Imágenes de páginas



Qor legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni

Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis ?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,

Et fata, et fines continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi;

Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet;
Terræque, tractusque maris, cælumque profundum

Sulphureumque Erebi flammivomumque specus;
Queque colunt terras, portumque et Tartara cæca,

Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli;
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam,

Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus; Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,

In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor. Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?

Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit. O quantos in bella duces ! quæ protuli: arma!

Que canit, et quanta, prælia dira tuba. Cælestes acies! atque in certamine cælum! Et que celestes


deceret Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis,

Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor ! Quantis, et quam funestis concurritur iris

Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit! Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,

Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,

Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ,
At simul in cælis Messiæ insignia fulgent,

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo, Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flamme vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco

Admistis flammis insonuere Polo,
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt.

agros !

Ad pænas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum

Infernis certant condere se tenebris. Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus. Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit

Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.



When I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Ileav'n, hell, earth, chaos, all; the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruine (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to Fable and old song:
(So Sainpson grop'd the temple's posts in spite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon 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 understanding blind;
Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so 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 causeloss, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost 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'st of in such state As them preserves, and thee, inviolate. At once delight and horror on us seize, Thoa sing'st with so much gravity and ease, And above human flight dost soar aloft With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft. The bird nam'd from that paradise you sing So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where could'st thou words of such a compass find ? Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind ? Just heav'n thee like Tiresias to requite Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well mightest thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; While the town-bayes 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, In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.




1 See note in Life, p. Ixxvii.



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