Description

    First Edition of Milton's Last Two Poems

    John Milton. Paradise Regain'd. A Poem. In IV Books. To Which is Added Samson Agonistes. London: Printed for J. M. for John Starkey, 1671.

    First edition, first issue. With license and errata leaf and with the error "loah" on leaf F2, line 2 in the corrected state "loth." Small octavo (7.0125 x 4.75 inches; 178 x 121 mm). [4], 111, [1, blank], 101, [3] pages.

    Contemporary brown paneled calf, professionally rebacked to style. Gilt red calf lettering piece, spine ruled in blind in compartments, four raised bands, modern endpapers. Overall a very good copy.

    Paradise Regain'd "is a sequel to 'Paradise Lost', and deals exclusively with the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. According to the poet's conception, whereas Paradise was lost by the yielding of Adam and Eve to Satan's temptation, so it was regained by the resistance of the Son of God to the temptation of the same spirit. Satan is here represented not in the majestic lineaments that we find in 'Paradise Lost', but as a cunning, smooth, and dissembling creature, a 'Spirit unfortunate', as he describes himself. There is a comparative scarcity of similes and ornament, and only a vivid and ingenious expansion of the Biblical texts" (The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 590).

    "'Samson Agonistes', a tragedy by Milton... is modeled on Greek tragedies. 'Samson Agonistes' (i.e. Samson the Athlete or Wrestler) deals with the last phase of the life of the Samson of the Book of Judges (xvi), when he is a prisoner of the Philistines and blind, a phase which presents a pathetic similarity to the circumstances of the poet himself when he wrote the play" (The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 694).

    Coleridge 168. Grolier, Wither to Prior, 613. Hayward 73. Wing M2152.


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