Imágenes de página

had been invited by a great majority of the electors Johnson, taking him by the hand, said, · Farewell, my dear Sir! and remember that I wish you all the sličcess which ought to be wished you, which can possibly be wished you by an bonest man;' words containing an insinuation not very polite to his kind host. Burke took no notice of that mark of his friend's breeding. Though the high church bigotry of Johnson made him an enemy to the politics of a philosophical Whig, yet he continued uniformly a friend to Burke; and the praises of Edmund was pne of his favourite themes. As he launched out one day at Streatham on his merits, an Irish trader present was so delighted to hear his countryman so praised by one whom he heard to be the wisest man in Eng?and, said to the Doctor, · give me leave to tell you something of Mr. Burke' He began

Mr. Burke went to see the collieries in a distant province; and he would go down, Sir, into the bowels of the earth (in a bag), and he would examine every thing: he went in a bag, Sir, and ventured his life for

knowledge; but he took care of his clothes, that they should not be spoiled, for he went down in a bag. Well, Sir,” said Johnson, good humour’dly, if our friend Mund should die in any of these hazardous exploits, you and I would write his life and panegyrio together; and your chapter of it should be entitled thus— Burke in a bag.'

This year. Johnson and Burke lost their friend Goldsmith, whom they both loved and regarded ; his merits much overbalancing his foibles and defects. Dr. Johnson wrote the Latin epitaph, which is so well known.

The club had now considerably increased its numbers, and received several members destined to act a conspicuous part on the great political stage, whom I shall mention when I come to their performance on that theatre. A party of eleven gentlemen dined one day at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, all, except Sir William Forbes, acquainted with Gold smith; all men of great respectability, some of them of literary eminence short only of Johnson's, and one equal to the sage. The conversation turned on Johnson's epitaph, and various alterations and corrections were suggested. But the question was who should have the courage to propose them to the author. At last it was resolved that there could be no way so good as that of a Round Robin.

Dr. Barnard, now Bishop of Limerick, drew up an address to Johnson on the occasion, which, it was feared by the rest, the Doctor might think treated the subject with too much levity. Burke then proposed the address as it stands in the Round Robin, and Sir William Forbes officiated as clerk, *

Round Robin addressed to Samuel Johnson,

L.L.D. drawn up by Edmund Burke. * We, the circumscribers, t having read with great pleasure an intended Epitaph

* Boswell's Life of Johnson.

+ The Robin was written within a circle, formed by the names of Edmund Burke, Thomas Franklin, Anthony Cha-,


for the Monument of Dr. Goldsmith ; which, considered abstractly, appears to be, for elegant composition and masterly style, in every respect worthy of the pen of its learned author ; are yet of opinion, that the character of the deceased as a writer, particularly as a poet, is perhaps not delineated with all the exactness which Dr. Johnson is capable of giving it. We therefore, with deference to his superior judgment, humbly request that he would, at least, take the trouble of revising it; and of making such additions and alterations as he shall think proper, upon a farther perusal. But if we might venture to express our wishes, they would lead us to request that lie would write the epitaph in English, rather than in Latin ; as we think that the memory of so eminent an English writer ought to be perpetuated in the language to which his works are likely to be so lasting an ornament;

mier, G. Colman, Will. Vaskell, Joshua Reynolds, William Forbes, T. Barnard, R. B. Sheridan, P. Metcalfe, E. Gibbon, Joseph Warton.


Mr. Boswell very justly remarks, that \ this hasty composition is one of the many instances which evince the extraordinary promptitude of Burke, who, whilst he was equal to the greatest things, can adorn the least ; can with equal facility embrace the yast and complicated speculations of politics,

« AnteriorContinuar »