John Milton

John Milton was born on 9 December 1608 in Cheapside, London. He published little until the appearance of Poems of Mr John Milton, both English and Latin in 1646, when he was 37. By this time he was deeply committed to a political vocation, and became an articulate and increasingly indispensable spokesman for the Independent cause. He wrote the crucial justifications for the trial and execution of Charles I, and, as Secretary for Foreign Tongues to the Council of State, was the voice of the English revolution to the world at large. After the failure of the Commonwealth he was briefly imprisoned; blind and in straitened circumstances he returned to poetry, and in 1667 published a ten-book version of Paradise Lost, his biblical epic written, as he put it, after 'long choosing, and beginning late'. In 1671, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes appeared, followed two years later by an expanded edition of his shorter poems. The canon was completed in 1674, the year of his death, with the appearance of the twelve-book Paradise Lost, which became a classic almost immediately. His influence on English poetry and criticism has been incalculable.
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