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)
Nor what the potent victor in his rage
Can else inflict doe I repent or change,
Though chang'd in outward lustre; that fixt mind
And high disdaine, from sence of injur'd merit,
That with the mightiest rais'd me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd
That durst dislike his raign, & mee preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd
In dubious battell on the plain's of Heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortall hate,
And courage never to submitt or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrauth or might
Extort from me. To bow & sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deifie his power
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall. Since by fate the strength of God's
And this Empyreall substance cannot faile,
Since through experience of this great event
Paradise Lost. Manuscript of Book I, in the hand of an amanuensis, ca. 1665.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1904; MA 307 (fol. 4r)