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lention both attempts were frustrated. Johnson had been commended by Pope for the translation of the Messiah into Latin verse; but he knew no approach to so eminent a man.
With one, however, who was connected with Pope, he became acquainted at St. John's Gate; and that person was no other than the well-known Richard Savage, whose life was afterwards written by Johnson, with great elegance, and a depth of moral reflection. Savage was a man of considerable talents. His address, his various accomplishments, and, above all, the peculiarity of his misfortunes, recommended him to Johnson's notice. They became united in the closest intimacy. Both had great parts, and they were equally under the pressure of want. Sympathy joined them in a league of friendship. Johnson has been often heard to relate, that he and Savage walked round Grosvenor-square till four in the morning; in the course of their conversation reforming the world, dethroning princes, establishing new forms of government, and giving laws to the several states of Europe ; till, fatigued at length with their legislative office, they began to feel the want of refreshment, but could not muster up more than four-pence-halfpenny. Savage, it is true, had many vices; but vice could never strike its roots in a mind like Johnson's, seasoned early with religion, and the principles of moral rectitude. His first prayer was composed in the year 1798. He had not at that time renounced the use of wine; and, no doubt, occasionally enjoyed his friend and
his bottle. The love of late hours, which followed him through life, was, perhaps, originally contracted in company with Savage. However that may be, their connection was not of long duration. In the year 1738, Savage was reduced to the last distress. Mr. Pope, in a letter to him, expressed his concern for “ the “ miserable withdrawing of his pension after “ the death of the Queen;" and gave him hopes that, “ in a short time, he should find “ himself supplied with a competence, with“ out any dependance on those little creatures, “ whom we are pleased to call the Great." The scheme proposed to him was, that he should retire to Swansea in Wales, and receive an allowance of fifty pounds a year, to be raised by subscription ; Pope was to pay twenty pounds. This plan, though finally established, took more than a year before it was carried into execution. In the mean time, the intended retreat of Savage called to Johnson's mind the third Satire of Juvenal, in which that poet takes leave of a friend, who was withdrawing bimself from all the vices of Rome. Struck with this idea, he wrote that well-known Poem, called London. The first lines manifestly point to Savage.
“ Though grief and fondness in my breast rebel, " When injur'd Thales bids the town farewell; " Yet still my calmer thoughts his choice commend ; “ I praise the hermit, but regret the friend : “ Resolv'd at length, from Vice and London far, “ To breathe in distant fields a purer air ; “ And fix'd on Cambria's solitary shore, " Give to St. David one true Briton more.”
Johnson at that time lodged at Greenwich. He there fixes the scene, and takes leave of his friend; who, he says in his Life, parted from him with tears in his eyes. The poem, when finished, was offered to Cave. It happened, however, that the late Mr. Dodsley was the purchaser, at the price of ten guineas. It was published in 1738 : and Pope, we are told, said, “ The author, whoever he is, will not be long concealed :" alluding to the passage in Terence, Ubi, ubi est, diu celari non potest. Notwithstanding that prediction, it does not appear that, besides the copy-money, any advantage accrued to the author of a poem, written with the elegance and energy of Pope. Johnson, in August 1738, went, with all the fame of his poetry, to offer himself a candidate for the mastership of the school at Appleby, in Leicestershire. The statutes of the place required, that the person chosen should be a master of arts. To remove this objection, the late Lord Gower was induced to write to a friend, in order to obtain for Johnson a master's degree in the University of Dublin, by the recommendation of Dr. Swift. The letter was printed in one of the Magazines, and was as follows:
“ Sir, “ Mr. Samuel Johnson (author of London, “ a Satire, and some other poetical pieces,) is “ a native of this county, and much respected “ by some worthy gentlemen in the neighbour“ hood, who are trustees of a charity-school,
“ now vacant; the certain salary of which is “ sixty pounds per year, of which they are de“ sirous to make him master; but unfortunately “ he is not capable of receiving their bounty, “ which would make him happy for life, by not “ being a master of arts, which, by the statutes « of the school, the master of it must be.
“ Now, these gentlemen do me the honour
to think, that I have interest enough in you, “ to prevail upon you to write to Dean Swift, “ to persuade the University of Dublin to send
a diploma to me, constituting this poor man master of arts in their University. They “ highly extol the man's learning and probity, “and will not be persuaded, that the University “ will make any difficulty of conferring such
a favour upon a stranger, if he is recom“ mended by the Dean. They say he is not “ afraid of the strictest examination, though “ he is of so long a journey; and yet he will “ venture it, if the Dean thinks it necessary, “ chusing rather to die upon the road, than to “ be starved to death in translating for book“ sellers, which has been his only subsistence o for some time past.
" I fear there is more difficulty in this affair " than these good-natured gentlemen appre“ hend, especially as their election cannot be " delayed longer than the 11th of next month. “ If you see this matter in the same light that “ it appears to me, I hope you will burn this, “ and pardon me for giving you so much trou“ ble about an impracticable thing; but, if " you think there is a probability of obtaining
- the favour asked, I am sure your humanity " and propensity to relieve merit in distress “ will incline you to serve the poor man with“ out my adding any more to the trouble I “ have already given you, than assuring you, “ that I am, with great truth, Sir, “ Your very humble servant,
- Gower." « Trentham, Aug. ist.”
This scheme miscarried. There is reason to think, that Swift declined to meddle in the business; and to that circumstance Johnson's known dislike of Swift has been often imputed.
It is mortifying to pursue a man of merit through all his difficulties : and yet this narrative must be, through many following years, the history of Genius and Virtue struggling with Adversity. Having lost the school at Appleby, Johnson was thrown back on the metropolis. Bred to no profession, without relations, friends, or interest, he was condemned to drudgery in the service of Cave, bis only patrón. In November 1738 was published a translation of Crousaz's Examen of Pope's Essay on Man; “ containing a succinct View of “ the System of the Fatalists, and a Confutation “ of their Opinions ; with an Illustration of the “ Doctrine of Free Will; and an Enquiry, « what view Mr. Pope might have in touching “ upon the Leibnitzian Philosophy, and Fatal“ ism. By Mr. Crousaz, Professor of Philo“sophy and Mathematics at Lausanne.” This translation has been generally thought a pro