1775 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

An Englishman, "To the Reverend Mr. W[esley]" London Chronicle (23 November 1775) 508.



In early youth, when Oxford fondly saw
A pigmy Tutor give the Tory law,
Didst thou not there espouse each priestly plan,
The friend of Tyranny, the foe of Man?
Passive obedience to the Stuart line,
And non-resistance to the right divine?
There didst thou reverence the throes, the pains,
The mouse that's born of academic brains.

In middle age didst thou not step astray,
And hook our noses in another way?

Now, when the blood scarce trembles thro' the veins,
And nought but weakness, nought but scar remains,
To every twig the old transgressor flies,
On every early prejudice relies.
At thy command, the giant periods fall
From J—'s stilts, down on the ground to crawl.
Lest moles belov'd should blunder into day,
Thou darkenest with dust their feeble ray.
America and England too must yield,
When two such sturdy veterans take the field.
The sum of J—'s argument is clear,
J— is paid some hundred pounds a year.
And from thy Calm Address the King may know
Where he a Bishoprick might well bestow.

That Panders, in whatever robe array'd,
Traitors, who human nature dare degrade;
The willing Prostitutes of every sinner,
That recommends a Deanery or a dinner;
Who, when the soul become with guilt obscene,
Believe, the Royal Touch can make it clean;
That such may end their few and evil days
In penitence and tears, devoutly prays.