I went into the church, and saw the monument of Sir James Macdonald, which was elegantly executed at Rome, and has the following inscription, written by his friend, George Lord Lyttelton:--

To the memory Of SIR JAMES MACDONALD, BART. Who in the flower of youth Had attained to so eminent a degree of knowledge, In Mathematics, Philosophy, Languages, And in every other branch of useful and polite learning As few have acquired in a long life Wholly devoted to study: Yet to this erudition he joined What can rarely be found with it, Great talents for business, Great propriety of behaviour, Great politeness of manners! His eloquence was sweet, correct, and flowing; His memory vast and exact; His judgement strong and acute; All which endowments, united With the most amiable temper And every private virtue, Procured him, not only in his own country, But also from foreign nations[460], The highest marks of esteem. In the year of our Lord 1766, The 25th of his life, After a long and extremely painful illness, Which he supported with admirable patience and fortitude, He died at Rome, Where, notwithstanding the difference of religion, Such extraordinary honours were paid to his memory, As had never graced that of any other British Subject, Since the death of Sir Philip Sidney. The fame he left behind him is the best consolation To his afflicted family, And to his countrymen in this isle, For whose benefit he had planned Many useful improvements, Which his fruitful genius suggested, And his active spirit promoted, Under the sober direction Of a clear and enlightened understanding. Reader, bewail our loss, And that of all Britain. In testimony of her love, And as the best return she can make To her departed son, For the constant tenderness and affection Which, even to his last moments, He shewed for her, His much afflicted mother, The LADY MARGARET MACDONALD, Daughter to the EARL of EGLINTOUNE, Erected this Monument, A.D. 1768[461]'

Dr. Johnson said, the inscription should have been in Latin, as every thing intended to be universal and permanent should be[462].

This being a beautiful day, my spirits were cheered by the mere effect of climate. I had felt a return of spleen during my stay at Armidale, and had it not been that I had Dr. Johnson to contemplate, I should have sunk into dejection; but his firmness supported me. I looked at him, as a man whose head is turning giddy at sea looks at a rock, or any fixed object. I wondered at his tranquillity. He said, 'Sir, when a man retires into an island, he is to turn his thoughts entirely to another world. He has done with this.' BOSWELL. 'It appears to me, Sir, to be very difficult to unite a due attention to this world, and that which is to come; for, if we engage eagerly in the affairs of life, we are apt to be totally forgetful of a future state; and, on the other hand, a steady contemplation of the awful concerns of eternity renders all objects here so insignificant, as to make us indifferent and negligent about them.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, Dr. Cheyne has laid down a rule to himself on this subject, which should be imprinted on every mind:--"To neglect nothing to secure my eternal peace, more than if I had been certified I should die within the day: nor to mind any thing that my secular obligations and duties demanded of me, less than if I had been ensured to live fifty years more[463]."'

I must here observe, that though Dr. Johnson appeared now to be philosophically calm, yet his genius did not shine forth as in companies, where I have listened to him with admiration. The vigour of his mind was, however, sufficiently manifested, by his discovering no symptoms of feeble relaxation in the dull, 'weary, flat and unprofitable[464]' state in which we now were placed.

I am inclined to think that it was on this day he composed the following Ode upon the Isle of Sky, which a few days afterwards he shewed me at Rasay:--


Ponti profundis clausa recessibus, Strepens procellis, rupibus obsita, Quam grata defesso virentem Skia sinum nebulosa pandis.

His cura, credo, sedibus exulat; His blanda certe pax habitat locis: Non ira, non moeror quietis Insidias meditatur horis.

At non cavata rupe latescere, Menti nec aegrae montibus aviis Prodest vagari, nec frementes E scopulo numerare fluctus.

Humana virtus non sibi sufficit, Datur nec aequum cuique animum sibi Parare posse, ut Stoicorum Secta crepet nimis alta fallax.

Exaestuantis pectoris impetum, Rex summe, solus tu regis arbiter, Mentisque, te tollente, surgunt, Te recidunt moderante fluctus[465].

After supper, Dr. Johnson told us, that Isaac Hawkins Browne drank freely for thirty years, and that he wrote his poem, De Animi Immortalitate, in some of the last of these years[466].

Life of Johnson Vol_05 Page 45

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