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The grammatical fault would not have been com- the first and last deserving the name of poems, mitted, if the word corps had been written, as it great as was the vigour and high the spirit of should be, with a final e. In his Poem to the Ennius. Judging by the language, one would King he hath several times used the word corps imagine that several centuries had intervened in the plural. On the contrary he has added 8 between them; yet the same reader might have to the word seraphim. The bathos was never so been living the day when each was edited. The well illustrated by Swift, as it might have been if most beautiful flowers grow in clusters. Lucretius, he had taken his examples of it from Addison Catullus, and Calvus, the loss of whose works is alone. What think you of this ?
the greatest that latinity has sustained : then “ Thus Ætna, when in fierce eruption broke,
Virgil, Ovid, Horace, and Cassius of Parma, the Fills heaven with ashes .. and the earth with smoke." next great loss : for desirous as every man must Look now at his Saint Cecilia. The imbecility be to recover the rest of Cicero and Livius, yet he of the first line we will pass over : in the second, perceives that there is enough of them before where is the difference between the voice and the him to judge of their genius quite correctly: the accents ?
remainder would afford him only the same plea
sure as what he enjoys. In the lost poets the sources « Cecilia's name does all our numbers grace, From every pice the tuneful accents fly."
of it are cut off altogether : they can afford us no
delight, and we can render them no justice. What does the word it relate to, in the next?
Johnson. Addison has exhausted your stock. certainly not to the accents, probably not to coice,
Tooke. I had forgotten him again. Since howfor the etery stands in the way.
ever you bring him back to me, I will endeavour “In soaring trebles now it rises high,
to prove that he has exhausted neither my justice And now it sinks and dwells upon the base."
nor my patience. His spelling is villanous: coffyDoctor, I am a dealer in words, a word-fancier ; house, bin (for been), eory, instanc'd, inclin'd. He excuse me then if I premise to you, in the spirit is fond of the word hint, which, as a substantive, of trades and callings, the importance I attach no poet has used, or ever will use. to mine.
“ Music can noble hints impart." Johnson. Let us hear what you have to say What is merely a hint, can hardly be noble. Wisdom is founded on words; on the right application of them.
“The Almighty listens to a tuneful tongue, Tooke. We have two which we use indifferently;
And seems well pleased and courted with a song." on and upon. It appears to me that those who If these lines had been translated from Voltaire, study elegance, by which I always mean precision you would have cried out against his impiety. I and correctness, may give a specimen here. I know not your opinion of Chaucer. would say upon a tower : on the same principle I Johnson. I do not read what I should read with would say on a marsh. There would indeed be no difficulty. barm in saying on a torcer ; but there would be an Tooke. Addison says of him, impropriety in saying upon a marsh;
“In vain he jests in his unpolished strain, whether we are attentive or inattentive, whether And tries to make his readers laugh in vain." we have been a thousand times wrong or never, The verses are a tautology, and the remark an means somewhat high, somewhat to which we ascend. untruth. In his observations on Cowley there is I should speak correctly if I said,“ Doctor Johnson a bold conceit, which I think must have been flew on me,” incorrectly, if I said he fell upon supplied by a better poet. me.” Custom is a rule for everything but contradiction. We have hardly three writers of
“ He more had pleased us had he pleased us less." authority.
This, if it is nonsense, is more like the nonsense Johnson. How! sir ! hardly three! People of of Dryden than of Addison, and is such as conyour cast in politics are fond of vilifying our veys an idea. Here comes hint again. country. Is this your whigship?
