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MDCCLXXXIV

AETATIS SUAE LXXV. Dan tann Johnson mit Recht zu den gelehrtesten MänBern des verflossenen Jahrhunderts zählen. Er besafs weitläuftige historische Kenntnisse, terstand die Griechische und insonderheit die Lateinische Sprache, in einer seltenen Vollkommenheit, und hatte eine Gewandtheit in seiner Muttersprache, die ihm einen ehrenvollen Rang unter den klassischen Schriftstellern seiner Nation anweis't; vorzüglich wird seine Einleitung in die Werke Shaks pedre's als ein Meisterstück der Schreibart bewundert. Auch als Dichter würde er geglänzt haben, wenn er sich mehr mit der Dichtkunst beschäfftigt hätte; und das nicht bloss im didaktischen Fache, son ! dern auch in denen Dichtungsarten, welche feinere Gefühle verlangen. Ausserdem war er ein Mann von reifer Beurtheilungskraft, geläutertem Geschmack und einem trefflichen Witze. Viele seiner geistreichen Antworten sind von seinen Biographen aufbewahrt worden. - Was seinen Charakter betrifft, so scheint er bei einem rauhen, zurückstofsenden Äufsern doch viel Humanität besessen zu haben. Goldsmith charakterie sirt ihn in dieser Hinsicht sehr treffend, indem er sagt: dieger Mann hat nichts vom Bären als das Fell. Von Schwachheiten war Johnson indessen nichts weniger als frei, vorzüglich funden sich Personen, die ihn noch nicht genug

kannten, durch seine entscheidenden Urtheile, sein hochfahrendes Wesen, so wie auch insonderheit dadurch beleidigt, dass er keinen Widerspruch ertragen konnte, Johnson's sämmtliche Werke sind 1786 von Hawkins zu London in 12 Bänden in gr. 8. herausgegeben worden. Seine poetischen Werke erschienen einzeln London 1787 unter dem T'itel: The poetieal Works of Samuel Johnson, L. L. D. containing London a satire and the Vanity of human wishes etc. Auch hat man Auszüge aus seinen Werken unter dem Titel: The Beauties of Samuel Johnson, consisting of maxims and observations, moral, critical and miscellaneous, to which are added biographical anecdotes from the late productions of Mrs. Piozzi, Mr. Boswell and others. London 1787.

Zu den vorzüglichsten Werken, welche über das Leben dieses berühmten Mannes erschienen sind, gehören: Johnson's Life; an account of his studies, and numerous works in chronological order, a series of bis letters to eminent persons, and several pieces of his composition never before published etc. by James Bos

well, Esq. 2 Vols. 4. London 1787. Deutsch Denkwürdigkeiten aus S. Johnson's Leben von J. Boswell, Esq. nach der Englischen Ausgabe (von 1793) übersetzt, Königsberg 1997. (Vergl. die Recension in der allgem. Deutsch. Bibliothek, 36. Bd. 2tes Stück 8tes Heft 1798, welche einen gedrängten Auszug daraus enthält), Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson during the last twenty years of his life, by Hesther Lynch Piozzi, London 1786. 8. The Life of Sam. Johnson by Sir Juhn Hawkins, the second edition, London 1787. 8. Diese Biographie befindet sich vor der von II a wkins besorgten Ausgabe der sämmtlichen Werke Johnson?s, ist aber auch einzeln gedruckt. Two Dialogues containing a comparative view of the lives, characters and writings of Philip the late Earl of Chesterfield and Dr. Samuel Johnson, London 1787. 8. An Essay on the life and genius of Samuel Johnson, by Arthur Murphy, Esq. London 1792. 8. Ausserdem findet man lesenswürdige Nachrichten von Johnson in Schubarts Englischen Blättern, 1793. Heft 2. Nro. 1.; ferner in dem 7ten und Sten Bande des Brittischen Plutarch, desgleichen in Kosegarten's Denkwürdigkeiten aus dem Lo ben und den Sthriften der neuesten Brittischen Dichter, zwei, ter Band S. 374, aus welchen beiden letztern Werken insonderheit unsere biographische Skizze entlehnt worden ist. Endlich ist auch im Jahre 1865 eine Autobiographie Johnson's erschienen, die ber nur einen geringen Theil seines Lebens umfasst. Sie führt den Titel: A brief account of the life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, from his birth to his eleventh year; written by himself; to which are added original letters to Dr. Johnson by Miss Hill Buothby, from the MS. preserved by the Doctor, 3. 4 sh. 6 den. Wir können nicht umhin, unsern Lesern hier eine Stelle über. Johnson aus den Schrifter, von Helfrich Peter Sturz, erste Sammlung, S. 109, (nach der Ausgabe von 1786) in's Gedächtniss zurückzurufen, Dieser Gelehrte druckt sich in einem aus London den isten August 1768 datirten Schreiben also qus: Ich komme von Samüel Johnson, dem Kolofs in der Englischen Literatur, der tiefes Wissen mit Witz, und Laune mit ernsthafter Weisheit vereinigt, und dessen Menschenlarve nichts davon ankündigt; denn in seiner Gestalt ist kein Verhältniss faustgerechten Trabanten - beleidigt. —- Sein Anstand ist büurisch, und sein Auge kalt, wie sein Spott; nie tagt ein Blick darin auf, der Scharfsinn oder Schalkheit verriethe; er

eines

ave its

scheint instaer sorstrout, und ist es nicht selten. It hatte Colmann und mich schriftlich eingeladen, und es wieder vergessen. Wir über fielen ihn im eigentlichsten Verstande auf dem Landgute des Herrn Thrale, dessen Frau, eine artige Waliserinn, Griechisch zum Zeitvertreib lies't und übersetzt. Hier lebt Johnson und herrscht (denn er mag wol herrschen), wie im Schoosse seiner eigenen Familie. pfing uns freundlich, ob ihn gleich nie eine gewisse Feierlichkeit verliefs, die in seine Sitten, wie' in seinen Styl ver webt ist. Er ründet' auch im Umgange seine Perioden, und spricht beinah im Theaterton; aber was er sagt, wird durch ein gesissea eignea Gepräg interessant.“

1) Taż JOURNEY or Lire *). Cervius haec inter vicinus garrit aniles Ex re fabellas **).

