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the Ine of Sky, and that to Mrs. Thrale, from the same place.
“ His English poetry is such as leaves room to think, if he had devoted himself to the Muses, that he would have been the rival of Pope. His first production in this kind was London, a poem, in imitation of the third satire of Juvenal. The vices of the metropolis are placed in the room of ancient manners. The author had heated his mind with the ardour of Juvenal; and, having the skill to polish his numbers, he became a sharp accuser of the times. The Vanity of Human Wishes is an imitation of the tenth satire of the fame author. Though it is translated by Dryden, Johnson's imitation approaches nearest to the spirit of the original. .“ What Johnson has said of the Tragedy of Cato, may be applied to, Irene: “ It is rather a poem in dialogue than a drama ; rather a succession of just sentiments in éle
] gant language, than a representation of natural affections. Nothing excites or afsuages emotion. The events are expected without' solicitude, and are remembered without joy or forrow. Of the agents we have no care; we consider not what they are doing, nor what they are suffering; we wish only to know what they have to say. It is unaffecting elegance, and chill philosophy. .“ The prologue to Irene is written with elegance, and, in a peculiar strain, shows the literary pride and lofty spirit of the author. The epilogue, we are told in a late publication, was written by Sir William Yonge. This is a new discovery, but by no means probable. When the appendages to a dramatic performance are not afsigned to a friend, or an unknown hand, or a person of fashion, they are always fupposed to be written by the author of the play. It is to be wished, however, that the
epilogue in question could be transferred to any other writer. It is the worst Jeu d' Esprit that ever fell from Johnson's pen.
“Of his Miscellaneous Tracts and Philological Dissertations, it will suffice to say, they are the productions of a man who never wanted decorations of language, and always taught his reader to think. The Life of the late King of Prusia, as far as it extends, is a model of the biographical style. The review of the “ Origin of Evil,” was, perhaps, written with asperity ; but the angry epitaph, which it provoked from Soame Jenyns, was an ill-timed resentment, unworthy of the genius of that amiable author.
“ The Rambler may be considered as Johnson's great work. It was the basis of that high reputation which went on increafing to the end of his days. In this collec
tion, Johnson is the great moral teacher of · his countrymen ; his essays form a body of ethics ; the observations on life and man
ners are acute and instructive; and the papers, professedly critical, serve to promote the cause of literature. It must, however, be acknowledged, that a settled gloom hangs over the author's mind; and all the essays, except eight or ten, coming from the same fountain-head, no wonder that they have the raciness of the soil from which they sprung. Of this uniformity Johnson was sensible. He used to say, that if he had joined a friend or two, who would have been able to intermix papers of a sprightly turn, the collection would have been more miscellaneous, and by consequence, more agreeable to the generality of readers.
" It is remarkable that the pomp of diction, which has been objected to Johnson, was first assumed in the Rambler. His Diktionary was going on at the same time ; and in the course of that work, as he grew familiar with technical and scholastic words, he thought that the bulk of his readers
were equally learned, or at least would admire the splendour and dignity of the ftyle. And yet it is well known, that he praised in Cowley the ease and unaffected structure of the sentences. Cowley may be placed at the head of those who cultivated a clear and natural style. Dryden, Tillotson, and Sir William Temple followed. Addifon, Swift, and Pope, with more correctness, carried our language well nigh to perfection. Of Addison, Johnson was used to say, he is the Raphael of essay writers. How he differed so widely from such elegant models, is a problem not to be solved, unless it be true that he took an early tincture from the writers of the last century, particularly Sir Thomas Brown. Hence the peculiarities of his style, new combinations, sentences of an unusual structure, and words derived from the learned languages. His own account of the matter is,“ when common words were lefs pleasing to the ear,