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ate-stre convenience to Simmons in his circumstances at the time.
Th however, more was involved than this in so much tossing-about of the book
any case, the first edition of Paradise Lost was a most creditably printed book. It is, as has been mentioned, a small quarto-of 342 pages in such copies as are without the " Argument" and other preliminary matter, and of 356 pages in the copies that have this addition. But the pages are not numwith bered-only the lines by tens along the margin in each Book. In one or two places there is an error in the numbering of the lines, arising from miscounting. The text in each page is enclosed within lines-single lines at the inner margin and bottom, but double lines at the top for the running title and the number of of the Book, and along the outer margin columnwise for the numbering of the lines. Very great care must have been bestowed on the reading of the proofs, either by Milton himself, or by some competent person who had undertaken to see the book through the press for him. It seems likely that Milton himself caused page after page to be read over slowly to him, and occasionally even the words to be spelt out. There are, at all events, certain systematic peculiarities of spelling and punctuation which it seems most reasonable to attribute to are the Milton's own instructions. Altogether, for a book printed in such circumPrinter stances, it is wonderfully accurate; and, in all the particulars of type, paper, and general getting-up, the first appearance of Paradise Lost must have been rather attractive than otherwise to book-buyers of that day.
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The selling-price of the volume was three shillings-which is perhaps as if a similar book now were published at about 10s. 6d. From the retail-sale of 1,300 copies, therefore, the sum that would come in to Simmons, if we make an allowance for trade-deductions at about the modern rate, would be someCothing under 140. Out of this had to be paid the expenses of printing, &c., and the sum agreed upon with the author; and the balance would be Simmons's profit. On the whole, though he cannot have made anything extraordinary by the transaction, it must have been sufficiently remunerative. For, by the 26th of April 1669, or after the poem had been published a little over eighteen months, the stipulated impression of 1,300 copies had been exhausted. oksThe proof exists in the shape of Milton's receipt (signed for him by another hand) for the additional Five Pounds due to him on that contingency:
to the is the inter
April 26, 1669.
Received then of Samuel Simmons five pounds, being the Second five pounds to be paid
Witness, Edmund Upton.
Thus, by the month of April 1669, Milton had received in all Ten Pounds
For, contrary to what might have been expected after a sale of the first edition
"Paradise Lost. A Poem in Twelve Books. The Author John Milton. The Second Edition Revised and Augmented by the same Author. London, Printed by S. Simmons next door to the Golden Lion in Aldersgate-street, 1674."
This edition is in small octavo, with the pages numbered, but with no marginal numbering of the lines-the pages of the text as numbered being 333 There are prefixed two sets of commendatory verses-the one in Latin signed "S. B., M.D.," and written by a certain Samuel Barrow, a physician and a private friend of Milton; the other in English, signed "A. M.," and written by Andrew Marvel. But the most important difference between this and the previous edition is that, whereas the poem had been arranged in Ten Books in the first, it is here arranged in Twelve. This is accomplished by dividing what had formerly been the two longest Books of the poem-Books VII. and X.into two Books each. There is a corresponding division in the "Arguments" of these Books; and the "Arguments," instead of being given in a body at the beginning, are prefixed to the Books to which they severally apply. To smooth over the breaks made by the division of the two Books, the three new lines were added which now form the beginning of Book VIII. and the five that begin Book XII.; and there are one or two other slight additions or alterations, also dictated by Milton, in the course of the text, besides a few verbal variations, such as would arise in reprinting, On the whole the Second Edition, though very correct, is not so nice-looking a book as the First.
