Samuel Johnson (essay date 1780)
SOURCE: “On Milton's Lycidas,” in The Pastoral Mode: A Casebook, edited by Bryan Loughrey, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1984, pp. 71-3.
[In the following excerpt, originally published in his Lives of the English Poets in 1780, Johnson critcizes what he thinks are the faults of John Milton's poem Lycidas, whose pastoral form he finds vulgar and disgusting.]
… One of the poems on which much praise has been bestowed is Lycidas; of which the diction is harsh, the rhymes uncertain, and the numbers unpleasing. What beauty there is, we must therefore seek in the sentiments and images. It is not to be considered as the effusion of real passion; for...
(The entire section is 531 words.)