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FOR PREPARING THIS AMERICAN EDITION.
Paradise Lost is, by common consent, pronounced to be a work of transcendent genius and taste. It takes rank with the Iliad of Homer, and with the Aeneid of Virgil, as an Epic of incomparable merit. Dryden was by no means extravagant in the praise which he bestowed upon it in his well-known lines:
"Three poetr irrthree'disLat+'ages born,
Its praise is often on the lips of .every jman endowed with the most moderate literaiy giiaJificai[ons j, but,the work has been read by comparatively few persons. Fow. few even of educated men can affirm that they have so read and understood it, as to appreciate all its parts 1 How does this happen" Is^ thc.poem,.considered unworthy of their most careful perusal; Is it not inviting to the intellect, the imagination, and the sensibilities t Is it not acknowledged to be superior to any other poetic composition, the Hebrew writings only excepted, to whose lofty strains of inspired song the blind bard of London was s greatly indebted for his own subordinate inspiration f
If inquiry should extensively be made, it will be ascertained that Paradise Lost, is but little read, less understood, and still less appreciated , though it may be found on the shelves of almost every library, or upon the parlor table of almost every dwelling. Every school boy,