1750 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Edwards

Samuel Johnson, 1750 ca.; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:306n.



Soon after Edwards's Canons of Criticism came out, Johnson was dining at Tonson the Bookseller's, with Hayman the Painter and some more company. Hayman related to Sir Joshua Reynolds, that the conversation having turned upon Edwards's book, the gentlemen praised it much, and Johnson allowed its merit. But when they went farther, and appeared to put the authour upon a level with Warburton, "Nay, (said Johnson,) he has given him some smart hits to be sure; but there is no proportion between the two men; they must not be named togeether. A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still."