chapter  67
14 Pages

Samuel Johnson, 'Lives of the Poets'—'Addison', 1781

In his conversations with Boswell, Johnson remained a constant admirer of Addison as a prose stylist. In 1776 he wrote a brief advertisement for an edition of the 'Spectator' printed in that year. 'The Book thus offered to the Public is too well known to be praised: It comprizes precepts of criticism, sallies of invention, descriptions of life, and lectures of virtue. It employs wit in the cause of truth, and makes elegance subservient to piety: It has now for more than half a century supplied the English nation, in a great measure, with principles of speculation, and rules of practice; and given Addison a claim to be numbered among the benefactors of mankind' ('Public Advertiser', 14 December 1776).