Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649 - 80/128 -

Denham's "Cooper's Hill" and his "Tragedy called The Sophy" is a rather notable event of August 1642, the very month in which the King raised his standard. In the same month one London publisher, Francis Smethwick, registered for his copies a number of books of the poetical kind which had been the property of his late father, including "Mr. Drayton's Poems," "Euphues's Golden Legacy," Meres's "Witt's Commonwealth," and also "Hamblett, a Play," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Love's Labour's Lost." This transaction, however, hardly implied that these books were in demand, but only that Smethwick wanted to secure his interest in them on succeeding to his father's business. Afterwards, while the war was actually raging, it is not till December 1644 that one comes upon anything of the finer sort worth mentioning. On the 14th of that month there was registered for publication the first edition of "Poems, &c., written by Mr. Edmund Waller, of Beckonsfield, Esq., lately a member of the Honourable House of Commons," but then, as we know, a disgraced plotter, who, having, by great favour, been permitted to carry his dear-bought life, and his remaining wealth, into exile in France, left this parting gift to his countrymen, that they might think of him meanwhile as kindly as they could. Except that I have not taken notice of a publication or two of the voluminous Scotchman Alexander Rosse, Chaplain to his Majesty, [Footnote: This Alexander Rosse, or "Dr. Alexander Ross," made famous in _Hudibras_, was one of the singular characters of the time, and a memoir of him, with a complete list of his writings, would be a not uninstructive curiosity. He was a native of Aberdeen, born about 1590, but had migrated to England, where he became Master of the Free School at Southampton, and Chaplain in Ordinary to King Charles. By a succession of publications of all kinds, in Latin and in English., he acquired the reputation of being "a divine, a poet, and an historian." He made a good deal of money, and, at his death in 1654, left bequests, for educational purposes, to Aberdeen, Southampton, Oxford, and Cambridge. ] the foregoing enumeration fairly represents, I believe, the amount of book-production of the purer or non-controversial kind that went on in London in the four loud-roaring years between 1640 and 1645.

In 1645, however, and especially after Naseby, there are symptoms of a slightly revived leisure for other kinds of reading than were supplied by Diurnals, Sermons, Pamphlets, and books of Polemical Theology, and of a willingness among the London booksellers to cater for this leisure. In that year, interspersed amid the still continuing tide of Pamphlets, Diurnals, Sermons, and other ephemerides, were such novel appearances in the London book-world as these--two Treatises, one physical, the other metaphysical, by Sir Kenelm Digby, then abroad; an edition of Buxtorf's Hebrew Grammar; an Essay by Lord Herbert of Cherbury; some metrical religious remains of Francis Quarles, then just dead; some attempts to introduce the mystic Jacob Bohme, by specimens of his works; a translation of Æsop's Fables and those of Phædrus; the issue of the second and third parts of the _Epistolæ Hoelianæ_ or James Howell's Letters, with a re-issue of his "Dodona's Grove;" and a re-issue of Randolph's comedy of "The Jealous Lovers." Clearly, as the Civil War was drawing to a close, the Muses of pure History, pure Speculation or Philosophy, Scholarship for its own sake, and even lighter Phantasy, did hover over England again, timidly seeking some spots where they might rest themselves in the all-prevailing controversy between Independency and Presbyterianism.

