A truly unique 17th Century Book with great historic significance.
Professionally rebound in brown calf with red and green title plates, gilt decoration, banding and title on the spine. In a protective box. Dimensions are for the box.
“AFTER SHAKESPEARE AND CHAUCER, JOHN MILTON IS THE MOST EMINENT POET IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE”: SCARCE 1673 EDITION OF MILTON’S POEMS, ISSUED ONLY ONE YEAR BEFORE HIS DEATH.
This copy includes a First Edition of Paradise Regained along with the prominent work of Samson Agonistes accompanied by Poemata.
This book is lovingly restored by Brian Cole from papers found in an old repository in Hull, Yorkshire.The interior pages are restored with light expert cleaning; along with expert restoration to board extremities.
BELOW FLOWS A BRIEF OUTLINE OF MILTON’S LIFE & MAJOR WORKS
John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual. His 1667 epic poem Paradise Lost, written in blank verse and including over ten chapters, was written in a time of immense religious flux and political upheaval. It addressed the fall of man, including the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and God’s expulsion of them from the Garden of Eden. Paradise Lost elevated Milton’s reputation as one of history’s greatest poets. He also served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell.
Milton achieved fame and recognition during his lifetime; his celebrated Areopagitica (1644), written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship, is among history’s most influential and impassioned defense of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. His desire for freedom extended beyond his philosophy and was reflected in his style, which included his introduction of new words (coined from Latin and Ancient Greek) to the English language. He was the first modern writer to employ unrhymed verse outside of the theater or translations.
Milton is described as the “greatest English author” by biographer William Hayley, and he remains generally regarded “as one of the preeminent writers in the English language”, though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death often on account of his republicanism. Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as “a poem which…with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind”, though he (a Tory) described Milton’s politics as those of an “acrimonious and surly republican”. Milton was revered by poets such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Thomas Hardy.
Phases of Milton’s life parallel the major historical and political divisions in Stuart England at the time. In his early years, Milton studied at Christ’s College at the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, and then traveled, wrote poetry mostly for private circulation, and launched a career as pamphleteer and publicist under Charles I’s increasingly autocratic rule and Britain’s breakdown into constitutional confusion and ultimately civil war. While once considered dangerously radical and heretical, Milton contributed to a seismic shift in accepted public opinions during his life that ultimately elevated him to public office in England. The Restoration of 1660 and his loss of vision later deprived Milton much of his public platform, but he used the period to develop many of his major works.
Milton’s views developed from extensive reading, travel, and experience that began with his days as a student at Cambridge in the 1620s and continued through the English Civil War, which started in 1642 and continued through 1651. By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life but famous throughout Europe and unrepentant for political choices that placed him at odds with governing authorities.
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). The first version, published in 1667, consists of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, arranged into twelve books (in the manner of Virgil’s Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout. It is considered to be Milton’s masterpiece, and it helped solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of all time. The poem concerns the biblical story of the fall of man; the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Paradise Regained is a poem by English poet John Milton, first published in 1671. The volume in which it appeared also contained the poet’s closet drama Samson Agonistes. Paradise Regained is connected by name to his earlier and more famous epic poem Paradise Lost, with which it shares similar theological themes; indeed, its title, its use of blank verse, and its progression through Christian history recall the earlier work. However, this effort deals primarily with the temptation of Christ as recounted in the Gospel of Luke.
Milton composed Paradise Regained at his cottage in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Paradise Regained is four books long and comprises 2,065 lines; in contrast, Paradise Lost is twelve books long and comprises 10,565 lines. As such, Barbara K. Lewalski has labeled the work a “brief epic”.
Whereas Paradise Lost is ornate in style and decorative in its verse, Paradise Regained is carried out in a fairly plain style. Specifically, Milton reduces his use of simile and deploys a simpler syntax in Paradise Regained than he does in Paradise Lost, and this is consistent with Biblical descriptions of Jesus’s plainness in his life and teachings (in the epic, he prefers Hebrew Psalms to Greek poetry). Modern editors believe the simpler style of Paradise Regained evinces Milton’s poetic maturity. This is not to say that the poem bears no affinities with Milton’s earlier work, but scholars continue to agree with Northrop Frye’s suggestion that Paradise Regained is “practically sui generis” in its poetic execution.
