Sunday, November 22, 2015

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 101

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D, Assistant Professor of Alchemical Studies; Assistant Women’s Rackets Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Missing Jar of Invisible Ink, the Olney Community College Press.

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'I return you my sincere thanks for your additions to my Dictionary; but the new edition has been published some time, and therefore I cannot now make use of them. Whether I shall ever revise it more, I know not. If many readers had been as judicious, as diligent, and as communicative as yourself, my work had been better. The world must at present take it as it is. I am, Sir, 

'Your most obliged 

'And most humble servant, 


'May 8, 1773.'

On Sunday, May 8, I dined with Johnson at Mr. Langton's with Dr. Beattie and some other company. He descanted on the subject of Literary Property. 

'There seems (said he,) to be in authours a stronger right of property than that by occupancy; a metaphysical right, a right, as it were, of creation, which should from its nature be perpetual; but the consent of nations is against it, and indeed reason and the interests of learning are against it; for were it to be perpetual, no book, however useful, could be universally diffused amongst mankind, should the proprietor take it into his head to restrain its circulation. No book could have the advantage of being edited with notes, however necessary to its elucidation, should the proprietor perversely oppose it. For the general good of the world, therefore, whatever valuable work has once been created by an authour, and issued out by him, should be understood as no longer in his power, but as belonging to the publick; at the same time the authour is entitled to an adequate reward. This he should have by an exclusive right to his work for a considerable number of years.’

He attacked Lord Monboddo's strange speculation on the primitive state of human nature; observing, 

'Sir, it is all conjecture about a thing useless, even were it known to be true. Knowledge of all kinds is good. Conjecture, as to things useful, is good; but conjecture as to what it would be useless to know, such as whether men went upon all four, is very idle.'

On Monday, May 9, as I was to set out on my return to Scotland next morning, I was desirous to see as much of Dr. Johnson as I could. But I first called on Goldsmith to take leave of him. The jealousy and envy which, though possessed of many most amiable qualities, he frankly avowed, broke out violently at this interview.

Upon another occasion, when Goldsmith confessed himself to be of an envious disposition, I contended with Johnson that we ought not to be angry with him, he was so candid in owning it. 

'Nay, Sir, (said Johnson,) we must be angry that a man has such a superabundance of an odious quality, that he cannot keep it within his own breast, but it boils over.' 

In my opinion, however, Goldsmith had not more of it than other people have, but only talked of it freely. 

He now seemed very angry that Johnson was going to be a traveller; said 'he would be a dead weight for me to carry, and that I should never be able to lug him along through the Highlands and Hebrides.' 

Nor would he patiently allow me to enlarge upon Johnson's wonderful abilities; but exclaimed, 'Is he like Burke, who winds into a subject like a serpent?' 

'But, (said I,) Johnson is the Hercules who strangled serpents in his cradle.'

I dined with Dr. Johnson at General Paoli's. He was obliged, by indisposition, to leave the company early; he appointed me, however, to meet him in the evening at Mr. (now Sir Robert) Chambers's in the Temple, where he accordingly came, though he continued to be very ill. Chambers, as is common on such occasions, prescribed various remedies to him. 

JOHNSON. (fretted by pain,) 'Pr'ythee don't tease me. Stay till I am well, and then you shall tell me how to cure myself.' 

He grew better, and talked with a noble enthusiasm of keeping up the representation of respectable families. His zeal on this subject was a circumstance in his character exceedingly remarkable, when it is considered that he himself had no pretensions to blood. 

I heard him once say, 'I have great merit in being zealous for subordination and the honours of birth; for I can hardly tell who was my grandfather.' 

He maintained the dignity and propriety of male succession, in opposition to the opinion of one of our friends, who had that day employed Mr. Chambers to draw his will, devising his estate to his three sisters, in preference to a remote heir male. Johnson called them 'three dowdies,' and said, with as high a spirit as the boldest Baron in the most perfect days of the feudal system, 

'An ancient estate should always go to males. It is mighty foolish to let a stranger have it because he marries your daughter, and takes your name. As for an estate newly acquired by trade, you may give it, if you will, to the dog Towser, and let him keep his own name.'

