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names of Warburton, of Hurd, Bowle, and Dr. Jofeph Warton, often occur as annotators, the moft valuable illuftrations have been derived to the following pages. From Mr. Dunfter's edition of Paradife Regained, published in 1795, a copious ftock of judicious and elegant obfervations on that poem has been alfo here extracted. From modern works of critical eminence, relating to the English language and poetry, many notices have been likewife drawn; in particular, from the compofitions of Lord Monboddo, Dr. Beattie, and Dr. Blair; from the late commentaries on Shakspeare; from Mr. Headley's Select Specimens of Ancient English Poetry; from the acute obfervations of Dr. Johnfon and Mr. Hayley; and in fhort, if the prefent editor may respectfully adopt the language of his predeceffour, "like the bee, he has been ftudious of gathering fweets wherever he could find them.” These contributions, however, have not been exacted, without references to the original treasuries of the information adduced, or without the names of the authors fubjoined. Of the notes in Dr. Newton's excellent edition of the Paradife Loft, few have been omitted, and fome have been shortened; by which method the editor has been enabled to introduce, without too copious a commentary, the important obfervations of criticks already enumerated, as well as of those who are yet to be named. Of the notes alfo in his edition of Paradife Regained, and the remaining Poems, feveral are retained. The labours of Mr. Warton and Mr. Dunfter have rendered more perhaps unneceffary. For the notes,
to which no fignature is affixed, the prefent editor is accountable.
Such are the printed volumes to which the editor acknowledges, with gratitude, his obligations. He muft now acknowledge obligations, not perhaps lefs interesting or valuable, to manufcript communications. To the late George Steevens, Efq. he has been indebted for the interleaved copies of Paradife Loft, and of the Smaller Poems printed in 1673, with many manufcript remarks by the late Mr. Bowle; after whofe decease these volumes came into Mr. Steevens's hands; and, fince the death of Mr. Steevens, have become the property of the prefent editor. This fingular kindness was conferred by Mr. Steevens at the commencement of this undertaking; not without a promife alfo of further affiftance; which, unfortunately for the publick and for the editor, he lived not to afford.
To Jofeph Cooper Walker, Efq. the author of the very elegant Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy, and of other valuable publications, the editor is likewife particularly obliged for many remarks, biographical as well as critical.
His fincereft thanks are alfo due to the Rev. Dr. Dampier, Dean of Rochester; who, on being made acquainted by the editor's very kind and zealous friend, the present Dean of Gloucefter, with this undertaking, obligingly tranfmitted to him an interleaved copy of Paradife Loft, with numerous manufcript notes, by that accomplished fcholar, the late Benjamin Stillingfleet, Efq. They contain not only the chief claffical allufions, which are
'found in Dr. Newton's edition; but references to, or citations of, various other paffages fubfervient to the illustration of the poem. They had been put together about the year 1745, with a view to publication; but were left unfinished, from the apprehenfion that they would not make their way in oppofition to Dr. Newton's edition, which was then announced under the patronage of Lord Bath. Thefe particulars are gathered from feveral important letters of Mr. Stillingfleet to Dr. Dampier's father, formerly Dean of Durham; to whom he had prefented his interleaved Paradife Loft. From one of these letters, entrusted to him alfo by the Dean of Rochester, the editor has felected the truly Miltonick Sonnet written by Mr. Stillingfleet, which he has printed in the Preliminary Obfervations on the Sonnets, in the fifth volume of this edition. It must be added, that the volume, containing the first fix books of Paradife Loft, was nearly printed off, when the editor was honoured with these remarks. A felection, therefore, of Mr. Stillingfleet's notes on those books, will be found, duly acknowledged, at the clofe of this edition, among other additions to the preceding volumes.
To the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury he begs to mention his refpectful obligations alfo for the ufe of manufcripts in their poffeffion, which have contributed to the purposes of this edition.
But, above all, his gratitude can never be fufficiently expreffed for the aids afforded him by the Library of his Grace, the Duke of Bridgewater; as on a former occafion, for permiffion to print the
manuscript Mask of Comus, obtained through the obliging application of the Rev. Francis Henry Egerton; fo on the prefent, for permiffion to print the manuscript Mask of Marston, performed before the Countess Dowager of Derby, and to make use of many rare and curious books, perhaps not to be found in other collections. To the great kindness of Mr. Egerton, and to the condefcenfion of the Duke of Bridgewater, the editor owes the opportunity of introducing to publick notice the poems of fome forgotten and unknown English bards; as well as other pieces of our ancient literature, hitherto overpaffed by the most curious investigators. The invaluable collection, which his Grace poffeffes, has been removed from the family feat at Afhridge to Bridgewater House, Cleveland Court. To the prefent age the notification of fuch treasures will be highly acceptable; for, among its characteristicks, a tafte for relishing the ftrains of elder days is honourably confpicuous; to the encrease of which, the recent publication of Specimens of Early English Poetry will, doubtlefs, powerfully contribute.
The editor has been fortunate alfo in obtaining other manuscript supplies of no mean import. To his friends, the liberal friends indeed to the literature of their country, Ifaac Reed, Efq., and James Bindley, Efq., he is obliged not only for many valuable fuggeftions, but alfo for the favour of feveral scarce works in their choice and rich collections. The few communications of other gentlemen he has noticed in their refpective places. Having thus difcharged his duty of grateful ac
knowledgement, he proceeds to give the reader an account of what he is to expect further in the conduct of the present edition.
The chief purpofe of the new notes, is, in humble imitation of Mr. Warton, "to explain the allufions of Milton; to illustrate or to vindicate his beauties; to point out his imitations both of others, and of himself; to elucidate his obfolete diction; and, by the adduction and juxtaposition of parallels univerfally gleaned both from his poetry and profe, to afcertain his favourite words, and to flow the peculiarities of his phrafeology." Mr. Warton juftly adds, that, "among the English poets, thofe readers who truft to preceding commentators will be led to believe, that Milton imitated Spenfer and Shakfpeare only. But his ftyle, expreffion, and more extenfive combinations of diction, together with many of his thoughts, are alfo to be traced in other English poets, who were either contemporaries or predeceffours, and of whom many are now not commonly known. Nor have his imitations from Spenfer and Shakspeare been hitherto fufficiently noted." Of this it has been a part of the present editor's tafk, as it was of Mr. Warton, to produce proofs. The coincidencies of "Fancy's sweetest children," Spenfer, Shakspeare, and Milton, are accordingly here enlarged. The obligations of our author to Dante, hitherto little noticed, as well as
f Milton's Profe-works afford many materials indeed for comparative criticism. See the opinions of Mr. Warton, and of the prefent editor, on these compofitions, in the fixth vol. of this edit. pp. 392, 396.