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THE Publick is here prefented with a complete edition of the Poetical Works of Milton, accompanied with notes of various authors. To this undertaking the editor was invited, and encouraged, at the close of the year 1798. Without this previous declaration, he might be accused of intrufion into his present office. Senfible that the task would have been better executed by many recent annotators on Milton, he would not indeed have liftened to the unexpected application of engaging in fo important an employment, if fome literary friends had not promised their affiftance. He therefore undertook to arrange his materials; and continued his inquiries till the close of the year 1799, when the edition began to be printed. From that time, his attention to the progrefs and completion of the work has been conftant and unwearied.

Since the first publication of the Poetical Works entire, with illustrations, nearly half a century has elapfed. Of those criticks and annotators, whose obfervations were then selected by Dr. Newton; as well as of those, with whose subsequent remarks the following pages are enriched; fome account may be thought neceffary. The firft annotator on the poet was Patrick Hume, a Scotchman. He publifhed, in 1695, a copious commentary on the Paradife Loft; " to which fome of his fucceffous in

a Preface to his edition of the Smaller Poems.

the fame province," fays Mr. Warton, " apprehending no danger of detection from a work rarely infpected, and too pedantick and cumbersome to attract many readers, have been often amply indebted, without even the moft diftant hint of acknowledgement." His illuftrations in these volumes will be rarely found uninterefting. To him fucceeded the elegant Addison, by whofe "blandishments of gentleness and facility, Milton has been made an univerfal favourite, with whom readers of every clafs think it neceflary to be acquainted." His effays on the Paradife Loft are printed in this edition, as a Preliminary Differtation; the remarks on each particular book not being detached from the general obfervations on the Poem, because Mr. Addifon himself was defirous that the reader fhould not neglect to view the whole extent of his criticifin. By the fame critick Comus and L'Allegro had been before commended. In 1732, Dr. Bentley published a fplendid edition of the Paradife Loft, by which he acquired no honour. His fpecious pretences of an interpolated text, and his arbitrary method of emendation, were received with derifion and difguft. Yet there are fome notes, in the edition, which befpeak the unvitiated tafte of this eminent fcholar, and to which the claffical reader

Dr. Johnfon's Life of Addison.

See the Prolegomena in this vol. p. 42. Dr. Johnson alfo wrote his Effay on Milton's Verfification, in order to serve as a continuation of this criticism. See the Proleg. in this vol. PP. 194, 197.

d Tatler, No. 98. Nov. 24, 1709.

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will always thankfully fubfcribe. Immediately after the publication of this edition, the admirers of Milton were gratified by Dr. Pearce's masterly and candid refutation of the editor's chimerical corrections: And the Review of the Text of Paradife Loft furnished abundant annotations, at once instructive and delightful. In 1734, the two Richardfons published their Explanatory Notes on the Paradife Loft. Soon afterwards, Dr. Warburton com❤ municated to the world fome remarks upon the

fame poem, An Effay upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients, faid to be written by a gentleman of North Britain, whofe name, it is believed, has not been divulged; the Letters concerning poetical tranflations, afcribed to Auditor Benfon; and the Critical Obfervations on Shakspeare, in which are interfperfed remarks upon Milton, by Mr. Upton; were the next publications, from which Dr. Newton profeffes to have derived affiftance. But, befides the flower of those which had been already publifhed, he added many new obfervations both of others and his own. He was indebted, for feveral ingenious illuftrations of Paradife Loft to his relation, Dr. Greenwood, He was alfo obliged by the use of Dr. Heylyn's manuscript remarks on the fame poem; which had been before communicated to Bentley, and of which the greater part had been difingenuously adopted, by that critick, without acknowledgement. By the manufcript communications of Richardfon, Jortin, and Warburton; and more particularly by thofe of the modeft and liberal Mr. Thyer; his commentary on Paradife Loft was

confiderably enlarged. To the fame learned coadjutors, with the addition of such respectable names as Sympfon, and Seward, the editors of Beaumont and Fletcher; of the Rev. Mr. Meadowcourt, Prebendary of Worcester; of the Rev. Mr. Calton, of Lincolnshire; and of Mr. Peck, the antiquary; Dr. Newton's fubfequent edition of Paradife Regained, Samfon Agonistes, and the Smaller Poems, was alfo gratefully indebted.

In the year after the publication of Dr. Newton's edition of Paradife Loft, there was published at Glasgow the first Book of that poem with a large and very learned commentary; from which fome notes are selected in this edition. They, who are acquainted with this commentary, will concur with the prefent editor in wishing that the annotator had continued his ingenious and elaborate criticisms on the whole poem.

In a letter from the late Mr. Mafon to Dodfley, the bookseller, dated May 31, 1747, now in the poffeffion of a friend, an editorial intention is announced which, though not accomplished, it may not be improper here to notice; as it coincides with the opinion of him, who has fo ably illuftrated the picturefque description, and romantick imagery, of the poems which Mr. Mafon mentions; and to whofe illuftrations the editor muft next exprefs his obligations. "I could wish to know," fays Mr. Mafon, "whether Tonfon or any other Bookfeller has a property in the fecond volume of Milton. I have often thought it a great pity that many of the beautiful pieces it contains fhould be fo little read

as they certainly are. I fancy this has arisen from the bad thing they are tack'd to. I want vaftly to have a separate edition of the Tragedy, Mask, Lycidas, L'Allegro, &c. And I fancy I fhall fome time or other undertake it myself; but, if you think that it would fell at prefent, I would willingly give you my affiftance either for a preface, or notes, or any thing that should be thought neceffary; and this merely for the fake of the incomparable poet, whom I am not content with having confidered and praised as the Author of Paradife Loft alone."

What Mr. Mafon might have intended, the late Mr. Warton effected. In 1785 the Publick was prefented with Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penferofo, Arcades, Comus, Odes, Sonnets, &c. accompanied with Mr. Warton's critical and explanatory notes; of which a fecond edition, with many alterations and large additions, was published in 1791 foon after his lamented death: In whom Poetry and Antiquity loft one of their moft zealous votaries, Criticifm one of its ableft affertors, Society one of its most agreeable members, and the Univerfity of Oxford one of her most valuable and most respected fons. Mr. Warton appears to have alfo planned an edition of Paradife Regained and Samfon Agoniftes, by having omitted in the latter edition fuch notes as more immediately related to thofe poems, and which had appeared in the former edition; and by fubftituting merely references to the notes on those respective paffages. The fignatures to the sheets of his latter edition are numbered indeed volume the firft. From both thefe editions, in which the

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