I have known him at times exceedingly diverted at what seemed to others a very small sport. He now laughed immoderately, without any reason that we could perceive, at our friend's making his will; called him the testator, and added, 

'I dare say, he thinks he has done a mighty thing. He won't stay till he gets home to his seat in the country, to produce this wonderful deed: he'll call up the landlord of the first inn on the road; and, after a suitable preface upon mortality and the uncertainty of life, will tell him that he should not delay making his will; and here, Sir, will he say, is my will, which I have just made, with the assistance of one of the ablest lawyers in the kingdom; and he will read it to him (laughing all the time).

He believes he has made this will; but he did not make it: you, Chambers, made it for him. I trust you have had more conscience than to make him say, "being of sound understanding ;" ha, ha, ha! I hope he has left me a legacy. I'd have his will turned into verse, like a ballad.'

In this playful manner did he run on, exulting in his own pleasantry, which certainly was not such as might be expected from the authour of The Rambler, but which is here preserved, that my readers may be acquainted even with the slightest occasional characteristicks of so eminent a man.

Mr. Chambers did not by any means relish this jocularity upon a matter of which pars magna fuit, and seemed impatient till he got rid of us. 

Johnson could not stop his merriment, but continued it all the way till we got without the Temple-gate. He then burst into such a fit of laughter, that he appeared to be almost in a convulsion; and, in order to support himself, laid hold of one of the posts at the side of the foot pavement, and sent forth peals so loud, that in the silence of the night his voice seemed to resound from Temple-bar to Fleet-ditch.

This most ludicrous exhibition of the aweful, melancholy, and venerable Johnson, happened well to counteract the feelings of sadness which I used to experience when parting with him for a considerable time. 

I accompanied him to his door, where he gave me his blessing. 

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part 102

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 100

Edited by Dan Leo, Associate Professor of 21st Century Fan Fiction; Assistant Belote Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Shining of Dr. Goldsmith, the Olney Community College Press.

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to begin at the beginning, click here

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During this argument, Goldsmith sat in restless agitation, from a wish to get in and shine. Finding himself excluded, he had taken his hat to go away, but remained for some time with it in his hand, like a gamester, who at the close of a long night, lingers for a little while, to see if he can have a favourable opening to finish with success. Once when he was beginning to speak, he found himself overpowered by the loud voice of Johnson, who was at the opposite end of the table, and did not perceive Goldsmith's attempt. 

Thus disappointed of his wish to obtain the attention of the company, Goldsmith in a passion threw down his hat, looking angrily at Johnson, and exclaiming in a bitter tone, 'Take it.'

When Toplady was going to speak, Johnson uttered some sound, which led Goldsmith to think that he was beginning again, and taking the words from Toplady. Upon which, he seized this opportunity of venting his own envy and spleen, under the pretext of supporting another person:

'Sir, (said he to Johnson,) the gentleman has heard you patiently for an hour; pray allow us now to hear him.'

JOHNSON. (sternly,) 'Sir, I was not interrupting the gentleman. I was only giving him a signal of my attention. Sir, you are impertinent.'

Goldsmith made no reply, but continued in the company for some time.

A gentleman present ventured to ask Dr. Johnson if there was not a material difference as to toleration of opinions which lead to action, and opinions merely speculative; for instance, would it be wrong in the magistrate to tolerate those who preach against the doctrine of the TRINITY?

Johnson was highly offended, and said, 'I wonder, Sir, how a gentleman of your piety can introduce this subject in a mixed company.'

The gentleman, with submissive deference, said, he had only hinted at the question from a desire to hear Dr. Johnson's opinion upon it. 

JOHNSON. 'Why then, Sir, I think that permitting men to preach any opinion contrary to the doctrine of the established church tends, in a certain degree, to lessen the authority of the church, and consequently, to lessen the influence of religion.'

'It may be considered, (said the gentleman,) whether it would not be politick to tolerate in such a case.'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, we have been talking of right: this is another question. I think it is not politick to tolerate in such a case.'

Though he did not think it fit that so aweful a subject should be introduced in a mixed company, and therefore at this time waved the theological question; yet his own orthodox belief in the sacred mystery of the TRINITY is evinced beyond doubt, by the following passage in his private devotions:

'O LORD, hear my prayer, for JESUS CHRIST'S sake; to whom with thee and the HOLY GHOST, three persons and one GOD, be all honour and glory, world without end, Amen.'

BOSWELL. 'Pray, Mr. Dilly, how does Dr. Leland's History of Ireland sell?'

