Imatges de pàgina

That holds the wisdom of a thousand ages,
And frightens all his workmen, and his pages!
O Bozzy, still thy tell-tale plan pursue:

The world is wondrous fond of something new:
And, let but Scandal's breath embalm the page,
It lives a welcome guest from age to age.
Not only say who breathes an arrant knave,
But who hath sneaked a rascal to his
Make o'er his turf (in Virtue's cause) a rout,
And, like a damned good Christian, pull him out.
Without a fear on families harangue,

Say who shall lose their ears, and who shall hang;
Thy brilliant brain conjecture can supply,

To charm through every leaf the eager eye.
The blue-stocking (1) society describe,
And give thy comment on each joke and gibe:
Tell what the women are, their wit, their quality,
And dip them in thy streams of immortality!

Let Lord Mac Donald threat thy breech to kick (o),
And o'er thy shrinking shoulders shake his stick;
Treat with contempt the menace of this lord,
'Tis History's province, Bozzy, to record.
Though Wilkes abuse thy brain, that airy mill,
And swear poor Johnson murdered by thy quill;
What's that to thee? Why, let the victim bleed
Thy end is answer'd, if the nation read.

The fiddling knight (3), and tuneful Mrs. Thrale,
Who frequent hobbed or nobbed with Sam, in ale,

(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!)
To write his jokes and stories by their fires;
Then why not thou each joke and tale enrol,
Who, like a watchful cat before a hole,
Full twenty years (inflamed with letter'd pride)
Didst mousing sit before Sam's mouth so wide,
To catch as many scraps as thou wert able-
very Lazarus at the rich man's table?

What though against thee porters bounce the door (1),
And bid thee hunt for secrets there no more;
With pen and ink so ready at thy coat,
Exciseman-like, each syllable to note,

That given to printer's devils (a precious load!)
On wings of print comes flying all abroad!
Watch then the venal valets-smack the maids,
And try with gold to make them rogues and jades :
Yet should their honesty thy bribes resent,

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
Would snatch amusement from a tale or song.

O! whilst amid the anecdotic mine,
Thou labour'st hard to bid thy hero shine,
Run to Bolt Court (2), exert thy Curl-like soul,
And fish for golden leaves from hole to hole :

Find when he eat, and drank, and cough'd, and sneezed
Let all his motions in thy book be squeezed:

On tales, however strange, impose thy claw;
Yes, let thy amber lick up every straw;

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(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;
For all that breathes of Johnson must be great!

Bless'd be thy labours, most adventurous Bozzy,
Bold rival of Sir John, and Dame Piozzi;

Heavens with what laurels shall thy head be crown'd!
A grove, a forest, shall thy ears surround!
Yes! whilst the Rambler shall a comet blaze,
And gild a world of darkness with his rays,
Thee too, that world, with wonderment, shall hail,
A lively, bouncing cracker at his tail!


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.


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,
My friends each little fault disclose,
And murder Johnson's fame.

First, Boswell, with officious care,
Show'd me as men would show a bear,
And call'd himself my friend;

(1) [From the European Magazine.J

Sir John with nonsense strew'd my hearse,
And Courteney pester'd me with verse;
You torture without end.

When Streatham spread its plenteous board,
I open'd Learning's valued hoard,
And as I feasted prosed.

Good things I said, good things I eat,
I gave you knowledge for your meat,
And thought th' account was closed.

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,
Nor longer vex your quondam guest-
I'll pay you for your ale.

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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.]

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