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Goldsmith being mentioned, Johnson observed that it was long before his merit came to be acknowledged. That he once complained to him, in ludicrous terms of distress, · When. ever I write any thing, the public make a point to know nothing about it;' but that his . Traveller' brought him into high reputation. Langton: There is not one bad line in that poem; not one of Dryden's careless verses.' Sir Joshua: "I was glad to hear Charles Fox say it was one of the finest poems in the English language.' Langton: “Why were you glad? You surely bad no doubt of this before.' Johnson: • No; the merit of “ The Traveller" is so well established, that Mr. Fox's praise cannot augment it, nor his censure diminish it.' Sir Joshua: • But his friends may suspect they had too great a partiality for him.' Johnson: “ Nay, sir, the partiality of his friends was always against him. It was with difficulty we could give him a hearing. Goldsmith had no settled notions upon any subject; so he talked always at random. It seemed to be his intention to blurt out whatever was in his mind, and see what would become of it. He was angry, too, when catched in an absurdity ; but it did not prevent him from falling into another the next minute. I remember Chamier, after talking with him for some time, said, “ Well, I do believe he wrote this poem himself; and, let me tell you, that is believing a great deal.” Chamier once asked him, what he meant by “slow,” – the last word in the first line of “The Traveller,”—
Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow." Did he mean tardiness of locomotion? Goldsmith, who would say something without consideration, answered, “ Yes.” I was sitting by, and said, “ No, sir; you do not mean tardiness of locomotion ; you mean that sluggishness of mind which comes upon a man in solitude.” Chamier believed then that I had written the line, as much as if he had seen me write it. Goldsmith, however, was a man, who, whatever he wrote, did it better than any other man could do. He deserved a place in Westminster Abbey, and every year he lived would have deserved it better. He had, indeed, been at no pains to fill his mind with knowledge. He transplanted it from one place to another, and it did not settle in his mind; so he could not tell what was in his own books.'
Talking of Goldsmith, Johnson said he was very envious. I defended him, by observing that he owned it frankly upon all occasions. Johnson: "Sir, you are enforcing the charge. He had so much envy that he could not conceal it. He was so full of it that he overflowed. He talked of it, to be sure, often enough.'
Goldsmith, in his diverting simplicity, complained one day, in a mixed company, of Lord Camden. I met him,' said he, "at Lord Clare's house in the country, and he took no more notice of me than if I had been an ordinary man.' The company having laughed heartily,Johnson stood forth in defence of his friend: Nay, gentlemen,' said he, · Dr. Goldsmith is in the right. A nobleman ought to have made up to such a man as Goldsmith; and I think it is much against Lord Camden that he neglected him.'
Of Dr. Goldsmith he said, “No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had.'
He said Goldsmith's blundering speech to Lord Shelburne, which has been so often mentioned, and which he really did make to him, was only a blunder in emphasis:— I wonder they should call your lordship Malagrida, for Malagrida was a very good man, - meant, I wonder they should use Malagrida as a term of reproach.'
• Returning home one day from dining at the chaplain's table, he told me that Dr. Goldsmith had given a very comical and unnecessarily exact recital there of his own feelings when his play was hissed; telling the company how he went indeed to the Literary Club at night, and chatted gaily among his friends, as if nothing had happened amiss; — that, to impress them still more forcibly with an idea of his magnanimity, he even sung his favourite song about an old woman tossed in a blanket seventeen times as bigh as the moon; but all this while I was suffering horrid tortures,' said he, “and verily believe that if I had put a bit into my mouth, it would have strangled me on the spot, I was so excessively ill: but I made more noise than usual to cover all that, and so they never perceived my not eating, nor I believe at all imagined to themselves the anguish of my heart. But when all were gone except Johnson here, I burst out a crying, and even swore that I would never write again.' "All which, Doctor,' said Dr. Johnson, amazed at his odd frankness, I thought had been a secret between you and me, and I am sure I would not have said any thing about it for the world. Now see,' repeated he, when he told the story, 'what a figure a man makes who thus unaccountably chooses to be the frigid narrator of his own disgrace. Il volto sciolto, ed i pensieri stretti, was a proverb made on purpose for such mortals, to keep people, if possible, from being thus the heralds of their own shame; for what compassion can they gain by such silly narratives? No man should be expected to sympathize with the sorrows of vanity. If then you are mortified by any ill usage, whether real or supposed, keep at least the account of such mortifications to yourself, and forbear to proclaim how.meanly you are thought of by others, unless you desire to be meanly thought of by all.'
