1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Samuel Johnson, 1776; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 3:43.



We spent the evening at Mr. Hoole's. Mr. Mickle, the excellent translator of The Lusiad was there. I have preserved a little of the conversation of this evening. Dr. Johnson said, "Thomson had a true poetical genius, the power of viewing every thing in a poetical light. His fault is such a cloud of words sometimes, that the sense can hardly peep through. Shiels, who compiled Cibber's Lives of the Poets, was one day sitting with me. I took down Thomson, and read aloud a large portion of him, and then asked, — Is not this fine? Shiels having expressed the highest admiration, Well, Sir, (said I,) I have omitted every other line."