John Milton was a master of almost every type of verse, from the classical to the religious and from the lyrical to the epic. His early poems include the devotional 'On the Morning of Christ's Nativity', 'Comus', a masque, and the pastoral elegy 'Lycidas'. After Cromwell's death and the dashing of Milton's political hopes, he began composing Paradise Lost, which reflects his profound understanding of politics and power. Written when Milton was at the height of his abilities, this great masterpiece fuses the Christian with the classical in its description of the fall of Man. In Samson Agonistes, Milton's last work, the poet draws a parallel with his own life in the hero's struggle to renew his faith in God.
John Milton (1608-74) was a master of almost every style of verse, from the pastoral, devotional and tenderly lyrical to the supreme grandeur of his great epic Paradise Lost. John Leonard is currently Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario and has published widely on Milton.