ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
, "An Elegy on Dr. Johnson" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (21 January 1785).
1737: Gilbert Walmsley
1741: Edward Cave
1750 ca.: Thomas Cooke
1750: Rev. William Dodd
1750: Edward Cave
1752: Hester Mulso Chapone
1758: William Shenstone
1762: Rev. Charles Churchill
1763: Robert Lloyd
1765: George Matisson Rothwel
1765: J. T.
1765: Cuthbert Shaw
1765: C. M.
1765: Charles Denis
1765: William Kenrick
1766: Rev. Joseph Warton
1766: W. J.
1766: Old Blow the Bellows
1766: C. M.
1769 ca.: Thomas Gray
1770: George Lyttelton
1771: James Beattie
1771: Horace Walpole
1772: A. C.
1773: Robert Fergusson
1775: An Englishman
1775: William Woty
1775: George Colman
1775: U GIO
1776: William Barnard
1778: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1778: M. Macgreggor, Esq.
1779: Rev. Thomas Maurice
1780 ca.: Francis Grose
1781: Horace Walpole
1781 ca.: Rev. Robert Potter
1781: Elizabeth Montagu
1781: J. D.
1781: Rev. William Tasker
1782: John Scott of Amwell
1784: William Cowper
1784: William Woty
1784: H. K.
1784: J. D.
1784: John Hoole
1784: Anna Seward
1784: A. W.
1784: J. B-e
1785 ca.: William Julius Mickle
1785: H. S.
1785: Rev. George Butt
1785: E. T. P.
1785: W. W-y-.
1785: Rev. James Fordyce
1785: J. E.
1785: Mr. Arrowsmith
1785: B. Walwyn
1785: A. L.
1786: A Lady
1786: Soame Jenyns
1786: John Courtenay
1786: George Colman
1786: Old Salusbury Briar
1786: Gilbert Horne
1786: James Boswell
1786: Christopher Anstey
1786: Rev. Richard Graves
1787: George Colman
1787: Miss Bruce
1788: O. L. M.
1788: Rev. Richard Graves
1789: Rev. Andrew Macdonald
1790 ca.: Horace Walpole
1790: Anna Seward
1791: Anna Seward
1791: Isaac D'Israeli
1791: Rev. Bryan Waller
1791: Francis Garden
1792: William Thomas Fitzgerald
1796: Anna Seward
1796: Anna Seward
1797: George Dyer
1798: Thomas Green
1798: Edward Gardner
1799: Lady Catherine Rebecca Manners
1799 ca.: Alexander Chalmers
1800: Dr. Nathan Drake
1800 ca.: George Hardinge
1800: Thomas Dermody
1802: Rev. Henry Kett
1806: John Wooll
1806: Dr. John Aikin
1807: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1807: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1811: Richard Cumberland
1813: Dr. John Wolcot
1814: Sir George Beaumont
1815: William Wordsworth
1819: William Hazlitt
1822: William Cook
1822: Tobias Oldschool
1824: Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin
1824: Bryan Waller Procter
1825 ca.: Joseph Cradock
1825: John Taylor Esq.
1830: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1831: John Wilson Croker
1831: Rev. Samuel Hoole
1831: Thomas Babington Macaulay
1832: John Taylor Esq.
1833: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
1835: Robert Southey
1835 ca.: Charles Crocker
1840: Thomas Carlyle
1852: Mary Russell Mitford
1880: W. J. Courthope
1781: Samuel Jackson Pratt
1785: Samuel Johnson
Mourn, Albion, mourn! thy Johnson is no more,
Whose learning has immortaliz'd thy name:
He was thy boast and pride in classic lore,
Which rivals now the Greek and Roman fame.
Thy language to his pen more beauty owes—
Varied in phrase, and in expression chaste,
Purified in style, and strong in sense it flows,
Enrich'd with words, and dignified with taste.
His thoughts were manly, and with truth combin'd—
His sentiments were just — his morals pure;
Whate'er he wrote, 'twas copious and refin'd;
For from his brain came wisdom all mature.
Ah! mourn, ye Muses, o'er his honour'd shade,
Who, to your charms, oft tun'd fair Albion's lyre;
And caus'd to bloom anew thy laurel glade,
Whose verdant branches fann'd his youthful fire.
Mourn, mourn, ye youth of Albion's sea-girt plain,
Upon his tomb shed new the grateful tear;
'Twas he who taught ye worth and peace to gain,
And form'd thy mind fair Virtue to revere.
Light draw thy sable curtain o'er the dale,
While Genius o'er her fav'rite minstrel weeps,
While sadness echoes in the vault her tale,
Where learning low with her lov'd Johnson sleeps.
As gray-ey'd morn a golden eve foretells,
Misfortune on his dawning genius frown'd—
But with immortals now for e'er he dwells,
And thus, a golden eve his day has crown'd.
Oft Genius wanders full of anxious care,
And meets a foe, where it would make a friend—
And as a woodbine, while it scents the air,
Falls to the ground, if none assistance lend.
