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his marriage, his kept mistress, his footman, and himself; all getting so drunk with the nuptial bowl of punch, purchased with borrowed money, that the hero of the tale tumbled down stairs and broke his leg or arm, I forget which, and sent for Doctor Johnson to assist him. He had another friend of much the same description, though this gentleman was a lawyer: the other, a poet.

Boyce was the author of some pretty things in the “ Gentleman's Magazine,” and Johnson showed me the following verses in manuscript, which I translated : but which are not half so pleasant as was his account of Mr. Boyce lying a-bed: not for lack of a shirt, because he seldom wore one; supplying the want with white paper wristbands : but for want of his scarlet cloak, laced with gold, his usual covering; which lay unredeemed at the pawnbrokers. The verses were addressed to Cave, of St. John's Gate, who saved him from prison that time at least :

“ Hodie, teste Cælo summo

Sine pane, sine nummo ;
Sorte positus infeste
Scribo tibi dolens mæste :
Fame, bile, tamet jecur,
Urbane! mitte opem precor :
Tibi enim cor humanum
Non à malis alienum ;
Mihi mens nec male grato,
Pro a te favore dato.

Ex gehennå debitoria,
Vulgò, domo spongiatoria.”

O witness Heaven for me this day
That I've no pelf my debts to pay:
No bread, nor halfpenny to buy it,
No peace of mind or household quiet.
My liver swelled with bile and hunger
Will burst me if I wait much longer.
Thou hast a heart humane they say,
O then a little money — pray.
Nor further press me on my fate
And fix me at the begging grate :

Sufficient in this hell to souse
Vulgarly called a sponging house.

Of this curious creature I have heard Johnson tell how he remained fasting three whole days; and at the end when his consoling friend brought him a nice beefsteak, how he refused to touch it till the dish (he had no plate) had been properly rubbed over with shalot. 6 What inhabitants this world has in it!”


“ You were kind in paying my forfeits at the club; it cannot be expected that many should meet in the summer, however they that continue in town should keep up appearances as well as they

I hope to be again among you.” Johnson. . There is a story of poor dear Garrick, whose attention to his money-stuff never forsook him, — relating that when his last day was drawing to an end, he begged a gentleman present to pay his club forfeits, “and don't let them cheat you,” added he, “ for there cannot be above nine, and they will make out ten.”

At the end of the second volume of “ Letters are printed several translations from Boëthius, the joint performances of Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Piozzi. She has written on the last leaf:

Book 3d, Metre 7, being completely my own, I would not print, though Dr. Johnson commended my doing it so well, and said he could not make it either more close or more correct :

That pleasure leaves a parting pain
Her veriest votaries maintain ;
Soon she deposits all her sweets,
Soon like the roving bee retreats,
Hasty, like her, she mounts on wing,
And, like her, leaves th' envenomed sting.

In reference to the second line in this couplet :

Fondly viewed his following bride,
Viewing lost, and losing died, -

she remarks:
And this beautiful line, which I saw him compose,

“you will find,” said I, “in Fletcher's Bonduca.” “ Impossible,” replies Dr. Johnson, “I never read a play of Beaumont and Fletcher's in my life.” This passed in Southwark : when we went to Streatham Park, I took down the volume and showed him the line.

There is an allusion to this incident in the “ Thraliana,” and the entry is an additional illustration of the variety of her knowledge and the tenacity of her memory.

It refers to Dr. Parker's complimentary verses describing an imaginary request of Apollo to the Graces and Muses to admit her of their number, and concluding with these lines :

“ Henceforth acknowledge every pen

The Graces four, the Muses ten."

For a long time (she writes) I thought this conceit original, but it is not. There is an old Greek epigram only of two lines which the doctor has here spun into length (vide “ Anthol.” lib. 7), and there is some account of it too in Bonhours.

What, however, is much more extraordinary, is that the famous Tristram Shandy itself is not absolutely original ; for when I was at Derby in the summer of 1744, I strolled by mere chance into a bookseller's shop, where, however, I could find nothing to tempt curiosity but a strange book about Corporal Bates, which I bought and read for want of better sport, and found it to be the very novel from which Sterne took his first idea. The character of Uncle Toby, the behavior of Corporal Trim, even the name of Tristram itself, seems to be borrowed from this stupid history of Corporal Bates, forsooth. I now wish I had pursued Mr. Murphy's advice of marking down all passages from different books which strike, by their resemblance to each other, as fast as they fell in my way; for one forgets again, in the hurry and tumult of life's cares and pleasures, almost everything that one does not commit to paper.

The verses written by Bentley upon Learning, and published in Dodsley's Miscellanies, how like they are to Evelyn's verses on Virtue, published in Dryden's Miscellanies ! yet I do not suppose them a plagiarism. Old Bentley would have scorned such tricks; besides, what passed once between myself and Mr. Johnson should cure me of suspicion in these cases.



I SEND Wraxall with the quartos, that you may read something written of your poor friend as well as something written by her. His book will be a relief when you get into the dark ages of "Retrospection.” — Mrs. Piozzi to Sir James Fellowes.

Her note on Wraxall's statement relating to Marie Antoinette's first confinement is :

You see how cautious Sir N. Wraxall is - but you may likewise see through his caution. He knew, no doubt, better than myself, that about this time a swathed baby made of white marble was laid at the bedchamber door, with this inscription:

“ Je ne suis point de Cire. - subintelligitur Sire,

Je suis de pierre — subintelligur Pierre.” A Life Guard Man as I was informed.

The Dauphin, who died very young, and the other, who lived to suffer still more whom every one pities, are mentioned in the 2d Vol., but I can't find the place now. Ils étoient vrai's Descendans de Louis XIV., mais comment ? Juste Ciel !

In reference to Wraxall's description of the celebrated women of the day, she has pasted in (besides the verses Vol. I. p. 49) copies of the following:


(Said to be written by Charles Fox.)

With Devon’s girl so blythe and gay,
I well could like to sport and play ;
With Jersey would the time beguile,
With Melbourne titter, sneer, and smile,
With Bouverie one would wish to sin,
With Damer I could only grin :
But to them all I'd bid adieu,
To pass my life and think with Crewe.


(Said to be written by Mr. Chamberlayne, who threw himself out of the window.)

With charming Cholmondeley well one might
Pass half the day, and all the night;
From Montague's more fertile mind
Perpetual source of pleasures find :
Of Tully's Latin, Homer's Greek,
With learned Carter one could speak;
With Thrale converse in purest ease,
Of letters, life, and languages.
But if I dare to talk with Crewe,
My ease, my peace, my heart adieu !
Sweet Greville! whose too feeling heart

By love was once betrayed,
With Sappho's ardor, Sappho's art,

For cool indifference prayed :
Who can endure a prayer from you

So selfish and confined ?
You should — when you produced a Crewe,

Have prayed for all mankind.
The verses on Henrietta de Coligny, Comtesse de la Suze, are
quoted by Wraxall :
Quæ Dea sublimi vehitur


inania curru ?
An Juno, an Pallas, an Venus ipsa venit ?
Si genus inspicias, Juno: si scripta, Minerva:

Si spectes oculos, Mater Amoris erit.
They are thus paraphrased in a marginal note by Mrs.

Her birth examined, Juno we discern,

Her learning not Minerva's self denies :
From such perfections dazzled should I turn,

But that Love's mother laughs in both her eyes.

Note. When the King of Sweden was murdered in a ballroom, by Ankerstroom, about the year 1792, there was a comically impudent caricature published representing George the Third, with a letter in his hand and a label out of his mouth, What, what, what! Shot, shot, shot !

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