1753 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Warton

Samuel Johnson to Joseph Warton, 8 March 1753, in Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:293-94.



DEAR SIR,

I ought to have written to you before now, but I ought to do many other things which I do not; nor can I, indeed, claim any merit from this letter; for being desired by the authours and proprietor of The Adventurer to look out for another hand, my thoughts necessarily fixed upon you, whose fund of literature will enable you to assist them, with very little interruption of your studies.

They desire you to engage to furnish one paper a month, at two guineas a paper, which you may very readily perform. We have considered that a paper should consist of pieces of imagination, pictures of life, and disquisitions of literature. The part which depends on the imagination is very well supplied, as you will find when you read the paper; for descriptions of life, there is now a treaty almost made with an authour and an authouress; and the province of criticism and literature they are very desirous to assign to the commentator on Virgil.

I hope this proposal will not be rejected, and that the next post will bring us your compliance. I speak as one of the fraternity, though I have no part in the paper, beyond now and then a motto; but two of the writers are my particular friends, and I hope the pleasure of seeing a third united to them, will not be denied to, dear Sir,

Your most humble servant,

SAM. JOHNSON.

March 8, 1753.