Four years sufficed to exhaust the Second Edition; and in 1678 (i.e. four years after Milton's death) a Third Edition appeared with this title: "Paradise Lost. A Poem in Twelve Books. The Author John Milton. The Third Edition. Revised and Augmented by the same Author. London, Printed by S. Simmons, next door to the Golden Lion in Aldersgate Street, 1678." This edition is in small octavo, and in other respects the same as its predecessor, save that there are a few verbal variations in the printing. It is of no independent value-the Second Edition being the last that could have been supervised by Milton himself. From the appearance of a third edition in 1678, however, it is to be inferred that by that time the second of those impressions of 1,300 copies which had to be accounted for to the author was sold off (implying perhaps a total circulation up to that time of 3,000 copies), and that, consequently, had the author been alive, he would have been then entitled to his third sum of Five Pounds, as by the agreement. Milton being dead, the sum was due to his widow. Whether, however, on account of disputes which existed between the widow and Milton's three daughters by his first wife as to the inheritance of his property (disputes which were the subject of a law-suit in 1674-5), or for other reasons, Simmons was in no hurry to pay the third Five Pounds. It was not till the end of 1680 that he settled with the widow,
rint be edition
first ed and then in a manner of which the following receipt given by her is a record:
Gore, or at de
That is to say, Simmons, owing the widow Five Pounds, due since 1678, and in prospect of soon owing her other Five Pounds on the current impression of the Poem, preferred, or consented, to compound for the Ten by a payment of Eight in December 1680. The total sum which he could in any case have been called upon to pay for Paradise Lost by his original agreement was 20%. (for the agreement did not look beyond three impressions of 1,300 copies nd write each); and the total sum which he did pay was 187. If he thus got off 27. it and was probably to oblige the widow, who may have been anxious to realize all Books she could of her late husband's property at once before leaving town. There ng, indeed, a subsequent document from which it would appear as if Simmons and X feared having farther trouble from the widow. It is a document, dated April
29, 1681, by which she formally releases Samuel Simmons, his heirs, executors,
From 1680, accordingly, neither Milton's widow, nor his daughters, had any share or interest whatever in the sale of Paradise Lost. The sole property in was vested in the printer Simmons. Nor did he keep it long. Shortly after his last agreement with the vidow he transferred his entire interest in the poem to another bookseller, Brabazon Aylmer, for twenty-five pounds. But on the 17th of August, 1683, Aylmer sold half of his right at a considerably advanced price to the famous bookseller, Jacob Tonson, who had begun business in Super 1677, and was already introducing a new era in the book-trade by his dealings with Dryden and others; and in March, 1690, Tonson bought the other half of the copyright. What are called the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions, accordoldingly, were all issued by Tonson. The fourth was issued in 1688, in folio, dth
with a portrait by White, and other illustrations, and a list of more than
I do hereby acknowledge to have received of Samuel Symonds, Cittizen and Stationer of
Witness, William Yapp.
rest of the poems under the general title of "The Poetical Works of Mr. John Milton." This edition was accompanied by what is in reality the first
commentary on the poem, and also one of the best. It consists of no fewer and Ed than 321 folio pages of Annotations, under this title, "Annotations on Milton's "Paradise Lost: wherein the texts of Sacred Writ relating to the Poem are
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quoted; the parallel places and imitations of the most excellent Homer and Virgil cited and compared; all the obscure parts rendered in phrases more familiar; the old and obsolete words, with their originals, explain'd and made easy to the English reader. By P. H., KOTOIŃTNS.' The "P. H." who thus led the way, so largely, carefully, and laboriously, in the work of commentating Milton, was Patrick Hume, a Scotsman, of whom nothing more has been ascertained than that he was then settled as a schoolmaster somewhere near London.
