when Mr. Hamilton called out one day, Why, Johnson rides as well as the most illiterate fellow in England.'"]
(2) ( " We sailed about upon Loch Lomond, and landed on some of the islands which are interspersed. Butit is unnecessary to describe," &c. — “ One morning at Mull, the subject of politics was introduced. Jounson. "Pulteney was as paltry a fellow as could be: he was a Whig who pretended to be honest ; and you know it is ridiculous for a Whig to pretend to be honest.' He said, “It is wonderful to think that all the force of government was required to prevent Wilkes from being chosen Lord Mayor of London, though the livery-men knew he would rob their shops and debauch their daughters.'"]