Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, December 01, 1878, Page 484, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    NO. 9.
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.
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