Milton shapes his depiction of Eden in Paradise Lost as a response to Edmund Waller’s On St. James’s Park, a celebrated poem of the Restoration. Waller’s description of the royal park, newly improved by Charles II—a a new Eden, a sacred, oracular grove next to the temple-like Westminster Abbey and the capitol-like Whitehall—is revisited in Milton’s epic. God expels Adam and Eve from Eden and subsequently washes away the garden during the Flood to prevent it from turning into a temple-and-grove along the lines of Pandaemonium or a capital seat like Charles’s London, in either case a habitation of devils. Milton’s point-by-point response to the antimodel of Waller’s poem reveals specific topicality and political engagement in the motifs of Paradise Lost: in this sense, Milton is a poet of the restoration he opposes.

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