Almost always, in such cases, a social tendency is represented in the activity of some particular person. Nor is it otherwise here. So far as Poetry and so-called Light Literature are concerned, one has no difficulty in pointing to the particular London publisher who in 1645, and from that year onwards, stood out from all his fellows by his alertness in the trade. This was HUMPHREY MOSELEY, who had his shop at the sign of the Prince's Arms in St Paul's Churchyard. Something in his personal tastes, I am inclined to think, must have determined him to the line of business which he selected; so marked is his avoidance of all dealings in sermons, ephemeral treatises on theology, and pamphlets either way on the present crisis, and his preference for poetry and books of general culture. He had been in the trade, in partnership with a Nicholas Fussel, in St. Paul's Churchyard, as early as 1634, [ Footnote: Wood's Ath. II 503.] and shortly after that is heard of as in business for himself. I have a note of him as registering for his copyright, on March 16, 1639-40, Howell's "Dodona's Grove;" and thenceforward, in worse times, he stuck to Howell. He not only published Howell's "Instructions for Foreign Travel" in September 1641, and again the second and third parts of Howell's "Letters" in 1645, with a re-issue of "Dodona's Grove;" but he acquired, in the same year, the copyright of the first part of the "Letters," which had been originally brought out by another publisher. More significant still is the fact that it was Moseley that was the publisher of Waller's Poems in December 1644. [Footnote: "Poems &c. written by Mr. Ed. Waller of Beckonsfield, Esquire; lately a member of the Honourable House of Commons. All the Lyrick Poems in this Booke were set by Mr. Henry Lawes, Gent. of the King's Chappell, and one of his Majestie's Private Musick. Printed and Published according to Order. London. Printed by T.W. for Humphrey Mosley at the Princes Armes in Paul's Churchyard: 1645:" pp.96 small 8vo. My authority for the date of the publication of the volume--December 1644--is the Stationers' Registers.] After that date his tendency to trade-dealings in Poetry and the like is so manifest in the Stationers' records that I find appended to my MS. notes, from these records, for the London Bibliography of the year 1646, this memorandum:--"_Poetry and Pure Literature looking up again this year, and chiefly through the medium of Moseley's shop._" By that time Moseley had distinguished himself as the publisher of original editions of books, not only by Howell and Waller, but also by Milton, Davenant, Crashaw, and Shirley, and moreover as the ready purchaser of whatever copyrights were in the market of poems and plays by Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster, Ludwick Carlell, Shirley, Davenant, Killigrew, and other celebrities dead or living. To this group of Moseley's authors Cowley and Cartwright were soon added; and it was not long before he snapped out of the hands of duller men Denham's Poems, Carew's Poems, various things of Sir Kenelm Digby, and every obtainable copyright in any of the plays of Shakespeare, Massinger, Ford, Rowley, Middleton, Tourneur, or any other of the Elizabethan and Jacoban dramatists. For at least the ten years from 1644 onwards there was, I should say, no publisher in London comparable to Moseley for tact and enterprise in the finer literature.

Moseley was only on the way to make all this reputation for himself, and indeed Waller's volume of Poems, published in Dec. 1644, was yet the principal advertisement of his shop, when he and Milton came together. Pleased with the success of the Waller, it appears, Moseley thought of a collection of Mr. Milton's Poems as a likely second experiment of the same kind, and applied to Milton for the copy. The application was not disagreeable to Milton; and, accordingly, some time after the middle of 1645, or just while he was preparing to remove from Aldersgate Street to Barbican, and there came upon him the great surprise of his wife's re- appearance, Moseley and he were busy in arrangements for the new volume. Milton's acknowledged London publishers hitherto had been these three-- "Thomas Underhill, of the Bible in Wood Street" (_Of Reformation_, 1641, _Of Prelatical Episcopacy_, 1641, and _Animadversions on Remonstrant's Defence_, 1641), "John Rothwell, at the sign of the Sun in Paul's Churchyard" (_Reason of Church Government_, 1641, and _Apology for Smectymnuus, 1642), and "Matthew Symmons" (the _Bucer Tract_, 1644); and this last-mentioned Symmons, who does not give the locality of his shop, had been probably the printer also of those pamphlets of Milton which bore no publisher's name (_Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce_, 1643, 1644, and 1645, _Of Education_, 1644, _Areopagitica_, 1644, and _Tetrachordon_ and _Colasterion_, 1645). Now, however, these were forsaken for the moment, and for bringing out the Volume of Poems the conjunction was Milton and Humphrey Moseley. The revisal of the proof- sheets may have been begun in Aldersgate Street, but it must mainly, as I have said, have been among Milton's first employments at the new house in Barbican. Here, at all events, is Moseley's entry of the new volume in the Stationers' Registers: "_Oct._ 6 [1645], _Mr. Moseley ent. for his copie, under the hand of Sir Nath. Brent and both the Wardens, a booke called Poems in English and Latyn by Mr. John Milton._" Usually the entry of a book in the Stationers' Registers was about simultaneous with its publication. In this case, however, there was a delay of nearly three months between the registration and the actual appearance. The precise day of the publication of the new volume was Jan. 2, 1645-6. [Footnote: This is ascertained by a MS. note of the collector Thomason's, or by his direction, on a copy among the King's Pamphlets in the British Museum; Press-mark E. 1126. "Jan. 2" is inserted before the word "London" in the title-page.] Either, therefore, Moseley had registered the volume before the printing had proceeded far, or after the sheets were printed there was some little cause of delay.

