1712 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Bezaleel Morrice, in Essay on the Poets (1712; 1721) 15-16.



Oh! cou'd We now like daring Milton sing,
Prodigious, mighty and amazing Theams!
In strains so solid, nervous, and sublime,
Use such Invention, such prevailing Force
As He, when He surprizingly relates,
The bold Adventures of th' infernal Chief,
Who pass'd (tho' thrice three-fold) Hell's horrid Gates,
Held by dread Forms, and by Sulphurious Flames
Enclosed; thro' Chaos, (seat of endless Feaud!
Distraction! Desolation! wild Uproar!)
Enrag'd, ariv'd in blissful Paradice;
And in Man's Ruin sought revengeful Sway.
Cou'd we indeed, this mighty Bard pursue,
Attempt so nobly, and so nobly do;
But yet our purpose more concisely hold,
And be correct, and regular as bold;
The British Muse, thro' her victorious Strain,
From all Contenders shou'd the Prize obtain;
Behold with Joy her Glory's vast Increase
And vye with antient Italy, and Greece.