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published in 1793. This Mr. Murphy executed under the title (which he had used in the case of Fielding) of An Essay on the Life and Genius of Dr. Johoson ; but he had conceived a prejudice of jealousy of Mr. Boswell's fame, and notwithstanding the latter had strengthened his narrative by every possible proof, Murphy persisted in taking his facts from the very inaccurate narrative of sir John Hawkins, and the more flippant anecdotes published by Mrs. Piozzi. In his Essay, therefore, it is not wonderful that many circumstances are grossly, and considering that proofs were within his reach, we may add, wilfully misrepresented .
As Dr. Johnson has been introduced in the present collection as an English poet, it may be necessary to take some notice of the poems now presented to the reader. They are what have been published in his works, and no doubts, as far as the present writer knows, have ever been entertained of their authenticity. What he might have produced, if he had devoted himself to the Muses, it is not easy to determioe. That he had not the essentials of a poet of the higher order must, I think, be allowed; but as a moral poet, his acknowledged pieces stand in a very high rank. Like Pope, he preferred reason to fancy, and his two imitations of Juvenal are not only equal to any thing that writer has produced, in the happy delineation of living manners, and in elegance of versification, but are perhaps su• perior to any compositions of the kind in our language. His Irene is remarkable for splendour of language, richness of sentiment, and harmony of numbers, but as a tragedy it is radically defective : it excites neither interest or passion. Of his lesser pieces, the Prologue on Opening the Theatre in 1747, and that for the benefit of Milton's grand-daughter, are perfect models of elegant and manly address. His odes are defective in imagination and description ; he always undervalued this species of poetry, and certainly has not improved it. A few of his translations are more happily executed, particularly the Dove of Anacreon. The poem on the death of his humble friend Leret is one of those pathetic appeals to the heart which, are irresistible.
6 The principal of these are corrected in notes appended to the last edition of Johnson's works. Murphy's narrative was in truth little more than what was compiled in 1787, from sir John Hawkins, by the Monthly Reviewers, whose style and reflections he has in general copied perbatim, without a word of acknowledgment. C.
| Yet still my calmer thoughts his choice comLONDON;
I praise the hermit, but regret the friend,
Resolv'd at length from vice and London far
And fix'don Cambria's solitary shore,
Give to St. David one true Briton more.
3 For who would leave, unbrib'd, Hibernia's Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus ut teneat se? Juv.
Or change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand ? "Tho'grief and fondness in my breast rebel,
There done are swept by sudden fate away, When injur'd Thales ? bids the town farewell,
But all, whom hunger spares, with age decay:
Here malice, rapine, accident, conspire,
And now a rabble rages, now a fire ;
Their ambush here relentless ruffans lay,
And here the fell attorney prowls for prey ; Laudo, tamen, vacvis quod sedem figere Cumis
Here falling houses thunder on your head, Destinet, atque unum civem donare Sibyllæ.
And here a female atheist talks you dead. Sir John Hawkins says, that by Thales we
While Thales waits the wherry that conare here to understand Savage. Mr. Boswell as
tains serts that this is entirely groundless, and adds,“T| Of dissipated wealth the small remains, have been assured that Dr. Jolinson said, he was Ou Thames's banks, in silent thought we stond not so much as acquainted with Savage when he
| Where Greenwich smiles upon the silver flood; wrote bis London." This, added to the circum- Struck with the seat that gave Eliza 5 birth, stance of the date (for Savage did not set out for
We kneel, and kiss the consecrated earth; Wales till July 1739) might be decisive, if, un- | In pleasing dreams the blissful age renew, fortunately for Mr. Boswell, he had not a few | And call Britannia's glories back to view; pages after, given us some highly complimenta
Behold her cross triumphant on the main, Tv Yines which " he was assured were written by The guard of cornierce, and the dread of Spain, Dr. Johnson," Ad Ricardum Savage, in April | Ere inasquerades debauch'd, excise oppress'd, 1738, about a month before London was publish-. Or English honour grew a standing jest, ed. This surely implies previous acquaintance with Savage, for Dr. Johnson would not have ! 3-Ego vel Prochytam præpono Subrirræ, praised a stranger in such terms, and gives a Nam quid tam miserum, tam solum vidimus, ut very strong probability to sir John Hawkins's |
non coniecture. That Savage did not set out for | Deterius credas horrere incendia, lapsus Wales until the following year, is a matter of Tectorum assiduos, & mille pericula sæva little consequence, as the intention of such a Urbis, & Augusto recitantes mense poetas? journey would justify the lines alluding to it. 4 Sed, dum tota domus rhedâ componitur unâ, See Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. i. p. 100, and Substitit ad veteres arcus.p. 139. 8vo. edit. 1804. C.
