Paradise Regain'd. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is added Samson Agonistes.
London: Printed by J. M. for John Starkey at the Mitre in Fleetstree, near Temple Bar. 1671.
London: Printed by J. M. for John Starkey at the Mitre in Fleetstree, near Temple Bar. 1671. First edition. A Near Fine copy overall, bound in early 20th century full crushed morocco with simple blind-rules and small gilt fleurons in the corners. Decorative gilt turn-ins and all edges gilt, plain end papers. Leaves measure 175 x 111 mm. Complete with the original license leaf and the errata leaf: , 111, , 101, . First issue with the misprint on page 67 with "loah" later corrected to "loth." An excellent copy internally, clean and unmarked, but with a handful of short marginal tears and some leaves trimmed a bit tight (no loss to text). One small chip at the crown and slight fading to the spine, otherwise binding in excellent shape. Samson Agonistes with a separate dated title page and new page numbering, but continuous register.
A more hopeful conclusion following the devastation depicted in his epic Paradise Lost, the pairing of Paradise Regain'd and Samson Agonistes offered readers two paths to human salvation. Posed as Adam and Eve were with temptation and the opportunity to defy God's commandment, the Son instead maintains his purity and fulfills his duty to sacrifice himself for humanity's original sin. "Paradise Regain'd dramatizes for the reader the inner workings of the mind of Jesus, his perception, and the interplay of faith and reason in his debates with Satan" (Britannica). Though the Son reveals his humanity and his doubts, his ability to perfectly complete his mission is ultimately possible due to his position as God on Earth. Milton counterbalances this ideal with the very problematic, very human hero of Samson Agonistes. Samson's ego, doubt, and depression are relatable to readers who recognize their inability to fully live up to Christ's example; and Samson's efforts to heal and find grace amid tragedy provide a different model marked by imperfection. "Eyeless in Gaza" and at the depths of his fall from grace, Samson narrates his inner thoughts, experiences, and anguish. In doing so, he is able to regenerate himself and regain his faith, "gradually recovering his trust in God, and becoming a free moral agent capable of one final heroic act" of sacrifice (Langer).
ESTC R299. Near Fine (Item #5443)