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this impreffion. The third edition was published in 1678, and his widow agreed with Simmons the printer to receive eight pounds as her right, and gave him a general releafe, dated April 29, 1681. Simmons covenanted to transfer the right for twenty-five pounds to Brabazen Aylmer, a bookseller, and Aylmer fold to Jacob Tonfon half of it, August 17, 1683, and the other half March 24, 1690, at a price confiderably advanced.
The fale, Johnson says, will justify the public: the call for books in Milton's age was not great. The nation had been fatisfied from 1623 to 1664 with only two editions of the works of Shakespeare, which probably together did not make two thousand copies." The fale of thirteen hundred copies in two years was an uncommon example of the prevalence of genius. Yet the demand did not immediately increase, for in eleven years only three thousand were fold: but the reputation and price of the copy ftill advanced; "till the revolution put an end to the secrecy of love, and Paradise Loft broke into open view with fufficient fecurity of kind reception." Dr. Symmons calculates that in little more than eleven years four thousand five hundred copies were fold, and that before the expiration of twenty years, fix editions were published. I poffefs a German tranflation in verse of it, printed but a few years after the date of the original, which is a strong evidence of its growing popularity.
whole fifteen pounds for which he had ftipulated; but fee Todd's Life, (first ed.) p. 109. The original agreement for Paradise Loft, is now in the collection of Samuel Rogers, Efq. the fecond receipt and the final discharge, is in the poffeffion of Dawfon Turner, Efq. Concerning the plagiarisms of Callender (who publifhed the first book of Milton, 1750) from the Commentary of Patrick Hume, 1695, fee Blackwood's Mag. No. xxiv. p. 659. March 1819.
74 Johnfon, however, fhould have remembered that large impreffions of Shakespeare's Plays were always attainable, in a separate and more commodious form, in 4to.
This rare book was printed at Zerbst in Moravia 1682. The tranflator Ernft Gottlieb Von Berge.
Though the poem of Milton was above the age on 75 which it was bestowed (for fuch greatness of invention, such harmony of numbers, and fuch majesty of style had not then been seen united); yet admirers among men of learning and genius it undoubtedly had. Andrew Marvell and Barrow, the physician,76 wrote fome manly and spirited verses in its praife. Dr. Warton fays, "It may be remarked to the praise of Rofcommon that he was the first critic who had taste and spirit enough publicly to praise Paradise Loft." Dryden's lines of commendation are known to all;" and praise in other books by authors of lower fame, has been discovered by the diligence
75 The poets, contemporary with Milton, were Waller, Suckling, Crashaw, Denham, Lovelace, Cowley, Brome, Sherborne, Fanfhaw, Davenant, befides those of inferior note. "Never any poet left a greater reputation behind him, than Mr. Cowley, while Milton remained obfcure, and known but to few, but your grace knows very well that the great reputation of Cowley did not continue half a century, and that Milton's is now on the pinnacle of the temple of fame." Dennis's Letters Familiar, &c. p. 207. See on Milton and Waller, Sir T. P. Blount on Poetry, 4to. p. 137.
76 The following couplet in Marvell has wonderfully puzzled the com
"I too tranfported by the mode offend,
And while I meant to praise thee, must commend."
See Lofft's Milton, p. xlvi, liii. where "moft commend," "mif-commend," ," "but commend," are offered; whereas the fenfe is perfectly clear. "While I meant to praise thee, muft commend; i. e. must, for the fake of the rhyme, ufe the word "commend," inftead of "praife," which is the word I fhould otherwife have used. Even Bentley, in a MS. note in my copy, has crased "muft" and written "most."
77 Dryden owned to Dennis, "that when he adapted his ftate of innocence from Milton, he knew not half the extent of Milton's excellence." v. Dennis's Letters, Moral and Critical, 1721, p. 75.
of the commentators. In 1688,78 the handfome folio edition was published under the patronage of Lord Somers, with the affistance of Atterbury79 and Dryden; in 1682, it was tranflated into Dutch, and into Latin in 1685, and ten years after, it appeared with a very curious and learned commentary by Patrick Hume. I fhall here take the opportunity of mentioning the volumes published by Lauder, "Auctorum Miltono facem prælucentium ;" and of remarking (after having perused the poems which they contain) that little doubt can be entertained, but that Milton was acquainted with the Adamus Exful of Grotius, and probably with the poetry of Ramsay and Mafenius. Thofe who are curious on the fubject may compare the poems of Ramsay with the description of the creation in the feventh book, and the drama of Grotius. with the temptation in the ninth; and, if familiar with the language of Milton, they will find fome resemblances; but the charge of plagiarifm was unjuft, and indeed abfurd. Milton's immenfe reading extended over the whole field of literature, and in every direction; and it required all his learning, collected by painful ftudy during the beft years of his life, long depofited in his memory, and
78 See Todd's Life, p. 198-202, there were five hundred and thirty fubfcribers. See a lift of the most eminent of them in Lofft's Milton, p. xlix.
