(The). Homer, Dante, and Milton.
Three poets, in three distant ages born, Greece, Italy, and England did adorn; The first in loftiness of thought surpassed, The next in majesty; in both the last: The force of nature could no farther go, To make a third, she joined the other two.
It was originally in the church of All Hallows, Bread Street.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894