Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/365



as to teli her even in writing of a consanguinity in their intellects: an expression which I am sure would highly have offended him, if uttered by any body else. Poor Johnson! how elevated, how transcendent, whenever elephants wielded their enormous trunks before his fancy, roving and running impetuously about the ampie wilds of Africa and of Asia! how inconsiderable, how diminutive, whenever monkeys played their gambols under his nose within the limited spaces of Streatham and the Borough ! Yet had the good man lived but a short time longer, how unanimous we should at last have been upon this despicable chapter! How few our contentions on his becoming convinced, as was at last the case, that, instead of having burned frankincense on the pure aitar of Diana, he had only been fílling with condensed clouds of noisome smoke the contaminated tempie of Cotytto !

But ye, future Englishmen and Englishwomen, shall you ever believe it as the present do, that this same sweet darling of doctor Samuel Johnson, this heart-chosen favourite, this peerless mistress of his, far from endeavouring to merit his exuberant praises by an impeccable behaviour, and his kindness most exuberant by an everlasting gratitude and an everlasting acknowledgement; shall you ever believe it, was the very she, who, as soon as she had her precious self in her own illimited power sat about embittering his last hours, and proved so inerubescent, as to render, by a single stroke of her distorted wit, undeniably absurd and most perfectly laughable, ali those exaggerations in her favour, which his simple heart intended as most serious and most solemn? Surely, you will say, that was playing her noble admirer what is vulgarly termed a sad and scurvy trick; as it is really shocking to see a magnificent edifice, which a poor architect has been twenty years in erecting, shook at once from the foundations by an earthquake, overthrown in an instant, and laid prostrate in the dust! Shocking, shocking, as well as ridiculous, that this silly Hester Lynch should cause herself the diruption of a noble monument intended to transmit her name and reputation to distant ages, and prove herself her own