« السابقةمتابعة »
tion-Papers. They comprehend, Mr. Lemon says, two distinct series; the first consisting of petitions of Royalists to the Commissioners for Sequestration, of the orders of those Commissioners respecting the sequestration of Estates, of the reports of their subordinate officers, and of the correspondence with sub-commissioners and other agents in every part of the kingdom: The second series exhibits the original particulars of property and estates, for which Royalists were permitted to compound on the payment of a fine. These papers are peculiarly valuable in illustrating the family history, as well as the various property of individuals, throughout the kingdom, during the time of the Great Rebellion. Of these, by the continued industry and accurate attention of Mr. Lemon, no less than one hundred and sixty-seven folio volumes had been recovered and arranged, when (in 1825 also) he transmitted to me from this invaluable collection the sequestration-papers relating to Mr. Powell, the father of Milton's first wife, in which Milton himself is particularly concerned; and to Sir Christopher Milton, the brother of the poet. Other papers and letters, from the same Office, alike unknown till now, and of the greatest service to the biography of Milton, have since, at various times, been sent to me
by this gentleman; empowered as he was at. all times so to do, from the very first exertion of his kindness, by the permission of Mr. Secretary Peel; to whom, and to Mr. Under-Secretary Hobhouse, I acknowledge the greatest obligations, as well as to Mr. Lemon; and to whose friendly and condescending instrumentality the publick is indebted for what is now told. of the poet, of his family, and of some of his works, which never was before in print. What has been thus liberally supplied, might indeed by others have been arranged with elegance, and illustrated with taste; but not with greater fidelity than the following pages exhibit. This with other anecdotes relating to the history of Milton's friends, of his works, and of his times, will plead for attention to an unadorned narration. A fac-simile of the poet's hand-writing is also given from one of the documents in the State-Paper Office; and to the biography I have now added, as Hayley did to his Life of Milton, an Inquiry into the Origin of Paradise Lost.
I will now repeat the substance of the preface to my former editions of the Poetical Works, in which an account is given of those criticks and annotators, whose observations had been selected
by Dr. Newton; and of those, with whose subsequent remarks the present volumes are enriched.
The first annotator on the poet was Patrick Hume, a Scotchman. He published, in 1695, a copious commentary on the Paradise Lost; to which some of his successors in the same province," Mr. Warton says, apprehending no danger of detection from a work rarely inspected, and too pedantick and cumbersome to attract many readers, have been often amply indebted, without even the most distant hint of acknowledgement." His illustrations in these volumes will be rarely found uninteresting. To him succeeded the elegant Addison, by whose "blandishments of gentleness and facility, Milton has been made an universal favourite, with whom readers of every class think it necessary to be acquainted." His essays on the Paradise Lost are here printed as a Preliminary Dissertation; the remarks on each particular book not being detached from the general observations on the Poem, because the author himself was desirous that the reader should not
a Preface to his edition of Milton's Smaller Poems.
Dr. Johnson's Life of Addison.
neglect to view the whole extent of his criticism. By the same critick Comus and L'Allegro had been before commended. In 1732, Dr. Bentley published a splendid edition of the Paradise Lost, by which he acquired no honour. His specious pretences of an interpolated text, and his arbitrary method of emendation, were received with derision and disgust. Yet there are some notes, in the edition, which bespeak the unvitiated taste of this eminent scholar, and to which the classical reader will always thankfully subscribe. 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 Paradise Lost furnished abundant annotations, at once instructive and delightful. In 1734, the two Richardsons published their Explanatory Notes on the Paradise Lost. Soon afterwards, Dr. Warburton communicated to the world some remarks upon the same poem. Essay upon Milton's Imitations of the Ancients,
See the Prolegomena in the present edition, vol. ii. Johnson also wrote his Essay on Milton's Versification, in order to serve as a continuation of this criticism. See this also in the second volume.
Tatler, No. 98. Nov. 24, 1709.
Spectator, No. 249. Dec. 15, 1711.
said to be written by a gentleman of North Britain, whose name, it is believed, has not been divulged; the Letters concerning poetical Translations, ascribed to Auditor Benson; and the Critical Observations on Shakspeare, in which are interspersed remarks upon Milton, by Mr. Upton; were the next publications, from which Dr. Newton professes to have derived assistance. But, besides the flower of those which had been already published, he added many new observations both of others and his own. He was indebted, for several ingenious illustrations of Paradise Lost to his relation, Dr. Greenwood. He was also obliged by the use of Dr. Heylin's manuscript remarks on the same poem; which had been before communicated to Bentley, and of which the greater part (according to his account) had been disingenuously adopted, by that critick, without ac
"I cannot," if I may employ Milton's expressions, "think" Bentley" so to seek, or so unprincipled in" criticism's " book," as to be guilty of this meanness. I was favoured, before the edition of 1809 was published, by the Rev. J. Mitford, (in whose possession this literary curiosity was,) with the examination of Tonson's quarto edition of Paradise Lost, 1720, containing Bentley's alterations of the text, as well as various memoranda for notes. These are probably the first expressions and remarks of the great critick, in regard to the labour which he had undertaken. It may be acceptable to the curious reader, (and it is evident that they do not minutely accord with Bentley's edition,) if I present him with specimens from the beginning and end of the poem.