1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

William Woty, "Epitaph on Dr. Johnson" Morning Post and Daily Advertiser (23 December 1784).



Ye vain, licentious wits! your distance keep,
And, if you never wept, now learn to weep.
Learning hath lost her prop in JOHNSON'S end,
Virtue her boast, and Piety her friend.
Presume not to this shrine too near to draw,
Or, if you dare approach, approach with awe.
The scythe of Time shall canker o'er with rust,
Lose it's keen edge, and splinter into dust;
HIMSELF, too, sicken, and in anguish pine,
Ere he shall gain a harvest so divine.
But tho' thy form he snatch'd from mortal eye,
JOHNSON! thy spotless fame shall never die.
Clos'd, as thou art, in Death's eternal cave,
Thy works shall live, and blossom from the grave.
Loughborough, Liecestershire,
Dec. 20, 1784.