Poor Goldsmith was to him indeed like the earthen pot to the iron one in Fontaine's Fables: it had been better for him, perhaps, that they had changed companions oftener, yet no experience of his antagonist's strength hindered him from continuing the contest. He used to remind me always of that verse in Berni,
• Il pover uomo che non sen'era accorto,
Andava combattendo - ed era morto.' Dr. Johnson made him a comical answer one day, when seeming to repine at the success of Beattie's Essay on Truth. . Here's such a stir,' said he, about a fellow that has written one book, and I have written many.' 'Ah, Doctor,' said his friend, there go two-and-forty sixpences, you know, to one guinea.'
Here was exemplified what Goldsmith said of him, with the aid of a very witty image from one of Cibber's comedies: • There is no arguing with Johnson; for, if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt-end of it.'
Of Goldsmith's Traveller he used to speak in terms of the highest commendation. A lady, I remember, who had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Johnson read it from the beginning to the end on its first coming out, to testify her admiration of it, exclaimed, I never more shall think Dr. Goldsmith ugly.' In having thought so, however, she was by no means singular, an instance of which I am rather inclined to mention, because it involves a remarkablc one of Dr. Johnson's ready wit; for this lady, one evening being in a large party, was called upon after supper for her toast, and seeming embarrassed, she was desired to give the ugliest man she knew, and she immediately named Dr. Goldsmith, on which a lady on the other side of the table rose up and reached across to shake hands with her, it being the first time they had met; on which Dr. Johnson said, “Thus the ancients, on the commencement of their friendships, used to sacrifice a beast betwixt them.'
Sir Joshua, I have often thought, never gave a more striking proof of his excellence in portrait-painting, than in giving dignity to Dr. Goldsmith's countenance, and yet preserving a strong likeness. But he drew after his mind, or rather his genius, if I may be allowed to make that distinction, assimilating the one with his conversation, the other with his works. Dr. Goldsmith's cast of countenance, and indeed his whole figure from head to foot, impressed every one at first sight with an idea of his being a low mechanic, particularly, I believe, a journeyman tailor. A little concurring instance of this I well remember. One day at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, in company with some gentlemen and ladies, he was relating with great indignation an insult he had just received from some gentleman he had accidentally met (I think at a coffee
house). The fellow,' he said, took me for a tailor; ' on which all the party either laughed aloud, or showed they suppressed a laugh.
Dr. Johnson seemed to have much more kindness for Goldsmith than Goldsmith had for him. He always appeared to be overawed by Johnson, particularly when in company with people of any consequence, always as if impressed with some fear of disgrace; and, indeed, well he might. I have been witness to many mortifications he has suffered in Dr. Johnson's company: one day in particular, at Sir Joshua's table, a gentleman, to whom he was talking his best, stopped him in the midst of his discourse, with • Hush! hush! Dr. Johnson is going to say something.'
At another time, a gentleman who was sitting between Dr. Johnson and Dr. Goldsmith, and with whom he had been disputing, remarked to another, loud enough for Goldsmith to hear him, That he had a fine time of it, between Ursa major and Ursa minor.'
MISS HAWKINS'S MEMOIRS.
When Goldsmith expressed an inclination to visit Aleppo, for the purpose of importing some of the mechanical inventions in use there, Dr. Johnson said, “Goldsmith will go, and he will bring back a frame for grinding knives, which he will think a convenience peculiar to Aleppo.' After he had published his · Animated Nature, Johnson said, “You are not to infer from this compilation Goldsmith's knowledge on the subject; if he knows that a cow has horns, it is as much as he does know.'
On this it is apposite to remark the exalted ideas which we entertain in early life of the intellectual acquisition of wri. ters. We fancy that what they tell must be written from the dictation of their own memory. When we have more experience, we find that there is often as much work for the