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THIS issue of Milton's Paradise Lost, based on the text of Masson, has been edited by Mr. W. H. D. Rouse, M.A., formerly Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, who has revised the text, added the marginalia, and contributed the accompanying Glossarial Appendix of Proper Names and obsolete Words.
(the day of Milton's death)
PREFIXED TO THE SECOND EDITION
IN PARADISUM AMISSAM SUMMI
POETE JOHANNIS MILTONI
Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni
Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum
Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia Mundi,
Scribitur et toto quicquid in Orbe latet ;
Terræque, tractusque maris, cœlumque pro-
Quæque colunt terras, pontumque, et Tartara
Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli;
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus
Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum ?
Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces, quæ protulit arma!
Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tubâ!
Cœlestes acies, atque in certamine Cœlum !
poet surpasses the
The Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis, Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor ! ancients Quantis et quam funestis concurritur iris, Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit! Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent, Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt, Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Admistis flammis insonuere polo,
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pœnas fugiunt, et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite, Romani Scriptores; cedite, Graii;
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus:
Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit
Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.
ON PARADISE LOST
WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold—
Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All-the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old
(So Samson groped the temple's posts in spite),
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.
Yet, as I read, soon growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear—
Through that wide field how he his way should
O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Lest he perplexed the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.
Or, if a work so infinite he spanned,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill-imitating would excel,)
Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.
Pardon me, mighty Poet; nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinced, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not missed one thought that could
And all that was improper dost omit;
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.
The majesty which through thy work doth
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize ;
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease,
He treats of a high theme worthily