1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Allan Ramsay

Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, 1773; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 2:253.



I spoke of Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd, in the Scottish dialect, as the best pastoral that had ever been written; not only abounding with beautiful rural imagery, but just and pleasing sentiments, but being a real picture of manners; and I offered to teach Dr. Johnson to understand it. "No, Sir, (said he,) I won't learn it. You shall retain your superiority by my not knowing it."