April 27

1677 — Milton sells the copyright to his epic poem, Paradise Lost, for a mere £10

The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way
–Book XII, Paradise Lost

As you leave the city, you can’t help but think of those final lines from Milton’s epic, as a fallen Adam and Eve are forced to leave paradise.

“The world was all before them” — a phrase that looks toward a vast uncertain future. Expulsion from Eden is God’s punishment for Adam and Eve’s sin. But there’s a hint of hope in the phrase, an infinite possibility. And they have each other, at least.

Your city was no paradise. Not by a long shot. High crime rate, rising reports of violence, many families living in poverty. Still, it was your city. The one you grew up in. The only home you’ve ever known.

To leave is a terrible hardship.

You have walked for miles on roads that felt like hot coals beneath your feet. Now, you search for the sign announcing the city line, welcoming new visitors. The sign has fallen over, blasted by lightning, a dark burn mark crossing out the population estimate.

The sign is accurate. Destroyed, just like your city.

Unlike Adam or Eve, you have no companion. You keep walking, crossing into whatever world might remain.