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The Drama's laws the Drama's patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live.
Prologue (Spoken by Garrick).
THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
Let observation, with extensive view,
Survey mankind, from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
* This line was originally written—
"Toil, envy, want, the garret, and the jail;" but when Johnson was disappointed of the patronage of Lord Chesterfield, the word patron was used; he never forgot the neglect with which he had been treated; his memorable criticism on Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son will not soon pass into oblivion. "They teach the morals of a prostitute, and the manners of a dancing master." His lordship, in his Letters, speaks of the chaa respectable Hottentot," which term has been supposed to have referred to Johnson.
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
Lines 221, 222.
New forms arise, and different views engage,
Catch then, O catch, the transient hour;
Hell is paved with good intentions.†
Winter. An Ode.
Boswell's Life, Age 66.
Period, April 14, 1775.
Of all the griefs that harass the distress'd,
Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart,
London. Lines 165-168.
* Charles XII., the celebrated king of Sweden, is here alluded to.
"Hell is full of good meanings and wishings."HERBERT'S Jacula Prudentum.
This mournful truth is everywhere confess'd,
London. Lines 175, 176.
Studious to please, yet not asham'd to fail.
Prologue to the Tragedy of Irene.
He touch'd nothing which he did not adorn. *
Epitaph on Goldsmith.
Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat. †
* "Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit."
† A good deal of controversy has occurred on this line, the history of which is thus recorded in Boswell's Life of Johnson (tat. 75, period 1784) :-" Johnson was present when a tragedy was read, in which occurred this line—
'Who rules o'er freemen should himself be free.'
The company having admired it much, I cannot agree with you,' said Johnson; it might as well be said—
'Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat.""
The tragedy alluded to was Henry Brooke's "Gustavus Vasa," the first edition of which contained the line
"Who rules o'er freemen should himself be free."
The Rev. Charles Kingsley, in the preface to his recently revised edition of Brooke's "Fool of Quality," says,
(i.e. Johnson's) silly parody on a fine line in Gustavus— 'Who rules o'er freemen should himself be free,'
is well enough known;
'Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat,'
answered Johnson, laughing, he only knew why, at the sentiment."
THE FABLES. PART I.
In summer's heat, and winter's cold,
My tongue within my lips I rein,
For who talks much must talk in vain.
Whence is thy learning? hath thy toil
Cowards are cruel, but the brave
Love mercy, and delight to save.
Where yet was ever found a mother,
No author ever spared a brother;
Wits are gamecocks to one another.
In every age and clime we see,
Two of a trade can ne'er agree.
Who friendship with a knave hath made,
'Tis thus that on the choice of friends, Our good or evil name depends.
Is there no hope? the sick man said ;
The silent doctor shook his head:
Despairing of his fee to-morrow.
"While there is life, there's hope," he cried,
"Then why such haste?" so groaned and died. Ibid.