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to remove it; but bade them first view that lady, whom he still held with his left hand, and say whether any of them being poffeífed of a jewel so rare and precious, a woman so lovely and fair, would for any
cause forego her; to which they answered, that he had great reason for his affection towards her.
To this the emperor replied, that this being their opinion, he would convince them that his actions were in his own power, and that he was yet master of himself. And having so said,' says iny author, presently with one of his hands catching the fair
Greek by the hair of the head, and drawing his falchion with the other, he, at one blow, struck off her head, to the great terror of them all ; and
having so done, said unto them, “ Now by this, “ judge whether your emperor is able to bridle his u affections or not." *
It no where appears that, in this journey to London, Mrs. Johnson was one of the company; it is rather to be conjectured, that her husband, having abandoned the hope of succeeding in his attempt to raise a school, left to her the care of the house, and the management of the small part of her fortune, which, after the fitting
+ Two tragedies founded on this story had already appeared, before Johnson conceived his intention of producing a third. The former of these was written by Gilbert Swinhoe, Esq; a native of Northumberland, who lived temp. Car. I. & Car. II. ; and was published in 4to. 1658, with the title of Unhappy Fair Irene her Tragedy. See Langbaine’s Account of Dramatic Poets, edit. 1691, P. 499.
Of the latter, entitled, Irene or the Fair Greek, 4to. 1708, one Charles Goring, Esq; fupposed to be the same person with one of that name who was of Magdalen college, Oxford, and in 1687 took the degree of Master of Arts, was the author. See Biographia Dramatica, art. Goring, Charles, Esq.
up and furnishing the same, together with two years' expenditure, must be fupposed to be left ; and, that this could be no other than small, may be inferred from her natural temper, which it is said was as little disposed to parsimony as that of her husband.
It is not my intention to pursue the history of Mr. Garrick's progress in life, both because I have not taken upon me to be his biographer, and, because the principal events of it occur in the memoirs of him, written with great candour and, I dare say, truth, by Mr. Thomas Davies, and by him published in two volumes, octavo; but the course of this narration requires me occasionally to mention such particulars concerning him, as in any manner connect him with the subject I am engaged in; and this leads me to mention a fact concerning them both, that I had from a person now living, who was a witness to it, and of whose veracity the least doubt cannot be entertained. They had been but a short time in London before the stock of money that each set out with, was nearly exhausted ; and, though they had not, like the digal fon, wasted their substance in riotous living,' they began, like him, “ to be in want.' In this extremity, Garrick suggested the thought of obtaining credit from a tradesman, whom he had a night knowletge of, Mr. Wilcox a bookseller, in the Strand : to him they applied, and representing themselves to him, as they really were, two young men, friends, and travellers from the same place, and just arrived with a view to settle here, he was so moved with their art-. less tale, that, on their joint note, he advanced them all that their modesty would permit them to ask, (five pounds), which was, soon after, punctually repaid.
It has been before related, that Johnson had engaged his pen in the service of Cave; as it seems, under some fictitious name, perhaps, that common one of Smith, which he directs Cave to address him by, in his letter of 25th Nov. 1734. Being now come to town, and determined, or rather constrained, to rely on the labour of his brain for support, he, to improve the correspondence he had formed, thought proper to discover himself, and in his real name to communicate to Cave a project which he had formed, and which the following letter will explain :
Enjut ane qui
Greenwich, next door to the Golden-Heart,
Church-street, July 12, 1737.
Having observed in your papers very uncommon • offers of encouragement to men of letters, I have
chosen, being a stranger in London, to communi"cate to you the following design, which, I hope,
if you join in it, will be of advantage to both of
· The history of the Council of Trent, having been lately translated into French, and published
with large notes by Dr. Le Courayer, the reputaction of that book is so much revived in England,
that, it is presumed, a new translation of it from
the Italian, together with Le Courayer's notes from < the French, could not fail of a favourable recep« tion.
- If it be answered that the history is already in English, it must be remembered that there was the same objection against Le Courayer's undertaking, with this disadvantage, that the French had a version by one of their best translators, whereas
you cannot read three pages of the English history ' without discovering that the style is capable of great improvements; but whether those improvements are to be expected from this attempt, you must
judge from the specimen, which, if you approve 'the proposal, I shall submit to your examination. * Suppose the merit of the versions equal, we may hope that the addition of the notes will turn the balance in our favour, considering the reputation of the Annotator. • Be pleased to favour me with a speedy answer, if you are not willing to engage in this scheme ; and appoint me a day to wait on you, if you are. 'I am, Sir, your humble servant,
Cave's acquiescence, in the above proposal, drew Johnson into a close intimacy with him : he was much at St. John's Gate, and taught Garrick the way thither. Cave had no great relish for mirth, but he could bear it ; and having been told by Johnson, that his friend had talents for the theatre, and was come to London with a view to the profession of an actor, expressed a wish to see him in some comic character: Garrick readily complied; and, as Cave himself told me, with a little preparation of the room over the
great arch of St. John's gate, and, with the assistance of a few journeymen printers, who were called together for the purpose of reading the other parts, represented, with all the graces of comic humor, the principal character in Fielding's farce of the Mock-Doctor.
Cave's temper was phlegmatic: though he assumed, as the publisher of the Magazine, the name of Sylvanus Urban, he had few of those qualities that constitute the character of urbanity. Judge of his want of them by this question, which he once put to an author: (
have just published a pamphlet, and am told there is a very good paragraph in it, upon the subject of music : did you write that
yourself?' His difcernment was also now; and as he had already at his command some writers of profe and verse, who, in the language of booksellers are called good hands,* he was the backwarder in making
Mr. Moses Browne, originally a pen-cutter, was, so far as concerned the poetical part of it, the chief support of the Magazine, which he fed with many a nourishing morsel. This person being a lover of angling, wrote pifcatory eclogues ; and was a candidate for the fifty pound prize mentioned in Johnson's first letter to Cave, and for other prizes which Cave engaged to pay him who should write the best poem on certain subjects ; in all or moft of which competitions Mr. Browne had the good fortune to succeed. He publithed these and other poems of his writing, in an octavo volume, Lond. 1739 ; and has therein given proofs of an exuberant fancy and a . thappy invention. Some years after he entered into holy orders. A farther account of him may be feen in the Biographia Dramatica, to a place in which work he seems to have acquired a title, by fome juvenile compositions for the stage. Being a person of a religious curn, he also published in verse, a series of devout contemplations, called Sunday Thoughts. Johnson, who often exprefsed his diflike of religious poetry, and who, for the purpose of religious meditation, seemed to think one day as proper as another, read them with cold approbation, and said, he had a great mind to write and publish Monday Thoughts.
To the proofs above adduced of the coarseness of Cave's manners, let me add the following: he had undertaken, at his own risque, to publish a translation of Du Halde's History of China, in which