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express familiar thoughts in philosophical language; being in this the reverse of Socrates, who, it is said, reduced philosophy to the simplicity of common life. But let us attend to what he himself says in his concluding paper:-" When common words were less pleasing to the ear, or less distinct in their signification, I have familiarised the terms of philosophy, by applying them to popular ideas." And, as to the second part of this objection, upon a late careful revision of the work, I can with confidence say, that it is amazing how few of those words, for which it has been unjustly characterised, are actually to be found in it; I am sure, not the proportion of one to each paper. (1) This idle charge has been

(1) Mr. Boswell's zeal carries him too far: Johnson's style, especially in the Rambler, is frequently turgid, even to ridicule; but he has been too often censured with a malicious flippancy, which Boswell may be excused for resenting; and even graver critics have sometimes treated him with inconsiderate injustice; for instance, The Rev. Dr. Burrowes (now Dean of Cork), in an "Essay on the Style of Dr. Johnson," published in the first volume of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy (1787), observes:

"Johnson says, that he has rarely admitted any word 'not authorised by former writers; but where are we to seek authorities for resuscitation, orbity, volant, fatuity, divaricate, asinine, narcotic, vulnerary, empireumatic, papilionaceous,' and innumerable others of the same stamp, which abound in and disgrace

his pages? for obtund, disruption, sensory, or panoply,' all occurring in the short compass of a single essay in the Rambler; -or for cremation, horticulture, germination, and decussation,' within a few pages in his Life of Browne? They may be found, perhaps, in the works of former writers, but they make no part of the English language. They are the illegitimate offspring of learning by vanity." It is wonderful, that, instead of asking where these words were to be found, Dr. Burrowes did not think of referring to Johnson's own Dictionary. He would have found good authorities for almost every one of them; for instance, for resuscitation, Milton and Bacon are quoted; for volant, Milton and Phillips; for fatuity, Arbuthnot; for asinine,

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echoed from one babbler to another, who have confounded Johnson's Essays with Johnson's Dictionary; and because he thought it right in a lexicon of our language to collect many words which had fallen into disuse, but were supported by great authorities, it has been imagined that all of these have been interwoven into his own compositions. That some of them have been adopted by him unnecessarily, may, perhaps, be allowed: but, in general, they are evidently an advantage; for without them his stately ideas would be confined and cramped. "He that thinks with more extent than another, will want words of larger meaning." [Idler, No. 70.] (1) He

Milton; for narcotic and vulnerary, Browne; for germination, Bacon, and so on. But although these authorities, which Dr. Burrowes might have found in the Dictionary, are a sufficient answer to his question, let it be also observed, that many of these words were in use in more familiar authors than Johnson chose to quote, and that the majority of them are now become familiar, which is a sufficient proof that the English language has not considered them as illegitimate. — CROKER.

(1) This is a truism in the disguise of a sophism. "He that thinks with more extent will," no doubt, "want words of a larger meaning," but the words themselves may be plain and simple; the number of syllables, and oro-rotundity (if one may venture to use the expression) of the sound of a word can never add much, and may, in some cases, do injury to the meaning. What words were ever written of a larger meaning than the following, which, however, are the most simple and elementary that can be found: -"God said, Let there be light, and there was light!" If we were to convert the proposition in the Idler, and say, that "he who thinks feebly needs bigger words to cover his inanity," we should be nearer the truth. But it must be admitted (as Mr. Boswell soon after observes) that Johnson (though he, in some of his works, pushed his peculiarities to an absurd extent) has been, on the whole, a benefactor to our language; he has introduced more dignity into our style, more regularity into our grammatical construction, and given a fuller and more sonorous sound to the march of our sentences and the cadence of our periods. - CROKER.

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once told me, that he had formed his style upon that of Sir William Temple, and upon Chambers's Proposal for his Dictionary. (1) He certainly was mistaken; or if he imagined at first that he was imitating Temple, he was very unsuccessful (2); for nothing can be more unlike than the simplicity of Temple, and the richness of Johnson. Their styles differ as plain cloth and brocade. Temple, indeed, seems equally erroneous in supposing that he himself had formed his style upon Sandys's View of the State of Religion in the Western Parts of the World.

The style of Johnson was, undoubtedly, much formed upon that of the great writers in the last century, Hooker, Bacon, Sanderson, Hakewill, and others; those "GIANTS," as they were well characterised by A GREAT PERSONAGE (3), whose authority, were I to name him, would stamp a reverence on the opinion. (4)

(1) Chambers's Proposal for a second edition of his Dietionary, was probably in circulation when Johnson first came to London. - MALONE.

