And you thought today’s writers are a low, unprincipled bunch?
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He had planned out a scheme of life for the country, of which he had no knowledge but from pastorals and songs. He imagined that he should be transported to scenes of flowery felicity, like those which one poet has reflected to another; and had projected a perpetual round of innocent pleasures, of which he suspected no interruption from pride, or ignorance, or brutality.
Unsurprisingly, Savage did not make good on his literary promises, nor did he much prosper from the change of scenery. After leaving London (“with tears in his eyes,” according to Johnson) in 1739, he went not immediately to Wales but first to Bristol, where he would die a few years later in 1743 in, of all places, a debtor’s prison. Yet Johnson manages to end the Life on a note of high defiance, with a kind of anti-apologia for his friend, who (at least if his claims concerning his origins are to be credited) did not live half as well as his birth entitled him to have done but thought, talked, and wrote much better than anyone would have expected given the circumstances into which he was forced:
If he was not always sufficiently instructed in his subject, his knowledge was at least greater than could have been attained by others in the same state. If his works were sometimes unfinished, accuracy cannot reasonably be exacted from a man oppressed with want, which he has no hope of relieving but by a speedy publication. The insolence and resentment of which he is accused were not easily to be avoided by a great mind, irritated by perpetual hardships, and constrained hourly to return the spurns of contempt and repress the insolence of prosperity; and vanity may surely readily be pardoned in him, to whom life afforded no other comforts than barren praises, and the consciousness of deserving them.
Those are no proper judges of his conduct who have slumbered away their time on the down of plenty, nor will any wise man presume to say, “Had I been in Savage’s condition, I should have lived or written better than Savage.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?