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A NEW EDITION.
By THOMAS NEWTON, D.D.
BISHOP of BRISTOL.
VOLUME the FIRST.
Printed for W. STRAHAN, J. F. and C. RIVINGTON, R. HORSFIELD,
T hath been recommended to me by fome great perfons, as well as by several friends, to complete the edition of Milton's poetical works: for tho' the Paradife Loft be the flower of epic poesy, and the nobleft effort of genius; yet here are other poems which are no less excellent in their kind, and if they have not that fublimity and majefty, are at least equally beautiful and pleafing to the imagination. And the fame method that was taken in the publication of the Paradife Loft, is purfued in this edition of the Paradife Regain'd and other poems, firft to exhibit the true and genuin text according to Milton's . own editions, and then to illuftrate it with notes critical and explanatory of various authors. Of the Paradife Regain'd and Samfon Agonistes there was only one edition in Milton's life-time, in the year 1671; and this we have made our standard, correcting only what the author himself would have corrected. Dr. Bentley pronounces it to be without faults, but there is a large table of Errata at the end, which instead of being emended have rather been augmented in the following editions, and were never corrected in any edition that I have feen before the prefent. Of the other poems there were two editions in Milton's lifetime, the first in 1645 before he was blind, and the other with fome additions in 1673. Of the Mafk there was likewife an edition publifh'd by Mr. Henry Lawes in 1637 and of the Mafk and feveral other poems there are extant copies in Milton's own hand writing, preferved in the library of Trinity College in Cambridge: and all these copies and editions have
been carefully collated and compared together, the differences and variations are noted, and even the poet's corrections and alterations in his Manufcript are specified for the fatisfaction of the curious critical reader. The Manuscript indeed hath been of fingular fervice in rectifying feveral paffages, and efpecially in the Sonnets, fome of which were not printed till many years after Milton's death, and were then printed imperfect and deficient both in fenfe and meter, but are now by the help of the Manuscript restored to their juft harmony and original perfection. From the Manuscript too we have given the plan of Paradife Loft, as Milton first defigned it, in the form of a tragedy, and likewise the subjects which he had sketched out for other tragedies, whether with an intention ever to finish them or not we cannot be certain. They were printed before in the Hiftorical and Critical Life of Milton prefixed to his profe works by the learned and ingenious Mr. Birch, who is continually adding fomething new to the stock of learning but it was judged proper to reprint them from the Manufcript in this edition, as they bear a nearer relation to the author's poetical works.
The notes, as upon the Paradife Loft, fo likewife upon the Paradife Regain'd and other poems, are of various authors and of various kinds: but thefe, excepting only a few, were never printed before, and have therefore novelty to recommend them, as well as fome names of the firft rank and greatest eminence in the republic of letters. The truth of my affertion will be fully justify'd by mentioning only the names of Mr. Warburton and Mr. Jortin, who while they
are employ'd in writing the most learned and elaborate defenses of religion, yet find leisure to cultivate the politer arts, and to promote and improve both in themselves and others a claffical tafte of the finest authors and whatever may be the fuccefs, I can never repent of having engaged in this undertaking, which hath given me fo many convincing proofs of their friendship and kindness, and at the fame time hath happily conjoined (what perhaps might never else have been joined together) my ftudies and my name with theirs. I am equally obliged too to Mr. Thyer for the continuation of his friendly affiftance; and the reader will find the fame good fenfe, and learning, and ingenuity in thefe, as in his former remarks the Paradife Loft. And now he hath upon gone thro' Milton's poetical works, I hope he will do the fame juftice to another of our greatest English poets, and gratify the public with a complete edition of Spenfer's works, or at least with his equally learned equally elegant obfervations upon them. I would not be underitood by this to difparage in the leaft Mr. Upton's, intended edition, or Mr. Sympfon's, who is. my friend, and hath kindly affifted me in this edition, as well as in that of the Paradife Loft. Mr. Upton is certainly a man of great learning, and fo likewife is Mr. Symp. fon, and particularly well read in our old English authors, as appears from his fhare in the late excellent edition of Beaumont's and Fletcher's works: but I know no man, who hath a jufter and more delicate tafte of the beauties of an author than Mr. Thyer, or is a greater master of the Italian language and Italian poetry, which in Spenfer's time was the ftudy