“On the morning of Christ’s nativity” was composed by John Milton in 1629 when he was just 21 years old. According to Thomas Corns (2003, 216), the poem has “…generally been recognized as Milton’s first manifestation of poetic genius…” which is an impressive accolade for one so young. As a celebration of Christ’s birth it is also part of a trilogy commemorating important Christian events which assured his popularity as a poet in the 17th century even before he wrote Paradise Lost.
This edition, produced in a print run of only 100 copies, was published in 1930 by the Pear Tree Press, which was founded by the poet and printmaker James Guthrie in 1899 at Ingrave, Essex. This volume is one of the Black Letter Series; the covers of this series are black and silver decorative paper covered boards, with a paper label for the title.
Inside this volume are black and gold illustrations which were drawn by Sheila M. Thompson, she was also the one who hand printed the volume for the press. Thompson illustrated many of the Pear Tree Press books, whilst learning the printing trade from Guthrie, and was known as a close friend of his.
[Corns, Thomas. “‘On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity’, ‘Upon the Circumcision’ and ‘The Passion'” in A Companion to Milton. Ed. Thomas Corns. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.]