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the reader concerning the argument and the reason why the poem rimes not; and then followed the argument of the several books, and the preface concerning the kind of verse, and the table of errata : others again had the argument, and the preface, and the table of errata, without that short advertisement of the printer to the reader : and this was all the difference between them, except now and then of a point or a letter, which were altered as the sheets were printing off. So that, notwithstanding these variations, there was still only one impression in quarto ; and two years almost elapsed, before 1300 copies could be sold, or before the author was intitled to his second five pounds, for which his receipt is still in being, and is dated April 26, 1669. And this was probably all that he received ; for he lived not to enjoy the benefits of the second edition, which was not published till the year 1674, and that faine year he died. The second edition was printed in a small octavo, and was corrected by the author himself, and the number of books was augmented from ten to twelve, with the addition of some few verses : and this alteration was made with great judgment, not for the fake of such a fanciful beauty as resembling the number of books in the Æneid, but for the more regular disposition of the poem, because the seventh and tenth books were before too long, and are more fitly divided each into two. The third edition was published in 1678 : and it appears that Milton had left his remaining right in the copy to his widow, and she agreed with Simmons the printer to accept eight pounds in full of all demands, and her receipt


ciples and

for the money is dated December 21, 1680. But a little before this Simmons had covenanted to assign the whole right of copy to Brabazon Aylmer the bookseller for twenty five pounds; and Aylmer afterwards sold it to old Jacob Tonson at two different times, one half on the 17th of August 1683, and the other half on the 24th of March 1690, with a considerable advance of the price : and except one fourth of it which has been assigned to several persons, his family have enjoyed the right of copy ever since. By the last aflignment it appears, that the book was growing into repute and rising in valuation ; and to what perverseness could it be owing that it was not better received at first? We conceive there were principally two reasons; the

prejudices against the author on account of his prin

party; and many no doubt were offended with the novelty of a poem that was not in rime. Rymer, who was a redoubted critic in those days, would not so much as allow it to be a poem on this account; and declared war against Milton as well as against Shakespear; and threatened that he would write reflections upon the Paradise Lost, which fome (says he *) are plealed to call a poem, and would affert rime against the slender fophiftry wherewith the author attacks it. And such a man as bishop Burnet maketh it a fort of objection to Milton, that he affected to write in blank verfe without rime. And the same reason induced Dryden to turn the principal parts of Paradise Lost into rime in his Opera called the state of innocence and Fall of man; to tag his lines, as Milton himself expressed

* See Rymer's Tragedies of the last age confi.ler'd, p. 143.

it, alluding to the fashion then of wearing tags of metal at the end of their ribbons. We are told indeed by Mr. Richardson, that Sir George Hurgerford, an ancient member of parlament, told him, that Sir John Denham came into the house one morning with a sheet of Paradise Lost wet from the press in his hand; and being asked what he had there, said that he had part of the noblest poem that ever was written in any language or in any age. However it is certain that the book was unknown till about two years after, when the Earl of Dorset produced it, as Mr. Richardson was informed by Dr. Tancred Robinson the physician, who had heard the story often from Fleetwood Shephard himself, that the Earl, in company with Mr. Shephard, looking about for books in Little Britain, accidentally met with Paradise Lost; and being surprised at some passages in dipping here and there, he bought it. The bookseller begged his Lordship to speak in its favor if he liked it, for the impression lay on his hands as waste paper. The Earl having read it fent it to Dryden, who in a short time returned it with this answer, " This man cuts us all out, and the Ancients too. Dryden's epigram upon Milton is too well known to be repeated; and those Latin verses by Dr. Barrow the physician, and the English ones by Andrew Marvel Esq; usually prefixed to the Paradise Lost, were written before the second edition, and were published with it. But still the poem was not generally known and esteemed, nor met with the deserved applause, till after the edition in folio, which was published in 1688 by subscription. The Duke of Buckinghain in his Essay on poetry prefers Talso and Spenser to Mil

Vol. I.



ton : and it is related in the life of the witty Earl of Rochester, that he had no notion of a better poet than Cowley. In 1686, or thereabout, Sir William Temple published the second part of his Miscellanies, and it may surprise any reader, that in his Effay on poetry he taketh no notice at all of Milton ; nay he faith expressly that after Ariosio, Tasso, and Spenser, he knoweth none of the Moderns who have made any achievements in heroic poetry worth recording. And what can we think, that he had not read or heard of the Paradise Lost, or that the author's politics had prejudiced him against his poctry? It was happy that all great men were not of his mind. The bookseller was advisd and encouraged to undertake the folio edition by Ir. Sommers, afterwards Lord Sommers, who not only !ubicribed himself, but was zealous in promoting the subscription: and in the list of fubfcrihers we find some of the most eminent names of that time, as the Earl of Dorset, Waller, Dryden, Dr. Aldrich, Mr. Atterbury, and among the rest Sir Roger Lestrange, tho' he had formerly written a piece intitled No blind Guides, &c. againt Milton's Notes upon Dr. Griíiith's fermon. There were two editions more in folio, one I think in 1692, the other in 1695, which was the fixth edition ; for the poem was now so well received, that notwithstanding the price of it was four uimes greater than before, the sale increased double the number every year; asthe bookseller, who fiould best know, has informied us in his dedication of the smaller editions to Lord Sommers. Since that time not only various editions have been printed, but allo various nutes and translations. The first

perfon who wrote annotations upon Paradise Loft was


In 1732

P. H. or Patrick Hume, of whom we know nothing, unless his name may lead us to some knowledge of his country, but he has the merit of being the first (as I say) who wrote notes upon Paradise Loft, and his notes were printed at the end of the folio edition in 1695. Mr. Addison's Spectators upon the subject contributed not.a little to establishing the character, and illustrating the beauties of the poem. appeared Dr. Bentley's new edition with notes: and the year following Dr. Pearce published his Review of the text, in which the chief of Dr. Bentley's emendations are confidered, and several other emendations and observations are offered to the public. And the year after that Messieurs Richardfon, father and fon, published their Explanatory notes and remarks, The poem

has been also tranlated into several lan. guages, Latin, Italian, French, and Dutch; and

proporals have been made for translating it into Greck, The Dutch translation is in blank verfe, and printed at Harlem. The French have a tranflation by Monf. Dupré de St. Maur ; but nothing showeth the weakness and imperfection of their language more, than that they have few or no good poetical versions of the greatest poets ; they are forced to translate Homer, Virgil, and Milton into prose : blank verse their language has not harmony and dignity enough to fupport; their tragedies, and many of their comedies are in rime. Rolli, the famous Italian master here in England, made an Italian translation; and Mr. Richardson the son law another at Florence in manufcript by the learned Abbè Salvini, the fime who translated Addison's Cato into Italian. One William Hog or Hogrus trandated Paradise Loft, Paradise

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