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as sweetly excell'd. Reader, if thou art eagle-eied to censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose them to thy exactest perusal.
- Thine to command,
Prefixed to the Comus, in this original edition, are the following letters: “To the Right Honourable, John Lord Viscount Bracly, son and heir
apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, &c. “My Lord,
“ This poem, which receiv'd its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledg'd by the author, yet it is a legitimate offspring, so lovely and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my several friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to those fair hopes and rare endowments of your muchpromising youth, which give a full assurance to all that kno you of a future excellence. Live sweet lord to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long oblig'd to your most honour'd parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all real expression, " Your faithful and most humble servant,
“ The copy of a Letter written by Sir Henry Wootton, to the Author,
upon the following Poem.
"From the College, this 13th of April, 1638. “Sir,
“It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here, the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer than to make me know that I wanted more time to value it and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H. I would have been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together some good authors of the ancient time: among which I observed you to have been familiar.
“Since your going you have charg'd me with new obligations,
both for a very kinde letter from you dated the sixth of this month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therwith. Wherin I should much commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Doric delicacy in your songs and odes, wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our language: "ipsa mollities.” But I must not omit to tell you, that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true artificer. For the work itself, I had view'd som good while before, with singular delight, having receiv'd it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R’s Poems, printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I now suppose) that the accessory might help out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave the reader “con la bocca dolce."
“Now sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may chalenge a little more priviledge of discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young lord S. as his governour, and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice som time for the king, after mine own recess from Venice.
“I should think that your best line will be thorow the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge: I hasten as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather to tell your short story from the interest you have given me in your sefety.
“At Siena I was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman courtier in dangerous times, having bin steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his family were strangled, save this only man that escap'd by föresight of the tempest: with him I had often much chat of those affairs; into which he took pleasure to look back from his native harbour; and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the center of his experience) I had wonn confidence enough to beg his advice, how I might carry myselı securely there, without offence of others, or of mine own conscience. “Signor Arrigo mio” (says he) “I pensieri stretti, et il viso sciolto" will go safely over the whole world: of which Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) your judgment doth need no commentary; and therfore, sir, I will commit you with it to the best of all securities, God's dear love, remaining your friend as much at command as any of longer date.
"Sir, I have expressly sent this my footboy to prevent your departure without som acknowledgement from me of the receipt of your obliging letter, having myself through som busines, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I shall understand you fixed, I shall be glad, and diligent to entertain you with home-novelties; even for som fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the cradle."
In 1667, Milton published in small quarto, pp. 342, without PreCace or Introduction, “Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books by John Milton. Licensed and entered according to order. London, printed and are to be sold by Peter Parker under Creed Church near Aldgate; and by Robert Boulter at the Turks head in Bishopsgate street; and Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstans Church in Fleet Street, 1667.”—This early title-page is extremely rare, and it is conjectured that a very partial sale only of the impression, with that original title, could have been effected. The copyright contract of Milton with the bookseller Simmons, who purchased the manuscript poem, is now in the possession of Mr. Pickering, publisher of the present edition. The following is a correct copy of this classical and invaluable relict.
“ Mr. Milton's Agreement with Mr. Symons, for Paradise Lost.
dated 27th April, 1667.” “ These Presents made the 27th day of Aprill 1667, between John Milton, gent. of the one part, and Samuel Symons, printer, of the other part, wittness That the said John Milton in consideration of five pounds to him now paid by the said Samuel Symons, and other the consideracóns herein mentioned, hath given, granted and assigned, and by these puts doth give, grant and assign unto the said Sam!l Symons, his executors, and assignes, All that Booke, Copy, or Manuscript of a Poem intituled Paradise Lost, or by whatsoever other title or name the same is or shall be called or distinguished, now lately licensed to be printed, together with the full benefitt, profit, and advantage thereof, or wch shall or may arise thereby. And the said John Milton for him, his exrs and adm's, doth covenant wth the said Sam'? Symons, his ex® and asse that he and they shall at all times hereafter have, hold and enjoy the same and all Impressions thereof accordingly, without the lett or hindrance of him the said John Milton, his exrs or assø, or any person or persons by his or their consent or privity And that he the
said John Milton, his exrs or admrs or any other by his or their meanes or consent, shall not print or cause to be printed, or sell, dispose or publish the said book or manuscript, or any other book or manuscript of the same tenor or subject, without the consent of the said Sam" Symons, his exrs or asss: In concideracon whereof the said Samell Symons for him, his ex", and admrs doth covenant with the said John Milton, his exrs, and asss well and truly to pay unto the said John Milton, his exTM, and admrs the sum of five ounds of lawfull english money at the end of the first Impression, which the said Sam" Symons, his exr, or ass" shall make and publish of the said copy or manuscript, which impression shall be accounted to be ended when thirteen hundred books of the said whole copy or manuscript imprinted, shall be sold and retailed off to particular reading customers. And shall also pay other five pounds, unto the said John Milton, or his ass at the end of the second impression, to be accounted as aforesaid, And five pounds more at the end of the third impression, to be in like manner accounted. And that the said three first impressions shall not exceed fifteen hundred books or volumes of the said whole copy, or manuscript, a peice. And further, that he the said Samuel Symons, and his exr, admrs, and asss shall be ready to make oath before a Master in Chancery concerning his or their knowledge and belief of or concerning the truth of the disposing and selling the said books by retail, as aforesaid, whereby the said Mr. Milton is too be entitled to his said money from time to time, upon every reasonable request in that behalf, or in default thereof shall pay the said five pounds agreed to be paid upon every impression, as aforesaid, as if the same were due, and for and in lieu thereof. In witness whereof, the said parties have to this writing indented, interchangeably sett their hands and seales the day and yeare first above written.
Sealed and delivered in? JOHN FISHER.
the presence of us, BENJAMIN GREENE, servt to Mr. Milton.
A copy of the first edition, with Milton's autograph, is in the possession of the publisher: in the fly leaf is the following Latin verse, which may have been intended by the poet as a motto to a new edition
Quantos tunc gemitus ipsi sibi, quantaq. nobis
Fifteen hundred copies were probably printed of this first edition of Paradise Lost, but we have no correct account of the periods of sale. Several new title-pages have been noticed by different collect
ors and critics, as appended to the original sheets during the first three years of publication. The title generally known to the bibliomaniacs, as the third title-page-viz. “Paradise Lost. A Poem in ten books. The Author John Milton. London. Printed by S. Simmons, and are to be sold by T. Helder at the Angel in Little Brittain 1669," has prefixed to the original sheets several new pages containing the argument, remarks on the metre, and a list of errata, preceded by the following short address.-—"The Printer to the Reader. Courteous Reader, There was no Argument at first intended to the book, but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procur'd it, and withall a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the Poem rimes not. S. Simmons."This “reason,” evidently from the above passage, was the composition of Milton, which indeed the bold and terse spirit of it would alone sufficiently prove: as it is seldom prefixed to the editions of the Poems, we now insert it, literally extracted from the edition of 1669.
66 THE VERSE." “The 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 goud Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom, but much to thir own vexation, bindrance, and constraint, to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, than else they would have exprest them. Not without cause, therefore, some 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 eares, triveal 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 avoyded 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 esteem'd an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover'd to Heroic Poem from the troublesom and inodern bondage of Rimeing."
In this brief and modest Introduction, was the great English Epic first made known to the public, as the vessel of discovery slowly weighs anchor and proudly sails from her native port to