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1773. I expressed a doubt whether Goldsmith intended
it, in order that I might hear the truth from himself. Ætat.-64.
It, perhaps, was not quite fair to endeavour to bring him to a confession, as he might not wish to avow positively his taking part against the Court. He smiled and hesitated. The General at once relieved him, by this beatiful image: “ Monsieur Goldsmith est comme la mer, qui jette des perles et beau-coup d'autres belles choses, sans s'en appercevoir.” GOLDSMITH. " Très bien dit, et très élégamment."
A person was mentioned, who it was said could take down in short hand the speeches in parliament with perfect exactness. Johnson. “Sir, it is impossible. I remember one Angel, who came to me to write for him a Preface or Dedication to a book upon short hand, and he professed to write as fast as a man could speak. In order to try him, I took down a book, and read while he wrote ; and I favoured him, for I read more deliberately than usual. I had proceeded but a very little way, when he begged I would desist, for he could not follow me." Hearing now for the first time of this Preface or Dedication, I said, “ What an expence, Sir, do you put us to in buying books, to which you have written Prefaces or Dedications." Johnson. Why I have dedicated to the Royal Family all round; that is to say, to the last generation of the Royal Family." GOLDSMITH. “ And perhaps, Sir, not one sentence of wit in a whole Dedication.” Johnson. “ Perhaps not, Sir.” BosweLL. “What then is the reason for applying to a particular person to do that which any one may do as well?" Johnson. “Why, Sir, one man has greater readiness at doing it than another." I spoke of Mr. Harris, of Salisbury, as being a
very learned man, and in particular an eminent Gre- 1773. cian. Johnson. “I am not sure of that.
Ætat. 64, friends give him out as such, but I know not who of his friends are able to judge of it.” GOLDSMITH. “ He is what is much better: he is a worthy humane man.” Johnson.“ Nay, Sir, that is not to the purpose of our argument: that will as much
that he can play upon the fiddle as well as Giardini, as that he is an eminent Grecian." GOLDSMITH. “The greatest musical performers have but small emoluments. Giardini, I am told, does not get above seven hundred a year.” Johnson. “ That is indeed but little for a man to get, who does best that which so niany endeavour to do. There is nothing, I think, in which the power of art is shown so much as in playing on the fiddle. In all other things we can do something at first. Any man will forge a bar of iron, if you give him a hammer; not so well as a smith, but tolerably. A man will saw a piece of wood, and make a box, though a clumsy one; but give him a fiddle and a fiddle-stick, and he can do nothing." -- On Monday, April 19, he called on me with Mrs. Williams, in Mr. Strahan's coach, and carried me out to dine with Mr. Elphinston, at his Academy at Kensington. A printer having acquired a fortune sufficient to keep his coach, was a good topick for the credit of literature. Mrs. Williams said, that another printer, Mr. Hamilton, had not waited so long as Mr. Strahan, but had kept his coach several years sooner. Johnson. “ He was in the right. Life is short. The sooner that a man begins to enjoy his wealth the better."
Mr. Elphinston talked of a new book that was inuch admired, and asked Dr. Johnson if he had read
it. Johnson. “ I'have looked into it.” “What (said 1773.
Elphinston,) have you not read it through?”. JohnAtat. Otoson, offended at being thus pressed, and so obliged
to own his cursory mode of reading, answered tartly, “No, Sir ; do you read books through ?"
He this day again defended duelling, and put his arguinent upon what I have ever thought the most solid basis ; that if publick war be allowed to be consistent with morality, private war must be equally so. Indeed we may observe what strained arguments are used to reconcile war with the Christian religion. But, in my opinion, it is exceedingly clear that duelling having better reasons for its barbarous violence, is more justifiable than war in which thousands go forth without any cause of personal quarrel, and massacre each other. · On Wednesday, April 21, I dined with him at Mr. Thrale’s. A gentleman attacked Garrick for being vain. Johnson. “No wonder, Sir, that he is vain; a man who is perpetually flattered in every mode that can be conceived. So many bellows have blown the fire, that one wonders he is not by this time become a cinder.” BOSWELL. “ And such bellows too. Lord Mansfield with his cheeks like to burst: Lord Chatham like an Aolus. I have read such notes from them to him, as were enough to turn his head." JOHNSON. “ True. When lie whorn every body else flatters, fiatters me, I then am truly happy." Mrs. TURALE. “ The sentiment is in Congreve, I think.” Johnson. “ Yes, Madam, in “The Way of the World: • If there's delight in love, ’tis when I see • That heart which others bleed for, bleed for nie.” No, Sir, I should not be surprised though Garrick
chained the ocean and lashed the winds." Bos- 1773. WELL. “Should it not be, Sir, lashed the ocean and
Ætat. 64. chained the winds?" Johnson. “ No, Sir; recollect the original: • In Corum atque Eurum solitus sævire flagellis • Barbarus, Ælio nunquam hoc in carcere passos,
Ipsum compedibus qui vinxerat Eunosigæum.”
This does very well, when both the winds and the sea are personified, and mentioned by their mythological names, as in Juvenal; but when they are mentioned in plain language, the application of the epi. thets suggested by me is the most obvious; and accordingly my friend himself, in bis iinitation of the passage which describes Xerxes, has “ The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind."*
The modes of living in different countries, and the various views with which men travel in quest of new scenes, having been talked of, a learned gentleman who holds a considerable office in the law, expatiated on the happiness of a savage life; and mentioned an instance of an officer who had actually lived for some time in the wilds of America, of whom, when in that state, he quoted this reflection with an air of admiration, as if it had been deeply philosophical: “ Here am I, free and unrestrained, amidst the rude magnificence of Nature, with this Indian woman by my side, and this gun, with which I can procure food when I want it: what more can be desired for human happi
* [So also Butler, Hudibras, P. II. c. i. v. 845.
“ A Persian Emperor whipt his grannam,
1773. ness?" It did not require much sagacity to foresec
that such a sentiment would not be permitted to pass Ætat. 64.
'without due animadversion. Johnson. “Do not allow yourself, Sir, to be imposed upon by such gross absurdity. It is sad stuff; it is brutish. If bull could speak, he might as well exclaim,--Here am I with this cow and this grass; what being can enjoy greater felicity?”
We talked of the melancholy end of a gentleman who had destroyed himself. Johnson. “ It was owing to imaginary difficulties in his affairs, which, had he talked of with any friend, would soon have vanished.” Boswell.“ Do you think, Sir, that all who commit suicide are mad?” Johnson. “ Sir, they are often not universally disordered in their intellects, but one passion presses so upon them, that they yield to it, and commit suicide, as a passionate man will stab another.” He added, “I have often thought, that after a man has taken the resolution to kill himself, it is not courage in him to do any thing, however desperate, because he has nothing to fear." GOLDSMITH. " I don't see that,” JOHNSON. “Nay, but my dear Sir, why should not you see what every one else sees?" GOLDSMITH. “ It is for fear of something that he has resolved to kill himself; and will not that timid disposition restrain him?” Johnson. “ It does not signify that the fear of something made him resolve; it is upon the state of his mind, after the resolution is taken that I argue. Suppose a man either from fear, or pride, or conscience, or whatever motive, has resolved to kill himself; when once the resolution is taken, he has nothing to fear, He may then go and take the King of Prussia by the nose, at the head of his army. He cannot fear the