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tions and obfervations are offered to the public. And the year after that Meffieurs Richardfon, father and fon, published their Explanatory notes and remarks. The poem has alfo been tranflated into feveral languages, Latin, Italian, French, and Dutch; and propofals have been made for tranflating it into Greek. The Dutch tranflation is in blank verfe, and printed at Harlem. The French have a tranflation by Monf. Dupré de S. Maur; but nothing showeth the weakness and imperfection of their language more, than that they have few or no good poetical verfions of the greatest poets; they are forced to translate Homer, Virgil, and Milton into profe: and blank verfe their language has not harmony and dignity enough to fupport; their tragedies, and many of their comedies are in rime. Rolli, the famous Italian master here in England, made an Italian tranflation; and Mr. Richardfon the fon faw another at Florence in manufcript by the learned Abbè Salvini, the fame who tranflated Addifon's Cato into Italian. One William Hog or Hogæus tranflated Paradife Loft, Paradife Regain'd, and Samfon Agonistes into Latin verfe in 1690; but this verfion is very unworthy of the originals. There is a better tranflation of the Paradife Loft by Mr. Thomas Power Fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge, the first book of which was printed in 1691, and the reft in manufcript is in the library of that College. The learned Dr. Trap has alfo published a tranflation into Latin verfe; and the world is in expectation of another, that will furpafs all the reft, by Mr. William Dobfon of New College in Oxford. So that by one means or other Milton is now confidered

fidered as an English claffic; and the Paradife Loft is generally esteemed the nobleft and moft fublime of modern poems, and equal at leaft to the best of the ancient; the honor of this country, and the envy and admiration of all others!


In 1670 he published his Hiftory of Britain, that part efpecially now called England. He began it above twenty years before, but was frequently interrupted by other avocations; and he defigned to have brought it down to his own times, but ftopped at the Norman conqueft; for indeed he was not well able to pursue it any farther by reafon of his blindnefs, and he was engaged in other more delightful ftudies, having a genius turned for poetry rather than hiftory. When his History was printed, it was not printed perfect and entire; for the licencer expunged feveral paffages, which reflecting upon the pride and fuperftition of the Monks in the Saxon times, were understood as a concealed fatir upon the Bishops in Charles the fecond's reign. But the author himself gave a copy of his unlicenced papers to the Earl of Anglefea, who, as well as feveral of the nobility and gentry, conftantly vifited him: and in 1681 a confiderable paffage, which had been fuppreffed at the beginning of the third book, was published, containing a character of the Long Parlament and Affembly of Divines in 1641, which was inferted in its proper place in the laft edition of 1738. Bifhop Kennet begins his Complete Hiftory of England with this work of Milton, as being the best draught, the clearest and most authentic account of those early times: and his ftile is freer and eafier than in moft of his other works, more plain F 2 and

and fimple, less figurative and metaphorical, and better fuited to the nature of hiftory, has enough of the Latin turn and idiom to give it an air of antiquity, and fometimes rifes to a surprising dignity and majefty.

In 1670 likewife his Paradise Regain'd and Samfon Agonistes were licenced together, but were not published till the year following. It is fomewhat remarkable, that these two poems were not printed by Simmons, the fame who printed the Paradife Loft, but by J. M. for one Starkey in Fleetstreet: and what could induce Milton to have recourfe to another printer? was it because the former was not enough encouraged by the fale of Paradife Loft to become a purchaser of the other copies? The first thought of Paradife Regain'd was owing to Elwood the quaker, as he himself relates the occafion in the history of his life. When Milton had lent him the manufcript of Paradife Loft at St. Giles Chalfont, as we faid before, and he returned it, Milton asked him how he liked it, and what he thought of it: "Which I modeftly, but freely told him, fays El"wood; and after fome further difcourfe about it, "I pleasantly faid to him, Thou haft faid much of "Paradife Loft, but what haft thou to fay of Paradife "Found? He made me no anfwer, but fat fome "time in a mufe; then broke off that difcourfe, "and fell upon another fubject." When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton fhowed him his Paradife Regain'd, and in a pleasant tone said to him, "This is owing to You, for You ડ put it into my head by the queftion You put me


at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of."

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It is commonly reported, that Milton himself preferred this poem to the Paradife Loft: but all that we can affert upon good authority is, that he could not indure to hear this poem cried down fo much as it was, in comparison with the other. For certainly it is very worthy of the author, and contrary to what Mr. Toland relates, Milton may be feen in Paradife Regain'd as well as in Paradife Loft; if it is inferior in poetry, I know not whether it is not fuperior in fentiment; if it is lefs descriptive, it is more argumentative; if it doth not,fometimes rife fo high, neither doth it ever fink fo low; and it has not met with the approbation it deferves, only becaufe it has not been more read and confidered. His fubject indeed is confined, and he has a narrow foundation to build upon; but he has raised as noble a fuperftructure, as fuch little room and fuch fcanty materials would allow. The great beauty of it is the contrast between the two characters of the Tempter and our Saviour, the artful fophiftry and fpecious infinuations of the one refuted by the ftrong fenfe and manly eloquence of the other. This poem has also been tranflated into French together with fome other pieces of Milton, Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penferofo, and the Ode on Christ's nativity; and in 1732 was printed a Critical Differtation with notes upon Paradife Regain'd, pointing out the beauties of it, and written by Mr. Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester: and the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added fome obfervations upon this work at the end of his excellent Remarks upon Spenfer, published in 1734: and indeed this poem of Milton, to be more admired, needs only to be better

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better known. His Samfon Agonistes is the only tragedy that he has finished, tho' he has fketched out the plans of several, and propofed the fubjects of more, in his manufcript preferved in Trinity College library and we may fuppofe that he was determined to the choice of this particular fubject by the fimilitude of his own circumftances to thofe of Samfon blind and among the Philiftins. This I conceive to be the laft of his poetical pieces; and it is written in the very fpirit of the Ancients, and equals, if not exceeds, any of the most perfect tragedies, which were ever exhibited on the Athenian ftage, when Greece was in its glory. As this work was never intended for the ftage, the divifion into acts and fcenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Mr. Pope to divide it into acts and fcenes, and of having it acted by the King's Scholars at Weftminster: but his commitment to the Tower put an end to that defign. It has fince been brought upon the ftage in the form of an Oratorio; and Mr. Handel's mufic is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Milton's words. That great artift has done equal juftice to our author's L'Allegro and Il Penferofo, as if the fame fpirit poffeffed both masters, and as if the God of mufic and of verfe was ftill one and the fame.

There are alfo fome other pieces of Milton, for he continued publishing to the laft. In 1672 he published Artis Logica plenior Inftitutio ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata, an Inftitution of Logic after the method of Petrus Ramus; and the year following, a treatife of true Religion and the beft means to prevent the growth of popery, which had greatly

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