1771 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Horace Walpole, 1771; in Memoirs of the Reign of George III, ed. G. F. Russell Barker (1894) 4:196-97.



With a lumber of learning and some strong parts, Johnson was an odious and mean character. By principle a Jacobite, arrogant, self-sufficient, and over-bearing by nature, ungrateful through pride and of feminine bigotry, he had prostituted his pen to party even in a dictionary, and had afterwards, for a pension, contradicted his own definitions. His manners were sordid, supercilious, and brutal, his style ridiculously bombastic and vicious; and, in one word, with all the pedantry he had all the gigantic littleness of a country schoolmaster.