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(So Sampfon grop'd the temple's pofts in fpight,)
I lik'd his project, the fuccefs did fear;
Through that wide field how he is way fhould find,
Or if a work fo infinite he fpann'd,
Thou haft not mifs'd one thought that could be fit,
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.
That majefty, which through thy work doth reign, Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'ft of in fuch state
As them preferves, and thee, inviolate,
At once delight and horrour on us seise,
Where couldft thou words of fuch a compass find? Whence furnith fuch a vaft expence of mind? Juft Heaven thee, like Tirefias, to requite, Rewards with prophecy thy lofs of fight.
Well might'ft thou fcorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhime, of thy own fense secure; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and fpells, And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells: Their fancies like our bufhy points appear;
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear,
expence of mind?] In fome modern editions of Milton, expence has here been converted into expanfe. TODD.
Ver. 46. With tinkling rhime,] So, in Ben Jonson's Mask, The Fortunate les, a queftion is afked refpecting Skogan, the jefter!
The answer is,
"But wrote he like a gentleman ?"
"In rime! fine tinckling rime! and flowand verfe!" Milton thus ridicules rhyme in calling it the " jingling found of like endings." TODD.
like our bushy points appear;
The poets tag them,] Richardfon fays, "I was the fashion in those days to wear much ribbon, which fome adorn'd with tags of metal at the end," Life of Milton, p. cxx. Points are faid to have been metal hooks, fastened to the hofe or breeches, which had no opening or buttons; and going into straps or eyes fixed to the doublet, to have thus kept the hose from falling down. See Steevens's Shakspeare, edit. 1793, vol. iv. 27. And Minshew's Guide into Tongues, 1627. V. Point.
It is related by Aubrey, in his MS. Life of Milotn, that "John Dryden, Efq. Poet Laureat, who very much admired him, went to him to have leave to put his Paradise Loft into a Dramatick Poem. Milton received him very civilly, and told him he would give him leave to tagge his verses." MS. Ashmol, Muf, Oxford. TODD.
I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And, while I meant to praise thee, muft commend. Thy verfe created, like thy theme, fublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhime. ANDREW MARVELL.
Ver. 51. I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And, while I meant to praise thee, must commend.] This is the true reading. Fenton, in his edition of Paradise Loft in 1725, thought proper to tranfpofe the rhymes; and he has been followed by Tonfon's editions of 1727, 1730, 1738, and 1746. The errour is adopted alfo in Vernor's edition of 1789, and in Wilkins's of 1794. A Dublin edition of 1748, and an Edinburgh edition of 1779, read the fame.
It has been ingeniously observed, that Marvell very artfully here fhows us the inconvenience of rhyme, in telling us that he defigned to praife Milton, but now can do no more than commend him; because he is tied down by the rhyme, and only the worst of these two words will answer to offend. See Preface to "Sighs on the death of Queen Anne, in imitation of Milton, Lond. 1719," 8vo. p. xiv. TODD.
To Mr. John Milton, on his Poem entitled Paradife Loft*.
O THOU! the wonder of the prefent age,
age immers'd in luxury and vice;
* These verses by F. C. are prefixed to Milton's poetical works in the Edition of the English poets, 1779. They had before appeared in Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. 69. But we are not told who F. C. was. As I have not yet met with thefe verfes in any other publication, I may be permitted to offe a conjecture that Francis Cradock, a member of the Rota-Club to which Milton belonged, might be the author of them. See Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. 591. TODD.
A race of triflers; who can relish nought
But the gay iffue of an idle brain:
How couldst thou hope to please this tinfel race?-
F. C. 1680.
Ver. 9. The expreffions, in this line, occur in one of Conftable's Sonnets. See vol. vi. p. 440 of this edition:
"The pen wherewith thou doft fo heauenly finge,
So, in Davies's Bien Venu, 1606.
"But poet's pens, pluckt from Archangels' wings." TODD.
* THREE Poets, in three diftant ages born,
This celebrated Epigram of Milton appears under the wellengraved head of the poet by R. White, prefixed to the folio edition of Paradife Loft in 1688. It has been thus published in many fucceeding editions of the fame poem. Dryden, I should add, is a subscriber to the edition of 1688. The obligations of Dryden to others, in refpect to the formation and turn of this epigram, are noticed in vol. vii. p. 162 of this edition. TODD.
From an Account of the greatest English Poets.
BUT MILTON next, with high and haughty stalks, Unfetter'd, in majestick numbers, walks:
No vulgar hero can his Mufe engage,
Nor earth's wide fcene confine his hallow'd rage.
What found of brazen wheels, with thunder, fcare