1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

William Hazlitt, in English Comic Writers (1819; 1909) 135.



What most distinguishes Dr. Johnson from other writers is the pomp and uniformity of his style. All his periods are cast in the same mould, are of the same size and shape, and consequently have little fitness to the variety of things he professes to treat of. His subjects are familiar, but the author is always upon stilts. He has neither ease nor simplicity, and his efforts at playfulness, in part, remind one of the lines in Milton:—

—the elephant
To make them sport wreath'd his proboscis lithe.