Milton's 1645 Poems
   HOME

TheInfoList




Milton's 1645 ''Poems'' is a collection, divided into separate English and Latin sections, of
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
's youthful poetry in a variety of genres, including such notable works as '' An Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity'', ''
Comus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A beli ...
'' and ''
Lycidas "Lycidas" () is a poem by John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious f ...

Lycidas
''. Appearing in late 1645 or 1646 (see
1646 in poetry Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish poetry, Irish or French poetry, France). Events * May 6 – American poetry, American colonial poet Anne Bradstreet becomes a foundi ...
), the
octavo Octavo, a Latin word meaning "in eighth" or "for the eighth time", (abbreviated 8vo, 8º, or In-8) is a technical term describing the format of a book, which refers to the size of leaves produced from folding a full sheet of paper on which multip ...
volume, whose full title is ''Poems of Mr. John Milton both English and Latin, compos'd at several times'', was issued by the
Royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. ...

Royalist
publisher Humphrey Moseley. In 1673, a year before his death, Milton issued a revised and expanded edition of the ''Poems''. According to ''The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature'' (2004), notwithstanding its title page, the book was published in 1646.Cox, Michael, editor, ''The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature'', Oxford University Press, 2004,


Frontispiece

The volume's frontispiece contains an extremely unflattering portrait of Milton by the engraver William Marshall. Underneath the portrait are satirical verses in Greek denying any resemblance. It is assumed that this was a practical joke on Marshall, who is unlikely to have known that he was engraving insults directed at himself. The verses read in translation,
Looking at the form of the original, you could say, perhaps, that this likeness had been drawn by a rank beginner; but, my friends, since you do not recognize what is pictured here, have a chuckle at a caricature by a useless artist.


Organization

In addition to the first titlepage, the volume contains separate titlepages for the Latin ''Poemata'' and ''
Comus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A beli ...
'' (a.k.a. ''A Mask''). There are also five sonnets and a ''Canzone'' written in Italian language that are not separately denoted. The order of the English poems is as follows: *''
On the Morning of Christ's Nativity ''On the Morning of Christ's Nativity'' is a nativity ode written by John Milton in 1629 and published in his Milton's 1645 Poems, ''Poems of Mr. John Milton'' (1645). The poem describes Annunciation, Christ's Incarnation and his overthrow of ea ...
'' *A Paraphrase on Psalm 114 *Psalm 136 *''The Passion'' *''On Time'' *''
Upon the Circumcision ''Upon the Circumcision'' is an ode by John Milton that was possibly written in 1633 and first published in 1645. It discusses the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and connects Annunciation, Christ's Incarnation with his Crucifixion of Jesus, Cr ...
'' *''At a Solemn Musick'' *''An Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester'' *''Song on May Morning'' *''On Shakespeare'' *''On the University Carrier'' 'Hobson's Epitaph''*''Another on the same'' *''L'Allegro'' *''Il Penseroso'' *Sonnets 1–10 *''Arcades (Milton), Arcades'' *''
Lycidas "Lycidas" () is a poem by John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious f ...

Lycidas
'' *''A Mask'' [''
Comus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A beli ...
''] The Latin poems are divided into "Elegiarum" (Elegies) and "Sylvarum Liber", and conclude with the ''Epitaphium Damonis'', a poem mourning the death of Milton's best friend, Charles Diodati. In terms of themes and organization, this section "balances and speaks to the English collection".


1673 edition

Milton's 1673 Poems, formally titled Poems etc. on several occasions by Mr John Milton, both English and Latin, composed at several times, etc., also includes a tract on education. Th
facsimile of the title page
shows that the book was published by Thomas Dring of London. The 1673 book includes all the poems in Milton's 1645 Poems, though not the prefatory material. In addition it includes a few poems written before 1645 but not published in the earlier book, and a number of poems written after 1645. The tract on education is the same as in the 1645 book (Revard, 2009, p. 284ff). According to th
list
published by Dartmouth College, poems included in the 1673 book but not in the 1645 book are: *On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough *Sonnets *The Fifth Ode of Horace. Book 1 *At a Vacation Exercise *On the New Forcers of Conscience *Psalm Translations *Apologus de Rustico & Hero *In Effigiei Ejus Sculptorem *Ad Joannem Roüsium The sonnets included are usually referred to as numbers 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 23, according to the numbering Milton gave them in his autograph notebook referred to as the "Trinity Manuscript" (see Revard, 2009, p. 543), from its location in the Wren Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. In the printed edition, however, they are numbered sequentially. Thus, for example, the famous sonnet that begins ''When I Consider How My Light is Spent'', usually (though inauthentically) referred to as ''On his blindness'', is numbered 19 by Milton but 16 in the printed edition (see Revard, 2009, p. 569).


Significance

Though many of these poems are marvels in their own right, critics are divided on how to read the volume as a whole in the scope of Milton's entire poetic career, which is invariably seen as culminating in the epic poem ''Paradise Lost''. Taking a quote from Virgil, Vergil's ''Georgics'', Milton identifies himself as a "future poet" on the title page. Some commentators take this as evidence that Milton was self-consciously preparing himself for a greater work. Others, on the other hand, argue that Milton's self-presentation is of "a plural and shifting subject" whose poetic trajectory is not set in stone. George Steiner stresses the mix of antique and modern; of English, Latin and Italian with knowledge of Hebrew and Greek: according to Steiner, Milton manages to unify the European community in its diversity. It is also debatable to what extent the volume embraces the republican politics Milton had begun to adopt by this time. Milton's publisher, Moseley, supported Royalist poets, such as Edmund Waller, and the volume contains praises of aristocrats and traditionally Royalist forms, like masque. Yet a strong argument can be made that Milton did subtly inscribe his radical Puritan politics in the ''Poems'' through such works as ''
Lycidas "Lycidas" () is a poem by John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious f ...

Lycidas
''.Michael Wilding, "Milton's Early Radicalism," Chapter 4 in ''John Milton'', ed. Annabel Patterson (London: Longman, 1992), pp. 39-45; David Norbrook, "The Politics of Milton's Early Poetry," Chapter 5 in ibid.


See also

*
1646 in poetry Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish poetry, Irish or French poetry, France). Events * May 6 – American poetry, American colonial poet Anne Bradstreet becomes a foundi ...


References


External links


Text of 1645 ''Poems''Text of the contents, including a facsimile of the title page
{{John Milton 17th-century poems Poetry by John Milton Books by John Milton 17th-century Latin books