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"Plan," but he had a noble consciousness of his own abilities, which enabled 1748. him to go on with undaunted fpirit. Etat. 39.

Dr. Adams found him one day bufy at his Dictionary, when the following dialogue enfued. "ADAMS. This is a great work, Sir. How are you to get all the etymologies? JOHNSON. Why, Sir, here is a fhelf with Junius, and Skinner, and others; and there is a Welch gentleman who has published a collection of Welch proverbs, who will help me with the Welch. ADAMS. But, Sir, how can you do this in three years? JOHNSON. Sir, I have no doubt that I can do it in three years. ADAMS. But the French Academy, which confifts of forty members, took forty years to compile their Dictionary. JOHNSON. Sir, thus it is. This is the proportion. Let me fee; forty times forty is fixteen hundred. As three to fixteen hundred, fo is the proportion of an Englishman to a Frenchman." With fo much ease and pleasantry could he talk of that prodigious labour which he had undertaken to execute.

The publick has had, from another pen, a long detail of what had been done in this country by prior Lexicographers, and no doubt Johnson was wife to avail himself of them, fo far as they went; but the learned, yet judicious research of etymology, the various, yet accurate difplay of definition, and the rich collection of authorities, were referved for the fuperiour mind of our great philologist. For the mechanical part, he employed, as he told me, fix amanuenses; and let it be remembered by the natives of North-Britain, to whom he is supposed to have been fo hoftile, that five of them were of that country. There were two Meffieurs Macbean; Mr. Shiels, the writer of the Lives of the Poets to which the name of Cibber is affixed; Mr. Stewart, fon of Mr. George Stewart, book feller at Edinburgh; and, a Mr. Maitland. The fixth of these humble affiftants was Mr. Peyton, who, I believe, taught French, and published fome elementary tracts.

To all these painful labourers, Johnfon fhewed a never-ceafing kindness, fo far as they stood in need of it. The elder Mr. Macbean had afterwards the honour of being Librarian to Archibald, Duke of Argyle, for many years, but was left without a fhilling. Johnson wrote for him a Preface to " A System of ancient Geography;" and, by the favour of Lord Thurlow, got him admitted a poor brother of the Charterhoufe. For Shiels, who died of a confumption, he had much tenderness; and it has been thought that fome choice fentences in the Lives of the Poets were fupplied by him. Peyton, when reduced to penury, had frequent aid from the bounty of Johnfon, who at last was at the expence of burying both him and his wife.

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Etat. 39.

While the Dictionary was going forward, Johnson lived part of the time in Holborn, part in Gough-square, Fleet-street; and he had an upper room fitted up like a counting-house for the purpose, in which he gave to the copyifts their several tasks. The words, partly taken from other dictionaries, and partly supplied by himself, having been first written down with spaces left between them, he delivered in writing their etymologies, definitions, and various fignifications. The authorities were copied from the books themfelves, in which he had marked the paffages with a black-lead pencil, the traces of which could easily be effaced. I have seen several of them, in which that trouble had not been taken; fo that they were just as when used by the copyifts. It is remarkable, that he was fo attentive in the choice of the paffages in which words were authorised, that one may read page after page of his Dictionary with improvement and pleasure; and it fhould not pass unobserved, that he has quoted no authour whose writings had a tendency to hurt found religion and morality.

The neceffary expence of preparing a work of fuch magnitude for the prefs, must have been a confiderable deduction from the price ftipulated to be paid for the copy-right. I understand that nothing was allowed by the booksellers on that account; and I remember his telling me, that a large portion of it having, by mistake, been written upon both fides of the paper, fo as to be inconvenient for the compofitor, it coft him twenty pounds to have it tranfcribed upon one fide only.

He is now to be confidered as "tugging at his oar," as engaged in a steady continued course of occupation, fufficient to employ all his time for some years, and which was the best preventive of that conftitutional melancholy which was ever lurking about him, ready to trouble his quiet. But his enlarged and lively mind could not be satisfied without more diversity of employment, and the pleasure of animated relaxation. He therefore not only exerted his talents in occafional compofition very different from Lexicography, but formed a club in Ivy-lane, Paternofter-row, with a view to enjoy literary difcuffion, and amuse his evening hours. The members affociated with him in this little fociety were his beloved friend Dr. Richard Bathurst, Mr. Hawkesworth, afterwards well known by his writings, Mr. John Hawkins, an attorney, and a few others of different profeffions.


He was afterwards for feveral years Chairman of the Middlefex Juftices, and upon occafion of presenting fome address to the King, accepted the usual offer of Knighthood. He is authour of "A Hiftory of Mufick," in five volumes in quarto. By affiduous attendance upon Johnson in

In the Gentleman's Magazine for May of this year he wrote a "Life of 1748. Lord Rofcommon,*" with Notes, which he afterwards much improved, Etat. 39. indented the notes into text, and inferted it amongst his Lives of the English


Mr. DodЛley this year brought out his PRECEPTOR, one of the most valuable books for the improvement of young minds that has appeared in any language; and to this meritorious work Johnson furnished "The Preface,*" containing a general sketch of the book, with a short and perfpicuous recommendation of each article; as alfo, "The Vifion of Theodore the Hermit, found in his Cell,*" a most beautiful allegory of human life, under the figure of afcending the mountain of Existence. The Bishop of Dromore heard Dr. Johnson say, that he thought this was the best thing he ever wrote.

