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he sometimes hits the true meaning of the author furprisingly, and explains it properly. He had good natural parts but without erudition or learning, in which he was assisted by his son, who is a man of taste and litterature, as well as of the greatest benevolence and good-nature. Mr. Warburton likewise has published some remarks upon the Paradise Lost, occasioned chiefly by Dr. Bentley's edition. They were printed some years ago in the History of the works of the Learned, and he allowed me the free use of them: but upon looking into the History of the works of the Learned, to my regret I found that his remarks were continued no farther than the three first books, and what is become of his other papers, and how they were millaid and lost, neither he nor I can apprehend; but the excellence of those which remain fufficiently evinces the great loss that we have fustained in the others, which cannot now be recovered. He has done me the honor too of recommending this edition to the public in the preface to his Shakespear, but nothing could have recommended it more effectually than if it had been adorned by some more of his notes and observations. There is a pamphlet intitled An Essay upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients, said to be written by a Gentle man of North Britain ; and there is another intitled Letters concerning poetical translations, and Virgil's and Milton's arts of verse, commonly ascribed to Mr. Auditor Benson: and of both these I have made some use, as I have likewise of the learned Mr. Upton's Critical Observations on Shakespear, wherein he has occasionally interspersed some remarks upon Milton; and in short, like the bee, I have been VOL. I.
studious of gathering sweets wherever I could find them growing.
But besides the flower of those which have been already published, here are several new observations offered to the world, both of others and my own. Dr. Heylin lent me the use of his manuscript remarks, but much the greater part of them had been rifled before by Dr. Bentley. It seems Dr. Heylin had once an intention of publishing a new edition of the Paradise Lost, and mentioned his design to Dr. Bentley: but Dr. Bentley declaring at the same time his resolution of doing it, Dr. Heylin modestly defifted, and freely communicated what observations he had made to Dr. Bentley. And what does Dr. Bentley do? Why, he borrows the best and most plausible of his notes from Dr. Heylin, publishes them as his own, and never has the gratitude to make any acknowledgment, or so much as any mention of his benefactor. I am obliged too to Mr. Jortin for some remarks, which he conveyed to me by the hands of Dr. Pearce. They are chiefly upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients; but every thing that proceeds from him is of value, whether in poetry, criticism, or divinity; as appears from his Lulus Poetici, his Miscellaneous Observations upon authors, and his Discourses concerning the truth of the Chriftian Religion. Besides those already mentioned, Mr. Warburton has favored me with a few other notes in manuscript; I wish there had been more of them for the sake of the reader, for the loose hints of such writers, like the Night sketches of great masters in painting, are worth more than the labor'd pieces of others. And he very kindly lent me
Mr. Pope's Milton of Bentley's edition, wherein Mr. Pope had all along with his own hand set some mark of approbation, rectè, benè, pulchrè &c, in the margin over-against such emendations of the Doctor's, as seemed to him just and reasonable. It was a fatisfaction to see what so great a genius thought particularly of that edition, and he appears throughout the whole to have been a very candid reader, and to have approved of more than really merits approbation. Mr. Richardson the father has faid in his preface, that his son had a very copious collection of fine passages out of ancient and modern authors, by which Milton had profited; and this collection, which is written in the margin and between the lines of Mr. Hume's annotations, Mr. Richardson the son has put into my hands. Some little use I have made of it; and it might have been of greater service, and have faved me some trouble, if I had not then almost completed this work. Mr. Thyer, the Librarian at Manchester, I have not the pleasure of knowing perfonally, but by his writings I am convinced that he must be a man of great learning, and as great humanity. It was late before I was informed that he had written any remarks upon the Paradise Lost, but he was very ready to communicate them, and for the greater dispatch sent me his interleav'd Milton, wherein his remarks were written: but unluckily for him, for me, and for the public, the book thro' the negligence of the carrier was dropt upon the road, and cannot fince be found. Mr. Thyer however hath had the goodness to endevor to repair the loss to me and to the public by writing what he could recollect, and sending me a Meet or two full of re
marks almost every post for several weeks together : and tho’ several of them came too late to be inserted into the body of the work, yet they will be found in the * Appendix, which is made for the sake of them principally. It is unnecessary to say any thing in their commendation ; they will sufficiently recommend themselves. Some other assistance too I have received from persons, whose names are unknown, and others, whose names I am not at liberty to mention : but I hope the Speaker of the House of Commons will pardon my ambition to have it known, that he has been pleased to suggest some useful hints and observations, when I have been admitted to the honor of his conversation.
And as the notes are of various authors, so they are of various kinds, critical and explanatory; fome to correct the errors of former editions, to discuss the various readings, and to establish the true genuin text of Milton; some to illustrate the sense and meaning, to point out the beauties and defects of sentiment and character, and to commend or censure the conduct of the poem ; some to remark the peculiarities of stile and language, "to clear the syntax, and to explain the uncommon words, or common words used in an uncommon fignification; some to consider and examin the numbers, and to display our author's great arts of versification, the variety of the pauses, and the adaptness of the found to the sense some to show his imitations and allusions to other authors, whether sacred or profane, ancient or modern. We might have been much larger and more copious under each of these heads, and especially
under * In this edition they are inserted in their proper places.
under the last: but I would not produce every thing that hath any similitude and resemblance, but only such passages as we may suppose the author really alluded to, and had in mind at the time of writing. It was once my intention to prefix fome essays to this work, one upon Milton's stile, another upon his versification, a third upon his imitations &c; but upon more mature deliberation I concluded that the fame things would have a better effect in the form of short notes, when the particular passages referred to came immediately under consideration, and the context lay before the reader. There would have been more of the pomp and oftentation of criticism in the former, but I conceive there is more real use and advantage in the latter. It is the great fault of commentators, that they are apt to be filent or at most very concise where there is any difficulty, and to be very prolix and tedious where there is none: but it is hoped that the contrary method has been taken here; and tho’ more may be said than is requisite for critics and scholars, yet it may be no more than is necessary or proper for other readers of Milton. For these notes are intended for general use, and if they are received with general approbation, that will be sufficient. I can hardly expect that any body should approve them all, and I may be certain that no body can condemn them all.
The life of the author it is almost become a custom to prefix to a new edition of his works; for when we admire the writer, we are curious also to know something of the man: and the life of Milton is not barely a history of his works, but is so much the more interesting, as he was more engaged in