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That holds the wisdom of a thousand ages,
The world is wondrous fond of something new:
Say who shall lose their ears, and who shall hang;
To charm through every leaf the eager eye.
Let Lord Mac Donald threat thy breech to kick (o),
The fiddling knight (3), and tuneful Mrs. Thrale,
(1) A club, mostly composed of learned ladies, to which Mr. B. was admitted.
(2) A letter of severe remonstrance was sent to Mr. B., who in consequence omitted, in the second edition of his Journal, what is so generally pleasing to the public, viz. the scandalous passages relative to this nobleman.
(3) Sir John Hawkins, who (as well as Mrs. Thrale, now Madame Piozzi) threatens us with the Life of the late lexicographer.
Snatch up the pen (as thirst of fame inspires!)
What though against thee porters bounce the door (1),
That given to printer's devils (a precious load!)
Fly to thy fertile genius and invent:
Like old Voltaire, who placed his greatest glory,
In cooking up an entertaining story;
Who laugh'd at Truth, whene'er her simple tongue
O! whilst amid the anecdotic mine,
Find when he eat, and drank, and cough'd, and sneezed
On tales, however strange, impose thy claw;
(1) This is literally true- Nobody is at home. Our great people want the taste to relish Mr. Boswell's vehicles to immortality. Though in Lon don, poor Bozzy is in a desert.
(2) In Fleet Street, where the Doctor lived and died
Sam's nods, and winks, and laughs, will form a treat;
Bless'd be thy labours, most adventurous Bozzy,
Heavens with what laurels shall thy head be crown'd!
As Mr. Boswell's Journal has afforded such universal pleasure by the relation of minute incidents, and the great moralist's opinion of men and things, during his northern tour; it will be adding greatly to the anecdotical treasury, as well as making Mr. B. happy, to communicate part of a dialogue that took place between Dr. Johnson and the author of this Congratulatory Epistle, a few months before the Doctor paid the great debt of nature. The Doctor was very cheerful on that day; had on a black coat and waistcoat, a black plush pair of breeches, and black worsted stockings; a handsome grey wig, a shirt, a muslin neckcloth, a black pair of buttons in his shirt sleeves, a pair of shoes ornamented with the very identical little buckles that accompanied the philosopher to the Hebrides; his nails were very neatly pared, and his beard fresh shaved with a razor fabricated by the ingenious Mr. Savigny.
P. P. Pray, Doctor, what is your opinion of Mr. Boswell's literary powers?
Johnson. Sir, my opinion is, that whenever Bozzy expires, he will create no vacuum in the region of literature- he seems strongly affected by the cacoethes scribendi; wishes to be thought a rara avis; and in truth so he is your knowledge in ornithology, Sir, will easily discover to what species of bird I al lude. [Here the Doctor shook his head and laughed
P. P. What think you, Sir, of his account of Corsica?— of his character of Paoli?
Johnson. Sir, he hath made a mountain of a wart. But Paoli has virtues. The account is a farrago of disgusting egotism and pompous inanity.
P. P. I have heard it whispered, Doctor, that, should you die before him, Mr. B. means to write your life.
Johnson. Sir, he cannot mean me so irreparable an injury. - Which of us shall die first, is only known to the great Disposer of events; but were I sure that James Boswell would write my life, I do not know whether I would not anticipate the measure, by taking his. [Here he made three or four strides across the room, and returned to his chair with violent emotion.] P. P. I am afraid that he means to do you the favour. Johnson. He dares not he would make a scarecrow of me. I give him liberty to fire his blunderbuss in his own face, but not to murder me. Sir, I heed not his autos epa. Boswell write my life! why the fellow possesses not abilities for writing he life of an ephemeron.
No. V. INSCRIPTION ON A CARICATURE OF JOHNSON AND MADAME PIOZZI, BY SAYERS. (1)
Madam (my debt to nature paid),
I thought the grave with hallow'd shade
Would now protect my name:
Yet there in vain I seek repose,
First, Boswell, with officious care,
(1) [From the European Magazine.J
Sir John with nonsense strew'd my hearse,
When Streatham spread its plenteous board,
Good things I said, good things I eat,
If obligations still I owed,
You sold each item to the crowd,
I suffer'd by the tale:
For God's sake, Madam, let me rest,
No. I. BRIEF MEMOIR OF BOSWELL, BY EDMOND MALONE, ESQ. (1)
JAMES BOSWELL, Esq. eldest son of Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck, one of the judges in the supreme courts of session and justiciary in Scotland, was born at Edinburgh, October 29. 1740, and received his
(1) [From Nichol's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, vol. ii. p. 400.]