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Paradise Lost  
Milton paradise.jpg
Title page of the first edition (1668)
Author John Milton
Country England
Language English
Genre(s) Epic poem
Publisher Samuel Simmons (original)
Publication date 1667
Media type Print
Followed by Paradise Regained

Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books. A second edition followed in 1674, redivided into twelve books (in the manner of the division of Virgil's Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification. The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men"[1] and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and free will.

Milton incorporates Paganism, classical Greek references, and Christianity within the poem. It deals with diverse topics from marriage, politics (Milton was politically active during the time of the English Civil War), and monarchy, and grapples with many difficult theological issues, including fate, predestination, the Trinity, and the introduction of sin and death into the world, as well as angels, fallen angels, Satan, and the war in heaven. Milton draws on his knowledge of languages, and diverse sources — primarily Genesis, much of the New Testament, the deuterocanonical Book of Enoch, and other parts of the Old Testament. This epic is generally considered one of the greatest works in the English language.



Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagonist of John Milton's Paradise Lost c.1866.

The story was revised into twelve books after initial publication, following the model of the Aeneid of Virgil. The book lengths vary — the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines and the shortest, Book VII, having 640. In the second edition, each book was preceded by a summary titled "The Argument". The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being told in Books V-VI.

Milton's story contains two arcs: one of Satan (Lucifer) and another of Adam and Eve. The story of Satan follows the epic convention of large-scale warfare. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and cast by God into Hell, or as it is also called in the poem, Tartarus. In Pandæmonium, Satan employs his rhetorical skill to organize his followers; he is aided by his lieutenants Mammon and Beelzebub. Belial and Moloch are also present. At the end of the debate, Satan volunteers himself to poison the newly-created Earth. He braves the dangers of the Abyss alone in a manner reminiscent of Odysseus or Aeneas.

The story of Adam and Eve's temptation and fall is a fundamentally different, new kind of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are presented for the first time in Christian literature as having a full relationship while still without sin. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan successfully tempts Eve by preying on her vanity and tricking her with rhetoric, and Adam, seeing Eve has sinned, knowingly commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his flesh, they are bound to one another so that if she dies, he must also die. In this manner Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure but also as a deeper sinner than Eve since he is smarter than Eve and knows that what he's doing is wrong.

After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex, and at first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. However, they soon fall asleep, having terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination.

However, Eve's pleas to Adam reconcile them somewhat. Her encouragement enables Adam and Eve both to approach God, to "bow and sue for grace with suppliant knee," and to receive grace from God. Adam goes on a vision journey with an angel where he witnesses the errors of man and the Great Flood, and is saddened by the sin that they have released through consumption of the fruit. However, he is also shown hope — the possibility of redemption — through a vision of Jesus Christ. They are then cast out of Eden and the archangel Michael says that Adam may find "A paradise within thee, happier far." They now have a more distant relationship with God, who is omnipresent but invisible (unlike the previous, tangible, Father in the Garden of Eden).

The contents of the 12 books are:
Book I: In a long, twisting opening sentence mirroring the epic poetry of the Ancient Greeks, the poet invokes the "Heavenly Muse" (the Holy Spirit) and states his theme, the Fall of Man, and his aim, to "justify the ways of God to men."[1] Satan, Beelzebub, and the other rebel angels are described as lying on a lake of fire, from which Satan rises up to claim Hell as his own domain and delivers a rousing speech to his followers ("Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.").[2] The logic of Satan (Satanic Logic) is introduced by: "The mind is its own place, and in itself/ Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."[3]
Book II: Satan and the rebel angels debate whether to wage another war on Heaven, and Beelzebub tells them of a new world being built which is to be the home of Man. Satan decides to visit this new world, passes through the Gates of Hell, past the sentries Sin and Death, and journeys through the realm of Chaos. Here, Satan is described as having given birth to Sin with a burst of flame from his forehead, before he began open warfare with God — as Athena was born from the head of Zeus.
Book III: God observes Satan's journey and foretells how Satan will bring about Man's Fall. God emphasises, that the Fall will come about as a result of Man's own free will, and excuses himself of responsibility. The Son of God offers himself as a ransom for Man's disobedience, an offer which God accepts, ordaining the Son's future incarnation and punishment. Satan arrives at the rim of the universe, disguises himself as an angel, and is directed to Earth by Uriel, Guardian of the Sun.

William Blake, Satan Watching the Caresses of Adam and Eve, 1808, (from William Blake's illustrations of Paradise Lost)

Book IV: Satan journeys to the Garden of Eden, where he observes Adam and Eve discussing the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan, observing their innocence and beauty hesitates in his task, but concludes that "reason just,/ Honour and empire"[4] compel him to do this deed which he "should abhor." Satan tries to tempt Eve while she sleeps, but is discovered by the angels. The angel Gabriel expels Satan from the Garden.
Book V: Eve awakes and relates her dream to Adam. God sends Raphael to warn and encourage Adam: they talk of free will and predestination; Raphael tells Adam the story of how Satan inspired his angels to revolt against God.
Book VI: Raphael goes on to describe further the war in Heaven and explains how the Son of God drove Satan and his minions down to Hell.
Book VII: Raphael explains to Adam that God then decided to create another world (the Earth); he again warns Adam not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, for "in the day thou eat'st, thou diest;/ Death is the penalty imposed, beware,/ And govern well thy appetite, lest Sin/ Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death".
Book VIII: Adam tells the story of his creation from his own perspective, providing a counterpoint to Raphael's instruction in Book VI. Adam asks Raphael for knowledge concerning the stars and the angelic nature; Raphael warns "heaven is for thee too high/ To know what passes there; be lowly wise", and advises modesty and patience.
Book IX: Satan returns to Eden and enters into the body of a sleeping serpent. The serpent tempts Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. She eats and takes some fruit for Adam. Adam, realising Eve has been tricked, decides he would rather die with Eve than live without her; he eats of the fruit. At first the two become intoxicated by the fruit; they become lustful, engaging in sexual intercourse; afterwards, in their loss of innocence Adam and Eve cover their nakedness and fall into despair: "They sat them down to weep, nor only tears/ Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within/ Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,/ Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook greatly/ Their inward state of mind."
Book X: God sends his Son to Eden to deliver judgment on Adam and Eve. Satan returns in triumph to Hell.
Book XI: The Son of God pleads with his Father on behalf of Adam and Eve. God decrees the couple must be expelled from the Garden, and the angel Michael descends to deliver God's judgment. Michael begins to unfold the future history of the world to Adam.
Book XII: Michael tells Adam of the eventual coming of the Messiah, before leading Adam and Eve from the Garden. They have lost the physical Paradise, but now have the opportunity to enjoy a "Paradise within ... happier farr." The poem ends: "The World was all before them/ where to choose Their place of rest/ and Providence Their guide: They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow/ Through Eden took, Their solitaire way."[5] Milton has connected the condition of Adam and Eve with the condition of the reader of the epic.


Satan: Satan is the first major character introduced in the poem. He is introduced to Hell after a failed rebellion to wrestle control of Heaven from God. Satan's desire to rebel against his creator stems from his unwillingness to accept the fact he is a created being, and that he is not self-sufficient, which is rooted in his extreme Pride. One of the ways he tries to justify his rebellion against God is by claiming that he and the angels are self-created, declaring the angels "self-begot, self-raised",[6] thereby eliminating God’s authority over them as their creator.

