1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Anonymous, "A Rhapsody on the many illiberal Invectives thrown out against Mr. Samuel Johnson" St. James's Chronicle (14 December 1765).



S' Death, shall each angry Thing, with puny Rage,
Attack the Boast and Glory of the Age?
Why rouzes not some brave Herculean Wight,
To crush those Vermin as they crawl to Light?
With Virtue fir'd in Johnson's Cause step forth,
Avenge his Wrongs, and vindicate his Worth?
*Wrapp'd in himself, his honest Saul defies
Their little Spleen, that spends itself, and dies.
—Thus, when the Prince of Beasts asleep is laid,
Wearied, beneath the Covert of a Shade,
A Troop of Monkies chatt'ring round his Bed,
The woodland Monarch rears his aweful Head;
Sternly majestical he stares around,
But viewing Things inglorious to confound,
Calm he lies down again, unmov'd his Soul,
Nor can their futile Rage extort one single Growl.

* That Kind of self-wrapping is not here meant so peculiar to Coxcombs, and many of Mr. Johnson's Calumniators, but the Teres atque rotundus of Horace.