Paradise Lost

Author: John Milton  | Date: 1663


The Argument

The Angel Michael continues from the Flood to relate what shall succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain, who that Seed of the Woman shall be, which was promised Adam and Eve in the Fall; his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascention; the state of the Church till his second Coming. Adam greatly satisfied and recomforted by these Relations and Promises descends the Hill with Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams compos’d to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery Sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking thir Stations to guard the Place.

As one who in his journey bates at Noone,

Though bent on speed, so heer the Archangel paus’d

Betwixt the world destroy’d and world restor’d,

If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;

Then with transition sweet new Speech resumes.

Thus thou hast seen one World begin and end;

And Man as from a second stock proceed.

Much thou hast yet to see, but I perceave

Thy mortal sight to faile; objects divine

Must needs impaire and wearie human sense:

Henceforth what is to com I will relate,

Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.

This second sours of Men, while yet but few,

And while the dread of judgement past remains

Fresh in thir mindes, fearing the Deitie,

With some regard to what is just and right

Shall lead thir lives and multiplie apace,

Labouring the soile, and reaping plenteous crop

Corn wine and oyle; and from the herd or flock,

Oft sacrificing Bullock, Lamb, or Kid,

With large Wine-offerings pour’d, and sacred Feast

Shal spend thir dayes in joy unblam’d, and dwell

Long time in peace by Families and Tribes

Under paternal rule; till one shall rise

Of proud ambitious heart, who not content

With fair equalitie, fraternal state,

Will arrogate Dominion undeserv’d

Over his brethren, and quite disposses

Concord and law of Nature from the Earth;

Hunting (and Men not Beasts shall be his game)

With Warr and hostile snare such as refuse

Subjection to his Empire tyrannous:

A mightie Hunter thence he shall be styl’d

Before the Lord, as in despite of Heav’n,

Or from Heav’n claming second Sovrantie;

And from Rebellion shall derive his name,

Though of Rebellion others he accuse.

Hee with a crew, whom like Ambition joyns

With him or under him to tyrannize,

Marching from Eden towards the West, shall finde

The Plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge

Boiles out from under ground, the mouth of Hell;

Of Brick, and of that stuff they cast to build

A Citie & Towre, whose top may reach to Heav’n;

And get themselves a name, least far disperst

In foraign Lands thir memorie be lost,

Regardless whether good or evil fame.

But God who oft descends to visit men

Unseen, and through thir habitations walks

To mark thir doings, them beholding soon,

Comes down to see thir Citie, ere the Tower

Obstruct Heav’n Towrs, and in derision sets

Upon thir Tongues a various Spirit to rase

Quite out thir Native Language, and instead

To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:

Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud

Among the Builders; each to other calls

Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,

As mockt they storm; great laughter was in Heav’n

And looking down, to see the hubbub strange

And hear the din; thus was the building left

Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam’d.

Whereto thus Adam fatherly displeas’d.

O execrable Son so to aspire

Above his Brethren, to himself assuming

Authoritie usurpt, from God not giv’n:

He gave us onely over Beast, Fish, Fowl

Dominion absolute; that right we hold

By his donation; but Man over men

He made not Lord; such title to himself

Reserving, human left from human free.

But this Usurper his encroachment proud

Stayes not on Man; to God his Tower intends

Siege and defiance: Wretched man! what food

Will he convey up thither to sustain

Himself and his rash Armie, where thin Aire

Above the Clouds will pine his entrails gross,

And famish him of Breath, if not of Bread?

To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorr’st

That Son, who on the quiet state of men

Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue

Rational Libertie; yet know withall,

Since thy original lapse, true Libertie

Is lost, which alwayes with right Reason dwells

Twinn’d, and from her hath no dividual being:

Reason in man obscur’d, or not obeyd,

Immediately inordinate desires

And upstart Passions catch the Government

From Reason, and to servitude reduce

Man till then free. Therefore since hee permits

Within himself unworthie Powers to reign

Over free Reason, God in Judgement just

Subjects him from without to violent Lords;

Who oft as undeservedly enthrall

His outward freedom: Tyrannie must be,

Though to the Tyrant thereby no excuse.

Yet somtimes Nations will decline so low

From vertue, which is reason, that no wrong,

But justice, and some fatal curse annext

Deprives them of thir outward libertie,

Thir inward lost; Witness th’ irreverent Son

Of him who built the Ark, who for the shame

Don to his Father, heard this heavie curse,

Servant of Servants, on his vitious Race.

