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passages and most of the passages often quoted as parallel. It is doubtful to me, if Milton, allowing that he read most of these productions, (including sonnets, madrigals, low comedies, romances, and fairy tales, etc.) ever thought of them, when composing Paradise Lost. I have confined myself to comparisons with passages of the greatest authors, which he is known to have constantly read and admired—Shakspearc, Spenser, Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso; and the most approved of the Greek and Latin authors; adding, of course, the scriptural writers. Whenever I found only a gleam of likeness, I have barely given a reference to the passage referred to: but when I find a coincidence in sentiment or style, I quote the original passage, not alone for the sake of elucidation, but for an exercise to the classical reader's mind and memory. I have observed the same rule, in a great degree, as to the scriptural authorities. Translations of the passages quoted from the classics I have also omitted, because to the learned reader they are unnecessary; and to the unclassical, delusive. Poetic translations (especially if in rhyme) of the ancient authors arc never faithful; they are decorative paraphrases at best, if not mutilations carried on with great nicety of dissection. I have divided the text into paragraphs, for a more proper distinction of the several parts of the subject; and have marked the speeches by inverted commas—a plan which, though novel in the printing of this poem, I imagine the reader will find convenient. I have also occasionally used the dash. (thus) between members of a sentence, to mark apposition, and the absence of the copulative conjunction, especially when the ordinary punctuation would be insufficient to determine the necessary pause. In the first portion of the poem, I have marked many elisions and contractions, to serve the inexperienced reader as a guide during the remainder. The text is now pretty well established, (the punctuation of Milton's editions having been, in consequence of his blindness, very incorrect,) and I have generally followed that of Todd's edition, which is the best. In the Index I have contrived to blend the advantages of a historical and verbal index.

In the Memoir of his Life I have compressed whatever I could find of interest or advantage to the reader, in the numerous biographies of him, from the sketches by his nephew, to the elaborate "Life" by Simmons; and have endeavoured to combine, with the chief incidents of his life, a correct exposition of his views, principles, and feelings. For this purpose I have quoted many passages from his prose works, which, from the unstained and uncompromising honesty, and the unyielding independence of the man, are fair indications of the spirit that spurred and guided him. These quotations I have adopted from the best accredited translations, (for most of the passages are taken from his Latin prose works,) although these translations I think objectionable in point of style and fidelity. But

there is one passage—his character and vindication of Cromwell, which is so very remarkable, not only as a vindication of the conduct and principles of the most extraordinary man of ancient or modern times, a man who rose by the force of genius, and a dexterous application of subsidiary circumstances, by slow but unerring steps to the highest pitch of power, and used this power for the aggran→ dizement of his country—who found at the commencement of his career the empire distracted and feeble, and left it consolidated and powerful, (though some of his means were, I think, criminal;) but as a vindication of Milton himself, for cooperating with him, that I thought it right to give a new and more correct translation of it, preserving, as far as possible, the character and spirit of the original.

In the prefatory remarks on Paradise Lost, I have confined myself to generals, as I have given particular exemplifications of them abundantly in the Notes. In fine, I have taken pains to make this edition perfect for all classes of readers; and, by reducing it to one volume, to save them labour and expense. In consequence of my plan and object, the Notes are necessarily of a mixed and unequal character: some are intended for the young and unlearned reader, and some for scholars. The worth of this edition the public alone must determine—I at least have meant well.

James Prendeville.

December 24, 1839.



Millon's Ancestry—his Birth—Education.

Milton descended from a long line of respectable ancestors, the Miltons of Milton, near Halton and Thame in Oxfordshire, who possessed considerable property for many generations, till, the representative of the family having joined the unsuccessful party in the civil wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, the estate was sequestered. However, John Milton, the poet's grandfather, who was ranger of the forest of Shotover near Halton, was a man of property, and sent his son John, the poet's father, to be educated at Christ Church, Oxford; where he espoused the doctrines of the Reformation for this his father, who was a bigoted Roman Catholic, disinherited him. The student, not deterred by this act of paternal cruelty, zealously adhered to his principles, and on quitting College settled in London, where, by the advice and encouragement of some influential friends, he pursued the respectable and lucrative profession of scrivener, in Bread Street, at the sign of "The Spread Eagle," which was the armorial ensign of the family. (A scrivener in those days received money to place it out at interest; supplied those who wanted to raise money on security; and drew up the contract between the parties; thus rendering himself useful to, and receiving profit from both. At that time, too, almost all persons engaged in any kind of mercantile pursuit had some distinguishing sign.) By his wife, Sarah Caston, a woman of great worth and reputation, and of a respectable family originally from Wales, he had two sons and a daughter; the eldest of whom was the poet, born on the 9th of December, 1608, between six and seven in the morning, at his father's house, and christened John on the 20th of the same month, as appears from the register of Allhallows, Bread Street. The poet's father was a man of blameless character, considerable acquirements, and talent. Of his attachment to literature, the Latin verses addressed to him by his son (see the epistle "Ad Patrem") with equal elegance and filial gratitude, are a signal proof. He was particularly distinguished for his musical abilities. He is said by Dr. Burney, in his History of Music, to have been "a voluminous composer, and equal in science, if not in genius, to the best musi

cians of his age." He acquired an independent fortune, and purchased a small estate at Horton, near Colnebrook in Buckinghamshire, on the borders of Middlesex, whither he retired in his old age.

