Monday, April 11, 2016

Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson (1709—1984) is the subject of the most influential biography ever written: James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. He is remembered as a poet, playwright, essayist and literary critic (among other things) and is one of the most quoted writers of all time.
Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), was the most popular dictionary for well over a century, prior to the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary.

He was a conservative Anglican, who believed that most denominational differences had more to do with politics than religion. Although he often wrestled with doubt, in his will he expressed confidently, "I Samuel Johnson, being in full possession of my faculties, but fearing this night may put an end to my life, do ordain this my last will and testament. I bequeath to God a soul polluted with many sins, but I hope purified by repentance, and I trust redeemed by Jesus Christ."

The City of God

City of God, how broad and far
Outspread thy walls sublime!
The true thy chartered freemen are,
Of every age and clime.

One holy Church, one army strong,
One steadfast high intent,
One working band, one harvest-song,
One King Omnipotent.

How purely hath thy speech come down
From man’s primeval youth;
How grandly hath thine empire grown
Of Freedom, Love, and Truth!

How gleam thy watchfires through the night,
With never fainting ray;
How rise thy towers, serene and bright,
To meet the dawning day!

In vain the surge’s angry shock,
In vain the drifting sands;
Unharmed, upon the Eternal Rock,
The Eternal City stands.

This is one of several poets suggested to me by Burl Horniachek.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.