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T was Your LORDSHIP'S opinion and encouragement that occafioned the first appearance of this POEM in the folio edition, which from thence has been fo well received, that notwithstanding the price of it was four times greater than before, the fale increased double the number every year. The work is
now generally known and esteemed; and I, having the honour to hear Your LORDSHIP fay, that a smaller edition of it would be grateful to the world, immediately refolved upon printing it in this volume, of which I most humbly beg Your acceptance, from,
Ullegis A MISSAM PARADISUM, grandia Magni Carmina MILTONI, quid nifi cun&ta legis? Res cunctas, & cunctarum primordia rerum Et fata, & fines, continet ifte liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Scribitur & toto quicquid in orbe latet :
Terræque, tra&ufque maris, cælumque profundum,
Sulphureumque EREBI, flammivomumque fpecus;
Quæque colunt terras, pontumque,&TARTAI cæca;
Quæque colunt fummi lucida regna poli :
Et quodcunque ullis conclufum eft finibus ufquam,
Et fine fine CHAOS, & fine fine DEUS:
Et fine fine magis, fi quid magis eft fine fine,
In CHRISTO erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui fperaret, quis crederet effe futura?
Et tamen hæc hodie terra BRITANNA legit.
O quantos in bella Duces! quæ protulit arma !
Quæ canit & quanta prælia dira tuba!
Cœleftis acies! atque in certamine cœlum
Et quæ cœleftes pugna deceret agros I Quantus in æthereis tollit fe LUCIFER armis ! Atque ipfo graditur vix MICHELE minor! Quantis, & quam funeftis concurritur iris, Dum ferus hic ftellas protegit, ille rapit !
Dum vulfos montes ceu tela reciproqua, torquent,
Et non mortali defuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui fe parti concedat OLYMPUS,
Et metuit pugnæ non fupereffe fuæ.
At fimul in cœlis MESSIE infignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armaque digna DEO,
Horrendumque rotæ ftrident, & fæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, & vera tonitrua rauco
Admiftis flammis infonuere polo:
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, & impetus omnis,
Et caffis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pœnas fugiunt, & ceu foret ORCUS afylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite ROMANI fcriptores, cedite GRAII,
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit annus.
Hæc quicunque leget tantum ceciniffe putabit
MAONIDEM Ranas, VIRGILIUM Culices.
HEN I beheld THE POET blind, yet bold, In flender book his vaft defign unfold, MESSIAH crown'd, GOD's reconcil'd decree, Rebelling Angels, the forbidden Tree,
Heav'n, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All; the Argument
Held me a while mifdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I faw him strong)
The facred Truths to fable and old fong:
(So SAMPSON grop'd the temple's pofts in fpight)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his fight.
YET as I read, foon growing lefs fevere,
I lik'd his project, the fuccefs did fear,
Through that wild field how he his way fhould find,
O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Left he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was eafy, he should render vain.
OR if a work fo infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was that fome lefs fkilful hand
(Such as difquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excel)
Might once prefume, the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and fhew it in a play.
PARDON me, MIGHTY POET, nor defpife
My causeless, yet not impious, furmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a fhare.,