Although he wrote Comus and "'Lycids" shortly after leaving Cambridge, Milton devoted much of his adult life - and even sacrificed his eyesight - to defending the cause of Cromwell's Commonwealth. His later poetry, produced after Charles II's Restoration led to the defeat of his hopes, reflects his deep first-hand understanding of politics and power. In this Penguin English Poets edition, John Leonard has modernized spelling, capitalization and any punctuation likely to cause confusion. He calls particular attention to words invented by Milton and those which have changed their meaning since his time. And he provides full notes to elucidate Biblical, classical and historical allusions, many of which complicate or even conflict with the plain sense or moral implications of the text.
John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and studied at the University of Cambridge. He originally planned to become a clergyman, but abandoned those ambitions to become a poet. Political in his writings, he served a government post during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1651, he went completely blind but he continued to write, finishing Paradise Lost in 1667, and Paradise Regained in 1671. He died in 1674.
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