79 Atterbury faid, "that be prepared the edition of Milton, ufually called Lord Somers's-from a MS. note of his in an edition of Milton out of the library of Warburton," v. Atterbury's Works, iv. p. 164, and v. p. 303. And see Armstrong's Works, vol. 1, p. 136. See the fubfcribers to this edition in Birch's Life of Milton, p. lviii. and fee Malone's Life of Dryden, p. 202. Sir John Medina drew all the defigns for Somers' edition, except the laft, which is taken from Raphael's Bible. Rev. A. Dyce poffeffes the original drawings which were Dr. Metcalf's. See Walpole's Anecdotes of Painters, p. 375, 4to. on "Medina." Dryden wrote his well-known epigram for this edition on the portrait.
See Voltaire, Diat. Philofophique, vol. 5, p. 111, on the Sarcotis and on Milton.
remoulded by his genius, to build up his immortal poem. Where is there an extenfive work of eftablished reputation to be found, that is not evidently the result of long study, and affiduous labours? Let us confider that his materials were a few verfes in Genefis, and that the reft is created by his own imagination, fupplied "by industrious and select reading." Thus the tributary stores from poets of every age and country were poured into his mind; and they were always returned with augmented beauty and luftre.80 We may say of him, as a Roman critic faid of Virgil; "et judicio transferendi et modo imitandi confecutus eft, ut quod apud illum legerimus alienum, aut illius effe malimus, aut melius hic quam ubi natum est, sonare miremur." 81"The judgment of Milton," fays Mr. Coleridge, " in the conduct of the celeftial part of the story is very exquifite. Wherever God is represented as divinely acting as Creator, without any exhibition of his own effence, Milton adopts the simplest and fterneft language of the Scriptures. He ventures upon no poetic diction, no amplification, no pathos, no affertion. It is truly the voice or the word of the Lord coming to, and acting on the fubject chaos. But as some personal interest was demanded for the purposes of poetry, Milton takes advantage of the dramatic representation of God's addrefs to the Son, the filial Alterity,
80 Natalis Donadei Poema Heroicum de Bello Chrifti. Maffanæ 1614. Ven. 1616. Hoc vidit procul dubio in Italia Miltonus, nihil ex poefi fumturus, at aliquid ex argumento, præfertim libri fecundi in poema magnum ubi loquitur Satanas, fequentium in alterum. v. W. S. Landori Poemata, p. 199. There is a Latin translation of a Tragedy of Beza's, by T. Iacomotus, called " Abram from Morea, or Ifaac Redeemed," A. D. 1597, which Milton is supposed to have seen.
lis's Memoirs, p. 528.
81 v. Macrobii Saturn. lib. vi. c. 1. Pearce obferves that Milton imitates Virgil oftener than Homer. v. P. L. iv. 735
and in those addresses flips in as it were by stealth language of affection, or thought, or fentiment, &c.82 Indeed although Milton was undoubtedly a high Arian in his mature life, he does in the neceffity of poetry give a greater objectivety to the Father and the Son, than he would have justified in argument. He was very acute in adopting the ftrong Anthropomorphism of the Hebrew Scriptures at once. Compare the Paradise Loft with Klopstock's Meffiah, and you will learn to appreciate Milton's judgment and skill quite as much as his genius."
An anecdote had long been current, which originally came from Richardson, that Sir John Denham came into the House of Commons with a fheet of Paradise Loft, wet from the press, in his hand, and being asked what it was, replied, "Part of the nobleft poem that was ever written in any age or language."83 Such is the facility with which anecdotes that amuse or surprise, pass current from mouth to mouth, that they need but a slender foundation to enfure belief. On examination, it was dif covered that Denham was never in Parliament; and consequently the whole story is an ingenious fiction. I shall conclude my remarks on the publication of the poem, by mentioning that in an original edition, belonging to a gentleman who communicated the fact to the public,
82 v. Table Talk, vol. ii. p. 264.
83 I poffefs a curious book, called “A New Verfion of Paradise Loft, or Milton paraphrased, in which the measure and verfification are corrected and harmonized, the obscurities elucidated, and the faults removed, by a gentleman of Oxford" (Mr. Green), in 1706. It is one of the most ludicrously abfurd books that I ever read. He fays that he has introduced a novelty in this verfion, by bracing thofe lines that read beft together, in imitation of the triplets in rhyme. His notes are not lefs curious than the text. My copy belonged to fome perfon as eccentric as the author, as appears by his MSS. notes in the margin. He has had the book lettered-" Milton traveftied furely."