BOOK I
For rebelling against God, Satan and his angels have just been driven out of Heaven and into the burning lake of Hell. Satan comforts his followers with the hope of regaining Heaven and mentions that a new world is to be created according to phophesies from Heaven. A council is called to decide what actions to take in revenging God.

BOOK II
At the meeting, Satan and his angels debate whether to fight another battle to recover Heaven or to investigate in the prophecy of God's new Creation. They decide that Satan, being the chief, will undertake the voyage to seek out the existence of such a world.

BOOK III
In Heaven; the fate of man is discussed. God sees Satan flying towards Earth and foretells his success in tempting Man, but adds that Man will not fall from his own malice as Satan had. the Son of God, who is seated next to him, offers himself as a sacrifice. Meanwhile, Satan has reached the Sun's Orb and by pretending to be a good angel who has come to praise God's creation, he is directed by Uriel, the guardian of that orb.

BOOK IV
Having entered Paradise, Satan learns that God has forbidden Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge and resolves to ruin God's creatures using this weakness. Meanwhile, Uriel grows suspicious and warns Gabriel, the angel at the Gate of Paradise. Gabriel divides his night-watch into groups. Two of the angels find Satan whispering into the ear of sleeping Eve, but Satan escapes.

BOOK V
God sends Raphael to warn Man of the approaching danger. He arrives in Paradise and explains the need to remain obedient to God. Raphael begins the story of Satan and how the revolt in heaven started.

BOOK VI
Raphael continues with the war in Heaven in which Michael and Gabriel are sent to battle Satan. On the first day, Satan is wounded and forced to retire. Overnight, he invents cannon. For a while the good angels face disorder, but by pulling up mountains, the machines are buried underneath. On the third day, God withdraws his legions and sends his Son, who opens the walls of heaven and forces Satan's army to fall into their punishment.

BOOK VII
Raphael describes how God created the world, its creature, and Man in six days to replace the fallen angels.

BOOK VIII
Adam questions about the stars around Earth, but Raphael is unable to answer. Instead he asks Adam to recall what he remembers of his creation, his placing in Eden, meeting and marraige with Eve. The Angel tells Adam that he is to be the head of the family, to follow his own judgement and not his wife's. Before he leaves, he repeats the danger of temptation.

BOOK IX
Satan returns to Paradise in the form of a mist by night and enters into the body of a serpent. In the morning, he finds Eve alone and induces her into eating the forbidden apple. Then, Eve persuades Adam to also disobey God.

BOOK X
After receiving the confessions of Adam and Eve, God sends his Son to pass judgement. In pity, the Son clothes them outwardly and also inwardly with righteousness. Sin and Death, who are no longer confined to the Gates of Hell, are led to Earth by Satan. While Satan boasts his success to the assembly, God transforms him and all devils into snakes. God, then, prophesises final defeat over all evil.

BOOK XI
Son of God presents prayers for Adam and Eve to his father, but God declares that they may not live in Paradise. He sends Michael to explain the sentence and to give hope for the future. Michael leads Adam up a hill where he is shown the course of human race until the Flood.

BOOK XII
The vision continues from Noah to Abraham and the coming of Christ. Adam sees the suffering and sinning for his own sin, and also salvation through Christ. Adam, satisfied and comforted, is led down the hill and Michael leads him and Eve out of Paradise.

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