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was occasionally driven to look deeper into my worm-eaten folio ; and I found it operæ pretium. It foon fully caught my attention ; and I value it much above its price, for the pleasure and gratification which it afforded me. To make some extracts from it, (not without a view to Milton,) was my medicinal occupation of the month of November, in last year. These are now before me ; and, to say something to you from them on the book itself, and the probability of our great poet's early acquaintance with it, and predilection for it, shall be my employment of the same returning season.


The folio edition of Sylvester's Du Bartas was published in 1621; when Milton was just at the age of thirteen. It was accompanied with highly encomiastic teftimonials of its merit from the Laudari Viri of the times; as Ben Jonson, Daniel, Davis of Hereford, Hall afterwards

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Bishop Bishop of Exeter, Vicars, and others *. I would suppose that Milton, who was an early up and passionate reader, became acquainted with this edition of Sylvester's Du Bartas on its first publication; and that he then perused it with the avidity of a young poetical mind; hence, perhaps,

Smit with the love of SACRED SONG.

I am not, indeed, without an opinion,

* Drayton dedicated his MIRACLES OF Moses to Sylvester and Du Bartas.

Sallust, to thee, and Sylvester thy friend,

Comes my high poem peaceably and chaste;
Your hallow'd labours humbly to attend,

That wreckful Time shall not have power to waste. + Milton tells us himself, that, from his twelfth year, he was so passionately fond of reading, as hardly ever to retire from his books to bed before midnight; which laid the foundation of his blindness.—" Pater me puerulum humaniorum literarum “ ftudiis deftinavit ; quas ITA AVIDE ARRIPUI, ut,

ÆTATIS DUODECIMO, vix unquam « ante mediam noctem a lucubrationibus discede“ rem; quæ prima oculorum pernicies fuit, &c.”






that the true origin of PARADISE Lost is, in this respect, to be traced primarily to SylveSTER'S Du BARTAS;, and I would precisely reverse Dr. Farmer's observation, by supposing, that this led to “ Milton's great poem;" not only by awakening his passion for sacred poesy, but by absolutely furnishing what Dr.

Johnson, in his preface to Lauder's Pamphlet, terms the PRIMA STAMINA of PARADISE Lost. This idea occurred to me, before I had observed by whom the book in question was printed. And it certainly corroborated it, when I found it recorded, at the end of the book, to have been

printed by Humfrey Lownes, dwelling on 66 Bread-Atreet-bill .": At this time Milton was actually living with his father in Bread-street ; and it is very possible that

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* Humfrey Lownes, printer and stationer, dwelt at the Star, on Bread-street-hill, from the year 1613. "His predecessor in the house was Peter Short, prin ter ; among the books printed by whom, as noticed by Ames, is, “ 1598, Part of Bartas's Divine " Weeks, translated by Joshua Sylvester." B 4


his early love of books made him a free quent visitor to his neighbour the printer, who, from his address to the reader * in és .* The address is as follows:

THE PRINTER TO THE READER. The name of TO'S HUA SYLVESTER is garland enough to hang before this dööre ; náme worthily dear to the prefent age, to posterity. I do not therefore go about to apologize for this work, or to commend it: it shall speak for itself louder than others” frienathip or envy. "I only advertire my roader, that, Aince the death of the author, (if at Heart it be safe to say thofe men are dead, whoperer survive in their living, monuments,) I have,

, carefully fetched together all the dispersed issue of that divine wit, as thofe which are well worthy to live Ylike brethren) together under one fair roof, that may both challenge time and outwear it. I durst not conceal the harmlefs fancies of his inoffenGive youth, which himself had devoted to fidence and forgetfulness. "It is so much the more glory to that worthy {pirit, that he, who was, so happy in thore youthful ftrains would yet turn and confine his pen to none but holy and religious ditties. Let the present and future times enjoy fo profitable and pleafing a work; and at once honour the author, and thank the editor.


appears to have been a man of a poetical taste ; and who, as such, was probably much struck with our young poet's early attention to books, and his other indications of genius.

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I have never seen Du Bartas's poems in their original French. They have been much condemned by some critics; and it has been said so on ne trouve dans ses

ouvrages ni invention ni genie poeti

que.”. The style of them has also been censured as ampoulé. By others they have been as much applauded and approved *. It is probable that Milton, before he wrote his great poem, had seen them in the original ; but this is a very immaterial confideration. To the English Du BARTAS we certainly must trace him, in some of

* Gulielmus Salluftius Do BARTAS, poemate Gallico de Creatione Mundi edito, tantum fibi gloriæ concisit, ut intra que et sex annos tricies editio redintegrari neceffe haberet,



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