Page images


The Measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; rhyme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause, therefore, some, both Italian and Spanish poets, of prime note, have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect, then, of rhyme, so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it is rather to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to Heroic Poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.



It will be useful to note among the editions of dise Lost" the earliest and some of the latest. The following list includes the editions published in the seventeenth century, and some of the more convenient modern editions.


1. PARADISE LOST. A Poem written in Ten Books by John Milton. Licensed and Entered according to Order. London, printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker under Creed Church near Aldgate; and by Robert Boulter at the Turk's Head in Bishopsgatestreet; and Matthias Walker under St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street. 1667.

[Quarto: pp. 342. Issued with different title pages in 1667, 1668, 1669.]

2. PARADISE LOST. A Poem in Twelve Books. The Author John Milton. The Second Edition, Revised and Augmented by the same Author. London. Printed by S. Simmons next door to the Golden Lion in Aldersgate-street. 1674. [Small octavo: pp. 333. The Ten Books were changed. to Twelve by dividing what had originally been Books vii. and x. Books vii. and viii., then, of the present editions,

were originally one book. The first few lines of Book viii. were added on the division. In like manner what are now Books xi. and xii: the first lines of Book xii. being added at this time.]

3. PARADISE LOST. London. 1678.

[The third edition, with title page almost exactly like that of the second, except for the date.]

4. PARADISE LOST. London. 1688.

[Fourth edition, folio, some copies having "Paradise Regained" added.]

5. PARADISE LOST. London. 1692.


[Fifth edition, folio. Paradise Regained" added.] 6. THE POETICAL WORKS OF MR. JOHN MILTON. Lon



[All of Milton's Poems, in folio.

"Paradise Lost"

was also bound by itself. To this edition was added the first Commentary on the poem, by Patrick Hume.] Of recent editions may be noted:

7. THE POETICAL WORKS OF JOHN MILTON. David Masson. 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1874. millan.)

Edited by (Mac

[An excellent library edition.]

7a. The same in 3 vols., Globe 8vo, a good smaller edition.

7b. The same in one volume. Globe Edition.

8. PARADISE LOST. Edited with notes, glossary, and introduction, by A. Wilson Verity. Pitt Press Series, Cambridge: from 1892 on.

[In six small volumes, each containing two books: Books ix. and x. have not yet been issued.]



The Life of John Milton: narrated in connection with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of his Time. By David Masson. Six volumes. London, 1871.

[This is a great piece of work; too much for the ordinary student to read through, but valuable for reference.] PATTISON. Milton, by Mark Pattison. English Men of Letters Series. London, 1880.

GARNETT. Life of John Milton, by Richard Garnett.

Great Writers Series. London.

Including a bibli




Eighteen numbers of the Spectator, as follows: 267, 273, 279, 285, 291, 297, 303, 309, 315, 321, 327, 333, 339, 345, 351, 357, 363, 369; i.e., every Saturday from Jan. 5th, 1712, to May 3d. Also, collected and edited by Edward Arber. London, 1868. New edition, 1895. Extremely appreciative in the oldfashioned way, serving to call attention to a good deal that is true about the poem.

JOHNSON. In his "Lives of the Poets," originally written for an edition of the British poets, but now to be found in his Collected Works. The essay gives a somewhat prejudiced account of Milton's life; the poet was what Johnson called "an acrimonious and surly republican." When it came to his poetry, Johnson could not help admiring it greatly and esteeming it great; his rough common sense, however, prevented his going into any conventional ecstasies. MACAULAY. "Milton.' The first essay contributed by Macaulay to the Edinburgh Review, appearing in the number for August, 1825. Ostensibly a notice of the newly discovered "Treatise on Christian Doctrine," it is really a description and an estimate of Milton's life and work. It is not the best example of Macaulay's style or of his opinions, but may well be read as a corrective to Johnson.


LOWELL. "Milton." A review of Masson's Life and of (7) above. Reprinted in "Among My Books." is actually a review, and not an independent study. It discusses chiefly Masson's views on Milton's life, his language, and his versification.

MATTHEW ARNOLD. "A French Critic on Milton." Quar

terly Review for January, 1877. Reprinted in "Mixed Essays," 1879. It is interesting for its criticisms of the essays of Macaulay, Addison, and Johnson. The main part of the essay is a presentation of Edmond Scherer's view of Milton. It considers chiefly the necessary drawbacks incident to the conception of Paradise Lost," and the greatness of Milton's style. DowDEN. "The Idealism of Milton." Originally published in the Contemporary Review (xix. 198), and afterwards in "Transcripts and Studies." A very suggestive essay, giving in greater detail the ideas summarized in pp. xix.-xxiii. of the Introduction.


The student will also find valuable:

BRADSHAW. A Concordance to the Poetical Works of John Milton. By John Bradshaw. London, 1894. BRIDGES. Milton's Prosody. An Examination of the Rules of Blank Verse in Milton's later poems, with an Account of the Versification of Samson Agonistes, and general notes. By Robert Bridges. Oxford. 1894.

« PreviousContinue »