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On the loss of friends — by death; by his own fault or friend's.
On the unexpected notice of the death of others.
Prayer commonly considered as a stated and temporary duty — performed and forgotten - without any effect on the following day. Prayer
SCEPTICISM CAUSED BY
11. Omission of prayer and religious exercises. - Oct. 31. 1784.”
637. Burke and Johnson. (1) In the vicissitudes of twenty-seven years, no estrangement occurred to interrupt their mutual admiration and regard. Burke followed Johnson to the grave as a mourner; and in contemplating his character, applied to it a fine passage from Cicero, which might equally suit his own :
- Intentum enim animum quasi arcum habebat, nec languescens succumbebat senectuti. When some one censured Johnson's general rudeness in society, he replied with equal consideration and truth, “ It is well, when a man comes to die, if he has nothing worse to accuse himself of than some harshness in conversation.”
(1) (From “ Prior's Life of Burke."]
-Boswell. (1) “ Savage,” said Dr. Adam Smith, was but a worthless fellow; his pension of fifty pounds never lasted him above a few days. As a sample of his economy, you may take a circumstance that Johnson himself told me.
It was, at that period, fashionable wear scarlet cloaks trimmed with gold lace: the Doctor met him one day, just after he had received his pension, with one of these cloaks upon his back, while, at the same time, his naked toes were peeping through his shoes.” “ Boswell was my relative by his mother, who was a daughter of Colonel Erskine, of the Alva family, descended from our common ancestor, John Earl of Marr, governor to Henry Prince of Wales, and Lord Treasurer of Scotland. In consequence of a letter he wrote me I desired him to call at Mr. Pitt's, and took care to be with him when he was in troduced. Mr. Pitt was then in the Duke of Grafton's house in Great Bond Street. Boswell came in the Corsican dress and presented a letter from Paoli. Lord Chatham smiled, but received him very graciously in his pompous manner. Boswell had genius, but wanted ballast to counteract his whim. He preferred being a showman to keeping a shop of his own.” (Endorsed on a letter from Boswell to Lord Buchan, dated Jan. 5. 1767.)
639. “ A respectable Man." (2) Mr. Barclay, from his connection with Mr. Thrale, had several opportunities of meeting and conversing with Dr. Johnson. On his becoming a partner in the
(1) (From the Buchan MSS., in the possession of Mr. Upcott.] (2), [This and
the two following were communicated to Mr. Markland, by Robert Barclay, Esq., of Bury Hill, Dorking. This excellent man died in 1831.]
brewery, Johnson advised him not to allow his commercial pursuits to divert his attention from his studies. “A mere literary man,” said the Doctor, “ is a dull man; a man who is solely a man of business is a selfish man; but when literature and commerce are united, they make a respectable man.” (1)
640. Johnson at Mr. Thrale's. Mr. Barclay had never observed any rudeness or violence on the part of Johnson. He has seen Boswell lay down his knife and fork, and take out his tablets, in order to register a good anecdote. When Johnson proceeded to the dining-room, one of Mr. Thrale's servants handed him a wig of a smarter description than the one he wore in the morning; the exchange took place in the hall, or passage. Johnson, like many other men, was always in much better humour after dinner than before.
641. “ An old Man's Blessing.” Mr. Barclay saw Johnson ten days before he died, when the latter observed, “ That they should never meet more. Have you any objection to receive an old man's blessing ?” Mr. Barclay knelt down, and Johnson gave him his blessing with great fervency.
642. “ Honest Whigs.” The following scrap is picked out of Cole's volumi. nous collections in the British Museum. in the shape of a note to his transcript of a Tour through England, in 1735, written by John Whaley, Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Mr. Whaley says: “ October 3., being the day of swearing in the
(1) [This advice will be found to accord pretty closely with Johnson's epitaph on Mr. Thrale :
« Domi inter mille mercanturæ negotia, literarum elegantiam minime neglexit.” MARKLAND.]
mayor of Shrewsbury, we were invited by Sir Richard Corbet, the new mayor, to dinner; which we did with much pleasure, as finding a large collection of honest Whigs met together in Shropshire.” Cole writes on this:
“A very extraordinary meeting truly! I was told by Mr. Farmer, the present master of Emanuel College, that he, being in London last year  with Mr. Arnold, tutor in St. John's College, was desired to in. troduce the latter, who had been bred a Whig, to the acquaintance of the very learned and sensible Dr. Samuel Johnson. They had not been long together, before (the conversation leading to it) the Doctor, addressing himself to Mr. Arnold, said, “ Sir! you are a young man, but I have seen a great deal of the world, and take it upon my word and experience, that where you see a Whig, you see a rascal!” Mr. Fariner said, he was startled, and rather uneasy, that the Doctor had expressed himself so bluntly, and was apprehensive that Mr. Arnold might be shocked and take it ill. But they laughed it off, and were very good company.
I have lived all my life among this faction, and am in general much disposed to subscribe to the Doctor's opinion. Whatever this honest collection of Salopian Whigs may have been on the whole, I am as well satisfied, as of any thing I know, that there was one rascal, duly and truly, in the company.-W. Cole, June 26. 1775."
643. Johnson and Foote. (1) Johnson and Foote, though both men of wit and strong sense, showed these qualities in different ways. The first was grave and sarcastical ; the other was the meteor of the moment, who possessed every species of wit and humour, and could command them at will. Johnson never condescended to be the buffoon, and was
(1) (This and the two following are from Cooke's “ Life of Foote," 3 vols, 12mo. 1805.]
not always ready at retort. Foote never failed; and rather than be out of laugh, could put on the motley coat with pleasure, and strut in it with as much pride as in his most refined sallies of conversation. This contrariety of talent and inclinations kept these two geniuses from a personal acquaintance for a long time, though they perfectly understood each other's character, and associated occasionally with the common friends of both.
644. Johnson's Recitation of Poetry. Dr. Johnson read serious and sublime poetry with great gravity and feeling. In the recital of prayers and religious poems he was awfully impressive, and his memory served him upon those occasions with great readiness. One night at the club, a person quoting the nineteenth psalm, the Doctor caught fire; and, instantly taking off his hat, began with great solemnity,
“ The spacious firmament on high,” &c. and went through that beautiful hymn. Those who were acquainted with the Doctor, knew how harsh his features in general were ; but, upon this occasion, to use the language of Scripture, “ his face was almost as if it had been the face of an angel.”
645. Johnson in Garrick's Library. On Garrick's showing Johnson a magnificent library full of books in most elegant bindings, the Doctor began running over the volumes in his usual rough and negligent manner; which was, by opening the book so wide as almost to break the back of it, and then flung them down one by one on the floor with contempt. “ Zounds,” said Garrick, “ why, what are you about ? you'll spoil all my books.” No, Sir,” replied Johnson, “ I have done nothing but treat a pack of silly plays in fops' dresses just as they deserve; but I see no books."