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may be in this report, it is certain that he did not begin to mould his subject in the form which it bears now, before he had concluded his controversy with Salmasius and More, when he had wholly lost the use of his eyes, and was forced to employ, in the office of an amanuensis, any friend who accidentally paid him a visit. Yet, under all these discouragements and various interruptions, in the year 1669 he published his Paradise Lost, the noblest poem (next to those of Homer and Virgil) that ever the wit of man produced in any age or nation. Need I mention any other evidence of its inestimable worth, than that the finest geniuses who have succeeded him, have ever esteemed it a merit to relish and illustrate its beauties?

And now perhaps it may pass for a fiction, what with great veracity I affirm to be a fact, that Milton, after having with 'much difficulty prevailed to have this divine poem licensed for the press, could sell the copy for no more than fifteen pounds; the payment of which valuable consideration depended upon the sale of three numerous impressions. So unreasonably may personal prejudice affect the most excellent performances!

About two years after, he published Paradise Regained'; but, Oh! - what a falling off was there!-of which I will say no more, than that there is scarcely a more remarkable instance of the frailty of human reason than our author'gave in preferring this poem to Parudise Lost.

And thus having attended him to the sixtysixth year of his age, as closely as such imperfect lights as men of letters and retirement usually leave to guide our enquiry would allow, it now only remains to be recorded, that, in the year 1674, the gout put a period to his life, at Bunhill, near London; from whence his body was conveyed to St. Giles's church, hy Cripplegate, where it lies interred in the chancel; and a neat monument has lately been erected to perpetuate his memory.

In his youth he is said to have been extremely handsome; the colour of his hair was a light brown, the symmetry of his features exact, enlivened with an agreeable air, and a beautiful mixture of fair and ruddy. His stature (as we find it measured by himself) did not exceed the middle size, neither too lean nor corpulent; his limbs well proportioned, nervous, and active, serviceable in all respects to his exercising the sword, in which he much delighted; and wanted neither skill nor courage to resent an affront from men of the most athletic constitutions. In his diet he was abstemious; not delicate in the choice of his dishes; and strong liquors of all kinds were his aversion. His de portment was erect, open, affable; his conversation easy, cheer

ful, instructive; his wit on all occasions at command, facetious, grave or satirical, as the subject required. His judgment, when disengaged from religious and political speculations, was just and penetrating, his apprehension quick, his memory tenacious of what he read, his reading only not so extensive as his genius, for that was universal. And having treasured up such immense store of science, perhaps the faculties of his souł grew more vigorous after he was deprived of sight; and his imagination, (naturally sublime and enlarged by reading romances, of which he was much enamoured in his youth) when it was wholly abstracted from material objects, was more at liberty to make such amazing excursions into the ideal world, when in composing his divine work he was tempted to range

Beyond the visible diurnal sphere.

With so many accomplishments, not to have had some faults and misfortunes to be laid in the balance with the fame and felicity of writing. Paradise Lost, would have been too great a pora tion for humanity.




WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, vet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold;
Messiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree,
Rebelling Angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All! the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent;
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truth to fable and old song;
(So Sampson grop'd the temple's posts in spite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I lik'd 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 thing 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 hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and shew it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious surmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:

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