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Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Admistris flammis insonuere Polo,

Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt.

Ad pœnas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii

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



WHEN I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconciled 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 Samson groped the temple's posts in spite,)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I liked 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 bence presume the whole creation's day
To change scenes, and show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious surmise.
But I am now convinced, and none will dare
Within thy labors 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 seize,
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 named 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 expanse of mind?
Just heaven thee like Tiresias to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure ;
While the town-bayes 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,

In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.

The numerous English poetical eulogia on Milton would alone form a volume. But we must content ourselves with inserting the following elegant translations by Cowper of the complimentary verses addressed to him, in Latin and Italian, by distinguished literary contemporaries.


WHAT features, form, mien, manners, with a mind

Oh how intelligent and how refined!

Were but thy piety from fault as free,

Thou wouldst no Angle but an Angel be.


MELES and Mincio, both your urns depress,
Sebetus boast henceforth thy Tasso less,

But let the Thames o'erpeer all floods, since he
For Milton famed shall, single, match the three.


GREECE, Sound thy Homer's, Rome, thy Virgil's name,
But England's Milton equals both in fame.



EXALT me, Clio, to the skies,
That I may form a starry crown
Beyond what Helicon supplies

In laureate garlands of renown;

To nobler worth be brighter glory given,

And to a heavenly mind a recompense from heaven.

Time's wasteful hunger cannot prey
On everlasting high desert,
Nor can Oblivion steal away
Its record graven on the heart;

Lodge but an arrow, Virtue, on the bow

That bends my lyre, and Death shall be a vanquish'd foe

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To Virtue, driven from other lands,
Their bosoms yield a safe retreat;
Her law alone their deed commands;
Her smiles they feel divinely sweet.
Confirm this record, Milton, generous youth!

And by true virtue prove thy virtue's praise a truth.

Zeuxis, all energy and flame,
Set ardent forth in his career;

Urged to his task by Helen's fame

Resounding ever in his ear;

To make his image to her beauty true,

From the collected fair each sovereign charm he drew.

The bee with subtlest skill endued Thus toils to earn her precious juice, From all the flowery myriads strew'd O'er meadow and parterre, profuse; Confederate voices one sweet air compound,

And various chords consent in one harmonious sound.

An artist of celestial aim,

Thy genius, caught by moral grace,

With ardent emulation's flame

The steps of Virtue toil'd to trace,

Observed in every land who brightest shone,

And blending all their best, made perfect good thy own

From all, in Florence born, or taught

Our country's sweetest accent there,

Whose works, with learned labor wrought.
Immortal honors justly share,

Thou hast such treasure drawn of purest ore,

That not e'en Tuscan bards can boast a richer store.

Babel confused, and with her towers Unfinish'd spreading wide the plain, Has served but to evince thy powers With all her tongues confused in vain, Since not alone thy England's purest phrase

But every polish'd realm thy various speech displays.

The secret things of heaven and earth,
By Nature, too reserved, conceal'd

From other minds of highest worth,
To thee are copiously reveal'd,

Thou know'st them clearly, and thy views attain

The utmost bounds prescribed to moral Truth's domain.

Let Time no more his wing display,
And boast his ruinous career,

For Virtue rescued from his sway
His injuries may cease to fear;
Since all events, that claim remembrance, find

A chronicle exact in thy capacious mind.

Give me, that I may praise thy song,
Thy lyre, by which alone I can,
Which, placing thee the stars among,

Already proves thee more than man;

And Thames shall seem Permessus, while his stream,

Graced with a swan like thee, shall be my favorite then e.

I, who beside the Arno, strain

To match thy merit with my lays,
Learn, after many an effort vain,

To admire thee rather than to praise,

And that by mute astonishment alone,

Not by the faltering tongue, thy worth may best be shown.

It is well known that the pecuniary advantages derived by Milton from his poetical works bore no comparison to their value, and no relation to their celebrity. The following curious documents are literally copied from the originals now in the possession of a gentleman of distinguished literary character: they are Milton's second receipt for Paradise Lost, the third receipt of his wife, and her final discharge to Simmons, the purchaser of the copyright:

APRIL 26, 1669. Recd then of Samuel Simmons five pounds, being the Second five pounds to be paid-mentioned in the Covenant. I say reed by me, JOHN MILTON.



I do hereby acknowledge to have received of Samuel Symonds Cittizen and Statoner of London, the Sum of Eight pounds: which is in full payment for all my right, title, or interest, which I have or ever had in the Coppy of a Poem Intitled Paradise Lost in Twelve Bookes in 8vo-By John Milton, Gent. my late husband. Wittness my hand this 21st day of December 1680. ELIZABETH MILTON.



Know all men by these pssents that I Elizabeth Milton of London Widdow, late wife of John Milton of London Gent: deceasedhave remissed released and for ever quitt claimed And by these pssents doe remise release & for ever quitt clayme unto Samuel Symonds of London, Printer-his heirs Excuts and Administrators All and all manner of Accon and Accons Cause and Causes of Accon Suites Bills Bonds writinges obligatorie Debts dues duties Accompts Summe and Sumes of money Judgments Executions Extents Quarrells either in Law or Equity Controversies and demands-And all & every other matter cause and thing whatsoever which against the said Samuel Symonds-I ever had and which I my heires Executers or Administrators shall or may have clayme & challenge or demand for or by reason or means of any matters cause or thing whatsoever from the beginning of the World unto the day of these pssents. In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the twenty ninth-day of April in the thirty third Year of the Reigne of our Soveraign Lord Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland King defender of the ffaith & Anno Dni. 1681.

Sealed and delivered

in the pssence of




The PROSE WORKS of Milton will, of course, be estimated according to the political principles and prejudices of the English reader. Milton was a bold and decided actor in the most eventful period of British history. But however the English public may be divided in sentiment on the principles and projects of the politics espoused by Milton, no one will now dare to deny him the just character of great ability, intellectual intrepidity, and Roman integrity; and, although intelligent readers may differ from the political tenets of the Prose Works, they must admire the peculiar felicity of the language, and the terse and eloquent passages which enrich every page. The purity of his prose style was publicly eulogized so early as the year 1650, in Hotham's Introduction to the Teutonick Philosophie-"In truth it is very hard to write good English: and few have attained its height, in this last frie of books, but Mr. Milton." The Areopagitica or Speech for the Liberty of the Press, in the nobility of its argument, and the majesty and strength of expression, is the most eloquent composition in the English language.

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