The poet, from his earliest youth, discovered marks of uncommon genius, and love of literature. These his father diligently cherished. Having sent him to St. Paul's School, of which Mr. Gill was head master, (to whose son Milton has addressed some of his earlier poems,) he furnished him besides with the best masters in the different departments of instruction at home in the evening. One of these masters was Mr. Thomas Young, a Scotchman, afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburgh; and subsequently master, under Cromwell's usurpation, of Jesus College, Cambridge. He was one of the authors of Smectymnuus, and died at Stow-Market in Suffolk, of which he was vicar thirty years. On the 12th of February, 1624, Milton was admitted a pensioner at Christ's College, Cambridge, under the tuition of Mr. William Chappel, afterwards Bishop of Cork and Boss. Having carried a high literary reputation to college, he there increased it by his uncommon diligence, proficiency as a scholar, and some splendid compositions. Dr. Johnson, though parsimonious of his praise to scholars, especially poets, and whose criticisms on Milton are impregnated with his characteristic acrimony against all whose political principles were not in unison with his own, especially against persons not friendly to Monarchy and the Established Church, acquiesces (and this acquiescence is high praise) in the opinion of Mr. Hampton, the translator of Polybius, that Milton's Latin poetry, while at college, showed him to have been the first Englishman who, after the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses with classic elegance." Milton himself savs, "This good hap I had from a careful education—to be inured and seasoned betimes with the best and elegantest authors of the learned tongues; and thereto brought an ear that could measure a just cadence, and scan without articulating; rather nice and humorous in what was tolerable, than patient to read every drawling versifier." A short absence from college has occasioned much elaborate and useless controversy about the cause. Some say he was rusticated— some say he was whipped and rusticated—for some trifling violation of academical rules; while others maintain that he only quitted it in displeasure for a brief space. He himself, and the college records, are silent about the fact of his disgrace or punishment. It is a pure fiction. Indeed he distinctly calls it "a commodious lie," in his Apology for Smectymnuus. (See his own statement, next Chapter.) Though designed by his father for the Church, he entirely changed his views while at college. He says that the clerical obligation would too much coerce his freewill and conscience; that to subscribe to the Articles, "would be to subscribe Slave." He never obtained, and it seems did not labour to obtain, any College preferment. While at his father's seat at Horton, after he had finished his colle

giate education, he composed his Arcades, Comus, L'Allegro, I Penseroso, and Lycidas, between the age of twenty-three and twentyeight. These well-known poems, this is not the proper place to examine. Suffice it to say, that, had Milton written nothing else, their long and universally established reputation would have placed him in the first class of British poets. Comus and Arcades are masks, or dramatic performances written in a tragic style, but without regard to rules; which in those times were frequently exhibited at the mansions of the nobility. The Arcades was performed at Harefield Place, near Horton, the seat of the Countess Dowager of Derby, by her grand-children. The Comus was performed on Michaelmas night, 1634, at Ludlow Castle, the seat of the Earl of Bridgewater, then Lord Deputy of Wales; his sons, Lord Brackly, and Mr. Thomas Egerton, acting the parts of the brothers, and his daughter, Lady Alice Egerton, that of the sister.


Autobiography—his Early Education—Traveis—his Appearance—his Promise of some Great Work-Vindication of his Conduct and Principles.

Milton has interspersed through his numerous prose works, touching and valuable, though brief, accounts of himself, partly with a view to satisfy the public curiosity, and partly with a view to silence busy calumny. These fragments of autobiography are written with a lofty, dignified, and steady self-confidence. As I am sure every reader would be best pleased to see such a man his own historian, I transcribe some of them. In his "Second Defence of the People of England," he thus commences the following narrative and vindication of himself.

"This it will be necessary for me to do on more accounts than one: first, that so many good and learned men among the neighbouring nations who read my works, may not be induced by calumnies to alter the favourable opinion which they have formed of me; but may be persuaded that I am not one who ever disgraced beauty of sentiment by deformity of conduct, or the maxims of a freeman by the actions of a slave; and that the whole tenour of my life has, by the grace of God, hitherto been unsullied by any enormity or crime: next, that those illustrious worthies, who are the objects of my praise, may know that nothing could afflict me with more shame, than that any vices of mine should diminish the force, or lessen the value of my panegyric upon them: and lastly, that the people of England, whom fate, or my duty, or their own virtues, have incited me to defend, may be convinced from the purity of my life, that my defence, if it do not redound to their honour, can never be considered as their disgrace.

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