« ZurückWeiter »
seen; but in a copy now before me the latter part of the imprint runs thus:"London: Printed for Tho. Dring, at the Blew Anchor next Mitre Court over against Fetter Lane in Fleet Street. 1673."]
In this second edition, as compared with the first, the following particulars are to be noted: (1) There are certain additions. The chief of these (not to mention the reprint, at the end, of the small prose Tract on Education which had been originally published in 1644), are, of course, those English and Latin pieces of which we have just given a list as having been written by Milton after the first edition was published. But all these pieces, written between 1645 and 1673, were not included in the new edition. The few English and Latin scraps already printed in the prose-writings were not here reprinted; and, for reasons obvious enough, Milton did not think it advisable, at that date, to publish his sonnets to Fairfax, Vane, and Cromwell, nor that second one to Cyriack Skinner in which he speaks with exultation of his own services in the Republican cause. With these exceptions, however, all the pieces written since 1645 were now published by Milton himself in this second edition. But there were also included in this edition those two English pieces, which, though written long before the publication of the first edition, had not appeared in it (see p. 167)-viz. the Elegy "On the death of a fair Infant dying of a Cough," written in 1626, and the fragment, "At a Vacation Exercise in the College," written in 1628. Copies of these two pieces had apparently been recovered by Milton, and their insertion in the new edition was certainly a gain to that edition. (2) To some copies of this second edition of the Poems there was prefixed a new portrait of Milton at the age of sixty-three, by W. Dolle, after Faithorne, superseding the caricature by Marshall prefixed to the first edition. But the jocular Greek lines on Marshall's portrait which had appeared in the first edition were still preserved. They were printed among the Sylvæ in the new edition, with the title "In Effigiei ejus Sculptorem." (3) From the new edition were omitted Moseley's Preface to the first edition, and also the two pieces of English prose which had been specially inserted in the first as introductions to the Comus-viz. Lawes's Dedication of the Comus to Lord Brackley in 1637, and Sir Henry Wotton's letter of 1638. Milton probably thought that these
laudatory introductions were no longer required. He still kept, however, the complimentary verses, &c., of his foreign friends, prefixed to the Latin poems.
SUBSEQUENT EDITIONS OF THE POEMS.
Milton survived the publication of the second edition of his Minor Poems only a few months. He died Nov. 8, 1674, one of his last occupations having been the preparation of the second edition of his Paradise Lost. We do not find that, after his death, the Minor Poems were in such demand as the others. It was not till 1695-by which time Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes had passed through several new editions—that there was published a third edition of the miscellaneous poems. This edition was published by Tonson in sixty folio pages, besides title-page and table of contents, as a companion to the folio editions of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson, published at the same time; with which, accordingly, it is usually found bound up. The example thus set, of reprinting the Minor Poems along with the larger in general editions of Milton's Poetical Works, has been generally followed. Bishop Newton followed it in 1752, by issuing Paradise Regained, Samson, and the Minor Poems together in one volume, to be added to his two-volume edition of the Paradise Lost in 1749, and so complete the Poetical Works. Separate editions of the Minor Poems have been very few. By far the most important of these few were the two editions, in 1785 and 1791 respectively, by Thomas Warton, "with notes critical and explanatory, and other illustrations." Warton's notes in these editions were most careful and valuable ; and Todd and other subsequent editors and biographers of Milton have been greatly indebted to them. Todd's own editing of the Minor Poems, after Warton, was not without good results; and in Mr. Keightley's edition of Milton (1859) there is evidence of real pains bestowed upon the Minor Poems. The same cannot be said of the handsome eight-volume edition of Milton from Pickering's press in 1851, with life by Mitford. Not only are the Minor Poems printed there without the original prefaces, &c., of
the edition of 1645, but they are printed in an arbitrary order, which is neither that of the original edition, nor intelligible in itself.
To most of the editions of the Minor Poems that have appeared since Milton's own second edition of 1673 there have, of course, been added such scraps of verse, not inserted in that edition, as Milton would himself have included in any final edition. Thus the scraps of verse, whether in English or Latin, interspersed through his prose-writings, are now properly collected and inserted among the Poems. Those four English Sonnets, also, which Milton had, from prudential reasons, omitted in the edition of 1673, though they were then by him (see antè, p. 173), are now in their places. After the Revolution of 1688 there was no reason for withholding these interesting sonnets from the public; and, accordingly, when Milton's nephew, Edward Phillips, published, in 1694, an English edition of the "Letters of State' which had been written by his uncle as Latin Secretary during the Commonwealth, and prefixed to these Letters his memoir of his uncle, he very properly printed the four missing sonnets as an appendix to the memoir. From that time they have always been included in editions of the Poems.
