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THE IDEAL CITY; OR
WITH INTRODUCTION, TRANSLATION, LITERARY ESSAYS
AND A BIBLIOGRAPHY
BY THE REV. WALTER BEGLEY
JAMES HILTON, F.S.A.
OF MUCH PLEASANT SPORT
“IN TALI NUNQUAM LASSAT VENATIO SYLVÅ ”
“THE lucubrations of a mind which could conceive Paradise Lost or the Areopagitica must always have a certain value."
(GRAHAM, Selections from Milton, p. 6.)
"We regard the series of thoughts that was in his (Milton's) mind through any month or series of months as something of prime interest in the spirit of the past, a prize that we would give gold to recover."
(MASSON'S Life of Milton, iii. 52.)
" It surely must be a matter of the utmost interest to ascertain what a man (Milton) so eminently endowed, and so free from the restraints of authority and custom in his sentiments, thought on matters which men have agreed in regarding as those of the deepest importance."
(KEIGHTLEY's Life of Milton, p. 153.)
"An editor of Milton's juvenile poems cannot but express his concern that their number is so inconsiderable. With Milton's mellow hangings, delicious as they are, we reasonably rest contented; but we are justified in regretting that he has left so few of his early blossoms, not only because they are so exquisitely sweet, but because so many more might have naturally been expected."
(THOMAS WHARTON, Minor Poems of Milton, English,
Italian, and Latin, London, 1791, p. xii.)
"MILTON was no democrat : he was an aristocratic republican like Plato. He was for an ordered liberty, a commonwealth of men whom, as Cowper said, the truth had made free, living under a reign of law. If our life and influence as a nation are to stand for a living influence in the world, if we are to be saved from the very real perils of materialism, we shall go to Milton for our ideal."
(Article in Spectator, November 18th, 1899.)
At ultimi nepotes
Si quid merimur sana posteritas sciet.
I HERE present to the English-speaking world, for the 1 first time, an unknown writer of the seventeenth century of the highest character and interest, and a Latin poet withal of striking imagination as well as of great lyrical sweetness and harmony. This no one can rightly refuse to admit, for the original book carries its own incontrovertible witness with it.
That such a wide-reaching, learned, and varied work should have been allowed to remain unappreciated and utterly ignored for more than two hundred and fifty years is certainly a very surprising literary fact.
But something much more astonishing is to be added, if my contention as to its true authorship be confirmed. For it is here contended, by such evidence and inference as I have been enabled to gather, that the unknown writer is no less a personage than the illustrious John Milton himself.
The author has been careful to conceal himself throughout the book. As he mentions in his Autocriticon (a kind of postscript at the end of his book), he wishes, after the manner of Apelles, to take his stand, out of sight, behind his picture, so as to hear what the passers-by, the critics, and the men of the age, might say about it. He tells us it is, in the main, a work of his fervid youth, and that he had slightly touched it up later on before presenting it to the world. He says he is not yet quite satisfied with it, but he had the work by him, and could not take the trouble