Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/351

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a host of other and better feelings. He had travelled widely, he had seen a great variety of men, some of them among the most famous of their age, and had learnt to value genius without troubling himself about its pedigree. His successors at Auchinleck had something of the narrowness of the old judge. " His eldest son, Sir Alexander Boswell," wrote Sir Walter Scott, "was a proud man, and like his grandfather, thought that his father lowered himself by his deferential suit and service to Johnson. I have observed he disliked any allusion to the book or to Johnson himself, and I have heard that Johnson's fine picture by Sir Joshua was sent upstairs out of the sitting apartments." l He was not too proud a man to write a poem on the anniversary of the Accession of George IV., and what is George IV. now ? It was not from any dulness of mind that he did not value his father's book. " He had," says Lockhart, "all Bozzys cleverness, good-humour, and joviality, without one touch of his meaner qualities, wrote some popular songs, which he sang capitally, and was moreover a thorough bibliomaniac."' It was due to him and a friend, that the Burns monument at Ayr was erected. They summoned a public meeting, but no one attended except themselves. Little daunted they appointed a chairman, proposed resolutions, carried them unanimously, passed a vote of thanks, and issued subscription lists. More than ,2,000 was subscribed, and the monument was opened by Sir Alexander shortly before his death. That he was not wanting in tenderness of heart is shown by some of his poems. How pretty is the following verse in an address by an aged father to his children :

"The auld will speak, the young maun hear,

Be cantie, but be gude and leal ; Your ain ills aye hae heart to bear,

Anither's aye hae heart to feel.

So, ere I set, I'll see ye shine ;

I'll see ye triumph ere I fa' ; My parting breath shall boast you mine

Lockhart goes, however, too far when he exalts him in comparison with his father. Boswell, I feel sure, would never have been guilty of the act which involved his son in the unhappy duel in which he lost his life. In two scurrilous newspapers he had

1 Croker's Correspondence, ii. 32. 3 C. Rogers 's Modern Scottish Minstrel, 1870,

  • Lockhart's Life of Scott, v. 336. p. 158.

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