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)
Both glorying to have scap't the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by thir own recover'd strength,
Not by the sufferance of supernall power.
[Is this the region, this the soile, the clime,
Said then the lost Archangell, this the seat
That wee must change for Heav'n, this mournfull gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he,
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: fardest from him is best
Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
Above his equals. Farewell happie fields
Where joy for ever dwells: Hail Horrours, Haile
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new possessour: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in it selfe
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but lesse then he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
Wee shall be free; th' Almightie hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
Paradise Lost. Manuscript of Book I, in the hand of an amanuensis, ca. 1665.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1904; MA 307 (fol. 7r)