1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Anonymous, in "The Wits, a Satire" London Magazine 51 (October 1782) 485.



Johnson grown rich, iniquity again,
Spreads and provokes his classic rage in vain!
Now, he reviews his conscious toils and vast,
His rambles all, through moral science past.
Full of the plaudits, his efforts receiv'd,
Careless who live, or not, as once he liv'd!
Much as he hooted pensioners and bribes,
With them goes snacks, and is what he describes,
On Milton, though almost benumbed with age,
Pours all the virulence of party rage!
But grins no more damnation at the great,
Content to strut, in literary state!
All men of genius, at his levee sees,
But such as rival him at repartees.
For who yet ever knew a wit profest?
Who droll himself could bear another's jest.
Want often has made him hector and exclaim
Against the proud oppressor's ruthless aim!
He then could make the foes of freedom smart,
And poignards speak to ev'ry tory's heart.
Now hunger gripes not, all the world goes well,
He eats at ease, and we may go to hell!