Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thucydides and Herodotus... Oh imitatores! Servum

pecus.

"I cannot forbear to observe that the comparison of a student's progress in the sciences with the journey of a traveller in the Alps, is perhaps the best that English poetry can shew." (Vol. xi. p. 177.)- Perhaps so it is. But they say now that the original thought came from Silius Italicus, book 3rd, and Drummond certainly recollected that when he wrote these lines:

“And as a pilgrim who the Alps doth pass,
Or Atlas' temple crown'd with Winter's glass,
When he some heapes of hills hath overwent
Beginnes to think on rest, his journey spent,
Now mounting some tall mountain, he dothe find
More heights before him than he left behind."

"The meanest passage is the satire upon Sporus." (Vol. xi. p. 193). Certainly not; but Dr. Johnson

loved a Hervey.

"God said let Newton be! and all was light!" (Vol. xi. p. 217.) There is something like this said of Aristotle, but I forget by whom: "Now Nature lay in obscurity till he appeared, &c. ;" but it was really little less than profane in Mr. Pope to put his imitation, thus heightened by words so awful, on a Christian's sepulchre, and in a Christian church.

(Vol. xi. p. 237.) — The lady was no good judge, I suppose. A Capt". Ker told me a strange thing of him once, and I feel since that it was true somehow. At a friend's house in Scotland where Thompson was visiting, came on a visit likewise a young lady with whom

the poet fancied himself much in love; and having an idea (says Capt. Ker) that it would be a heavenly sight to see her strip for bed, he bor❜d a hole thro' his own floor who lay over her chamber, and meant to peep successfully in at the crevice; but having drank hard and the girl not going to rest as soon as he expected, he dropt asleep and snor'd so loud she heard him; and climbing on the chairs, set her candle to the place, and burn'd his nose and cur'd him of his passion.

"The thought of the Last Day makes every man more poetical." (Vol. xi. p. 342.) It makes some people less than poetical. I went once with a lady to see some fireworks, when an animated harlequin ran up a pole, lighting a ring of lamps at top. "This,” says my companion, "is truly awful, and puts me in mind of the Last Day!"

[ocr errors]

(Vol. xi. p. 345.)-- The parallel (Young's) of Quicksilver and Pleasure is most undoubtedly original: so far superior to Pope's passage of the Alps in his "Essay on Criticism.”

(Vol. xi. p. 350.)-I remember seeing Mrs. Cibber once play Eurydice for her benefit; or was it Elvira? but my father said Mallet wrote the play. He visited Mallet, and told us once how Mrs. Mallet kiss'd her husband's hand, and said, "I kiss the dear hand that confers immortality." My mother thought it very ridiculous, I remember.

(Vol. xi. p. 353.) — I recollect my family joining in Mallet's opinion, that Byng was a sad fellow; and they called an old Mrs. Osborne, who put her house in

mourning for the Admiral, Mother Damnable: she hung her rooms with black.

(Gray's verses on Walpole's Cat, vol. xi. p. 373.) — She is also called a Tabby Cat in one line, a TortoiseShell Cat in another; perhaps he knew no more of his nymph than Cowley of his fictitious mistresses. A poet makes his puss to his own mind, and then writes verses to her.*

(Life of Lyttleton, vol. xi. p. 380.)-Doctor Johnson requested Lord Westcote, in my hearing, to write this life for him (tho' I am sure he neither loved nor esteemed the man). Lord Westcote declined the work with many complimentary expressions; said his dear brother was in the best possible hands, &c.; and after it was written, flew in a rage and ran to Mrs. Montagu, complaining of Doctor Johnson, who sate still and laugh'd at my Lord Parenthesis, as he called Billy Lyt telton.

(Vol. xi. p. 382.)- Very modestly said. Johnson would not suffer his personal dislike to operate upon character in a work he meant to be lasting. Lady Lyttelton lived to a very great age.

"Doctor, you shall be my confessor." (Vol. xi. p. 387.)

So ended a man (Lord Lyttelton) who had always fulminated against auricular confession, tho' it is surely

The china bowl in which the identical cat was drowned was amongst the curiosities of Strawberry Hill before the dispersion of its treasures. These are irrecoverable, but the present owner, Frances, Countess of Waldegrave, is doing all that can be done by taste and munificence to revive the genius of the place.

VOL. II.

M

better confessing our sins to a priest than a physician. What signifies blaming each other so? Confession to a priest has nothing in it necessarily evil; Romanists may have abused the practice, but blaming our brother Christians is no better in us Protestants: 'twere wiser to let that alone.

MISCELLANIES

OR

ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS IN PROSE AND VERSE

« PreviousContinue »