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visited your Lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address; and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself Le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre, that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in publick, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess.

I had done all I could : and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

“Seven years, my Lord, have now passed since I waited in


rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.

“The Shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.

“Is not a patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased

to take of my labours, had it been early had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the publick should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.

“ Having carried on my work, therefore, with so little obligation to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less ; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation,

My Lord,
“Your Lordship’s most humble,

“ Most obedient servant,


My concluding extract is of a very different description—as different as the character and situation of the two persons to whom the letter and the stanzas relate. These verses again tell their own story, though they do not tell the whole, for Johnson, poor himself, was to the poor apothecary a generous patron and an unfailing friend. The poem has much of the homely pathos, the graphic truth of Crabbe,

and is so free from manner, that it might rather pass for his than Dr. Johnson's.


Condemned to Hope's delusive mine,

As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blast or slow decline

Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,

See Levett to the grave descend
Officious, innocent, sincere,

friendless name the friend.

Of every

Yet still he fills Affection's eye

Obscurely wise and coarsely kind,
Nor lettered arrogance deny

Thy praise to merit undefined.

When fainting Nature called for aid,

And hovering death prepared the blow,
His vigorous remedy displayed

The power of Art without the show.

In misery's darkest caverns known,

Flis ready help was ever nigh,
Where helpless anguish poured his groan,

And lonely want retired to die.

No summons mocked by chill delay,

No petty gains disdained by pride;
The modest wants of every day,

The toil of every day supplied.

His virtues walked their narrow round,

Nor made a pause nor left a void; And sure the Eternal Master found,

His single talent well employed.

The busy day, the peaceful night,

Unfelt, uncounted, glided by; His frame was firm, his powers were bright,

Though now his eightieth year was nigh.

Then with no throbs of fiery pain,

No cold gradations of decay ; Death broke at once the vital chain,

And freed his soul the nearest way.




Nothing seems stranger in the critics of the last century than their ignorance of the charming lyrical poetry of the times of the early Stuarts and the Commonwealth. One should think that the songs of the great dramatists, whose genius they did acknowledge—Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Ben Jonson-might have prepared them to recognise the kindred melodies of such versifiers as Marlowe and Raleigh and Wither and Marvell. His Jacobite prejudices might have predisposed Dr. Johnson in particular to find some harmonious stanzas in the minstrels of the cavaliers, Lovelace and the Marquis of Montrose. But so complete is the silence in which the writers of that day pass over these glorious songsters, that it seems only

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