1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

A. L., "On Reading the numerous Epitaphs published in the Papers on Dr. Johnson" St. James's Chronicle (5 February 1785).



While Wits and Witlings strive to raise
A Pile of Verse to Johnson's Name,
Hoping to build their future Praise
Upon the Basis of his Fame;
How little speak they like the Strain
That should his honour'd Tomb adorn!
How little like do they complain
To those who Genius truely mourn!
The Bard that o'er his trophied Earth
Would tell his Praise in Words that glow;
The Muse that for his matchless Worth
Wou'd shed the Tear of genuine Woe;
Let them, with Efforts join'd, declare
The Labours of his mighty Mind,
His Knowledge boundless, Wit most rare,
Learning with deepest Thought combin'd:
To these add Purity of Heart;
His Love to God, his Love to Man;
And last, with tenderest Grief impart,
That human Life is but a Span!
B—d—w.