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session of any of the most lucrative employments, and might have enjoyed it with a patent for life. But Your Lordship was content to leave others in place and power, who You thought were most able and best qualified for the administration of public affairs, and retired Yourself with only a dignity, which had been offered You feveral times before. Such instances of magnanimity and disinterestedness have not been common in any age, and are very uncommon in the present.
Thus much the love of truth and virtue, which is inseparable from the love of Your Lordship, has obliged me to say, and if I am partial to Your Lordship’s character, there are other reasons which have made me so, besides the friendship and kindness which You have shown to
me upon all occasions. Your love of religion and virtue, which You express in all Your discourses and actions ; Your reverence for the holy Scriptures, and how unfashionable foever it may be, Your open profession of the truth of the Christian revelation ; Your regard for our establish'd Church, and regular attendance upon the public worship ; Your constant and inviolable affection to the constitution and liberties of Your country ; Your acting always upon the true Whig principles, and afferting equally the prerogatives of the crown and the privileges of the people ; Your fteddy and fincere attachment, tho' not always to the ministers, yet always to the person of our most gracious King, and the true interests of his royal family, who next under God are the great bulwark
and defense of our religion and liberties; Your readiness at all times to maintain the liberty of the press, tho' no man ever suffered more by the abuse of it than Yourself; Your humane and compassionate temper ; Your uncommon knowledge, and extensive genius for literature or business ; Your easy wit, and flowing conversation, often instructive, always agreeable and entertaining ; Your social and convivial spirit, that it is a happiness to live or converse with You ; these, these are the good qualities, which have gained my affection, and must gain every one's who hath equal opportunities of observing them. If I knew any man, who possessed and exerted them all in a greater and more eminent degree than Your Lordship, I should love him and admire him more: but till
then I must have the highest honor for Your Lordship, and cannot help professing myself without reserve, and with all possible veneration,
Your Lordship’s ever obliged,
and devoted Servant,
May 20, 1749.
To publish new and correct editions of the
works of approved authors has ever been esteemed a service to learning, and an employment worthy of men of learning. It is not material whether the author is ancient or modern. Good criticism is the same in all languages. Nay I know not whether there is not greater merit in cultivating our own language than any other. And certainly next to a good writer, a good critic holds the fecond rank in the republic of letters. And if the pious and learned bishop of Thessalonica has gained immortal honor by his notes upon Homer, it can be no discredit to a graver Divine than myself to comment upon such a divine poem as the Paradise Lost, especially after some great men, who have gone before me in this exercise, and whose example is fanction sufficient,
My design in the present edition is to publish the Paradise Lost, as the wořk of a claffic author cum notis variorum. And in order to this end, the first care has been to print the text correctly according to Milton's own editions. And herein the editors of Milton have a considerable advantage over the editors of Shakespear. For the first editions of Shakespear's works being printed from the incorrect copies of the players, there is more room left for conjectures and emendations; and as according to the old proverb,
Bene qui conjiciet vatem hunc perhibebo optimum, the best guesser was the best diviner, so he may be said in some measure too to be the best editor of Shakespear, as Mr. Warburton hath proved himself