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CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.
Paradise Regained seems to have been complete in manuscript before the publication of Paradise Lost. This we infer from an interesting passage in the Autobiography of the Quaker, Thomas Ellwood, in which he gives an account of the origin of Paradise Regained, and claims the credit of having suggested the subject to Milton. We have already seen (Introduction to Paradise Lost, pp. 53, 54) how young Ellwood, visiting Milton, in 1665, at the cottage in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, where he was then residing to avoid the Great Plague in London, had a manuscript given him by the poet, with a request to read it at his leisure, and return it with his judgment thereon. On taking this manuscript home with him, Ellwood tells us, he found it to be Paradise Lost. He then proceeds as follows :“After I had,
with the best attention, read it through, I made him another visit, and returned him his book, with due acknowledgment of the favour he had done me in communicating it to me.
He asked how I liked it, and what I thought of it; which “I modestly, but freely, told him : and, after some further "discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, “Thou hast said much here of Paradise Lost ; but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found ?' He made me no answer, but sate some time in a muse, then brake off that discourse and fell upon another subject. After the sickness was over, and the city well cleansed and become safely habitable again, he "returned thither. And when, afterwards, I went to wait on him there (which I seldom failed of doing, whenever my occasions drew me to London), he showed me his second VOL. II.