1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Flatman

James Boswell, 1776; in Life of Johnson, 1791; ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 3:33-34.



We talked of Flatman's poems; and Mrs. Thrale observed, that Pope had partly borrowed from him The dying Christian to his Soul. Johnson repeated Rochester's verses upon Flatman, which I think by much too severe:

Nor that slow drudge in swift Pindarick strains,
Flatman, who Cowley imitates with pains,
And rides a jaded Muse, whipt with loose reins.

I like to recollect all the passages I heard Johnson repeat: it stamps a value on them.