5 Queen Elizabeth, born at Greenwich,
A transient calm the happy scenes bestow, To pluck a titled poet's borrow'd wing; And for a moment lull the sense of woe.
A statesman's logic unconvinc'd can hear, At length awaking, with contemptuous frown, And dare to slumber o'er the Gazetteerli; Indignant Thales eyes the neighb'ring town. Despise a fool in half his pension dress'd, 6 Since worth, he cries, in these degenerate | And strive in vain to laugh at Clodio's jest. days
13 Others with softer smiles, and subtle art, Wants ev'n the cheap reward of empty praise; Can sap the principles, or taint the heart; In those curs'd walls, devote to vice and gain, With more address a lover's note conrey, Since unrewarded science toils in vain ;
Or bribe a virgin's innocence away: Since hope but sooths to double my distress, Well may they rise, while I, whose rustic tongue Andevery moment leaves my little less;
Ne'er knew to puzzle right, or varnish wrong, While yet my steady steps no 7 staff sustains, Spurn'd as a beggar, dreaded as a spy, And life still vig'rous revels in my veins;
Live unregarded, unlamented die. Grant me, kind Heaven, to find some happier 14 For what but social guilt the friend en. place,
dears? Where honesty and sense are no disgrace; Who shares Orgilio's crimes, his fortune shares. Some pleasing bank where verdant osiers play, is But tbou, should tempting villany present Some peaceful vale with Nature's paintings gay; | All Marlb'rough hoarded, or all Villiers spent, Where once the harass'd Briton found repose, Turn from the glittering bribe thy scornful eye, And safe in poverty defy'd his foes;
Nor sell for gold, what gold could never buy, Some secret cell, ye pow'rs, indulgent give, | The peaceful slumber, self-approving day, * Let live here, for bas learn'd to live. Unsullied fame, and conscience ever gay. Here let those reign, whom pensions can incite
The cheated nation's happy fav'rites, see! To vote a patriot black, a courtier wbite; Mark whom tbe great caress, who frown on me! Explain their country's dear-bought rights away, London! the needy villain's gen'ral home, And plead for ' pirates in the face of day; The common-sewer of Paris and of Rome; With slavish tenets taint our poison'd youth With eager thirst, by folly or by fate, And lend a lie the confidence of truth.
Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted state. 10 Let such raise palaces, and manors buy, Forgive my transports on a theme like this, Collect a tax, or farm a lottery;
17 I cannot bear a French metropolis. With warbling eunuchs fill our silenc'd stage, }.18 Illustrious Edward! from the realms of And lull to servitude a thoughtless age.
day, Heroes, proceed! what bounds your pride The land of heroes and of gaints survey; . shall hold ?
(gold? | Nor hope the British lineaments to trace, What check restrain your thirst of pow'r and The rustic grandeur, or the sarly grace; Behold rebellious virtue quite o'erthrown,
But, lost in thoughtless ease and empty show Behold our fame, our wealth, our lives your Behold the warrior dwindled to a beau ; own.
