He therefore repaired, in , to an academy taught by Mr. Rowe, where he had for his companions and fellow students Mr.
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Hughes the poet, and Dr. Horte, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam. Some Latin Essays, supposed to have been written as exercises at this academy, show a degree of knowledge, both philosophical and theological, such as very few attain by a much longer course of study. His verses to his brother, in the glyconic measure, written when he was seventeen, are remarkably easy and elegant. Some of his other odes are deformed by the Pindaric folly then prevailing, and are written with such neglect of all metrical rules as is without example among the ancients; but his diction, though perhaps not always exactly pure, has such copiousness and splendour as shows that he was but a very little distance from excellence.
His method of study was to impress the contents of his books upon his memory by abridging them, and by interleaving them to amplify one system with supplements from another. With the congregation of his tutor, Mr.
Rowe, who were, I believe, Independents, he communicated in his nineteenth year. At the age of twenty he left the academy, and spent two years in study and devotion at the house of his father, who treated him with great tenderness, and had the happiness, indulged to few parents, of living to see his son eminent for literature and venerable for piety.
He was then entertained by Sir John Hartopp five years, as domestic tutor to his son, and in that time particularly devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures; and, being chosen assistant to Dr. Chauncey, preached the first time on the birthday that completed his twenty-fourth year, probably considering that as the day of a second nativity, by which he entered on a new period of existence.
In about three years he succeeded Dr. Chauncey; but soon after his entrance on his charge he was seized by a dangerous illness, which sunk him to such weakness that the congregation thought an assistant necessary, and appointed Mr. His health then returned gradually, and he performed his duty till he was seized by a fever of such violence and continuance, that from the feebleness which it brought upon him he never perfectly recovered.
This calamitous state made the compassion of his friends necessary, and drew upon him the attention of Sir Thomas Abney, who received him into his house, where, with a constancy of friendship and uniformity of conduct not often to be found, he was treated for thirty-six years with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that respect could dictate.
Sir Thomas died about eight years afterwards, but he continued with the lady and her daughters to the end of his life.
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The lady died about a year after him. A coalition like this, a state in which the notions of patronage and dependence were overpowered by the perception of reciprocal benefits, deserves a particular memorial; and I will not withhold from the reader Dr. In the midst of his sacred labours for the glory of God, and good of his generation, he is seized with a most violent and threatening fever, which leaves him oppressed with great weakness, and puts a stop at least to his public services for four years.
Here he enjoyed the uninterrupted demonstrations of the truest friendship.
By Samuel Johnson
Here, without any care of his own, he had everything which could contribute to the enjoyment of life, and favour the unwearied pursuit of his studies. Here he dwelt in a family which, for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was a house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages, to soothe his mind and aid his restoration to health; to yield him, whenever he chose them, most grateful intervals from his laborious studies, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigour and delight.
Had it not been for this most happy event, he might, as to outward view, have feebly, it may be painfully, dragged on through many more years of languor, and inability for public service, and even for profitable study, or perhaps might have sunk into his grave under the overwhelming load of infirmities in the midst of his days; and thus the Church and world would have been deprived of those many excellent sermons and works which he drew up and published during his long residence in this family.
Elizabeth Abney, who in a like degree esteemed and honoured him, enjoyed all the benefits and felicities he experienced at his first entrance into this family till his days were numbered and finished, and, like a shock of corn in its season, he ascended into the regions of perfect and immortal life and joy. If this quotation has appeared long, let it be considered that it comprises an account of six-and-thirty years, and those the years of Dr.
Samuel Johnson and the neo-Latin Tradition
From the time of his reception into this family his life was no otherwise diversified than by successive publications. The series of his works I am not able to deduce; their number and their variety show the intenseness of his industry and the extent of his capacity. He was one of the first authors that taught the Dissenters to court attention by the graces of language.
Whatever they had among them before, whether of learning or acuteness, was commonly obscured and blunted by coarseness and inelegance of style. He showed them that zeal and purity might be expressed and enforced by polished diction. He continued to the end of his life a teacher of a congregation, and no reader of his works can doubt his fidelity or diligence.
In the pulpit, though his low stature, which very little exceeded five feet, graced him with no advantages of appearance, yet the gravity and propriety of his utterance made his discourses very efficacious. I once mentioned the reputation which Mr. Foster had gained by his proper delivery, to my friend Dr. Hawkesworth, who told me that in the art of pronunciation he was far inferior to Dr. Such was his flow of thoughts, and such his promptitude of language, that in the latter part of his life he did not precompose his cursory sermons, but, having adjusted the heads and sketched out some particulars, trusted for success to his extemporary powers.
He did not endeavour to assist his eloquence by any gesticulations; for, as no corporeal actions have any correspondence with theological truth, he did not see how they could enforce it. At the conclusion of weighty sentences he gave time, by a short pause, for the proper impression. To stated and public instruction he added familiar visits and personal application, and was careful to improve the opportunities which conversation offered of diffusing and increasing the influence of religion.
You, Sir, may perhaps have an epick poem from some happier pen than, Sir,. The Latin poem translates into: In fame scarce second to the nurse of Jove, This Goat, who twice the world had traversed round, Deserving both her master's care and love, Ease and perpetual pasture now has found.
Alexander Grant at Inverness, Johnson mentioned the first sighting of the kangaroo in the Endeavour River area in July He is reported to have " The company stared He stood erect, put out his hands like feelers, and, gathering up the tails of his huge brown coat so as to resemble the pouch of the animal, made two or three vigorous bounds across the room. Johnson's only quoted reference to Cook was on Wednesday April 3rd , not long before Cook set out on the Third Voyage.
Boswell records that I told him that while I was with the Captain, I catched the enthusiasm of curiosity and adventure, and felt a strong inclination to go with him on his next voyage. I said I was certain that a great part of what we are told by the travellers to the South Sea must be conjecture, because they had not enough of the language of those countries to understand so much as they have related.
Objects falling under the observation of the senses might be clearly known; but everything intellectual, everything abstract - politicks, morals and religion, must be darkly guessed. Dr Johnson was of the same opinion.
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He upon another occasion, when a friend mentioned to him several extraordinary facts, as communicated to him by the circumnavigators, slily observed, 'Sir, I never before knew how much I was respected by these gentlemen; they told me none of these things. He had been in company with Omai, a native of one of the South Sea Islands, after he had been some time in this country.
He was struck by the elegance of his behaviour, and accounted for it thus: 'Sir, he had passed his time, while in England, only in the best company; so that all that he had acquired of our manners was genteel. As a proof of this, Sir, Lord Mulgrave and he dined one day at Streatham; they sat with their backs to the light fronting me, so that I could not see distinctly; and there was so little of the savage in Omai, that I was afraid to speak to either, lest I should mistake one for other'.
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