Satan is narcissistic, self-pitying, and persuasive although his logic is almost always flawed, disingenuous, misguiding, or all three. Satan's persuasive powers are first evident when he makes arguments to his angel-followers as to why they should try to overthrow God. He argues that they ought to have equal rights to God and that Heaven is an unfair monarchy, stating, "Who can in reason then or right assume/ Monarchy over such as live by right/ His equals, if in power and splendor less / In freedom equal? or can introduce/ Law and edict on us, who without law/ Err not, much less for this to be our Lord,/ And look for adoration to th' abuse/ Of those imperial titles which assert/ Our being ordained to govern, not to serve?."[7]

Satan's persuasive powers are also evident during the scene in which he assumes the body of a snake in order to convince Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. First, he wins Eve's trust by giving her endless compliments. And when she is perplexed (and impressed) by a "serpent" that is able to talk, Satan tells her that he gained the ability to talk by eating from the Tree of Knowledge and argues that if she were to also eat from the Tree, she would become god-like. He convinces her that the fruit will not kill her and that God will not be upset with her if she eats from the tree. Like his argument to his followers, Satan also argues against God's omnipotence, stating "Why then was [eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil] forbid? Why but to awe,/ Why but to keep ye low and ignorant, / [God's] worshippers; he knows that in the day/ Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear,/ Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then/ Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as gods./ So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off/ Human, to put on gods."[8]

Milton's Satan feels guilt and doubt before he tricks Eve, knowing the results of his actions will curse innocents. Similarly, Satan has feelings of guilt when he first enters Paradise. But his feelings always turn to hate once he reflects on his own exile from Heaven.

The role of Satan as a driving force in the poem has been the subject of much scholarly debate. Positions range from views of William Blake who stated Milton "wrote in fetters when wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, [because] he was a true Poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it"[9] to critic William H. Marshall's interpretation of the poem as a Christian morality tale.[10]

Adam: Adam is the first human in Eden created by God. He is more intelligent than Eve and is also stronger, not only physically but morally. From the questions he asks the angel Raphael, it is clear that Adam has a deep, intellectual curiosity about his existence, God, Heaven, and the nature of the world. This is a kind of curiosity that Eve does not have.

As in the Bible, Eve is subservient to Adam, but in Milton's version of the story, Adam is rather easily manipulated by Eve's charms and good looks. Adam, in Milton's version of the character, is worshipful of Eve, partially because of her great beauty, and at times, is subservient to her wishes. His fall will result from this excessive and almost submissive love to his wife, namely his "uxoriousness". Hence, the power dynamic between Adam and Eve is more complicated than the one that is established in the Bible.

Adam also feels a noble sense of responsibility towards Eve (since she was, after all, created from his rib), and he fears for her safety, especially after hearing from the angel Raphael of Satan's infiltration of Paradise.

As opposed to the Biblical Adam, this version of Adam is given a glimpse of the future of mankind (this includes a synopsis of stories from The Old and New Testaments), by the angel Michael, before he has to leave Paradise.

William Blake, The Temptation and Fall of Eve, 1808 (illustration of Milton's Paradise Lost).

Eve: Eve is the second human created, taken from one of Adam's ribs and shaped into a female form of Adam. In a positive sense (depending on your point of view), she is the model of a good subject and wife. She consents to Adam leading her away from her reflection when they first meet, trusting Adam’s authority in their relationship until she is influenced by Satan.

She is extremely beautiful, and her beauty not only obsesses Adam but also herself. After she is born, she gazes at her reflection in a pool of water, transfixed by her image. Even after Adam calls out to her, she returns to her image. It is not until God tells her to go to Adam that she consents to being led from the pool.

Eve first comes into contact with satanic influence in her dreams. After this incident she starts to develop the independent streak that perplexes Adam, particularly when she insists on going off by herself to work in the garden, even though Adam warns her against it.

Once she is alone, Satan tempts her to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He approaches her in the body of a snake and manipulates her by appealing to her pride and vanity.

Likewise, she soon gets Adam to eat from the tree as well, though he does this because he doesn't want to lose Eve. This creates a complexity that is not in the Biblical version of the story. In this version, Adam reasons that Eve will probably die soon from eating the fruit, so he eats the fruit because he would rather die with her than live alone.

Later, when they don't die and Adam realizes that their actions in the garden have cursed all of mankind, he is harsh on Eve, blaming her for their transgression. At this point, Eve gets on her knees and begs Adam for forgiveness. And since Adam still loves Eve, he forgives her, sharing some of the blame with her.

The Son of God: The Son of God in Paradise Lost is Jesus Christ, though he is never named explicitly, since he has not yet entered human form. The Son is very heroic and powerful, singlehandedly defeating Satan and his followers when they violently rebel against God and driving them into Hell. Also, after the Father explains to him how Adam and Eve shall fall, and how the rest of humanity will be doomed to follow them in their cursed footsteps, the Son selflessly and heroically proclaims that he will take the punishment for humanity. The Son endows hope to the poem, because although Satan conquers humanity by successfully tempting Adam and Eve, the victory is temporary because the Son will save the human race.[11]

God the Father: God the Father is the creator of Eden, Heaven, Hell, and of each of the main characters. He is an all-powerful and all-knowing being who cannot be overthrown by even the one-third of the angels Satan incites against him. The poem portrays God’s process of creation in the way that Milton believed it was done, that God created Heaven, Earth, Hell, and all the creatures that inhabit these separate planes from part of himself, not out of nothing.[12] Thus, according to Milton, the ultimate authority of God derives from his being the "author" of creation. Satan tries to justify his rebellion by denying this aspect of God and claiming self-creation, but he admits to himself this is not the case, and that God "deserved no such return/ From me, whom he created what I was."[13][14]

Raphael: Raphael is an angel who is sent by God to warn Adam about Satan's infiltration of Eden and to warn him that Satan is going to try to curse Adam and Eve. Raphael initially meets with both Adam and Eve but has a private discussion about Satan with Adam only. During this discussion, Raphael tells Adam the story of Satan's rebellion and subsequent exile into Hell. After this, because of Adam's curiosity, Raphael also explains to Adam how God created the Earth and the universe.

Michael: After Adam and Eve disobey God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God sends the angel Michael to visit Adam and Eve. His duty is to escort Adam and Eve out of Paradise. But before this happens, Michael shows Adam visions of the future which cover an outline of the Bible, from the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis, up through the story of Jesus in the New Testament. This vision is meant to show Adam what happens to mankind and to show Adam how Jesus will redeem humanity and eventually drive out Satan, Sin, and Death from the Earth.


Gustave Doré, The Heavenly Hosts, c. 1866, illustration to Paradise Lost

Milton began writing the epic in 1658 at the age of fifty, during the last years of the English Republic. Infighting among different military and political factions that doomed the Republic may show up in the Council of Hell scenes in Book II. Although he probably finished the work by 1664, Milton did not publish until 1667, because of Great Plague and the Great Fire.

Milton composed the entire work while completely blind. It is presumed he had glaucoma, necessitating the use of paid amanuenses and his daughters. The poet claimed that a divine spirit inspired him during the night, leaving him with verses that he would recite in the morning.


The work is influenced by the Bible, Milton's own Puritan upbringing and religious perspective (including elements of Arminianism, Phineas Fletcher, Edmund Spenser, the Roman poets Virgil and Ovid , Greek poets Theocritus and Homer, Italian poet Dante Alighieri, and the traditions of epic poetry). It may also have been influenced by Lucifer, a play by Joost van den Vondel.

