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WITH COPIOUS NOTES,
EXPLANATORY AND CRITICAL,
PARTLY SELECTED FROM ADDISON, BENTLEY, BOWLE, CALMET, CALLENDER, DUNSTER,
GILLIES, GREENWOOD, HUME, DEYLIN, JOHNSON, JORTIN, LORD MONBODDO,
3, QUAI MALAQUAIS, NEAR THE PONT DES ARTS,
It is not necessary for me, in briefly and simply explaining the plan and object of this edition, to premise, with Bishop Newton, and other excellent critics on other authors, many remarks on the generally acknowledged advantage of good explanatory comments on celebrated works. Though all admire Paradise Lost as the greatest poem in our language, or of modern ages; while most of, the eminent literati contend for its supremacy oyer any poem in any larguage, or age; though it is a work now more generally read and esteemed, than any other poetic work ever published; yet it is a fact to be regretted, that comparatively but a few fully understand it. This general ignorance results from the character of the poem, and of the commentaries upon it: such an abundance of profound erudition, and of all the embellishments of poetry, has been condensed in it, that cyen a sound scholar, if unaided, should expend in acquiring a correct knowledge of it the labour of years; and those good editions are so voluminous and expensive, that many who could afford to purchase them, would not undergo the labour of their perusal; and many who would undergo it, could not well afford to purchase them. The editions by Bishop Newton and the Rev. Dr. Todd are the best-indeed the only editions that can be considered as at all treating the subject with any approach to fulness.
Of Newton's edition of Milton's poetic works, 2 vols. large 4to. are occupied with Paradise Lost; and of Todd's, 4 vols. large 8vo.; presatory matter included. But though Newton, independently of his own extensive learning, drew largely from the commentaries of his predecessors, and obtained liberal contributions from many of his learned contemporaries; and though Todd freely used Newton's edition - received many subsidiary comments from other sources, and introduced with great industry much new matter, either as explanatory of the text, or by way of parallel illustration, from other authors, ancient and modern ; still it appeared to me, that in very many important passages there was a void of useful elucidation, while in others there was a tedious superabundance; and on others, again, opinions were asserted which were palpably wrong. I conceived, then, long since, the idea of giving an edition of this poem,