“What muse but thine can equal hints inspire." Tooke. Whigship it is indeed : but not mine. To make it English, we must read some other Consider me as holding out a cake of meal and
word than but. honey to appease you, when I bring to lection that the Romans have but one. For
“ And plays in more unbounded verse, &c." however great is the genius of Sallustius and Unbounded has in itself the force of a superlaLivius and Tacitus, faults have been detected in tive, and cannot admit the comparative more. their style by those who could judge better of it On Milton he expresses your sentiments, but not than we can. Almost every elegant verse, almost as you would have expressed them. every harmonious sentence in poetry and prose “O had the poet ne'er profaned his pen among the Romans, was written within half a To varnish o'er the guilt of faithless men, century. The comic Authors were imitators of His other works might have deserved applause, the Greeks : nothing national is to be found in
But now the language can't support the cause." Plautus himself, in whose pieces every sentence Johnson. I confess that here he has reversed bears the impression of its Attic mint. The great the matter, and that his own cause can not supwork of Lucretius and the greater of Ovid were port his language.
Tooke. What has the cause to do with the other work, and that the polish is given by attrition. works? He might forsooth have succeeded in There is no such a thing in existence as a man scenes of grandeur, if he never had written in or a woman; they are turned into persons and defence of the commonwealth. It is indeed time individuals. Nothing is given or granted ; that Addison should“ bridle in his struggling muse.” | everything is accorded. Weapons are out of use;
Johnson. Sir, let us call the ostler and put her but a pistol or a sword is become an arm. into the stable for the night. She has a good Johnson. Very true. And soldiers are not enmany blemishes, and winces more than one camped; they are biv .. biv. Do pronounce the would have suspected from her sleek and fleshy word; you have flexible organs, and can proappearance.
nounce the hardest in Gulliver's Travels. As for Tooke. She gives some indication too of having spelling it, I set the two Universities at defiance. been among the vetches.
Tooke. I hear, Doctor, what anyone may easily Johnson. To be grave on it, metaphor is in- suppose, that your acquaintance is greatly sought applicable to personification.
among the ladies. Now, for their benefit, and Tooke. Hurd is among the most conceited for the gentlemen too who write novels and writers of the present day. He has imitated in romances, I would request you to exert your prose the metaphor so justly ridiculed in these authority in repressing the term our hero. These verses of Addison. In his Dialogue on Sincerity, worthy people seem utterly unaware that the he represents Waller saying, "After a few wanton expression turns their narrative into ridicule. eircles, as it were to breathe and exercise my muse, Even on light and ludicrous subjects, it destroys I drero her in from these amusements to a stricter that illusion which the mind creates to itself in manage."
fiction; and I have often wished it away when I Johnson. His criticisms on others are usually have found it in Fielding's Tom Jones, although sound and sensible. In his manners he is courtly; used jocularly. While we are interested in a but in his language he mistakes vulgarity for story we wish to see nothing of the author or of ease, and inaccuracy for freedom. I remember an ourselves. instance of his employing that word manage am- Johnson. I detest, let me tell you, your diffibiguously. Instead of leaving it French he must culties and exceptions, your frivolity and fastidigive it an English spelling. With an English spel- ousness; I have employed the word myself. You ling it ought to have an English meaning, which it admit one great writer in one language! three or has not, but quite the contrary. His words are, four in another! pray how many do you allow to “ To the Hollanders indeed she could talk big ; Greece? and it was not her humour to manage those over Tooke. I would not interrupt you, Doctor ; whom she had gained an ascendant." Now surely thinking it of all things the most indecorous. this expresses the very reverse of what the learned England has many great writers, Rome has many: prelate wished to say. “Look big” recurs just below: but languages do not retain their purity in the and soon after “much indevoted to the court,” and hands even of these. Whenever I think of Greece, “ misconceived of,” and a great means of the hierar- I think with astonishment and
for the ehical greatness." Means is plural. “ To both your language and the nation seem indestructible. Long satisfactions :” for “ to the satisfaction of you both.” before Homer, and from Homer to Epictetus, Since you have mentioned Dryden, let me remark there must have been an uninterrupted series of to you that his spelling is negligent. He writes admirable authors, although we have lost the look'd, traduc'd, describ'd, supply'd, assur'd, polish'd, earliest of them, both before the poet and after. ciriliz'd. In his preface to the translation of the For no language can hold its breath one whole Pastorals, we find “Is there anything more sparkish century: it becomes, if not extinct, very defective and better humour'd than Venus her addressing and corrupted, if no great writer fosters it and her son, &c.” And he spells icicle's "ycicles.” gives it exercise in that period. What a variety " Are these the limbs for ycicles to tear."
