Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, December 01, 1878, Page 484, Image 3
NO. 9. OmcUMSTANOKB. 484 ion, or society Unit is not commonplace or absurd. This book is invaluable as giv ing a real insight into the history of England at this time for in no work, enti tied history, can we-find that which men so much desire to know, how men lived and what they thought and did. The centerpiece of tills group is one of which we never tire. Johnson, in adversi ty, in prosperity, in poverty, in aftlucncc, has that charm which comes from his whole souled humanity, which could not be entirely concealed under his rough for bidding exterior. One can not fail to re spect him for the pride that scornfully re jected the shoes that charity lcit at his door, and the same pride that later indit ed his famous lettterto Chesterfield, whoso aid he scorned since it was withheld so long, and came only after he had won a name and fame. We sympathize with him in his struggles, and there are few things more pathetic than the picture of him and Savage walking the stieets of Loudon, all night, homeless and supper less, or his taking his dinner behind a screen at Caves, because he was too ill dressed to sit at the table with the com. pai.y. Johnson commenced his career ai a period that was most unfavorable to lit erary men. It Wiis a period of transition fioni the age of patronage by the great, to the time when the support was to conic from the people, and had it not been for his indomitable will he could never have succeeded under such trying circum stances. The impression is often received from his biography that he was admitted into the highest society, but this was not so. His manners were such that he was not universally received among nil classes, and for various reasons. He relates how, when a lady invited him to tea, merely to make a show of him and his conversation he revenged himself by drinking twenty five cups of her tea, without favoring her with as many words. His fine powers of conversation and coutioversary are well known, and yet in his arguments, as in his character and life, he was strangely paradoxical. He was an ardent tory, and firm believer in Divine Right. He failed as a critic, be cause, though his judgment was strong, his understanding was enslaved. Ho called history an old almanac, and did not believe in travel. Johnson's style is as well known as Johnson himself. Its statelv tread left its imprints upon all the literature, and even the bills and posters affected the high sounding style of the time. Ills thoughts were simple, ener getic and picturesque but lie translated it into Johnsonese. Goldsmith said to him once, "If you were to write a fable about fishes, you would make the little fishes talk like whales." As samples of his translations we find the original in a letter from the Hebrides to Mrs. Thrale as fol lows: "When we were taken up stairs a dirty fellow bounced out of the bed on which one of us was to lie." It is trans lated into the journal as follows: " Out of one of the beds on which we were to re pose started up at our entrance a man black as a cyclops from the forge." Some times lie translated while talking, for in stance speaking of thn Rehearsal, he says : "The Rehearsal has not wit enough to keep It sweet." Then after a pause he says: "The Rehearsal has not vitality enough to preserve it from putrifac.tion." His works, though considered as mod els in his time, arc falling into neglect; and the duration of his fame rests upon his conversation and manners which have been given to a world: but, while it enjoys the result of this labor of love and dcwition, it refuses to give any praise to the one who furnishes this rare and deli cious treat. OIROUMSTjiNGES. In forming our opinions of men and women, who have strayed from the straight and narrow way, we are too apt to overlook the circumstances which sur round them. While these may not always jLiK-M .-. VA-- .'-. 'im'tA . " 5W-, J MV'