內容簡介 John Milton's works of verse are united in this superb collection, which traverses the poet's early life and formative education, his rise to poetic prominence, and his later epics including the masterpiece Paradise Lost. One of the most celebrated poets to have ever used the English language, John Milton's influence upon poets and authors over subsequent centuries cannot be underestimated. His most famous poetic work, Paradise Lost, was lauded even by those opposed to Milton's political views both for its vivid performance value, and for its cerebral depths of rich meaning. Arranged chronologically, this collection allows the reader to observe John Milton from his student days. The first of the poems in this anthology are collected from when Milton was aged only fifteen, dating shortly prior to his commencement of study at Christ's College, Cambridge. By all accounts ravenous for study and knowledge, the young Milton's voracity led him to eventually disdain the university curriculum and the stage performances of his fellow students. Not contented with his formal Masters qualification, Milton would commit himself to private study for some six years after graduating. Accordingly the second part of this compendium features poems from this period; it was at this time that Milton began to enjoy public recognition, with works such as Arcades (1633) read and praised by members of the nobility. Amid the upheaval of the English Civil War, Milton continued to write; gradually, as he encountered trouble with the censorious climate of the era, his writing became more politically charged. It was in the midst of the military conflict that John Milton famously called for an end to censorship in his Areopagitica, passionately arguing for free speech for writers. A staunch supporter of Oliver Cromwell, it was Milton's efforts that saw reforms enacted. His poetic output during the war gave way to political pamphlets and essays, which opposed the suppression of speech and advocated for a permanent abolition of the English monarchy. It was only following this period of social upheaval that, as a mature man, Milton resumed his original love of verse. Despite falling victim to failing eyesight which culminated in his blindness in 1660, Milton would dictate his epic poems to his assistants. It was during this final, mature period that the finest works associated with John Milton were produced: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Together, these works sealed his reputation as a great artist for all time.