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O Poem has had greater, or juster Praise from the most eminent Judges of Literature, than PARADISE Lost, as well for the Sublimity of the Subje&t and Sentiments,
as the profound and extensive Learning it is burich'd with. It comprehends almost every Thing within the Extent of human Knowledge; but being wrote in the bighest Stile of heroick Poetry, and the Thoughts, many of tbem express’d by Figures of Grammar and Rhetoric
, being full of Digressions and Sentences transpesed, as well as difficult Terms in the Mathematicks, Hiftory, Aftronomy, Astrology, Geography, Architecture, Navigation, Anatomy, Alchymy, Divinity, and all other buman Arts and Sciences, it bath fo happened, that many Readers have been unable to see the Beauties of the Poem, for Want of being able to come af the proper Explication of those Things, which have been out of their Reach; and this must happen to a great many; for bow few are there who have had Leisure com Opportunity to be Master of all the Sciences ? besides which it is necessary they should understand the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, Syriac, Phænician, and Egyptian, and all the dead Languages, with the living and modern ones, in all their different Dielects: So that it has been a frequent Complaint of the Readers of MILTON, that he has not calculated bis Poem for common Eyes; who passing by the most instructive Passages, or else ubcertainly guessing at their Meaning and Reading altogether doubtfully, lose the Pleasure and Benefit which might arise from the thorough Understanding of the improving Leature, and the moral and philosophical Instruktions bich are to be found in this inimitable Book ; which may be affirm'd, what cannot be said of any other Book in the World beside, that is, it never has been read and rightly understood by any, who have not given it the highest Encomiums. Therefore, that all English Readers may have the like Pleasure, the following Work was taken in Hand; and to help Foreigners, whose small Acquaintance with our Language, might otherwise prevent their Intelligence of the finest Poem that ever was wrote. It was not thought suficient to pick out Lines here and there, and explain thein only, for it is impossible to know which Part may be difficult to each Reader ; for which Reason, the whole is renderd into plain and intelligible Prose, the Sense preferu'd, and nothing omitted that may make it clear to all Readers ; Care being taken not to let any Word pass, whether proper Names of Men or Places, or technical Words, without a Note, to make them appear plain, and doing the fame by all the Mythology or Fables of the Antients. muft certainly be a great Ease, to have Recourse to such a Transcript in Prose, and the Help of such a Number of explicit Notes : For this work is not done to infinuate, that it is superior or any Way equal to the Poetry of PARADISE Lost; but, on the contrary, design'd only to make it more universally intelligible, being fullig assured, that it will then be always held in Admiration, and if through my Means this should happen, I shall think I have been of general Service; which is a Consideration that would be my Reward, if no other sould arife from it, for then my chief End would be answered.
COF PARADISE LOST.
the prime Cause of his Fall; which was Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from GOD,
and drawing to his Side many Legions of Angels, was by the Command of God, driven out of Heaven with all his Crew into the great Deep. Which A&tion pass’d over, the Author hastes into the 'midt of Things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell
, describ'd, not in the Centre (for Heaven and Earib may be suppos'd as not yet made, certainly not yet accurs'd) but in Place of utter Darkness
, most fitly call'd Chaos : Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisa'd, after a cer, tain Space recovers, as from Confusion, calls up