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Τ Η Ε
V E R S E.
HE Measure is English Heroic Verse
without Rime, as that 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; gracd 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 expreft them. Not without cuuse therefore fume, both Italian and Spanish
Puets 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 ; which consists only in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense varia ously drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like enda ings, a fault avoided by the learned An. cients both in Poetry and all good Oratory. This neglect then of Rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be esteem'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 propofes, first in brief,
the whole Subject. Man's Difobedience, and the loss rbereupon of Paradise wherein be. was placd: 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 Action pass'd over, the Poem hasts into the midst of Things, presenting Satan with bis Angels now fallen into Hel, describ'd here, not in the Center, ( for Heaven and Earth may be suppos'd as yet not made, certainly not yet accurs’d) but in