The following is the title-page of this interesting and now very rare volume:--

"Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, compos'd at several times. Printed by his true Copies. The Songs were set in Musick by Mr. Henry Lawes, Gentleman of the King's Chappel, and one of His Majestie's Private Musick.

'Baccare frontem Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro.' VIRGIL, _Eclog._ vii.

Printed and publish'd according to Order. London, Printed by Ruth Raworth, for Humphrey Moseley; and are to be sold at the signe of the Princes Arms in Paul's Churchyard. 1645."

The volume is a very tiny octavo, divided into two parts in the paging. First come the ENGLISH POEMS, occupying 120 pages, and arranged thus:-- _On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, compos'd_ 1629; _A Paraphrase on Psalm CXIV. _; _Psalm CXXXVI. _; _The Passion_; _On Time_; _Upon the Circumcision_; _At a Solemn Music_; _An Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester_; _Song on May Morning_; _On Shakespear_, 1630; _On the University Carrier who, &c. _; _Another on the Same_; _L'Allegro_; _Il Penseroso_; _Sonnets_, English and Italian--ten in number (I. "O Nightingale;" II. "Donna leggiadra;" III. "Qual in colle," with the attached "Canzone;" IV. "Diodati e te'l;" V. "Per certo i bei;" VI. "Giovane piano;" VII. "How soon hath Time;" VIII. "Captain or Colonel;" IX. "Lady that in the prime;" X. "Daughter to that good Earl");-- _Arcades_; _Lycidas_; _Comus_. [Footnote: To this enumeration of the English pieces in the volume of 1645 I may append three bibliographical notes--(1) Of the 28 pieces the original drafts of 10 still exist in the volume of Milton MSS. in Trinity College, Cambridge--viz.: _On Time_, _Upon the Circumcision_, _At a Solemn Music_, Sonnets 7, 8, 9, and 10, _Arcades_, _Lycidas_, and _Comus_. All these drafts are in Milton's own hand, except that of Sonnet 8, only the heading of which is in his hand. Of the other 18 pieces, the most important of which are _L'Allegro_ and _Il Penseroso_, the original MSS. have not come down to us. (2) It will be seen that two of the known early English Poems are omitted in the volume: viz. the piece _On the Death of a Fail Infant dying of a Cough_-- _i.e._ the poem on the death of his niece, the infant girl Phillips, written in 1626; and the College piece of 1628 entitled _At a Vacation Exercise_. These pieces first appeared in the Second Edition of the Poems in 1673. (3) It may also be noted that the latest written pieces which appear in the volume of 1645 are Sonnets 9 and 10--the one to the anonymous young lady, the other to the Lady Margaret Ley. We have assigned them to the year 1644, but they _may_ have been as late as 1645.] As if to call attention to _Comus_ as the longest and chief of the poems, it has a separate title-page, thus, "_A Mask of the same Author, presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, before the Earl of Bridgewater, then President of Wales, Anno Dom. 1645;_" but, though there is this break of a new title-page, the paging runs on without interruption, _Lycidas_ ending p. 65, and _Comus_ taking up the rest to p. 120. Here, however, there is a _complete_ break, as if it were intended that the English Poems, there ending, might be bound by themselves. The LATIN POEMS follow

The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649 - 80/128

Previous Page     Next Page

  1   10   20   30   40   50   60   70   75   76   77   78   79   80   81   82   83   84   85   90  100  110  120  128 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything