1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Clio, "Dr. Johnson" Public Advertiser (15 December 1784).



Of such an individual as this, the loss is national — it is even much more — it is a loss to human nature!
As such, the event ought to be accompanied with some adequate marks of national regard and lamentation.
What is there in the power of man adequate to his vast merit, and our loss?
Shall our endeavours have way in any of these modes?
1. A Public Funeral, with every possible distinction.
2. An elaborate monument in the Abbey.
3. Or what may be, a monument by far the best—
A Vote of Parliament for a splendid edition of his works complete, with a suitable allowance to some proper person to write his life.
In the choice of this proper person, the common people would, perhaps, think of the Wartons, Blair, or Robertson.
Gibbon, by the infamy of his scepticism, is degraded from deserving it.
Were our suffrage to determine the choice, Mr. Edmund Burke; and next to him, Richard Sheridan would be the man.