Later in life, Milton wrote the much shorter sequel to Paradise Lost entitled Paradise Regained, charting the temptation of Christ by Satan, and the return of the possibility of paradise. The reputation of the sequel never equaled its antecedent.



Milton first presents Adam and Eve in Book IV with impartiality. The relationship between Adam and Eve is one of "mutual dependence, not a relation of domination or hierarchy." While the author does place Adam above Eve in regard to his intellectual knowledge, and in turn his relation to God, he also grants Eve the benefit of knowledge through experience. Hermine Van Nuis clarifies that although there is a sense of stringency associated with the specified roles of the male and the female, each unreservedly accepts the designated role because it is viewed as an asset.[15] Instead of believing that these roles are forced upon them, each uses the obligatory requirement as a strength in their relationship with each other. These minor discrepancies reveal the author’s view on the importance of mutuality between a husband and a wife.

When examining the relationship between Adam and Eve, critics tend to accept an either Adam-or Eve—centered view in terms of hierarchy and importance to God. David Mikics argues, by contrast, these positions "overstate the independence of the characters' stances, and therefore miss the way in which Adam and Eve are entwined with each other".[16] Milton's true vision reflects one where the husband and wife (in this instance, Adam and Eve) depend on each other and only through each other’s differences are able to thrive.[16] While most readers believe that Adam and Eve fail because of their fall from paradise, Milton would argue that the resulting strengthening of their love for one another is true victory.

Although Milton does not directly mention divorce, critics posit theories on Milton's view of divorce based on inferences found within the poem. Other works by Milton suggest he viewed marriage as an entity separate from the church. Discussing Paradise Lost, Biberman entertains the idea that "marriage is a contract made by both the man and the woman".[17] Based on this inference, Milton would believe that both man and woman would have equal access to divorce, as they do to marriage.

Feminist critics of Paradise Lost suggest that Eve is forbidden the knowledge of her own identity. Moments after her creation, before Eve is led to Adam, she becomes enraptured by an image reflected in the water (her own, unbeknownst to Eve).[18] God urges Eve to look away from her own image, her beauty, which is also the object of Adam’s desire. Adam delights in both her beauty and submissive charms, yet Eve may never be permitted to gaze upon her individual form. Critic Julia M. Walker argues that because Eve “neither recognizes nor names herself…she can know herself only in relation to Adam.”[19] “Eve’s sense of self becomes important in its absence…[she] is never allowed to know what she is supposed to see.”[20] Eve therefore knows not what she is, only what she is not: male. Starting in Book IV, Eve learns that Adam, the male form, is superior and “How beauty is excelled by manly grace/ And wisdom which alone is truly fair.”[21] Led by his gentle hand, she yields, a woman without individual purpose, destined to fall by “free will.”


Milton's 17th century contemporaries by and large criticized Milton’s ideas and considered him as a radical, mostly because of his well-known Protestant views on politics and religion. One of Milton's greatest and most controversial arguments centers on his concept of what is idolatrous; this topic is deeply embedded in Paradise Lost.

Milton's first criticism of idolatry focuses on the practice of constructing temples and other buildings to serve as places of worship. In Book XI of Paradise Lost, Adam tries to atone for his sins by offering to build altars to worship God. In response, the angel Michael explains Adam does not need to build physical objects to experience the presence of God.[22] Joseph Lyle points to this example, explaining "When Milton objects to architecture, it is not a quality inherent in buildings themselves he finds offensive, but rather their tendency to act as convenient loci to which idolatry, over time, will inevitably adhere."[23] Even if the idea is pure in nature, Milton still believes that it will unavoidably lead to idolatry simply because of the nature of humans. Instead of placing their thoughts and beliefs into God, as they should, humans tend to turn to erected objects and falsely invest their faith. While Adam attempts to build an altar to God, critics note Eve is similarly guilty of idolatry, but in a different manner. Harding believes Eve's narcissism and obsession with herself constitutes idolatry.[24] Specifically, Harding claims that "... under the serpent’s influence, Eve’s idolatry and self-deification foreshadow the errors into which her 'Sons' will stray."[24] Much like Adam, Eve falsely places her faith into herself, the Tree of Knowledge, and to some extent, the Serpent, all of which do not compare to the ideal nature of God.

Furthermore, Milton makes his views on idolatry more explicit with the creation of Pandemonium and the exemplary allusion to Solomon’s temple. In the beginning of Paradise Lost, as well as throughout the poem, there are several references to the rise and eventual fall of Solomon's temple. Critics elucidate that "Solomon’s temple provides an explicit demonstration of how an artifact moves from its genesis in devotional practice to an idolatrous end."[25] This example, out of the many presented, conveys Milton’s views on the dangers of idolatry distinctly. Even if one builds a structure in the name of God, even the best of intentions can become immoral. In addition, critics have drawn parallels between both Pandemonium and Saint Peter's Basilica,[citation needed] and the Pantheon. The majority of these similarities revolve around a structural likeness, but as Lyle explains, they play a greater role. By linking Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon to Pandemonium—an ideally false structure, the two famous buildings take on a false meaning.[26] This comparison best represents Milton's Protestant views, as it rejects both the purely Catholic perspective and the Pagan perspective.

In addition to rejecting Catholicism, Milton revolted against the idea of a monarch ruling by divine right. He saw the practice as idolatrous. Barbara Lewalski concludes that the theme of idolatry in Paradise Lost ". . . is an exaggerated version of the idolatry Milton had long associated with the Stuart ideology of divine kingship".[27] In the opinion of Milton, any object, human or non-human, that receives special attention befitting of God, is considered idolatrous.

Response and criticism

The Creation of Man, engraving from the 1688 edition, by John Baptist Medina.

This epic is generally considered one of the greatest works in the English language. In the verses below the portrait in the fourth edition, John Dryden linked Milton with Homer and Virgil, suggesting Milton encompassed and surpassed both:

"Three Poets, in three distant Ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
 The First in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
 The Next in Majesty; in both the Last.
 The force of Nature cou'd no farther goe:
 To make a third she joynd the former two."

Since Paradise Lost is based upon scripture, its significance in the Western canon has been thought by some to have lessened due to increasing secularism. This is not the general consensus, and even academics labelled as secular realize the merits of the work. In William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the "voice of the devil" argues:

The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it.

This statement summarizes what would become the most common interpretation of the work in the twentieth century. Some critics, including C. S. Lewis, and later Stanley Fish, reject this interpretation. Rather, such critics hold that the theology of Paradise Lost conforms to the passages of Scripture on which it is based.

