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PREFACE TO AN ESSAY ON PARADISE LOST.
was taken, how it was improved, by what assistance it was executed, and from what stores the materials were collected, whether its founder dug them from the quarries of nature, or demolished other buildings to embellish his own.
This inquiry has been, indeed, not wholly neglected, nor, perhaps, prosecuted with the care and diligence that it deserves. Several critics have offered their conjectures; but none have much endeavoured to enforce or ascertain them. Mr. Voltaire tells us without proof, that the first hint of "Paradise Lost" was taken from a farce called Adamo, written by a player; Dr. Pearce, that it was derived from an Italian tragedy, called Il Paradiso Perso; and Mr. Peck, that it was borrowed from a wild romance. Any of these conjectures may possibly be true, but, as they stand without sufficient proof, it must be granted, likewise, that they may all possibly be false; at least they cannot preclude any other opinion, which without argument has the same claim to credit, and may perhaps be shown, by resistless evidence, to be better founded.
It is related, by steady and uncontroverted tradition, that the "Paradise Lost" was at first a Tragedy, and therefore, among tragedies, the first hint is properly to be sought. In a manuscript, published from Milton's own hand, among a great number of subjects for tragedy, is, "Adam unparadised," or "Adam in Exile;" and this, therefore, may be justly supposed the embryo of this great poem. As it is observable that all these subjects had been treated by others, the manuscript can be supposed nothing more than a memorial or catalogue of plays, which, for some reason, the writer thought worthy of his attention. When, therefore, I had observed that "Adam in Exile" was named amongst them, I doubted not but, in finding the original of that tragedy, I should disclose the genuine source of "Paradise Lost." Nor was my expectation disappointed; for, having procured the Adamus Exul of Grotius, I found, or imagined myself to find, the first draught, the prima stamina of this wonderful poem.
Having thus traced the original of this work, I was naturally induced to continue my search to the collateral relations, which it might be supposed to have contracted, in its progress to maturity: and having, at least, persuaded my own judgment that the search has not been entirely ineffectual, I now lay the result of my labours before the public; with full conviction, that in questions of this kind, the world cannot be mistaken, at least cannot long continue in error.
I cannot avoid acknowledging the candour of the author of that excellent monthly book, the "Gentleman's Magazine," in giving admission to the specimens in favour of this argument; and his impartiality in as freely inserting the several answers. I shall here subjoin some extracts from the xviith volume of this work, which I think suitable to my purpose. To which I have added, in order to obviate every pretence for cavil, a list of the authors quoted in the following Essay, with their respective dates, in comparison with the date of "Paradise Lost."
When this essay was almost finished, the splendid Edition of "Paradise Lost," so long promised by the Rev. Dr. Newton, fell into my hands; of which I had, however, so little use, that as it would be injustice to censure, it would be flattery to commend it: and I should have totally forborne the mention of a book that I have not read, had not one passage at the con clusion of the life of Milton, excited in me too much pity and indignation to be suppressed in silence.
"Deborah, Milton's youngest daughter," says the Editor, 66 was married to Mr. Abraham Clarke, a weaver, in Spitalfields, and died in August, 1727, in the 76th year of her age. She had ten children. Elizabeth, the youngest, was married to Mr. Thomas Foster, a weaver in Spitalfields, and had seven children, who are all dead; and she herself is aged about sixty, and weak and infirm. She seemeth to be a good, plain, sensible woman, and has confirmed several particulars related above, and informed me of some others, which she had often heard from her mother." These the doctor enumerates, and then adds, "In all probability, Milton's whole family will be extinct with her, and he can live only in his writings. And such is the caprice of fortune, this grand-daughter of a man, who will be an everlasting glory to the nation, has now, for some years, with her husband, kept a little chandler's or grocer's shop, for their subsistence, lately at the Tower Holloway, in the road be tween Highgate and London, and at present in Cock Lane, not far from Shoreditch Church."
That this relation is true, cannot be question ed: but, surely, the honour of letters, the dignity of sacred poetry, the spirit of the English nation, and the glory of human nature, require
that it should be true no longer. In an age in which statues are erected to the honour of this great writer, in which his effigy has been diffused on medals, and his works propagated by translations, and illustrated by commentaries; in an age, which amidst all its vices, and all its follies, has not become infamous for want of charityit may be, surely, allowed to hope, that the living remains of Milton will be no longer suffered to languish in distress. It is yet in the power of a great people, to reward the poet whose name they boast, and from their alliance to whose genius, they claim some kind of superiority to every other nation of the earth; that poet, whose works may possibly be read when every other monument of British greatness shall be obliterated; to reward him-not with pictures, or with medals, which if he sees, he sees with contempt, but-with tokens of gratitude, which he, perhaps, may even now consider as not unworthy the regard of an immortal spirit. And, surely, to those who refuse their names to no other scheme of expense, it will not be unwelcome, that a subscription is proposed, for relieving, in the languor of age, the pains of disease, and the contempt of poverty, the grand-daughter of the author of "Paradise Lost." Nor can it be questioned, that if I, who have been marked out as the Zoilus of Milton, think this regard due to his posterity, the design will be warmly seconded by those,
New Memoirs of Mr. John Milton. By Francis whose lives have been employed in discovering Peck. 4to. 1740, p 52.
his excellences, and extending his reputation.