Sense, freedom, piety, refin'd away, To such, the plunder of a land is girin,
Of France the mimic, and of Spain the prey. When public crimes inflame the wrath of Heaven: All that at home no more can beg or steal, 12 But what, my friend, what hope remains for Or like a gibbet better than a wheel: me,
Hiss'd from the stage, or houted from the coart, Who start at theft, and blush at perjury? Their air, their dress, their politics, import; Who scarce forbear, tho' Britain's court he sing, ''Obsequious, artful, soluble, and gay,
On Britain's fond credulity they prey. 6 Hic tunc Umbritius: quando artibus, inquit, honestis
12 The paper which at that time contained Nullus in urbe locus, nulla emolumenta laborum, apologies for the court. Res hodie minor est, here quam fuit, ac eadem 13 - Ferre ad nuptam quæ mittit adulter, eras
Quæ mandat norint alii; me nemo ministro Deteret exiguis aliquid : proponimus illue Fur erit, atque ideo nulli comes exeo. 1re, fatigatas ubi Dædalus exuit alas;
14 Quis nunc diligitur nisi conseius? Dum nova canities.
Carus erit Veri, qui Verrem tempure, quo vult, 7- et pedibus me
8 Cedamus patriá : vivant Artorius istic, Omnis arena Tagi, quodque in mare folvitar Et Catullus: maneant qui nigra in candida ver
Ut sompo careas.9 The invasions of the Spaniards were defend 16 Quæ nunc divitibus gens acceptissima nastris, ed in the houses of parliament.
Et quos præcipue fugiam, properabo fateri, 10 Queis facile est ædem conducere, flumina, 17 Non possum ferre, Quirites, portus,
Græcam urbem. Siccandam eluviem, portandum ad busta cada 18 Rusticus ille tuus somit trechedipna, Quiver.
rine, Munera quoc edunt.
Et ceromatico fert niceteria collo. 11 The licensing act was then lately made... 1 19 Ingenium velox, audacia perdita, serino 13 Quid Romæ faciam? mentiri nescio: li- | Promptus.
Si malus est, nequeo laudare & poscere.
No gainful trade their industry can 'scape, 27 By numbers here from shame or censure 20 They sing, they dance, clean shoes, or cure a
All crimes are safe but hated poverty. All sciences a fasting Monsieur knows,
This, only this, the rigid law pursues, And, bid him go to Hell, to Hell he goes.
This, only this, provokes the snarling Muse. 21 Ah! what avails it, that, from slav'ry far, The sober trader at a tatter'd cloak I drew the breath of life in English air ;
Wakes from his dream, and labours for a joke; Was early taught a Briton's right to prize, With brisker air the silken courtiers gaze, And lisp the tale of Henry's victories ;
And turn the varied taunt a thousand ways. If the gull’d conqueror receives the chain, 28 Of all the griefs that harass the distress'd, And Hattery prevails when arms are vain? Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest ;
22 Studions to please, and ready to submit; Fate never sounds more deep the gen'rous The supple Gaul was born a parasite:
heart, Still to his int'rest true, where'er he goes, Than when a blockhead's insult points the dart. Wit, brav'ry, worth, his lavish tongue bestows; 24 Has Heaven reserv'd, in pity to the poor, In ev'ry face a thousand graces shine,
No pathless waste, or undiscovered shore? From ev'ry tongue flows harmony divine. No secret island in the boundless main ? 23 These arts in vain our rugged natives try, No peaceful desert yet unclaim'd 20 by Spain? Strain out with fault'ring diffidence a lie, Quick let us rise, the happy seats explore, And get a kick for awkward flattery.
