27 April 1667: John Milton’s £10 Poem

 

-Satan_Exulting_over_Eve - William Blake
William Blake (1795) – Satan Exulting over Eve

 

 

On 27 April 1667 John Milton, blind and impoverished, sold the copyright of his masterpiece  “Paradise Lost” for £10
By 1654 Milton had become totally blind, and this forced him to dictate his works to his family, friends and amanuenses. (One of his best-known sonnets, “On His Blindness”, dates  from this period).
He completed his “Paradise Lost” by 1665, but its publication was delayed by a paper shortage caused by the Anglo-Dutch War, the Great Plague and then the Great Fire of London, in 1666.
On 27 April 1667, Milton sold the publication rights for his epic   to publisher Samuel Simmons for £5, with a further £5 to be paid when it sold out.
The long poem, in blank verse, deals with the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton achieved his finest effects depicting the rebel Satan, who describes himself with the famous quote “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

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