1763 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bonnell Thornton

Samuel Johnson, in Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1763; ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:486-87.



Bonnell Thornton had just published a burlesque Ode on St. Cecilia's day, adapted to the ancient British musick, viz. the salt-box, the jew's-harp, the marrow-bones and cleaver, the humstrum or hurdy-gurdy, &c. Johnson praised its humour, and seemed much diverted with it. He repeated the following passage:—

In strains more exalted the salt-box shall join,
And clattering and battering and clapping combine;
With a rap and a tap while the hollow side sounds,
Up and down leaps the flap, and with rattling rebounds.

I mentioned the periodical paper called The Connoisseur. He said it wanted matter. — No doubt it has not the deep thinking of Johnson's writings. But surely it has just views of the surface of life, and a very sprightly manner. His opinion of The World was not much higher than of The Connoisseur.