Paradise Lost, Book 11

901 lines. God sends Michael to drive the couple out of Eden, but before he does, he shows Adam what the future holds. This revelation of the future will continue into book 12; here Michael takes Adam up to the flood and its immediate aftermath (i.e., the rainbow).

The prayers of Adam and Eve go up to heaven (lines 1–21).

The Son speaks (lines 22–44), interceding with the Father on behalf of the human pair.

Accept me, and in me from these receive
The smell of peace toward mankind, let him live
Before thee reconciled, at least his days
Numbered, though sad, till death, his doom (which I
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse)
To better life shall yield him, where with me
All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss,
Made one with me as I with thee am one.

lines 37–44

The Father replies (lines 45–71), accepting the Son’s request. But he says the couple must leave Paradise. They must eventually die, and really death is now not such a bad thing, since their days are going to be woeful now. God created them happy and immortal, and now that they’ve lost the former, death will sorta be a relief. Here he speaks first of happiness (“that”) and then of immortality (“this other”):

that fondly lost,
This other served but to eternize woe;
Till I provided death; so death becomes
His final remedy, and after life
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined
By faith and faithful works, to second life,
Waked in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with heaven and earth renewed.

lines 59–66

The Father also wants to explain his actions to his angels.

The angels gather (lines 72–83).

The Father addresses the crowd of angels (lines 84–125), explaining what humans have done, that they must be expelled from the garden, and assigning to Michael the task of driving them out, revealing to them their future, and securing the entrance to Eden.

Michael takes his cohort down to earth, and Adam and Eve cease their prayers at dawn (lines 126–40).

Adam speaks to Eve (lines 141–61), saying that he feels assurance that their prayers were favorably heard, and he’s also been thinking about the curse on the snake, which seems to him to mean “that the bitterness of death / Is past, and we shall live” (lines 157–58).

Eve replies (lines 162–80), still blaming herself, but not harshly.

Adam recognizes some strangeness in the animals (lines 181–92).

Adam addresses Eve (lines 193–207), wondering what these oddities mean. Again Adam mentions that they have been released from the penalty of death (lines 197–98).

Michael approaches (lines 208–25).

Adam addresses Eve (lines 226–37), saying he sees an angel coming.

Michael, impressive, approaches (lines 238–50).

Michael speaks to Adam (lines 251–62), telling him that because of his repentance he won’t die, but that he can’t live in Paradise any longer.

Eve laments their exile (lines 268–85).

Michael consoles Eve (lines 286–92).

Adam addresses Michael (lines 296–333), saying he’d pray if he thought it would change God’s mind about the exile, but he will submit, though he’ll miss this place where he so often saw God.

Michael consoles Adam (lines 334–69), saying that God exists everywhere, and that he’s been sent to reveal the future. He puts Eve to sleep.

Adam speaks (lines 370–76), saying he will follow Michael.

They ascend a high mountain where Adam is shown all the kingdoms of the world (lines 377–422).

Michael speaks (lines 423–28) telling Adam that his sin will lead to violence among his descendants.

Adam sees Cain kill Abel (lines 429–49).

Adam laments (lines 450–52). Michael explains and comforts (lines 453–60). Adam replies: so this is what death is? (lines 461–65). Michael replies that death will take many forms (lines 466–77).

Then a hospital appears with all kinds of sick people (lines 477–99).

Adam speaks (lines 500–14), wondering whether the image of God can be so debased.

Michael replies (lines 515–25), saying that their sin is what debased the image of God.

Adam asks whether death always has to be so terrible (lines 526–29).

Michael replies (lines 530–46), saying that you can grow old, but that’s not altogether pleasant.

Adam replies (lines 547–52), saying he’ll wait for death. Michael says not to worry about how long he’ll live (lines 553–55).

More future scenes appear (lines 556–97). Instrumental music and metal workers (cf. Gen 4:19–22), Cain’s descendants, as Michael will explain in a moment (lines 608–9). Then some we have the story of the sons of God getting together with the daughters of men.

Adam thinks this scene is happy (lines 598–602).

Michael says it looks so, but will bring much woe (lines 603–27). He interprets Gen 6:1–4 as daughters of Cain and godly humans. See also 3.461–64.

Adam blames women (lines 628–33), and Michael blames effeminate men (lines 634–37).

Another scene (lines 638–73), all of warfare, though Enoch also appears, and then does not appear, for God took him.

Adam laments, and asks the identity of the one just man taken to heaven (lines 674–82).

Michael answers (lines 683–711), saying that the warlike giants are from the mixed marriages. He also says that the righteous man will be in the seventh generation from Adam.

Another scene (lines 712–53), the flood.

Adam grieves (lines 754–62), and laments (lines 763–86), noting that peace corrupts and war destroys.

Michael replies (lines 763–839), explaining the reasons for the flood, and the honor of Noah, and that the flood itself will destroy Paradise, or maybe just relocate it into the ocean.

Another scene (lines 840–69), the ark coming to a rest, and Noah exiting, and the rainbow.

Adam rejoiced (lines 870–83), glad that a righteous man would repopulate the earth. He asks about the rainbow. It’s interesting that the rainbow is twice described as having three colors (lines 866, 897), whereas I was always taught rainbows have seven colors.

Michael answers (lines 884–901), explaining. The book ends with Michael’s brief reference to the new heaven and new earth (cf. 2 Pet 3:13).

… till fire purge all things new,
Both heaven and earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

lines 900–1

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