Milton's influence on English poetry and criticism has been incalculable. John Milton was thirty-seven when he published his first collection of poems, and his most famous work, Paradise Lost , did not appear until he was some 60 years old. The delay in its writing can most fully be explained by the revolutionary conditions of the 1640s and 1650s, and the Revolution and its defeat are implicit in the form that Paradise Lost finally took. Deeply committed to the Independent cause, Milton wrote the crucial justifications for the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649, and became Oliver Cromwell's Latin Secretary until the 1660 Restoration of the Stuarts. He returned to poetry after the failure of the Commonwealth when he was briefly imprisoned, blind, and living in straitened circumstances, and Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes appeared in 1671. The twelve-book Paradise Lost completed the canon in 1674, the year of Milton's death, and became a classic almost immediately, continuing to inspire controversy and debate and exerting inestimable influence throughout the ages.;This edition, chosen from the Oxford Authors critical edition, includes Lycidas, Comus, Samson Agonistes and selected extracts from Paradise Lost . Supplemented by an introduction and notes, it provides a useful guide to Milton's finest works.;Lovers of English poetry and students of literature from A- level upwards.