Thus will this latter, as the former World,

Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last

Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw

His presence from among them, and avert

His holy Eyes; resolving from thenceforth

To leave them to thir own polluted wayes;

And one peculiar Nation to select

From all the rest, of whom to be invok’d,

A Nation from one faithful man to spring:

Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,

Bred up in Idol-worship; O that men

(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,

While yet the Patriark liv’d, who scap’d the Flood,

As to forsake the living God, and fall

To worship thir own work in Wood and Stone

For Gods! yet him God the most High voutsafes

To call by Vision from his Fathers house,

His kindred and false Gods, into a Land

Which he will shew him, and from him will raise

A mightie Nation, and upon him showre

His benediction so, that in his Seed

All Nations shall be blest; hee straight obeys

Not knowing to what Land, yet firm believes:

I see him, but thou canst not, with what Faith

He leaves his Gods, his Friends, and native Soile

Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the Ford

To Haran, after a cumbrous Train

Of Herds and Flocks, and numerous servitude;

Not wandring poor, but trusting all his wealth

With God, who call’d him, in a land unknown.

Canaan he now attains, I see his Tents

Pitcht about Sechem, and the neighbouring Plaine

Of Moreh; there by promise he receaves

Gift to his Progenie of all that Land;

From Hamath Northward to the Desert South

(Things by thir names I call, though yet unnam’d)

From Hermon East to the great Western Sea,

Mount Hermon yonder Sea, each place behold

In prospect, as I point them; on the shoare

Mount Carmel; here the double-founted stream

Jordan, true limit Eastward; but his Sons

Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of Hills.

This ponder, that all Nations of the Earth

Shall in his Seed be blessed; by that Seed

Is meant thy great deliverer, who shall bruise

The Serpents head; whereof to thee anon

Plainlier shall be reveald. This Patriarch blest,

Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,

A Son, and of his Son a Grand-childe leaves,

Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown;

The Grandchilde with twelve Sons increast, departs

From Canaan, to a land hereafter call’d

Egypt, divided by the River Nile;

See where it flows, disgorging at seaven mouthes

Into the Sea: to sojourn in that Land

He comes invited by a yonger Son

In time of dearth, a Son whose worthy deeds

Raise him to be the second in that Realme

Of Pharao: there he dies, and leaves his Race

Growing into a Nation, and now grown

Suspected to a sequent King, who seeks

To stop thir overgrowth, as inmate guests

Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves

Inhospitably, and kills thir infant Males:

Till by two brethren (those two brethren cal

Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claime

His people from enthralment, they return

With glory and spoile back to thir promis’d Land.

But first the lawless Tyrant, who denies

To know thir God, or message to regard,

Must be compelld by Signes and Judgements dire;

To blood unshed the Rivers must be turnd,

Frogs, Lice and Flies must all his Palace fill

With loath’ d intrusion, and fill all the land;

His Cattel must of Rot and Murren die,

Botches and blaines must all his flesh imboss,

And all his people; Thunder mixt with Haile,

Haile mixt with fire must rend th’ Egyptian Skie

And wheel on th’ Earth, devouring where it rouls;

What it devours not, Herb, or Fruit, or Graine,

A darksom Cloud of Locusts swarming down

Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green:

Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,

Palpable darkness, and blot out three dayes;

Last with one midnight stroke all the first-born

Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds

This River-dragon tam’d at length submits

To let his sojourners depart, and oft

Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as Ice

More hard’nd after thaw, till in his rage

Pursuing whom he late dismissd, the Sea

Swallows him with his Host, but them lets pass

As on drie land between two christal walls,

Aw’d by the rod of Moses so to stand

Divided, till his rescu’d gain thir shoar:

Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend,

Though present in his Angel, who shall goe

Before them in a Cloud, and Pillar of Fire,

By day a Cloud, by night a Pillar of Fire,

To guide them in thir journey, and remove

Behinde them, while th’ obdurat King pursues:

All night he will pursue, but his approach

Darkness defends between till morning Watch;

Then through the Firey Pillar and the Cloud

God looking forth will trouble all his Host

And craze thir Chariot wheels: when by command

Moses once more his potent Rod extends

Over the Sea; the Sea his Rod obeys;

On thir imbattelld ranks the Waves return,

And overwhelm thir Warr: the Race elect

Safe towards Canaan from the shoar advance

Through the wilde Desert, not the readiest way,

Least entring on the Canaanite allarmd

Warr terrifie them inexpert, and feare

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather

Inglorious life with servitude; for life

To noble and ignoble is more sweet

Untraind in Armes, where rashness leads not on.

