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VIZ. LYCIDAS, L'ALLEGRO, IL PENSEROSO,
ARCADESCOMUS, ODES, SONNETS,
EPIGRAMMATUM LIBER, SYLVARUM LIBER.
WITH NOTES CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY,
AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS,
LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE,
PROFESSOR OF POETRY, AND
OF HISTORY, AT OXFORD.
THE SECOND EDITION,
WITH MANY ALTERATIONS, AND LARGE ADDITIONS.
“SI QUID MEREMUR SANA POSTERITAS SCIET.”
AD J, ROUS. V. 86.
P R E F A C E.
He poems which compose the present
volume were published almost thirty years before the appearance of the PARADISE LOST. During that interval, they were fo totally difregarded, at least by the general reader, as scarcely to have conferred on their author the reputation of a writer of verses; much less the distinction and character of a true poet. After the publication of the PARADISE LOST, whose acknowledged merit and increasing celebrity might have naturally contributed to call other pieces of the fame author, and of a kindred excellence, into a more conspicuous point of view, they long continued to remain in their original state of neglect and obscurity. At the infancy of their circulation, and for some years afterwards, they were overwhelmed in the commotions of faction, the conflict of religious disputation, and the professional ignorance of fanaticism. In succeeding years, when tumults and usurpations were at an end, and leisure and literature returned, the times were still unpropitious, and the public taste was unprepared for