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college in Cambridge; and all thefe copies and e "ditions have been carefully collated and compared together. The manufcript hath been of tingular fervice in rectifying feveral paffages, and efpecially in the fonnets, fome of which were not printed till many years after Milton's death, and "were then printed imperfect and deficient both in "fenfe and metre; but are now, by the help of the "manufcript, reftored to their juft harmony and ori-ginal perfection."
There are feveral peculiarities in MILTON's poetry; fuch as elifion of vowels at the end of words, contraction or abbreviation of fyllables, and pronouncing the fame word with a different accent in different places. Dr. Newton has taken care to diftinguish thefe peculiarities; and in regard we have adopted them, it is neceffary to inform the reader how these diftinctions are made:
As to the elifions and abbreviations, Newton fays, in a note on lin. 39. book 1. of Paradife Loft,
To fet himself in glory' above his peers,
"Befides the other methods which MILTON has em "ployed to diverfify and improve his numbers, he "takes the fame liberties as Shakespeare and others "of our old poets, and, in imitation of the Greeks. "and Latins, often cuts off the vowel at the end of "a word, when the next word begins with a vowel ;
though he does not, like the Greeks, wholly drop "the vowel, but ftill retains it in writing, like the "Latins. Another liberty that he takes likewise for "the greater improvement and variety of his verfification, is pronouncing the fame word. fometimes "as two fyllables, and fometimes as only one fyllable or two fhort ones. We have frequent inftances in Spirit, ruin, riot, reafon, higheft, and feveral other "words. But then thefe excellencies in MILTON'S
verfe are attended with this inconvenience, that his numbers feem imbarraffed to fuch. readers as know “ not, or know not readily, where fuch elifion or ab"breviation of vowels is to take place; and there
fore, for their fakes, we have taken care through out this edition to mark fuch vowels as are to be "cut off, and fuch as are to be contracted and abbreviated, thus."
And as to the different way of pronouncing the. fame word, he fays, in a note on lin. 209. book 1. of Paradife Loft,
So ftretch'd out huge in length the ar'ch-fiend lay,
"The tone is upon the first fyllable in this line, the "ar'ch fiend lay; whereas it was upon the laft fyllable of the word in verse 156. th' arch fiend reply'd; a liberty that Milton fometimes takes to pronounce the fame word with a different accent in different. places. We have marked fuch words as are to be pronounced with an accent different from the common ufe."
Such being the general plan of Newton's edition of our author's poems, we have literally followed his corrected text, though we have taken care to compare it with that of other editions. We have likewife. paid the greatest regard to his pointing, which is generally that of MILTON himself, though we faw no good reafon to follow it implicitly in every particular. As to the orthography, Newton retained feveral peculiarities of his author, which had been dif carded in former editions, and likewife introduced fome of his own. But we have rejected all fuch peculiarities, preferring the orthography now almost univerfally established: And we are countenanced in our method of fpelling, in moft words, by the authority of Mr. Johnfon's excellent dictionary of the English language.
This ingenious gentleman obferves, that, in the time of Charles I. there was a very prevalent inclination to change the orthography; as appears, among other books, in-fuch editions of the works of Milton. as were published by himself. He afterwards adds, "We have fince had no general reformers: But fome ingenious men have endeavoured to deferve well of "their country, by writing honor and labor for honour
and labour, red for read in the préter-tenfe, fais for fays, repete for repeat, explane for explain, or declame for declaim. Of thefe it may be faid, that "as they have done no good; they have done little "harm; both because they have innovated little, " and because few have followed them."
In Milton's poems there are to be found many an. tiquated and obfolete words, and feveral words invented by himself. As these words may occafion fome inconvenience to unlearned readers, and to fuch as are not well verfed in the writings of the ancient English poets, of whom Milton is faid to have been a great imitator; for their fakes therefore we have annexed to the fecond volume a copious gloffary, ex. plaining fuch words; which gloffary has been chiefly taken from Dr. Newton's notes, and Mr. Johnson's dictionary.
