Boswell reports Johnson saying on July 20, 1762:
“Pity is not natural to man. Children are always cruel. Savages are always cruel. Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason. We may have uneasy sensations for seeing a creature in distress, without pity; for we have not pity unless we wish to relieve them. When I am on my way to dine with a friend, and finding it late, have bid the coachman make haste, if I happen to attend when he whips his horses, I may feel unpleasantly that the animals are put to pain, but I do not wish him to desist. No, Sir, I wish him to drive on.”
Driving on ...
In poetry and life, Murray, like Dr. Johnson, has always seemed more alive than the rest of us, forever engaging the world, with an enviably vast pool of language in his head. As to humor and cussedness, Dalton quotes Murray’s great elegy for his father, “The Last Hellos”
He dwells on his bohemian poem for days, years. His genius is an ability to process the 1,025,000 words in his brain and select precisely the right one to follow the one that came before it.”