The latter half of the twentieth century saw critical understanding of Milton's epic shift to a more political and philosophical focus. Rather than the Romantic conception of the Devil as hero, it is generally accepted that Satan is presented in terms that begin classically heroic, then diminish him until he is finally reduced to a dust-eating serpent unable even to control his own body. The political angle enters into consideration in the underlying friction between Satan's conservative, hierarchical view of the universe, and the contrasting "new way" of God and the Son of God as illustrated in Book III.[citation needed] In other words, in contemporary criticism the main thrust of the work becomes not the perfidy or heroism of Satan, but rather the tension between classical conservative "Old Testament" hierarchs (evidenced in Satan's worldview and even in that of the archangels Raphael and Gabriel), and "New Testament" revolutionaries (embodied in the Son of God, Adam, and Eve) who represent a new system of universal organization.[citation needed] This new order is based not in tradition, precedence, and unthinking habit, but on sincere and conscious acceptance of faith and on station chosen by ability and responsibility.[citation needed] Naturally, this interpretation makes much use of Milton's other works and his biography, grounding itself in his personal history as an English revolutionary and social critic.[citation needed]

Samuel Johnson praised the poem lavishly, but conceded that "None ever wished it longer than it is."[28]

In Paul Stevens of University of Toronto's Milton's Satan, he claimed the Satan figure was one of the earliest examples of an anti-hero who does not submit to authority, but the actions are greatly based on his own arrogance and delusion. Stevens also claimed Paradise Lost was a story about Milton himself, who wrote in support of events that eventually led to English Civil War.[29] That analysis was debuted in 2009 season of TVO's Best Lecturer series.[30]


The first illustrations were to the fourth edition of 1688, with one engraving prefacing each book, of which up to eight of the twelve were by Sir John Baptist Medina, one by Bernard Lens II, and perhaps up to four (including Books I and XII, perhaps the most memorable) by another hand.[31] The most notable illustrators of Paradise Lost are William Blake, Gustave Doré and Henry Fuseli (1799); however, the epic's illustrators also include, among others, John Martin, Edward Burney, Richard Westall, Francis Hayman. Salvador Dalí executed a set of ten colour engravings in 1974. As of June 2009, examples from this series can be viewed at the William Bennett Gallery in Manhattan.[32] Strikingly, two capriccios by Gian Battista Tiepolo were used to illustrate an Italian 18th century edition.[33] Surreal-visionary artist Terrance Lindall's rendition was published in 1982.[34]

Cultural significance

In Sin, Death, and the Devil (1792), James Gillray caricatured the political battle between Pitt and Thurlow as a scene from Paradise Lost. Pitt is Death and Thurlow Satan, with Queen Charlotte as Sin in the middle.

"Paradise Lost" has been the source of inspiration in several aspects of art and modern culture.


  • In response to Paradise Lost William Blake composed an epic of his own, one of his "illuminated books" entitled Milton: a Poem, between 1804 and 1810. It is Blake's longest poetic work, and features Milton himself as its hero; the poet returns from heaven and unites with Blake to explore the relationship between living writers and their predecessors, and undergoes a mystical journey to correct Milton's own spiritual errors, as perceived by Blake.
  • Lord Byron's "dramatic poem" Manfred contains several allusions to Satan's speeches.
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein contains several references to "Paradise Lost". During his education process, the Creature reads "Paradise Lost"; this has a significant impact on him as it leads him to draw a parallel between himself and Satan, the "fallen angel" cursed by "God" - that is Victor Frankenstein, his creator. The Creature also establishes a resemblance to Adam, the first creation of God.
  • The poem is the basis for the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. The title of the trilogy is a direct quote from Paradise Lost (2.916). Pullman even introduced a new edition of the poem.[35]
  • The title of John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle is taken from a passage in Paradise Lost.


  • The American television series, Supernatural borrows heavily from the poem, particularly with its sympathetic characterization of Lucifer and an impending war in Heaven.


  • The poem influenced the musical composition The Creation by Joseph Haydn.
  • In 1760, the German-British composer and assistant of Handel John Christopher Smith wrote an oratorio "Paradise Lost" after Milton on a libretto by Benjamin Stillingfleet.
  • Polish classical composer Krzysztof Penderecki has composed an opera, Paradise Lost, based upon the poem.
  • Peter Dizozza has written several pieces of music and also a play directly for Milton's Paradise Lost, most recently performed at a major Milton festival.[36] He also wrote the 30 minute "Incidental Music for Milton's Paradise Lost."
  • Nick Cave makes reference to Paradise Lost in several songs, including, on Let Love In, "Red Right Hand" (whose title comes from PL 2.174) and most notably "Song of Joy," which cites 1.249-50, 2.174.
  • One of Hollywood Undead's band members, Johnny 3 Tears, wrote Undead's song, "Paradise Lost" under inspiration of Milton's poem. The song was released on Hollywood Undead's debut album, "Swan Songs".
  • Progressive metal band Symphony X's 2007 album Paradise Lost is based on themes from the poem, as is the title track from their 1997 album The Divine Wings of Tragedy.

Damnation and a Day: From Genesis To Nemesis is the fifth studio album by Cradle of Filth. It features the 40-piece Budapest Film Orchestra and 32-piece Budapest Film Choir, is partly based on John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, and was Cradle's only full-length release for the major label Sony before they transferred to Roadrunner Records.



  • The 1992 installation art piece "Snake Path" by Alexis Smith at the University of California San Diego draws heavily from Paradise Lost and includes a granite monument of the book.[39]

Publication history


Penguin Books edition of Paradise Lost
  • Paradise Lost: Parallel Prose Edition Regent College Publishing (Translated by Dennis Danielson, ISBN 978-1-57383-426-1) – includes Milton's original text on the left page and a modern translation on the right
  • Paradise Lost Norton Critical Edition (2nd edition edited by Scott Elledge ISBN 0-393-96293-8; 3rd edition edited by Gordon Teskey ISBN 0-393-92428-9) – includes biographical, historical, and literary backgrounds, and criticism
  • Paradise Lost Penguin Classics, with introduction by John Leonard. Suffolk, England. 2003. ISBN 0-14-042439-3
  • Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, Signet Classic, edited by Christopher Ricks; introduction by Susanne Woods. New York, 2001. ISBN 0-451-52792-5
  • Hughes, Merrit Y. ed. John Milton. The Complete Poems and Major Prose. New York, 1957. ISBN 0-87220-678-5
  • Fowler, Alastair, ed. Paradise Lost 2nd Edition, Longman, London, 1998. ISBN 0-582-21518-8.
  • The Annotated Milton: Complete English Poems, edited by Burton Raffel, Bantam Classic (Random House), 1999. ISBN 0-553-58110-4
  • Paradise Lost and Other Poems, Signet Classic (Penguin Group), with introduction by Edward M. Cifelli, Ph.D; annotations by Edward Le Comte. New York, 2003. ISBN 0-451-52918-9
  • Paradise Lost, with introduction by Philip Pullman (illustrations taken from first illustrated ed. of 1688). Oxford University Press. New York, 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-280619-2
  • Paradise Illustrated by D. J. Enright, London: Chatto and Windus, 1978. (ISBN 0-701-12320-6) A very entertaining parody of Paradise Lost that tells of how things really happened.