This also shall they gain by thir delay

In the wide Wilderness, there they shall found

Thir government, and thir great Senate choose

Through the twelve Tribes, to rule by Laws ordaind:

God from the Mount of Sinai, whose gray top

Shall tremble, he descending, will himself

In Thunder Lightning and loud Trumpets sound

Ordaine them Lawes; part such as appertaine

To civil Justice, part religious Rites

Of sacrifice, informing them, by types

And shadowes, of that destind Seed to bruise

The Serpent, by what meanes he shall achieve

Mankinds deliverance. But the voice of God

To mortal eare is dreadful; they beseech

That Moses might report to them his will,

And terror cease; he grants them thir desire,

Instructed that to God is no access

Without Mediator, whose high Office now

Moses in figure beares, to introduce

One greater, of whose day he shall foretell,

And all the Prophets in thir Age, the times

Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus Laws and Rites

Establisht, such delight hath God in Men

Obedient to his will, that he voutsafes

Among them to set up his Tabernacle,

The holy One with mortal Men to dwell:

By his prescript a Sanctuary is fram’d

Of Cedar, overlaid with Gold, therein

An Ark, and in the Ark his Testimony,

The Records of his Cov’nant, over these

A Mercie-seat of Gold between the wings

Of two bright Cherubim, before him burn

Seaven Lamps as in a Zodiac representing

The Heav’nly fires; over the Tent a Cloud

Shall rest by Day, a fierie gleame by Night,

Save when they journie, and at length they come,

Conducted by his Angel to the Land

Promisd to Abraham and his Seed: the rest

Were long to tell, how many Battels fought,

How many Kings destroyd, and Kingdoms won,

Or how the Sun shall in mid Heav’n stand still

A day entire, and Nights due course adjourne,

Mans voice commanding, Sun in Gibeon stand,

And thou Moon in the vale of Aialon,

Till Israel overcome; so call the third

From Abraham, Son of Isaac, and from him

His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win.

Here Adam interpos’d. O sent from Heav’n,

Enlightner of my darkness, gracious things

Thou hast reveald, those chiefly which concerne

Just Abraham and his Seed: now first I finde

Mine eyes true op’ning, and my heart much eas’d,

Erwhile perplext with thoughts what would becom

Of mee and all Mankind; but now I see

His day, in whom all Nations shall be blest,

Favour unmerited by me, who sought

Forbidd’n knowledge by forbidd’n means.

This yet I apprehend not, why to those

Among whom God will deigne to dwell on Earth

So many and so various Laws are giv’n;

So many Laws argue so many sins

Among them; how can God with such reside?

To whom thus Michael. Doubt not but that sin

Will reign among them, as of thee begot;

And therefore was Law given them to evince

Thir natural pravitie, by stirring up

Sin against Law to fight; that when they see

Law can discover sin, but not remove,

Save by those shadowie expiations weak,

The bloud of Bulls and Goats, they may conclude

Some bloud more precious must be paid for Man,

Just for unjust, that in such righteousness

To them by Faith imputed, they may finde

Justification towards God, and peace

Of Conscience, which the Law by Ceremonies

Cannot appease, nor Man the moral part

Perform, and not performing cannot live.

So Law appears imperfet, and but giv’n

With purpose to resign them in full time

Up to a better Cov’nant, disciplin’d

From shadowie Types to Truth, from Flesh to Spirit,

From imposition of strict Laws, to free

Acceptance of large Grace, from servil fear

To filial, works of Law to works of Faith.

And therefore shall not Moses, though of God

Highly belov’d, being but the Minister

Of Law, his people into Canaan lead;

But Joshua whom the Gentiles Jesus call,

His Name and Office bearing, who shall quell

The adversarie Serpent, and bring back

Through the worlds wilderness long wanderd man

Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.

