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With Historical, Philosophical and Explanatory
By a GENTLEMAN of OXFORD.
• J. HILDYARD, at York.
TO Poem has had greater, or juster Praise
from the most eminent Judges of Literature, than PARADISE Lost, as well for the Sublinity of the Subjeet and Sentiments,
as the profound and extenfive Learning it is enrich'd with. It comprehends almost every Thing within the Extent of human Knowledge; but being wrote in the highest Stile of heroick Poetry, and the Thoughts, many of them express’d by Figures of Grammar and Rhetoric, being full of Digressions and Sentences tranfpefed, as well as difficult Terms in the Mathematicks, History, Aftronomy, Astrology, Geography, Architecture, Navigation, Anatomy, Alchymy, Divinity, and all other buman Arts and Sciences, it bath fo bappened, 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 how few are there who have had Leisure cir 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 DialeEts: So that it has been a frequent Complaint of the Readers of MILTON, that he has not calculated bis Poem for common Eyes; wbo pasing by the most instructive Passages, or else ancertainly guesing 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 which are to be found in this inimitable Book; of 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, whore small Acquaintance with our Language, might otherwise prevent their Intelligence of the finest Poem that ever was wrote. It was not thought sufficient 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 Prore, the Sense prefero'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, with. out a Note, to make them appear plain, and doing the fame by all the Mythology or Fables of the Antients. It must 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, defign'd only to make it more universally intelligible, being fully assured, that it will then be always held in Admiration; and if through my Means this jould happen, I ball think I have been of general Service, which is a Conßderation that would be my Reward, if no other sould'arife from it, for then my chief End would be answered.