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THE KINSMAN OF COWPER.
Allow me, my dear Friend, to devote to you these little volumes, which, I persuade myself, you may often peruse with peculiar gratification, because they owe their existence to a wish zealously uttered by your beloved and revered relation. remember, that Cowper, in conversing with his friend of Sussex, expressed, with a tenderness and viyacity of spirit peculiar to himself, a kind hope, that an edition of Milton might, at some convenient season, appear, comprising that Friend's Life of their favorite Poet, united to whatever verse
and prose relating to Milton, his own precarious health had allowed, and might yet allow him opportunities of composing.
He lived to execute only a small part of what he designed ; but even his fragments of composition have a sanctity in our estimation. I have now accomplished the desire of that benevolent spirit, whose slightest wish could not fail to have its due influence over all, who knew, and loved him
as we did.
Instead of the Analysis, and the few scenes of Andreini's Adamo, which were formerly annexed to my Conjectures on the Origin of Paradise Lost, I have here inserted the whole drama in that faithful translation, which you will recollect, as having formed the pastime of the party at Eartham, when you kindly executed the office of a secretary, and committed the composition to paper, as it proceeded from the lips of the two social translators, The manuscript, which had been neglected foryears, has been
recently examined and thought worthy of preservation ; since Italian copies of Andreini's Adamo are very seldom to be found, this version may gratify the public as an amusing curiosity ; and a sight of the whole drama may enable the reader to judge for himself concerning the influence, it is likely to have had, in attaching the mind of Milton to the subject, on which he has so happily founded his own poetical pre-eminence, and immortality.
Andreioi has been contemptuously reviled by several writers utterly unacquainted with his compositions ; but Tiraboschi, one of the most candid, and judicious, critics of Italy, speaks of him with the following just mixture of censure, and of praise :
« L' Adamo dell Andreini, benche, abbia alcuni Tratti di pessimo Gusto, ne ha altri ancora
che si posson proporre comme modello di eccellente • Poesia.”
Tiraboschi, cited by Mr, Todd.
To prevent these volumes from even seeming to interfere with the comprehensive
edition of Milton, so richly furnished with illustrations by the learning, diligence, and zeal of the gentleman, just named, this publication will not contain any notes, except the fragment of Cowper's commentary on Paradise Lost, and a selection from those, that were printed with his Miltonic translations.
The Milton of Mr. Todd may be regarded as a standard library book; these smaller volumes may occasionally afford an agreeable travelling companion to such readers, as may feel gratified in seeing two poets, so congenial as Milton and Cowper, thus united.
You will find, with Andreini's Adamo, some account of a brief Italian Epic Poem on the Loss of Paradise, printed above thirty years before Milton visited Italy. I mean the Adamo of Soranzo, a poem even more rare than the drama of Andreini!