Meanwhile they in thir earthly Canaan plac’t

Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins

National interrupt thir public peace,

Provoking God to raise them enemies:

From whom as oft he saves them penitent

By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom

The second, both for pietie renownd

And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive

Irrevocable, that his Regal Throne

For ever shall endure; the like shall sing

All Prophecie, That of the Royal Stock

Of David (so I name this King) shall rise

A Son, the Womans Seed to thee foretold,

Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust

All Nations, and to Kings foretold, of Kings

The last, for of his Reign shall be no end.

But first a long succession must ensue,

And his next Son for Wealth and Wisdom fam’d,

The clouded Ark of God till then in Tents

Wandring, shall in a glorious Temple enshrine.

Such follow him, as shall be registerd

Part good, part bad, of bad the longer scrowle,

Whose foul Idolatries, and other faults

Heapt to the popular summe, will so incense

God, as to leave them, and expose thir Land,

Thir Citie, his Temple, and his holy Ark

With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey

To that proud Citie, whose high Walls thou saw’st

Left in confusion, Babylon thence call’d.

There in captivitie he lets them dwell

The space of seventie years, then brings them back,

Remembring mercie, and his Cov’nant sworn

To David, stablisht as the dayes of Heav’n.

Returnd from Babylon by leave of Kings

Thir Lords, whom God dispos’d, the house of God

They first re-edifie, and for a while

In mean estate live moderate, till grown

In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;

But first among the Priests dissension springs,

Men who attend the Altar, and should most

Endeavour Peace: thir strife pollution brings

Upon the Temple it self: at last they seise

The Scepter, and regard not Davids Sons,

Then loose it to a stranger, that the true

Anointed King Messiah might be born

Barr’d of his right; yet at his Birth a Starr

Unseen before in Heav’n proclaims him com,

And guides the Eastern Sages, who enquire

His place, to offer Incense, Myrrh, and Gold;

His place of birth a solemn Angel tells

To simple Shepherds, keeping watch by night;

They gladly thither haste, and by a Quire

Of squadrond Angels hear his Carol sung.

A Virgin is his Mother, but his Sire

The Power of the most High; he shall ascend

The Throne hereditarie, and bound his Reign

With earths wide bounds, his glory with the Heav’ns.

He ceas’d, discerning Adam with such joy

Surcharg’d, as had like grief bin dew’d in tears,

Without the vent of words, which these he breathd.

O Prophet of glad tidings, finisher

Of utmost hope! now clear I understand

What oft my steddiest thoughts have searcht in vain,

Why our great expectation should be call’d

The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, Haile,

High in the love of Heav’n, yet from my Loynes

Thou shalt proceed, and from thy Womb the Son

Of God most High; So God with man unites.

Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise

Expect with mortal paine: say where and when

Thir fight, what stroke shall bruise the Victors heel.

To whom thus Michael. Dream not of thir fight,

As of a Duel, or the local wounds

Of head or heel: not therefore joynes the Son

Manhood to God-head, with more strength to foil

Thy enemie; nor so is overcome

Satan, whose fall from Heav’n, a deadlier bruise,

Disabl’d not to give thee thy deaths wound:

Which hee, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure,

Not by destroying Satan, but his works

In thee and in thy Seed: nor can this be,

But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,

Obedience to the Law of God, impos’d

On penaltie of death, and suffering death,

The penaltie to thy transgression due,

And due to theirs which out of thine will grow:

So onely can high Justice rest appaid.

The Law of God exact he shall fulfill

Both by obedience and by love, though love

Alone fulfill the Law; thy punishment

He shall endure by coming in the Flesh

To a reproachful life and cursed death,

Proclaming Life to all who shall believe

In his redemption, and that his obedience

Imputed becomes theirs by Faith, his merits

To save them, not thir own, though legal works.

For this he shall live hated, be blasphem’d,

Seis’d on by force, judg’d, and to death condemnd

A shameful and accurst, naild to the Cross

By his own Nation, slaine for bringing Life;

But to the Cross he nailes thy Enemies,

The Law that is against thee, and the sins

Of all mankinde, with him there crucifi’d,

Never to hurt them more who rightly trust

In this his satisfaction; so he dies,

But soon revives, Death over him no power

Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light

Returne, the Starres of Morn shall see him rise

Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,

Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems,

His death for Man, as many as offerd Life

Neglect not, and the benefit imbrace

By Faith not void of workes: this God-like act

Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have dy’d,

In sin for ever lost from life; this act

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength

Defeating Sin and Death, his two maine armes,

And fix farr deeper in his head thir stings

Then temporal death shall bruise the Victors heel,

Or theirs whom he redeems, a death like sleep,

A gentle wafting to immortal Life.

