""Lavish of your grandsire's guineas," says the Great Cham"

 

                                        Call the Betsies, Kates and Jennies,

                                        All the names that banish care;

                                        Lavish of your grandsire's guineas,

                                        Show the spirit of an heir.

 

Portrait of Tobias Smollett (c.1770)
Public DomainPortrait of Tobias Smollett (c.1770) - Credit: unknown

Dr Johnson was given the nickname the Great Cham of Literature by the Scottish poet and author Tobias George Smollett (1721-7771).

Great Cham is an archaic version of Great Khan. Khan was the name given to a Mongolian ruler and emperor, as in the title Genghis Khan.

In Christopher Marlowe's play The Jew of Malta, the character Barabas says, ''Twas sent me for a present from the Great Cham'.