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Mr. Pope's Milton of Bentley's edition, wherein Mr. Pope had all along with his own hand fet fome mark of approbation, rectè, benè, pulchrè &c, in the margin over-against fuch emendations of the Doctor's, as feemed to him juft and reasonable. It was a fatisfaction to fee what fo great a genius thought particularly of that edition, and he appears throughout the whole to have been a very candid reader, and to have approved of more than really merits approbation. Mr. Richardfon the father has faid in his preface, that his fon had a very copious collection of fine paffages out of ancient and modern authors, by which Milton had profited; and this collection, which is written in the margin and between the lines of Mr. Hume's annotations, Mr. Richardfon the fon has put into my hands. Some little use I have made of it; and it might have been of greater fervice, and have faved me fome trouble, if I had not then almost completed this work. Mr. Thyer, the Librarian at Manchester, I have not the pleasure of knowing perfonally, but by his writings I am convinced that he must be a man of great learning, and as great humanity. It was late before I was informed that he had written any remarks upon the Paradife Loft, but he was very ready to communicate them, and for the greater difpatch fent me his interleav'd Milton, wherein his remarks were written but unluckily for him, for me, and for the public, the book thro' the negligence of the carrier was dropt upon the road, and cannot fince be found. Mr. Thyer however hath had the goodness to endevor to repair the lofs to me and to the public by writing what he could recollect, and fending me a fheet or two full

of remarks almost every poft for feveral weeks together and tho' feveral of them came too late to be inferted into the body of the work, yet they will be found in the * Appendix, which is made for the fake of them principally. It is unneceffary to fay any thing in their commendation; they will fufficiently recommend themselves. Some other asfiftance too I have received from perfons, whofe names are unknown, and others, whofe names I am not at liberty to mention: but I hope the Speaker of the Houfe of Commons will pardon my ambition to have it known, that he has been pleased to fuggest some useful hints and obfervations, when I have been admitted to the honour of his converfation.

As the notes are of various authors, fo they are of various kinds, critical and explanatory; fome to correct the errors of former editions, to discuss the various readings, and to establish the true genuin text of Milton; fome to illuftrate the fenfe and meaning, to point out the beauties and defects of fentiment and character, and to commend or cenfure the conduct of the poem; fome to remark the peculiarities of ftile and language, to clear the fyntax, and to explain the uncommon words, or common words used in an uncommon fignification; fome to confider and examine the numbers, and to display our author's great arts of verfification, the variety of the paules, and the adaptnefs of the found to the fenfe; fome to fhew his imitations and allufions to other authors, whether facred or profane, ancient or modern. We might have been much larger and

In this edition they are infeited in their proper places.


more copious under each of these heads, and efpecially under the laft: but I would not produce every thing that hath any fimilitude and refemblance, but only fuch paffages as we may fuppofe the author really alluded to, and had in mind at the time of writing. It was once my intention to prefix fome effays to this work, one upon Milton's file, another upon his verfification, a third upon his imitations &c; but upon more mature deliberation I concluded that the fame things would have a better effect in the form of fhort notes, when the particular paffages referred to came immediately under confideration, and the context lay before the reader. There would have been more of the pomp and oftentation of criticism in the former, but I conceive there is more real ufe and advantage in the latter. It is the great fault of commentators, that they are apt to be filent or at moft very concife where there is any difficulty, and to be very prolix and tedious where there is none: but it is hoped that the contrary method has been taken here; and tho' more may be faid than is requifite for critics and fcholars, yet it may be no more than is neceffary or proper for other readers of Milton. For thefe notes are intended for general ufe, and if they are received with general approbation, that will be fufficient. I can hardly expect that any body should approve them all, and I may be certain that no body can

condemn them all.

The life of the author it is almoft become a cuftom to prefix to a new edition of his works; for when we admire the writer, we are curious alfo to know fomething of the man: and the life of Milton

is not barely a hiftory of his works, but is fo much the more interefting, as he was more engaged in public affairs than poets ufually are. And it has happened that more accounts have been written of his life, than of almoft any author's, particularly by Antony Wood in his Fati Oxonienfes, by our au— thor's nephew Mr. Edward Philips before the English translation of Milton's State-letters printed in 1694, by Mr. Toland before the edition of our author's profe works in three volumes folio printed in 1698, by Monfieur Bayle in his Hiftorical and Critical Dictionary, by Mr. Fenton before the edition of our author's poctical works printed in 1725, by Mr. Richardfon in the preface to his Explanatory Notes and Remarks upon Milton's Paradife Loft, and by the reverend and ingenious Mr. Thomas Birch in the General Dictionary, and more largely before the edition of our author's profe works in two volumes folio printed in 1738.. And I have not only read and compared thefe accounts together, and made the best extracts out of them which I poffibly could; but have alfo collected fome other particulars from Milton's own works as well as from other authors, and from credible tradition as well as from written teftimonics: and all these, like fo many dif ferent threds, I have woven into one piece, and formed into a continued narration, of which, whether it affords more or lefs fatisfaction and entertainment than former accounts, the reader muft judge and determin: but it has been my fludy and endevor, as in the notes to comprife the flower of all other notes, fo in the life to include the substance of all former lives, and with improvements and additions.

In the conclufion are added copious indexes, one of the principal matters, and another of the words. The man, who is at the pains of making indexes, is really to be pitied; but of their great utility there is no need to say any thing, when feveral perfons, who pass in the world for profound scholars, know little more of books than title pages and indexes, but never catch the fpirit of an author, which is fure always to evaporate or die in fuch hands. The former of these indexes, if not drawn up by Mr. Tickell, was I think firft inferted in his quarto edition of Milton's poetical works printed in 1720; and for the latter, which was much more laborious, it was compofed at the defire and encouragement of Mr. Auditor Benfon by Mr. Cruden, who hath also published a very ufeful Concordance to the Bible.

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