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John Milton


Macmillan and Co. Limited

New York: The Macmillan Company


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IN June 1628, while Milton was still an undergraduate, he composed for one of the Senior Fellows of his college, who was the respondent in the Philosophical Act, the Latin verses which it was the Cambridge custom to print for distribution to the Doctors present at the ceremony. Professor Masson has suggested that the lines on the theme, Naturam non pati senium' (That Nature is not subject to old age) were written for this occasion. If so, this was, as far as we can guess, the first composition of Milton's to obtain the honour of print. Academical fly-sheets of this kind quickly pass out of existence, and as it was no longer customary at this date to use layers of printers' proofs instead of paste boards, there is little likelihood of this fugitive paper having been preserved even in that last refuge, the inside of an old binding. Should it be extant the fly-sheet ought to bear the imprint, Cantabrigiae, ex academiae celeberrimae typographeo,' or (less probably) 'Cantabrigiae, apud Thomam & Ioannem Buck,' and if anyone lights on some Latin verses with either of these imprints, and the date 1628, he will probably have made a very exciting find.

Milton's second published verses, his first in English, were the lines (written in 1630), entitled 'An Epitaph on

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the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare among the preliminary matter of the second foli of the Plays, in 1632. After this, as far as we more of his poems saw the light until 1637, whe Lawes, who had written the music for the per of Comus' at Ludlow Castle in 1634, and ha taken part in it, weary of making copies for his sent it, with the poet's leave, to press, under the t

A Maske presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634 on Michaelm before the Right Honorable Iohn, Earle of Bridgewater Brackly, Lord Præsident of Wales, And one of his Maie honorable Privie Counsell.

Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum

London, Printed for Humphrey Robinson, at the signe of t
Pidgeons in Pauls Church-yard. 1637.

In addition to this printed edition Milton's au draught is preserved at Trinity College, Cam another manuscript copy at Bridgewater House, a music of five of the six songs in Lawes' autog the British Museum.

It was in November of this year 1637 that wrote the draught of Lycidas' (the corrections in so saddened Charles Lamb), which also is preser Trinity College. The poem was published in 1638 the signature J. M., in the memorial volume ent 'Justa Edovardo King naufrago ab amicis more amoris & μveías xápu,' or as the English section of called, 'Obsequies to the memorie of Mr. Edward Anno Dom. 1638.'

After this no more of Milton's verse was printe close on the end of 1645, when Humphrey Mose publisher who through all the turmoil of the Civil steadily fostered good literature, obtained his leat

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