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-For lofty sense,
Creative fancy, and inspection keen
Through the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable Muse
Of classic ages in thy Milton met?

A genius, universal as his theme;
Astonishing as Chaos; as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair; as Heaven sublime!


SAY, goddess, can the festal board, Or young Olympia's form ador'd; Say, can the pomp of promis'd fame Relume thy faint, thy dying, flame? Or have melodious airs the power To give one free poetic hour? Or, from amid the Elysian train, The soul of Milton shall I gain, To win thee back with some celestial strain?

O powerful strain! O sacred soul!

His numbers every sense control: And now again my bosom burns; The Muse, the Muse herself, returns!


OUR stedfast bard, to his own genius true, Still bade his Muse, "fit audience find, though "few."

Whose generous zeal, unbought by flattering rhymes,

Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times;
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise!
Let Wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage
With close Malevolence, or public Rage;
Let Study, worn with Virtue's fruitless lore,
Behold this theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall

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That never Britain can in vain excel;
The slighted arts futurity shall trust,
And rising ages hasten to be just.

At length our mighty bard's victorious lays
Fill the loud voice of universal praise;
And baffled Spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious, catches at his towering name:
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours which he scorn'd below,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold.
Unknown,-unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threatening o'er her slow decay.
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No favouring Muse her morning dreams inspire
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Hers the mild merits of domestic life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus grac'd with humble Virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!
'Tis yours to crown desert-beyond the grave.
Dr. Johnson's Prologue to the Mask of Comus,

acted at Drury-Lane Theatre, April 5, 1750, for the Benefit of Milton's Grand-daugh


YE patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame, Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's name,

NOR Second he that rode sublime
The secrets of the abyss to spy,
Upon the seraph-wings of ecstasy;

He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,

Where angels tremble while they gaze,

He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.



HIGH on some cliff, to Heaven up-pil'd,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where tangled round the jealous steep
Strange shades o'erbrow the vallies deep,
And holy Genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head

An Eden, like his own, lies spread;
I view that oak the fancied glades among,
By which as Milton lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that dropp'd ethereal dew,

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Nigh spher'd in Heaven, its native strains could hear,

On which that ancient trump he reach'd was hung;

Thither oft his glory greeting,

From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,
With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue
My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue;
In vain: -Such bliss to one alone


Of all the sons of soul was known;

APART, and on a sacred hill retir'd,
Beyond all mortal inspiration fir'd,
The mighty Milton sits :-An host around
Of listening angels guard the holy ground;

And Heaven and Fancy, kindred powers,
Have now o'erturn'd the inspiring bowers,
Or curtain'd close such scene from every fu- Amaz'd they see a human form aspire

ture view.

To grasp with daring hand a seraph's lyre
Inly irradiate with celestial beams,

Attempt those high, those soul-subduing themes,
(Which humbler denizens of Heaven decline,)
And celebrate, with sanctity divine,

The starry field from warring angels won,
And God triumphant in his Victor son.
Nor less the wonder, and the sweet delight,
His milder scenes and softer notes excite,
When, at his bidding, Eden's blooming grove
Breathes the rich sweets of innocence and love.
With such pure joy as our forefather knew
When Raphael, Heavenly guest, first met his

And our glad sire, within his blissful bower,
Drank the pure converse of the etherial Power,
Round the best bard his raptur'd audience
And feel their souls imparadis'd in song.



RISE, hallow'd Milton! rise, and say,
How, at thy gloomy close of day;
How, when depress'd by age, beset with

When "fall'n on evil days and evil tongues:"
When Darkness, brooding on thy sight,
Exil'd the sov'reign lamp of light:
Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse;
What friends were thine, save Memory and the

Hence the rich spoils, thy studious youth
Caught from the stores of ancient Truth:
Hence all thy busy eye could pleas'd explore,
When Rapture led thee to the Latian shore;
Each scene, that Tiber's bank supplied;
Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side;
The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly;
The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;

Were still thine own: thy ample mind
Each charm receiv'd, retain'd, combin'd,
And thence "the nightly visitant,” that came
To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame,
Recall'd the long-lost beams of grace;
That whilom shot from Nature's face,
When God, in Eden, o'er her youthful breast
Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gor-
geous vest.



Lo! this the land, whence Milton's Muse of fire
High soar'd to steal from Heaven a seraph's lyre;
And told the golden ties of wedded love
In sacred Eden's amarantine grove.


To the fell house of Busyrane, he led
The unshaken Britomart; or Milton knew,
When in abstracted thought he first conceiv'd
All Heaven in tumult, and the seraphim
Came towering, arm'd in adamant and gold.

NOR then let dreams, of wanton folly born,
My senses lead through flowery paths of joy;
But let the sacred Genius of the night
Such mystic visions send, as Spencer saw,
When through bewildering Fancy's magic


AGES elaps'd ere Homer's lamp appear'd,
And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard:
To carry Nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, ask'd ages more.
Thus Genius rose and set at order'd times,
And shot a day-spring into distant climes,
Ennobling every region that he chose;
He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose ;
And, tedious years of Gothic darkness pass'd,
Emerg'd all splendour in our isle at last.
Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main,
Then show far off their shining plumes again.

PHILOSOPHY, baptiz'd

In the pure fountain of eternal love,
Has eyes indeed; and, viewing all she sees
As meant to indicate a God to man,
Gives him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: Piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews,
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in his word sagacious. Such too thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on manna. And such thine, in whom
Our British Themis gloried with just cause,
Immortal Hale! for deep discernment prais'd,
And sound integrity, not more than fam'd
For sanctity of manners undefil'd.


AND thou, with age oppress'd, beset with wrongs,
And "fall'n on evil days and evil tongues.
In darkness and with dangers compass'd round,"
What stars of joy thy night of anguish crown'd?
What breath of vernal airs, or sound of rill,
Or haunt by Siloa's brook or Sion's hill,
Or light of cherubim, the empyreal throne,
The effulgent ear, and inexpressive One?
Alas, not thine the foretaste of thy praise;
A dull oblivion wrapt thy mighty lays.
A while thy glory sunk, in dread repose;
Then, with fresh vigour, like a giant rose,
And strode sublime, and pass'd, with generous

The feeble minions of a puny age.


SEE! where the BRITISH HOMER leads The Epic choir of modern days; Blind as the Grecian bard, he speeds To realms unknown to pagans lays:

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THE measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin: rhyme being no necessary adjunct, or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age to set off wretched matter and lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause, therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works: as have also long since our best English tragedies: as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another; not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients, both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it is rather to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered, to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.






The first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now falling into Hell described here, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here Satan with his angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall; Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy, or report in Heaven; for, that angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.

Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning, how the Heavens and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the

Wast present, and, with mighty wings out spread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the heighth of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,

Nor the deep tract of Hell; say first, what cause
Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favour'd of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
The infernal Serpent; he was, whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his

Of rebel angels; by whose aid, aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equall'd the Most High,
If he oppos'd; and, with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,

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