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COMPOSED AT SEVERAL TIMES,
BY MR. JOHN MILTON.
- Baccare frontem Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro.
Virgil, Eclog. 7.
To the first edition of the author's poems, printed in 1645, was prefixed the following advertisement of
THE STATIONER TO THE READER.
IT is not any private respect of gain, gentle Reader, for the slightest pamphlet is now-a-days more vendible than the works of learnedest men; but it is the love I have to our own language, that hath made me diligent to collect and set forth such pieces both in prose and verse, as may renew the wonted honour and esteem of our English tongue: and it is the worth of these both English and Latin poems, not the flourish of any prefixed encomiums that can invite thee to buy them, though these are not without the highest commendations and applause of the learnedest Academics, both domestic and foreign; and amongst those of our own country, the unparalleled attestation of that renowned Provost of Eton, Sir Henry Wotton. I know not thy palate how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy soul is; perhaps more trivial airs may please thee better. But howsoever thy opinion is spent upon these, that encouragement I have already received from the most ingenious men in their clear and courteous entertainment of Mr. Waller's late choice pieces, hath once more made me adventure into the world, presenting it with these ever-green, and not to be blasted laurels. The Author's more peculiar excellency in these studies was too well known to conceal his papers, or to keep me from attempting to solicit them from bim. Let the event guide itself which way it will, I shall deserve of the age, by bringing into the light as true a birth, as the Muses have brought forth since our famous Spenser wrote; whose poems in these English ones are as rarely imitated as sweetly excelled. Reader, if thou art cagle-eyed to censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose them to thy cxactest perusal.