"Through Eden Took Their Solitary Way"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 195

Context: These are the final lines of Paradise Lost, leaving Adam and Eve to find their way in the world after Michael expels them from Paradise. Looking backward, Adam and Eve see the sword of God blazing over the eastern gate of Paradise, with the "dreadful faces" of heavenly guards seen below the sword. The two lonely human beings shed some tears for the loss of their first earthly home; but, comforted by the vision and Michael's narrative of Biblical history, they turn, having wiped their eyes, to face the unknown world before them. Milton's lines, in their very cadence and diction, suggest the slow steps and serious mien of Adam and Eve as they leave Eden. Yet there is peace, too, for their way is quiet, and they go hand in hand, signifying that they have for a time, come to accept one another, as well as the world, the way they are. They face the great adventure of man and his history:

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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 solitary way.

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