1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Anonymous; "The Interview, or Shakspeare's Ghost. Occasion'd by the Review of Dr. Johnson's Edition of that Poet" St. James's Chronicle (23 November 1765).



Well, Doctor, how is't with you now?
You look so glum, and knit your Brow,
Sure you're a Cup too low!
Come, come, you must not seem so hurt,
The Criticks will be throwing Dirt,
Wits are Game-cocks you know.

The Varlets hear you've left the Stage,
And take th' Advantage of your Age,
The Battle to renew;
So ill-dispos'd for the Attack,
Great Broughton once was urg'd by Slack,
And beaten Black and Blue.

And yet no Zoilus in the Land,
We thought your Prowess could withstand,
With Warburton to back ye;
Sure, though in foreign Lingos read,
He's a true English Bull-dog bred,
Who thus hath dar'd attack ye.

My Lord the Bishop, all concluded,
The Witlings aw'd, as much as you did;
Who seem'd to scare them all;
While both aloft tremendous stood,
Like Gog and Magog, carv'd in Wood,
The Terror of Guildhall.

But, Jokes apart, 'tis wond'rous too,
To think so learn'd a Wight as you,
Of Science unexampled;
Of whom Folks thought, your Head so high,
Like Horace's, it touch'd the Sky,
Should under Foot be trampled.

What could inflame this Aristarch—
The Genius of dread Shakespeare — Hark!
Doctor do ye hear the Ghost?
"What, Fanny's?" "No." "Whose, Shakespeare's?" "Yes."
"Nay, then, your Servants, I must P—,
You'll find me at the Post."