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Yet as I read, ftill 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 underftanding blind;
Left he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work fo 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 show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty Poet; nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, furmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a fare.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper doft omit :
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty which through thy work doth reign,
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'it of in fuch state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou fing'st with so much gravity and ease;
And above human fight dost foar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so foft.
The bird nam'd from that Paradise you fing
So never fags, but always keeps on wing.

A 3


[iv] Where couldft thou words of such a compass find Whence furnish such a vast expence of mind ? Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite Rewards with prophecy thy loss of fight.

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; While the town-bays writes all the while and spells, And like a pack-horse tires without his bells: Their fancies like our bushy-points appear, The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. I too, transported by the mode, offend, And while I meant to praise thee must commend. Thy verse created like thy theme sublime, Number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.


To Mr. JOHN MILTON, On his Poem entitled PARADISE LOST. O

Thou! the wonder of the present age,

An age immerft in luxury and vice;
A race of triflers; who can relish naught
But the gay issue of an idle brain :
How couldlt thou hope to please this tinsel race ?
Though blind, yet with the penetrating eye
Of intellectual light thou dost survey
The labyrinth perplex'd of Heaven's decrees;
And with a quill, pluck'd from an angel's wing,
Dipt in the fount that laves th' eternal throne,
Trace the dark paths of providence divine,
“ And justify the ways of God to Man."

F. C. 1680.


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HE measure is English heroic verse without

rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin ; rhyme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame meter; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expreffed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned Ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then VoL, I. B


of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be efteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.


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