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anything else than the fairly-copied manuscript which had received the imprimatur of Mr. Tomkyns. With that imprimatur, Simmons might proceed safely in printing the book and bringing it into the market. Accordingly, on the 20th of August 1667, or four months after the foregoing agreement, we find this entry in the books of Stationers' Hall :
August 20, 1667: Mr. Sam. Symons entered for his copie, under the hands of Mr. Thomas Tomkyns and Mr. Warden Royston, a Booke or Copie Intituled Paradise Lost, a Poem in Tenne bookes, by J. M.
6d. The “Mr. Warden Royston," who is here joined with Mr. Tomkyns as authorising the entry, was Richard Royston, a wellknown bookseller of the period, and one of the wardens of the Stationers' Company for 1667. By the rules of the book-trade, the signature of one of the wardens of the year was required, as well as that of the official licenser, to authorise the registration of a book ; and, accordingly, underneath Tomkyns's imprimatur on the manuscript of the First Book, mentioned as still existing at Bayfordsbury, Herts, we find the name “Richard Royston,” together with these words in another hand : “Int. per Geo. Tokefeilde, Cl.” These last words are a mere record by the Company's clerk that the copyright had been regularly entered as above. The sum of 6d., annexed to the entry, was the fee for registration.
The date of the above entry in the Stationers' registers fixes the time about which printed copies of the poem were ready for sale in London. There are few books, however, respecting the circumstances of whose first publication there is room for a greater variety of curious questions. This arises from the fact that, among the numerous existing copies of the First Edition, no two are in all particulars exactly alike. They differ in their title-pages, in their dates, and in minute points throughout the text. There is involved in this, indeed, a fact of general interest to English bibliographers. In the old days of leisurely printing, it was quite common for the printer or the author of a book to make additional corrections while the printing was in progress,- of which corrections only part of the total impression could have the benefit. Then, as, in the binding of the copies, all the sheets, having or not having the corrections so made, were jumbled together, there was no end to the combinations of different states of sheets that might arise in copies all really belonging to one edition ; besides which, if any change in the proprietorship, or in the
author's or publisher's notions of the proper title, arose before all the copies had been bound, it was easy to cancel the first title-page, and provide a new one, with a new date if necessary, for the remaining copies. The probability is that these considerations will be found to affect all our early printed books. But they are applicable in a more than usual degree, so far as differences of title-page are concerned, to the First Edition of Paradise Lost. Here, for example, is a conspectus of the different forms of title-page, and other accompaniments of the text of the Poem, that have been recognised among existing copies of the First Edition. We arrange them, as nearly as can be judged, in the order in which they were issued.
First title-page. — “Paradise lost. | A | Poem | written in | Ten Books | By John Milton. | Licensed and Entred according to Order. | London | Printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker | under Creed Church neer Aldgate ; And by | Robert Boulter at the Turks Head in Bishopsgate-street ; | And Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church | in Fleet-street, 1667. 1” 4to. pp. 342.
Second title-page.—Same as above, except that the author's name " John Milton” is in larger type. 1667. 4to. pp. 342.
Third title-page. — “Paradise lost. A Poem in Ten Books. The Author J. M. [initials only]. Licensed and Entred according to Order. London Printed etc. [as before, or nearly so]. 1668.” 4to. pp. 342.
Fourth title-page.--Same as the preceding, but the type in the body of the title larger. 1668. 4to. pp. 342. Fifth title-page.
:-" Paradise lost. | A | Poem | In | Ten Books. | The Author | John Milton. | London, | Printed by S. Simmons, and to be sold by S. Thom. son at the Bishops-Head in Duck-lane, H. Mortlack at the White Hart in Westminster Hall, M. Walker | under St. Dunstons Church in Fleet-street, and R. Boulter at the Turks-Head in Bishopsgate-street, 1668. / ” 4to. pp. 356. The chief peculiarity in this issue, as compared with its predecessors, is the increase of the bulk of the volume by fourteen pages or seven leaves. This is accounted for as follows :-In the preceding issues there had been no Prose Argument, Preface, or other preliminary matter to the text of the poem ; but in this there are fourteen pages of new matter, interpolated between the title-leaf and the poem. First of all there is this three-line Advertisement : “ The Printer “ to the Reader. Courteous Reader, There was no Argument at first intended " to the Book, but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, is procured. “ S. Simmons.” Then, accordingly, there follow the prose Arguments to the several Books, doubtless by Milton himself, all printed together in eleven pages ; after which, in two pages of large open type, comes Milton's preface, entitled “The Verse,” explaining his reasons for abandoning Rime, — succeeded, on the fourteenth page, by a list of “Errata.” But this is not all. Simmons's three-line Address to the Reader, as given above, is, it will be observed, not grammatically correct ; and, whether because Milton had found out this or not, there are some copies, with this fifth title-page, in which the ungrammatical
three-line address is corrected into a five-line address thus —" The Printer to “ the Reader. Courteous Reader, There was no Argument at first intended to “ the Book, but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have pro“ cur'd it, and withall a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the “ Poem Rimes not. S, Simmons.”
Sixth title-page.--Same as the preceding, except that, instead of four lines of stars under the author's name, there is a fleur-de-lis ornament. 1668. 4to. PP. 356. Here we have the same preliminary matter as in the preceding. There seem to be some copies, however, with the incorrect three-line Address, and others with the correct five-line Address, of the Printer.
Seventh title-page. “Paradise lost. | A | Poem | in | Ten Books. / The Author | John Milton. | London, | Printed by S. Simmons, and are to be sold by | T. Helder, at the Angel, in Little Brittain, | 1669. / ” 4to. pp. 356. Some copies with this title-page still retain Simmons's incorrect three-line Address to the Reader, while others have the five-line Address. Rest of preliminary matter as before.