TO WHICH ARE SUBJOINED, SEVERAL CURIOUS ORIGINAL LETTERS, FROM THE AUTHORS OF THE UNIVERSAL HISTORY, MR. AINSWORTH, MR. MACLAURIN, &c. BY WILLIAM LAUDER, A.M.
Quem pœnitet peccasse pane est innocens.—SENECA
Pugna suum finem, quum jacet hostis, habet.-OVID.
Juris rigori.-GROTII Adamus Exsul.
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1751.
TO THE REV. MR. DOUGLAS.
but to confess, without the least dissimulation, SIR, CANDOUR and tenderness are in any rela-lation I have made in those authors, which you subterfuge, or concealment, every other interpotion, and on all occasions, eminently amiable; have not yet had opportunity to examine. but when they are found in an adversary, and found so prevalent, as to overpower that zeal which his cause excites, and that heat which naturally increases in the prosecution of argument, and which may be in a great measure justified by the love of truth, they certainly appear with particular advantages; and it is impossible not to envy those who possess the friendship of him, whom it is even some degree of good fortune to have known as an enemy.
fession I am willing to depend for all the future On the sincerity and punctuality of this conhopes, that they whom my offence has alienated regard of mankind, and cannot but indulge some from me, may by this instance of ingenuity and repentance, be propitiated and reconciled. Whatthat can be done in reparation of my former inever be the event, I shall at least have done all juries to Milton, to truth, and to mankind, and will examine their own hearts, whether they intreat that those who shall continue implacable, have not committed equal crimes without equal proofs of sorrow, or equal acts of atonement.*
I will not so far dissemble my weakness, or
PASSAGES INTERPOLATED IN MASENIUS.
CITATION VI. Essay, page 38.
Adnuit ipsa dolo, malumque (heu! longa dolendi
It was one of the maxims of the Spartans, not to press upon a flying army, and therefore their enemies were always ready to quit the field, because they knew the danger was only in opposing. The civility with which you have thought proper to treat me, when you had incontestible superiority, has inclined me to make your victory complete, without any further struggle, and not only publicly to acknowledge the truth of the charge which you have hitherto advanced, racters.
Territus erubuit: simul adgemuere dolentes
The interpolations are distinguished by Italic cha
Exarsere procul. Stupefacta Lycaonis ursa
CITATION VII. Essay, page 41.
Illa quidem fugiens, sparsis per terga capillis,
Imperio, cœlique tremunt; quem dite superbus
Infaustas e ulas, nosque omnes prodidit hosti.
Quadrupedi pugnat quadrupes, volucrique volucris ;
CITATION IX. Essay, page 43.
Quod illud animal, tramite obliquo means,
CITATION VII. Essay, p. 65, the whole passage.
CITATION VIII. Essay, p. 66, the whole passage.
CITATION IX. Essay, ibid.
Per sancta thalami sacra, per jus nominis
INTERPOLATION IN RAMSAY.
CITATION VI. Essay, page 88.
O judex! nova me facies inopinaque terret;
INTERPOLATIONS IN STAPHORSTIUS
CITATION III. Essay, page 104.
INTERPOLATION IN FOX.
Essay, page 116.
Hypocrisis esto, hoc sub Francisci pallio.
INTERPOLATION IN QUINTIANUS.
Mic. Cur huc procaci veneris cursu refer?
Veniret? Illic summa tenebrarum lues,
INTERPOLATION IN BEZA.
Essay, page 119.
Stygemque testor, et profunda Tartari,
INTERPOLATION IN FLETCHER.
Essay, page 124.
Nec tamen æternos obliti (absiste timere)
Nec fas; non sic deficimus, nec talia tecum
Et domiti tantum placeat cui regia coli. [quam
Et Stygiis mutet radiantia lumina flammis.
INTERPOLATIONS IN TAUBMAN.
celeberrimus-non Anglia modo, soli natalis, verum ge
Virorum maximus-JOANNES MILTONUS-Poeta
neris humani ornamentum-cujus eximius liber, Anglicanis versibus conscriptus, vulgo PARADISUS AMISSUS, immortalis illud ingenii monumentum, cum ipsa fere eternitate perennaturum est opus-Hujus memoriam Anglorum primus, post tantum, pro delor! ab tanti excessu poet intervallom, statua eleganti in loco celeberrimo,cœnobio Westmonasteriensi, posita, regum, principam, antistitum, illustriumque Angliæ virorum cœme
Umquam animos, fessique ingentes ponimus iras. terio, vir ornatissimus, Gulielmus Benson prosecutus est,
For facile, the word voluve was substituted in the Essay.
