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The 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 metre; grac'd 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 expressid 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, 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 esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered 20 heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.
disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he
lay by him; they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens'all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded: they rise, their numbers, array of baitel, their chief leaders nam'd, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaam and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them, lastly, of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven: for that angels were long before this visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemoniuin the palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: the infernal Peers there sit in council. Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste, Brought death into the world, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, tillionė greater Man ,.' Restore-us, and regain the blissful seaty Guiana
Sing heav'nly Muse ! that on the sccret top
25 And justify the ways
of God to men. Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state, Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off 30 From their Creator, and transgress his will For one restraint, lords of the world besides ? Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile, Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd 35
The Mother of mankind, what time his prido
Serv'd only to discover sights of woc, i Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where Peace 65