Sunday, April 8, 2018

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 211

Edited by Dan Leo, Associate Professor of 18th Century British Morality Studies, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Uncharitable Countess, the Olney Community College Press.

Art direction by rhoda penmarq (layout, pencils, inks, and Easter egg dyes by eddie el greco; lettering by roy dismas); A penmarq projeqts™/sternwall studios™ co-production.

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Richardson had little conversation, except about his own works, of which Sir Joshua Reynolds said he was always willing to talk, and glad to have them introduced. Johnson when he carried Mr. Langton to see him, professed that he could bring him out into conversation, and used this allusive expression, "Sir, I can make him rear." But he failed; for in that interview Richardson said little else than that there lay in the room a translation of his Clarissa into German.'

'Once when somebody produced a newspaper in which there was a letter of stupid abuse of Sir Joshua Reynolds, of which Johnson himself came in for a share,—" Pray," said he, "let us have it read aloud from beginning to end;" which being done, he with a ludicrous earnestness, and not directing his look to any particular person, called out, "Are we alive after all this satire!"'

'Of a certain noble Lord, he said, "Respect him, you could not; for he had no mind of his own. Love him you could not; for that which you could do with him, every one else could."'

'Of Dr. Goldsmith he said, "No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had."'

'Depend upon it, said he, that if a man talks of his misfortunes, there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him; for where there is nothing but pure misery, there never is any recourse to the mention of it.'

'A man must be a poor beast that should read no more in quantity than he could utter aloud.'

'Many a man is mad in certain instances, and goes through life without having it perceived: for example, a madness has seized a person of supposing himself obliged literally to pray continually — had the madness turned the opposite way and the person thought it a crime ever to pray, it might not improbably have continued unobserved.'

'Supposing (said he) a wife to be of a studious or argumentative turn, it would be very troublesome: for instance,— if a woman should continually dwell upon the subject of the Arian heresy.'

'No man speaks concerning another, even suppose it be in his praise, if he thinks he does not hear him, exactly as he would, if he thought he was within hearing.'

'The applause of a single human being is of great consequence: This he said to me with great earnestness of manner, very near the time of his decease, on occasion of having desired me to read a letter addressed to him from some person in the North of England; I only told him in general that it was highly in his praise;— and then he expressed himself as above.'

'He observed once, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, that a beggar in the street will more readily ask alms from a man, though there should be no marks of wealth in his appearance, than from even a well-dressed woman; which he accounted for from the greater degree of carefulness as to money that is to be found in women; saying farther upon it, that the opportunities in general that they possess of improving their condition are much fewer than men have; and adding, as he looked round the company, which consisted of men only,— there is not one of us who does not think he might be richer if he would use his endeavour.'

'An observation of Bathurst's may be mentioned, which Johnson repeated, appearing to acknowledge it to be well founded, namely, it was somewhat remarkable how seldom, on occasion of coming into the company of any new person, one felt any wish or inclination to see him again.'

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– Horace P. Sternwall, host and narrator of Bob’s Bowery Bar Presents Philip Morris Commander’s “Blanche Weinberg: Lady Psychiatrist”, broadcast live 8pm Sundays {EST} exclusively on the Dumont Television Network. This week’s play: The Sad Circus Clown, by Henri Pierre St. Eustache, starring Kitty Carlisle as “Dr. Blanche”, with special guest star Emmett Kelly as “Weepin’ Willie Walsh”.)  

part 212

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