1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Moses Browne

John Hawkins, in Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1791; ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:131n.



Cave had few of those qualities that constitute the character of urbanity. Upon the first approach of a stranger his practice was to continue sitting, 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 [Gentleman's] Magazine then in the press into the hand of his visitor and asking his opinion of 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 in a loose horseman'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 satisfied.