1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

Samuel Johnson, 1773, Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1786); Life of Johnson, ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 5:49.



He seemed to me to have an unaccountable prejudice against Swift; for I once took the liberty to ask him, if Swift had personally offended him, and he told me he had not. He said to-day, "Swift is clear, but shallow. In coarse humour he is inferior to Arbuthnot; in delicate humour he is inferior to Addison. So he is inferior to his contemporaries; without putting him against the whole world. I doubt the Tale of a Tub was his: it has so much more thinking, more knowledge, more power, more colour, than any of the works which are indisputably his. If it was his, I shall only say, he was 'impar sibi.'"