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Work is now generally known and esteem'd; and I having the Honour to hear Your Lordship fay, that a smaller Edition of it would be grateful to the World, immediately refolv'd upon Printing it in this Volume, of which I most humbly beg Your Acceptance, from,
Ever Obliged Servant.
Vi legis Amiffam Paradifum, grandia magri
Carmina Miltoni, quid nifi cunéta legis?
Res cunctas, & cunctarum primordia rerum,
Et fata, & fines continet ifte liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Scribitur & toto quicquid in Orbe latet.
Terraque, tractufque maris, cœlumque profundum
Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomumque fpecus.
Quaque colunt terras, Pontumque & Tartara caca,
Quaque colunt fummi lucida regna Peli.
Et quodcunque ullis conclufum eft finibus usquam.
Et fine fine Chaos, & fine fine Deus:
Et fine fine magis, fi quid magis eft fine fine,
In Chrifto erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hec qui fperaret quis crederet effe futurum?
Et tamen hac hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella Duces! qua protulit arma!
Qua canit, & quanta pralia dira tuba.
Cæleftes acies! atque in certamine Celur!
Et qua Caeleftes pugna deceret agros!
Quantus in atheriis toilit fe Lucifer armis!
Atque ipfo graditur vix Michaele minor!
Quantis, & quam funefis concurritur iris
Dum ferus hic ftellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulfos Montes ceu Tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali defuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui fe parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugna non fuperesse fuæ.
At fimul in cælis Meffia infignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rota ftrident, & fæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flamma vibrant, & vera tonitrua rauco
Admiftis flammis infonuere Polo:
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, & impetus omnis
Et caffis dextris irrita Tela cadunt.
Ad pænas fugiunt, & ceu foret Orcus asylum
Infernis certant condere fe tenebris.
Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus. Hec quicunque leget tantum cecineffe putabit Maonidem ranas, Virgilium eulices.
Hen I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
Book his vaft Delign
Meffiah Crown'd, God's Reconcil'd Decree,
Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree,
Heav'n, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All; the Argument
Held me a while misdoubting his Intent,
That he would ruine (for I faw him ftrong)
The facred Truths to Fable and old Song.
(So Sampson groap'd the Temples Pofts in (pight)
The World o'erwhelming to revenge his fight.
Yet as I read, foon growing lefs fevere,
I lik'd his Project, the fuccefs did fear;
Through that wide Field how he his way should find,
O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Left he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was cafie he fhould render vain.
Or if a Work fo infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was that fome lefs skilful hand
(Such as difquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excell)
Might hence prefume the whole Creation's day
To change in Scenes, and how it in a Play.
Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor defpife
My caufelefs, yet not impious, furmife.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy Labours to pretend a share.
Thou haft not mi s'd one thought that could be fitǝ
And all that was improper doft omit:
So that no room is here for Writers left,
But to detect their Ignorance or Theft.
That Majefty which through thy Work doth Reign
Draws the Devout, deterring the Profane.
And things divine thou treat'ft of in fuch state
As them preferves, and thee, inviolate,
At once delight and horror on us feise,
Thou fing'ft with fo much gravity and eafe;
And above humane flight doft foar aloft
With Plume fo ftrong, fo equal, and so soft.
The Bird nam'd from that Paradife you fing
So never flags, but always keeps on Wing.
Where couldst thou words of fuch a compafs find?
Whence furnish fuch a vaft expence of mind?
Juft Heav'n thee like Tirefias to requite
Rewards with Prophefie thy lofs of fight.
Well might'st thou fcorn thy Readers to allure
With tinkling Rhime, of thy own fenfe fecure;
While the Town- Ba es writes all the while and fpells
And like a Pack-horfe tires without his Bells:
Their Fancies like our Bufhy-points appear,
The Poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too transported by the Mode offend,
And while I meant to Praife thee muft Commend.
Thy Verfe created like thy Theme fublime,
In Number, Weight and Measure, needs not Rhime.