See also


  1. ^ a b Milton 1674, 1:26.
  2. ^ Milton 1674, 1:263.
  3. ^ Milton 1674, 1:254-355.
  4. ^ Milton 1674, 4:387-388.
  5. ^ Milton 1674, 12:646-649.
  6. ^ Milton 1674, 5:860.
  7. ^ Milton 1674, 5:794-802.
  8. ^ Milton 1674, 9:703-714.
  9. ^ Black 2007, p. 996.
  10. ^ Marshall 1961, p. 19.
  11. ^ Marshall 1961, p. 17.
  12. ^ Lehnhof 2008, p. 15.
  13. ^ Milton 1674, 4:42-43.
  14. ^ Lehnhof 2008, p. 24.
  15. ^ Van Nuis 2000, p. 50.
  16. ^ a b Mikics 2004, p. 22.
  17. ^ Biberman 1999, p. 137.
  18. ^ Milton 1674, 4:447–464.
  19. ^ Walker 1998, p. 166.
  20. ^ Walker 1998, p. 169.
  21. ^ Milton 1674, 4:488–489.
  22. ^ Milton 1674, Book 11.
  23. ^ Lyle 2000, p. 139.
  24. ^ a b Harding 2007, p. 163.
  25. ^ Lyle 2000, p. 140.
  26. ^ Lyle 2000, p. 147.
  27. ^ Lewalski 2003, p. 223.
  28. ^ Hill 1905, p. 1:183.
  29. ^ Biblical Satan analyzed for TVO's Best Lecturer series.
  30. ^ Who is Ontario's Best Lecturer?.
  31. ^ Illustrating Paradise Lost from Christ's College, Cambridge, has all twelve on line. See Medina's article for more on the authorship, and all the illustrations, which are also in Commons.
  32. ^ "Le Paradis Terrestre", Salvador Dalí's Illustrations of John Milton's Paradise Lost (,, retrieved 2008-07-01 
  33. ^ Svetlana Alpers 18th century AD, Art in America, March, 1995.
  34. ^ Terrance Lindall Recites Passages From John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Displays Original Illustrations, Williamsburg Art and Historical Center.
  35. ^ Milton, John; Philip Pullman (intr.) (2005), Paradise Lost, Oxford University Press, p. 9, ISBN 9780192806192, 
  36. ^ Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn, New York USA
  37. ^ Delcroix painting of Miton. Retrieved on 2009-01-23.
  38. ^ Gustave Doe's astonishing etchings iluustrating the poem
  39. ^


  • Anderson, G (January 2000), "The Fall of Satan in the Thought of St. Ephrem and John Milton", Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 3 (1), 
  • Biberman, M (1999, January), "Milton, Marriage, and a Woman's Right to Divorce", SEL Studies in English Literature 39 (1): 131–153, doi:10.2307/1556309 
  • Black, J, ed. (March 2007), "Paradise Lost", The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, A (Concise ed.), Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, pp. 998–1061, ISBN 978-1551118680, OCLC 75811389 
  • Blake, W. (1793), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, London .
  • Blayney, B, ed. (1769), The King James Bible, Oxford: Oxford University Press 
  • Bradford, R (1992, July), Paradise Lost (1 ed.), Philadelphia: Open University Press, ISBN 978-0335099825, OCLC 25050319 
  • Butler, G (1998, February), "Giants and Fallen Angels in Dante and Milton: The Commedia and the Gigantomachy in Paradise Lost", Modern Philosophy 95 (3): 352–363 
  • Carey, J; Fowler, A (1971), The Poems of John Milton, London 
  • Doerksen, D (1997, December), "Let There Be Peace': Eve as Redemptive Peacemaker in Paradise Lost, Book X", Milton Quarterly 32 (4): 124–130, doi:10.1111/j.1094-348X.1997.tb00499.x 
  • Eliot, T.S. (1957), On Poetry and Poets, London: Faber and Faber 
  • Eliot, T. S. (1932), "Dante", Selected Essays, New York: Faber and Faber, OCLC 70714546 .
  • Empson, W (1965), Milton's God (Revised ed.), London 
  • John Milton: A Short Introduction (2002 ed., paperback by Roy C. Flannagan, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-631-22620-8; 2008 ed., ebook by Roy Flannagan, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-470-69287-5)
  • Forsyth, N (2003), The Satanic Epic, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691113395 
  • Frye, N (1965), The Return of Eden: Five Essays on Milton's Epics, Toronto: University of Toronto Press 
  • Harding, P (January 2007), "Milton’s Serpent and the Pagan Birth of Error", SEL Studies in English Literature 47 (1): 161–177, doi:10.1353/sel.2007.0003 
  • Hill, G (1905), Lynch, Jack, ed., Samuel Johnson: The Lives of the English Poets, 3 vols., Oxford: Clarendon, OCLC 69137084, 
  • Kermode, F, ed. (1960), The Living Milton: Essays by Various Hands, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 0710016662, OCLC 17518893, 
  • Kerrigan, W, ed. (2007), The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, New York: Random House, ISBN 978-0679642534, OCLC 81940956 
  • Lewalski, B. (January 2003), "Milton and Idolatry", SEL Studies in English Literature 43 (1): 213–232, doi:10.1353/sel.2003.0008 
  • Lewis, C.S. (1942), A Preface to Paradise Lost, London: Oxford University Press, OCLC 822692 
  • Lyle, J (January 2000), "Architecture and Idolatry in Paradise Lost", SEL Studies in English Literature 40 (1): 139–155, doi:10.2307/1556158 
  • Marshall, W. H. (1961, January), "Paradise Lost: Felix Culpa and the Problem of Structure", Modern Language Notes 76 (1): 15–20, doi:10.2307/3040476 
  • Mikics, D (2004), "Miltonic Marriage and the Challenge to History in Paradise Lost", Texas Studies in Literature and Language 46 (1): 20–48, doi:10.1353/tsl.2004.0005 
  • Miller, T.C., ed. (1997), The Critical Response to John Milton's "Paradise Lost", Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0313289262, OCLC 35762631 
  • Milton, J (1674), Paradise Lost (2nd ed.), London: S. Simmons 
  • Rajan, B (1947), Paradise Lost and the Seventeenth Century Reader, London: Chatto & Windus, OCLC 62931344 
  • Ricks, C.B. (1963), Milton's Grand Style, Oxford: Clarendon Press, OCLC 254429 
  • Stone, J.W. (1997, May), ""Man's effeminate s(lack)ness:" Androgyny and the Divided Unity of Adam and Eve", Milton Quarterly 31 (2): 33–42, doi:10.1111/j.1094-348X.1997.tb00491.x 
  • Van Nuis, H (May 2000), "Animated Eve Confronting Her Animus: A Jungian Approach to the Division of Labor Debate in Paradise Lost", Milton Quarterly 34 (2): 48–56, doi:10.1111/j.1094-348X.2000.tb00619.x 
  • Walker, Julia M. (1998), Medusa's Mirrors: Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and the Metamorphosis of the Female Self, University of Delaware Press, ISBN 978-0874136258 
  • Wheat, L (2008), Philip Pullman's His dark materials--a multiple allegory : attacking religious superstition in The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe and Paradise lost, Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, ISBN 978-1591025894, OCLC 152580912 

External links

Online text

Other information

  • darkness visible – comprehensive site for students and others new to Milton: contexts, plot and character summaries, reading suggestions, critical history, gallery of illustrations of Paradise Lost, and much more. By students at Milton's Cambridge college, Christ's College.
  • Selected bibliography at the Milton Reading Room – includes background, biography, criticism.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing.

Paradise Lost (1667, 1674) is an epic poem by the 17th century English poet John Milton. The poem concerns the Christian story of the fall of Satan and his brethren and the rise of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Note that chapter and line references correspond with the 1674 version of the text, available online here.


