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It is true,
lively, entertaining, quick in discerning the ridicule of life, and as ready in representing it; and on graver subjects there were few topicks in which he could not bear his part. It is injurious to the character of Garrick to be named in the same breath with Foote. That Foote was admitted sometimes into good company, (to do the man what credit I can) I will allow ; but then it was merely to play tricks. His merriment was that of a buffoon, and Garrick's that of a gentleman.
G. I have been told, on the contrary, that Garrick in company had not the easy manners of a gentleman.
J. Sir, I don't know what you may have been told, or what your ideas may be of the manners of gentlemen. Garrick had no vulgarity in his manners.
Garrick had not the airiness of a fop; nor did he assume an affected indifference to what was passing. He did not lounge from the table to the window, and from thence to the fire; or whilst you were addressing your discourse to him, turn from you and talk to his next neighbour; or give any indication that he was tired of his company. If such manners form your ideas of a fine gentleman, Garrick had them not.
I mean that Garrick was more overawed by the presence of the great, and more obsequious to rank, than Foote, who considered himself as their equal, and treated them with the same familiarity as they treated each other.
J. He did so, and what did the fellow get by it? The grossness of his mind prevented him from seeing that this familiarity was merely suffered, as they would play with a dog. Garrick, by paying due respect to rank, respected himself. What he gave was returned ; and what was returned was kept for ever. His advancement was on firm ground-he was recognized in public, as well as respected in private ; and as no man was ever more courted, and better received by the public, so no man was ever less spoiled by its flattery.
G. But you must allow, Dr. Johnson, that Garrick was too much a slave to fame, or rather to the mean ambition of living with the great-terribly afraid of making himself cheap even with them; by which he debarred himself of much pleasant society. Employing so much attention, and so much management upon little things, implies, I think, a little mind. It was observed by his friend Colman, that he never went into company but with a plot how to get out of
it. He was every minute called out, and went off or returned, as there was or was not a probability of his shining.
J. In regard to his mean ambition, as you call it, of living with the great, what was the boast of Pope, and is every man's wish, can be no reproach to Garrick. He who says he despises it, knows he lies. That Garrick husbanded his fame, the fame which he had justly acquired both at the theatre and at the table, is not denied ; but where is the blame either in the one case or the other, of leaving as little as he could to chance? Besides, sir, consider what you have said. You first deny Garrick's pretensions to fame, and then accuse him of too great an attention to preserve what he never possessed.
G. I don't understand-
G. Well, but Dr. Johnson, you will not vindicate him in his over and above attention to his fame; his ordinate desire to exbibit himself to new men; like a coquette ever seeking after conquests, to the total neglect of old friends and admirers.
“ He threw off his friends like a huntsman his pack,”always looking out for new game.
J. When you quoted the line from Goldsmith, you ought in fairness to have given what followed. " He knew when he pleas'd he could whistle them back.” Which implies at least that he possessed a power over other men's minds approaching to fascination.
G. But Garrick was not only excluded by this means from real friendship, but accused of treating those whom he called his friends with insincerity and double dealing.
J. Sir, it is not true. His character in that respect is misunderstood. Garrick was, to be sure, very ready in promising; but he intended at that time to fulfil his promise. He intended no deceit. His politeness, or his good nature, call it which you will, made him unwilling to deny. He wanted the courage to say no, even to unreasonable de. mands. This was the great error of his life. His friends became his enemies; and those having been fostered in his bosom, well knew his sensibility to reproach, and they took care that he should be amply supplied with such bitter portions as they were capable of administering. Their impotent efforts he ought to have despised; but he felt them : nor did he affect insensibility.
And that sensibility probably shortened his life.
While hostile banners, o'er thy rampart walls,
bare head—what reck'd it ?—There was joy
Pro. I knew a young Sicilian, one whose heart
He bears a sheathless sword!
Pro. Our band shows gallantly—but there are men
Look on me!
With theirs of whom you spoke ; and I have knelt-
But the stain
Pro. I call upon thee now ! The land's high soul
Let them fall
Rai. Must innocence and guilt
Mont. Who talks of innocence ? When hath their hand been stayed for innocence ? . Let them all perish !-Heaven will choose its own. Why should their children live? The earthquake whelms Its undistinguished thousands, making graves of peopled cities in its path—and this Is Heaven's dread justice—ay, and it is well! Why then should we be tender, when the skies Deal thus with man? What, if the infant bleed? Is there not power to hush the mother's
Let them all perish !-And if one be found
Why gaze ye thus?
Be it so!
Our faith to this!
Fond dreamer, peace!
Oh! my son, The time is past for such high dreams as thine. Thou know'st not whom we deal with. Knightly faith, And chivalrous honour, are but things whereon They cast disdainful pity. We must meet Falsehood with wiles, and insult with revenge.