Barbara Kiefer Lewalski and Estelle Haan (eds), The Complete Works of John Milton, Vol. 3: The Shorter Poems
Editing Milton in the 21st Century necessarily involves drawing on the storehouse of astute editorial interpretations and practices collected over four centuries, and I have done so gratefully. Special Collections librarians at the Houghton Library, Harvard University facilitated my extended use of relevant editions of Milton's poems and other works as copytexts and comparison texts, and librarians at the British Library, the Bodleian, the Cambridge University library, the New York Public Library, the Wren library at Trinity College, Cambridge, the Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Beinecke Library of Yale University, the Columbia University Library, the Folger Library, the Huntington Library, the Boston Public Library, and the John Hay Library of Brown University made other needed print and manuscript works available. Professor Curtis Perry kindly provided information about a special copy of Milton's 1645 Poems in the University of Illinois Library, and Professor John Rumrich helped me procure a facsimile of Milton's Maske (1637) in the Henry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin.
This edition has been enriched by the elegant verse translations of Milton's Italian sonnets provided by Professor Andrew McNeillie of Exeter University and by the Hebrew text and commentary Professor Jason Rosenblatt has supplied for aspects of Milton's translations of Psalms 80–88. It has been much enhanced by Henry Lawes' music for Milton's Mask, transcribed and discussed by Professor John Cunningham. Stephen Hequembourg gave valuable assistance in preparing the index.
The general editors of this series, Professors Gordon Campbell and Thomas Corns, provided advice and counsel along the way, as did the Humanities Editor at the Oxford University Press, Jacqueline Baker, and the project manager Brendan Mac Evilly. Jeff New was a skilful copy-editor, and Howard Emmens corrected proofs with admirable care. My son David Lewalski resolved various computer glitches.
My work on this project was supported by research funds from Harvard University and from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Barbara K. Lewalski
pg viThe present edition of Milton's Poemata could not have been realized without the generous help of librarians in Belfast, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Florence. I wish to thank the Special Collections of The McClay Library of The Queen's University of Belfast, especially Diarmuid Kennedy, for facilitating limitless access to the copytext of the 1645 Poemata and other printed materials pertinent to this edition. Thanks are also due to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Trinity College Library, Cambridge, and the British Library, London for readily assisting me in all my many requests for access to Miltonic manuscripts and printed books. Most memorable is my quasi-Miltonic sojourn in Florence, whose Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale proved my second home for a brief autumnal period as I scrutinized the minutes of Italian academies. To the library staff I express deep gratitude.
This edition was completed with the most welcome help of a semester's sabbatical leave funded under the Research Leave Scheme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to whom I am exceedingly grateful.
To the OUP series editors, Gordon Campbell and Tom Corns, I can only express thanks and admiration for their efficiency and serenity throughout. And I second Barbara's acknowledgements above of the assistance of all involved in proofreading and copy-editing at Oxford University Press.
I am deeply indebted to my husband Tony, whose ingenuity and computing expertise enabled the Miltonic hand and its corrections to be expertly realized in transcriptions of the Bridgewater and Trinity manuscripts of A Maske. But his support and love far exceed that.
I dedicate this work to a very special scholar, Michael McGann, who first introduced me as an undergraduate (some three decades ago) to Renaissance Latin poetry, and supervised my doctoral thesis on Milton's Latin poetry. Since then he has continued to guide me along a path of Miltonic and neo-Latin studies, and has been a dear friend and mentor in the course of my academic career.