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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 spe

cus: Quæque colunt terras, pontumque et Tartara cæca;

Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli: Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus us

quam, 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. 0, quantos in bella duces ! quæ protulit arma !

Quæ canit, et quanta, prælia dira tuba!

* In Paradisum Amissam Summi Poetæ Johannis Miltoni.

Cælestes acies ! atque in certamine cælum !

Et quæ coelestes pugna deceret agros ! Quantus in æthereis 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 superesse suæ.
At simul in coelis Messiæ insignia fulgent,

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

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco

Admistis flammis insonuere polo ;
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt. Ad poenas 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 awhile 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, still growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his way should

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 a work so infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was, that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And, by ill imitating, would excel,)
Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in 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 labours to pretend to share.

* Address to Milton on reading Paradise Lost.

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

Draws the devout, deterring the profane :
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

Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind ?
Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well mightst thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bays 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 com

mend: Thy verse, created, like thy theme, sublime, In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme. DRYDEN.*

Three Poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn :
The first in loftiness of thought surpass’d;
The next, in majesty ; in both, the last.
The force of nature could no farther go:
To make a third, she join'd the former two.


But Milton next, with high and haughty stalks, ,
Unfetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks :
No vulgar hero can his Muse engage,
Nor earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage.
See! see! he upward springs, and, towering

Spurns the dull province of mortality;
Shakes Heaven's eternal throne with dire alarms,
And sets the Almighty Thunderer in arms !
Whate'er his pen describes I more than see;
Whilst every verse, array’d in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critic's nicer laws.

* Epigram on Milton. + From an Account of the Greatest English Poets.

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