Let’s not.

This inscription isn’t technically accurate, since this book was not a gift to Samuel Johnson from the author, the Roman poet Tibullus, who died about 1800 years before it was published. It’s actually from the translator, James Grainger, who in addition to being Johnson’s friend was a physician and accomplished man of letters. Perhaps unfairly, Grainger may be best remembered for the unfortunate reception of his poem The Sugar-Cane. Boswell reports that “This poem, when read in manuscript at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s, had made all the assembled wits burst into a laugh, when, after much blank-verse pomp, the poet began a new paragraph thus: ‘Now, Muse, let’s sing of rats.'”

Dr. Grainger

Published in:John Overholt |on July 25th, 2006 |Comments Off on Let’s not.

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