(2) See under April 9. 1778; where, in a conversation at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, Johnson himself mentions the particular improvements which Temple made in the English style.MALONE.

(3) [Mr. Croker here says, "We guess that George III. was the great personage; but all my inquiries (and some of his Majesty's illustrious family have condescended to permit these inquiries to extend even to them) have failed to ascertain to what person or on what occasion that happy expression was used."]

(4) Hooker he admired for his logical precision, Sanderson for his acuteness, and Taylor for his amazing erudition; Sir Thomas Browne for his penetration, and Cowley for the ease and unaffected structure of his periods. The tinsel of Sprat disgusted him, and he could but just endure the smooth verbosity

We may, with the utmost propriety, apply to his learned style that passage of Horace, a part of which he has taken as the motto to his Dictionary :-"Cum tabulis animum censoris sumet honesti ;

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Audebit quæcumque parùm splendoris habebunt,
Et sine pondere erunt, et honore indigna ferentur,
Verba movere loco, quamvis invita recedant,
Et versentur adhuc intra penetralia Vestæ.
Obscurata diu populo bonus eruet, atque
Proferet in lucem speciosa vocabula rerum,
Quæ priscis memorata Catonibus atque Cethegis,
Nunc situs informis premit et deserta vetustas :
Adsciscet nova, quæ genitor produxerit usus:
Vehemens, et liquidus, puroque simillimus amni,
Fundet opes Latiumque beabit divite linguâ.”
Epist. lib. ii. ep. 2. (1)

of Tillotson. Hammond and Barrow he thought involved; and of the latter that he was unnecessarily prolix.-HAWKINS. It is not easy to conceive how the erudition of Taylor or the penetration of Browne could have improved Johnson's style; nor is it likely that Johnson would have celebrated the eloquent and subtile Taylor for erudition alone, or the pious and learned Browne for mere penetration. Johnson's friend, Mr. Fitzherbert, said (see post, April 8. 1775), that "it was not every man who could carry a bon mot;" certainly Hawkins was not a man likely to convey adequately Dr. Johnson's critical opinion of Jeremy Taylor. - CROKER.

(1) [" But how severely with themselves proceed

The men, who wrote such verse as we can read!
Their own strict judges, not a word they spare
That wants or force, or light, or weight, or care,
Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place-
Nay, though at court (perhaps) it may find grace.
Such they'll degrade; and sometimes, in its stead,
In downright charity revive the dead;
Mark where a bold expressive phrase appears,
Bright through the rubbish of some hundred years;
Command old words that long have slept to wake,
Words that wise Bacon or brave Raleigh spake;
Or bid the new be English, ages hence,
(For Use will father what's begot by Sense ;)

1, 18

To so great a master of thinking, to one of such vast and various knowledge as Johnson, might have been allowed a liberal indulgence of that licence which Horace claims in another place :

"Si fortè necesse est

Indiciis monstrare recentibus abdita rerum,
Fingere cinctutis non exaudita Cethegis
Continget; dabiturque licentia sumpta pudenter :
Et nova fictaque nuper habebunt verba fidem, si
Græco fonte cadant, parcè detorta. Quid autem
Cæcilio Plautoque dabit Romanus, ademptum
Virgilio Varioque? Ego cur, acquirere pauca
Si possum, invideor; cum lingua Catonis et Ennî
Sermonem patrium ditaverit, et nova rerum
Nomina protulerit? Licuit, semperque licebit
Signatum præsente notâ producere nomen."

De Arte Poet. (1)

Pour the full tide of eloquence along,
Serenely pure, and yet divinely strong,
Rich with the treasures of each foreign tongue."

POPE, Imit.]

(1) ["Words must be chosen and be placed with skill:
You gain your point, when, by the noble art
Of good connection, an unusual word
Is made at first familiar to the ear:
But if you write of things abstruse or new,
Some of your own inventing may be used,
So it be seldom and discreetly done;
But he that hopes to have new words allow'd,
Must so derive them from the Grecian spring,
As they may seem to flow without constraint.
Can an impartial reader discommend
In Varius or in Virgil, what he likes
In Plautus or Cæcilius? Why should I
Be envied for the little I invent,
When Ennius and Cato's copious style
Have so enrich'd and so adorn'd our tongue?
Men ever had, and ever will have, leave
To coin new words well suited to the age."


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