1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

J. E., "On the Death of Dr. Johnson" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (11 January 1785).



Ye letter'd sages shed the mournful tear,
And Genius weep o'er Johnson's sacred bier;
Britannia, parent Queen, his loss deplore;
Johnson, the great, the good; he is no more!
Let fruitful woe inspire the melting verse,
And friendship to the world his fame rehearse.
Johnson, whose virtues Heav'n must needs approve,
Whose bosom glow'd with piety and love:
Whose every action truth and justice sway'd,
And strict devotion fervently display'd.
Benevolent; the dictates of his mind
Were social, pure, and of th' aetherial kind:
His knowledge comprehensive, judgment sound,
A world of letters in himself profound.
Bold Erudite! the seat of Glory's thine,
Where Newton, Locke, or Bayle, immortal shine!
Thy classic page, O Johnson, shall adorn
The realms of science t' ages yet unborn:
Thy virtues rise for ever to the view;
Admir'd by all, but copied by a few.
Few like thee dare to be so truly great,
And smiles triumphant 'midst the storms of fate.
Wood-street, Jan. 3, 1785.