Eighth and Ninth title-pages. Same as last, except some insignificant changes of capital letters and of pointing in the words of the title. 1669. 4to. pp. 356.1
Here are at least nine distinct forms in which, as respects the titlepage, complete copies were issued by the binder, from the first publication of the work about August 1667 on to 1669, inclusively ; besides which, there are the variations among individual copies arising from the two forms of the Printer's Advertisement, and the variations in the text of the poem arising from the indiscriminate binding together of sheets in the different states of correctness in which they were printed off. The variations of this last class are of absolutely no moment, a comma in some copies where others have it not; an error in the numbering of the lines, or of a with for an in, in some copies, rectified in others; etc. On the whole, the text of any existing copy of the First Edition is as perfect as that of any other,though there is an advantage in having a copy with the small list of Errata and the other preliminary matter. But the variations in the title-page are of greater interest. Why is the author's name given in full in the title-pages of 1667, then contracted into “ J. M." in two of
1 This list is drawn up from my own inspection of all copies within my reach, assisted by consultation of the article “ Milton" in Bohn's edition of Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual, and by examination of a list given by Mr. S. Leigh Sotheby (Ramblings, pp. 80, 81). I believe that my list does not exhaust the variations.
2 The copy of the First Edition chiefly used by myself is one with what I have called the seventh title-page, and with the three-line form of Simmons's Address to the Reader.
those of 1668, and again given in full in two of those of the same year, and in all those of 1669? And why, though Simmons had acquired the copyright in April 1667, and had entered the copyright as his in the Stationers' Books in August 1667, is his name kept out of sight in all the title-pages prior to that one of 1668 which is given as the Fifth in the foregoing list, and which is the first with the preliminary matter,—the preceding title-pages showing no printer's name, but only the names of three booksellers at whose shops copies might be had? Finally, why, after Simmons does think it right to appear on the title-page, are there changes in the names of the booksellers, -two of the former booksellers first disappearing and giving way to other two, and then the three of 1668 giving way in 1669 to the single bookseller, Helder of Little Britain ? Very probably, in some of these changes nothing more was involved than convenience to Simmons in his trade at the time. Business may have been disarranged for a while by the Great Fire. Not impossibly, however, more was involved than this in so much changing and tossing-about of the book within so short a period. May not Simmons have been a little timid about his venture in publishing a book by the notorious Milton, whose attacks on the Church and defences of the Regicide were still fresh in the memory of all, and some of whose pamphlets had been publicly burnt by the hangman after the Restoration? May not his entering the book at Stationers' Hall simply as “a Poem in Ten Books by J. M." have been a caution on his part; and, though in the first issues he had ventured on the name “John Milton” in full, may he not have found it advisable, for a subsequent circulation in some quarters, to have copies with only the milder "J. M.” upon them? May not Milton himself have suggested such precautions ?
In any case, the first edition of Paradise Lost was a creditably printed book. It is, as has been mentioned, a small quarto, -of 342 pages in such copies as are without the “Argument” and other preliminary matter, and of 356 pages in the copies that have this addition. But the pages are not numbered, — only the lines by tens along the margin in each Book. In one or two places there is an error in the numbering of the lines, arising from miscounting. The text in each page is enclosed within lines,-single lines at the inner margin and bottom, but double lines at the top for the running title and the number of the Book, and along the outer margin columnwise for the numbering of the lines. Very great care
must have been bestowed on the revising of the proofs, either by Milton himself, or by some competent person who had undertaken to see the book through the press for him. It seems likely that Milton himself caused page after page to be read over slowly to him, and occasionally even the words to be spelt out. There are, at all events, certain systematic peculiarities of spelling, which it seems most reasonable to attribute to Milton's own instructions. Altogether, for a book printed in such circumstances, it is wonderfully accurate; and, in all the particulars of type, paper, and general getting-up, the first appearance of Paradise Lost must have been rather attractive than otherwise to book-buyers of that day.
The selling-price of the volume was three shillings?; which is as if a similar book now were published at about 1os. 6d. From the retail sale of 1300 copies, therefore, the sum that would come in to Simmons, if we make an allowance for trade-deductions at about the modern rate, would be something under £140 (worth about £490 now). Out of this had to be paid the expenses of printing, etc., and the sum agreed upon with the author; and the balance would be Simmons's profit. On the whole, though he cannot have made anything extraordinary by the transaction, it must have been sufficiently remunerative. For, by the 26th of April 1669, or after the poem had been published a little over eighteen months, the stipulated impression of 1300 copies had been exhausted. The proof exists in the shape of Milton's receipt for the additional Five Pounds due to him on that contingency :
April 26, 1669. Received then of Samuel Simmons five pounds, being the Second five pounds to be paid mentioned in the Covenant. I say recd. by me.
Witness, Edmund Upton.
1 “A General Catalogue of Books printed in England since the dreadful Fire of London, 1666, to the end of Trinity Term, 1674; collected by Robert Clavel. London, 1675." Here, for the sake of comparison, are a few prices of similar books from the same authority Davenant's Works, £I:
: 45.; Cowley's Works, 145. ; Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, 5s. ; Donne's Poems, 45. ; Hudibras, Parts I. and II. reprinted, 3s. 6d. ; Randolph's Poems, Cleveland's, and Denham's, 3s. each ; Waller, and Herbert, 2s. 6d. each ; Dryden's Annus Mirabilis, is. 6d.
2 The original of this document was in the possession of Lady Cullum, widow of the Rev. Sir Thomas Gery Cullum, Bart., who had had it in his possession