1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Anonymous, "Johnsoniana" St. James's Chronicle (15 December 1785).



Authours alive, of Boswell be in Dread;
Beware of Boswell, every Author dead;
Boswell will suck the Brains out of your Head.

The Rambler in his Garret rambled great,
But down he comes at last with dirty Feet
To cruel Panegyrick! Friend and Foe
Conspire to lay illiberal Learning low.
With lumpish Superstition, long unfed,
Behold him growling o'er his Brunswick Bread!
Ruffian Reformers, laugh; weep, Saints of Rome,
And take this senseless Intercession home.
Tetty must blush, could Tetty hear it said,
That Tetty's Idler pray'd for Tetty dead.
Exult, old Women all, assert your due,
The wisest Man is only one of you.
O speed his Purgatory, holy Mother!
Ye had a sneaking Kindness for each other.

To elevate a Englishman with Wonder,
The valorous Boswell cleaves old Doubts asunder.
He means not, that our Eyes should swim in Tears,
When Charles, the hapless Wanderer, appears.
From Stuart Claims extinct the Scotch depart,
And hug succeeding Princes in their Heart!
The Right Divine, it seems, has got a Flaw!
Ah! Jemmy Boswell, Jemmy Boswell, ah!