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Paradise Lost.

A Poem In Twelve Books. The Fourth Edition, Adorn'd with Sculptures. [Bound with] Paradise Regain'd. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is added Samson Agonistes.

London: [PL] Printed by Miles Flesher, for Jacob Tonson; [PR] Printed by R.E. and to be sold by Randal Taylor, 1688 Stock Code: 143238
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First folio and first illustrated edition, large paper copy, of Milton's epic, together with its sequel. This is the preferred format for this edition, as it displays the engraved plates to their best advantage, with ample margins. In ordinary paper copies, the plates are inevitably trimmed.

In contrast to the plain dress small quarto of 1667 and the two octavo editions of 1674 and 1678, this edition of Paradise Lost announces the acceptance of Milton as a great national poet. The frontispiece has commendatory verses by John Dryden, the poetic apologist for the Restoration and monarchy; each book is preceded by a fine engraved plate by John Baptist de Medina and others; and the list of subscribers is over 500 names long. Because of the role played in its publication by the statesman and benefactor John, Lord Somers, this is sometimes called "the Somers edition".

From the library of Joshua Sing (1827-1908), who was co-owner of a hides and leather factor, Powell & Sing, based in Liverpool. The family surname was originally spelled Synge, and Joshua was related to the Irish playwright John Millington Synge (1861-1909) and later through marriages also to W. H. Auden and Bertrand Russell. Joshua Sing met Robert Anning Bell through mutual friends Francis Gotch and Oliver Lodge, members of the University Club in Liverpool.

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2 works in 1 volume, folio (318 x 197 mm). Contemporary calf, skilfully rebacked to style with red morocco label, double blind rules, sides panelled in blind, edges sprinkled red.


Engraved portrait frontispiece by R. White after William Faithorne, 12 engraved plates, some signed by M. Burghers and Peter Paul Bouche.


Engraved bookplate of Joshua Sing, engraved by Robert Anning Bell, 1895. The contents clean, fresh, and strong, a handsome copy in excellent condition.


Paradise Lost: Coleridge 93b (one of three variant imprints, no precedence); Pforzheimer 720; Wing M2147. Edward Hodnett, Five Centuries of Book Illustration, 1988, p. 63.


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