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with small, and show that I commend nothing strongly which has not had a strong effect on myself, I can say, that Lear does not more surely move me to tears, or Spenser charm me, than I am thrown into fits of laughter when I hear these rhyming Johnsoniana. I can hardly, now this moment, while writing about them, and glancing at the copy which lies before me, help laughing to myself in private. This is not a good preface to a joke; but, if any body can afford it, I think it is Peter.

CONVERSATION ON JOHNSON, BY MRS. PIOZZI (THRALE) AND MR. BOSWELL.

Madame Piozzi.-Dear Doctor Johnson was in size an ox,

And from his Uncle Andrew learn'd to box,

A man to wrestlers and to bruisers dear,

Who kept the ring in Smithfield a whole year.

The Doctor had an Uncle too, ador'd

By jumping gentry, call'd Cornelius Ford;

Who jump'd in boots, which jumpers never choose,

Far as a famous jumper jump'd in shoes.

Bozzy. When Foote his leg, by some misfortune, broke,

Says I to Johnson, all by way of joke,

"Sam, sir, in paragraph will soon be clever,
And take off Peter better now than ever. 991

On which, says Johnson, without hesitation,

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On which, says I, a penetrating elf!

"Doctor, I'm sure you coin'd that word yourself."

The Doctor own'd to me I had divin'd it,

For, bona fide, he had really coin'd it.

"And yet, of all the words I've coin'd (says he),

My Dictionary, sir, contains but three."

Mad. Piozzi.-The Doctor said, "In literary matters,

A Frenchman goes not deep-he only smatters;"
Then ask'd, what could be hop'd for from the dogs,-
Fellows that liv'd eternally on frogs?

Bozzy. In grave procession to St. Leonard's College, Well stuff'd with every sort of useful knowledge, We stately walk'd as soon as supper ended; The landlord and the waiter both attended; The landlord, skill'd a piece of grease to handle, Before us march'd, and held a tallow candle; A lantern (some fam'd Scotsman its creator) With equal grace was carried by the waiter. Next morning from our beds we took a leap, And found ourselves much better for our sleep.

Mad. Piozzi.-In Lincolnshire, a lady show'd our friend A grotto that she wish'd him to commend.

Quoth she, "How cool in summer this abode !"

"Yes, madam (answered Johnson), for a toad."

Bozzy.-Between old Scalpa's rugged isle and Rasay's, The wind was vastly boisterous in our faces; 'T was glorious Johnson's figure to set sight onHigh in the boat he look'd a noble Triton! But lo! to damp our pleasure Fate concurs, For Joe, the blockhead, lost his master's spurs ; This for the Rambler's temper was a rubber, Who wonder'd Joseph could be such a lubber.

Mad. Piozzi.-I ask'd him if he knock'd Tom Osborne down,3

As such a tale was current through the town :

Says I, "Do tell me, Doctor, what befell."

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Why, dearest lady, there is nought to tell :
I ponder'd on the properest mode to treat him—
The dog was impudent, and so I beat him!
Tom, like a fool, proclaim'd his fancied wrongs;
Others that I belabour'd, held their tongues."

Did any one that he was happy cry-
Johnson would tell him plumply, 't was a lie.
A lady told him she was really so;

On which he sternly answer'd, " Madam, no!
Sickly you are, and ugly- -foolish, poor;
And therefore can't be happy, I am sure.

'T would make a fellow hang himself, whose ear
Were from such creatures forc'd such stuff to hear."

Bozzy. I wonder'd yesterday, that one John Hay, Who serv'd as Ciceroné on the way,

Should fly a man-of-war-a spot so blest

A fool! nine months, too, after he was prest.

Quoth Johnson, "No man, sir, would be a sailor,

With sense to scrape acquaintance with a jailor."

Mad. Piozzi.-I said I lik'd not goose, and mention'd why ;

One smells it roasting on the spit, quoth I.

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'You, Madam," cry'd the Doctor, with a frown,

"Are always gorging-stuffing something down.

Madam, 't is very natʼral to suppose,

If in the pantry you will poke your nose,

Your maw with ev'ry sort of victuals swelling,

That you must want the bliss of dinner-smelling."

Bozzy. Once at our house, amidst our Attic feasts, We liken'd our acquaintances to beasts;

As, for example, some to calves and hogs,

And some to bears and monkeys, cats and dogs;

We said, (which charm'd the Doctor much no doubt,)

His mind was like of elephants the snout,

That could pick pins up, yet possess'd the vigour

For trimming well the jacket of a tiger.

Mad. Piozzi.-Dear Doctor Johnson left off drinks fermented,

With quarts of chocolate and cream contented;
Yet often down his throat's enormous gutter,
Poor man! he pour'd a flood of melted butter!

Bozzy. With glee the Doctor did my girl behold;
Her name Veronica, just four months old.
This name Veronica, a name though quaint,
Belong'd originally to a saint;

But to my old great grandam it was giv'n-
As fine a woman as e'er went to heav'n;
And what must add to her importance, much,
This lady's genealogy was Dutch.

The man who did espouse this dame divine

Was Alexander, Earl of Kincardine;
Who pour'd along my body, like a sluice,

The noble, noble, noble blood of Bruce!

And who that own'd this blood could well refuse
To make the world acquainted with the news?
But to return unto my charming child-
About our Doctor Johnson she was wild;

And when he left off speaking, she would flutter,
Squall for him to begin again, and sputter;
And to be near him a strong wish express'd,
Which proves he was not such a horrid beast.
Her fondness for the Doctor pleas'd me greatly,
On which I loud exclaim'd, in language stately,

Nay, if I recollect aright, I swore,

I'd to her fortune add five hundred more.

Mad. Piozzi.-In ghosts the Doctor strongly did believe,

And pinn'd his faith on many a liar's sleeve.
He said to Doctor Lawrence, "Sure I am,

I heard my poor dear mother call out' Sam.'
I'm sure," said he, "that I can trust my ears;
And yet, my mother had been dead for years."

Bozzy-When young, ('t was rather silly I allow)
Much was I pleas'd to imitate a cow.

One time at Drury Lane with Doctor Blair,

My imitations made the playhouse stare!

So very charming was I in my roar,

That both the galleries clapp'd and cried "Encore."
Blest by the general plaudit and the laugh,

I tried to be a jack-ass and a calf;

But who, alas! in all things can be great?

In short, I met a terrible defeat;

So vile I bray'd and bellow'd, I was hiss'd;

Yet all who knew me wonder'd that I miss'd.

Blair whisper'd me, "You've lost your credit now;
Stick, Boswell, for the future, to the Cow."

1 Peter Garrick, who had a wooden leg. He was brother of the actor.

2"George" was George Faulkner the printer, who prosecuted Foote for lampooning him.

3 Osborne the bookseller. Johnson, while in poor circumstances, had been employed by him. The melancholy author happened to be guilty of one of

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