On Laziness by Christopher Morley

Discussion in 'English Only' started by stelle89, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. stelle89 Member

    Madison, WI

    I was reading "On Laziness" by Christopher Morley, and was uncertain if I understood a few sentences correctly.

    The entire writing can be found here: "On laziness" by Christopher Morley

    The paragraph that was in question was:

    Doctor Johnson told me in going to Ilam from Ashbourne, 22 September, 1777, that the way the plan of his Dictionary came to be addressed to Lord Chesterfield was this: He had neglected to write it by the time appointed. Dodsley suggested a desire to have it addressed to Lord C. Mr. J. laid hold of this as an excuse for delay, that it might be better done perhaps, and let Dodsley have his desire. Mr. Johnson said to his friend, Doctor Bathurst: “Now if any good comes of my addressing to Lord Chesterfield it will be ascribed to deep policy and address, when, in fact, it was only a casual excuse for laziness.”

    Was 22 Sep 1777 the date Doctor. J told me about something or was on the way from Ashbourn to Ilam?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  2. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    1. Johnson told him while going to Ilam. So both happened on that date: the travel and telling him. The actual events of the story (sending the Dictionary plan to Lord C) happened some time before that.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2018
  3. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    1. Morley (I assume Morley is the narrator) and Johnson travelled from Ilam to Ashbourne together on 22 September 1777
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    Johnson's dictionary was published in 1755 and Chesterfield died in 1773, so Johnson is telling this tale two decades after the event. Johnson's comment to Bathurst looks like it took place in 1754 or 1755, before or about the time of the dictionary being published.

    [cross posted]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2018
  4. RedwoodGrove

    RedwoodGrove Senior Member

    Northern California
    English, USA
    It is difficult to trace all the steps, at least in a cursory review of the facts in WP etc. The address is made to Chesterfield, but is that at the beginning of the process, 7 years before publication? Chesterfield snubbed Johnson early on. The famed letter to Ch. was written after the publication.

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