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Madam, I stick to truth as much as you,
And, damme, if the story be not true.
What you have said of Johnson and the larks,
As much the Rambler for a savage marks.
'Twas scandalous, even Candour must allow,
To give the history of the horse and cow.


Sam Johnson's thrashing knowledge and his thatching, May be your own inimitable hatching

Pray, of his wisdom can't you tell more news?
Could not he make a shirt, and cobble shoes?
Knit stockings, or ingenious take up stitches -
Draw teeth, dress wigs, or make a pair of breeches ?
You prate too of his knowledge of the mint,
As if the Rambler really had been in't —
Who knows but you will tell us (truth forsaking)
That each bad shilling is of Johnson's making :
His each vile sixpence that the world hath cheated
And his the art that every guinea sweated?
About his brewing knowledge you will prate too,
Who scarcely knew a hop from a potatoe.
And though of beer he joyed in hearty swigs,
I'd pit against his taste my husband's pigs.

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Who, maddening with an anecdotic itch, Declared that Johnson called his mother bitch?


Who from M'Donald's rage to save his snout, Cut twenty lines of defamation out?


Who would have said a word about Sam's wig;

Or told the story of the peas and pig?

Who would have told a tale so very flat,

Of Frank the Black, and Hodge the mangy cat?


Ecod! you're grown at once confounded tender
Of Doctor Johnson's fame a fierce defender.
I'm sure you've mention'd many a pretty story,
Not much redounding to the Doctor's glory.
Now for a saint, upon us you would palm him
First murder the poor man, and then enbalm him!


For shame! for shame! for heaven's sake, pray be quiet Not Billingsgate exhibits such a riot.

Behold! for scandal you have made a feast,
And turned your idol, Johnson, to a beast:
'Tis plain the tales of ghosts are arrant lies,
Or instantaneously would Johnson's rise;
Make you both eat your paragraphs so evil,
And for your treatment to him play the devil.
Zounds! madam, mind the duties of a wife,
And dream no more of Doctor Johnson's life;
A happy knowledge in a pie or pudding

Will more delight your friends than all your studying;
One cut from venison to the heart can speak
Stronger than ten quotations from the Greek;
One fat sirloin possesses more sublime
Than all the airy castles built by rhyme.
One nipperkin of stingo with a toast

Beats all the streams the Muses' fount can boast.
Enough those anecdotes your powers have shown,
Sam's life, dear ma'am, will only damn your own.
For thee, James Boswell, may the hand of fate
Arrest thy goose-quill, and confine thy prate;
Thy egotism the world disgusted hears —
Then load with vanities no more our ears,
Like some known puppy yelping all night long,
That tires the very echoes with his tongue.
Yet, should it lie beyond the powers of fate
To stop thy pen, and still thy darling prate;

O be in solitude to live thy luck

A chattering magpie on the Isle of Muck.

Thus spoke the Judge; then leaping from the chair, He left, in consternation lost, the pair;

Black Frank he sought on anecdote to cram,

And vomit first a life of surly Sam.

Shocked at the little manners of the knight,

The rivals marvelling marked his sudden flight,
Then to their pens and paper rushed the twain
To kill the mangled Rambler o'er again.


Madam (my debt to nature paid),

I thought the grave with hallow'd shade
Would now protect my name:
Yet there in vain I seek repose,
My friends each little fault disclose,
And murder Johnson's fame.

First, Boswell, with officious care,
Show'd me as men would show a bear,
And call'd himself my friend;

Sir John with nonsense strew'd my hearse,
And Courtenay pester'd me with verse:
You torture without end.

When Streatham spread its plenteous board,
I open'd Learning's valued hoard,
And as I feasted prosed.

Good things I said, good things I eat,
I gave you knowledge for your meat,
And thought th' account was closed.

If obligations still I owed,

You sold each item to the crowd,

I suffer'd by the tale :

For God's sake, Madam, let me rest,
Nor longer vex your quondam guest
I'll pay you for your ale.

(1) [From the European Magazine.]





James Boswell, Esq., eldest son of Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck, one of the judges in the supreme courts of session and justiciary in Scotland, was born at Edinburgh, October 29. 1740, and received his first rudiments of education in that city. He afterwards studied Civil Law in the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. During his residence in these cities, he acquired, by the society of the English gentlemen who were students in the English colleges, that remarkable predilection for their manners, which neither the force of education, nor the dulcedo of his natale solum, could ever eradicate. But his most intimate acquaintance at this period was the Rev. Mr. Temple, a worthy, learned, and pious divine, whose well-written character of Gray was inserted in Johnson's Life of that poet. Mr. Boswell imbibed early the ambition of distinguishing himself by his literary talents, and had the good fortune to obtain the patronage of the late Lord Somerville. This nobleman treated him with the most flattering kindness; and Mr. Boswell ever remembered with gratitude the friendship he so long enjoyed with this worthy peer. Having always entertained an exalted idea of the felicity of London, in the year 1760

(1) [From Nichols's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, vol. ii. p. 400.]

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