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TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION.
To endeavour to remedy that which has been well denominated by the first literary authority in England, "a disgraceful defect in literature"the want of such an edition, as, he flatters himself, the present will be found—to restore Milton's loftiest poem to its original purity; bringing it, by means of luminous critical and explanatory notes, within the comprehension of his humblest countrymen, and at a price which will enable all to become possessed of it:- in fine, to do justice to the fame of the greatest epic poet of any age or country, by removing the prejudices which party zeal and hate had heaped on his memory ;-was pronounced bold, if not an impracticable undertaking. That the publisher has been enabled to achieve all this, and bring the work to a triumphant close (although at an outlay which must, in the event of failure, have been ruinous), will ever be to him a source of the proudest gratulation. That he has done so, he has the collective testimony of the press, without a single exception, -of an already extensive and daily increasing circulation,—of many distinguished friends, whose expressions of approbation, and still more substantial aid, he regrets he is not permitted to acknowledge more openly.
He takes, however, this opportunity of expressing his general obligations to his reviewers, as well as to those whose private applause is equally gratifying. To the venerable and highly-endowed Editor, Sir Egerton Brydges, for his unwearied labour, research, and assiduity-to the Lau. reate, but for whose kindly encouragement and countenance, it is probable