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Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/49

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Plutarch, in his enumeration of the various occasions on which a man may without just offence proclaim his own excellences, has omit- ted the case of an author entering the world ; unless it may be comprehended, under his general position, that a man may lawfully praise himself for those qualities which cannot be known but from his own mouth ; as when he is among strangers, and can have no oppor- tunity of an actual exertion of his powers. That the case of an author is parallel will scarcely be granted, because he necessarily discovers the degree of his merit to his judges, when he appears at his trial. But it should be remembered, that unless his judges are in- clined to favour him, they will hardly be per- suaded to hear the cause.

In love, the state which fills the heart with a degree of solicitude next that of an author, it has been held a maxim, that success is most easily obtained by indirect and unperceived approaches ; he who too soon professes him- self a lover, raises obstacles to his own wishes, and those whom disappointments have taught experience, endeavour to conceal their passion till they believe their mistress wishes for the discovery. The same method, if it were practicable to writers, would save many com- plaints of the severity of the age, and the

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