1753 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Anonymous, "Written on the first Leaf of Milton's Paradise Lost, that was sent to a Lady" London Magazine 22 (September 1753) 435.



Ye gentle fair, whom love of virtue warms,
Who seek by worthiest deeds t' improve your charms,
Heedful attend to Milton's sacred song,
To you the dictates of his muse belong:
He for your use this well-wrought piece design'd;
To please and cultivate the human mind:
Let then the poet your affection share,
Your just regard will well reward his care.

Let Eve's unhappy fate the virgin warn,
Who makes the guidance of mankind her scorn,
Who vainly fearful of a state unknown,
Ventures to pass thro' life's vast wild alone.
How wretched was our general mother made?
Soon as from Adam's faithful side she stray'd!
Oh! think on this, ye fair, and haste to prove
The joy and safety of connubial love.
The path of life's a dark and dangerous way;
Alone who dare to tread it often stray;
But man, wise man, shall all your steps direct,
Guide you in doubts and in distress protect.
Fix then your choice; but let that choice be wise,
Let Eve's example teach you to despise
The glozing serpent's tongue, the outward show,
Of the pert coxcomb and the gaudy beau.
The one like Satan, vers'd in treacherous wiles,
By folly, dress'd in wisdom's garb beguiles:
The other with fair form and specious mien,
At first with wonder and delight is seen;
But tasted, like the fatal fruit it found,
Deceitful, hurtful, bitter and unsound;
Such for our sakes avoid, if not your own,
For by our poet's tale, 'tis clearly shown,
That man must be, when woman is undone.
But let the wise, the brave, the generous share
Your tenderest love, and most assiduous care;
These shall thro' life their happy consorts please,
Give nights of joy, and crown their days with ease.

Then shall fall'n man resume his pristine state,
And Providence reverse his wretched fate;
Then woman shall her first form'd grace maintain,
And man, that Paradise he lost, regain!