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ceptionably excellent ; and never was there a more dignified strain of compliment, than that in which he courts the atten tion of Chesterfield, who was very ambibitious of literary distinction, and who, upon being informed of the design, had expressed himself in terms very favourable to its success. The way in which it came to be inscribed to Chesterfield was this: " I had neglected,” says he, “ to write it by the tịme appointed. Dodsley suggested a desire to have it addressed to Lord Chesterfield. I laid hold of this as a pretext for delay, that it might be better done, and let Dodsley have his desire.” The Plan itself, however, proves that the Earl not only favoured the design, but that there had been a particular communication with his Lordship concerning it. ,. To enable him to complete this vast undertaking, he hired a house in GoughSquare, Fleet-Street, fitted up one of the
upper rooms after the manner of a counting-house, and employed fix amanuenses there in transcribing ; five of whom were natives of North Britain, Mr. Macbean, author of " A System of Ancient Geography,” &c. Mr. Shiels, the principal collector and digester of the materials for the 4 Lives of the Poets 1753,” to which the name of Mr. Theo. Cibber is prefixed; Mr. Stewart, son of Mr. George Stewart, bookseller in Edinburgh ; and a Mr. Maitland: the sixth was Mr. Peyton, a French master, who published fome elementary tracts. The words, partly taken from other dictionaries, and partly supplied by himself, having been first written down, with spaces left between them, he delivered in writing their etymologies, defini- . tions, and various significations. The authorities were copied from the books themselves, in which he had marked the
passages with a black lead pencil, the traces of which could easily be effaced.
This year he contributed to the “ Gentleman's Magazine," for May, five short poetical pieces.“ A translation of a La- ' tin Epitaph on Sir Thomas Hanmer," “ To Miss -, on her giving the author a gold and filk net-work purse of her own weaving,” “Stella in Mourning,” “ The Winter's Walk,” “ An Ode,” and “ To Lyce, an elderly Lady," distinguished by three asterisks. In the Magazine for December, he inserted an Ode on Winter, which is one of the best of his lyric compositions.
In September, this year, his fortunate pupil, Garrick, having become joint-patentee and manager of Drury-lane theatre, he furnished him with a Prologue at the opening of it, which, for just and manly criticism, as well as for poetical excellence, is unrivalled in that species of composition.
! In 1748, while he was employed in his Dictionary, he exerted his talents in occafional composition, very different from lexicography, and formed a club that met at Horseman's chop-house in Ivy-lane, Pater-noster Row, every Tuesday evening, with a view to enjoy literary discussion, and the pleasure of animated relaxation. The members associated with him in this little society, were his beloved friend, Dr. Richard Bathurst, a physician, Dr. Hawkefworth, Dr. Salter, father of the late master of the charter-house, Mr. Ryland, a merchant, Mr. John Payne, then a bookseller in Pater-nofter Row, Mr. Samuel Dyer, a learned young man, intended for the dissenting ministry, Dr. William MʻGhie, a Scotch physician, Dr. Edmund Barker, a young physician, and Sir John Hawkins. The endowments of Mr. Dyer are represented by Sir John Hawkins as of such a superior kind,“ that in some instances Johnson might almost be said to have looked up to him.” They used to dispute in this club, about the moral sense and the fitness of things, but Johnson was not uniform in his opinions ; contending as often for victory as truth. This infirmity attended him through life. , :
In this year he published, in the “ Gentleman's Magazine” for May, The Life of Roscommon, which has since been inserted in his “ Lives of the Poets.” He wrote also the Preface to Dodsley's “ Preceptor," and the Vifion of Theodore, the Hermit of Teneriffe, found in his cell, a most beautiful allegory of human life, under the figure of ascending the mountain of existence, which he himself thought the best of his writings.
In January 1749, he published The Yanity of Human Wijhes, being the tenth Satire of Juvenal imitated, with his name. Of this poem, he composed seventy lines in one