Lives of the English Poets : Prior, Congreve, Blackmore, Pope by Samuel Johnson

Lives of the English Poets : Prior, Congreve, Blackmore, Pope

By Samuel Johnson

  • Release Date: 2014-12-31
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
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When, at the age of sixty-eight, Johnson was writing these “Lives of the English Poets,” he had caused omissions to be made from the poems of Rochester, and was asked whether he would allow the printers to give all the verse of Prior. Boswell quoted a censure by Lord Hailes of “those impure tales which will be the eternal opprobrium of their ingenious author.” Johnson replied, “Sir, Lord Hailes has forgot. There is nothing in Prior that will excite to lewdness;” and when Boswell further urged, he put his questionings aside, and added, “No, sir, Prior is a lady’s book. No lady is ashamed to have it standing in her library.” Johnson distinguished strongly, as every wise man does, between offence against convention, and offence against morality.

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