��Greece and Rome should be cultivated with care ; and he who can write a language with correctness, will be most likely to understand its idiom, its grammar, and its peculiar graces of style. What man of taste would willingly forego the pleasure of reading Vida, Fracastorius, Sannazaro, Strada x , and others, down to the late elegant productions of Bishop Lowth 2 ? The history which Johnson proposed to himself would, beyond all question, have been a valuable addition to the history of letters ; but his project failed. His next expedient was to offer his assistance to Cave, the original projector of the Gentleman's Magazine. For this purpose he sent his proposals in a letter, offering, on reasonable terms, occasionally to fill some pages with poems and inscriptions never printed before ; with fugitive pieces that deserved to be revived, and critical remarks on authors ancient and modern. Cave agreed to retain him as a correspondent and contributor to the Magazine 3 . What the conditions were cannot now be known ; but, certainly, they were not sufficient to hinder Johnson from casting his eyes about him in quest of other employment. Accordingly, in 1735, he made overtures to the reverend Mr. Budworth, Master of a Grammar-
��1 'Upon the whole Erasmus is rather a versifier than a poet, and is not to be ranked amongst the Italian poets of those days, Sannazarius, Fracastorius, Vida, &c., many of whom wrote better than any of the ancients, except Lucretius, Virgil, Horace and a few more.' Jortin's Erasmus, i. 60 1.
Addison, in the Guardian, Nos. 115, 119, writes about Strada's Pro lusion, describing it as ' one of the most entertaining as well as the most just pieces of criticism that I have ever read.'
The Earl of Aberdeen (the Prime- minister), when a Cambridge under graduate of eighteen years old, wrote to a friend in 1802 : ' I will in some sort defend Vida when we meet, but meanwhile do you read Sannazarius. You will be pleased with him and
��also with Fracastorius.' The Earl of Aberdeen, 1893, p. 8.
For a charge brought against Sir Walter Scott of stealing from one of Vida's poems see Life, i. 230, n. I.
2 Lowth's ' incomparable Praelec- tiones on the Poetry of the Hebrews ' (Gibbon's Misc. Works, ed. 1814, i. 51) were published in 1753. 'All Scotland,' said Johnson, ' could not muster learning enough for Lowth's Prelections' Life, v. 57, n. 3.
3 Murphy follows Hawkins (p. 29) in this statement. The letter was written on Nov. 25, 1734, and was answered on Dec. 2. ' But whether,' says Boswell, ' anything was done in consequence of it we are not in formed.' Jo. i. 92. 'His first per formance in the Gentleman's Maga zine was a copy of Latin verses in March, 1738.' Ib. p. 113.