One major concept emphasized throughout Paradise Regained is the idea of reversals. As implied by its title, Milton sets out to reverse the “loss” of Paradise. Thus, antonyms are often found next to each other, reinforcing the idea that everything that was lost in the first epic will be regained by the end of this “brief epic”. Additionally, the work focuses on the idea of “hunger”, both in a literal and in a spiritual sense. After wandering in the wilderness for forty days, Jesus is starving for food. Satan, too blind to see any non-literal meanings of the term, offers Christ food and various other temptations, but Jesus continually denies him. Although Milton’s Jesus is remarkably human, an exclusive focus on this dimension of his character obscures the divine stakes of Jesus’s confrontation with Satan; Jesus emerges victorious, and Satan falls, amazed.
An anecdote recounted by a Quaker named Thomas Ellwood provides some insight into Paradise Regained‘s development. After studying Latin with Milton and reading the poet’s epic Paradise Lost, Ellwood remarked, “Thou hast said much here of Paradise lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise found?” Hearing this, Milton at first “sat some time in a muse” before changing the subject; however, sometime thereafter he showed to Ellwood a new manuscript entitled Paradise Regained. Some maintain that although he seemed to express gratitude to Ellwood in a letter, Milton in truth “passed on a friendly if impish fabrication” that made Ellwood feel like the inspiration for the poem.
Samson Agonistes (from Greek Σαμσών ἀγωνιστής, “Samson the champion”) is a tragic closet drama by John Milton. It appeared with the publication of Milton’s Paradise Regained in 1671, as the title page of that volume states: “Paradise Regained / A Poem / In IV Books / To Which Is Added / Samson Agonistes”. It is generally thought that Samson Agonistes was begun around the same time as Paradise Regained but was completed after the larger work, possibly very close to the date of publishing, but there is no certainty.
Milton began plotting various subjects for tragedies in a notebook created in the 1640s. Many of the ideas dealt with the topic of Samson, and he gave them titles such as Samson pursophorus or Hybristes (“Samson the Firebrand, or Samson the Violent”), Samson marriing or in Ramath Lechi, and Dagonalia (the unholy rites at which Samson performed his vindication of God). The title he chose emphasizes Samson as a warrior or an athlete, and the play was included with Paradise Regained and printed on 29 May 1671 by John Starkey. It is uncertain as to when the work was composed, which leaves the possibility that it was an early work that was filled with Milton’s ideas about the English Civil War or it was a later work that incorporates his despair over the Restoration. Evidence for the early dating is based on his early works and his belief in revolution whereas evidence for a later dating connects the play with his later works, such as Paradise Lost, and comments reflecting on the fall of the Commonwealth. In 1671, the work was printed with a new title page and prefaced his work with a discussion on Greek tragedy and Aristotle’s Poetics.
On the title page, Milton wrote that the piece was a “Dramatic Poem” rather than a drama. He did not wish for it to be performed on stage, but thought that the text could still influence people. He hoped that by giving Samson attributes of other Biblical figures, including Job or the Psalmist, he could create a complex hero who would embody and help resolve theological issues. In writing the poem and choosing the character of Samson as his hero, Milton was also illustrating his own blindness, which afflicted him in his later life.
Areopagitica; A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England is a 1644 prose polemic by the English poet, scholar, and polemical author John Milton opposing licensing and censorship. Areopagitica is among history’s most influential and impassioned philosophical defences of the principle of a right to freedom of speech and expression. Many of its expressed principles have formed the basis for modern justifications.
Milton recognises individual rights, but he is not completely libertarian in Areopagitica as he argues that the status quo ante worked best. According to the previous English law, all books had to have at least a printer’s name (and preferably an author’s name) inscribed in them. Under that system, Milton argues, if any blasphemous or libellous material is published, those books can still be destroyed after the fact. “Those which otherwise come forth, if they be found mischievous and libellous, the fire and the executioner will be the timeliest and the most effectual remedy, that mans prevention can use.” Milton seeks a means by which to ensure that authors and publishers remain culpable for any “mischievous” or “libellous” work that they produce. Regardless, Milton certainly is not without remorse for the libellous author, nor does he promote unrestricted free speech. In addition, he admits that his tolerance is limited:
I mean not tolerated Popery, and open superstition, which as it extirpats all religions and civill supremacies, so it self should be extirpate, provided first that all charitable and compassionate means be used to win and regain the weak and the misled.
According to Nicholas McDowell, the second part of the forecited statement is usually left out by those quoting the first part to show that Milton was, at heart, a religious bigot, and that his ideas about free speech and intellectual liberty have little to teach us about liberalism today. (That said, whether the second half of the statement is actually an effective mitigation to the bigotry is a question eminently suited for discussion.)
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