A few notes are put at the bottom of feveral poems and fonnets in the fecond volume, which are chiefly taken or abridged from Newton.
Mr. Addison's Spectators upon the Paradise Loft, are faid to have contributed greatly to the reputation of the poem; and they are generally much efteemed. Dr. Newton tells us, that it was recommended to him to print them entire, as they had been formerly added to fome editions. Accordingly this gentleman has prefixed thofe papers which treat of the poem in ge. neral, in the form of a preliminary difcourfe; and those which are written upon each book feparately, he has inferted under each book, and interwoven in their proper places. But, as we fuppofe most of our readers are poffeffed of the Spectator, and confequently of thofe much efteemed papers of Mr. Addison's, we refer them to his quotations, when neceffary to elucidate the criticisms; and do not, like former editors, prefix them to the Paradise Loft, preferable to the Life of our admired author.
Yet it may be no difagreeable entertainment to the reader, to be presented with a few of the many criticifms and encomiums paffed upon Milton's poems by men of diftinguished character among the critics.
"Three poets in three diftant ages born,
Every greatly amiable muse "Of elder ages in thy Milton met. "His was the treasure of two thousand years, "Seldom indulg'd to man; a god-like mind, "Unlimited, and various, as his theme; Aftonishing as Chaos;, as the bloom "Of blowing Eden fair; foft as the talk "Of our grand parents, and as heaven fublime.” Thomson.
Though the Paradife Loft be the flower of epic ડ poefy, yet the other poems are no lefs excellent in "their kind; and if they have not that fublimity and "majefty, are at leaft equally beautiful, and pleasing "to the imagination." Newton.
"It is commonly reported, that Milton himself "preferred Paradife Regain'd to the Paradife Loft.
But all that we can affert upon good authority, is, "that he could not endure to hear the former cried "down fo much as it was, in comparison with the "latter. For certainly it is very worthy of the au"thor; 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 e"ver fink fo low; and it has not met with the approbation it deferves, only because it has not been "more read and confidered. His fubject indeed is. "confined, and he has a narrow foundation to build 86 upon; but he has raised as noble a fuperstructure, as fuch little room and fuch feanty materials would
allow. The great beauty of it is the contraft be-" tween the two characters of the Tempter and our "Saviour, the artful fophiftry and fpecious infinua❝tions of the one refuted by the ftrong fenfe and' "manly eloquence of the other. And indeed this "poem, to be more admired, needs only to be better known," Newton.
"Milton's Paradife Regain'd has not met with the approbation that it deferves. It has not the har-' "mony of numbers, the fublimity of thought, and' "the beauties of diction, which are in Paradife Loft.* "It is compofed in a lower and lefs ftriking ftyle, a' "ftyle fuited to the fubject. Artful fophiftry, falfe' "reafoning, fet off in the moft fpecious manner, and "refuted by the Son of God with strong unaffected eloquence, is the peculiar excellence of this poem." Fortin. "The greatest, and indeed justest objection to Paradife Regain'd, is the narrownefs of its plan, which' "being confined to that fingle scene of our Saviour's
life on earth, his temptation in the defert, has too' "much famenefs in it, too much of the reafoning and "too little of the descriptive part; a defect most certainly in an epic poem, which ought to confit of a proper and happy mixture of the inftructive and the delightful. Milton was himfelf, no doubt, fenfi-' "ble of this imperfection, and has therefore very ju"diciously contrived and introduced all the little di
greffions that could with any fort of propriety con"nect with his fubject, in order to relieve and refresh "the reader's attention. The converfation betwixt "Andrew and Simon, upon the miffing our Saviour "fo long, with the virgin's reflections on the fame occafion, and the council of the devils how best to "attack their enemy, are inftances of this fort, and "both very happily executed in their refpective ways. "The language of the former is not glaring and im
paffioned, but cool and unaffected, correfponding "moft exactly to the humble pious character of the "fpeakers. That of the latter is full of energy and majesty, and not a whit inferior to their moft fpi"rited