Sivut kuvina

Aetat. 65.]

Goldsmith's death.


[ocr errors]

live in the place ought to direct. Consider it. Whatever you can get for my purpose send me, and make my compliments to your lady and both the young ones.

'I am, Sir, your, &c.,



· Edinburgh, June 24, 1774. 'You do not acknowledge the receipt of the various packets which I have sent to you. Neither can I prevail with you to answer my letters, though you honour me with returns '. You have said nothing to me about poor Goldsmith ·, nothing about Langton'.

'I have received for you, from the Society for propagating Christian Knowledge in Scotland, the following Erse books The New Testament; Baxter's Call; The Confession of Faith of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster; The Mother's Catechism; A Gaelick and English Vocabularyo.'

"To JAMES BOSWELL, Esq. • Dear Sir,

‘I wish you could have looked over my book before the printer, but it could not easily be. I suspect some mistakes; but as I deal, perhaps, more in notions than in facts, the matter is not great, and the second edition will be mended, if any such there be. will go on slowly for a time, because I am going into Wales tomorrow.

I should be very sorry if I appeared to treat such a character as

The press

· Boswell wrote to Temple on May 8, 1779:—I think Dr. Johnson never answered but three of my letters, though I have had numerous returns from him.' Letters of Boswell, p. 243. See post, Sept. 29, 1777.

· Dr. Goldsmith died April 4, this year. BOSWELL. Boswell wrote to Garrick on April 11, 1774 :— Dr. Goldsmith's death would affect all the club much. I have not been so much affected with any event that has happened of a long time. I wish you would give me, who am at a distance, some particulars with regard to his last appearance.' Garrick Corres. I. 622.

· See ante, ii. 304.
• See ante, ii. 30, and Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 29, 1773.

• These books Dr. Johnson presented to the Bodleian Library. BOSWELL.


[ocr errors]



(A.D. 1774.

Lord Hailes otherwise than with high respect. I return the sheets ', to which I have done what mischief I could ; and finding it so little, thought not much of sending them. The narrative is clear, lively, and short.

'I have done worse to Lord Hailes than by neglecting his sheets: I have run him in debt. Dr. Horne, the President of Magdalen College in Oxford, wrote to me about three months ago, that he purposed to reprint Walton's Lives, and desired me to contribute to the work: my answer was, that Lord Hailes intended the same publication; and Dr. Horne has resigned it to him”. His Lordship must now think seriously about it. • Of poor

dear Dr. Goldsmith there is little to be told, more than the papers have made publick. He died of a fever, made, I am afraid, more violent by uneasiness of mind. His debts began to be heavy, and all his resources were exhausted. Sir Joshua ' is of opinion that he owed not less than two thousand pounds. Was ever poet so trusted before ?

* You may, if you please, put the inscription thus :

Maria Scotorum Regina nata 15—, 'a suis in exilium acta 154, ab hospitâ neci data 15—" You must find the years.

‘Of your second daughter you certainly gave the account yourself, though you have forgotten it. While Mrs. Boswell is well,


· On the cover enclosing them, Dr. Johnson wrote, “If my delay has given any reason for supposing that I have not a very deep sense of the honour done me by asking my judgement, I am very sorry.' Bos


? See post, March 20, 1776.

: Sir Joshua was much affected by the death of Goldsmith, to whom he had been a very sincere friend. He did not touch the pencil for that day, a circumstance most extraordinary for him who passed no day without a line.' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 325.

He owed his tailor £79, though he had paid him £rto in 1773. In this payment was included £35 for his nephew's clothes. We find such entries in his own bills as

£ 5. d. To Tyrian bloom satin grain and garter blue silk breeches 8 7 To Queen's-blue dress suit To your blue velvet suit

9 (See ante, ii. 95.) Filby's son said to Mr. Prior :- My father attributed no blame to Goldsmith; he had been a good customer, and had he lived would have paid every farthing.' Prior's Goldsmith, ii. 232.


I 17

[ocr errors]

- 21 IO

Aetat. 65.)

Goldsmith's death.


never doubt of a boy. Mrs. Thrale brought, I think, five girls running, but while I was with you she had a boy.

'I am obliged to you for all your pamphlets, and of the last 1 hope to make some use. I made some of the former.

“I am, dear Sir,
* Your most affectionate servant,

'Sam. Johnson.' July 4, 1774.' 'My compliments to all the three ladies.'




"You have reason to reproach me that I have left your last letter so long unanswered, but I had nothing particular to say. Chambers, you find, is gone far, and poor Goldsmith is


much further. He died of a fever, exasperated, as I believe, by the fear of distress. He had raised money and squandered it, by every artifice of acquisition, and folly of expence. But let not his frailties be remembered; he was a very great man'.

“I have just begun to print my Fourney to the Hebrides, and am leaving the press to take another journey into Wales, whither Mr. Thrale is going, to take possession of, at least, five hundred a year,

, fallen to his lady. All at Streatham, that are alive”, are well.

