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proper course to be pursued in the education of youth.
In the instruction of so small a number of pupils as were under his care, his leisure, of course, was, at this time, considerable, and we find him diligently employed in the composition of his tragedy of Irene ; with which Mr Walmsley was so well pleased, that he advised him to proceed in it. It is founded upon an affecting passage in Knolles “ History of the Turks *; a neglected book which he afterwards highly praised and recommended in the Rambler.
Among other neglected books to which he resorted for entertainment and relaxation, he had recourse, in the range of his desultory reading, to Burton's " Anatomy of Melancholy;" a book of multifarious and recondite learning; of which he has been heard to say, “ that
* Two tragedies, founded on this story, had already been produced by English writers ; “ The Unhappy Fair Irene," by Gilbert Swinhoe, Esq. printed at London, 4to, 1658, and “ Irene, or the Fair Greek,” by Charles Goring, Esq. acted at Drury-Lane Theatre, and printed at London, 410, 1708.
“ it was the only book that ever took him out of his bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise.”
Disappointed in his expectation of deriving. subsistence from the establishment of a boarding school, in which he persevered about ja year and a half, he now thought of trying his fortune in London, the great field of genius and exertion, where talents of every kind have the fullest scope, and the highest encouragement. 1 . On the 2d of March 1737, being the 28th year of his age, he set out for London; and it is a memorable circumstance, that his pupil Garrick went thither at the same time, with intention to complete his education, and follow the profession of the law. They were recommended to the Reverend Mr Colson, master of the mathematical school at Rochester *, by a letter from Mr Walmsley, who mentions the joint expedition of these two eminent men to the metropolis, in the following manner :
,* Afterwards Lucasian professor at Cambridge.
. “ This young gentleman, and another neighbour of mine, one Mr Samuel Johnson, set out this morning for London together. Davy Garrick is to be with you early the next week, and Mr Johnson, to try his fate with a tragedy, and to see to get himself employed in some translation, either from the Latin or the French. Johnson is a very good scholar and poet, and I have great hopes will turn out a fine tragedy writer.”
How he employed himself upon his first coming to London, is not certainly known. His first lodgings were at the house of Mr Norris, a stay-maker in Exeter Street, in the Strand. Here he found it necessary to practise the most rigid economy. His Ofellus in the Art of Living in London, is a real character of an Irish painter, whom he knew at Birmingham, who initiated him in the art of living cheaply in London; “ a man of a great deal of knowledge of the world, fresh from life, not strained through books."
Unfortunately, the precepts of his frugal friend could not prevent the slender stock of money that he set out with from being exhausted. Garrick was also “ beginning to be in want.” In this extremity, Sir John Hawkins relates, that “ the two young men, travellers from the same place," obtained credit from Mr Wilcox, a bookseller of eminence in the Strand; who « was so moved with their artless tale, that, on their joint note, he advanced them all that their modesty would permit them to ask (five pounds), which was soon after punctually repaid *." On this occasion, Mr Wilcox asked Johnson, “ How do you mean to earn your livelihood in this town ?** • By my literary labours," was the answer, Mr Wilcox eyed his robust frame attentively, and, with a significant look, said, “ You had better buy a porter's knot.” Johnson used to tell this anecdote to Mr Nichols; but he said, « Wilcox was one of my best friends."
Soon after his arrival in London, he renewed his acquaintance with the Honourable Henry Hervey, connected by marriage with
* Hawkins's Life, &c. p. 43.
the Astons of Lichfield. At the house of this early friend he had an opportunity of meeting genteel company, and was frequently entertained, with a kindness and hospitality of which he ever afterwards retained a warm remembrance. ini,in!! !;:
He had now, written three acts of his tragedy of Irene, and he retired for some time to lodgings at Greenwich, where he proceeded in, it somewhat farther, and used to compose walking in the Park; but he did not stay long enough in that place to finish it. .? * At this period he wished to engage more closely with Mr Cave; and proposed to him, in a letter dated “. Greenwich, next door to the Golden Heart; Church Street, July 12, 1737," to undertake a new translation of Father Paul Sarpi $ History of the Council of Trent, from the Italian,, with large notes from the French version of Dr Le Courayer, which, he presumed, could not fail of a favourable reception." If it be answered,” he says," that the history is already in English, it must be remembered, that there is the same objection