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That holds the wisdom of a thousand ages,
Let Lord Mac Donald threat thy breech to kick (2),
(1) A club, mostly composed of learned ladies, to which Mr. B. was ad. mitted.
(2) A letter of severe remonstrance was sent to Mr. B., who in conse. quence omitted, in the second edition of his Journal, what is so generally pleasing to the public, viz, the scandalous passages relative to this no. bleman.
(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 !)
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;
(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,
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 orni- . thology, 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 the life of an ephemeron.
No. V.- INSCRIPTION ON A CARICATURE
OF JOHNSON AND MADAME PIOZZI, BY
Madam (my debt to nature paid),
Would now protect my name:
And murder Johnson's fame.
First, Boswell, with officious care,
And call'd himself my friend;
(1) [From the European Magasine.]
Sir John with nonsense strew'd my hearse,
You torture without end.
When Streatham spread its plenteous board,
And as I feasted prosed.
And thought th' account was closed.
If obligations still I owed,
I suffer'd by the tale:
I'll pay you for your ale.
No. I. — BRIEF MEMOIR OF BOSWELL, BY EDMOND
MALONE, Esq. (')
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.]