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TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION.
At the close of a Work, which has, during its publication, been the object of his unceasing care and anxiety, the publisher trusts to be forgiven, if he intrudes himself for a moment to return thanks for the generous assistance with which he has been favoured in an undertaking, which circumstances have happily rendered to him a “labour of love."
To endeavour to remedy that which has been well denominated by the first literary authority in England, “a disgraceful defect in literature”the want of such an edition, as, he flatters himself, the present will be found—to restore Milton's lofty poems to their original purity; bringing them, by means of luminous critical and explanatory notes, within the comprehension of his humblest countrymen, and at a price which will enable all to become possessed of them ;-in fine, to do justice to the fame of the greatest epic poet of any age or country, by removing the prejudices which party zeal and hate had heaped on his memory:-was pronounced a bold, if not an impracticable undertaking. That the publisher has been enabled to achieve all this, and bring the work to a triumphant close, (although at an outlay which must, in the event of failure, have been ruinous,) will ever be to him a source of the proudest gratulation. That he has done so, he has the collective testimony of the press, without a single exception,—of an already extensive and daily increasing circulation,-of many distinguished friends, whose expressions of approbation, and still more substantial aid, he regrets he is not permitted to acknowledge more openly.
He takes, however, this opportunity of expressing his general obligations to his reviewers, as well as to those whose private applause is equally gratifying. To the venerable and highly-endowed Editor, Sir Egerton Brydges, for his unwearied labour, research, and assiduity—to the Laureate, but for whose kindly encouragement and countenance, it is probable the issue would not have been contemplated—to the classical taste and research of Mr. James Boaden, by whom the text has been diligently collated and revised from every existing edition, and whose critical sagacity has enabled him to detect many glaring errors in the established readings —to Mr. Allan Cunningham, for his pleasant traditionary notes on “Comus”-to Mr. Turner, whose imaginative genius has never been more brilliantly displayed than in his illustrations of Milton-to the Engravers, whose innate conception of the beauties of this great painter has long stamped them as the first artists in the kingdom—to Mr. Valpy, from whose well-known classic press the work has proceeded, and from whose personal attention it has so largely benefitedto each and all the publisher can but offer his gratitude :--any encomium from him would be idle impertinence.
With these advantages ; enriched by all that scholarship, art, beauty of materials, and elegance of exterior can bestow; this (it may without presumption be named) FIRST COMPLETE AND PERFECT EDITION OF THE POETICAL WORKS OF Milton is ushered to public approbation and patronage.
3, SAINT JAMES's SQUARE,
-- 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
- XII. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
- II. · · · · ·