Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

of a stranger, his practice was to continue sitting, a posture in which he was ever to be found, and, for a few minutes, to continue silent: if at any time he was inclined to begin the discourse, it was generally by putting a leaf of the Magazine then in the press into the hand of his visitor, and asking his opinion of it. I remember that, calling in on him once, he gave me to read the beautiful poem of Collins, written for Shakspeare's Cymbeline, 'To fair Fidele's grassy tomb,' which, though adapted to a particular circumstance in the play, Cave was for inserting in his Magazine, without any reference to the subject. I told him it would lose of its beauty if it were so published: this he could not see; nor could he be convinced of the propriety of the name fidele: he thought Pastora a better, and so printed it.

"He was so incompetent a judge of Johnson's abilities, that, meaning at one time to dazzle him with the splendour of some of those luminaries in literature who favoured him with their correspondence, he told him that, if he would, in the evening, be at a certain alehouse in the neighbourhood of Clerkenwell, he might have a chance of seeing Mr. Browne and another or two of the persons mentioned in the preceding note: Johnson accepted the invitation; and being introduced by Cave, dressed

Transactions begun by Jones and Lowthorp, and was a man of great knowledge, ami a very able tutor. Under him were bred many young men who afterwards became eminently distinguished for learning and abilities; among them were the late Mr. Parry of Cirencester, the late Dr. Furneaux, and Dr. Gibbons; and, if I mistake not, Dr. Price. The pupils of this academy had heads that teemed with knowledge, which, as fast as they acquired it, they were prompted by a juvenile and laudable ambition to com" municate in letters to Mr. Urban.

"To this account of Cave's correspondents might be added the celebrated names of Dr. Birch, Mrs. Carter, Dr. Akenside, the Rev. Mr. Samuel Pegge, who, by an ingenious transposition of the letters of his name, formed the plausible signature of Paul Gemsege; Mr. Luck, of Barnstaple in Devonshire; Mr. Henry Price, of Pool, in Dorsetshire; Mr. Richard Yate, of Chively, in Shropshire j Mr. John Bancks; and that industrious and prolific genius, Mr. John Lockuian.

in a loose horse-man's coat, and such a great bushy uncombed wig as he constantly wore, to the sight of Mr. Browne, whom he found sitting at the upper end of a long table, in a cloud of tobacco-smoke, had his curiosity gratified.

"Johnson saw very clearly those offensive particulars that made a part of Cave's character; but, as he was one of the most quick-sighted men I ever knew in discovering the good and amiable qualities of others, a faculty which he has displayed, as well in the life of Cave, as in that of Savage, printed among his works, so was he ever inclined to palliate their defects; and, though he was above courting the patronage of a man whom, for many reasons, he could-not but /told cheap*, he disdained not to accept it, when tendered with any degree of complacency.

"Cave, who had no idea of the powers of eloquence over the human mind, became sensible of its erfects in the profits it brought him. He had long thought that the success of his Magazine pro^ ceeded from those parts of it that were conducted by himself, which were, the abridgment of weekly papers written against the Ministry, such as the Craftsman, Fog's Journal, Common Sense, the Weekly Miscellany, the Westminster Journal, and others, and also marshaling the pastorals, the elegies, and the songs, the epigrams, and the rebuses, that were sent him by various correspondents; and was scarcely able to see the causes that at this time increased the sale of his pamphlet from ten to fifteen thousand copies a month. But, if he saw not, he felt them, and manifested his good fortune by buying an old coach and a pair of older horses; and, that he might avoid the suspicion of pride in setting up an equipage, he displayed to the world the source of his affluence, by a representation of St. John's gate, instead of his arms, on the door

* .This phrase was, on my remonstrance, corrected in the second edition thus: "whom, in respect to mental endowments, he considered much inferior,"

pannel, panned. This, he told me himself, was the reason of distinguishing his carriage from others, by what some might think a whimsical device, and also for causing it to be engraven on all his plate.

