1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

J. T., "The Conference" Public Ledger 6 (28 November 1765) 1037.



Says Litchfield to Stratford, Well, Madam, you see
How much your son Shakespear's beholden to me;
My Garrick hath prov'd him the Poet of Nature,
And Johnson confirms it, his best commentator.

I own, replies Stratford, the great obligation;
Your Garrick hath laid both on me and the nation;
But as for that Johnson, if you are his mother,
By Jove, you're a whore, for he's not Davy's brother.

What, not if I bore him? — You bore him! od rot him,
What matters who bore him? I ask who begot him?
I would not your teemings or longings miscontrue,
But Shakespear's last Editor, Ma'am, is a monster.

A Caliban! Madam; so make no more pother,
Your one son the merit destroys of the other:
To Shakespear 'twill doubtless appear very civil,
To be rais'd from the dead to be sent to the Devil.