Book I

  • Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
    With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat.
    • Lines 1-5.
  • Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
    Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
    That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
    In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
    Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill
    Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
    Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
    Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
    That with no middle flight intends to soar
    Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues
    Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
    • Lines 5-16.
  • What in me is dark
    Illumine, what is low raise and support;
    That to the height of this great argument
    I may assert eternal Providence,
    And justify the ways of God to men.
  • The infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile,
    Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
    The mother of mankind.
    • Lines 34-36.
  • Him the Almighty Power
    Hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky
    With hideous ruin and combustion down
    To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
    In adamantine chains and penal fire,
    Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
    • Lines 44-49.
  • As far as angels' ken.
    • Line 59.
  • Yet from those flames
    No light, but rather darkness visible.
    • Lines 62-63.
  • Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
    And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
    That comes at all.
    • Lines 65-67.
  • What though the field be lost?
    All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will,
    And study of revenge, immortal hate,
    And courage never to submit or yield.
    • Lines 105-108.
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat.
  • To be weak is miserable,
    Doing or suffering.
    • Lines 157-158.
  • And out of good still to find means of evil.
    • Line 165.
  • Farewell happy fields,
    Where joy forever dwells: hail, horrors!
    • Line 249.
  • A mind not to be changed by place or time.
    The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.
    • Lines 253-55. See also Book IV, line 75.
  • […] Here at least
    we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
    to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
    • Lines 258-63.
  • Heard so oft
    In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
    Of battle.
    • Line 275.
  • His spear, to equal which the tallest pine
    Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast
    Of some great ammiral were but a wand,
    He walk'd with to support uneasy steps
    Over the burning marle.
    • Line 292.
  • Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
    In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
    High over-arch'd imbower.
    • Line 302.
  • Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!
    • Line 330.
  • Spirits when they please
    Can either sex assume, or both.
    • Line 423.
  • Execute their airy purposes.
    • Line 430.
  • And, when night
    Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
    • Lines 500-502.
  • Th' imperial ensign, which full high advanc'd
    Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind.
    • Line 536. Compare: "Stream'd like a meteor to the troubled air", Thomas Gray, The Bard, i. 2, line 6.
  • Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
    At which the universal host up sent
    A shout that tore hell's concave, and beyond
    Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
    • Lines 540-543.
  • Anon they move
    In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood
    Of flutes and soft recorders.
    • Line 549.
  • His form had yet not lost
    All her original brightness, nor appear'd
    Less than archangel ruin'd, and th' excess
    Of glory obscur'd.
    • Line 591.
  • In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
    On half the nations, and with fear of change
    Perplexes monarchs.
    • Line 597.
  • Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn
    Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth.
    • Line 619.
  • For who can yet believe, though after loss,
    That all these puissant legions, whose exile
    Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend,
    Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?
    • Lines 631-34.
  • Who overcomes
    By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
    • Lines 648-49.
  • Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
    From heaven; for ev’n in heaven his looks and thoughts
    Were always downward bent, admiring more
    The riches of heaven’s pavement, trodden gold,
    Than aught divine or holy else enjoy’d
    In vision beatific.
    • Lines 679-84.
  • Let none admire
    That riches grow in hell; that soil may best
    Deserve the precious bane.
    • Lines 690-692.
  • Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
    Rose, like an exhalation.
    • Line 710.
  • From morn
    To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
    A summer's day; and with the setting sun
    Dropped from the zenith like a falling star.
    • Lines 742-745.
  • Fairy elves,
    Whose midnight revels by a forest side
    Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
    Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon
    Sits arbitress.
    • Line 781.

Book II

Incens'd with indignation Satan stood
Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war.
  • High on a throne of royal state, which far
    Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
    Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
    Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
    Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
    To that bad eminence; and from despair
    Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
    Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
    Vain war with heav'n.
    • Lines 1-9.
  • Surer to prosper than prosperity
    Could have assur'd us.
    • Line 39.
  • The strongest and the fiercest spirit
    That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair.
    • Line 44.
  • Rather than be less
    Cared not to be at all.
    • Lines 47-48.
  • My sentence is for open War; Of Wiles,
    More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
    Contrive who need, or when they need, not now.
    For while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
    Millions that stand in Arms, and longing wait
    The Signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here,
    Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling place
    Accept this dark opprobrious Den of shame,
    The Prison of his Tyranny who Reigns
    By our delay? no, let us rather choose,
    Arm'd with Hell flames and fury all at once
    O'er Heaven's high Tow'rs to force resistless way,
    Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms
    Against the Torturer.
    • Lines 51-64
  • That in our proper motion we ascend
    Up to our native seat: descent and fall
    To us is adverse.
    • Line 75.
  • When the scourge
    Inexorable and the torturing hour
    Call us to penance.
    • Line 90.
  • Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.
    • Line 105.
  • But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
    Dropp'd manna, and could make the worse appear
    The better reason, to perplex and dash
    Maturest counsels.
    • Lines 112-114. Compare: "Aristophanes turns Socrates into ridicule…as making the worse appear the better reason", Diogenes Laërtius, Socrates, v.
  • Th' ethereal mould
    Incapable of stain would soon expel
    Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
    Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
    Is flat despair: we must exasperate
    Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
    And that must end us; that must be our cure--
    To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,
    Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
    Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
    To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
    In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
    Devoid of sense and motion?
    • Lines 142-51. Compare: "Our hope is loss, our hope but sad despair", William Shakespeare, Henry VI. part iii. act ii, scene. 3.
  • His red right hand.
    • Line 174. Compare: "Rubente dextera", Horace, Ode i. 2, 2.
  • Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd.
    • Line 185.
  • The never-ending flight
    Of future days.
    • Line 221
  • Thus Belial with words clothed in reason's garb
    Counseled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
    Not peace.
    • Lines 226-228.
  • Our torments also may in length of time
    Become our elements.
    • Line 274.
  • With grave
    Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
    A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
    Deliberation sat and public care;
    And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
    Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood,
    With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
    The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
    Drew audience and attention still as night
    Or summer's noontide air.
    • Lines 300-305.
  • To sit in darkness here
    Hatching vain empires.
    • Lines 377-378.
  • The palpable obscure.
    • Line 406.
  • Long is the way
    And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.
    • Lines 432-33.
  • Their rising all at once was as the sound
    Of thunder heard remote.
    • Lines 476-477.
  • The low'ring element
    Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape.
    • Line 490.
  • Oh, shame to men! devil with devil damn'd
    Firm concord holds, men only disagree
    Of creatures rational.
    • Line 496.
  • In discourse more sweet;
    For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.
    Others apart sat on a hill retired,
    In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high
    Of Providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
    Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,
    And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.
    • Lines 555-561.
  • Vain wisdom all and false philosophy.
    • Line 565.
  • Arm th' obdur'd breast
    With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
    • Line 568.
  • A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
    Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
    Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air
    Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire.
    Thither by harpy-footed Furies hal'd,
    At certain revolutions all the damn'd
    Are brought, and feel by turns the bitter change
    Of fierce extremes,—extremes by change more fierce;
    From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
    Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
    Immovable, infix'd, and frozen round,
    Periods of time; thence hurried back to fire.
    • Lines 597-603.
  • O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
    Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death.
    • Line 620.
  • Gorgons and Hydras and Chimæras dire.
    • Line 628.
  • The other shape,
    If shape it might be call'd that shape had none
    Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
    Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
    For each seem'd either,—black it stood as night,
    Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,
    And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
    The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
    Satan was now at hand.
    • Line 666.
  • Whence and what art thou, execrable shape?
    • Line 681.
  • Back to thy punishment,
    False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings.
    • Line 699.
  • So spake the grisly Terror.
    • Line 704.
  • Incens'd with indignation Satan stood
    Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd
    That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
    In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
    Shakes pestilence and war.
    • Line 707.
  • Their fatal hands
    No second stroke intend.
    • Line 712
  • Hell
    Grew darker at their frown.
    • Line 719.
  • I fled, and cry'd out, DEATH!
    Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
    From all her caves, and back resounded, DEATH!
    • Line 787.
  • Before mine eyes in opposition sits
    Grim Death, my son and foe.
    • Lines 803-804.
  • Death
    Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
    His famine should be fill'd.
    • Line 845.
  • On a sudden open fly,
    With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
    Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
    Harsh thunder.
    • Line 879.
  • Where eldest Night
    And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold
    Eternal anarchy amidst the noise
    Of endless wars, and by confusion stand;
    For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce,
    Strive here for mast'ry.
    • Lines 894-899.
  • Into this wilde Abyss,
    The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,
    Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
    But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt
    Confus'dly, and which thus must ever fight,
    Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain
    His dark materials to create more Worlds,
    Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend
    Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd a while,
    Pondering his Voyage.
    • Lines 910-919.
  • O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
    With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
    And swims or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.
    • Line 948.
  • With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
    Confusion worse confounded.
    • Lines 995-996.
  • So he with difficulty and labour hard
    Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he.
    • Line 1021.
  • And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
    This pendent world, in bigness as a star
    Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon.
    • Line 1051.

