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first thoughts and subsequent corrections of so great a poet as Milton; but it is remarkable that, in these manuscript poems, he doth not often make bis stops, or begin his lines with great letters. There are likewise in his own hand-writing, different plans of Paradise Lost, in the form of a tragedy; and it is an agreeable amusement to trace the gradual progress and improvement of such a work from its first dawnings in the plan of a tragedy to its full lustre in an epic poem. Together with the plans of Paradise Lost, there are the plans or subjects of several other intended tragedies, some taken from the Scripture, others from the British or Scottish histories; and of the latter, the last mentioned is Macbeth, as if he had an inclination to try his strength with Shakespear; and to reduce the play more to the unities,

beginning at the arrival of Malcolm at Macduff®; the matter of Duncan may be expressed by the appearing of his ghost."

These manuscripts of Milton were found by the learned Mr. Professor Mason, among some other old papers, which, he says, belonged to Sir Henry Newton Puckering, who was a considerable benefactor to the library; and for the better preservation of such truly valuable reliques, they were collected together, and handsomely bound in a thin folio, by the care, and at the charge, of a person who is now very

eminent in his profession, and was always a lover of the Muses, and at that time a Fellow of Trinity College, Mr. Clarke, one of his Majesty's counsel.

he proposes





Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni

Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis ?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,

Et fata, & fines continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,

Scribitur & toto quicquid in orbe latet :
Terræque, traćłusque maris, cælumque profundum,

Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivonrumque specus : Quæque colunt terras, pontumque, & Tartara cæca,

Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli :
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam,

Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,

In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futura?

Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces ! quæ protulit arma!

Quce çunit, & quanta prielia dira tuba!

Cælestes acies; atque in certamine colum!

Et quæ cælestes pugna deceret agros ! Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis!

Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele ininor! Quantis, & quam funestis concurritur iris,

Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit !
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,

Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt :
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,

Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suz.
At simul in ccelis Messiz insignia fulgent,

Et currus aniines, armaque digna Deo, Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, & vera tonitrua rauco
Admistis flammis insonuere polo :
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, & impetus omnis,

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad penas fugiunt, & ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii,

Et quos fama recens rel celebravit anus.
Hæc quicunque leget tantù:n cecinisse putabit

Mæonidem runas, Virgilium culices.




WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree,
Rebelling Angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all ; the argument
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song,
(So Sampson grop'd the temple's posts in spite)
The world o’erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I lik’d his project, the success did fear ;
Through that wide field how he his way should find,
O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so infinite he spann'd, Jealous I was that some less skilful hand (such as disquiet always what is well, And by ill imitating would excel)

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Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

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 horror on us seise, Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease; And above human flight dost soar aloft With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft. The bird nan'd from that Paradise you sing So never fiags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find ? Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind? Just Heav'n'thee like Tiresias to 'requite Rewards with propliecy thy loss of sight.

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure ; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and

spells, And like a pack horse tires without his bells;

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