“AFTER SHAKESPEARE AND CHAUCER, JOHN MILTON IS THE MOST EMINENT POET IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE”: SCARCE 1673 EDITION OF MILTON’S POEMS, ISSUED ONLY ONE YEAR BEFORE HIS DEATH, WITH FIRST PRINTING OF HIS SONNET ON BLINDNESS
MILTON, John. Poems, &c. Upon Several Occasions. 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, 1673. Small octavo (4-3/4 by 6-3/4 inches), contemporary full speckled brown calf rebacked in calf-gilt, red morocco spine label, raised bands, renewed endpapers.
First expanded edition of Milton’s Poems, initially printed in 1645, this second edition published only one year before his death and “doubtless authorized by Milton,” with over 40 poems “printed here for the first time,” including the first printing of Sonnet XVI, the first sonnet to refer to Milton’s blindness, especially memorable for its oft-quoted final line—”They also serve who only stand and waite”—scarce in contemporary calf.
“After Shakespeare and Chaucer, John Milton is the most eminent poet in the English language… No other great poet, not even Dante, began with so clear and systematic an intention to devote himself entirely to poetry” (Bloom, John Milton, 1). This edition of Milton’s poetry, published only one year before his death and “doubtless authorized by Milton,” is the first expanded edition of the earlier collection titled Poems of Mr. John Milton (1645). Containing all the works therein, including L’Allegro, Il Penseroso and Of Education, this scarce volume also includes “a number of poems here printed for the first time… ‘On the Death of a fair Infant,’ ten sonnets, number X to XIX inclusive, ‘The 5th Ode to Horace,’ ‘At a Vacation Exercise in the Colledge,’ ‘On the new forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament’ and 17 Psalms, numbered 1-8 and 80-88 inclusive (in Latin and Greek), ‘Apologus de Rustico & Hero,’ ‘In Effigiei Ejus Sculptorem’ and ‘Ad Joannem Rousum Oxoniensis Academiae Bibliothecarium” (Wither to Prior 573). This edition especially features the first printing of Sonnet XVI, the first published sonnet to refer to Milton’s blindness and especially memorable for its final line—“They also serve who only stand and waite.” With Pforzheimer’s second state title page containing “Blew Anchor” in its imprint: “the address to which Dring moved from the White Lion” address of the first state title page. The title page is otherwise the same as the first state and “the rest of the work as well,” including publisher’s Catalogue at rear (Wither to Prior 573). With separate title page in Latin and separate pagination of Londinensis Poemata, first published separately in 1645. Woodcut-engraved initials and headpieces. Text in English and Latin. Wing 2161A. Pforzheimer 724. ESTC R42174. Lowndes, 1563. See Pforzheimer 722; Wing 2159-2161; ESTC R202162. Bookplate of C. S Currie of Ettrick, Derrinallum. Light early marginalia to two pages.
Interior with light expert cleaning; a few minor expertly repaired tears with one affecting a few words (Q4); expert restoration to board extremities.