I can’t let the nose of the mind discussion go by without sharing with you the rest of Boswell’s story. This is one to wheel out in a gloomy kill-joy tone the next time you see a luvvie award ceremony, or worse, are unfortunate enough to find yourself in the proximity of the Green Room immediately post-performance, when the actors are all in a state of highly-strung backslappery.
[Johnson] entered upon a curious discussion of the difference between intuition and sagacity ; one being immediate in its effect, the other requiring a circuitous process ; one, he observed, was the eye of the mind, the other the nose of the mind.
[….]A young gentleman present took up the argument against [Johnson], and maintained that no man ever thinks of the NOSE OF THE MIND, not adverting that though that figurative sense seems strange to us, as very unusual, it is truly not more forced than Hamlet’s ‘In my MIND’S EYE, Horatio.’ He persisted much too long, and appeared to Johnson as putting himself forward as his antagonist with too much presumption; upon which he called to him in a loud tone, ‘What is it you are contending for, if you BE contending?’
And afterwards imagining that the gentleman retorted upon him with a kind of smart drollery, he said, ‘Mr. —— it does not become you to talk so to me. Besides, ridicule is not your talent; you have THERE neither intuition nor sagacity.’ The gentleman protested that he had intended no improper freedom, but had the greatest respect for Dr. Johnson. After a short pause, during which we were somewhat uneasy,—JOHNSON. ‘Give me your hand, Sir. You were too tedious, and I was too short.’ Mr. ——. ‘Sir, I am honoured by your attention in any way.’ JOHNSON. ‘Come, Sir, let’s have no more of it. We offended one another by our contention; let us not offend the company by our compliments.’