But if supported, then each tendril strays,
And round the bow'r bespreads its fragrant bloom,
To shed such sweets of gratitude repay,
And fall to deck its cultivator's tomb.
In him this first of truths, with joy, we find—
Ye strengthen Genius, while ye twine its bays—
The noblest culture is the genial mind:
Ye have its labour — give it but your praise.
Genius would, like an aloe, rear its head,
Which to the shrubs below a sovereign appear,
But Envy on its birth, with frequent tread,
And, thus it blooms, scarce in an hundred years.
Merit is not scarce — 'tis want of aid,
That Genius now on earth so seldom's seen;
In ev'ry clime its rays would be display'd,
If Fame would but its youth from Envy screen.
On earth, no merit ever can be found,
That tries the mind to teach, or heart to heal,
That Envy's shaft so deep as authors wound;
For pierc'd their fame, the pain they always feel.
But worth, like his, no Envy could impair,
Like Phoebus for his song was he renown'd.
He taught the swains of cities to beware,
And live in peace, while flocks their cots surround.
For well he knew Content is here unknown—
That Worth and Innocence neglected pine—
The impudence and Vice here thrive alone,
And knaves in spoils of woe most splendid shine.
Here he had seen and felt the wretch's pain,
Who scorn'd to prostitute his worth for gold,
Was left to starve beneath the proud disdain—
Fainting with famine — shiv'ring with the cold.
Here Modesty he saw bewilder'd stray—
Despis'd and shunn'd by all the great and vile;
Amid a croud to find a desert way—
Where none will pity — but where all beguile.
Here to the roofless child of varied woes,
He found, inhospitably, clos'd the door;
For Luxury to such no pity shows,
Who rich themselves, feel ever for the poor!
To him seem'd Friendship, meagre as a shade—
Eluding those who would its form embrace;
A viewless breath that sordid int'rest made—
Lib'ral benevolence from man to chace.
He saw that ev'ry joy the wealthy taste,
Debas'd their nature more than pleas'd the mind—
That all their pleasure was their wealth to waste,
And, thus, so few that's good and great we find.
Where e'er he turn'd, no longer Love was seen,
Sighing with bliss upon the fair one's breast;
For Affectation wore his heav'nly mien,
And chac'd the God with humble swains to rest.
Such were the sordid scenes that he survey'd,
Whose woes he felt, although their vice he blam'd;
But where was Virtue, there he tribute paid;
For to amend mankind he always aim'd.
He was, to rising Genius, e'er a friend—
Proud all its worth with honour to display—
Candid in praise, and careful faults to mend,
He was to Fame companion of their way.
He knew the blessing of immortal praise,
And that no good below with this compares;
For nothing here on earth life's woe repays,
Where to be born, is to inherit cares.
He chid the vicious, but distress'd reliev'd;
His heart was lib'ral, as his mind was great;
And beggars that from want he had retriev'd,
He more respected, than the Peers of State.
To him mankind were all of equal worth,
Whose only privilege is to be good;
And if there was a wretch he scorn'd on earth,
'Twas he who but distinction understood.
But where shall now his friends such pleasure find,
As late his mirth and wit would oft afford,
Where elegance and sense most brilliant shin'd,
When he presided at the festive board?
But cease to mourn his loss, his dearest friends;
For he is gone and left a world of woe,
Where ev'ry moment some new sorrow sends,
Where diff'rent state is diff'rent pain to know.
Beneath our feet here nought but thorns arise,
On either hand rapacious heaths surround;
Above our heads loud thunders rend the skies,
While earthquakes oft display the nether ground.
Want, as a hag, broods o'er the peasant's cot,
And, as a vulture, pride on breasts of kings;
Lust, as a viper, is in youth begot,
While each of these on age too frequent clings.
And what is life? 'Tis but a Winter's day—
The mist of ignorance obscures its dawn,
And o'er its noon scarce shines of sense a ray,
When Night of Death is come and all withdrawn.
'Tis but a spider that a cobweb spins,
And from its entrails draws the tender thread;
Whose labour only ends where it begins—
And breathe but Heav'n the labour'd fabrick's fled!
Or 'tis a painted cloud which night despoils,
Or else a drop of dew which day destroys;
Or 'tis a vapour mocking all our toils—
Rose but from earth to overgloom our joys.
In life we only stand the mark of fate,
Whose sport is but to wound a mortal breast—
Her flying game is all the rich and great,
While oft the poor she leaves beneath to rest.
What is its glory but pale envy's food?
Though we respire — Ah, yet, we never live!
The present moment makes our age a jest;
For it is gone e're it can pleasure give.
And, thus, the present but entombs the past,
And opes a grave the future to enclose;
And Time but runs to bring us at the last
To that UNKNOWN from whence at first we rose.
Then mourn no longer, friends, his late decease—
Death is but rest, for which all life we toil:
'Tis of our passion's war an endless peace,
Or harvest home enjoy'd by ev'ry soil.
Within the grave no longer starve the poor,
Nor there the widow her lost husband mourns;
There Death from all misfortune guards the door,
While man in peace within his realm sojourns.