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temporaries he neither courted nor received support; there is in his writings nothing by which the pride of other authors might be gratified, or favour gained ; no exchange of praise, nor solicitation of support. His great works were performed under discountenance, and in blindness; but difficulties vanished at his touch; he was born for whatever is arduous; and his work is not the greatest of heroic poems, only because it is not the first.
PARADISUM AMISSAM SUMMI POETÆ JOHANNIS MILTONI.
SAMUELE BARROW, M. D. AUCTORE.
Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni
Carmina MILTONI, quid nisi cuncta legis?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,
Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet :
Terræque, tractúsque maris, cœlúmque profundum,
Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomúmque specus:
Quæque colunt terras, pontúmque, et Tartara cæca,
Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli:
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam,
Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?
Et tamen hæc hodiè terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces! quæ protulit arma !
Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tubâ!
Cœlestes acies! atque in certamine cœlum !
Et qua cœlestes pugna deceret agros!
Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis !
Atque ipso graditur vix Michaële minor!
Quantis, et quàm funestis concurritur iris,
Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt :
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armáque digna Deo, Horrendúmque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus, Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco Admistis flammis insonuere polo : Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis, Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pœnas fugiunt; et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite, Romani Scriptores; cedite, Graii;
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus. Hæc quicunque leget tantùm cecinisse putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.
BY ANDREW MARVELL.
WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling Angels, the forbidden-tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument.
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song;
(So Sampson groped the temple's post in spight,)
The world o'erwhelming, to revenge his sight.
Yet as I read, still growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his way should find,
O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Lest he'd perplex the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.
Or if a work so infinite he span'd,
Jealous I was, that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And, by ill imitating, would excel,)
Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.
Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise:
But I am now convinced; and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.
That majesty, which through thy work doth reign, Draws the devout, deterring the profane : And things divine thou treat'st of in such state As them preserves, and thee, inviolate. At once delight and horror on us seize, Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease; And above human flight dost soar aloft With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft: The bird, named from that Paradise you sing, So never flags, but always keeps on wing.
Where couldst thou words of such a compass find? Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind?
Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhime, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and spells,
And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells:
Their fancies like our bushy points appear;
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And, while I meant to praise thee, must commend:
Thy verse created, like thy theme, sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhime.
EPIGRAM ON MILTON.
THREE Poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn:
The First in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
The Next, in majesty; in both the LAST.
The force of Nature could no farther
To make a third, she join'd the former two.
FROM AN ACCOUNT OF
THE GREATEST ENGLISH POETS.
BUT MILTON next, with high and haughty stalks, Unfetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks:
No vulgar hero can his Muse engage,
Nor earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage.