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of Milton was scarcely known and little appreciated during his lifetime, the striking fact appears of these numerous publications of his poems, at a period when the sale and advertisement of books was very limited, the range of readers so circumscribed, and the political and religious factions and commotions entirely occupied men's minds. The anecdote of Sir John Denham's entering the House of Commons, with a proof-sheet of Paradise Lost, wet from the press, and on being questioned concerning the paper, declaring it was

"part of the noblest poem that ever was written in any language or in any age,” has been doubted, though without reason; and, if true, proves thus early a just and public appreciation of the genius of Milton. In 1678, a third edition of Paradise Lost was published. Paradise Regained, and Sanson Agonistes were reprinted in 1680, from which time innumerable successive editions have issued from the press.

Lawes' edition of Comus was printed in 1637, and Lycidas had appeared in 1638, in the Cambridge verses. Milton's correspondence with so many of the most eminent European Literati, and their universal resort to his house when visiting England, attesi his early and public reputation. The Earl of Dorset, Fleetwood, Shepard, and Dryden, bear early and ample testimony to his merit. Dryden, the poet laureat, in 1674, had adapted from Milton a published opera, entitled, “The State of Innocence.” In his preface, Dryden observes, “What I have here borrowed, will be so easily discerned from my mean productions, that I shall not need to point the reader to the places the original being undoubtedly one of the greatest, most noble and sublime poems, which either this age or nation has produced.” In Dennis's Letters, Moral and Critical, 1721, p. 75, Dennis writes, “ Dryden, however, at this time knew not half the extent of Milton's excellence, as more than twenty years afterwards he confessed to me.” In Roscommon's Essay on Translated Verse, published in 1982, a passage of nearly thirty lines cites an abstract of Milton's battle of the fallen angels as a specimen of the noblest kind of verse."

The first express and published prose eulogy of Paradise Lost that has yet been noticed, is by Edward Philips, in his edition of Buchlerus, published exactly two years after Paradise Lost. He thus speaks of his illustrious relative :- Johannes Miltonius, præter alia quæ scripsit elegantissma, tum Anglicè, tum Latinè, nuper publici juris PARADISUM AMISSUM, Poema, quod, sive sublimitatem argumenti, sive leporem simul et majestatem styli, sive sublimitatem inventionis, sive similitudines et descriptiones quam maximè naturales, respiciamus, verè Heroicum, ni fallor, audiet: plurimum enim suffragiis qui non nesciunt judicare, censetur per. fectionem hujus generis poematis assecutum esse." Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco

“John Miltov, besides other things in the most elegant style of composition which he has written, both in Latin and English, has lately presented at the bar of the public PARADISE Lost: a Poem, which, whether we consider the majesty of the subject, or the united poignancy and loftiness of the style, or the sublimity of the invention, or the propriety and felicity of the similitudes and descriptions, will receive, if I do not mistake, the name of truly heroic, and is adjudged by the suffrages of many, not unqualified to decide such a question, to have reached the perfection of this species of poetry.”

The following commendatory verses by Barrow and Marvel, before noticed as prefixed to the second edition of Paradise Lost, are additional proofs of the early and public estimation of Mil ton's muse.


Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni

Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis ?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,

Et fata, et fines continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi ;

Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet;
Terræque, tractusque maris, cælumque profundum

Sulphureumque Erebi flammivomumque specus ;
Quæque colunt terras, portumque et Tartara cæca,

Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli;
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam,

Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus ;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,

In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?

Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces i quæ protulit arma!

Quæ canit, et quanta, prælia dira tuba.
Cælestes acies , atque in certamine cælum !

Et quæ cælestes pugna deceret agros !
Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis,

Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor !
Quantis, et quam funestis concurritur iris

Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,

Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,

Et metuit pugnæ non supresse suæ,
At simul in cælis Messiæ insignia fulgent,

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,

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Admistris flammis insonuere Polo,
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt.
Ad pænas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum

Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus. Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices,



WHEN I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, hell, earth, chaos, all; the argument
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to Fable and old song,
(So Samson groped the temple's posts in spite,)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear ;
Through that wide field how he his way should find
O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.
Or if work so infinite he spannid,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by illimitating would excel)
Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change scenes, and show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious surmise.
But I am now convinced, and none will dare
Within thy labors to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty which through thy work doth reign
Draws the devout, deterring the profave.
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease,
And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The bird named from that paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find ?
Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind ?
Just heaven thee like Tiresias to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure;
While the town-bayes writes all the while and spells,
And like a pack-horse tires without his bells:
Their fancies like our bushy-points appear,
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too transported by the mode offend,
And while I meant to praise thee must commend.
Thy verse created like thy theme sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.

ANDREW MARVEL. The numerous English poetical eulogia on Milton would alone form a volume. But we must content ourselves with inserting the following elegant translations by Cowper of the complimentary verses addressed to him, in Latin and Italian, by distinguished literary contemporaries.


What features, form, mien, manners, with a mind
Oh how intelligent ! and how refined !
Were but thy piety from fault as free,
Thou wouldst no Angle but an Angel be.



MELES and Mincio, both your urns depress,
Sebetus boast henceforth thy Tasso less,
But let the Thames O'erpeer all floods, since he
For Milton famed shall, single, match the three.


GREECE, sound thy Homer's, Rome, thy Virgil's name,
But England's Milton equals both in fame. SELVAGGI.


Exalt me, Clio, to the skies,
That I may form a starry crown
Beyond what Helicon supplies

In laureate garlands of renown
To nobler worth be brighter glory given,
And to a heavenly mind recompense


Time's wasteful hunger cannot prey
On everlasting high desert,
Nor can Oblivion steal away

Its record graven on the heart;
Lodge but an arrow, Virtue, on the bow
That bends my lyre, and Death shall be a vanquish'd foe

In ocean's blazing flood enshrined
Whose vassal tide around her swells,
Albion from other realms disjoin'd

The prowess of the world excels ;
She teems with heroes, that to glory rise
With more than human force in our astonish'd eyes.

To Virtue, driven from other lands,
Their bosoms yield a safe retreat ;
Her law alone their deed commands ;

Her smiles they feel divinely sweet.
Confirm this record, Milton, generous youth!
And by true virtue prove thy virtue's praise a truth.

Zeuxis, all energy and flame,
Set ardent forth in his career ;
Urged to his task by Helen's fame

Resounding ever in his ear;
To make his image to her beauty true,
From the collected fair each sovereign charm he drew.

The bee with subtlest skill endued
Thus toils to earn her precious juice,
From all the flowery myriads strewid

O'er meadow and parterre, profuse;
Confederate voices one sweet air compound,
And various chords consent in one harmonious sound.

An artist of celestial aim,
Thy genius, caught by moral grace,
With ardent emulation's flame

The steps of Virtue toil'd to trace,
Observed in every land who brightest shone,
And blending all their best, made perfect good thy own

From all, in Florence born, or taught
Our country's sweetest accent there,
Whose works, with learned labor wrought,

Immortal honors justly share,
Thou hast such treasure drawn of purest ore,
Tnat not e'en Tuscan bards can boast a richer store.

Babel confused, and with her towers
Unfinish'd spreading wide the plain,
Has served but to evince thy powers

With all her tongues confused in vain,
Since not alone thy England's purest phrase
But every polish'd realm thy various speech displays.

The secret things of heaven and earth,
By Nature, too reserved, conceal'a

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