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AUTHOR OF MYTHOLOGY OF GREECE AND ITALY,' 'FAIRY MYTHOLOGY,

HISTORY OF ENGLAND,' ETC.

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PRINTED BY

JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR, LITTLE QUEEN STREET,

LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.

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IN GRATITUDE FOR MANY ACTS OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP AND GENEROSITY,

This Volume,

DEVOTED TO THE ILLUSTRIOUS THEME OF MILTON,

IS INSCRIBED BY

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

The reading of Paradise Lost for the first time forms, or should form, an era in the life of every one possessed of taste and poetic feeling. To my own mind that time is ever present. It was just as I was emerging from mere boyhood; the season was summer; the scene a residence amid wood and water, at the foot of mountains, over which I beheld each morning the sun rising, invested with all his glories. The companion of Paradise Lost was the Jerusalem Delivered, in Hoole's tame version 'tis true, but perhaps at that age the couplet was more grateful to my ear than the stanza. The two poems combined to hold me in an ecstasy of delight. Alas! that such happy days can never return, not even in imagination! Some time after—for in those days books were not plentiful with me-I procured the whole of Milton's poetry. I was of course enchanted with Comus, and even then I could discern and admire the chaste, severe, and classic beauties of Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. Ever since the poetry of Milton has formed my constant

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