1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Gilbert Horne, "On the Works of the late Samuel Johnson" Daily Universal Register (12 July 1786).



His style, a torrent of the fruitful Nile,
Makes ev'ry page with classic beauty smile.
Too oft, indeed, like thunder rumbling near,
It shakes the skies, yet makes the subject clear.
His words, like giant chiefs, who seek the field,
Demand the crested helm and sevenfold shield;
Compact in Phalanx, or in columns strong,
Slow through the realms of thought they march'd along,
While ancient muses, from th' eternal bow'rs,
Strew'd all the paths with stores of Pagan flow'rs.
His mind, like our great orb of solar light,
Obey'd th' Almighty hand that made it bright;
Ran in an orbit to its nature fit,
Far from the comet-blaze of impious wit.
Though into things it look'd with piercing eye,
To charm the desart, or to brave the sky;
To gleam in diamonds of the golden zone,
It stoop'd, and only stoop'd to God alone.