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Table of Contents
LINES 131-287. EDEN AND PARADISE
Paradise is a garden in a corner of Eden, surrounded by fruit trees. As Satan approaches, he smells the delicious scent of the trees. One epic simile compares the perfume to the spicy odors which sailors smell off the coast of Arabia; a second contrasts it with the smell of burning fish which drove away the devil Asmodeus in a Hebrew fable.
Satan isn't deterred by the tangle of bushes and undergrowth that guards Paradise. He simply leaps over into the garden, his entrance celebrated in two more epic similes: Satan is like a wolf preying on sheep and like a burglar breaking in through a window. Once inside the garden, he perches on the Tree of Life in the shape of a cormorant.
He has chosen a good spot to survey Paradise, which lies open before him. It is watered by a river which runs south through Eden and comes up in Paradise as a fountain, then pours out again into four rivers. Next to Satan's perch is the Tree of Knowledge. In front of him are all the delights of Paradise: flowers, fruit, grazing animals, waterfalls, singing birds. Everything is so perfect that roses don't even have thorns. No garden famous in classical myth can compare with this "Assyrian garden" (Eden and Paradise were located in Mesopotamia). Satan glowers on this perfection, for he "Saw undelighted all delight."