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"Miscellaneous Observations on Macbeth,” and “ Proposals for a new Edition of Shakspeare.".

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logue, spoken by Garrick, on the opening of Drury Lane Theatre." Prospectus of the Dictionary of the English Language. Progress of the Work. King's Head Club in Ivy Lane. · Visit to Tunbridge Wells. 66 Life of Roscommon." I Preface to Dodsley's Preceptor." "Vision of Theodore the Hermit." "The Vanity of Human Wishes.". "Irene" acted at Drury Lane.


IN 1745, he published a pamphlet entitled, "Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth, with Remarks on Sir T. H.'s (Sir Thomas Hanmer's) Edition of Shakspeare."* (1) To which he affixed, Proposals for a new edition of that poet.

As we do not trace any thing else published by him during the course of this year, we may conjecture that he was occupied entirely with that work. But the little encouragement which was given by the public to his anonymous proposals for the execution of a task which Warburton was known to have undertaken, probably damped his ardour. His pam

(1) [Sir Thomas Hanmer was born in 1676. He was Speaker of the House of Commons in Queen Anne's last parliament, and died May 5. 1746. His splendid but inaccurate edition of Shakspeare, in six volumes quarto, was published in 1744.]

phlet, however, was highly esteemed, and was fortunate enough to obtain the approbation even of the supercilious Warburton himself, who, in the Preface to his Shakspeare, published two years afterwards, thus mentioned it: "As to all those things which have been published under the titles of Essays, Remarks, Observations, &c. on Shakspeare, if you except some Critical Notes on Macbeth, given as a specimen of a projected edition, and written, as appears, by a man of parts and genius, the rest are absolutely below a serious notice."

Of this flattering distinction shown to him by Warburton, a very grateful remembrance was ever entertained by Johnson, who said, "He praised me at a time when praise was of value to me.”

In 1746, it is probable that he was still employed upon his Shakspeare, which perhaps he laid aside for a time, upon account of the high expectations which were formed of Warburton's edition of that great poet. It is somewhat curious, that his literary career appears to have been almost totally suspended in the years 1745 and 1746, those years which were marked by a civil war in Great Britain, when a rash attempt was made to restore the House of Stuart to the throne. That he had a tenderness for that unfortunate House, is well known; and some may fancifully imagine, that a sympathetic anxiety impeded the exertion of his intellectual powers (1):

(1) [In the Garrick Correspondence, there is a letter from Gilbert Walmesley, dated Nov. 3. 1746, which contains this passage: - "When you see Mr. Johnson, pray give my compliments, and tell him I esteem him as a great genius-quite lost, both to himself and the world." Upon which the Editor ob

but I am inclined to think, that he was, during this time, sketching the outlines of his great philological work.

None of his letters during those years are extant, so far as I can discover. This is much to be regretted. It might afford some entertainment to see how he then expressed himself to his private friends concerning state affairs. Dr. Adams informs me, that "at this time a favourite object which he had in contemplation was The Life of Alfred;' in which, from the warmth with which he spoke about it, he would, I believe, had he been master of his own will, have engaged himself, rather than on any other subject."

In 1747, it is supposed that the Gentleman's Magazine for May was enriched by him with five short poetical pieces distinguished by three asterisks. The first is a translation, or rather a paraphrase, of a Latin Epitaph on Sir Thomas Hanmer. Whether the Latin was his, or not, I have never heard, though I should think it probably was, if it be certain that he wrote the English; as to which my only cause of doubt is, that his slighting character of Hanmer as an editor, in his "Observations on Macbeth," is very different from that in the Epitaph. It may be said, that there is the same contrariety between the character in the Observations, and that in his own Preface to Shakspeare; but a considerable time elapsed between the one publication and the other,

serves, "It is obvious that Walmesley had been anxiously expecting from his friend, performances adequate to his powers, but at length almost despaired, that he could ever be roused to useful strenuous exertion of his time.". - G. C., vol. i. p. 45.]

whereas, the Observations and the Epitaph came close together. The others are, "To Miss on her giving the Author a gold and silk net-work Purse of her own weaving;" "Stella in Mourning;""The Winter's Walk;" "An Ode;" and, "To Lyce, an elderly Lady." I am not positive that all these were his productions (1); but as "The Winter's Walk" has never been controverted to be his, and all of them have the same mark, it is reasonable to conclude that they are all written by the same hand. Yet to the Ode, in which we find a passage very characteristic of him, being a learned description of the gout,


Unhappy, whom to beds of pain
Arthritick tyranny consigns;

there is the following note, " The author being ill

(1) In the "Universal Visiter," to which Johnson contributed, the mark which is affixed to some pieces unquestionably his, is also found subjoined to others, of which he certainly was not the author. The mark, therefore, will not ascertain the poems in question to have been written by him. Some of them were probably the productions of Hawkesworth, who, it is believed, was afflicted with the gout. The verses on a Purse were inserted afterwards in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies, and are, unquestionably, Johnson's.”- MALONE.

There is no evidence whatever that any of these were Johnson's, and every reason to suppose that they are Hawkesworth's, The ode which Boswell doubts about, on internal evidence, is the ode to Spring, which, with those on Summer, Autumn, and Winter, have been of late published as Johnson's, and are, no doubt, all by the same hand. We see that Spring bears internal marks of being Hawkesworth's. Winter and Summer, Mr. Chalmers asserts to be his also; and the index to the Gent. Mag. for 1748 attributes Summer to Mr. Greville, a name known to have been assumed by Hawkesworth. The verses on the "Purse," and to "Stella in Mourning," are certainly, by the same hand as the four odes. The whole must therefore be assigned to Hawkesworth, and should be removed from their place in Johnson's works. - CROKER.

of the gout:" but Johnson was not attacked with
that distemper till a very late period of his life.
May not this, however, be a poetical fiction? Why
may not a poet suppose himself to have the gout,
as well as suppose himself to be in love, of which
we have innumerable instances, and which has been
admirably ridiculed by Johnson in his "Life of
Cowley?" (1) I have also some difficulty to believe
that he could produce such a group of conceits as
appear in the verses to Lyce, in which he claims
for this ancient personage as good a right to be
assimilated to heaven, as nymphs whom other poets
have flattered; he therefore ironically ascribes to her
the attributes of the sky, in such stanzas as this:
"Her teeth the night with darkness dies,
She's starr'd with pimples o'er;

Her tongue like nimble lightning plies,
And can with thunder roar."


But as, at a very advanced age, he could condescend to trifle in namby-pamby rhymes, to please Mrs. Thrale and her daughter, he may have, in his earlier years, composed such a piece as this.

It is remarkable, that in this first edition of " The Winter's Walk," the concluding line is much more Johnsonian than it was afterwards printed; for in subsequent editions, after praying Stella to " snatch him to her arms," he says,

"And shield me from the ills of life."

(1) ["Of Cowley, we are told by Barnes, that, whatever he may talk of his own inflammability, and the variety of characters by which his heart was divided, he in reality was in love but once, and then never had resolution to tell his passion," &c. &c. -JOHNSON, Life of Cowley.]

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