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)
Thir altars by his altar, gods ador'd
Among the nations round, and durst abide
Jehovah thundring out of Sion, thron'd
Between the Cherubim; yea often plac'd
With in his sanctuary it selfe thir shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites, and solemn feasts profan'd,
And with thir darknesse durst affront his light.
First Moloch, horrid king besmear'd with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents teares,
Though, for the noise of drums & timbrells loud
Thir childrens cries unheard, that past through fire
To his grim Idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshipt in Rabba and her watry plain,
In Argob, and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of Solomon hee led by fraud to build
His temple right against the temple of God
On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove
The pleasant vally of Hinnom, Tophet thence,
And black Gehenna call'd, the type of Hell.
Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moabs sons,
From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild
Paradise Lost. Manuscript of Book I, in the hand of an amanuensis, ca. 1665.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1904; MA 307 (fol. 10r)