The Annotated Milton: Complete English Poems (Bantam Classics)
John Milton, Burton Raffel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Affordable, compact, and authoritative, this one-volume edition of The Annotated Milton encompasses the monumental sweep of John Milton’s poetry. Here are Milton’ s early works, including his first great poem, “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” the light and lyrical “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso,” the masque Comus, and the lushly beautiful pastoral elegy “Lycidas.” Here, too, included in their entirety, are the three epic poems considered to be among the finest works in the English language: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.
Fully annotated by Burton Raffel, this distinguished edition clarifies the complex allusions of Milton’s verse and references the personal, religious, historical, and mythical influences that inspired the great blind poet of England, who ranks among the undisputed giants of world literature.
“Lycidas” (1637), an elegy memorializing a college classmate. In 1638 he went on a tour of Europe, spending most of his time in Italy. He returned home prematurely because of the religious unrest in England and began writing tracts that branded him a radical. In 1642 he married Mary Powell, a seventeen-year-old girl. Within six weeks, she returned to her parents’ home, and Milton wrote a series of angry pamphlets advocating divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. Eventually, she returned and
the night-raven sings. There under ebon shades and low-browed 27 rocks As ragged as thy locks, In dark Cimmerian28 desert ever dwell. 10 But come thou, goddess fair and free, In Heaven yclept 29 Euphrosyne,30 And by men heart-easing mirth, Whom lovely Venus at a birth With two sister Graces more To ivy-crownèd Bacchus bore — Or whether (as some, sager, sing) The frolic wind that breathes 31 the spring, Zephyr with Aurora playing, As he met her once a-Maying, There on beds of violets blue And
fairy 81 cakes, sweetmeats, dainties 82 threshing tool: a wooden handle to which is tied a free-swinging clublike swingle (or “swipple”) 83 grain 73 60 L’ A L L E G R O Then lies him down (the lubber fend!)84 And, stretched out all the chimney’s length, Basks at the ﬁre his hairy strength, And, crop-full,85 out of doors he ﬂings, Ere the ﬁrst cock his matin86 rings. Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, By whispering winds soon lulled asleep. Tow’red cities please us, then, And the busy hum
those immortal shapes Of bright aerial spirits live ensphered In regions mild, of calm and serene air, Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot Which men call earth and, with low-thoughtèd care, Conﬁned and pestered in this pinfold 58 here, Strive to keep up a frail and fev’rish being, Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives, 10 After this mortal change, to her true servants, Amongst the enthronèd gods, on sainted seats. Yet some there be that by due steps aspire To lay their just hands on that
lays,83 And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream, Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. And, as the old swain said, she can unlock The clasping84 charm and thaw the numbing spell, If she be right invoked in warbled song, For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift To aid a virgin such as was herself, In hard besetting85 need. This will I try And add the power of some adjuring86 verse. 111 850 SONG Sabrina, fair, Listen where thou are sitting Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,