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But this edition hath a peculiar right and title to Your Lordship's patronage and protection, as it was undertaken chiefly at Your defire, and in fome measure carried on at Your expenfe*, Your Lordship having generously contributed the copper plates to beautify and adorn it and at the fame time Your Lordship was willing to give fome encouragement to the art of designing here in England; for it is greatly to be lamented, when we can produce models in poetry fuperior to any or all the nations in Europe, that we fhould be deficient and inferior to feveral of them in the fifter art of painting.
Milton was ever a favorite poet with Your Lordfhip. You confidered him always as a claffic author in English, and were defirous to have him publifhed as fuch and
This is faid of the Firft Edition in Quarto,
though I cannot pretend to inftruct Your Lordship to understand him better, or admire him more; yet if I can make him more generally understood, and confequently more juftly admired, Your Lordship's purpofe and mine will be fufficiently anfwered. Your Lordship's tafte has never been queftioned; and I fhould dread Your great abilities, if I did not love more Your candor and good-nature: and no wonder that You have fo much a finer taste than other great men, as You are fo much a finer writer, and if I may be allowed to mention it, in poetry as well as in profe. For the the state has not wholly engroffed Your time and attention; at proper feafons and intervals You have alfo facrificed to the Mufes. Your writings in other kinds are very well known to the world, have long been in Á 3
every body's hands, and read with univerfal delight and admiration: but Your verses are made only for the amusement of Your leisure hours, and the entertainment of Your friends; and it is not easy for others, who have not had the pleafure of seeing fome of them, to conceive the fpirit, and ease, and elegance and happiness, with which they are written. They, who remember the pieces by Lord Dorfet, may have the beft notion of them.
And if I may prefume to know any thing of the fpirit or mind of Milton by a diligent perufal of his works, he would be pleased with the offering of any of his writings to Your Lordship, for the fake of thofe principles of liberty which You have always profeffed. He would have rejoiced
in Your long, and glorious ftruggle in the cause of liberty, in the cause of Your country: and if all the good effects have not followed from it, which might have been expected, though it may not become me to say where the blame ought to be laid, yet it cannot misbecome me to say that it ought by no means to be laid, as it has been upon Your Lordship. It is not my business to give any offense, and I intend none. I abhor defamation, and I scorn as much to flatter Your Lordship or any man. But it may be said, I hope without offense, I am fure without flattery, that it is in Your Lordship's power to fet all these tranfactions in a clear light, and You have fufficient materials by You for this purpose, and have often been folicited by Your freinds to do it but Your Lordship's
anfwer always was, that you would leave it to Time and Truth to vindicate Your cha ́racter. And the event has fucceeded according to Your Lordship's wisdom and forefight; prejudice is dying away; truth is gaining ground daily; and the more the truth is understood, the more it redounds to Your Lordship's honor: and Your enemies themselves, and those who not knowing Your purposes will not allow You to have acted a wife, muft yet be forced to acknowledge that You acted a most difinterested part. For it is very well known, that You were even courted to accept the place of the greatest power and confidence; or if You had forefeen any difficulty of maintaining Yourself in power, as that is a flippery and uncertain fituation, You might have fecured Yourself in the pof