Excellent Samuel Johnson quote

I am reading an excellent commonplace book – of Hester Lynch Piozzi (she named the book ‘Minced meat for pyes’).  This commonplace is reminding me why I love these books as an insight into an author’s mind.

Minced meat for Pyes – Hester Lynch Piozzi

It will take some time for me to create a post about this book, but in the meantime I had to include this great quote, written in Mrs Piozzi’s casually neat handwriting.

“His delivery, tho’ unconstrained is not negligent & tho’ forcible is not turbulent, disdaining anxious nicety of emphasis, & laboured artifice of action, it captivated hearers by its native dignity; it roused the sluggish, it could fix the volatile, detaining the mind most happily to the subject without directing it to the speaker.”


According to this source the quote came from Samuel Johnson as part of an obituary on May 2 1769 issue of the London Chronicle in reference to the Reverend Mr Zachariah Mudge.  An interesting part of the detective work in commonplaces is finding out whether the inspiring text you’re reading is from the author him/herself or from another source!

Although Mrs Piozzi gives the honour of this compliment in her commonplace to a George Henry Glasse rather than Reverend Mudge, Mr Glasse himself came to a fairly unfortunate end according to Wikipedia.  In a circular fashion it is ironic that the story of Glasse’s death is referenced within the Wikipedia article from another piece of writing by Mrs Piozzi.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s