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sam nimis prolem expavescerem, nisi con-
any duty which
tiny to discharge
But that, af should have recu is highly gratifyi from your eloqu matter, when you so many different person, you seen suspecting that I your recollectio unions, in fact, progeny too
To the most accomplished Peter Heimbach,Counsellor of State to the Elector of Brandenburgh.
mitted that in di tues principally of them, howevd grateful return
“ That, in a year so pestilential and so fatal as the present, amidst the deaths of so many of my compatriots, you should have believed me likewise, as you write me word, in
she, whom you would rather th
consequence, too, of some rumour or other, to have fallen a victim, excites in me no surprise: and if that rumour owed its currency amongst you, as it seems to have done, to an anxiety for my welfare, I feel flattered by it as an instance of your friendly regard. Through the goodness of God however, who had provided me with a safe retreat in the country, I still live and am well;— and, would that I could add, not incompetent to any duty which it may be my further destiny to discharge.
But that, after so long an interval, I should have recurred to your remembrance, is highly gratifying to me; though to judge from your eloquent embellishments of the matter, when you profess your admiration of so many different virtues united in my single person, you seem to furnish some ground for suspecting that I have, indeed, escaped from your recollection. From such a number of unions, in fact, I should have cause to dread a progeny too numerous, were it not admitted that in disgrace and adversity the virtues principally encrease and flourish. One of them, however, has not made me any very grateful return for her entertainment; for she, whom you call the political, (though I would rather that you had termed her love
that year, the f sult of intellect world.
of country,) after seducing me with her fine name, has nearly, if I may so express myself
, deprived me of a country. The rest, indeed, harmonize more perfectly together. Our country is wherever we can live as we ought.
Before I conclude, I must prevail on you to impute whatever incorrectness of orthography or of punctuation you may discover in this epistle to my youngamanuensis; whose total ignorance of latin has imposed on me the disagreeable necessity of actually dictating to him every individual letter. That your
deserts as a man, consistently with the high promise with which you raised my expectations in your youth, should have elevated you to so eminent a station in your Sovereign's favour gives me the most sincere pleasure; and I fervently pray and trust that you may proceed and
Farewell!" London, August 15, 1666.
discovered at 1 which the aut] from this
prou on the slow a which the work mation. To u of taste, and a radise Lost wit thor or to the must certainly copy-right of
xold for the ac and the contin 2600 copies, o if we would re middle of the mersed in all
In the middle of the year 1666, Milton, as we have seen, had completed his two sacred poems: but it was not till after the lapse of another twelvemonth that he committed either of them to the press. His contract for the copy-right of Paradise Lost, with Samuel Simmons, the bookseller, is dated april 27, 1667; and in the course of
serable period to wonder at bookseller, w consideration under the he
whom the po the polemic,
periment in v
that year, the first edition of this grand reI
sverige sult of intellectual power was given to the T. The music world.
Much surprise and concern have been cbear discovered at the small pecuniary benefit, UN preli which the author was permitted to derive
from this proud display of his genius; and on the slow and laborious progress with which the work won its way to public estimation. To us, in the utmost cultivation of taste, and accustomed to admire the Paradise Lost without any reference to its author or to the age in which it appeared, it must certainly seem deplorable that the copy-right of such a composition should be sold for the actual payment of five pounds, and the contingent payment, on the sale of 2600 copies, of two other equal sums. But if we would regard ourselves as placed in the middle of the seventeenth century and immersed in all the party violence of that miserable period, we should rather be inclined to wonder at the venturous liberality of the bookseller, who would give even this small consideration for the poem of a man, living under the heaviest frowns of the times, in whom the poet had long been forgotten in the polemic, and who now tendered an experiment in verse, of which it was impossible
that the purchaser should be able to appreciate the value, or should not be suspicious of the danger.
Our shame and regret for the slow apprehensions of our forefathers, with respect to the merits of this illustrious production, are still more unwarranted than those which have been expressed for the parsimony of the bookseller. Before the intire revolution of two years, at a time when learning and the love of reading were far from being in their present wide diffusion through the community, 1300 copies of the Paradise Lost were absorbed into circulation. In five years after this period a second edition of the poem was issued; and, after another interval of four years, a third was conceded to the honourable demands of the public. As we may fairly conclude that, according to the original stipulation of the bookseller, each of these impressions consisted of 1500 copies, we shall find that, in the space of little more than eleven years, 4500 individuals of the British community were possessed of sufficient discrimination to become the purchasers of the Paradise Lost. Before the expiration of twenty years the poem passed through six editions, a circumstance which abundantly proves that it was not destitute of popularity