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ing events which preceded his fast approaching dissolution. They distinguish a period of suffering and of sorrow, in which, in rapid succession, he lost many of his old and most valued friends. Scarcely had he finished his “ Lives of the Poets” when death deprived him of Mr. Thrale, an event which he has thus pathetically related. “On Wednesday, “ May" 11, “ 1781," was buried
my dear friend Thrale, who died on Wed. nesday 4; and with him were buried many of my hopes and pleasures. About five, I think, on Wednesday morning he expired; I felt almost the last flutter of his pulse, and looked for the last time upon the face that for fifteen years had never been turned upon me but with respect or benignity. Farewel, May God, that delighteth in mercy,
have mercy on thee! “ I had constantly prayed for him sometime before his death.
“ The decease of him, from whose friendship I had obtained many opportunities of amusement, and to whom I turned my thoughts as to a refuge from misfortunes, has left me heavy. But my business is with myself. .
“ My first knowledge of Thrale was in 1765. I enjoyed his favour for almost a fourth part of
my life. *»
Prayers and Meditations, p. 159, 160.
The year succeeding the decease of Mr. Thrale, brought with it a deprivation almost as great as he had experienced from the loss of that worthy man. On January 17th, 1782, about seven in the morning, died, by an almost instantaneous death, his old and faithful friend Levett. The verses with which he has honoured his memory will, as long as the language in which they are written shall endure, best speak the grateful tenderness, the durable affection of our author's heart.
At Streatham Johnson soon perceived that he was no longer welcomed with the cordiality to which he had formerly been accustomed; his visits, therefore, were less frequent, and on the 6th of October of this year, he took a final leave of this once hospitable villa and its inhabitants. His correspondence, however, with Mrs. Thrale did not cease until July the 8th, 1784; a few days before which date she had become, much against his wishes and advice, Mrs. Piozzi. so What you have done,” he says in his farewell epistle,“ however I may lament it, I have no pretence to resent, as it has not been injurious to me: I therefore breathe out one sigh more of tenderness, perhaps useless, but at least sincere.
“ I wish that God may grant you every blessing; that you may be happy in this world for its
short continuance, and eternally happy in a better state; and whatever I can contribute to your happiness I am very ready to repay, for that kindness which svothed twenty years of a life radically wretched.
--" The tears stand in iny eyes.”
In the mean time disease had pressed heavily upon his frame; besides an asthmatic complaint for which he had been bled frequently, he was occasionally afiicted with the gout, endured for some months considerable pain from a sarcocele, and on the 17th of June, 1783, suffered a paralytick stroke, which for some hours deprived him of his powers of speech. From these formidable attacks, however, such was the strength of his constitution, he rapidly recovered. A few months annihilated all traces of the palsy, the sarcocele disappeared without an operation, and the gout and asthma, though not entirely removed, were greatly mitigated.
In consequence of this amendment he was able to partake of the advantages of change of air, and made tours into Kent and Wiltshire, on visits to his friends Mr. Langton and Mr. Bowles. It was during his residence at the house of Mr. Bowles that he was informed, by Dr. Brocklesby, of the death of Mrs. Williams, a loss which he now more severely felt, as she was the last but one of his domestic companions.
* Johnson's I.etters, vol. 2, p. 375, 576.
To console himself for these home deprivations, he instituted early in December, 1783, a new Evening Club at the Essex Head, in Essexstreet, the master of which was an old servant of Mr. Thrale's. The members met thrice a week, and the absentees forfeited three-pence per night. His returning complaints, however, precluded much enjoyment from this social plan; towards the end of the year he was seized with a most violent fit of spasmodic asthma, which was soon followed by dropsical swellings of his legs and thighs, that encreased rapidly, but suddenly subsided in the February following, in consequence of a most profuse and unexpected evacuation.
After this fortunate event he again rallied, and during the summer of 1784 visited Oxford, Lichfield, and Birmingham. He had also entertained a wish, from the hope of assistance in warmth of climate, to visit Italy; an inclination in which he was not only supported, but even ant ipated, by the kindness of his friends, who, considering his pension as not adequate to the expenses incident to such a journey, had applied to the minister through the medium of Lord Chancellor Thurlow, for an augmentation of two hundred pounds per annum. The Chancellor exerted himself to the utmost in the affair, but without success; and, on its failure, generously came forward to supply Johnson with a loan of five hundred pounds; this, together with an offer of an hundred per annum, during his Italian Tour, from his amiable physician, Dr. Brocklesby, he declined. Of his gratitude, however, for the zcal and affection of his friends, the letter which he wrote to the Chancellor, and the following passage from Mr. Boswell, just after the application had been made, are striking proofs.
Boswell. “ I am very anxious about you, sir, and particularly that you should go to Italy for the winter, which I believe is your own wish.” Johnson. “ It is, sir.” Boswell. “ You have no objection, I presume, but the money it would require." Johnson. “Why, no, sir."--Upon which I gave him a particular account of what had been done, and read to him the Lord Chancellor's letter.—He listened with much attention; then warmly said, “ this is taking prodigious pains about a man.”—“O! sir, (said I, with most sincere affection,) your friends would do every thing for you. He paused,--grew more and more agitated, -till tears started into his eyes, and he exclaimed with fervent emotion, “ God bless you all." I was so affected that I also shed tears.After a short silence, he renewed and extended