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The LIFE of
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
IN 1758 we find him, it should seem, in as easy The and pleasant a state of existence, as constitu- danger o
tional unhappiness ever permitted him to enjoy.
"To BENNET LANGTON, ESQ. AT LANGTON LINCOLNSHIRE.
"I MUST have indeed slept very fast, not to have been awakened by your letter. None of your suspicions are true; I am not much richer than when you left me; and, what is worse, my omission of an answer to your first letter, will prove that I am not much wiser. But I go on as I formerly did, designing to be some time or other both rich and wise; and yet cultivate neither mind nor fortune. Do you take notice of my example, and learn the danger of delay. When I was as you are now, towering in confidence of twenty-one, little did I suspect that I should be at forty-nine, what I
do not seem to need my admonition.
Brothers You are busy in acquiring and in communicating and knowledge, and while you are studying, enjoy the sisters end of study, by making others wiser and happier.
I was much pleased with the tale that you told me
"I am satisfied with your stay at home, as Juvenal with his friend's retirement to Cumæ: I know that your absence is best, though it be not best for me.
Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
Laudo tamen vacuis quod sedem figere Cumis
"Langton is a good Cuma, but who must be Sibylla? Mrs. Langton is as wise as Sibyl, and as good; and will live, if my wishes can prolong life, till she shall in time be as old. But she differs in this, that she has not scattered her precepts in the wind, at least not those which she bestowed upon you.
"The two Wartons just looked into the town, and were taken to see Cleone, where, David1 says, they were starved for want of company to keep them 1 Mr. Garrick.
warm. David and Doddy 1 have had a new quarrel, Dodsley' and, I think, cannot conveniently quarrel any more. 'Cleone' was well acted by all the characters, but Bellamy left nothing to be desired. I went the first night, and supported it as well as I might; for Doddy, you know, is my patron, and I would not desert him. The play was very well received. Doddy, after the danger was over, went every night to the stage-side, and cryed at the distress of poor Cleone. Popimor
"I have left off housekeeping, and therefore made presents of the game which you were pleased to send me. The pheasant I gave to Mr. Richardson, the bustard to Dr. Lawrence, and the pot I placed with Miss Williams, to be eaten by myself. She desires that her compliments and good wishes may be accepted by the family; and I make the same request for myself. 38 Sup A 1 dw
"Mr. Reynolds has within these few days raised his price to twenty guineas a head, and Miss is much employed in miniatures. I know not any body [else] whose prosperity has increased since you left them.
be Murphy is to have his Orphan of China' acted next month; and is therefore, I suppose, happy. I wish I could tell you of any great good to which I was approaching, but at present my prospects do not much delight me; however, I am always pleased ed when I find that you, dear Sir, remember,
"Your affectionate, humble servant,
"Jan. 9, 1758."
ada di putit of "SAM. JOHNSON."
1 Mr. Dodsley, the Authour of Cleone.
2 Mr. Samuel Richardson, Authour of Clarissa.info
Subscriptions to is Shak
"To MR. BURney, at Lynne, Norfolk.
speare "Your kindness is so great, and my claim to any particular regard from you so little, that I am at a loss how to express my sense of your favours; 1 but I am, indeed, much pleased to be thus distinguished by you.
"I am ashamed to tell you that my Shakspeare will not be out so soon as I promised my subscribers; but I did not promise them more than I promised myself. It will, however, be published before
"I have sent you a bundle of proposals, which, I think, do not profess more than I have hitherto performed. I have printed many of the plays, and have hitherto left very few passages unexplained; where I am quite at loss, I confess my ignorance, which is seldom done by commentators.
"I have, likewise, inclosed twelve receipts; not that I mean to impose upon you the trouble of pushing them with more importunity than may seem proper, but that you may rather have more than fewer than you shall want. The proposals you will disseminate as there shall be an opportunity. I once printed them at length in the Chronicle, and some of my friends (I believe Mr. Murphy, who formerly wrote the Gray's-Inn Journal) introduced them with a splendid encomium.
"Since the Life of Browne, I have been a little engaged, from time to time, in the Literary Maga
1 This letter was an answer to one, in which was inclosed a draft for the payment of some subscriptions to his Shakspeare.
zine, but not very lately. I have not the collection Dr. Burby me, and therefore cannot draw out a catalogue ney's visi of my own parts, but will do it, and send it. Do to Gougl Square not buy them, for I will gather all those that have any thing of mine in them, and send them to Mrs. Burney, as a small token of gratitude for the regard which she is pleased to bestow upon me.
"Your most obliged
"And most humble servant,
"London, March 8, 1758.”
Dr. Burney has kindly favoured me with the following memorandum, which I take, the liberty to insert in his own genuine easy style. I love to exhibit sketches of my illustrious friend by various eminent hands.
"Soon after this, Mr. Burney, during a visit to the capital, had an interview with him in Goughsquare, where he dined and drank tea with him, and was introduced to the acquaintance of Mrs. Williams. After dinner, Mr. Johnson proposed to Mr. Burney to go up with him into his garret, which being accepted, he there found about five or six Greek folios, a deal writing-desk, and a chair and a half. Johnson giving to his guest the entire seat, tottered himself on one with only three legs and one arm. Here he gave Mr. Burney Mrs. Williams's history, and shewed him some volumes of his Shakspeare already printed, to prove that he was in earnest. Upon Mr. Burney's opening the first volume, at the Merchant of Venice, he observed to him, that he seemed to be more severe on War