JOHNSON, (bursting forth with a generous indignation,) 'The Irish are in a most unnatural state; for we see there the minority prevailing over the majority. There is no instance, even in the ten persecutions, of such severity as that which the protestants of Ireland have exercised against the Catholicks. Did we tell them we have conquered them, it would be above board: to punish them by confiscation and other penalties, as rebels, was monstrous injustice. King William was not their lawful sovereign: he had not been acknowledged by the Parliament of Ireland, when they appeared in arms against him.'

I here suggested something favourable of the Roman Catholicks.

TOPLADY. 'Does not their invocation of saints suppose omnipresence in the saints?'

JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; it supposes only pluri-presence, and when spirits are divested of matter, it seems probable that they should see with more extent than when in an embodied state. There is, therefore, no approach to an invasion of any of the divine attributes, in the invocation of saints. But I think it is will-worship, and presumption. I see no command for it, and therefore think it is safer not to practise it.'

He and Mr. Langton and I went together to THE CLUB, where we found Mr. Burke, Mr. Garrick, and some other members, and amongst them our friend Goldsmith, who sat silently brooding over Johnson's reprimand to him after dinner. Johnson perceived this, and said aside to some of us, 'I'll make Goldsmith forgive me;' and then called to him in a loud voice, 'Dr. Goldsmith,— something passed to-day where you and I dined; I ask your pardon.' 

Goldsmith answered placidly, 'It must be much from you, Sir, that I take ill.' 

And so at once the difference was over, and they were on as easy terms as ever, and Goldsmith rattled away as usual.

In our way to the club to-night, when I regretted that Goldsmith would, upon every occasion, endeavour to shine, by which he often exposed himself, Mr. Langton observed, that he was not like Addison, who was content with the fame of his writings, and did not aim also at excellency in conversation, for which he found himself unfit; and that he said to a lady who complained of his having talked little in company, 'Madam , I have but nine-pence in ready money, but I can draw for a thousand pound.'

I observed, that Goldsmith had a great deal of gold in his cabinet, but, not content with that, was always taking out his purse.

JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir, and that so often an empty purse!'

Goldsmith's incessant desire of being conspicuous in company, was the occasion of his sometimes appearing to such disadvantage as one should hardly have supposed possible in a man of his genius. When his literary reputation had risen deservedly high, and his society was much courted, he became very jealous of the extraordinary attention which was every where paid to Johnson. One evening, in a circle of wits, he found fault with me for talking of Johnson as entitled to the honour of unquestionable superiority.

'Sir, (said he,) you are for making a monarchy of what should be a republick.'

He was still more mortified, when talking in a company with fluent vivacity, and, as he flattered himself, to the admiration of all who were present; a German who sat next him, and perceived Johnson rolling himself, as if about to speak, suddenly stopped him, saying, 'Stay, stay,— Toctor Shonson is going to say something.'

This was, no doubt, very provoking, especially to one so irritable as Goldsmith, who frequently mentioned it with strong expressions of indignation.

It may also be observed, that Goldsmith was sometimes content to be treated with an easy familiarity, but, upon occasions, would be consequential and important. An instance of this occurred in a small particular.

Johnson had a way of contracting the names of his friends; as Beauclerk, Beau; Boswell, Bozzy; Langton, Lanky; Murphy, Mur; Sheridan, Sherry. I remember one day, when Tom Davies was telling that Dr. Johnson said, 'We are all in labour for a name to Goldy's play,' 

Goldsmith seemed displeased that such a liberty should be taken with his name, and said, 'I have often desired him not to call me Goldy.'

Tom was remarkably attentive to the most minute circumstance about Johnson. I recollect his telling me once, on my arrival in London, 'Sir, our great friend has made an improvement on his appellation of old Mr. Sheridan. He calls him now Sherry derry.'


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part 101

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 99

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D, Assistant Professor of English as a First Language; Assistant Monopoly™ Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Ill-Used Lady, the Olney Community College Press.

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On Friday, May 7, I breakfasted with him at Mr. Thrale's in the Borough. While we were alone, I endeavoured as well as I could to apologise for a lady who had been divorced from her husband by act of Parliament. I said, that he had used her very ill, had behaved brutally to her, and that she could not continue to live with him without having her delicacy contaminated; that all affection for him was thus destroyed; that the essence of conjugal union being gone, there remained only a cold form, a mere civil obligation; that she was in the prime of life, with qualities to produce happiness; that these ought not to be lost; and, that the gentleman on whose account she was divorced had gained her heart while thus unhappily situated. Seduced, perhaps, by the charms of the lady in question, I thus attempted to palliate what I was sensible could not be justified; for when I had finished my harangue, my venerable friend gave me a proper check:

'My dear Sir, never accustom your mind to mingle virtue and vice. The woman's a whore, and there's an end on't.'

