653 lines. Here Adam tells his experience of his life thus far.
Adam speaks (lines 5–38), asking about the heavenly bodies, the sun and stars and planets, about their motions.
Eve gets up to tend the garden, planning to ask Adam about the conversation later (lines 39–65).
Raphael replies (lines 66–178), describing possible motions of the heavenly bodies, just to show Adam how little he knows for sure, whether the earth is mobile or stationary, for instance. He encourages Adam to leave such questions unasked and to concentrate on matters that he has some control over.
Adam speaks (lines 179–216), complimenting Raphael’s answer and proposing that Adam tell Raphael about what he remembers.
Raphael speaks (lines 217–48), saying he’d enjoy listening to Adam relate what he remembers, for he happened to be on a mission to hell that day.
Adam speaks (lines 249–559), narrating what he remembers.
Adam awoke and wondered who he was, where he was, what made him (lines 253–85). He fell asleep and had a dream of a divine being leading him into a garden, and woke up to realize it had actually taken place (lines 286–316).
God speaks (lines 316–48). For the single prohibition testing Adam’s faithfulness:
Of every tree that in the garden growslines 321–33
Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:
But of the tree whose operation brings
Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set
The pledge of they obedience and thy faith,
Amid the garden by the tree of life,
Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,
And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
The day thou eat’st thereof, my sole command
Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die;
From that day mortal, and this happy state
Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world
Of woe and sorrow.
God also tells Adam that he and his offspring shall rule over the earth and all its creatures, and all the animals (except the fish!) will come to him to receive names “and pay thee fealty” (lines 338–48).
Adam names the creatures (lines 349–56).
Adam speaks (lines 357–66), asking God what to call him, and noting that he finds no creature like to himself.
God answers (lines 369–75), explaining that Adam’s got plenty of friends among the animals.
Adam speaks (lines 379–97), saying that the animals are not going to work for company.
God replies (lines 399–411), saying that God is also alone but happy.
Adam speaks (lines 412–33), sayin that God is already perfect, but not so man.
God replies (lines 437–51), admitting that this whole conversation has been a mere trial of Adam, because God has known all along that he intended to creature a creature corresponding to Adam, which he is sure Adam will like.
Adam sleeps while God fashions his rib into a woman (lines 452–90).
Adam speaks (lines 491–99), naming her woman.
Adam describes how wonderful he felt seeing her, how the earth rejoiced at their pairing, how she delights him more than anything else (lines 500–59). He also describes her in these terms:
For well I understand in the prime endlines 540–53
Of nature her the inferior, in the mind
And inward faculties, which most excel,
In outward also her resembling less
His image who made both, and less expressing
The character of that dominion given
O’er other creatures; yet when I approach
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems
And in her self complete, so well to know
Her own, that what she will to do or say,
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best;
All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded, wisdom in discourse with her
Loses discountenanced, and like folly shows.
Raphael speaks (561–94), warning Adam from this line of thought. That is, Adam dispenses with reason when he sees Eve, and Raphael warns him that this is not a good idea.
For what admir’st thou, what transports thee so,lines 567–70
An outside? fair no doubt, and worthy well
They cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love,
Not thy subjection.
Raphael says that Adam especially needs to control his desire for sex with Eve (lines 579–85).
In loving thou dost well, in passion not,lines 588–89
Wherein true love consists not.
Adam responds (lines 595–617), saying he loves Eve’s mind more than her body. He also asks whether angels “love.”
Raphael blushes and responds (lines 618–43) and assures Adam that angels get along fine. He leaves Adam with this warning.
take heed lest passion swaylines 635–37
Thy judgment to do aught, which else free will
Would not admit.
Adam says good-bye (lines 644–51).