A common statement is that it was Addison's celebrated series of criticisms on Paradise Lost in the Spectator, during the years 1711 and 1712, that first awoke people to Milton's greatness as a poet, and that till then he had been neglected. The statement will not bear investigation. Not only had six editions of the Paradise Lost been published before the close of the seventeenth century-three of them splendid folio editions, and one of them with a commentary which was in itself a tribute to the extraordinary renown of the poem; and not only before or shortly after Milton's death had there been such public expressions of admiration for the poem by Dryden and others as were equivalent to its recognition as one of the sublimest works of English. genius; but since the year 1688 these emphatic, if not very discriminating lines, of Dryden, printed by way of motto under Milton's portrait in Tonson's edition of that year, had been a familiar quotation in all men's mouths :
"Three Poets in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
Even before these lines were written the habit of comparing Milton with Homer and Virgil, and of wondering whether the highest greatness might not be claimed for the Englishman, had been fully formed. Addison's criticisms, therefore, were only a contribution to a reputation already become traditional. Three new editions of the Paradise Lost, by itself or otherwise, had been published by Tonson before the appearance of these criticisms-to wit, in 1705, 1707, and 1711; after which Addison's criticisms may have given an impulse to the sale, visible in the rapid multiplication of subsequent editions.
The Tonson family had an undisturbed monopoly of these editions, and indeed of all Milton's poetry, till as late as the year 1750. Every one of the numerous editions, in different sizes and forms, published in Great Britain down to that year, bears the name of the Tonson firm on the title-page. This was owing to the state of opinion as to copyright in books. In Great Britain the understanding in the book-trade was that a publisher who had once acquired a book had a perpetual property in it. The understanding did not extend to Ireland; and accordingly there had been three Dublin editions of Paradise Lostin 1724, 1747, and 1748 respectively. But about 1750 the understanding broke down in Great Britain as well-being found inconsistent with the Copyright Act of Queen Anne, passed in 1709; and, accordingly, from 1750 onwards:
few we find London and Edinburgh publishers venturing to put forth editions of
II. ORIGIN OF THE POEM AND HISTORY OF ITS COMPOSITION.
great deal has been written concerning "the origin" of Paradise Lost. Voltaire, in 1727, suggested that Milton had, while in Italy in 1638-9, seen performed there a Scriptural drama, entitled Adamo, written by a certain Giovanni Battista Andreini, and that, "piercing through the absurdity of the performance to the hidden majesty of the subject," he "took from that ridithe culous trifle the first hint of the noblest work which the human imagination has ever attempted." The Andreini thus recalled to notice was the son of an Italian actress, and was known in Italy and also in France as a writer of comedies and religious poems, and also of some defences of the drama. He was born in 1578, and, as he did not die till 1652, he may have been of some reputation in Italy as a living author at the time of Milton's visit. His Adamo, of which special mention is made, was published at Milan in 1613, again at Milan in 1617; and there was a third edition of it at Perugia in 1641. It is a drama in Italian verse, in five Acts, representing the Fall of Man. Among the characters, besides Adam and Eve, are God the Father, the Archangel Michael, Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, the Serpent, and various allegoric_personages, such as the Seven Mortal Sins, the World, the Flesh, Famine, Despair, Death; and there are also choruses of Seraphim, Cherubim, Angels, Phantoms, and Infernal Spirits. From specimens which have been given, it appears that the play, though absurd enough on the whole to justify the way in ot which Voltaire speaks of it, is not destitute of vivacity and other merits, and
that, if Milton did read it, or see it performed, he may have retained a pretty strong recollection of it.
The hint that Milton might have been indebted for the first idea of his poem to Andreini opened up one of those literary questions in which ferrets among old books and critics of more ingenuity than judgment delight to lose themselves. In various quarters hypotheses were started as to particular authors to whom, in addition to Andreini, Milton might have been indebted for this or that in his Paradise Lost. The notorious William Lauder gave an impulse to the question by his publications, from 1746 to 1755, openly accusing Milton of plagiarism; and, though the controversy in the form in which Lauder had raised it ended with the exposure of his forgeries, the so-called "Inquiry into the Origin of Paradise Lost" has continued to occupy to this day critics of a very different stamp from Lauder, and writing in a very different spirit. The result has been that some thirty authors have been cited, as entitled, along with Andreini or apart from him, to the credit of having probably or possibly contributed something to the conception, the plan, or the execution of Milton's great poem. Quite recently, for example, a claim has been advanced for the