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Significantly, England is never mentioned in the epic; indeed, even in Michael's brief resume of church history from the time of the Apostles to the Last Judgment (XII, 502-43) there is no reference to English affairs.On the contrary, with no mention of the Reformation at all--whether in England or on the Continent--Michael's narrative traces the progressive decline of the church from its apostolic purity, a descent arrested only by the Day of Judgment: At first sight the collapse of the Puritan theocracy and final abnegation of the national covenant at the Restoration might seem to have left Milton as a poet-prophet without either a cause or a poetic theme--but such, of course, was not the case.In the first place, having chosen "these British Ilands as my world", he would compose a work of national significance (perhaps on a theme drawn from English history) and would write it in the vernacular. [and] to celebrate in glorious and lofty Hymns the throne and equipage of Gods Almightinesse" (ibid., pp.
After the Lord Protector's death in September 1658, the political situation  became acute, then desperate and, finally, hopeless.
He simply turned his attention in Paradise Lost from national to individual vocation and regeneration; as Tillyard succinctly expresses it, "The 'paradise within' is the substitute for the paradise on earth, now proved to be impossible of achievement".