1758 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lewis Theobald

Samuel Johnson, 1758; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:381.



Here he gave Mr. Burney Mrs. Williams's history, and shewed him some volumes of his Shakspeare already printed, to prove that he was in earnest. Upon Mr. Burney's opening the first volume, at the Merchant of Venice, he observed to him, that he seemed to be more severe on Warburton than Theobald. "O poor Tib.! (said Johnson) he was ready knocked down to my hands; Warburton stands between me and him." "But, Sir, (said Mr. Burney,) you'll have Warburton upon your bones, won't you?" "No, Sir; he'll not come out: he'll only growl in his den." But you think, Sir, that Warburton is a superiour critick to Theobald?" "O, Sir, he'd make two-and-fifty Theobalds, cut into slices! The worst of Warburton is, that he has a rage for saying something, when there's nothing to be said."