Book III

  • Hail, holy light! offspring of heav'n first born.
    • Line 1.
  • The rising world of waters dark and deep.
    • Line 11.
  • Thoughts that voluntary move
    Harmonious numbers.
    • Line 37.
  • Thus with the year
    Seasons return; but not to me returns
    Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
    Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
    Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
    But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
    Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
    Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
    Presented with a universal blank
    Of Nature's works to me expunged and razed,
    And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
    • Lines 40-50.
  • I made him just and right,
    Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
    • Lines 98-99.
  • Golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
    With joy and love triumphing.
    • Line 337.
  • Dark with excessive bright.
    • Line 380.
  • Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars,
    White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery.
    • Line 474.
  • Into a limbo large and broad, since call'd
    The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.
    • Lines 495-496.
  • And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
    At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
    Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
    Where no ill seems.
    • Line 686.

Book IV

  • The hell within him.
    • Line 20.
  • Now conscience wakes despair
    That slumber'd,—wakes the bitter memory
    Of what he was, what is, and what must be
    • Line 23.
  • At whose sight all the stars
    Hide their diminish'd heads.
    • Line 34. Compare: "Ye little stars! hide our diminished rays", Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, epistle iii. line 282.
  • A grateful mind
    By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
    Indebted and discharg'd.
    • Line 55.
  • Me miserable! which way shall I fly
    Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
    Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
    And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
    Still threat’ning to devour me, opens wide,
    To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
    • Lines 73-78.
  • Such joy ambition finds.
    • Line 92.
  • Ease would recant
    Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
    For never can true reconcilement grow,
    Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.
    • Lines 96-99.
  • So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
    Farewell remorse; all good to me is lost.
    Evil, be thou my good.
    • Lines 108-110.
  • That practis'd falsehood under saintly shew,
    Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge.
    • Line 122.
  • Sabean odours from the spicy shore
    Of Araby the Blest.
    • Line 162.
  • And on the Tree of Life,
    The middle tree and highest there that grew,
    Sat like a cormorant.
    • Lines 194-196.
  • A heaven on earth.
    • Line 208.
  • Flowers worthy of paradise.
    • Line 241.
  • Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.
    • Line 256. Compare: "But ne'er the rose without the thorn", Robert Herrick, The Rose.
  • Proserpine gathering flowers,
    Herself a fairer flower.
    • Line 269.
  • Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
    Godlike erect, with native honor clad
    In naked majesty seemed lords of all.
    • Lines 288-290.
  • For contemplation he and valor formed,
    For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
    He for God only, she for God in him.
    His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd
    Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
    Round from his parted forelock manly hung
    Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad.
    • Lines 297-303.
  • Implied
    Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
    And by her yielded, by him best received,
    Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
    And sweet reluctant amorous delay.
    • Lines 307-311.
  • Adam the goodliest man of men since born
    His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
    • Lines 323-324.
  • So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
    The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
    • Lines 393-394. Compare: "Necessity is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves", William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Speech on the India Bill, November, 1783.
  • As Jupiter
    On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
    That shed May flowers.
    • Line 499.
  • Imparadis'd in one another's arms.
    • Line 506.
  • Live while ye may,
    Yet happy pair.
    • Line 533.
  • Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
    Had in her sober livery all things clad;
    Silence accompany'd; for beast and bird,
    They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
    Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
    She all night long her amorous descant sung;
    Silence was pleas'd. Now glow'd the firmament
    With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
    The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
    Rising in clouded majesty, at length
    Apparent queen unveil'd her peerless light,
    And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
    • Line 598.
  • The wakeful nightingale,
    She all night long her amorous descant sung;
    Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
    With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
    The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
    Rising in clouded majesty, at length
    Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
    And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
    • Lines 602-609.
  • The timely dew of sleep.
    • Line 614.
  • With thee conversing I forget all time,
    All seasons, and their change; all please alike.
    Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
    With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun
    When first on this delightful land he spreads
    His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
    Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
    After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
    Of grateful ev'ning mild; then silent night
    With this her solemn bird and this fair moon,
    And these the gems of heaven, her starry train:
    But neither breath of morn when she ascends
    With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun
    On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,
    Glist'ring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
    Nor grateful ev'ning mild, nor silent night
    With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon
    Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
    • Lines 639-656.
  • Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
    Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.
    • Lines 677-678.
  • In naked beauty more adorn'd,
    More lovely than Pandora.
    • Line 713. Compare: "When unadorned, adorned the most", James Thomson, Autumn, line 204.
  • Eased the putting off
    These troublesome disguises which we wear.
    • Lines 739-740.
  • Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
    Of human offspring.
    • Lines 750-751.
  • Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve.
    • Line 800.
  • Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
    Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
    Touch of celestial temper.
    • Line 810.
  • Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
    The lowest of your throng.
    • Line 830.
  • Abashed the Devil stood,
    And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
    Virtue in her shape how lovely.
    • Lines 846-848.
  • Came not all hell broke loose?
    • Line 918.
  • Like Teneriff or Atlas unremoved.
    • Line 987.
  • The starry cope
    Of heaven.
    • Line 992.
  • Fled
    Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.
    • Line 1014.

Book V

  • Now morn, her rosy steps in th' eastern clime
    Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl,
    When Adam wak'd, so custom'd; for his sleep
    Was aery light, from pure digestion bred.
    • Line 1.
  • Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
    Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
    Shot forth peculiar graces.
    • Line 13.
  • My latest found,
    Heaven's last, best gift, my ever new delight!
    • Line 18.
  • Good, the more
    Communicated, more abundant grows.
    • Lines 71-72.
  • These are thy glorious works, Parent of good.
    • Line 153.
  • Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
    • Line 165.
  • Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
    If better thou belong not to the dawn.
    • Line 166.
  • A wilderness of sweets.
    • Line 294.
  • Another morn
    Ris'n on mid-noon.
    • Line 310.
  • So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
    She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent.
    • Lines 331-332.
  • Nor jealousy
    Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
    • Lines 449-450.
  • The bright consummate flower.
    • Line 481.
  • Freely we serve,
    Because we freely love, as in our will
    To love or not; in this we stand or fall.
    • Lines 538-540.
  • What if earth
    Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein
    Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?
    • Lines 574-576.
  • Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers.
    • Line 601.
  • All seemed well pleased, all seemed but were not all.
    • Line 617.
  • They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
    Quaff immortality and joy.
    • Line 637.
  • Satan; so call him now, his former name
    Is heard no more in heaven.
    • Line 658.
  • Midnight brought on the dusky hour
    Friendliest to sleep and silence.
    • Line 667.
  • Innumerable as the stars of night,
    Or stars of morning, dewdrops which the sun
    Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
    • Line 745.
  • So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found;
    Among the faithless, faithful only he.
    • Line 896-897.

