title was afterwards given to a licentious magazine 1 . These are curious reasons. But in the first place, Mr. Boswell assumes, that Johnson intended only to write a series of papers on ' grave and moral' subjects; whereas, on the contrary, he meant this periodical paper should be open for the reception of every subject, serious or sprightly, solemn or familiar, moral or amusing ; and therefore endeavoured to find a title as general and unconfined as possible 2 . He acknowledged, that 'The Spectator' was the most happily chosen of all others, and ' The Tatler ' the next to it ; and after long consideration how to fix a third title, equally capacious and suited to his purpose, he suddenly thought upon The Rambler , and it would be difficult to find any other that so exactly coincided with the motto he has adopted in the title-page.
' Quo me cunque rapit tempestas deferor hospes V
Johnson's manner of composing has not been rightly under stood. He was so extremely short-sighted, from the defect in his eyes, that writing was inconvenient to him ; for whenever he wrote, he was obliged to hold the paper close to his face. He, therefore, never composed what we call a foul draft on paper of any thing he published, but used to revolve the subject in his mind, and turn and form every period, till he had brought the whole to the highest correctness and the most perfect
1 ' Johnson was, I think, not very peruse them, whose passions left happy in the choice of his title, The them leisure for abstracted truth, Rambler, which certainly is not suited and whom virtue could please by its to a series of grave and moral dis- naked dignity.'
courses ; which the Italians have 3 The motto was,
literally, but ludicrously translated f Nullius addictus jurare in verba
by // Vagabondo ; and which has magistri,
been lately assumed as the denomi- Q u me cunque rapit tempestas
nation of a vehicle of licentious tales, deferor hospes.'
The Rambler's Magazine' Life, i. Horace, Epis. i. I. 14.
202. For // Vagabondo see ib. iii. ' Sworn to no master, of no sect
411. am I :
2 In his last Rambler he says : As drives the storm, at any door ' I have never complied with tern- I knock.'
porary curiosity, nor enabled my Percy seems to think that Johnson
readers to discuss the topic of the chose his motto first and then cast day. . . . They only were expected to about for a title to suit it.