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by variety of conjectures, and many of them very happy ones, upon the most difficult paffages. But we who undertake to publifh Milton's Paradife Lost are not reduced to that uncertainty; we are not left floting in the wide ocean of conjecture, but have a chart and compass to steer by; we have an authentic copy to follow in the two editions printed in his own life-time, and have only to correct what may be fuppofed to be the errors of the prefs, or mistakes occafioned by the author's blindness. These two editions then, the first in ten books printed in a small quarto, and the fecond in twelve books printed in a finall octavo, are propofed as our ftandard: the variations in each are noted; and we never deviate from them both without affigning, as we think, a fubftantial reason for it. Some alterations indeed are neceffary to be made in confequence of the late improvements in printing, with regard to the ufe of capital letters, Italic characters, and the spelling of fome words but to Milton's own fpelling (for we must distinguish between his and that of his times) we pay all proper regard, and commonly note where it is right, and where it is wrong; and follow it or not accordingly. His pointing too we generally obferve, because it is generally right; fuch was the care, that Milton himself took in having the prooffheets read to him, or his friends took for him: and changes of confequence we make none without fignifying the reafons; in leffer inftances there is no occafion to be particular. In a word we approve of the two first editions in the main, tho' we cannot think that they ought to be followed (as fome have advised) letter for letter, and point for point. We

defire to tranfcribe all their excellencies, but have no notion of perpetuating their faults and errors.

When the text was fettled, the notes came next under confideration. P. H. or Patrick Hume, as he was the first, so is the most copious annotator. He laid the foundation, but he laid it among infinite heaps of rubbish. The greater part of his work is a dull dictionary of the most common words, a tedious fardel of the most trivial observations, explaining what requires no explanation: but take away what is fuperfluous, and there will still remain a great deal that is ufeful; there is gold among his drofs, and I have been careful to feparate the one from the other. It was recommended to me indeed to print entire Mr. Addifon's Spectators upon the Paradife Loft, as ingenious effays which had contributed greatly to the reputation of the poem, and having been added to feveral editions they could not well be omitted in this edition and accordingly those papers, which treat of the poem in general, are prefixed in the nature of a preliminary discourse; and those, which are written upon each book feparately, are inferted under each book, and interwoven in their proper places. Dr. Bentley's is a great name in critcifm. But he has not acquired any additional honor by his new edition of the Paradife Loft. Nay some have been fo far prejudiced as to think, that he could not be a good critic in any language, who had shown himself fo injudicious an one in his own mother-tongue. But, prejudice apart, he was a very great man, of parts inferior to few, of learning fuperior to most men; and he has made fome very judicious and useful remarks upon the Paradife Loft, though


though in the general they may rather be called the dotages of Dr. Bentley. He was more fagacious in finding faults, then happy in mending them; and if he had confined himself only to the former, he might have had better fuccefs; but when he attempted the latter, and substituted verses of his own in the room of Milton's, he commonly made most miferable bungling work, being no poet himself, and having little or no tafte of poetry. Dr. Pearce, the prefent Lord Bishop of Rochester, has diftinguished his tafte and judgment in choofing always the best authors for the fubjects of his criticism, as Cicero and Longinus among the Ancients, and Milton among the Moderns. His Review of the Text of the Paradife Loft is not only a most complete answer to Dr. Bentley, but may ferve as a pattern to all future critics, of found learning and juft reasoning joined with the greatest candor and gentleness of manners. The whole is very well worthy of the perufal of every lover and admirer of Milton, but fuch parts only are ingraffed into this work as are more immediately proper for our defign, and explain fome difficulty, or illuftrate fome beauty of our author. His Lordship together with my Lord Bath firft engaged me in this undertaking, and he has kindly affifted me in it from the beginning to the end; and I cannot but entertain the better hopes of the public approbation, as these fheets, long before they went to the prefs, were perused and corrected by his Lordship. Of Mr. Richardfon's notes it must be faid that there are ftrange inequalities in them, fome extravagances, and many excellences; there is often better fenfe than grammar or English; and


he fometimes hits the true meaning of the author furprisingly, and explains it properly. He had gocd natural parts but without erudition or learning, in which he was affifted by his fon, who is a man of tafte and litterature, as well as of the greateft benevolence and good-nature. Mr. Warburton likewise has published fome remarks upon the Paradife Loft, occafion'd chiefly by Dr. Bentley's edition. They were printed fome years ago in the History of the works of the Learned, and he allowed me the free ufe of them: but upon looking into the Hiftory of the works of the Learned, to my regret I found that his remarks were continued no farther than the three first books, and what is become of his other papers, and how they were miflaid and loft, neither he nor I can apprehend; but the excellence of thofe which remain fufficiently evinces the great lofs that we have fuftained in the others, which cannot now be recovered. He has done me the honor too of recommending this edition to the public in the preface to his Shakespear, but nothing could have recommended it more effectually than if it had been adorned by fome more of his notes and obfervations. There is a pamphlet intitled An Effay upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients, faid to be written by a Gentleman of North Britain; and there is another intitled Letters concerning poetical tranflations, and Virgil's and Milton's arts of verfe, commonly afcribed to Mr. Auditor Benfon; and of both thefe I have made fome ufe, as I have likewife of the learned Mr. Upton's Critical Obfervations on Shakespear, wherein he has occafionally interfperfed fome remarks upon Milton; and in fhort, like the bee, I have been VOL. I. ftudious

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ftudious of gathering fweets wherever I could find them growing.

But befides the flower of thofe which have been already published, here are feveral new obfervations offered to the world, both of others and my own. Dr. Heylin lent me the ufe of his manufcript remarks, but much the greater part of them had been rifled before by Dr. Bentley. It feems Dr. Heylin had once an intention of publishing a new edition of the Paradife Loft, and mention'd his defign to Dr. Bentley but Dr. Bentley declaring at the fame time his refolution of doing it, Dr. Heylin modeftly defifted, and freely communicated what obfervations he had made to Dr. Bentley. And what does Dr. Bentley do? Why he borrows the beft and moft plaufible of his notes from Dr. Heylin, publishes them as his own, and never has the gratitude to make any acknowledgment, or fo much as any mention of his benefactor. I am obliged too to Mr. Jortin for fome remarks, which he convey'd to me by the hands of Dr. Pearce. They are chiefly upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients; but every thing that proceeds from him is of value, whether in poetry, criticifm, or divinity; as appears from his Lufus Poctici, his Miscellaneous Obfervations upon authors, and his Difcourfes concerning the truth of the Chritian Religion. Befides thofe already mentioned, Mr. Warburton has favored me with a few other notes in manufcript; I wish there had been more of them for the fake of the reader, for the loose hints of fuch writers, like the flight fketches of great mafters in painting, are worth more than the labor'd pieces of others. And he very kindly lent me


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