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one of his little pragmatical foes was invidiously snarling at his fame, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's table, the Rev. Dr. Parr exclaimed, with his usual bold animation, "Ay, now that the old lion is dead, every ass thinks he may kick at him."
A monument for him, in Westminster Abbey, was resolved upon soon after his death, and was supported by a most respectable contribution; but the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's having come to a resolution of admitting monuments there, upon a liberal and magnificent plan, that cathedral was afterwards fixed on, as the place in which a cenotaph should be erected to his memory; and in the cathedral of his native
BUST OF JOHNSON IN LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL.
city of Lichfield, a smaller one is to be erected.1 To compose his epitaph could not but excite the warmest competition of genius. It
The friends of SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
To the memory of a man of extensive learning,
A distinguished moral writer, and a sincere Christian.
2 The Rev. Dr. Parr, on being requested to undertake it, thus expressed himself in a etter to William Seward, Esq.
laudari a laudato viro be praise, which is highly estimable, I should not
"I leave this mighty task to some hardier and some abler writer. The variety and splendour of Johnson's attainments, the peculiarities of his character, his private virtues, and his literary publications, fill me with confusion and dismay, when I reflect upon the confined and difficult species of composition, in which alone they can be expressed, with propriety, upon his monument."
But I understand that this great scholar, and warm admirer of Johnson, has yielded to repeated solicitations, and executed the very difficult undertaking.-BOSWELL.
Dr. Johnson's monument, consisting of a Colossal Figure leaning against a column (but not very strongly resembling him), has since the death of our author been placed in St. Paul's Cathedral, having been first opened to public view, Feb. 23, 1796. The Epitaph was written by the Rev Dr. Parr, and is as follows:
GRAMMATICO ET CRITICO
SCRIPTORVM ANGLICORVM LITTERATE PERITO
ET PONDERIBVS VERBORVM ADMIRABILI
HOMINI OPTIMO ET SINGVLARIS EXEMPLI
HM FACIVND CVRAVER.
On a scroll in his hand are the following words:
On one side of the monument-FACIEBAT JOHANNES BACON SCVLPTOR, ANN.
The Subscription for this monument, which cost eleven hundred guineas, was begun by the LITERARY CLUB, and completed by the aid of Dr. Johnson's other friends and admirers.-MALONE.
STATUE OF DR. JOHNSON, BY BACON, IN ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL.
forgive myself were I to omit the following sepulchral verses on the author of "The English Dictionary," written by the Right Hon. Henry Flood:1 To prevent any misconception on this subject, Mr. Malone, by whom these lines were obligingly communicated, requests me to add the following remark:
"In justice to the late Mr. Flood, now himself wanting, and highly meriting, an epitaph from his country, to which his transcendent talents did the highest honour, as well as the most important service; it should be observed, that these lines were by no means intended as a regular monumental inscription for Dr. Johnson. Had he under. taken to write an appropriate and discriminative epitaph for that excellent and extraordinary man, those who knew Mr. Flood's vigour of mind, will have no doubt that he would have produced one worthy of his illustrious subject. But the fact was merely this: In Dec. 1789, after a large subscription had been made for Dr. Johnson's monument, to which Mr. Flood liberally contributed, Mr. Malone happened to call on him at his house, in Berners-street, and the conversation turning on the proposed monument, Mr. Malone maintained that the epitaph, by whomsoever it should be written, ought to be in Latin. Mr. Flood thought differently. The next morning, in the postscript to a note on another subject, he mentioned that he continued of the same opinion as on the preceding day, and subjoined the lines in the following page.-BoSWELL.
"No need of Latin or of Greek to grace
Our Johnson's memory, or inscribe his grave;
To pay the immortality he gave."
The character of Samuel Johnson has, I trust, been so developed in the course of this work, that they who have honoured it with a perusal, may be considered as well acquainted with him. As, however, it may be expected that I should collect into one view the capital and distinguishing features of this extraordinary man, I shall endeavour to acquit myself of that part of my biographical undertaking, however difficult it may be to do that which many of my readers will do better for themselves.
His figure was large and well formed, and his countenance of the cast of an ancient statue; yet his appearance was rendered strange and somewhat uncouth by convulsive
cramps, by the scars of that distemper which it was once imagined the royal touch could cure, and by a slovenly mode of dress. He had the use only of one eye; yet so much does mind govern and even supply the deficiency of organs, that his visual perceptions, as far as they extended, were uncommonly quick and accurate. So morbid was his temperament that he never knew the natural joy of a free and vigorous use of his limbs; when he walked, it was like the struggling gait of one in fetters: when he rode, he had no command or direction of his horse, but was carried as if in a balloon. That with his constitution and habits of life he should have lived seventyfive years, is a proof that an inherent vivida vis is a powerful preservative of the human frame.
Man is, in general, made up of contradictory qualities; and these will ever show themselves in strange succession where a consistency, in appearance at least, if not reality, has not been attained by long habits
1 As I do not see any reason to give a different character of my illustrious friend from what I formerly gave, the greatest part of the sketch of him in my " Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," is here adopted.-BOSWELL.
of philosophical discipline. In proportion to the native vigour of the mind, the contradictory qualities will be the more prominent, and more difficult to be adjusted; and, therefore, we are not to wonder that Johnson exhibited an eminent example of this remark which I have made upon human nature. At different times he seemed a different man, in some respects; not, however, in any great or essential article, upon which he had fully employed his mind, and settled certain principles of duty, but only in his manners, and in the display of argument and fancy in his talk. He was prone to superstition, but not to credulity. Though his imagination might incline him to a belief of the marvellous and the mysterious, his vigorous reason examined the evidence with jealousy. He was a sincere and zealous Christian, of high Church of England and monarchical principles, which he would not tamely suffer to be questioned; and had, perhaps, at an early period, narrowed his mind somewhat too much, both as to religion and politics. His being impressed with the danger of extreme latitude in either, though he was of a very independent spirit, occasioned his appearing somewhat unfavourable to the prevalence of that noble freedom of sentiment which is the best possession of man. Nor can it be denied that he had many prejudices, which, however, frequently suggested many of his pointed sayings, that rather show a playfulness of fancy than any settled malignity. He was steady and inflexible in maintaining the obligations of religion and morality; both from a regard for the order of society, and from a veneration for the Great Source of all order; correct, nay, stern in his taste; hard to please, and easily offended; impetuous and irritable in his temper, but of a most humane and benevolent heart,1 which showed itself not only in a most liberal charity, as far as his circum stances would allow, but in a thousand instances of active benevolence. He was afflicted with a bodily disease, which made him often restless and fretful; and with a constitutional melancholy, the clouds of which darkened the brightness of his fancy, and gave a gloomy cast to his whole course of thinking; we, therefore, ought not to wonder at his sallies of impatience and passion at any time, especially when provoked by obtrusive ignorance, or presuming petulance; and allowance must be made for his uttering hasty and satirical sallies even against his best friends. And, surely, when it is considered that "amidst sickness and sorrow" he exerted his faculties in so many works for the benefit of mankind, and particularly that he achieved the great and admirable Dictionary of our language, we must be astonished at his resolution.
1 In the Olla Podrida, a collection of Essays published at Oxford, there is an admirable paper upon the character of Johnson, written by the Rev. Dr. Horne, the last excellent Bishop of Norwich. The following passage is eminently happy:-"To reject wisdom, because the person of him who communicates it is uncouth, and his manners are inelegant; what is it, but to throw away a pine-apple, and assign for a reason the roughness of its coat?"-BOSWELL.