1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Campbell

John Wilson Croker, Note in Boswell, Life of Johnson, ed. Croker (1831) 1:431n.



Mr. Boswell quotes this dictum ["He is the richest author that ever grazed the common of literature"] as if it was evidence only of Dr. Campbells wealth; he probably did not see that it characterised his celebrated friend, by no very complimentary allusion, as "grazing the common" of literature. The strange story of Campbell's "pulling off his hat whenever he passed a church, though he had not been for many years inside one," must have arisen from some error. Johnson could hardly have seriously told such an absurdity. It is well known, that the members of the kirk of Scotland do not think it necessary to uncover on entering places of worship, though the lower classes sometimes show a kind of superstitious veneration for burial-places: perhaps Dr. Campbell may, in conversation with Johnson, have alluded to those circumstances, and thus given occasion to this whimsical misapprehension.