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[Extracted from Dr. Newton's Octavo Edition of 1773.]
IThath been recommended to me by some great persons,
as well as by several friends, to complete the edition of Milton's Poetical Works: for though the Paradise Lost be the flower of epic poesy, and the noblest effort of genius, yet here are other poems which are no less excellent in their kind, and if they have not that sublimity and majesty, are at least equally beautiful and pleasing to the imagination. And the same method that was taken in the publication of the Paradise Lost, is pursued in this edition of the Paradise Reguin'd and other Poems, to exhibit the true and geguine text according to Milton's own editions. Of the Paradise Regain'd
and Samson Agonistesthere was only one edition in Milton's life-time, in the year 1671; and this we have made our standard, correfting only what the Author himself would have corrected. Dr. Bentley pronounces it to be without faults, but there is a largetable of errada at the end, which instead of being emended, båvě rather been augmentedin the
following editions, and turrige never corrected in any edition that I have seen before the present. Of the other Poems there were two editions in Milton's life-time, the first in 1645, before he was blind, and the other with some additions in 1673 •
Of the Mask there was like wise an edition published by Mr. Henry Lawes in 1637 : and of the Mask and several other poems there are extant copies in Milton's own hand writing, preserved in the library of Trinity College in Cambridge: and all these copies and editions have been carefully, collated and compared together. The Manuscript, indeed, hath been of singular service in rectifying several passages, and especially in the Son. nets, some of which were not printed till many years after Milton's death, and evere then printed imperfect and deficient both in sense and metre, but are now, by the belp of the Manuscript, restored to their just barmony and original perfection.
The Latin poems I cannot say are equal to several of
bis English compositions : but yet they are not without their merit; they are not a cento, like most of the modern Latin poetry; there is spirit, invention, and other marks and tokens of a rising genius ; for it should be considered, that the greater part of them were written while the Author was under twenty. They are printed corre&tly, according to bis own editions in 1645 and 1673.