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Regain'd, and Samfon Agonistes into Latin verse in 1690; but this verfion is very unworthy of the originals. There is a better translation of the Paradise Loft by Mr. Thomas Power Fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge, the first book of which was printed in 1691, and the reft in manufcript is in the library of that College. The learned Dr. Trap has also published a tranflation into Latin verfe; and the world is in expectation of another, that will furpafs all the reft, by Mr. William Dobson of New College in Oxford. So that by one means or other Milton is now confider'd as an English claffic; and the Paradife Loft is generally efteemed the nobleft and moft fublime of modern poems, and equal at least to the beft of the ancient; the honor of this country, and the envy and admiration of all others!

In 1670 he published his Hiftory of Britain, that part especially now called England. He began it above twenty years before, but was frequently interrupted by other avocations; and he defigned to have brought it down to his own times, but stopped at the Norman conqueft; for indeed he was not well able to purfue it any farther by reafon of his blindness, and he was engaged in other more delightful studies; having a genius turned for poetry rather than hiftory. When his history was printed, it was not printed perfect and entire; for the licencer expunged feveral paffages, which reflecting upon the pride and fuperftion of the Monks in the Saxon times, were underftood as a concealed fatir upon the Bishops in Charles the Second's reign. But the author himself gave a copy of his unlicenced papers to the Earl of Anglefea, who, as well as feveral of the nobility and gen


try, conftantly vifited him and in 1681 a confiderable paffage, which had been fuppreffed at the beginning of the third book, was published, containing a character of the Long Parlament and Affembly of Divines in 1641, which was inferted in its proper place in the last edition of 1738. Bishop Kennet begins his Complete Hiftory of England with this work of Milton, as being the beft draught, the clearest and most authentic account of thofe early times: and his ftile is freer and easier than in most of his other works, more plain and fimple, lefs figurative and metaphorical, and better fuited to the nature of history, has enough of the Latin turn and idiom to give it an air of antiquity, and fometimes rifes to a furprising dignity and majefty.

In 1670 likewife his Paradife Regain'd and Samfon Agonistes were licenced together, but were not published till the year following. It is fomewhat remarkable, that thefe two poems were not printed by Simmons, the fame who printed the Paradife Loft, but by J. M. for one Starkey in Fleetftreet: and what could induce Milton to have recourfe to another printer? was it because the former was not enough encouraged by the fale of Paradife Loft to become a purchaser of the other copies? The first thought of Paradife Regain'd was owing to Elwood the quaker, as he himself relates the occafion in the hiftory of his life. When Milton had lent him the manufcript of Paradife Loft at St. Giles Chalfont, as we faid before, and he returned it, Milton afked him how he liked it, and what he thought of it: "Which "I modeftly, but freely told him, fays Elwood; and "after fome further difcourfe about it, I pleafantly "faid to him, Thou haft faid much of Paradife

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"Loft, but what haft thou to fay of Paradife Found? "He made me no anfwer, but fat fome time in a mufe; then broke off that difcourfe, and fell up

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on another fubject." When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton fhowed him his Paradife Regain'd, and in a pleasant tone faid to him, "This is owing to You, for You put it into ¢ my head by the question You put me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of." It is commonly reported, that Milton himself preferred this poem to the Paradife Loft; but all that we can affert upon good authority is, that he could not indure to hear this poem cried down fo much as it was, in comparison with the other. For certainly it is very worthy of the author, and contrary to what Mr. Toland relates, Milton may be feen in Paradife Regain'd as well as in Paradife Loft; if it is inferior in poetry, I know not whether it is not fuperior in fentiment; if it is lefs defcriptive, it is more argumentative; if it doth not fometimes rife fo high, neither doth it ever fink fo low; and it has not met with the approbation it deferves, only becaufe it has not been more read and confidered, His fubject indeed is confined, and he has a narrow foundation to build upon; but he has raised as noble a fuperftructure, as fuch little. room and fuch fcanty materials would allow. The great beauty of it is the contrast between the two characters of the Tempter and our Saviour, the artful fophifry and fpecious infinuations of the one refuted by the strong fenfe and manly eloquence of the other. This poem has alfo been tranflated into French together with fome other pieces of Milton, Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penferofo, and the Ode on Chrift's nativity and in 1732 was printed a Critical

Differtation with notes upon Paradife Regain'd, pointing out the beauties of it, and written by Mr. Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester: and the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added fome obfervations upon this work at the end of his excellent Remarks upon Spenfer, published in 1734 and indeed this poem of Milton, to be more admired, needs only to be better known. His Samfon Agoniftes is the only tragedy that he has finished, tho' he has fketched out the plans of feveral, and propofed the fubjects of more, in his manufcript preferved in Trinity College library: and we may fuppofe that he was determined to the choice of this particular fubject by the fimilitude of his own circumftances to thofe of Samfon blind and among the Philiftines. This I conceive to be the laft of his poetical pieces; and it is written in the very fpirit of the Ancients, and equals, if not exceeds, any of the most perfect tragedies, which were ever exhibited on the Athenian itage, when Greece was in its glory, As this work was never intended for the ftage, the divifion into acts and scenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Mr Pope to divide it into acts and scenes, and of having it acted by the King's Scholars at Weilminfter: but his commitment to the Tower put an end to that defign. It has fince been brought upon the ftage in the form of an Oratorio; and Mr. Handel's mufic is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Milton's words. That great artist has done equal juftice to our author's L'Allegro and II Penferofo, as if the fame fpirit polfeffed both mafters, and as if the God of mufic and of verfe was ftill one and the fame.

There are alfo fome other pieces of Milton, for he

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continued publishing to the laft. In 1672 he published Artis Logicæ plenior Inftitutio ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata, an Inftitution of Logic after the method of Petrus Ramus; and the year following, a treatife of true Religion, and the best means to prevent the growth of popery, which had greatly increased thro' the connivance of the King, and the more open encouragement of the Duke of York; and the fame year his poems, which had been printed in 1645, were reprinted with the addition of feveral others. His familiar epiftles, and fome academical exercifes, Epiftolarum familiarum Lib. I. et Prolufiones quædam Oratoriæ in Collegio Chrifti habitæ, were printed in 1674; as was alfo his tranflation out of Latin into English of the Poles Declaration concerning the election of their King John III, fetting forth the virtues and merits of that prince. He wrote also a brief History of Mufcovy, collected from the relations of feveral travellers; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewife his state-letters transcribed at the request of the Danish refident, but neither were they printed till after his death in 1676, and were tranflated into English in 1694; and to that tranflation a life of Milton was prefixed by his nephew Mr. Edward Philips, and at the end of that life his excellent fonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner, on his blindness were firft printed. Befides thefe works which were publifhed, he wrote his fyftem of divinity, which Mr. Toland fays was in the hands of his friend Cyriac Skinner, but where at prefent is uncertain. And Mr. Philips fays, that he had prepared for the prefs an answer to fome little fcribbling quack in London, who had written a fcurrilous libel a

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