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his leisure hours he was unbending himself with a few friends in the most playful and frolicksome manner, he observed Beau Nash approaching; upon which he suddenly stopped:- My boys, (said he,) let us be grave: here comes a fool.' The world, my friend, I have found to be a great fool, as to that particular, on which it has become necessary to speak very plainly. I have, therefore, in this Work been more reserved'; and though I tell nothing but the truth, I have still kept in my mind that the whole truth is not always to be exposed. This, however, I have managed so as to occasion no diminution of the pleasure which my book should afford; though malignity may sometimes be disappointed of its gratifications.
My dear Sir,
Your much obliged friend,
And faithful humble servant,
doctor, looking from the window, saw Nash's chariot stop at the door. "Boys, boys," cried the philosopher, "let us now be wise, for here is a fool coming," Cunningham's Goldsmith's Works, iv. 96. Dr. Warton in his criticism on Pope's line
'Unthought of frailties cheat us in the wise,'
(Moral Essays, i. 69) says: For who could imagine that Dr. Clarke valued himself for his agility, and frequently amused himself in a private room of his house in leaping over the tables and chairs.' Warton's Essay on Pope, ii. 125. It is a good remark of Montaigne's,' wrote Goldsmith, 'that the wisest men often have friends with whom they do not care how much they play the fool.' Forster's Goldsmith, i. 166. Mr. Seward says in his Anecdotes, ii. 320, that 'in the opinion of Dr. Johnson, Dr. Clarke was the most complete literary character that England ever produced.' For Dr. Clarke's sermons see post, April 7, 1778.
1 See post, Oct. 16, 1769, note.
I AT last deliver to the world a Work which I have long promised, and of which, I am afraid, too high expectations have been raised. The delay of its publication must be imputed, in a considerable degree, to the extraordinary zeal which has been shewn by distinguished persons in all quarters to sup ply me with additional information concerning its illustrious subject; resembling in this the grateful tribes of ancient nations, of which every individual was eager to throw a stone upon the grave of a departed Hero, and thus to share in the pious office of erecting an honourable monument to his memory.
'How much delighted would Boswell have been, had he been shewn the following passage, recorded by Miss Burney, in an account she gives of a conversation with the Queen :-THE QUEEN:-Miss Burney, have you heard that Boswell is going to publish a life of your friend Dr. Johnson?' 'No, ma'am !' 'I tell you as I heard, I don't know for the truth of it, and I can't tell what he will do. He is so extraordinary a man that perhaps he will devise something extraordinary.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii. 400. 'Dr. Johnson's history,' wrote Horace Walpole, on June 20, 1785, ‘though he is going to have as many lives as a cat, might be reduced to four lines; but I shall wait to extract the quintessence till Sir John Hawkins, Madame Piozzi, and Mr. Boswell have produced their quartos.' Horace Walpole's Letters, viii. 557.
'The delay was in part due to Boswell's dissipation and place-hunting, as is shewn by the following passages in his Letters to Temple :'Feb. 24, 1788, I have been wretchedly dissipated, so that I have not
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The labour and anxious attention with which I have collected and arranged the materials of which these volumes are composed, will hardly be conceived by those who read them with careless facility. The stretch of mind and prompt assiduity by which so many conversations were preserved, I myself, at
written a line for a fortnight.' p. 266. 'Nov. 28, 1789, Malone's hospitality, and my other invitations, and particularly my attendance at Lord Lonsdale's, have lost us many evenings.' Ib. p. 311. 'June 21, 1790, How unfortunate to be obliged to interrupt my work! Never was a poor ambitious projector more mortified. I am suffering without any prospect of reward, and only from my own folly.' Ib. p. 326.