Poetarum Scotorum Musa Sacræ in præfatione,
A character, as high and honourable as ever was be stowed upon him by the most sanguine of his admirers'.
ways remained untouched by me, had not my | it, and resolve, that my first offence shall be my credit and my interest been blasted, or thought last. More I cannot perform, and more thereto be blasted, by the shade which it cast from its fore cannot be required. I intreat the pardon of boundless elevation.
About ten years ago, I published an edition of Dr. Johnston's translation of the "Psalms," and having procured from the general assembly of the church of Scotland, a recommendation of its use to the lower classes of grammar-schools, into which I had begun to introduce it, though not without much controversy and opposition; I thought it likely that I should, by annual publications, improve my little fortune, and be enabled to support myself in freedom from the miseries of indigence. But Mr. Pope, in his malevolence to Mr. Benson, who had distinguished himself by his fondness for the same version, destroyed all my hopes by a distich, in which he places Johnston in a contemptuous comparison with the author of "Paradise Lost."*
From this time all my praises of Johnston became ridiculous, and I was censured with great freedom, for forcing upon the schools, an author whom Mr. Pope had mentioned only as a foil to a better poet. On this occasion, it was natural not to be pleased, and my resentment seeking to discharge itself somewhere, was unhappily directed against Milton. I resolved to attack his fame, and found some passages in cursory reading, which gave me hopes of stigmatising him as a plagiary. The farther I carried my search the more eager I grew for the discovery, and the more my hypothesis was opposed, the more I was heated with rage. The consequence of my blind passion, I need not relate; it has, by your detection, become apparent to mankind. Nor do I mention this provocation as adequate to the fury which I have shown, but as a cause of anger, less shameful and reproachful than fractious malice, personal envy, or national jealousy.
But for the violation of truth, I offer no excuse, because I well know that nothing can excuse it. Nor will I aggravate my crime, by disingenuous palliations. I confess it, I repent
and as this was my cool and sincere opinion of that wonderful man formerly, so I declare it to be the same still, and ever will be, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, occasioned merely by passion and resentment; which appear, however, by the Postscript to the Essay, to be so far from extending to the posterity of Milton, that I recommend his only remaining descendant, in the warmest terms, to the public.
On two unequal crutches propp'd he came, MILTON'S on this, on that one JOHNSTON's name. Dunciad, Book IV.
Benson. This man endeavoured to raise himself to fame, by erecting monuments, striking coins, and procuring translations of Milton; and afterwards by a great passion for Arthur Johnston, a Scots Physician's, version of the Psalms, of which he printed many fine editions.
Notes on the Dunciad.
One of these editions in quarto, illustrated with an interpretation and notes, after the manner of the classic authors in usum Delphini, was by the worthy editor, anno 1741, inscribed to his Royal Highness Prince George, as a proper book for his instruction in principles of piety, as well as knowledge of the Latin tongue, when he should arrive at due maturity of age. To restore this book to credit, was the cause that induced me to engage in this disagreeable controversy, rather than any design to depreciate the just reputation of Milton.
all men, whom I have by any means induced to support, to countenance, or patronise my frauds, of which I think myself obliged to declare, that not one of my friends was conscious. I hope to deserve, by better conduct and more useful undertakings, that patronage which I have obtained from the most illustrious aud venerable names by misrepresentation and delusion, and to appear hereafter in such a character, as shall give you no reason to regret that your name is frequently mentioned with that of, Reverend Sir, your most humble servant, WILLIAM LAUDER.
December 20th, 1750.
TESTIMONIES CONCERNING MR.
Edinb. May 22d, 1734. THESE are certifying, that Mr. William Lauder passed his course at this university, to the general satisfaction of these masters, under whom he studied. That he has applied himself particu larly to the study of humanity* ever since. That for several years past, he has taught with success, students in the Humanity Class, who were recommended to him by the professor thereof. And lastly, has taught that class himself, during the indisposition, and since the death of its late professor; and therefore is, in our opinion, a fit person to teach Humanity in any school or college whatever.
J. GOWDIE, S. S. T.
MATT. CRAUFURD, S. S. T. et Hist. Ec. Pr. Reg.
ROBERT STUART, Ph. Nat. Pr.
CHARLES MACKY, Hist. P.
A Letter from the Rev. Mr. Patrick Cuming, one of the ministers of Edinburgh. and Regius Professor of Church History in the University there, to the Rev. Mr. Blair, Rector of the Grammar-School at Dundee. D. B.-Upon a public advertisement in the newspapers, of the vacancy of a master's place in your school, Mr. William Lauder, a friend of mine, proposes to set up for a candidate, and goes over for that purpose. He has long taught the Latin with great approbation in this place, and given such proofs of his mastery in that language, that the best judges do upon all occasions recommend him as one who is qualified in the best manner.
He has taught young boys and young gentlemen, with great success; nor did 1 ever hear of any complaint of him from either parents or children. I beg leave to recommend him to you as my friend; what friendship you
So the Latin tongue is called in Scotland, from the Latin phrase, classis humaniorum literarum, the class or form where that language is taught.