of beauty, what a prodigality and exuberance of
it in the Greek! Even in its last age it exists in Tooke. He is rather to be followed in his cou'd all its freshness. The letter which the mother of and wou'd and shou’d; because so it is, and so it Saint Chrysostom addressed to that enthusiast in was then, pronounced. Addison too has written his youth, is far more eloquent, far more powerful the same words in the same manner. I wish he in thought and sentiment, than anything in had sanctioned by his authority more of our Xenophon or Plato. That it is genuine cannot usages, and older and better. But our vicious be doubted; for it abounds in tenderness, which spelling, and everything else that is vicious in saints never do, and is concise, which Chrysostom language, is likely to deepen ; for every fresh is not. shoal of novelists raises up some muddiness and Johnson. Greece ought to be preserved and wriggles against some weed. Of all the absur- guarded by the rulers of the world, as a cabinet of dities that ever were compressed into one word, gems, open and belonging to them all. Whatever surely the greatest is in the word chiselled when is the fate of other countries, whatever changes applied to features. If they who employ it mean may be introduced, whatever laws imposed, whatto signify a fineness and delicacy, let them be ever tributes exacted, she should preserve her taught that the chisel does only the rougher lineaments uneffaced. Her ancient institutions and magistracies should be sanctioned to her, in | into the House of Commons. Nothing is fitted to gratitude for the inestimable blessings she has the hands of a king's minister but what is placed conferred on us. There is no more danger that in them by a member of that houourable house. republicanism would be contagious from it, than They take my money, which serves them little, from a medal of Cimon or Epaminondas. To while my advice, which might do some good, they Greece is owing the conversation we hold together; would reject disdainfully. As where there is to Greece is owing the very city in which we hold omniscience there is omnipotence, so wisdom (we it; its wealth, its power, its equity; its liberality. seem to think) is always in proportion to power. These are among her earlier benefits: her later A great man feels no want of it; and faulty arguare not less. We owe to her the better part of ments are only to be discovered through a hole that liturgy by which the divine wrath (let us in the dress. hope) may be averted from the offences of our Johnson. If your observations were always as just prosperity.
and your arguments as innocent, I never should Tooke. I would rather see this regeneration, decline your conversation ; but, on the contrary, I than Viscount Corinth or Marquis Lacedæmon; should solicit from you a catalogue of such pecuthan conduct to her carriage the Duchess (Eno- liarities and defects, as a profound insight into anda, or even than dance with Lady Ogygia or our language, and a steady investigation of its Lady Peribcea. We mayexpect the worthy baronet, irregularities and intricacies, have enabled you to Sir Acamas Erechthyoniades, High Sheriff of remark. Mycenæ, if more fashionable systems should pre- Tooke. And now, Doctor Johnson, you are at vail, to be created Lord Lieutenant and Custos last in good-humour, I hope to requite your conRotulorum of that county.
descension by an observation more useful than any Johnson. How much better and how much I have yet submitted to you. Annibal Caracci, easier is it, to remove the dirt and rubbish from I know not whether in advice or in reproof, said around this noble statue, and to fix on it again to a scholar, What you do not understand you must the arm that is broken off and lies under it, than darken. Are not we also of the Bologna school, to carve it anew into some Gothic form, and to set my dear Doctor? Do not we treat men and things it up in the weedy garden of an ignorant and in general as Caracci would have the canvas drunken neighbour.