And bear oppression's insolence no more. Besides, with justice, this discerning age This mournful truth is every where confess'd, Admires their wond'rous talents for the stage: 31 Slow rises worth by poverty depress'd :
24 Well may they venture on the mimic's art, But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold, Who play from morn to night a borrow'd part; Where looks are merchandise, and smiles aresold: Practis'd their master's notions to embrace, Where won by bribes, by Aatteries implor'd, Repeat his maxims, and reflect his face ;
The groom retails the favours of his lore. With ev'ry wild absurdity comply,
But hark! th' affrighted crowd's tumultuous And view each object with another's eye;
cries To shake with laughter ere the jest they hear, Roll through the streets, and thunder to the skies: To pour at will the counterfeited tear ;
Rais'd from some pleasing dream of wealth aud And, as their patron hints the cold or beat,
pow'r, . To shake in dog-days, in December sweat. Some pompous palace or some blissful bower, · 25 Host, when competitors like these coutend, Aghast you start, and scarce with aching sight Can surly virtue hope to fix a friend;
Sustain th' approaching fire's tremendous light; Slaves that with serious impudence beguile, Swift from pursuing horrours take your way, And lie without a blush, without a smile :
And leave your little all lo fames a prey; Exalt each trifle, ev'ry vice adore,
32 Then thro' the world a wretched vagrant roam, Your taste in snuff, your judgment in a whore; For where can starving merit find a home? Can Balbo's eloquence applaud, and swear In vain your mournful narrative disclose, He gropes bis breeches with a monarch's air. While all neglect, and most insult your woes.
For arts like these preferr'd, admir'd, caress'd, 33 Should Heaven's just bolts Orgilio's wealth They first invade your table, then your breast;
confound, 26 Explore your secrets with insidious art, And spread his flaming palace on the ground, Watch the weak hour, and ransack all the heart; Swift o'er the land the dismal rumour flies, Then soon your ill-plac'd confidence repay, And public mournings pacify the skies; Commence your lords, and govern or betray.
27 Materiam præbet causasque jo: 20 Augur, schænobates, medicus, magus: om
coram nia norit,
Omnibus hicidem? si fæda & scissa lacerna, &c. Græculus esuriens, in cælum, jusseris, ibit.
28 Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se, 21 Usque adeo nihil est, quod nostra infantia Quam quod ridiculos homines facit. cælum
Aginine facto, Hausit Aventini?
Debuerant olim tenues migrasse Quirites. 24 Quid? quod adulandi gens prudentissima, 30 The Spaniards at this time were said to laudat
make claim to some of our American provinces. Sermonein indocti faciem deformis amici?
31 Haud facile energunt, quorum virtutibus 23 Hæc eadein licet & nobis laudare : sed illis
Res angusta domi, sed Romæ durior illis 24 Natio comæda est. Rides? majore ca Conatus. chinno
Omnia Roma Concutitur, &c.
Cum pretio. · 25 Non sumus ergo pares: melior, qui sem- Cogimur, & cultis angere peculiā servis. per & omni
32 _ Ultimus autem Nocte dieque potest alienum sumere vultum, | Ærumnæ cumulus, quod nudum & frustra roA facie jactare mamis : laudare paratus,
gantem Si bene ructavit, si rectum minxit amicus. - | Nemo cibo, nemo hospitio, tectoque juvabit. · 26 Scire volunt secreta domus, atque inde 33 Si magna Asturici cecidit domus, horrida timeri.