1 'You cannot imagine what labour, what perplexity, what vexation I have endured in arranging a prodigious multiplicity of materials, in supplying omissions, in searching for papers, buried in different masses, and all this besides the exertion of composing and polishing; many a time have I thought of giving it up.' Letters of Boswell,
Boswell writing to Temple in 1775, says:—' I try to keep a journal, and shall shew you that I have done tolerably; but it is hardly credible what ground I go over, and what a variety of men and manners I contemplate in a day; and all the time I myself am pars magna, for my exuberant spirits will not let me listen enough.' Ib. p. 188. Mr. Barclay said that 'he had seen Boswell lay down his knife and fork, and take out his tablets, in order to register a good anecdote.' Croker's Boswell, p. 837. The account given by Paoli to Miss Burney, shows that very early in life Boswell took out his tablets:-' He came to my country, and he fetched me some letter of recommending him; but I was of the belief he might be an impostor, and I supposed in my minte he was an espy; for I look away from him, and in a moment I look to him again, and I behold his tablets. Oh! he was to the work of writing down all I say. Indeed I was angry. But soon I discover he was no impostor and no espy; and I only find I was myself the monster he had come to discern. Oh! he is a very good man; I love him indeed; so cheerful, so gay, so pleasant! but at the first, oh! I was indeed angry.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii. 155. Boswell not only recorded the conversations, he often stimulated them. On one occasion 'he assumed,' he said, ‘an air of ignorance to incite Dr. Johnson to talk, for which it was often necessary to employ some address.' See post, April 12, 1776. Tom Tyers,' said Johnson, 'described me the best. • He once said to me, "Sir, you are like a ghost: you never speak till you are spoken to."' Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 20, 1773. Boswell writing
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some distance of time, contemplate with wonder; and I must be allowed to suggest, that the nature of the work, in other respects, as it consists of innumerable detached particulars, all which, even the most minute, I have spared no pains to ascertain with a scrupulous authenticity, has occasioned a degree of trouble far beyond that of any other species of composition. Were I to detail the books which I have consulted, and the inquiries which I have found it necessary to make by various channels, I should probably be thought ridiculously ostentatious. Let me only observe, as a specimen of my trouble, that I have sometimes been obliged to run half over London, in order to fix a date correctly; which, when I had accomplished, I well knew would obtain me no praise, though a failure would have been to my discredit. And after all, perhaps, hard as it may be, I shall not be surprized if omissions or mistakes be pointed out with invidious severity. I have also been extremely careful as to the exactness of my quotations; holding that there is a respect due to the publick which should oblige every Author to attend to this, and never to presume to introduce them with,-'I think I have read; or,- If I remember right;'-when the originals may be examined'.
of this Tour said:-'I also may be allowed to claim some merit in leading the conversation; I do not mean leading, as in an orchestra, by playing the first fiddle; but leading as one does in examining a witness-starting topics, and making him pursue them.' Ib. Sept. 28. One day he recorded :—' I did not exert myself to get Dr. Johnson to talk, that I might not have the labour of writing down his conversation.' Ib. Sept. 7. His industry grew much less towards the close of Johnson's life. Under May 8, 1781, he records :-'Of his conversation on that and other occasions during this period, I neglected to keep any regular record.' On May 15, 1783:—'I have no minute of any interview with Johnson [from May 1] till May 15.' May 15, 1784:'Of these days and others on which I saw him I have no memorials.'
1 It is an interesting question how far Boswell derived his love of truth from himself, and how far from Johnson's training. He was one of Johnson's school. He himself quotes Reynolds's observation, 'that all who were of his school are distinguished for a love of truth and accuracy, which they would not have possessed in the same degree if
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I beg leave to express my warmest thanks to those who have been pleased to favour me with communications and advice in the conduct of my Work. But I cannot sufficiently acknowledge my obligations to my friend Mr. Malone, who was so good as to allow me to read to him almost the whole of my manuscript, and make such remarks as were greatly for the advantage of the Work'; though it is but fair to him to mention, that upon many occasions I differed from him, and followed my own judgement. I regret exceedingly that I was deprived of the benefit of his revision, when not more than one half of the book had passed through the press; but after having completed his very laborious and admirable edition of Shakspeare, for which he generously would accept of no other reward but that fame which he has so deservedly obtained, he fulfilled his promise of a long-wished-for visit to his relations in Ireland; from whence his safe return finibus Atticis is desired by his friends here, with all the classical ardour of Sic te Diva potens Cypri'; for there is no man in whom more elegant and worthy qualities are united; and whose society, therefore, is more valued by those who know him.
It is painful to me to think, that while I was carrying on this Work, several of those to whom it would have been most interesting have died. Such melancholy disappointments we know to be incident to humanity; but we do not feel them the
they had not been acquainted with Johnson' (post, under March 30, 1778). Writing to Temple in 1789, he said :-'Johnson taught me to cross-question in common life.' Letters of Boswell, p. 280. His quotations, nevertheless, are not unfrequently inaccurate. Yet to him might fairly be applied the words that Gibbon used of Tillemont :- His inimitable accuracy almost assumes the character of genius.' Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 213.
The revision of my Life of Johnson, by so acute and knowing a critic as Mr. Malone, is of most essential consequence, especially as he is Johnsonianissimus. Letters of Boswell, p. 310. A few weeks earlier he had written :-'Yesterday afternoon Malone and I made ready for the press thirty pages of Johnson's Life; he is much pleased with it; but I feel a sad indifference [he had lately lost his wife], and he says I have not the use of my faculties.' Ib. p. 308. * Horace, Odes, i. 3. 1.