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Phrase that time has flung away
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.”
“Hermit poor in solemn cell
Wearing out life's evening grey,
Come my lad, and drink some beer.'” The following is an impromptu conceit. " To Mrs. Thrale, on her completing her thirty
“Oft in danger, yet alive,
Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.” There is a pleasing mixture of wisdom and humour in the following stanza written to Miss Thrale on hearing her consulting a friend as to a dress and hat she was inclined to wear
“ Wear the gown and wear the hat
Johnson's friends Garrick and Foote, although so great in the mimetic art, do not deserve any particular mention as writers of comedy.
It is said that Garrick went to a school in Tichfield at which Johnson was an usher, and that master and pupil came up to London together to seek their fortunes.
But although Garrick became the first of comic actors, he produced nothing literary but a few indifferent farces. The same may be said of Foote, who was also a celebrated wit in conversation. Johnson said, “For loud, obstreporous, broadfaced mirth, I know not his equal.”
One of Dr. Johnson's friends was Mrs. Charlotte Lennox to whom he gives the palm among literary ladies. Up to this time there were few lady humorists, and none of an altogether respectable description. But Mrs. Lennox appeared as a harbinger of that refined and harmless plsasantry which has since sparkled through the pages of our best authoresses. She wrote a comedy, poems, and novels, her most remarkable production being the Female Quixote. Here a young lady who had been reading romances, enacts the heroine with very amusing results. In plan the work is a close imitation of Don Quixote, but the character is not so natural as that drawn by Cervantes.
Dodsley—“A Muse in Livery”—“The Devil's a Dunce"
“ The Toy Shop”—Fielding-Smollett.
OBERT DODSLEY was born in 1703.
He was the son of a schoolmaster in Mansfield, but went into domestic service as a footman, and held several respectable situations. While in this capacity, he employed his leisure time in composing poetry, and he appropriately named his first production “A Muse in Livery.” The most pleasant and interesting of these early poems is that in which he gives an account of his daily life, showing how observant a footman may be. It is in the form of an epistle : “ Dear friend, Since I am now at leisure, And in the country taking pleasure, It may be worth your while to hear A silly footman's business there; I'll try to tell in easy rhyme Huw Í in London spent my time. And first, As soon as laziness would let me I rise from bed, and down I sit me To cleaning glasses, knives, and plate, And such like dirty work as that, Which (by the bye) is what I hate ! This done, with expeditious care VOL. II.
To dress myself I straight prepare,
This happy hour elapsed and gone, The time for drinking tea comes on, The kettle filled, the water boiled, The cream provided, biscuits piled,
A Muse in Livery.
And lamp prepared, I straight engage
the green or bobea out,
After the early dinner and“ dish” of tea, his mistress goes out visiting in the evening, and Dodsley precedes her with a flambeau.
Another fancy was entitled “ The Devil's a Dunce,” was directed against the Pope.* Two friends apply to him for absolution, one rich and the other poor. The rich man obtained the pardon, but the poor sued in vain, the Pope replying:
“I cannot save you if I would,
Nor would I do it if I could.”
* Dodsley was never averse from having a hit at the church, as in the epigram :
“ Cries Sylvia to a reverend dean
Wbat reason can be given,
That there are none in heaven ?
She quick returns the jest,