1747 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

William Collins?, in "On the Essential Excellencies of Poetry" The Museum: or the Literary and Historical Register 3 (1747) 284.



The Pandaemonium of Milton is entirely his own. He had something to copy in the View Paradise, but this rose from that Enthusiasm which the Ancients esteem'd, and I think Divine. He called it by the Power of his Genius, if not into Being, at least into Conception; and the Picture he has given of that Train of Ideas which his Genius furnish'd to the Contemplation of his own Mind, are so clearly, so admirably expressed, that even the dullest Reader cannot help discerning that Palace he describes, or avoid feeling that Impression which the Poet meant to raise. It is this great, this divine Power that distinguishes true Poets from mere Versifiers; the latter only copy Nature, and that but faintly; the former surpass Nature, and transcend her.