Our public library is closed 4th-6th (Labor Day). Please wait a couple of days. I look forward to sharing what Eliot says on this in his Introduction.
Meanwhile here's some idea of the lines' burden:
The first paragraph of a paper on The Vanity of Human Wishes at the following link sheds some light on Eliot's praise of it:
--- On Sun, 9/5/10, mikemail <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I was asking if anyone knew the specific lines of poetry by Johnson, which Eliot referred to as good poetry. Nancy kindly provided the reference "If lines 189-220 of 'The Vanity of Human Wishes' are
> not poetry," T. S. Eliot commented, "I do not know what is." and
> I then searched for and posted the lines. There are numerous discussions here about the meaning of poetry etc re.TSE. //what is the meaning of Johnson's lines?// Can this be seen in Eliot's poetry? An interesting idea since he gave these lines such praise.