London: MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1882. 3 volumes. First of the Edition. Engraved frontispiece of Milton in each volume. 8vo, handsomely bound in three-quarter tan polished calf over pleasing marbled boards with matching endleaves, the spines with raised bands separating compartments decorated with elaborate gilt panels showing central gilt ornamental devices at the centers surrounded by gilt tooled border work, two dark-brown morocco labels lettered in gilt to each volume, t.e.g. lxix, 312; [vi], 374; [vi], 420 pp. A very handsome and well preserved set, clean and tight and handsome both internally and externally. Only light evidence of age or use. A FINE AND HANDSOME SET. In PARADISE LOST, PARADISE REGAINED and SAMSON AGONISTES Milton revived the heroic verse of Homer and Virgil to frame the tale of Satan and Paradise that has become the best-known epic poem written in English. He had difficulty in finding a publisher because of the plague of 1665, which killed many pressmen, and the Great Fire of the following year, which destroyed many printing houses—and those publishers who were still operating were wary of the project because of Milton's anti-Restoration sympathies. Simmons, to whom he finally came, drove a hard bargain, and according to the agreement reached and the number of copies sold Milton was paid a total of Ł15. Milton’s work survives and is revered to this day as amongst the most significant poetry and prose ever penned and additionally important, at a defining moment in the development of the English language. A truly towering figure, Milton remains one of the most celebrated and analyzed poets in English literature. Dryden described ‘Paradise Lost’ as ‘one of the greatest, most noble and sublime poems which either this age or nation has produced,’ while Blake, keying in on the poem’s heretical implications, described Milton as ‘a true Poet, and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.’ This thorough collection includes not only ‘Paradise Lost’ and the other major works, but the sonnets, psalms, translations, and his work in Latin. As well, there is a fine Memoir of Milton and history of his literary work.