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O Poem has had greater, or juster Praise from the most eminent Judges of Literature, than PARADISE LOST, as well for the Sublimity of the Subject and Sentiments, as the profound and extenfive Learning it is enrich'd with. It comprehends almost every Thing within the Extent of human Knowledge; but being wrote in the bigbeft Stile of heroick Poetry, and the Thoughts, many of them express'd by Figures of Grammar and Rhetoric, being full of Digreffions and Sentences tranfpefed, as well as difficult Terms in the Mathematicks, History, Aftronomy, Aftrology, Geography, Architecture, Navigation, Anatomy, Alchymy, Divinity, and all other human Arts and Sciences, it bath fo happened, that many Readers have been unable to fee the Beauties of the Poem, for Want of being able to come at the proper Explication of thofe Things, which have been out of their Reach; and this must happen to a great many; for how few are there who have had Leifure or Opportunity to be Master of all the Sciences? befides which it is neceffary they should understand the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, Syriac, Phoenician, and Egyptian, and all the dead Languages, with the living and modern ones, in all their different Dialects: So that it has been a frequent Complaint of the Readers of MILTON, that he has not calculated bis Poem for common Eyes; who paffing by the most inftructive Paffages, or elfe uncertainly gueffing at their Meaning and Reading altogether doubtfully, lofe the Pleafure and Benefit which might arife from the thorough Understanding of the improving Lecture, and the moral and philofophical Instructions
hich are to be found in this inimitable Book; of which may be affirm'd, what cannot be faid of any other Book in the World befide, that is, it never has been read and rightly understood by any, who have no given it the highest Encomiums. Therefore, that all English Readers may have the like Pleasure, the following Work was taken in Hand; and to help Foreigners, whofe fmall Acquaintance with our Language, might otherwife prevent their Intelligence of the finest Poem that ever was wrote. It was not thought fufficient to pick out Lines here and there, and explain them only, for it is impoffible to know which Part may be difficult to each Reader; for which Reafon, the whole is render'd into plain and intelligible Profe, the Senfe preferv'd, and nothing omitted that may make it clear to all Readers ; Care being taken not to let any Word pafs, whether proper Names of Men or Places, or technical Words, without a Note, to make them appear plain, and doing the fame by all the Mythology or Fables of the Antients. It muft certainly be a great Eafe, to have Recourse to fuck a Tranfcript in Profe, and the Help of fuch a Number of explicit Notes: For this Work is not done to infinuate, that it is fuperior or any Way equal to the Poetry of PARADISE LOST; but, on the contrary, defign'd only to make it more univerfally intelligible, being fully afjured, that it will then be always held in Admiration and if through my Means this should happen, Ifhalt think I have been of general Service; which is a Confideration that would be my Reward, if no other should arife from it, for then my chief End would be answered.
FIRST BO O K
ROPOSES the whole Subject, Man's Difobedience, and the Lofs thereupon of Pa radife wherein he was plac'd. Then touches the prime Caufe of his Fall, which was Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from GOD, and drawing to his Side many Legions of Angels, was by the Command of GOD, driven out of Heaven with all his Crew into the great Deep. Which Action pass'd over, the Author haftes into the midft of Things, prefenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, defcrib'd, not in the Centre (for Heaven and Earth may be fuppos'd as not yet made, certainly not yet accurs'd) but in a Place of utter Darkness, moft fitly call'd Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-ftruck and astonish'd, after a certain Space recovers, as from Confufion, calls up