But, now [i.e., not later than the middle of August, 1665], being released, and returned home; I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country [county].
After some common discourses had passed between us [evidently at ELLWOOD’s first visit], called for a manuscript of his: which being brought, he delivered to me; bidding me, “Take it home with me, and read it at my leisure; and, when I had so done, return it to him, with my judgement thereupon!”
When I came home [i.e., The Grange; from which ISAAC PBNINGTON, with his family (including THOMAS ELLWOOD) was, by military force, expelled about a month after their first return from Aylesbury gaol (i.e., about the middle of September); and he again sent to the same prison], and had set myself to read it; I found it was that excellent poem, which he entitled, Paradise Lost.
After I had, with the best attention, read it through: I made him another visit, and returned him his book; with due acknowledgment of the favour he had done me, in communicating it to me.
He asked me, “How I liked it? And what I thought of it?” Which I, modestly but freely, told him.
And, after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, “Thou hast said much, here, of Paradise lost: but what hast thou to say of Paradise found?”
He made me no answer; but sate some time in a muse: then brake off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.
After the sickness [Plague] was over; and the City well cleansed, and become safely habitable again: he returned thither.
And when, afterwards [probably in 1668 or 1669], I went to wait on him there (which I seldom failed of doing, whenever my occasions drew me to London), he showed me his second poem, called Paradise Regained: and, in a pleasant tone, said to me, “This is owing to you! For you put it into my head, by the question you put to me at Chalfont! which, before, I had not thought of.”
[Paradise Regained was licensed for publication on 2nd July, 1670.]
ADVICE TO A YOUNG REVIEWER, &c.
You are now about to enter on a Profession which has the means of doing much good to society, and scarcely any temptation to do harm. You may encourage Genius, you may chastise superficial Arrogance, expose Falsehood, correct Error, and guide the Taste and Opinions of the Age in no small degree by the books you praise and recommend. And this too may be done without running the risk of making any enemies; or subjecting yourself to be called to account for your criticism, however severe. While your name is unknown, your person is invulnerable: at the same time your aim is sure, for you may take it at your leisure; and your blows fall heavier than those of any Writer whose