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ITH the exception of four Sonnets (xv. XVI. XVII. XXII.) the Poems of Milton were all printed in his lifetime, and to some extent under his superintendence. The Epitaph. on Shakespeare, written in 1630, first appeared among the verses prefixed to the Second Folio edition of Shakespeare, which was printed in 1632. It is there called 'An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet W. SHAKESPEARE,' and it is signed with the initials J. M.
The first edition of Comus appeared in 1637, edited by Henry Lawes, the musician, who wrote the music for it, and is said to have acted the part of The Attendant Spirit who assumed the form of Thyrsis. The title is as follows:
A MASKE | PRESENTED | At Ludlow Castle, | 1634: | On Michaelmasse night, before the | RIGHT HONORABLE, IOHN Earle of Bridgewater, Vicount BRACKLY, | Lord Præsident of WALES, And one of | His MAIESTIES most honorable | Privie Counsell.
Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum
LONDON, | Printed for HVMPHREY ROBINSON, | at the signe of the Three Pidgeons in | Pauls Church-yard. 1637. |
Lycidas, which, according to the heading of the Poem in the manuscript now in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, was written in November, 1637, was first printed
in a collection of verses, Latin and English, which were pub lished in 1638 under the title Justa Edovardo King, i commemoration of the death of Edward King, who wa drowned on his passage to Ireland in the previous Long Vacation. The full title is, 'JUSTA | EDOVARDO | KING naufrago, | ab | Amicis mœrentibus, | amoris | & ¦ μveías xápiv. Si recte calculum ponas, ubique naufragium est. | Pet. Arb. CANTABRIGIÆ:| Apud Thomam Buck, & Rogerum Daniel celeberrima | Academiæ typographos. 1638.' | The English verses are at the end, with a separate pagination and the title, 'Obsequies to the memorie | of | Mr EDWARD | KING, Anno Dom. | 1638. | Printed by Th. Buck, and R. Daniel, printers to the Vniversitie of | Cambridge. 1638.' |
In 1645 Milton's reputation was so far established that a collection of his Poems was made by a London stationer, Humphrey Moseley, and issued with a Preface by the publisher and the following title:
POEMS OF Mr John Milton, | BOTH | ENGLISH LATIN, Compos'd at several times. | Printed by his true Copies. The SONGS were set in Musick by | Mr HENRY LAWES Gentleman of the KINGS Chappel, and one of His MAIESTIES | Private Musick. |
Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro,
Printed and publish'd according to | ORDER. | LONDON,| Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at the signe of the Princes | Arms in Pauls Churchyard, 1645. |
The poems contained in this volume were reprinted, with some additions which are indicated in the Notes, in 1673, the year before Milton's death, and when he had been long blind. It is not therefore certain whether the variations in this edition
have his authority or not. I do not feel inclined to attribute to them much importance. The title is as follows: 'POEMS, &c. UPON | Several Occasions. | BY Mr JOHN MILTON: Both ENGLISH and LATIN, &c. | Composed at several times. | With a small Tractate of | EDUCATION | To Mr HARTLIB. | LONDON, Printed for Tho. Dring at the Blew Anchor | next Mitre Court over against Fetter | Lane in Fleet-street. 1673.'
In the same year there appeared another title-page with a different imprint:
Printed for Tho. Dring at the White Lion | next Chancery Lane End, in | Fleet-street. 1673. |
That this is earlier than the preceding is clear from the fact that in 1671 The Amorous Prince of Mrs Aphra Behn was printed for Thomas Dring at the White Lion. His removal to the 'Blew Anchor' therefore took place in 1673.
Paradise Lost was first printed in 1667 in quarto, and copies were issued with varying title-pages in the years 1667, 1668, and 1669. Of these various titles I can speak with certainty of the following. Others have been described, but I have not been able to trace them.
Paradise lost. | A | POEM | Written in | TEN BOOKS | By JOHN MILTON. Licensed and Entred according to Order. | LONDON | Printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker | under Creed Church neer Aldgate; And by | Robert Boulter at the Turks Head in Bishopsgate-street; | And Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church | in Fleet-street, 1667. | Paradise lost. | A | POEM | Written in | TEN BOOKS | by JOHN MILTON. | Licensed and Entred according to Order. | LONDON | Printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker | under Creed Church neer Aldgate; And by Robert Boulter at the Turks Head in Bishopsgate-street; | And Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church | in Fleet-street, 1667. |