A really wonderful late 17th or early 18th century full calf notebook including a complete 161pp non-authorial manuscript of Joseph Addison's critical notes on John Milton's Paradise Lost. Initially published in the pages of The Spectator, they were met with great success and were thus gathered and published separately in 1719 by James Tonson of London.
By the early 1720's, the Tonson publication of the volume had already exhausted at least 10 editions. It was immensely popular and widely distributed. This makes it likely that our non-authorial holograph was composed prior to the 1719 date, copied directly from The Spector, and thus predating the first edition of the complete work.
In addition to the 161 pages of Milton, in a lovely, legible hand, there are an additional 17 pages of manuscript, in the same hand, recording poems by William Shakespeare [On Tears Shed by a Lady], by Abraham Crowley, recorded from The British Apollo, and then an extended excerpt from John Locke's Concerning Human Understanding.
The poems include: On Tears Shed by a Lady; On a Lover's Attempting to Kiss His Mistress thro' a Glass Window; An Ode to Friendship; An Imitation of Horace Lib. I. Ode II; The Young Lay on her First Attempt in Poetry; The Ingenious Confession; On Fear; To a Young Lady who Affected Much Satyr in Her Conversation; On Hope; The Lover's Degrees of Comparison; The Recovery; The Happy Man; On a Gentleman's Jostling a Pretty Lady in Snowy Weather; The Spring; In Imitation of Aracreon - To Women; The Marks of True Love Described; The Acknowledgment; On a Physician Turn'd Officer; A Dialogue between Celia an Her Painter; An Image of Fortune in a Dialogue; The Mistake; Advice to a Young Lady in her Prime; On Solitude; The Contention; The Epitaph; and The Transport.
Period ownership inscription on the front pastedown, indicating its author as "Revd Peter Richardson." This is almost certainly Reverend Peter Richardson [d.1763], Rector of Drumgoon, Ireland near Coothill in Kilmore. He had begun his ministerial career as Curate at Aughnamullen, beginning in the year 1720. His death was reported in the Freeman Journal of Dublin as "much lamented."
Though little is known of Richardson, just this tidbit tells us that he was a Protestant, and likely one who viewed it as deeply important to convert Ireland from Roman Catholicism. The Freeman Journal was issued for the first year ever in 1763 and was aligned with Protestant, pro-English "Patriots" like Henry Grattan, etc.
A beautifully preserved piece of Miltonia.