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UI legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni

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

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

Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet:
Terraeque, tractusque maris, cælumque profundum,

Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomumque specus:
Quaeque colunt terras, pontumque, et Tartara caeca,

Quaeque colunt summi lucida regna poli:
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus ufquam,

Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus:
Et fine fine magis, si quid magis eft fine fine,

In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Haec qui speraret quis crederet efle futura?

Et tamen haec hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella`duces! quae protulit arma!

Quae canit, et quanta praelia dira tuba!
Cælestes acies! atque in certamine cælum!
Et quae cælestes pugna deceret agros!




Quantus in aethereis tollit se Lucifer armis!

Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor!
Quantis, et quam funestis concurritur iris,

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

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

Et metuit pugnae non fuperese fuae.
At fimul in cælis Messiae insignia fulgent,

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotae strident, et saeva rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammae vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco

Admistis flammis infonuere polo:
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,

Et casis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pænas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum,

Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graï,

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus.
Haec quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit

Maconidem ranas, Virgilium culices.


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HEN 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,
Heav'n, 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 spight)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his fight.

Yet as I read, foon 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)
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 labors to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss’d one thought that could be fit,


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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 doft soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so foft.
The bird nam'd from that Paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

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

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rime, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and spells, And like a pack-horse tires without his bells: Their fancies like our bushy-points appear, The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. I too transported by the mode Commend, And while I mean to Praise thee must offend. Thy verse created like thy theme sublime, In number, weight, and measure, needs not rime.



T 'HE measure is English heroic verse without

rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; rime 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 meter; grac'd 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 express’d them. Not without cause therefore fome both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note, have rejected rime 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 rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of riming.


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