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(So Sampson grop'd the temple's posts in spight) The world o’erwhelming to revenge his fight.
Yet as I read, still growing less severe, I lik’d his project, the success did fear; Through that wide field how he is
Or if a work so infinite he spannid,
Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor despise
That majesty, which through thy work doth reign, 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 horrour on us seise,
35 Thou fing'st with so much gravity and ease; And above human flight dost foar aloft With plume so strong, fo equal, and so foft. The bird, nam'd from that Paradise you fing, So never flags, but always keeps on wing.
Where couldst thou words of fuch a compass find? Whence furnith such a vast expence of mind? Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite, Rewards with prophecy thy loss of fight.
44 Well might'lt thou fcorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhime, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and 1pells, And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells : Their fancies like our bushy points appear; The poets tag them, we for fashion wear,
expence of mind ?] In fome modern editions of Milton, expence has here been converted into expanse. TODD.
Ver. 46. With tinkling rhime,] So, in Ben Jonson's Mask, The Fortunate Ies, a question is alked respecting Skogan, the jester!
“ But wrote he like a gentleman?" The answer is,
“ In rime! fine tinckling rime! and fowand verse !" Milton thus ridicules rhyme in calling it the“ jingling found of like endings." TODD. Ver. 49.
like our bushy points appear ; The poets tag them,] Richardson says, “I was the fashion in those days to wear much ribbon, which some adorn'd with tags of metal at the end,” Life of Milton, p. cxx. Points are said to have been metal hooks, fastened to the hose or breeches, which had no opening or buttons; and going into straps or eyes fixed to the doublet, to have thus kept the hose from falling down. See Steevens's Shakspeare, edit. 1793, vol. iv. 27. And Minthew's Guide into Tongues, 1627. V. Point.
It is related by Aubrey, in his MS. Life of Milotn, that “ John Dryden, Esq. Poet Laureat, who very much admired him, went to him to have leave to put his Paradise Lost into a Dramutick Poem. Milton received him very civilly, and told him he would give him leave to tagge his verses." M$. Ahmol. Mus, Oxford. TODD.
I too, transported by the mode, offend,
Ver. 51. I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And, while I meant to praise thee, must commend.) This is the true reading. Fenton, in his edition of Paradise Loft in 1725, thought proper to transpose the rhymes ; and he has been followed by Tonson's editions of 1727, 1730, 1738, and 1746. The errour is adopted also in Vernor's edition of 1789, and in Wilkins's of 1794. A Dublin edition of 1748, and an Edinburgh edition of 1779, read the fame.
It has been ingeniously observed, that Marvell very artfully here shofrs us the inconvenience of rhyme, in telling us that he designed to praise Milton, but now can do no more than commend him; because he is tied down by the rhyme, and only the worst of these two words will answer to offend. See Preface to “ Sighs on the death of Queen Anne, in imitation of Milton, Lond. 1719," 8vo. p. xiv. TODD.
To Mr. John Milton, on his Poem entitled Paradise
O THOU! the wonder of the present age, An
age immers'd in luxury and vice;
* These verses by F.C. are prefixed to Milton's poetical works in the Edition of the English poets, 1779. They had before appeared in Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. 69. But we are not told who F. C. was. As I have not yet met with these verses in any other publication, I may be permitted to offer & conjecture that Francis Cradock, a member of the Rota-Club to which Milton belonged, might be the author of them. See Wood's Ath. Or. vol. ii. 591. TODD.
A race of triflers; who can relish nought
F. C. 1680.
Ver. 9. The expressions, in this line, occur in one of Conftable's Sonnets. See vol. vi. p. 440 of this edition :
“ The pen wherewith thou dost so heauenly linge,
“ Made of a quill pluckt from an Angells winge.” So, in Davies's Bien Venu, 1606.
“ But poet's pens, pluckt from Archangels' wings." TODD.
# THREE Poets, in three diftant ages born,
go: To make a third, the jom'd the former two.
* This celebrated Epigram of Milton appears under the well. engraved head of the poet by R. White, prefixed to the folio edition of Paradise Lost in 1688. It has been thus published in many succeeding editions of the fame poem. Dryden, I should add, is a subscriber to the edition of 1688. The obligations of Dryden to others, in refpect to the formation and turn of this epigram, are noticed in vol. vii. p. 162 of this edition. TODD.
From an Account of the greatest English Poets. BUT Milton next, with high and haughty stalks, Unfetter'd, in majestick 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 high, 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 fee, Whilft every verse array'd in majesty, Bold and fublime, my whole attention draws, And seems above the critick's nicer laws. How are you struck with terrour and delight, When Angel with Archangel copes in fight! When great Messiah's outspread banner thines, How does the chariot rattle in his lines ! What found of brazen wheels, with thunder, scare And ftun the reader with the din of war! With fear my spirits and my blood retire, To see the Seraphs funk in clouds of fire: But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise, And view the first gay fcene of Paradise; What tongue, what words of rapture, can express A vision fo profuse of pleasantness !