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WITH A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR;
PRELlMlNARY D188ERTATlON8 ON EACH POEM J NOTE8 CRlTlCAL
A VERBAL !NDEX TO ALL THE POEM8.
CHARLES DEXTER CLEVELAND,
A0TnoR or TiiE CoMPENnlUM8 oF ENCLl8n,
a Jaeto ©totnor.
u II wiil not be too mueh to say, that of all uninspired writings , lif that h, uninspired,1
"That fervid Genius, whieh has east a sort of shade upon all the other works of man."
SAMPSON LOW, SON, AND MAR8TON,
MILTON HOU8E, LUDGATE HILL.
Any attempt, however humble, to make the Poems of Milton more widely eireulated, intelligently read, and wisely appreeiated, needs no apology. I may state, however, the simple ineident to whieh the present edition owes its origin. Some years ago, when preparing my " Compendinm of English Literature," I had oeeasion to look at Todd's " Verbal Index" to Milton, in eouneetion with " Lyeidas," and found the first two referenees to whieh I turned, to be wrong. Surprised at this, I soon after, at my leisure, eompared every word in "Lyeidas" with this Index, and found, in its referenees t.o that short poem of one hundred and ninety-three lines, Sixty-three mistakes! This diseovery made me resolve to prepare, as early as my numerous engagements would permit, an edition of Milton's Poems, with an Index subjoined on whieh some relianee for aeeuraey might be plaeed. But though I began the examination of Todd's Index more than three years ago, so laborious has been the work that I have been able but reeently to bring it to a elose. The result is, that, after two eareful examinations, (in the first of whieh I was assisted, in some portions, by two or three literarv friends,) there have been found THREE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-TWO mistakes! This I eould seareely believe, had I not marked the number on eaeh page at its foot, and had not the eareful addition of the figures brought about the astounding result; so that, on the whole, the work of examining and eomparing Todd's Index has been about equivalent to that of making out, independently, an entirely new one. I need hardly say how riehly I have been repaid for my labour, in my eonstant eommunings, day by day, with the mind of the immortal bard, whose astonishing learning and genins have eontinually exeited in me fresh admiration and delight. No work eould more amply bring with it its own rieh reward.
'' Whiie l sit with thee, I seem in Heaven;
And sweeter thy di0eourse is to my ear
«)v. Lost. viii. 210.
Great pains have also been taken to present a eorreet text. Sir Egerton Brydges' London edition, in six volumes, was put into the hands of the printer to " set up" from; but the proofs have, from the outset, been read and eompared with three other editions, namely, Todd's, 7 vols., London, 18O9; Mitford's " Aldine," 3 vols., London, 1845; and " Milton's own," as reprinted by Piekering, 0 vols., London, 1851. It was well that this eare was taken, for numerous errors were found throughout in the text of Brydges. I elnim not, of eourse, that my edition is immaeulate: but I ean truly say that great and unwearied pains have been taken to avoid errors both in the text and in the Index.
The notes, with the preliminary and subsequent " Remarks" to eaeh poem, have mainly been seleeted from the numerons preeeding aunotators, with sueh diserimination, and I hope it may be thought with sueh taste, as a work like this demands. It would have been easy to swell these to any extent; but a book is not always valuable in proportion to its size, and my great aim in preparing this edition of Milton was, to have one that, while it would be eritieal enough for the seholar, full enough for the general reader, and beautiful enough for the table of the opulent, should, above all, be eheap enough for the sehool-room and for the dwellings of those whose limited means prevent them from buying expensive books.
It is now twelve years sinee my first edition of the Poetieal Works of Milton was published. Though subjeeted, extensively, to the serutiny of private seholarship and of publie eritieism, but a few trifling errors in the text and index—about a dozen in all—have been, from time to time, diseovered. All these have, of eonrse, been eorreeted; and the author hopes that his work, as now presented to the English publie will meet still more fully the exaeting demands of the student, as it has always seemed to gratify the tastes and fulfil the purposes of the general reader.
Cuarles Dexter Clevelann.
Philadelphia, July 1, 1805.