He did not give me full credit when I mentioned that I had carried on a short conversation by signs with some Esquimaux who were then in London, particularly with one of them who was a priest. He thought I could not make them understand me. No man was more incredulous as to particular facts, which were at all extraordinary; and therefore no man was more scrupulously inquisitive, in order to discover the truth.

I dined with him this day at the house of my friends, Messieurs Edward and Charles Dilly, booksellers in the Poultry: there were present, their elder brother Mr. Dilly of Bedfordshire, Dr. Goldsmith, Mr. Langton, Mr. Claxton, Reverend Dr. Mayo a dissenting minister, the Reverend Mr. Toplady, and my friend the Reverend Mr. Temple.

Hawkesworth's compilation of the voyages to the South Sea being mentioned;—

JOHNSON. 'Sir, if you talk of it as a subject of commerce, it will be gainful; if as a book that is to increase human knowledge, I believe there will not be much of that. Hawkesworth can tell only what the voyagers have told him; and they have found very little, only one new animal, I think.' 

BOSWELL. 'But many insects, Sir.' 

JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, as to insects, Ray reckons of British insects twenty thousand species. They might have staid at home and discovered enough in that way.'

BOSWELL. 'I am well assured that the people of Otaheite who have the bread tree, the fruit of which serves them for bread, laughed heartily when they were informed of the tedious process necessary with us to have bread;— plowing, sowing, harrowing , reaping, threshing, grinding, baking.'

JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, all ignorant savages will laugh when they are told of the advantages of civilized life. Were you to tell men who live without houses, how we pile brick upon brick, and rafter upon rafter, and that after a house is raised to a certain height, a man tumbles off a scaffold, and breaks his neck; he would laugh heartily at our folly in building; but it does not follow that men are better without houses. No, Sir, (holding up a slice of a good loaf,) this is better than the bread tree.'

I introduced the subject of toleration.

JOHNSON. 'Every society has a right to preserve publick peace and order, and therefore has a good right to prohibit the propagation of opinions which have a dangerous tendency. To say the magistrate has this right, is using an inadequate word: it is the society for which the magistrate is agent. He may be morally or theologically wrong in restraining the propagation of opinions which he thinks dangerous, but he is politically right.'

MAYO. 'I am of opinion, Sir, that every man is entitled to liberty of conscience in religion; and that the magistrate cannot restrain that right.'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, I agree with you. Every man has a right to liberty of conscience, and with that the magistrate cannot interfere. People confound liberty of thinking with liberty of talking; nay, with liberty of preaching. Every man has a physical right to think as he pleases; for it cannot be discovered how he thinks. But, Sir, no member of a society has a right to teach any doctrine contrary to what the society holds to be true. The magistrate, I say, may be wrong in what he thinks: but while he thinks himself right, he may and ought to enforce what he thinks.' 

MAYO. 'Then, Sir, we are to remain always in errour, and truth never can prevail; and the magistrate was right in persecuting the first Christians.'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, the only method by which religious truth can be established is by martyrdom. The magistrate has a right to enforce what he thinks; and he who is conscious of the truth has a right to suffer. I am afraid there is no other way of ascertaining the truth, but by persecution on the one hand and enduring it on the other.'

GOLDSMITH. 'But how is a man to act, Sir? Though firmly convinced of the truth of his doctrine, may he not think it wrong to expose himself to persecution? Has he a right to do so? Is it not, as it were, committing voluntary suicide?'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, as to voluntary suicide, as you call it, there are twenty thousand men in an army who will go without scruple to be shot at, and mount a breach for five-pence a day.'

GOLDSMITH. 'But have they a moral right to do this?'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, if you will not take the universal opinion of mankind, I have nothing to say. If mankind cannot defend their own way of thinking, I cannot defend it. Sir, if a man is in doubt whether it would be better for him to expose himself to martyrdom or not, he should not do it. He must be convinced that he has a delegation from heaven.'

