Page images


U I fegis Amiffam Paradisum, grandia magni

Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis ?
Res cunctas, & cunétarum primordia rerum,

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

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

Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomumque fpecus: Quæque colunt terras, pontumque, & Tartara cæca,

Quæque colunt fummi lucida regna poli :
Et quodcunque ullis conclufum est finibus ufquam,

Et sine fine Chaos, &'fine fine Deus:
Et fine fine magis, fi quid magis eft fine fine,

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

Et tamen hæc hodie terrå Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces ! quæ protulit arina!

Quæ canit, & quanta prælia dira tuba!
Cæleftes acies! atque in certamine cælum!

Et quæ cæleftes pugna deceret agros! Quantus in ætliereis tollit fe Lucifer armis!

Atque ipfo graditur vix Michaële minor Quantis, & quain funestis concurritur iris, Dum ferus hic ftellas protegit, ille rapit! VOL. I.


Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,

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

Et metuit pugnæ non fuperefle furæ.
At fimul in coelis Metsiz insignia fulgent,

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotz strident, et sävą rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flaminæ vibrant, & vera tonitrua rauco

Admiftis flammis infonuere polo :
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, & impetus omnis,

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pænas fugiunt, & ceu foret Orcus asylam,

Infernis certant condere fe tenebris.
Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii,

Et quos fama recens vel colebravit anus. Hæc quicunque leget tantùm cecinisse putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.


WHEN I beheld the Paet blind, yet holda

In Nender 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 fight.


Yet as I read; ftill growing less levëre',
I lik'd his project, the success did féar ;
Through that wide field how he his way should find,
O'er which lame faith leads understanding Blind;
Left he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was eafy he thould render vain.

Or if a work to infinite he spannid,
Jealous I was that fome less skilful hand
(such as difquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excel)
Might hence prefume' the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and how it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty Poet; nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, sürmise.
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 doft 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, đeterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'k of in such state
As them preferves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us féize,
Thou sing it with so much gravity and ease;
And above human flight dort foar aloft
With plume so strong, lô equal, and fo foft.
The bird nam'd from tħat Paradise you sing
So never flags, but always kčeps on wing.



Where couldkt thou words of such a compass find ? Whence furnish such a vast expence of mind ? . Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well might'i 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; Their fancies like our bushy-points appear, The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. I too, transported by the mode, offend, And while I meant to praise thee must commend. Thy verse created like thy theme sublime,...

1 Number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.



[ocr errors]

To Mr. JOHN MILTON, On his Poem entitled PARADISE "LOST. O

Thou! the wonder of the present age,

An age immerst in luxury and vice;
A race of triflers; who can relish naught
But the gay issue of an idle brain :
How couldt thou hope to please this tinsel race ?
Though blind, yet with the penetrating eye
Of intellectual light thou dost survey
The labyrinth perplex'd of Heaven's decrees ;
And with a quill, pluck'd from an angel's wing,
Dipt in the fount that laves th' eternal throne,
Trace the dark paths of providence divine,
“ And justify the ways of God to Man."

F. C. ;680.


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


HE 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 meter; 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 VOL. I. B


« PreviousContinue »