Horat. Sat. II. 6. 77. Obidah, the son of Abensina,' left the caravansera early in the morning, and pursued his journey through the plains of Indostan. He was fresh and vigorous with rest;. animated with hope; he was incited by desire; "he walked swiftly forward over the vallies, and saw the hills gradually rising before him. As he passed along, his ears were delighted with the morning song of the bird of paradise, he was fanned by the last flutters of the sinking 'breeze, and sprinkled with

groves' of spices; be sometimes contemplated the towering height of the oak, monarch of the hills; and sometimes caught the gentle fragrance of the primrose, eldest daughter of the spring: all his senses were gratified, and all care was banished from his heart.

Thus he went on till the sun approached his meridian, and the increasing heat preyed upon his strength; he then looked round about him for some more commodious path. saw, on his right hand, a grove that seemed to

as a sign of invitation : be entered it, and found the

.1

he was

dew by

He shades as

*) Rambler, Numb. 65. Tuesday, October 30, 1750.) Nach Wieland's Uebersetzung:

Gelegenheitlich rischt uns Nachbar Cervius
In seiner eignen drolligen Manier
Ein Mührehen auf das sich, wer Sache schickt.

coolness and verdure irresistibly pleasant. He did not, dowever, forget wbither he was travelling, but found a narrow. way bordered with flowers, which appeared to have the same direction with the main road, and was pleased that, by this happy experiment, he had found means to unite pleasure with business, and to gain the rewards of diligence without suffering its fatigues. He, therefore, still continued to walk for a time, without the least remission of his ardour, except that he was sometimes tempted to stop by the musick of the birds, whom the heat had assembled in the shade; and sometimes amused himself with plucking the flowers that covered the banks on either side, or the fruits that bung upon the branches. At last, the green path began to decline from its first tendency, and to wind among hills and thickets, cooled with fountains, and murmuring with water-falls. Here Obidak paused for a time, and began to consider whether it were longer safe to forsake the known and common track; but remembering that the heat was now in its greatest violence, and that the plain was dusty and uneven, be resolved to pursue the new path, wbich he supposed only to make a few meanders, in compliance with the varieties of the ground, and to end at last in the common road.

Having thus calmed his solicitude, he renewed his pace; though he suspected that he was not gaining ground. The uneasiness of his mind inclined him to lay hold on every new object, and give way to every sensation that might sooth or divert bim. He listened to every echo, he mounted every bill for a fresh prospect, he turned aside to every cascade, and pleased himself with tracing the course of a gentle river that rolled among the trees, and watered a large region with innumerable circumvolutions. In these amusements the hours passed away uncounted, his deviations had perplexed bis memory, and he knew not towards what point to travel. He stood pensive and confused, afraid to go forward lest he should go wrong, yet conscious that the time of loitering was DOW past. While he was thus tortured with uncertainty, the sky was overspread with clouds, the day vanished from before bim, and a sudden tempest gathered round his head. He was now roused by his danger to a quick and painful remembrance of his folly; he now saw how happiness is lost when easie is consulted; he lamented the unmanly impatience that prompted him to seek sheller in the grove, and despised

the petty curiosity that led him on from trifle to trifle. While he was thus 'reflecting, the air grew blacker and a clap of thunder broke his meditation.

He now resolved to do what remained yet in bis power, to tread back the ground which he had passed, and try to find some issue where the wood might open into the plain. He prostrated bimself on the ground, and commended his life to the lord of nature. He , rose with confidence and tranquillity, and pressed on with his sabre in his band, for the beasts of the desert were in motion, and on every band were heard the mingled howls of rage and fear, and ravage and expiration; all the horrors of darkness and solitude surrounded him; the winds roared in the woods, and the torrents tumbled from the hills.

Work'd into sudden rage by wintry show'rs,
Down the steep hill the roaring torrent pours;

The mountain shepherd hears the distant noise *).

Thus forlorn and distressed, he wandered throogh the wild, without knowing whither he was going, or whether he was every moment drawing nearer to safety or to destruction. At length not fear but labour began to overcome him; his breath grew short, and his knees trembled,, and he was on the point of lying down in resignation to his fate, when he beheld through brambles the glimwer of a taper. He advanced towards the light, and finding that it proceeded from the cottage of a hermit, he called humbly at the door, and obtained admission. The old man set before him such provisions as he had collected for himself, on which Obidah fed with eagerness and gratitude. When the repast was over, »

tell me," said the hermit, „ by whạt chance thou hast been brought hither: I have been now twenty years an inhabitant of the wilderness, in

which I never saw a man before.“ Obidah then related the occurrences of his journey, without any concealment or palliation.

Son," said the hermit, „let the errors and follies, the dan„gers and escape of this day, sink deep into thy heart. Re» member, my son, that human life is the journey of a day. „We rise in the morning of youth, full of vigour and full „of expectation; we set forward with spirit and hope, with

*) Vermuthlich eine Nachbildung von Virgil's deneis. II. 305.

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