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occasions. To display the motives and actions of beings thus superior, so far as human reason can examine them, or human imagination represent them, is the task which this mighty poet has undertaken and performed.' But criticism on the Paradise Lost' has been exhausted in a number of books that are familiar to the reader; and praise, if it were to be bestowed in proportion to merit, would perhaps require a new language, or an imagination as fertile as that of the author. Of the four names which universal opinion has placed at the head of poetic excellence, Homer, Virgil, Shakspeare, and Milton, it is a proud consolation that England can claim two. The multiplied and multiplying editions of the poem now before the reader, sufficiently attest the improvement of public taste. It has indeed been remarked by Addison, that, by the nature of its subject, it has the advantage of every other, in being universally and perpetually interesting. All mankind will, through all ages, bear the same relation to Adam and to Eve, and must partake of that good and evil which extend to themselves.

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