Book VI

  • Morn,
    Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
    Unbarred the gates of light.
    • Lines 2-4.
  • Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought
    The better fight, who single hast maintained
    Against revolted multitudes the cause
    Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms.
    • Lines 29-32.
  • Arms on armour clashing bray'd
    Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
    Of brazen chariots rag'd: dire was the noise
    Of conflict.
    • Line 209.
  • Spirits that live throughout,
    Vital in every part, not as frail man,
    In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
    Cannot but by annihilating die.
    • Line 345.
  • Far off his coming shone.
    • Line 768.

Book VII

  • More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
    To hoarse or mute, though fall'n, and evil tongues;
    In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
    And solitude.
    • Lines 24-28
  • Still govern thou my song,
    Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
    • Line 30.
  • Out of one man a race
    Of men innumerable.
    • Lines 155-156.
  • Heaven open'd wide
    Her ever during gates, harmonious sound,
    On golden hinges moving.
    • Line 205.
  • Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
    Repairing, in their golden urns draw light.
    • Line 364.
  • There Leviathan
    Hugest of living creatures, on the deep
    Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims,
    And seems a moving land, and at his gills
    Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out a sea.
    • Lines 412-416.
  • Now half appear'd
    The tawny lion, pawing to get free
    His hinder parts.
    • Line 463.
  • Indu'd
    With sanctity of reason.
    • Line 507.
  • The planets in their stations list'ning stood,
    While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.
    Open, ye everlasting gates, they sung,
    Open ye heavens, your living doors; let in
    The great Creator from his work returned
    Magnificent, his six days' work, a world.
    • Line 563-568.
  • A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,
    And pavement stars,—as stars to thee appear
    Seen in the galaxy, that milky way
    Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
    Powder'd with stars.
    • Line 577.


  • The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
    So charming left his voice that he awhile
    Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear.
    • Lines 1-3.
  • There swift return
    Diurnal, merely to officiate light
    Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot.
    • Line 21.
  • And grace that won who saw to wish her stay.
    • Line 43.
  • And touch'd by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
    • Line 47.
  • With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
    Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb.
    • Line 83.
  • Her silent course advance
    With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps
    On her soft axle.
    • Line 163.
  • Be lowly wise:
    Think only what concerns thee and thy being.
    • Line 173.
  • To know
    That which before us lies in daily life
    Is the prime wisdom.
    • Lines 192-194.
  • Liquid lapse of murmuring streams.
    • Line 263.
  • And feel that I am happier than I know.
    • Line 282.
  • Among unequals what society
    Can sort, what harmony, or true delight?
    • Line 383.
  • Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
    In every gesture dignity and love.
    • Lines 488-89.
  • Her virtue and the conscience of her worth,
    That would be wooed, and not unsought be won.
    • Lines 502-503.
  • She what was honour knew,
    And with obsequious majesty approv'd
    My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
    I led her blushing like the morn; all heaven
    And happy constellations on that hour
    Shed their selectest influence; the earth
    Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;
    Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs
    Whisper'd it to the woods, and from their wings
    Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub.
    • Line 508.
  • The sum of earthly bliss.
    • Line 522.
  • So absolute she seems
    And in herself complete, so well to know
    Her own, that what she wills to do or say,
    Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
    • Lines 547-550.
  • Accuse not Nature: she hath done her part;
    Do thou but thine.
    • Lines 561-62.
  • Ofttimes nothing profits more
    Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
    Well managed.
    • Lines 571-573. Compare: "But most of all respect thyself", a precept of the Pythagoreans, attributed to Pythagoras.
  • Those graceful acts,
    Those thousand decencies that daily flow
    From all her words and actions.
    • Line 610.
  • With a smile that glow'd
    Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue.
    • Line 618.

Book IX

  • My unpremeditated verse.
    • Line 24.
  • Pleas'd me, long choosing and beginning late.
    • Line 26.
  • Unless an age too late, or cold
    Climate, or years, damp my intended wing.
    • Line 44.
  • The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
    • Line 86.
  • Revenge, at first though sweet,
    Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
    • Lines 171-72.
  • The work under our labour grows,
    Luxurious by restraint.
    • Line 208.
  • Smiles from reason flow,
    To brute deny'd, and are of love the food.
    • Line 239.
  • For solitude sometimes is best society,
    And short retirement urges sweet return.
    • Lines 249-250.
  • At shut of evening flowers.
    • Line 278.
  • As one who long in populous city pent,
    Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air.
    • Line 445.
  • So gloz'd the tempter.
    • Line 549.
  • Hope elevates, and joy
    Brightens his crest.
    • Line 633.
  • God so commanded, and left that command
    Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live
    Law to ourselves, our reason is our law.
    • Lines 652-654. Compare: "Stern daughter of the voice of God", William Wordsworth, Ode to Duty.
  • Her rash hand in evil hour
    Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat:
    Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,
    Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe
    That all was lost.
    • Lines 780-784.
  • So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
    I could endure, without him live no life.
    • Lines 832-833.
  • In her face excuse
    Came prologue, and apology too prompt.
    • Line 853-854.
  • O fairest of creation! last and best
    Of all God's works! creature in whom excelled
    Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,
    Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
    How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
    Defaced, deflowered, and now to Death devote?
    • Lines 896-901.
  • I feel
    The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
    Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
    Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.
    • Lines 913-916.
  • Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
    One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
    • Lines 958-959.
  • A pillar'd shade
    High overarch'd, and echoing walks between.
    • Line 1106.

Book X

  • I shall temper so
    Justice with mercy.
    • Lines 77-78.
  • So scented the grim Feature, and upturn'd
    His nostril wide into the murky air,
    Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
    • Line 279.
  • Pandemonium, city and proud seat
    Of Lucifer.
    • Lines 424-425.
  • A dismal universal hiss, the sound
    Of public scorn.
    • Lines 508-509.
  • Death...on his pale horse.
    • Line 588.
  • Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
    To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
    From darkness to promote me?
    • Lines 743-745.
  • How gladly would I meet
    Mortality my sentence, and be earth
    Insensible! how glad would lay me down
    As in my mother's lap!
    • Line 775.

Book XI

  • Must I thus leave thee, Paradise?—thus leave
    Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades?
    • Line 269.
  • Then purg'd with euphrasy and rue
    The visual nerve, for he had much to see.
    • Line 414.
  • Moping melancholy
    And moon-struck madness.
    • Line 485.
  • And over them triumphant Death his dart
    Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd.
    • Line 491.
  • So may'st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop
    Into thy mother's lap.
    • Line 535.
  • Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st
    Live well; how long or short permit to Heaven.
    • Lines 553-554. Compare: "Summum nec metuas diem, nec optes" (Translated: "Neither fear nor wish for your last day"), Martial, lib. x. epigram 47, line 13.
  • A bevy of fair women.
    • Line 582.
  • The evening star,
    Love's harbinger.
    • Lines 588-589.
  • The brazen throat of war.
    • Line 713.
  • For now I see
    Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.
    • Line 783-784.

Book XII

  • In me is no delay; with thee to go,
    Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
    Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
    Art all things under heaven, all places thou,
    Who for my willful crime art banished hence.
    • Lines 615-619.
  • Some natural tears they dropp'd, but wip'd them soon;
    The world was all before them, where to choose
    Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
    They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow
    Through Eden took their solitary way.
    • Lines 645-649.

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Paradise Lost
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