1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Charles Churchill, in The Ghost, Book II (1762); Poetical Works of Charles Churchill, ed. William Tooke (1804) 2:71-73.



Pomposo, (insolent and loud,
Vain idol of a scribbling croud,
Whose very name inspires in awe,
Whose ev'ry word is sense and law,
For what his greatness hath decreed,
Like laws of Persia and of Mede,
Sacred through all the realm of Wit,
Must never of repeal admit;
Who, cursing flatt'ry, is the tool
Of ev'ry fawning, flatt'ring, fool;
Who wit with jealous eye surveys,
And sickens at another's praise;
Who, proudly seiz'd of learning's throne,
Now damns all learning but his own;
Who scorns those common wares to trade in,
Reas'ning, convincing, and persuading,
But makes each sentence current pass
With puppy, coxcomb, scoundrel, ass;
For 'tis with him a certain rule,
The folly's prov'd when he calls fool;
Who, to increase his native strength,
Draws words six syllables in length,
With which, assisted with a frown
By way of club, he knocks us down;
Who 'bove the vulgar dares to rise,
And sense of decency defies;
For this same decency is made
Only for bunglers in the trade,
And, like the cobweb laws, is still
Broke through by great ones when they will—
Pomposo, with strong sense supplied,
Supported, and confirm'd by Pride,
His comrades' terrors to beguile
"Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile:"
Features so horrid, were it light,
Would put the devil himself to flight.