"The World Was All Before Them, Where To Choose"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 258

Context: Michael comes down from heaven to the garden to prepare Adam for his expulsion from paradise. He shows him the future; that is, most of the events of the Bible. He also gives him a lecture on how he is to behave and what qualities of mind he must have if he is to live a happy life. He tells him that for the paradise he is losing he will gain an internal paradise that will make him happier than the terrestrial paradise would have made him. Adam is to instruct Eve in what he has learned. Eve is awakened; she says that she has had comforting dreams. She says that Adam may lead on and she will gladly follow, as to be with him, no matter where he may be, is to be in paradise; but to be alone, is to be banished from it. Through her rashness in eating the forbidden fruit, she has lost everything, but from her will come the Promised Seed who will restore everything. Adam and Eve walk out through the eastern gate of the garden and down the cliff to the plain below:

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They looking back, all th'eastern side beheld
Of paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped 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.

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