1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1756; 1782) 1:40.



L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, which are now universally known; but which by a strange fatality lay in a sort of obscurity, the private enjoyment of a few curious readers, till they were set to admirable music by Mr. Handel. And indeed this volume of Milton's miscellaneous poems has not till very lately met with suitable regard. Shall I offend any rational admirer of POPE by remarking, that these juvenile descriptive poems of Milton, as well as his Latin elegies, are of a strain far more exalted than any of the former author can boast? Let me add at the same time, what justice requires me add, that they are far more incorrect. For in the very [Nativity] ode before us, occur one or two passages, that are puerile and affected, to a degree not to be paralleled in the purer, but less elevated, compositions of POPE.