Nor after resurrection shall he stay

Longer on Earth then certaine times to appeer

To his Disciples, Men who in his Life

Still follow’d him; to them shall leave in charge

To teach all nations what of him they learn’d

And his Salvation, them who shall beleeve

Baptizing in the profluent streame, the signe

Of washing them from guilt of sin to Life

Pure, and in mind prepar’d, if so befall,

For death, like that which the redeemer dy’d.

All Nations they shall teach; for from that day

Not onely to the Sons of Abrahams Loines

Salvation shall be Preacht, but to the Sons

Of Abrahams Faith wherever through the world;

So in his seed all Nations shall be blest.

Then to the Heav’n of Heav’ns he shall ascend

With victory, triumphing through the aire

Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise

The Serpent, Prince of aire, and drag in Chaines

Through all his realme, & there confounded leave;

Then enter into glory, and resume

His Seat at Gods right hand, exalted high

Above all names in Heav’n; and thence shall come,

When this worlds dissolution shall be ripe,

With glory and power to judge both quick & dead

To judge th’ unfaithful dead, but to reward

His faithful, and receave them into bliss,

Whether in Heav’n or Earth, for then the Earth

Shall all be Paradise, far happier place

Then this of Eden, and far happier daies.

So spake th’ Archangel Michael, then paus’d,

As at the Worlds great period; and our Sire

Replete with joy and wonder thus repli’d.

O goodness infinite, goodness immense!

That all this good of evil shall produce,

And evil turn to good; more wonderful

Then that by which creation first brought forth

Light out of darkness! fun of doubt I stand,

Whether I should repent me now of sin

By mee done and occasiond, or rejoyce

Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring,

To God more glory, more good will to Men

From God, and over wrauth grace shall abound.

But say, if our deliverer up to Heav’n

Must reascend, what will betide the few

His faithful, left among th’ unfaithful herd,

The enemies of truth; who then shall guide

His people, who defend? will they not deale

Wors with his followers then with him they dealt?

Be sure they will, said th’ Angel; but from Heav’n

Hee to his own a Comforter will send,

The promise of the Father, who shall dwell

His Spirit within them, and the Law of Faith

Working through love, upon thir hearts shall write,

To guide them in all truth, and also arme

With spiritual Armour, able to resist

Satans assaults, and quench his fierie darts,

What Man can do against them, not affraid,

Though to the death, against such cruelties

With inward consolations recompenc’t,

And oft supported so as shall amaze

Thir proudest persecuters: for the Spirit

Powrd first on his Apostles, whom he sends

To evangelize the Nations, then on all

Baptiz’d, shall them with wondrous gifts endue

To speak all Tongues, and do all Miracles,

As did thir Lord before them. Thus they win

Great numbers of each Nation to receave

With joy the tidings brought from Heav’n: at length

Thir Ministry perform’d, and race well run,

Thir doctrine and thir story written left,

They die; but in thir room, as they forewarne,

Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous Wolves,

Who all the sacred mysteries of Heav’n

To thir own vile advantages shall turne

Of lucre and ambition, and the truth

With superstitions and traditions taint,

Left onely in those written Records pure,

Though not but by the Spirit understood.

Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,

Places and titles, and with these to joine

Secular power, though feigning still to act

By spiritual, to themselves appropriating

The Spirit of God, promisd alike and giv’n

To all Beleevers; and from that pretense,

Spiritual Lawes by carnal power shall force

On every conscience; Laws which none shall finde

Left them inrould, or what the Spirit within

Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then

But force the Spirit of Grace it self, and binde

His consort Libertie; what, but unbuild

His living Temples, built by Faith to stand,

Thir own Faith not anothers: for on Earth

Who against Faith and Conscience can be heard

Infallible? yet many will presume:

Whence heavie persecution shall arise

On all who in the worship persevere

Of Spirit and Truth; the rest, farr greater part,

Will deem in outward Rites and specious formes

Religion satisfi’d; Truth shall retire

Bestuck with slandrous darts, and works of Faith

Rarely be found: so shall the World goe on,

To good malignant, to bad men benigne,

Under her own waight groaning, till the day

Appeer of respiration to the just,

And vengeance to the wicked, at return

Of him so lately promiss’d to thy aid,

The Womans seed, obscurely then foretold,

Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord,

Last in the Clouds from Heav’n to be reveald

In glory of the Father, to dissolve

Satan with his perverted World, then raise

From the conflagrant mass, purg’d and refin’d,

New Heav’ns, new Earth, Ages of endless date

Founded in righteousness and peace and love,

To bring forth fruits Joy and eternal Bliss.

