**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Literary Friendships
by [?]

Some for their friend have died penetrated with inconsolable grief; some have sacrificed their character to preserve his own; some have shared their limited fortune; and some have remained attached to their friend in the cold season of adversity.

Jurieu denounced Bayle as an impious writer, and drew his conclusions from the “Avis aux Refugies.” This work is written against the Calvinists, and therefore becomes impious in Holland. Bayle might have exculpated himself with facility, by declaring the work was composed by La Roque; but he preferred to be persecuted rather than to ruin his friend; he therefore was silent, and was condemned. When the minister Fouquet was abandoned by all, it was the men of letters he had patronised who never forsook his prison; and many have dedicated their works to great men in their adversity, whom they scorned to notice at the time when they were noticed by all. The learned Goguet bequeathed his MSS. and library to his friend Fugere, with whom he had united his affections and his studies. His work on the “Origin of the Arts and Sciences” had been much indebted to his aid. Fugere, who knew his friend to be past recovery, preserved a mute despair, during the slow and painful disease; and on the death of Goguet, the victim of sensibility perished amidst the manuscripts which his friend had in vain bequeathed to prepare for publication. The Abbe de Saint Pierre gave an interesting proof of literary friendship. When he was at college he formed a union with Varignon, the geometrician. They were of congenial dispositions. When he went to Paris he invited Varignon to accompany him; but Varignon had nothing, and the Abbe was far from rich. A certain income was necessary for the tranquil pursuits of geometry. Our Abbe had an income of 1800 livres; from this he deducted 300, which he gave to the geometrician, accompanied by a delicacy which few but a man of genius could conceive. “I do not give it to you,” he said, “as a salary, but an annuity, that you may be independent, and quit me when you dislike me.” Something nearly similar embellishes our own literary history. When Akenside was in great danger of experiencing famine as well as fame, Mr. Dyson allowed him three hundred pounds a year. Of this gentleman, perhaps, nothing is known; yet whatever his life may be, it merits the tribute of the biographer. To close with these honourable testimonies of literary friendship, we must not omit that of Churchill and Lloyd. It is known that when Lloyd heard of the death of our poet, he acted the part which Fugere did to Goguet. The page is crowded, but my facts are by no means exhausted.

The most illustrious of the ancients prefixed the name of some friend to the head of their works.–We too often place that of some patron. They honourably inserted it in their works. When a man of genius, however, shows that he is not less mindful of his social affection than his fame, he is the more loved by his reader. Plato communicated a ray of his glory to his brothers; for in his Republic he ascribes some parts to Adimanthus and Glauchon; and Antiphon the youngest is made to deliver his sentiments in the Parmenides, To perpetuate the fondness of friendship, several authors have entitled their works by the name of some cherished associate. Cicero to his Treatise on Orators gave the title of Brutus; to that of Friendship, Lelius; and to that of Old Age, Cato. They have been imitated by the moderns. The poetical Tasso to his dialogue on Friendship gave the name of Manso, who was afterwards his affectionate biographer. Sepulvueda entitles his Treatise on Glory by the name of his friend Gonsalves. Lociel to his Dialogues on the Lawyers of Paris prefixes the name of the learned Pasquier. Thus Plato distinguishes his Dialogues by the names of certain persons; the one on Lying is entitled Hippius; on Rhetoric, Gorgias; and on Beauty, Phaedrus.

Luther has perhaps carried this feeling to an extravagant point. He was so delighted by his favourite “Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians,” that he distinguished it by a title of doting fondness; he named it after his wife, and called it “His Catherine.”