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O HA NNIS MILTON 1.
Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis?
Et fata, & fines continet iste liber.
Scribitur & toto quicquid in orbe latet :
Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomumque fpecus :
Quæque colunt fummi lucida regna poli:
Et fine fine Chaos, & fine fine Deus :
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
Quæ canit, & quanta prælia dira tuba!
Et quæ cælestes pugna deceret agros! Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis !
Atque ipfo gradicur vix Michaële minor! Quantis, & quam funeftis concurritur iris, Dum ferus hic stelas protegit, ille rapit ! VOL. I.
[iv] Where couldst thou words of such a compass find Whence furnish such a vast expence of mind? Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite Rewards with prophecy thy loss of fight.
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; While the town-bays 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, Number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.
To Mr. JOHN MILTON,
An age immerst in luxury and vice;
F. C. 1680.
HE 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 meter; graced 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 expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and thorter 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 VOL: I.