Home  »  Volume X: English THE AGE OF JOHNSON  »  § 19. His journey to Lisbon, and his posthumous account of it; His death

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

II. Fielding and Smollett

§ 19. His journey to Lisbon, and his posthumous account of it; His death

Of his voyage to Lisbon, in the company of his wife and daughter, on The Queen of Portugal, he has left an account which has more in it of the quality of charm than anything else that he wrote. It shows his courage and his zest for life undiminished by the sufferings that had wasted his great frame, and mellowed by a manly patience; his courtesy and consideration for others; his sound sense and sincerity. Neither his eye for character nor his power of ironical expression had deserted him; and the portraits of captain Veale, and others, are as shrewd and complete as any in his novels. The book was published in February, 1755, in a version which omitted portions of the manuscript; the whole text being issued in December of that year. But, before the earlier issue appeared, the author had passed away. Fielding died at Lisbon on 8 October, 1754, and lies buried in the English cemetery there. He had lived hard. A self-indulgent youth had been succeeded, after his first marriage, by a manhood crammed with arduous work in literature and in the law. As justice of the peace, he had seen further than his contemporaries into the causes of crime, and into the remedies for it; as writer, he had poured ridicule and contempt on meanness, on pretence and on vanity, and had fixed the form of a new branch of literature. Poverty, sorrow, ill-health and detraction could not quench his delight in life; and he used his energies, his good-sense and his knowledge of the world consistently in the service of what he saw to be the right.