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THE Measure is English Heroic Verse
without Rime, as tbat of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter ; grac’d indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carriea
away by Custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have exprest them. Not without cause therefore sume, both Italian and Spanish
Poets of prime note have rejected Rime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also long since our best English Tragedies, us a thing of it self, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight ; zohich consists only in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned An- . cients both in Poetry and all good Oratory. This negle&t then of Rime so little is to be tuken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be efteem'd an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover'd to Heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing.
The ARGUMENT. This First Book proposes, first in brief,
the whole Subject. Man's Disobedio ence, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac'd: Then touches the prime Cause of his Fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his fide many Legions of Angels, was by the Command of God driven out of Heaven with all bis Crew into the great Deep. Which A&tion pass'd over, the Poem halts into the midst of Things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ'd here, not in the Center., ( for Heaven and Earth may be suppos'd as yet not made, certainly not yet accursdbut in sé