Leavis on Johnson the Augustan

Every word in a piece of Augustan verse has an air of being able to give the reason why it has been chosen, and placed just there.  The thoughts that the Augustan poet, like any other Augustan writer, sets himself to express are amply provided for by the ready-minted concepts of the common currency.  What he has to do is to put them together with elegance and point according to the rules of grammar, syntax and versification.  The exploratory-creative use of words upon experience, involving the creation of concepts in a free play for which the lines and configurations of the conventionally charted have no finality, is something [Johnson] has no use for; it is completely alien to his habit.  So that even when he is Johnson, whose perception so transcends his training, he cannot securely appreciate the Shakespearean creativeness.

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