1.Soon after Goldsmith's death certain persons dining with Sir Joshua commented rather freely on some part of his works, which, in their opinion, neither discovered talent nor originality. To this Dr. Johnson listened in his usual growling manner; when, at length, his patience being exhausted, he rose with great dignity, looked them full in the face, and exclaimed, “If nobody was suffered to abuse poor Goldy, but those who could write as well, he would have few censors."' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 327. To Goldsmith might be applied the words that Johnson wrote of Savage (Works, viii. 191):- Vanity may surely be readily pardoned in him to whom life afforded no other comforts than barren praises, and the consciousness of deserving them. Those are no proper judges of his conduct who have slumbered away their time on the down of plenty; nor will any wise man presume to say, “ Had I been in Savage's condition, I should have lived or written better than Savage."

· Mrs. Thrale's mother died the summer before (ante, ii. 302). Most of her children died early. By 1777 she had lost seven out of eleven. See post, May 3, 1777. II.-21

I have


322 Johnson's Greek epitaph on Goldsmith. (A.D. 1774.

“I have never recovered from the last dreadful illness', but flatter myself that I grow gradually better ; much, however, yet remains to mend. Κύριε ελέησον ".

* If you have the Latin version of Busy, curious, thirsty fly , be so kind as to transcribe and send it; but you need not be in haste, for I shall be I know not where, for at least five weeks. I wrote the following tetastrick on poor Goldsmith :

Τον τάφον εισoράας τον Όλιβάροιο. κονίην

"Αφρoσι μη σεμνήν, Ξεϊνε, πόδεσσι πάτει:
Οίσι μέμηλε φύσις, μέτρων χάρις, έργα παλαιών,

Κλαίετε ποιητής, ιστορικών, φυσικόν". 'Please to make my most respectful compliments to all the



Johnson had not seen Langton since early in the summer of 1773. He was then suffering from a fever and an inflammation in the eye, for which he was twice copiously bled. (Pr. and Med. 130.) The following winter he was distressed by a cough. (Ib. p. 135.) Neither of these illnesses was severe enough to be called dreadful. In the spring of 1770 he was very ill. (Ib. p. 93.) On Sept. 18, 1771, he records :* For the last year I have been slowly recovering from the violence of my last illness.' (16. p. 104.) On April 18, 1772, in reviewing the last year, he writes :— An unpleasing incident is almost certain to hinder my rest; this is the remainder of my last illness.' (Ib. p. 111.) In the winter of 1772–3, he suffered from a cough. (Ib. p. 121.) I think that he must mean the illness of 1770, though it is to be noticed that he wrote to Boswell on July 5, 1773 :— Except this eye (the inflamed eye) I am very well. (See ante, ii. 303.)

· Lord have mercy upon us.'

* See Johnson's Works, i. 172, for his Latin version. D’Israeli (Curiosities of Literature, ed. 1834, vi. 368) says ‘that Oldys [ante, i. 202) always asserted that he was the author of this song, and as he was a rigid lover of truth I doubt not that he wrote it. I have traced it through a dozen of collections since the year 1740, the first in which I find it.

Mr. Seward (Anec. ii. 466) gives the following version of these lines :

• Whoe'er thou art with reverence tread
Where Goldsmith's letter'd dust is laid.
If nature and the historic page,
If the sweet muse thy care engage,
Lament him dead whose powerful mind
Their various energies combined.'



Aetat. 65.] On a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots. 323

ladies, and remember me to young George and his sisters. I reckon George begins to shew a pair of heels.

‘Do not be sullen now, but let me find a letter when I come back.

'I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate, humble servant,

"Sam. JOHNSON.' July 5, 1774.



Llewenny”, in Denbighshire, Aug. 16, 1774. · DEAR SIR,

Mr. Thrale's affairs have kept him here a great while, nor do I know exactly when we shall come hence. I have sent you a bill upon Mr. Strahan.

'I have made nothing of the Ipecacuanha, but have taken abundance of pills, and hope that they have done me good.

“Wales, so far as I have yet seen of it, is a very beautiful and rich country, all enclosed, and planted. Denbigh is not a mean town. Make my compliments to all my friends, and tell Frank I hope he remembers my advice. When his money is out, let him have more.

'I am, Sir,
*Your humble servant,



· Edinburgh, Aug. 30, 1774. "You have given me an inscription for a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, in which you, in a short and striking manner, point out her hard fate. But you will be pleased to keep in mind, that my picture is a representation of a particular scene in her history; her being forced to resign her crown, while she was imprisoned in the castle of Lochlevin. I must, therefore, beg that you will be kind enough to give me an inscription suited to that


See ante, ii. 304. • At Lleweney, the house of Mrs. Thrale's cousin, Mr. Cotton, Dr. Johnson stayed nearly three weeks. Johnson's Journey into North Wales, July 28, 1774. Mr. Fitzmaurice, Lord Shelburne's brother, had a house there in 1780; for Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on May 7 of that year :—He has almost made me promise to pass part of the summer at Llewenny.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 113.


« EdellinenJatka »