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getting with credit or enjoying with dignity. Parents folly who instead of animating children initiate them in servility. N.
Vive tibi, nam moriere tibi. · Aunt a card-player.com when not at hunting play'd at cards.'
In the above article we discern the rudiments of two most excellent papers, in the Rambler, number 197, and 198, the design whereof is to describe and ridicule the folly of legacy-hunting.
Here follows another, in which is contained the hints from which he formed that humorous relation of a Journey in a Stage Coach, given in the Adventurer, Number 84.
• At Gravesend waiting for the coaches - Adventures not of five hours but half one - Each s entered the room with haughtiness - Each sat • silent not with reverence but contempt - At last • the red coat, what o'clock - Watch - not go 'well — cost 401. -Grave man calls for the news ? - Price of stocks, sold out 40,000l. Red coat 'filent - Only one that escaped contempt, a young woman who wanted a service, was going down and was very officious to serve the company. Red coat wondered at our silence, told us how much he loved to be on a level with his company. -1 Woman, hard for women of any condition to wait so long in public - informed that she was a servant maid married to a trader. Another observed how frequently people of great figure were in such
places in disguise, and the pleasure of sometimes appearing below ourselves.
“Jam vaga profiliet frænis natura remotis.
• How hard (dixit quædam) for people used to their own coaches to ride in mixed company*.
# The collection above-mentioned contains also Johnson's own opinions, sentiments on several subjects, and among them the following on writers for bread, from whence we learn his genuine sentiments of that profession;
Quid expedivit Psittacus, • Reasons of writing, benevolence, desire of fame, vanity, hunger,
curiosity to know the rate of a man's own understanding. Which molt justifiable. All may be forgiven if not perfifted in, but writing for bread moft, Rich talk without excufe, Rofc. If write well, not less innocent or laudable than prescribing - pleadingjudging - fighting, transacting public affairs, much better than
cringing, carrying a white staff or voting. If ill, fails with « less hazard to the public than others. The prescriber
pleader — judge hurt others. He only bookseller who will not venture much
a new name. Controversy suspicious, if more to be got on one side yet argument the fame.
· The greatest writers have '[written] for bread - Homer· Shakespear---Dryden — Pope. Fatui non famæ -Degente de • fata et affame d'argent.
* Inconveniences of this life. To the public; the press is croud« ed with many books, yet this may diffuse knowledge, and leaves « less room for vanity, sometimes it may choak the way to letters, « and hinder tearning but rarely. To themselves most inconven. < seldom above want, endless labour, always a new work, sub« fcriptions solicited, shameless importunity, meanness, patrons « and encouragers to be got, wretched obsequiousness, companions • of polite follies, vices, dedication, hateful flattery, utmost • ambition or hope small place, youth of labour, old age of • dependence. This place often not got, Gay.
Being thus stored with matter, Johnson proceeded to publish his paper; and the first number came abroad on Tuesday the twentieth day of March, 1750.
It was the office of a cenfor of manners to curb the irregularities into which, in these new modes of living, the youthful of both sexes were apt to fall, and this he endeavoured to effect by gentle exhortation, by sober reproof, and, not seldom, by the powers of wit and ridicule ; but with what success, others are as well able to tell as myself; however, if that is to be judged of by the fale of the paper, it was doubtless great, for though its reception was at first cool, and its progress Now, the world were too wise to suffer it to sink into oblivion : it was collected into volumes, and it would be too much for any one to say, that
1 ten impressions of twelve hundred and fifty each, of a book fraught with the foundest precepts of economical wisdom, have been disseminated in vain.
On the first publication of the Rambler it met with · a few readers who objected to it for certain particula
rities in the style, which they had not been used to in papers of the like kind, new and original combinations of words, sentences of an unusual form, and words derived from other languages, though accommodated to the genius of our own; but for these fuch reasons are asigned in the close of the last paper, as not only are a defence of them, but shew them to be improvements of our language.
Of singularity it may be observed, that, in general, it is originality, and therefore not a defect, and that all is not tumidity which men of little and confined reading please to call fo. It is from a servile
imitation of others, and the use of whole phrases and sentences, and customary combinations of words, that the variety of styles is not nearly as great as that of faces. The vulgar opinion is, that the style of this century is the perfection of our language, and that we owe its ultimate and final improvement to Mr. Addison, and when we make his cold and languid periods the test, it is no wonder if we mistake strength and animation for tumidity.
And here I cannot but remark the error and milfortune of those who are blind to the excellencies of style that occur in the works of many English profe writers of the last century, which are rejected for no better a reason, than that in them we sometimes meet with words not now in common use. A reader ignorant of the state of our language at different periods, and not conversant with the writings of ages long past, is an incompetent judge of the subject, and his opinion of styles of no weight or value. Such a one we may suppose hardly restrained from censuring the style of our liturgy, compiled for the most part so long ago as the reign of Edward the sixth, and the antiquated phrase of the state-papers in the Cabala, the Burleigh, Sidney and Strafforde collections, notwithstanding they severally contain the most perfecl models of precatory eloquence and civil negociation.
I find an opinion gaining ground not much to the advantage of Mr. Addison's style, the characteristics whereof are feebleness and inanity. I speak of that alone, for his sentiments are excellent and his humour exquisite. In some instances he adopts vulgar phrase, as when he calls an indiscreet action a piece of folly, and too often uses the expletive adverb along, thus,
Come along with me. Yet I am not willing to deprive him of the honour implied in Johnson's testimony, • that his prose is the model of the middle style ;' but if he be but a mediocrist, he is surely not a subject of imitation; it being a rule, that of examples the best are always to be selected.
That Johnson owed his excellence as a writer to the divines and others of the last century, myself can attest, who have been the witness of his course of reading, and heard him declare his sentiments of their works. Hooker he admired for his logical precision, Sanderson for his accuteness, and Taylor for his amazing erudition ; Sir Thomas Browne for his pe. netration, and Cowley for the ease and unaffected ftucture of his periods. The tinsel of Sprat difgufted him, and he could but just endure the smooth verbosity of Tillotson. Hammond and Barrow he thought involved, and of the latter that he was unnecessarily prolix.
It may perhaps be thought, as his literary acquaintance was extensive, and the toil of compiling his dictionary very great, that Johnson was helped in the publication of the Rambler by the communications of others; but this was not the fact, he forbore to solicit assistance, and few presumed to offer it, so that in the whole series of those papers, we know with certainty of only four that were not of his own writing. Of these, No. 30, was sent him by Mrs. Catherine Talbot, daughter of Mr. Edward Talbot herein before spoken of; No. 97, by Mr. Richardson, the author of Clariffa, and numbers 44 and 100, by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter of Deal, a lady to whose reputation for learning,