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ADMIRATIONE TE POTIUS ET IMMORTALIBUS LAUDIBUS, ET SI NATURA
SUPPEDITET ÆMULATIONE DECOREMUS.
THE present Bishop of Winchester, in fulfilling the duty that was honourably imposed upon him, of editing a posthumous production of England's greatest Epic Poet, makes the following observation :-" There is much reason for regretting that the prose works of Milton—where, in the midst of much that is coarse and intemperate, passages of such redeeming beauty occur— -should be in the hands of so few readers; considering the advantage which might be derived to our literature from the study of their original and nervous eloquence.”
Several obvious reasons may account for this neglect; and the first of these is, that a somewhat repulsive influence obstructs the inquirer at the very threshold of this rare but almost unexplored cabinet of British literature.
The very names of many of Milton's prose works present themselves to all but the learned, as an array of quaint forms, which frown upon the uninitiated. Their style, like the waters of the fabled stream, is turbid with the grains of classic gold ; and the literary habits of the writer were so closely connected with ancient and foreign literature, as to deprive his writings of that strictly national character which is essential to a wide popularity.
But a further and a still more potent cause has concealed the writings of Milton from the careful inspection of his