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been carefully collated and compared together, the differences and variations are noted, and even the poet's corrections and alterations in his Manufcript are fpecified for the fatisfaction of the curious critical reader. The Manuscript indeed hath been of fingu lar fervice in rectifying feveral paffages, and especially in the Sonnets, fome of which were not printed till many years after Milton's death, and were then printed imperfect and deficient both in fenfe and meter, but are now by the help of the Manuscript reftored to their juft harmony and original perfection." From the Manufcript too we have given the plan of Paradife Loft, as Milton firft defigned it, in the form of a tragedy, and likewise the subjects which he had fketched out for other tragedies, whether with an intention ever to finish them or not we cannot be certain. They were printed before in the Historical and Critical Life of Milton prefixed to his profe works by the learned and ingenious Mr. Birch, who is conti nually adding fomething new to the stock of learning but it was judged proper to reprint them from the Manufcript in this edition, as they bear a nearer relation to the author's poetical works.
The notes, as upon the Paradife Loft, fo likewife upon the Paradife Regain'd and other poems, are of various authors and of various kinds: but these, excepting only a few, were never printed before, and have therefore novelty to recommend them, as well as fome names of the first rank and greateft eminence in the republic of letters. The truth of my affertion will be fully juftify'd by mentioning only the names of Mr. Warburton and Mr. Jortin, who while they
are employ'd in writing the most learned and elab rate defenfes of religion, yet find leifure to cultivate the politer arts, and to promote and improve both in themselves and others a claffical tafte of the fineft authors: and whatever may be the fuccefs, I can never repent of having engaged in this undertaking, which hath given me fo many convincing proofs of their friendship and kindnefs, and at the fame time hath happily conjoined (what perhaps might never elfe have been joined together) my ftudies and my name with theirs. I am equally obliged too to Mr. Thyer for the continuation of his friendly affiftance; and the reader will find the fame good fenfe, and learning, and ingenuity in thefe, as in his former remarks upon the Paradife Loft. And now he hath gone thro' Milton's poetical works, I hope he will do the fame juftice to another of our greatest English poets, and gratify the public with a complete edition of Spenfer's works, or at leaft with his equally learned equally elegant obfervations upon them. I would not be understood by this to difparage in the leaft Mr. Upton's. intended edition, or Mr. Sympfon's, who is my friend, and hath kindly affifted me in this edition, as well as in that of the Paradife Loft. Mr. Upton is certainly a man of great learning, and fo likewife is Mr. Symp fon, and particularly well read in our old English authors, as appears from his fhare in the late excellent edition of Beaumont's and Fletcher's works: but I know no man, who hath a jufter and more delicate taste of the beauties of an author than Mr. Thyer, or is a greater mafter of the Italian language and Italian poetry, which in Spenfer's time was the study
and delight of all the men of letters, and Spenfer himfelf hath borrowed more from that fource than from almost any other, and fometimes hath translated two or three ftanza's together. Mr. Richardfon likewise hath continued his good offices, and communicated his comment upon Lycidas and his marginal notes and obfervations upon the other poems, together with' a very fine head of Milton done by his father after a drawing of Cooper: and both the Richardfons father and fon deferve the thanks of all lovers of the fifter arts, for their inftructive effays on painting, as well as for feveral ingenious remarks on Milton. I had the honor of all these for my affociates and affiftants before, but I have been farther ftrengthen'd by fome" new recruits, which were the more unexpected, as they were fent me from gentlemen, with whom I never had the pleasure of a perfonal acquaintance. The reverend Mr. Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester, in 1732 published a Critical Differtation with notes upon the Paradise Regain'd, a fecond edition of which was printed in 1748; and he likewife tranfmitted to me a fheet of his manuscript remarks, wherein he hath happily explained a most difficult paffage in Lycidas better than any man had done before him. The reverend Mr. Calton of Marton in Lincolnshire hath contributed much more to my affiftance: he favor'd me with a long correfpondence; and I am at a loss which to commend moft, his candor as a friend, or his penetration and learning as a critic and divine. Befides all these helps I have pickt out fome grain from among the chaff of Mr. Peck's remarks, and have gleaned up every thing which I thought might
any ways be useful towards illuftrating our author, and in the conclufion have added an index of the less common words occafionally explained in the notes. !
The Latin poems I cannot fay are equal to feverab of his English compofitions: but yet they are not without their merit; they are not a Cento like moft of the modern Latin poetry; there is fpirit, invention, and other marks and tokens of a rifing genius; for it fhould be confidered, that the greater part of them were written while the author was under twenty. They are printed correctly according to his own edi tions in 1645 and 1673; and as they can be read ! only by the learned, there is the lefs occafion for any notes and obfervations upon them. Some few aret added, which were thought no more than neceffary.
But it is time to have done with thefe things, and to apply to other works, more important and more useful, if the execution prove answerable to the intention.