James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

December 13

On the Death of Dr. Johnson

By William Cowper (1731–1800)

  • Dr. Samuel Johnson, the famous English lexicographer, poet and essayist, died Dec. 13, 1784.

  • HERE Johnson lies—a sage by all allowed,

    Whom to have bred may well make England proud,

    Whose prose was eloquence by wisdom taught,

    The graceful vehicle of virtuous thought;

    Whose verse may claim—grave, masculine, and strong,

    Superior praise to the mere poet’s song;

    Who many a noble gift from heaven possessed,

    And faith at last—alone worth all the rest.

    O man immortal by a double prize,

    By fame on earth—by glory in the skies!