To celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of the
birth of John Milton (1608–1674), The Morgan Library
& Museum is pleased to present the only surviving
manuscript of Paradise Lost, Book 1. This epic poem is
considered Milton's greatest artistic achievement and
one of the finest works of the human imagination.
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan in 1904, it is the most
important British literary manuscript in the collection.
The 33-page manuscript has been temporarily disbound,
providing an opportunity to see more of its pages than
ever before. Also in this presentation are
first editions of Paradise Lost printed in England and the
United States during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries and a rarely seen miniature portrait of the poet.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Rudy L. Ruggles, Jr.
Photography by Graham Haber.
The images of the Paradise Lost manuscript have been digitally enhanced and do not show conservation treatment.
John Milton (1608–1674)
In adamantine chaines & penall fire
Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to armes.
Nine times the space that measures day & night
To mortall men, hee with his horrid crue
Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery gulfe
Confounded though immortall: But his doome
Reservd him to more wrauth; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness & lasting paine
Torments him, round he throws his balefull eyes
That witness'd huge affliction & dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride & stedfast hate:
At once as farr as Angells kenne he views
The dismal scituation waste & wilde
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darknes visible
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, dolefull shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell; Hope never comes
That comes to all: but torture without end
Still urges, & a fiery deluge fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsum'd:
Such place eternall Justice had prepar'd
For these rebellious, here thir prison ordain'd
Paradise Lost. Manuscript of Book I, in the hand of an amanuensis, ca. 1665.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1904; MA 307 (fol. 3r)