treated? What we can not so well manage or Tooke. The liberation of Greece is the heirloom comprehend, we throw into a corner or into outer of our dreams, and comes not under the cognis- darkness. I do not hate, believe me, nor dislike ance even of imagination when awake. To sup- you for your politics : whatever else they prove, pose that she could resist the power of Turkey one they prove your constancy and disinterestedness. year, would be to suppose her more valiant and Nor do I supplicate you for a single one more of heroic than she ever was. If this were possible, those kind glances which you just now vouchsafed the most despotic governments, the most friendly me. The fixedness of your countenance, frowning to her enslaver, the most indifferent to glory, the as it is, shows at least that you attend to me, which, most deaf to honour, the very dead to Christianity, from a man of your estimation in the world, is no would lend an arm to support and save her. slight favour. Contented as I ought to be with Nothing could be more politic, for England in it, I would yet entreat for others in the same conparticular, than to make her what Rhodes was dition, that you may be pleased to consider those formerly, what Malta should now be, equipped if writers whose sentiments are unpopular, as men not for the faith, equipped and always under sail walking away spontaneously from the inviting against piracy; and religion would not induce her, paths of Fortune, and casting up the sum of an as it would the knights of those islands, to favour account which is never to be paid or presented. the Catholics in case of war.
Johnson. I did not think there was so much Johnson. Here our political views converge. wisdom in you. Publish your thoughts; proclaim them openly ; Tooke. Nor was there until this conversation such as these you may.
and this strong hand created it. Tooke. It would cost me three thousand pounds Johnson. How ! have I then shaken hands with to give them the requisite weight; and I believe him? and so heartily? there are some other impediments to my entrance
CAVALIERE PUNTOMICHINO AND MR. DENIS EUSEBIUS TALCRANAGH. The Cavaliere Puntomichino was the last re- | ing our best authors, and wondering (as he inpresentative of an ancient family. He was an formed me) at one thing only, which is, that honest and rich man; so that, when his intention there could really be in the whole human race so was understood at Florence of travelling to Eng- prodigious a diversity, as he found in almost every land, it excited suspicion in some, and surprise in five men he conversed with in our metropolis. all; for Italians of that description were seldom “I have often observed,” said he, "more variety known to have crossed the Channel. He went in a single household than I believe to exist in however, and remained there several years, read all Italy.”
He never had about him the slightest taint of | there was seated at the window a young gentleman affectation ; yet became he singular, and glaringly of easy manners and fashionable appearance, Mr. 50, at his first introduction to the academy of La Denis Eusebius Talcranagh, of Castle-Talcranagh Crusca. For he asserted three paradoxes: first, that and of Skurrymore-Park, county Down, and first no sentence or speech in a comedy should exceed cousin, as he informed me, of Lord Cowslipmead, a fair sheet in octavo; secondly, that no witticism of Dove's-nest-Hall, county Meath, a great fireshould be followed by an explanation, in the dia- eater. I bowed : on which he fancied that I had logue, of more than two pages; and thirdly, that known his lordship intimately. On my confessing Shakspeare had nearly or quite as much genius the contrary, he appeared surprised.
“ You as Goldoni. Henceforward he was a worthy man, must however have heard something,"continued but an oddity. His claim to the literary charac- he, “in your earlier days, of Sir Roderic James ter I shall forbear to discuss; although I have O'Rowran, my uncle, who, whenever he entered many papers, not indeed of his own writing, but an inn with his friends, placed himself at the addressed to him by others, some of which go so head of the table, and cried, Whiskey and far as to call him a nightingale, some a great pistols for eight !'” doctor, some an eagle, some a phoenix, some a sun, It was now my turn to be mortified, and I could and one both a sun and a phoenix. But this last only reply that there were many men of merit was written by a rival of him who wrote the pre-whom it had never been my fortune to know. ceding; and therefore its accuracy may be sus- Then, sir,” said he, “ten guineas to one you pected, and it was declared by the academy, never were in Ireland in your life ; for you must after three sittings, to be more ingenious than have known him if you had met him, whether you correct.