"It might seem that between men so different in their endowments and tempers as Johnson and Cave were, little of true friendship could subsist; but the contrary was the case: Cave, though a man of a saturnine disposition, had a sagacity which had long been exercised in the discrimination of men, in searching into the recesses of their minds, and finding out what they were fit for; and a liberality of sentiment and action, which, under proper restrictions, inclined him not only to encourage genius and merit, but to esteem and even to venerate the possessors of those qualities as often as he met with them: it cannot, therefore, be supposed but that he entertained a high regard for such a man as Johnson, and, having had a long experience of his abilities and integrity, that he had improved this disposition into friendship. Johnson, on his part, sought for other qualities in those with whom he meant to form connexions: had he determined to make only those his friends whose endowments were equal to his own, his life would have been that of a Carthusian; he was therefore more solicitous to contract friendships with men of probity and integrity, and endued with good moral qualities, than with those whose intellectual powers, or literary attainments, were the most conspicuous part of their character; and of the former, Cave had a share, sufficient to justify his choice. On this mutual regard for each other, as on a solid basis, rested the friendship between Johnson and Cave. It was therefore with a degree of sorrow proportioned to his feelings towards fiis friends, which were ever tender, that Johnson reflected on the loss he had to sustain, and became the narrator of the most important incidents of his life. In the account which ne has given of his death, it will be readily believed, that what he had related respecting the constancy of his friendship is true, and that when, as the last act of reason, he fondly pressed the hand that was afterwards employed in recording his memory, his affection was sincere.

Having occasion to notice Johnson's first imitation of Juvenal *, Sir John Hawkins observes, that "Johnson and Dodsley were soon agreed; the price asked by the one, and assented to by the other, was, as I have been informed, fifty pounds: a reward for his labour and ingenuity, that induced Johnson ever after to call Dodsley his patron;" and adds, "It [is pretty certain that, in his offer of *ue v>em to Dodsley, Cave stipulated for the prhiiim: fit; for if-f-J came abroad in the yt^-v above mentioned with the name of Cave as the printer, though without that of the author."

A good portrait of Mr. Cave, byWoriidge, after the manner of Rembrandt, was inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1754, vol. XXIV. p. 55, and is prefixed to the present volume.

There is another portrait of him, by Grignion, with emblematic devices, and this inscription:

"Edward Cave, ob. 10 Jan. 1754, <ciat. 6*2.

The first Projector of the Monthly Magazines.
Th' Invention all admired, and each how he
To be th' Inventor miss'd."

Mr. Cave was buried in the church of St. James, Clerkenwell; but the following inscription to the memory of his father and himself, which was written by Dr. Hawkesworth, is placed on a table monument in the North-west church-yard at Rugby: "Near this place lies the body of Joseph Cave, late of this parish, who departed this life Nov. 18, 1747, aged 80 years.

* Of which see before, pp. 23, 24.

t These words were properly retracted in the second edition.

He was placed by Providence in a humble station;

but

Industry abundantly supplied his wants,
and Temperance blest him with

Content and Health. As he was an affectionate Father, he was made happy in the decline of life by the deserved eminence of his eldest son Edward Cave; who, without interest, fortune, or connections^ by the native force of his own Genius, assisted only by a classical Education, which he received in the Grammar-school of this Town, planned, executed, and established a Literary Work, called The Gentleman's Magazine; whereby he acquired an ample Fortune, . the whole of which devolved to his family.

Here also lies the body of Esther his wife,
who died Dec. 30, 1734, aged 6*9 years."

On the North side of the same tomb:

"Here also lies the body of William Cave, second son of the said Joseph and Esther Cave, who died May 2, 1757, aged 62 years; and who, having survived his elder brother Edward Cave, inherited from him a competent estate and, in gratitude to his benefactor, ordered this monument, to perpetuate his memory.

He liv'd a Patriarch in his numerous race,
And shew'd in charity a Christian's grace:
Whate'er a friend or parent feels, he knew;
His hand was open, and his heart was true;
In what he gain'd and gave, he taught mankind,
A grateful always is a generous mind.

Here

« НазадПродовжити »