GOLDSMITH. 'I would consider whether there is the greater chance of good or evil upon the whole. If I see a man who had fallen into a well, I would wish to help him out; but if there is a greater probability that he shall pull me in, than that I shall pull him out, I would not attempt it. So were I to go to Turkey, I might wish to convert the Grand Signor to the Christian faith; but when I considered that I should probably be put to death without effectuating my purpose in any degree, I should keep myself quiet.' 

JOHNSON. 'Sir you must consider that we have perfect and imperfect obligations. Perfect obligations, which are generally not to do something, are clear and positive; as, 'thou shalt not kill.' But charity, for instance, is not definable by limits. It is a duty to give to the poor; but no man can say how much another should give to the poor, or when a man has given too little to save his soul. In the same manner it is a duty to instruct the ignorant, and of consequence to convert infidels to Christianity; but no man in the common course of things is obliged to carry this to such a degree as to incur the danger of martyrdom, as no man is obliged to strip himself to the shirt in order to give charity. I have said, that a man must be persuaded that he has a particular delegation from heaven.'

GOLDSMITH. 'How is this to be known? Our first reformers, who were burnt for not believing bread and wine to be CHRIST'—

JOHNSON, (interrupting him,) 'Sir, they were not burnt for not believing bread and wine to be CHRIST, but for insulting those who did believe it. And, Sir, when the first reformers began, they did not intend to be martyred: as many of them ran away as could.'

BOSWELL. 'But, Sir, there was your countryman, Elwal, who you told me challenged King George with his black-guards, and his red-guards.'

JOHNSON. 'My countryman, Elwal, Sir, should have been put in the stocks; a proper pulpit for him; and he'd have had a numerous audience. A man who preaches in the stocks will always have hearers enough.'

BOSWELL. 'But Elwal thought himself in the right.'

JOHNSON. 'We are not providing for mad people; there are places for them in the neighbourhood' (meaning Moorfields).

MAYO. 'But, Sir, is it not very hard that I should not be allowed to teach my children what I really believe to be the truth?'

JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, you might contrive to teach your children extra scandalum; but, Sir, the magistrate, if he knows it, has a right to restrain you. Suppose you teach your children to be thieves?'

MAYO. 'This is making a joke of the subject.'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, take it thus:— that you teach them the community of goods; for which there are as many plausible arguments as for most erroneous doctrines. You teach them that all things at first were in common, and that no man had a right to any thing but as he laid his hands upon it; and that this still is, or ought to be, the rule amongst mankind. Here, Sir, you sap a great principle in society,— property. And don't you think the magistrate would have a right to prevent you? Or, suppose you should teach your children the notion of the Adamites, and they should run naked into the streets, would not the magistrate have a right to flog 'em into their doublets?'

MAYO. 'I think the magistrate has no right to interfere till there is some overt act.'

BOSWELL. 'So, Sir, though he sees an enemy to the state charging a blunderbuss, he is not to interfere till it is fired off?'

MAYO. 'He must be sure of its direction against the state.'

JOHNSON. 'The magistrate is to judge of that.— He has no right to restrain your thinking, because the evil centers in yourself. If a man were sitting at this table, and chopping off his fingers, the magistrate, as guardian of the community, has no authority to restrain him, however he might do it from kindness as a parent. Though, indeed, upon more consideration, I think he may; as it is probable, that he who is chopping off his own fingers, may soon proceed to chop off those of other people.

If I think it right to steal Mr. Dilly's plate, I am a bad man; but he can say nothing to me. If I make an open declaration that I think so, he will keep me out of his house. If I put forth my hand, I shall be sent to Newgate. This is the gradation of thinking, preaching, and acting: if a man thinks erroneously, he may keep his thoughts to himself, and nobody will trouble him; if he preaches erroneous doctrine, society may expel him; if he acts in consequence of it, the law takes place, and he is hanged.'

MAYO. 'But, Sir, ought not Christians to have liberty of conscience ?'

JOHNSON. 'I have already told you so, Sir. You are coming back to where you were,'

BOSWELL. 'Dr. Mayo is always taking a return post-chaise, and going the stage over again. He has it at half price.'

JOHNSON. 'Dr. Mayo, like other champions for unlimited toleration, has got a set of words. Sir, it is no matter, politically, whether the magistrate be right or wrong. Suppose a club were to be formed, to drink confusion to King George the Third, and a happy restoration to Charles the Third, this would be very bad with respect to the State; but every member of that club must either conform to its rules, or be turned out of it. Old Baxter, I remember, maintains, that the magistrate should "tolerate all things that are tolerable." This is no good definition of toleration upon any principle; but it shews that he thought some things were not tolerable.'