would or not." His sedentary life had been unfriendly to his There was an infinity of good humour in Mr. health, and he was seized in the beginning of this Talcranagh ; and if his ideas were not always perwinter with repeated and severe attacks in the spicuous, they often came forth with somewhat of breast. As he had inherited a good property, and prismatic brilliancy. He acknowledged a predihad collected many rare books, all the canonics lection for the writers of his own country, “which," and professors began to write tributes, monodies, he said, “we authors are not apt to do." I then elegies, muse plangentes, Etruriæ luctus, and con- discovered that I had been conversing with a solations to his heir, no very distant relative, literary man, who had published an imperial folio whose brother in the time of the French govern- of eleven pages on the Irish Wolf-dog. ment had been hanged for a robbery at the age “I sold my copies,” said he, "and bought a of eighteen. He himself was in the galleys at tilbury and a leash of setters. And now, sir, if Pisa for the murder of his father-in-law, who had ever you should print anything, take my advice : educated him and had promised to leave him his cuts in wood or cuts in stone, and a black-letter estate. On the death of the Cavaliere, it was fore- title-page, for your life! I did it, without a knowseen that he, too late indeed for his happiness and ledge of printer or publisher ... to be sure, I was sensibility, would be found innocent of an offence, master of my subject, which goes a great way; and for which the French laws in their precipitancy then indeed I had a pair of extraordinary capital had condemned him. The proofs of this inno- buckskins, which, it is true, began to carry on the cence were produced, the patron found, the sum surface, as Southey says of Flemish scenery, stipulated, when the Cavaliere died. On opening
*A grey and willowy hue,' the will, it appeared that he had destined his property to the maintenance of soldiers' widows, and but I found a fellow in Cockspur-street who prothe redemption of slaves from Barbary. Diavoli ! cured me a favourable criticism for them. I and cazzo! and cappari! and Bacco! tripped up went no further in expenditure, although Valpy and exploded the Muses and Etruria. Rosini, the was constantly at the heels of my groom Honorius,
Pisan professor, their choregus, who, printer no pressing him also to write a criticism on the Wolf| less than professor and poet, had already struck off dogof Erin for the Classical Journal; since I from
his Lamentation, spoke more calmly and reason- ignorance of custom was too proud to do it; and ably than the rest, saying manfully, “ Gabriel, take assuring him that, look as he might, and shake down those sheets in papal quarto, and throw them his head as he would, he was no Jew, and would
upon the Codes of Napoleon : the thing won't do." do the thing reasonably. Sir," added Mr. Tal| The expected and expecting heir was accused of cranagh smartly, “are you a friend to dogs ?”
falsifying the evidences; and fresh severities were “A thousand thanks to you, Mr. Talcranagh,” added, for his attempts to corrupt justice. cried I, " for asking me a question at last which I
Let me now revert to my first acquaintance with can answer in the affirmative. There is a sort of the Cavaliere. I never in my life accepted a letter freemasonry among us, I verily believe ; for no of introduction, nor ever expressed a wish, what-dog, except a cur, a pug, or a turnspit, ever barks ever I might have felt, for any man's society. By at me; they and children love me universally. I some accident this peculiarity was mentioned to have more than divided empire : these form the Puntomichino, and he called on me immediately. best part of the world.” “ Add the women," Returning his visit, I found him in the library : shouted he aloud,“ and here is my hand for you.” several English books were upon the table, and We saluted cordially.
"Indeed,” said I," Mr. Talcranagh, you have stone. We have nothing now to give ! no, not reason to be proud of your countrywomen, for even a bunch of roses to our Protectress over the their liveliness, their beauty, and their genius. gate . . . mercy upon us ! Until this unproducThe book before us, by Miss Edgeworth, which tive season we have always paid our rent: we are you were looking into, abounds in philosophy and now thirty crowns in arrears. We went to the patriotism ; there is nothing of commonplace, good old lady; she shook her head, and said she nothing of sickly sentiment, nothing of insane would do what she could for us, but that her son enthusiasm. I read warily; and whenever I find managed, and he already knew the case. On the writings of a lady, the first thing I do, is to hearing this they will tell you, as they told me, cast my eyes along her pages, to see whether I am their courage forsook them, groans burst simullikely to be annoyed by the traps and spring-guns taneously from every breast, desperation seized of interjections, or if any French or Italian is the adult and vigorous, agony the aged and infirm, sprinkled on the surface; and if I happen to espy and the first articulate sounds they uttered, were, them, I do not leap the paling. In these volumes O God! there is none to help us !' An EnglishI see much to admire, and nothing that goads or man of stern countenance came up at the beginworries me into admiration.”
