London: MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1896. 3 volumes. An early reprint of the first of the edition. Engraved frontispiece of Milton in each volume. 8vo, in a handsome signed binding by W. Roach of three quarter green morocco over marbled boards, the spines beautifully decorated in gilt in an Art Nouveau style featuring off-set raised bands and gilt tooling in a stylized floral motif, endpapers marbled, t.e.g. lxix, 312; [vi], 374; [vi], 420 pp. A very handsome set, beautifully presented in fine bindings, clean and fresh throughout, the bindings attractive and sturdy with only very minor evidence of age at the extremities, the spines uniformly and pleasantly toned to rich honey in colour. A VERY ATTRACTIVE 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.