as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican
and committed Tory
, and has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature": James Boswell
's Life of Samuel Johnson.
Johnson was born in Lichfield
, Staffordshire, and attended Pembroke College, Oxford
for just over a year, before his lack of funds forced him to leave.
This mournful truth is ev'rywhere confessed — Slow rises worth, by poverty depressed.
Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail, Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail. He scorns the meek address, the suppliant strain. With merit needless, and without it vain. In Reason, Nature, Truth, he dares to trust: Ye Fops, be silent: and ye Wits, be just.
That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona.
How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?