Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
December 13
On Dr. Johnson
By John Wolcot (1738–1819)
          Dr. Samuel Johnson, the famous English lexicographer, poet and essayist, died Dec. 13, 1784.

I OWN I like not Johnson’s turgid style,
That gives an inch the importance of a mile;
Casts of manure a wagon-load around
To raise a simple daisy from the ground;
Uplifts the club of Hercules—for what?        5
To crush a butterfly, or brain a gnat!
Creates a whirlwind, from the earth to draw
A goose’s feather, or exalt a straw;
Sets wheels on wheels in motion—such a clatter!—
To force up one poor nipperkin of water;        10
Bids ocean labor with tremendous roar
To heave a cockle-shell upon the shore:
Alike in every theme his pompous art—
Heaven’s awful thunder or a rumbling cart!

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