ning of the narration : he looked at me with “Gentlemen," said the Cavaliere, “I am as defiance, and seemed to say internally, ‘be off.? warm an admirer of the Irish ladies in their As they continued to speak, he closed his lips authorship as either of you, and perhaps if one of more strongly; the muscles of his jaw trembled them, lately here in Florence, had consulted me more and more ; he opened his eyes wider ; I on a few matters and persons, I could have ren- heard every breath of air he drew into his nostrils; dered her some service by setting her right. he clenched his fist, stamped with his heel into Travellers are profuse of praise and censure in the turf; cried, “What can this cursed slave do proportion as they have been civilly or indecor. here ?' and throwing down a card of address, ously received, not inquiring nor caring whether without a thought of their incapacity to read it, the account be quite correct, if the personages of Venite da me, cried he, in an accent rather like whom they write he of celebrity : for censure no fury than invitation. He walked away rapidly: less than praise requires a subject of notoriety. the wind was in his face : I saw something white Many English and Irish court a stranger of rank blown over his shoulder at intervals till he reached in this city, who did not even put on mourning the Porta San Gallo. at the decease of his wife's brother, Napoleon, “ There may formerly have been a virtuous or a though he owed to him the highest of his distinc- brave citizen in the family so extolled, and indeed tions, and the greater part of his unwieldy fortune. in what family has there not been, earlier or later? He suffered to die here, imprisoned for debt, a but if those who now compose it are called Russels, woman once lovely, generous, and confiding; who with equal right may the cast horses of a sandcart had ruined herself to make her house appear be called Bucephaluses. Strangers are disposed worthy of his reception. At the moment when to consider us the vilest and most contemptible she was breathing her last, in silence, in solitude, race in Europe ; and they must appear to have in want of sustenance, his palace resounded with reason on their side, if such creatures are taken music, with dances, with applauses to archducal for the best of us. Not a single one of these guests and their magnificent entertainer. The flaming patriots ever subscribed a farthing to aid sum expended on that night's revelry would have the Spaniards or the Greeks, nor in furtherance released her from captivity, and would have of any agricultural or other useful association in rescued her from death. Our fair traveller does their own country. Allowing to the Russel of the not mention this : but did she not know it? She Bologna-road all his merits, I insist for the honour has spoken of our patriots : what were they doing? of my native place that no inhabitant of it, be his They were contented to act in the character of condition what it may, has fewer: I do not debuffoons before the court.
press the one, nor will I suffer the other to be “Do you wish a little anecdote of the Florentine depressed. Patriotism has here a different meanRussel, as she called the man? Go half a mile up ing from what it has in England. A patriot, with the road to Bologna, and you will probably see us, is a man who is unfriendly to any established before their cottage a family of thirteen, in tears. government, and who, while he flatters a native Ask them why they weep : they will inform you prince, courts over an invader. His only grierthat our Russel, who administers and manages ances are, to pay taxes for the support, and to carry the estates and affairs of his father, has given arms for the defence, of his country. He would them notice to quit their vineyard. Ask them loosen the laws as impediments to the liberty of for what reason. They will reply, “we are thirteen action, with a reserve of those which secure to him in number; God has willed it. Some of us are too the fruits of rapine and confiscation : those are old, others too young, for work: our family has provident and conservative, and enthroned in lived upon this little plot for many generations : light by the philanthropy of the age. Hospitality many a kind soul, now in Paradise, has drawn water is the virtue of barbarians ..." from this well for the thirsty traveller : many a “Blood and hounds !” cried indignantly my one has given the fig off his bread at noon, to the young friend, “I would ask him, whoever he is, woman labouring with child, and resting on that whether that was meant for me. If there is bar