Young Sam Johnson


Samuel Johnson. London. 1738. Manuscript. MS Hyde 50 (33)


Samuel Johnson. London, a Poem in Imitation of the Third Satire of Juvenal. London: R. Doddesley, 1738. *2003J-SJ9

Even though published anonymously, London announced Johnson's arrival on the literary scene with a grand flourish, and attracted the favorable notice of no less a figure than Alexander Pope (1688-1744). When informed that the author was an obscure man named Johnson, Pope correctly predicted "He will soon be déterré [unearthed]." The poem is unsparingly bleak in its depiction of the city, and reflects Johnson's struggle to survive on literary piecework in his early years there.

This mournful Truth is ev'ry where confest,
Slow rises Worth, by Poverty deprest.