THE MILTON MSS. AT CAMBRIDGE.
Even had Milton not given his Minor Poems to the world in print during his lifetime, those interesting productions of his genius would, perhaps, not have been wholly lost. Some of them would have remained recoverable. It is at this point, and more especially in connexion with the Minor Poems, that the reader ought to have a particular account of those Cambridge MSS. of Milton which have been several times referred to in the course of our Introductions, and which are by far the most interesting of the personal relics of the poet.
Milton, from the time when he had first begun to write poems or other things, had carefully kept the MSS. In particular, there was a folio-sized notebook, or set of loose folio sheets, in which, from the last years of his student-life at Cambridge, on through his subsequent period of rural leisure at Horton, and again after
his return from his Italian tour, he was accustomed to keep the first drafts of his English pieces, or copies of them. This book, or set of sheets (with other notebooks or sets of sheets, in which he had kept his Latin pieces, and also some others of his English), had served him in 1645, when Moseley brought out, "printed by his true copies," the first edition of his miscellaneous Poems. The "true copies," however, used by Moseley's printer, were not the drafts in this original MS. book or set of sheets, but amended copies from these made on purpose. The original MS. book or set of sheets remained in Milton's possession, and was occasionally used by him to receive fresh jottings till as late as 1658 the latest jottings, however, not being in his own hand, but in the hands of the various amanuenses whom he employed in his blindness. These and other MSS. of Milton, descending to his widow, after his death in 1674, became dispersed on, if not before, her removal from London to her native place, Nantwich in Cheshire, where she died in 1727. What became of the bulk of the manuscripts is unknown; but the portion of them in which we are now interested came somehow into the hands of a Sir Henry Newton Puckering, Baronet. He was the son of a Sir Adam Newton, who had been tutor to Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I., but he had taken the name of Puckering after his uncle, a Sir Thomas Puckering, of Warwickshire. It is just possible that he may have had some acquaintance with Milton. He had been educated at Trinity College, Cambridge; and I find that his uncle and aunt had been neighbours of Milton in Aldersgate Street. At all events, he was a scholar and a book-collector. So scholarly were his tastes, and so strong was his affection for his old college in Cambridge, that, in his eightieth year (about 1697), he desired to be readmitted into it, and had rooms in it assigned him, where he lived for some time. At his death in 1700, he left his collection of books, amounting to 4,000 volumes, to Trinity College Library. In this collection were many MSS., and among them such of Milton's as had come into the old collector's possession. These precious documents lay neglected among the other MSS. till Charles Mason, a Fellow of the College, and subsequently Woodwardian Professor in the University, took the pains to seek them out and arrange them. Finally, in 1736, another Fellow of
the College-Thomas Clarke, afterwards Knight, and Master of the Rolls-had them carefully and handsomely bound in morocco in a thin folio volume, with this inscription pasted on the inside of one of the covers, "Membra hæc eruditissimi et pæne divini Poeta, olim miserè disjecta et passim sparsa, postea verò fortuito inventa, et in unum denuo collecta a Carolo Mason, ejusdem Collegii socio, et inter Miscellanea reposita, deinceps eâ quâ decuit religione servari voluit Thomas Clarke, nuperrimè hujusce Collegii, nunc verò Medii Templi Londini, Socius. 1736." ("These relics of a most learned and almost divine poet, formerly miserably torn asunder and everywhere dispersed, but afterwards by chance found, and latterly collected into one by Charles Mason, Fellow of the same College, and placed among the Miscellanies of the Library, are now at length to be preserved with becoming piety by the desire of Thomas Clarke, very recently Fellow of this College, and now of the Middle Temple, London. 1736.") Accordingly, this thin morocco-bound volume of Milton MSS. is to this day one of the most precious curiosities in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. It is shown to visitors in a glass table-case, arranged so as to gratify them with the sight of a page or two of Milton's autograph. By permission of the Master and Fellows, but only in the presence of one of the Fellows, it may be removed from the case for more leisurely examination. A full account of the volume, and ample specimens of it in fac-simile, will be found in the late Mr. Sotheby's splendid folio volume entitled Ramblings in the Elucidation of Milton's Autograph (1861). It is only to be regretted that Mr. Sotheby, while he was about it, did not facsimile the volume entire.
The volume consists of fifty-four pages, all of folio size, except an interpolated leaf or two of small quarto. Eight of the pages are blank; all the other forty are written on, most of them Inventory of the contents of the
very closely. The following
whole volume in the order in which they stand as bound up by Clarke in 1736 :