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this disease that deprived him of the sight of his left eye, for he has been heard to say, that he never remembered to have enjoyed the use of it.
*minuebat affectum. Vivebat infelix mulier odiosa marito, pa* rentibus onerofa. Rarus ad eam vel amicorum accessus propter • fætorem, vel aspectus viri propter horrorem. Hinc dolor, hinc • lacrimæ, hinc die noctuque fufpiria, cum ei vel fterilitas opprobrium, vel contemptum infirmitas generaret. Industriam me. dicorum avertebat inopia. Quid ageret misera ? Quod folum * fupererat, ubi humanum deerai divinum precabatur auxilium, *quafi in illam illius æque miseræ mulieris vocem erumpens, Pero, Domine, ut de vinculo improperii hujus absoluas me, aut certe super terram eripias me. Jubetur tandem in fomnis adire palacium,
ex regiis manibus fperare remedium, quibus fi lota, fi tacta, fi ' fignata foret, reciperet ejus meritis fanitatem. Expergefacta mulier, sexuá fimul et conditionis oblita, prorumpit in curiam,
regis fe repræfentat obtutibus, exponit oraculum, auxilium de* precatur. llle more suo vi&tus pietate, nec sordes cavit, nec • fætorem exhorruit. Allata denique aqua, partes corporis quas • morbus fædaverat propriis manibus lavit, locaque tumentia con-,
tre&tans digitis fignum fanctæ crucis impreffit. Quid plura ? • Subito rupta cute, cum fanie vermes ebulliunt, resedit tumor, • dolor omnis abcessit: ammirantibus qui aderant tantam fub
purpura fanctitatem, tantam fceptrigeris manibus ineffe virtu• tem. Paucis vero diebus fubftitit in curia mulier regiis mi• niftris necessaria ministrantibus, donec obducta vulneribus ci. • catrice incolumis rediret ad propria. Verum ut nichil deeffet
regi ad gloriam, paupercula nichil ad graciam, donatur fte• rili inopina fæcunditas, ventrisque sui desiderato fructu ditata, • facile fibi mariti gratiam conciliavit.'
The reader will find much curious matter relating to the royal touch, in Mr. Barrington's observations on ancient ftatues 107, and in Chambers's di&tionary, art. Evil, to which I shall add, that the vindication of this power, as inherent in the pretender, by Mr. Carte, destroyed the credit of his intended history of England, and put a stop to the coinpletion of it.
The ritual for this office is to be found in Bishop Sparrow's col. leation of articles, canons, &c. and also in all or most of the im. preslions of the Common Prayer Book, printed in Queen Anne's reign, but in these latter with great variations.
It may seem a ridiculous attempt to trace the dawn of his poetical faculty so far back as to his very infancy; but the following incident I am compelled to mention, as it is well attested, and therefore makes part of his history. When he was about three years old, his mother had a brood of eleven ducklings, which she permitted him to call his own. pened that in playing about he trod on and killed one of them, upon which running to his mother, he, in great emotion bid her write. Write, child ? said she, what must I write? Why write, answered he, fo:
Here lies good Master Duck,
That Sanuel Johnson trod on,
For then there'd been an odd one. and she wrote accordingly.
Being arrived at a proper age for grammatical instruction, he was placed in the free school of Lichfield, of which Mr. Hunter was then master. The progress he made in his learning soon attracted the notice of his teachers; and among other discernible qualities that distinguished him from the rest of the school, he was bold, active and enterprising, so that without affecting it, the seniors in the school looked on him aş their head and leader, and readily acquiesced in whatever he proposed or did. There dwelt at Lichfield a gentleman of the name of Butt, the father of the reverend Mr. Butt, now a King's Chaplain, to whose house on holidays and in school-yacations he was ever welcome. The children in the family, perhaps offended with the rudeness of his behaviour, would frequent!y call him the great boy, which the father once over
hearing, said, you call him the great boy, but take < my word for it, he will one day prove a great man.'
A more particular character of him while a schoolboy, and of his behaviour at school, I find in a paper now before me, written by a person yet living, and of which the following is a copy:
• Johnson and I were, early in life, school-fellows at Lichfield, and for many years in the same class. ' As his uncommon abilities for learning far exceed
ed us, we endeavoured by every boyish piece of Alat
tery to gain his allistance, and three of us, by turns, ' used to call on him in a morning, on one of whose
backs, supported by the other two, he rode triumphantly to school. He never associated with us in any of our diversions, except in the winter when
the ice was firm, to be drawn along by a boy bare« footed. His ambition to excel was great, though
his application to books, as far as it appeared, was very trifling. I could not oblige him more than by fauntering away every vacation, that occurred, in
the fields, during which time he was more engaged ' in talking to himself than his companion. Verses
or themes he would dictate to his favourites, but he • would never be at the trouble of writing them. * His dilike to business was so great, that he would
procrastinate his exercises to the last hour. I have known him after a long vacation, in which we were
rather severely talked, return to school an hour * earlier in the morning, and begin one of his exer
cises, in which he purposely left fome faults, in order to gain time to finish the rest.
I never knew him corrected at school, unless it ' was for talking and diverting other boys from their
business, by which, perhaps, he might hope to keep his ascendancy. He was uncommonly inquisitive, and his memory fo tenacious, that whatever he read or heard he never forgot. I remember rehearsing to him eighteen verses, which after
little pause he repeated verbatim, except one epithet, which improved the line. • After a long absence from Lichfield, when he returned I was apprehensive of something wrong · in his constitution, which might either impair his
intellect or endanger his life, but, thanks to Al"mighty God, my fears have proved false.'
In the autumn of the year 1725, he received an invitation from his cousin, Cornelius Ford, to spend a few days with him at his house, which I conjecture to have been on a living of his in one of the counties bor. dering upon Staffordshire; but it seems that discovering that the boy was poffeffed of uncommon parts, he was unwilling to let him return, and to make up for the loss he might sustain by his absence from school, became his instructor in the classics, and farther assisted him in his studies; so that it was not till the Whitsuntide following, that Johnson went back to Lichfield. Whether Mr. Hunter was displeased to find a visit of a few days protracted into a vacation of many months, or that he resented the interference of anogher person in the tuition of one of his scholars, and he one of the most promising of any under his care, cannot now be known; but, it seems, that at Johnson's return to Lichfield, he was not received into the school of that city; on the contrary, I am informed, by a person who was his school-fellow there, that he was placed in one at Stourbridge in Worces
tershire,under the care of a master named Winkworth,
When his school education was finished, his father,
The college tutor, at that time, was a man named Jordan, whom Johnson, though he loved him for the goodness of his nature, fo contemned for the meanness of his abilities, that he would oftener risque the payment of a small fine than attend his lectures ; nor was he studious to conceal the reason of his absence. Upon occasion of one such imposition, he said to Jordan, “Sir, you have sconced me two-pence for non-' ' attendance at a lecture not worth a penny.'
Whether it was this discouragement in the outset of their studies, or any other ground of disinclination that moved him to it, is not known, but this is certain, that young Corbet could not brook submission to a man who seemed to be little more learned than him