He ended; and thus Adam last reply’d.

How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,

Measur’d this transient World, the Race of time,

Till time stand fixt: beyond is all abyss,

Eternitie, whose end no eye can reach.

Greatly instructed I shall hence depart.

Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill

Of knowledge, what this vessel can containe;

Beyond which was my folly to aspire.

Henceforth I learne, that to obey is best,

And love with feare the onely God, to walk

As in his presence, ever to observe

His providence, and on him sole depend,

Merciful over all his works, with good

Still overcoming evil, and by small

Accomplishing great things, by things deemd weak

Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise

By simply meek; that suffering for Truths sake

Is fortitude to highest victorie,

And to the faithful Death the Gate of Life;

Taught this by his example whom I now

Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.

To whom thus also th’ Angel last repli’d:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe

Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs

Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,

All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,

Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea,

And all the riches of this World enjoydst,

And all the rule, one Empire; onely add

Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith,

Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,

By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul

Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath

To leave this Paradise, but shalt posses

A Paradise within thee, happier farr.

Let us descend now therefore from this top

Of Speculation; for the hour precise

Exacts our parting hence; and see the Guards,

By mee encampt on yonder Hill, expect

Thir motion, at whose Front a flaming Sword,

In signal of remove, waves fiercely round;

We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;

Her also I with gentle Dreams have calm’d

Portending good, and all her spirits compos’d

To meek submission: thou at season fit

Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard,

Chiefly what may concern her Faith to know,

The great deliverance by her Seed to come

(For by the Womans Seed) on all Mankind.

That ye may live, which will be many dayes,

Both in one Faith unanimous though sad,

With cause for evils past, yet much more cheer’d

With meditation on the happie end.

He ended, and they both descend the Hill;

Descended, Adam to the Bowre where Eve

Lay sleeping ran before, but found her wak’t;

And thus with words not sad she him receav’d.

Whence thou returnst, & whither wentst, I know;

For God is also in sleep, and Dreams advise,

Which he hath sent propitious, some great good

Presaging, since with sorrow and hearts distress

Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;

In mee is no delay; with thee to goe,

Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,

Is to go hence unwilling; thou to mee

Art all things under Heav’n, all places thou,

Who for my wilful crime art banisht hence.

This further consolation yet secure

I carry hence; though all by mee is lost,

Such favour I unworthie am voutsaft,

By mee the Promis’d Seed shall all restore.

So spake our Mother Eve, and Adam heard

Well pleas’d, but answer’d not; for now too nigh

Th’ Archangel stood, and from the other Hill

To thir fixt Station, all in bright array

The Cherubim descended; on the ground

Gliding meteorous, as Ev’ning Mist

Ris’n from a River o’re the marish glides,

And gathers ground fast at the Labourers heel

Homeward returning. High in Front advanc’t,

The brandisht Sword of God before them blaz’d

Fierce as a Comet; which with torrid heat,

And vapour as the Libyan Air adust,

Began to parch that temperate Clime; whereat

In either hand the hastning Angel caught

Our lingring Parents, and to th’ Eastern Gate

Led them direct, and down the Cliff as fast

To the subjected Plaine; then disappeer’d.

They looking back, all th’ Eastern side beheld

Of Paradise, so late thir happie seat,

Wav’d over by that flaming Brand, the Gate

With dreadful Faces throng’d and fierie Armes:

Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon;

The World was all before them, where to choose

Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:

They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,

Through Eden took thir solitarie way.


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John Milton

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Chicago: John Milton, "Book XII," Paradise Lost Original Sources, accessed January 30, 2023,

MLA: Milton, John. "Book XII." Paradise Lost, Original Sources. 30 Jan. 2023.

Harvard: Milton, J, 'Book XII' in Paradise Lost. Original Sources, retrieved 30 January 2023, from