TOPLADY. 'Sir, you have untwisted this difficult subject with great dexterity.'


(This series is made possible through a generous grant from the  Bob’s Bowery Bar Foundation for the Propagation of Cultural Literacy: “I wonder if you were aware that Bob’s Bowery Bar – conveniently located at the northwest corner of Bleecker and the Bowery – serves its famed breakfast menu all day and night, from 7am to 4am? Allow me to recommend one of my favorites: ‘Bob’s Mom’s Hungry Poet Special’:

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part 100

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “U/V”

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Assistant Professor of Neglected 18th Century English Lit., Assistant Motivational Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Unpregnant Pause; the Olney Community College Press.

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to begin selections from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, click here

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to begin at the beginning of Boswell's Life of Johnson, click here

for previous chapter of Boswell's Life of Johnson, click here


Umber is a sad colour.

I'll put myself in poor and mean attire,

And with a kind of umber smirch my face.  Shakespeare.


Umbles.  A deer’s entrails.


Unable.  Not having ability.

The prince unable to conceal his pain,
    Gaz’d on the fair,
And sigh’d, and look’d, and sigh’d again.  Dryden.


Unacceptable.  Not pleasing; not such as is well received.

Tis as indecent as unacceptable, and all men are willing to slink out of such company, the sober for the hazards, and the jovial for the unpleasantness.  Government of the Tongue. 


Unapt.  Unfit; not qualified.

A longing after sensual pleasures is a dissolution of the spirit of a man, and makes it loose, soft and wandering, unapt for noble, wise, or spiritual employments.  Taylor.


Unargued.  Not disputed.

What thou bid’st,
Unargued I obey; for God ordains.  Milton’s Par. Lost.


To Unbuild.  To raze; to destroy.

This is the way to kindle, not to quench;
T’unbuild the city, and lay all flat.  Shakespeare.


Unpregnant.  Not prolifick.

This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant,
and dull to all proceedings. Shakespeare.


Uxorious.  Submissively fond of a wife; infected with connubial dotage.


Vagary.  A wild freak; a capricious frolick.

      They chang'd their minds,
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
As they wou'd dance.  Milton's Par. Lost.


Vainglorious.  Boasting without performances; proud in disproportion to desert.


Valentine. A sweetheart, chosen on Valentine's day.

                Now all nature seem'd in love,

And birds had drawn their valentinesWotton.


Valetudinary.  Weakly; sickly; infirm of health.

Physick, by purging noxious humours, prevents sickness in the healthy, or recourse thereof in the valetudinaryBrowne. 



Velleity is the school-term used to signify the lowest degree of desire.  Locke.


Vigesimation.  The act of putting to death every twentieth man.



Vitious.  Corrupt; wicked; opposite to virtuous. It is rather applied to habitual faults, than criminal actions.

No troops abroad are so ill disciplin'd as the English; which cannot well be otherwise, while the common soldiers have before their eyes the vitious example of their leaders.  Swift. 


To Vouchsafe.  To condescend to grant.


It is not said by the apostle, that God vouchsafed to the heathens the means of salvation; and yet I will not affirm that God will save none of those, to whom the sound of the gospel never reached.  South's Sermons. 


Vulture.  A large bird of prey remarkable for voracity.

A rav'nous vulture in his open'd side,

Her crooked beak and cruel talons try'd.  Dryden.


(Our illustrated adaptation of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next week. Classix Comix is made possible in part through a generous grant from the Bob’s Bowery Bar© Endowment for Under-Appreciated Art and Literature: “Yes – brr – we are beginning to feel a slight nip in the evening air, and what better way to warm the body and the soul than a visit to Bob’s Bowery Bar – conveniently located at Bleecker and the Bowery – and a steaming great tankard of ‘Bob’s Special Sailor’s Grog’?

A delightful slow-simmered mixture of cask-aged Royal Navy Rum, fresh and dried organic fruits and various secret spices: just try to stop at one, but take it from me, you’d better stop at four!” – Horace P. Sternwall, your host of Bob’s Bowery Bar Presents Horace P. Sternwalls Tales of the Old Sea Dog, Tuesdays at 9pm, exclusively on the Dumont Television Network.