mater, . Pullati proceres,
The laureat tribe in venal verse relate,
Invades the sacred hour of silent rest, How virtue wars with persecuting fate; sband And leaves, unseen, a dagger in your breast. 31 With well-feign'd gratitude the pension'd Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tp. Refund the plunder of the beggar'd land,
burn die, See! while he builds, the gaudy vassals come, With hen.p the gallows and the fleet supply. And crowd with sudden wealth the rising dome; | Propose your schemes, ye senatorian band, The price of boroughs and of souls restore; Whose rays and means & support the soking And raise his treasures higher than before: Now bless'd with all the baubles of the great, Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring, The polish'd marble and the shining plate, To rig another convoy for the king 43, 35 Orgilio sees the golden pile aspire,
44 A single jail, in Alfred's golden reign, And hopes from angry Heav'n another fire. Could half the nation's criminals contain; 36 Could'st thou resign the park and play Fair Justice, then, without constraint ador'd, content,
Held high the steady scale, but sheath'd the For the fair banks of Severn or of Trent;
sword; There might'st thou find some elegant retreat, No spies were paid, no special juries known, Some hireling senator's deserted seat;
Blest age ! but ah! bow diffrent from our own! And stretch thy prospects o'er the smiling land, 45 Much could I add,—but see the boat at For less than rent the dungeons of the Strand; The tide retiring calls me from the land: [hand, There prune thy walks, support thy drooping | 6 Farewel!-When youth, and health, and for flowers,
tune spent, Direct thy rivulets, and twine thy bowers; Thou Ay'st for refuge to the wilds of Kent; And, while thy grounds a cheap repast afford, And, tir'd like me with follies and with crimes, Despise the dainties of a venal lord:
In angry numbers warns't succeeding times; There ev'ry bush with Nature's music rings, Then shall thy friend, nor thou refuse his aic, There ev'ry breeze bears health npon its wings; Still foe to vice, forsake bis Cambrian shade; On all thy hours security shall smile,
In virtue's cause once more exert bis rage, And bless thine evening walk and morning toil. Thy satire point, and animate thy page. 37 Prepare for death it here at night you roam, And sign your will before you sup from home. 38 some fiery fop, with new commission vain, THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES, Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man; Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
| 18 IMITATION OF THE TEST! SATIRE OF JUTESAL. Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest. 19 Yet ev’n these heroes, mischievously gay ;
LET'observation with extensive view, Lords of the street and terrours of the way;
Survey mankind froin China to Peru; Fiush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine,
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife, Their prudent insults to the poor contine;
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life; Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach, Then say how hope and fear, desire and bate, And stun the shining train, and golden coach. O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fale,
gli In rain, these dangers past, your doors you Where wav'ring man, betray'd by veut'rous pride And hope the balmy blessings of repose ; (close, To chase the dreary paths without a guide, Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair, As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude, The midnight murd'rer bursts the faithless bar;
Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good;
How rarely reason guides the stubboru choice, 34 - Jam accurrit, qui marmora donet,
Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant Conferat impensas: hic, &c.
voice ; Hic modiuni argenti.
How nations sink by darling schemes oppress'd, 65 __ Meliora, ac plura reponit
When vengeance listens to the fool's request. Persicus orboruin lautissimus.
Fate wings with ev'ry wish th' a(Nictive dart, 36 Si potes avelli Circensibus, optima Soræ,
Each gift of nature and each grace of art; Aut Fabrateriæ domus, aut Fusinone paratur, +'Maximus in vinclis ferri modus; ut timeas, de Quanti nunc tenebras unum conducis in annum. Vomer deficiat, ne marre & sarcula desint. Hortulus hic.
42 A cant word in the house of comwons fur Vive bidentis amans et culti villicus horti,
methods of raising money. Unde epulum possis centum dare Pythagoræis. 43 The nation was discontented at the visits 37 - Possis ignavis haberi,
made by the king to Hanover. Et subiti casus improvidus, ad cænam si
44 Felices proavorum atavos, felicia dicas Intestat
Secula, quæ quondam sub regibus atque tribunis 38 Ebrius, ac petulans, qui nullum forte cedidit, ! Dat pænas, noctem patitur lugentis amicum 1 45 His alias poteram, & pluries subnectere Peleidæ.
Sed jumenta vocant.
(causas : 39_---Sed, quamvis improbus annis,
Ergo vale nostri memor: & quoties te Atqne mero fervens, cavet hunc, quem coccina Roma tuo refici properantem reddet Aquino, Viiari jubet, & comitum longissimus ordo, (læna | Me quoque ad Elvinam Cererem, vestramgee Multum præterea flaminarum, atque ænea
(spoliet te Convelle à Cnmis ; satirarum ego, ni podet tiles 40 Nec tamen hoc tantum metuas: nain gui | Adjutor gelidos veniam calligatns ie agros. Non deerit; clausis domibus, &c.
"Ver. 1- l.