1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

George Colman, "Epigram" St. James's Chronicle (25 May 1786).



SIR,
Were we to analyse the literary Merits of Dr. Johnson, perhaps an accurate Critick would ascribe his highest Praise to his Labours in Biography. In that Branch, one of the first and most splendid Efforts was the Life of SAVAGE. This Idea might be pursued with no small Degree of Entertainment and Instruction. At present however I shall only say that this Train of Thought gave Birth to the following Epigram, which (if you please) you may hitch into your Poet's Corner.

Thee, Johnson both dead and alive we may note
For the fam'd Biographical Line,
When living the life of a SAVAGE you wrote,
Now many a "Savage" writes thine.