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of liberty; and so I made this epigram upon her. She was the loveliest creature I ever saw !
Liber ut esse velim, suasisti, pulchra Maria;
Of this epigram, Mrs Piozzi, Mr Joddrel, and Mr Boswell, among others, have offered translations. The following version is given by Mr Joddrell:
When first Maria’s soft persuasive strain
In December 1731 his father died, in the 79th year of his age, in very narrow circumstances; for, after providing for his mother, that portion of the effects which fell to his share amounted only to twenty pounds. This appears by a note in one of his diaries, of
* Anecdotes, p. 157.
the following year, which is remarkable for his early resolution to preserve through life a fair and upright character * " I now, therefore, see that I must make my own fortune ; meanwhile, let me take care, that the powers of my mind may not be debilitated by poverty, and that indigence do not force me into any criminal act."
In the forlorn state of his circumstances he accepted the employment of usher in the school of Market-Bosworth in Leicestershire, to which he went on foot, July 16, 1732. He resided in the house of Sir Woolston Dixie, the patron of the school, to whom he officiated as a kind of domestic chaplain, and who treated him with intolerable harshness. His employment was irksome to bim in every respect; and after suffering for a few months, “ complicated misery,” he relinquished a situation which he
* 1732, Junii 15. Undecim aureos deposui, quo die quicquid ante matris funus (quod serum sit precor) de paternis bonis sperare licet, viginti scilicet libras, accepi. Usque adeo mihi fortuna fingenda est. Interea, ne paupertate vires animi languescant, nec in dagitia egestas abigat, cavendum. .
ever afterwards remembered with the strongest aversion, and even recollected with a degree of horror,
Being now again totally unoccupied, he was invited by his school-fellow Mr Hector, now settled as a surgeon at Birmingham, to pass some time with him there, as his guest, at the house of Mr Warren, a bookseller, with whom he lodged. Mr Warren was very attentive to Johnson; and obtained the assistance of his pen, in furnishing some periodical essays in a newspaper of which he was proprietor. These early specimens, of a species of composition by which he afterwards became distinguished, it would be desirable to see; but they are no longer in existence.
In June 1783 he resided in the house of a Mr Jarvis, in another part of that town, where he translated and abridged, from the French of the Abbé le Grand, a Voyage to Abyssinia, written originally by Jerome Lobo, a Portuguese Jesuit, employed in the East India mission at Goa. To Lobo's Voyage, which contains a narrative of the unsuccessful en
deavours of a company of Portuguese missionaries to unite the people of Abyssinia to the church of Rome, Le Grand added an account of the final expulsion of the Jesuits from that country; and fifteen Dissertations on the history, religion, government, &c. of Abyssinia. For this work, in the progress of which Mr Hector was occasionally his amanuensis and corrector of the press, Johnson had from Mr Warren only five guineas. The book was poorly printed, on a very bad paper, in Birmingham, with a Preface, and a Dedication, in the name of the bookseller, to John Warren, Esq. of Pembrokeshire, and published by Bettesworth and Hitch, Paternoster Row, London, 8vo, 1735, without the translator's name *. It is remarkable as the first prose work of Johnson, and as it contains a relation of the discovery of the fountains of the Nile, a century and a half before our adventurous countryman Mr Bruce endured so many dan
* History of the Works of the Learned, for March 1735
gers and fatigues to explore its sources *. The translation exhibits no specimen of elegance , neither is it marked by any character of style, which would lead to a discovery of the translator from an acquaintance with his latter productions; but the Preface and Dedication contain strong and not unfavourable specimens of that elegance of construction, and harmony of cadence, which he afterwards adopted. · In February 1784 he returned to Lichfield; and in August following published proposals for printing, by subscription, an edition of the Latin poems of Politian, Angeli Politiani Poe
* The researches of Dr Murray, the learned editor of “ Bruce's Travels,” have ascertained, that our coun. tryman was not anticipated in the discovery of the head of the Nile by Lobo, but by Pedro Paez; whose description of its sources was published by Kircher and Isaac Vossius, and copied by Lobo. See “ Life of Bruce,” &c.
+ There was perhaps no great room for elegance in a faithful translation of a simple narrative; but a superior skill and judgment are displayed by the manner in which he has abridged some theological dissertations annexed thereto by Le Grand. BISHOP PERCY.