In January, 1749, he published "THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES, being the Tenth Satire of Juvenal imitated." He, I believe, composed it the preceding year". Mrs. Johnson, for the fake of country air, had lodgings at Hampstead, to which he resorted occasionally, and there the greatest part, if not the whole, of this Imitation was written. The fervid rapidity with which it was produced, is fcarcely credible. I have heard him say, that he composed seventy lines of it in one day, without putting one of them upon paper till they were finished. I remember when I once regretted to him that he had not given us more of Juvenal's Satires, he said he probably should give more, for he had them all in his head; by which I understood, that he had the originals and correfpondent allufions floating in his mind, which he could, when he pleased, embody and render permanent without much labour. Some of them, however, he obferved, were too grofs for imitation.

The profits of a single poem, however excellent, appear to have been very small in the last reign, compared with what a publication of the fame fize has fince been known to yield. I have mentioned, upon Johnson's own authority, that for his LONDON he had only ten guineas; and now, after his fame was established, he got for his "Vanity of human Wishes" but five guineas more, as is proved by an authentick document in my poffeffion".


his last illness, he obtained the office of one of his executors; in confequence of which, the bookfellers of London employed him to publish an edition of Dr. Johnson's works, and to write his Life.

⚫ Sir John Hawkins, with folemn inaccuracy, reprefents this poem as a confequence of the indifferent reception of his tragedy. But the fact is, that the poem was published on the 9th of January, and the tragedy was not acted till the 6th of the February following.

7" Nov. 25, 1748. I received of Mr. Dodiley fifteen guineas, for which I affign to him the



Etat. 40.

It will be observed, that he referves to himself the right of printing one edition of this fatire, which was his practice upon occafion of the sale of all his writings; it being his fixed intention to publish at fome period, for his own profit, a complete collection of his works.

His "Vanity of human Wishes" has lefs of common life, but more of a philofophick dignity than his "London." More readers, therefore, will be delighted with the pointed fpirit of "London," than with the profound reflection of "The Vanity of human Wishes." Garrick, for instance, observed, in his fprightly manner, with more vivacity than regard to just discrimination, as is ufual with wits, "When Johnson lived much with the Herveys, and faw a good deal of what was paffing in life, he wrote his 'London,' which is lively and eafy. When he became more retired, he gave us his Vanity of human Wishes,' which is as hard as Greek. Had he gone on to imitate another fatire, it would have been as hard as Hebrew.

8 "

But "The Vanity of human Wishes" is, in the opinion of the beft judges, as high an effort of ethick poetry as any language can fhew. The inftances of variety of disappointment are chosen so judiciously, and painted so strongly, that, the moment they are read, they bring conviction to every thinking mind. That of the scholar must have depreffed the too fanguine expectations of many an ambitious student. That of the warrior, Charles of Sweden, is, I think, as highly finished a picture as can poffibly be conceived.

right of copy of an Imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal, written by me; referving to myself
the right of printing one edition.
"London, 29 June, 1786. A true copy, from the original in Dr. Johnson's hand-writing.

From Mr. Langton,

In this poem one of the inftances mentioned of unfortunate learned men is Lydiat:

"Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end."

The hiftory of Lydiat being little known, the following account of him may be acceptable to many of my readers. It appeared as a note in the Supplement to the Gentleman's Magazine for 1748, in which fome paffages extracted from Johnfon's poem were inferted, and it fhould have been added in the subsequent editions." A very learned divine and mathematician, fellow of New College, Oxon, and Rector of Okerton, near Banbury. He wrote, among many others, a Latin treatise" De naturâ cæli, &c." in which he attacked the sentiments of Scaliger and Ariftotle, not bearing to hear it urged, that fome things are true in philofophy and falfe in divinity. He made above 600 Sermons on the harmony of the Evangelifts. Being unfuccefsful in publishing his, works, he lay in the prifon of Bocardo at Oxford, and in the King's Bench, till Bishop Ufher, Dr. Laud, Sir William Bofwel, and Dr. Pink, releafed him by paying his debts. He petitioned King Charles I. to be fent into Ethiopia, &c. to procure MSS. Having fpoken in favour of monarchy and bishops, he was plundered by the parliament forces, and twice carried away prifoner from his rectory; and afterwards had not a fhirt to shift him in three months, without he borrowed it, and died very poor in 1646."


Were all the other excellencies of this poem annihilated, it must ever have our grateful reverence from its noble conclufion; in which we are confoled with the affurance that happiness may be attained, if we " apply our hearts" to piety:

"Where then fhall hope and fear their objects find?
"Shall dull suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?

"Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
"Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?

"Shall no diflike alarm, no wishes rise,

"No cries attempt the mercy of the skies?
"Enthufiaft, ceafe; petitions yet remain,
"Which heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain.
"Still raife for good the fupplicating voice,
"But leave to heav'n the measure and the choice.
"Safe in his hand, whose eye difcerns afar
"The fecret ambush of a fpecious pray'r;
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
"Secure whate'er he gives he gives the best.
"Yet when the fenfe of facred prefence fires,
"And strong devotion to the fkies afpires,
"Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
"Obedient paffions, and a will refign'd;

For love, which fcarce collective man can fill,
"For patience fovereign o'er tranfmuted ill;
"For faith, which panting for a happier seat,
"Counts death kind Nature's fignal for retreat.
"Thefe goods for man the laws of heaven ordain,
"Thefe goods he grants, who grants the power to gain;
"With these celeftial wifdom calms the mind,

"And makes the happiness fhe does not find."

Garrick being now vefted with theatrical power by being manager of Drurylane theatre, he kindly and generously made use of it to bring out Johnson's tragedy, which had been long kept back for want of encouragement. But in this benevolent purpose he met with no fmall difficulty from the temper of Johnson, which could not brook that a drama which he had formed with much study, and had been obliged to keep more than the nine years of Horace, fhould



Etat. 40.

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