1891 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Percival Stockdale

George Birkbeck Hill, Note in Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 2:130n.



Stockdale, who was born in 1726 and died in 1811, wrote Memoirs of his Life — a long, dull book, but containing a few interesting anecdotes of Johnson. He thought himself, and the world also, much ill-used by the publishers, when they passed him over and chose Johnson to edit the Lives of the Poets. He lodged both in Johnson's Court and in Bolt Court, but preserved little good-will for his neighbour. Johnson, in the Life of Waller (Works, vii. 194), quoting from Stockdale's Life of that poet, calls him "his last ingenious biographer." I. D'Israeli says that "the bookseller Flexney complained that whenever this poet came to town, it cost him 20. Flexney had been the publisher of Churchill's Works, and never forgetting the time when he published The Rosciad, he was speculating all his life for another Churchill and another quarto poem. Stockdale usually brought him what he wanted, and Flexney found the workman, but never the work." Calamities of Authors, ed. 1812, ii. 314.