5> The dim hopes here that the English will retain their republic is apparent in Milton’s address to England’s liberators. These no longer include those whom Milton previously had credited with having performed “it themselves,” the numerous and influential Presbyterians and their affiliates, whose political turbulence, in England and Scotland, had been essential to the political reforms that had occurred in 1640-42 and did not occur in 1642-60. Where the First Defense shifts its praise from the English people to the English republicans, the praise in the Second Defense seemingly dwindles from republicans to republican or at least quasi/anti-republican: “Cromwell, we are deserted! You alone remain. On you has fallen the whole burden of our affairs. On you alone they depend” (Second Defense, 4.1:674-78, 671). For Milton, Cromwell’s dismissal of the Rump and his movements toward creating a Protectorate seem to have been more than compensated by his status as God’s Englishman. The invincible general represented the best hope that the English would have the opportunity to develop a republic under divine sponsorship (Second Defense, 4.1:536, 550, 557-58). And his death in September 1658, perhaps, prompts Milton, his life’s political wisdom having taken a definitive shape, to write his epic before it was too late. But no single person ---“not even Cromwell himself, nor a whole tribe of liberating Brutuses” (4.1: 682)---can successfully establish a republic. A republic must be created by a sufficient number of virtuous citizens. Consequently, Milton lectures on the political consequences of self-enslavement, especially to the vice of “luxury”: “Unless you expel avarice, ambition, and luxury from your minds, yes, and extravagance from your families as well, you will find at home and within that tyrant who, you believed, was to be sought abroad in the field---now even more stubborn” (Second Defense, 4.1: 680; 684).
8> Though he had published his Treatise on Civil Power in February 1659, and his Likeliest Means in August 1659, it was not until February 1660 with his Ready and Easie Way that Milton resumed the battle against a monarchical restoration that was then imminent. This work appears to many readers to have been composed by someone who was blind to political reality. Nevertheless, the tract, for other readers, seems to be written by one who was fully aware that if a republic had not been established in 1649, or 1653, or 1655, or 1658, it certainly was not going suddenly to materialize in 1660. Milton earlier had failed to contribute to, or to create, a public discussion on establishing a permanent basis for an enduring commonwealth because, I suggest, he had long recognized that such an establishment was highly improbable. And the Ready and Easie Way, rather than a hopeful blueprint for a flourishing commonwealth, is a “self conscious performance” (Knoppers, “Milton’s The Readie and Easie Way 224). The tract not only acts as a literary monument to the already cold corpse of the English republic but, more importantly, is an early and deft configuration of the imminent new monarchy. And this rhetoric recurs in his Brief Notes (March 1660):
16> In Book Two, Satan, loser to the forces of God, plots to regain through subversion what he had lost through military weakness. Not surprisingly, he summons a Parliament, and “high on a throne of royal state” (2.1) functions not as Charles I during the years of personal rule, but as King-in-Parliament, an enormously popular concept in the England of the late 1650s. Hell in 1658 is “a monarchy in the making, with royalist politics, perverted language, perverse rhetoric, political manipulation, and demagoguery” (Lewalski 51). “Princes, potentates, / Warriors, the flower of heaven” (1.315-16) convene “the infernal court” which strongly resembles “a House of Lords controlled by a monarch” (Lewalski 152). In images that recall “the unholy glitter of Stuart finery,” every devil seems to be an exiled king, or sultan, or emperor, one of Satan’s “throned powers” (1.128; 360) (Davies 12). With these defeated, exiled princes “peace / And rest can never dwell” until they regain their “happy state” (1.65-66, 141). Yet, ringing with fine political rhetoric, the demonic council also clearly is characterized by the vices that Milton and others frequently attributed to the Long Parliament, the Commonwealth, and the Protectorate. Indeed, Satan and his peers encompass all those, Royalist and Parliamentarian, who, having destroyed the opportunity to establish a republic, were set to restore King-in-Parliament (Hill, Milton and the English Revolution 366-75).
31> These purposes are sounded in the poem’s opening lines. “Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?” (1.33): “first” implies subsequent endemic seductions of urgent contemporary importance; “them” indicates the community of these seductions; “that foul revolt” tends to distinguish the imminent and foul overthrow of the remnant commonwealth from the divinely inspired revolt against the Caroline monarchy; and seduction, repeatedly asserted throughout the poem, has obvious political-sexual implications that Milton exploits and complicates. As Adam tells Eve when discussing his wish to preserve this “happy state,” Satan’s “sly assault” will “withdraw / Our fealty to God” by targeting their “conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss /Enjoyed by us excites his envy more” (9.256, 262-64). Sexuality is not simply an accessory to power (especially political); it is power. Milton again makes explicit these political implications in the hymn to “wedded love, mysterious law, true source / Of human offspring sole propriety, / In Paradise of all things common else” (4.750-52). This is the climax, especially as prophecy, of Book Four (Martz 14). And it tends to sneer at Englishmen whose ideas on sexual relations and property, especially sexual relations as a kind property-power transaction, made them vulnerable to royalist seductions. Milton uses the ready images of Caroline debauchery to represent the looming and unexperienced-undefined onslaught of Restoration court sexuality---ruthlessly, cynically, carnally, and often brutally public---on Milton’s Puritan, gentle middle-class concept of love, sex, spirituality, and the private bedroom. Restoration Court sexuality will tend to erase private sexuality by providing a model of powerful, glamorous encounters in the public bedroom (and streets). Milton works in reverse, enlarging the private bedroom to facilitate a more intimate, gentler public sphere. This tender happy state, in which men and women make love and work together naked, is “secure from outward force” (9.348) but vulnerable to a lapse in the spiritual quality of its inhabitants, especially those who would desert the private and holy marriage bed for the public transactions of satanic erotics.
36> Defying the God of their little Eden, Eve and then Adam quickly engage with this construct of power that is attained through assertion of one’s divinity rather than through submission to God (9.936-37, 961-62, 967, 975).Yet their divine pretensions last no longer than the lofty, golden age images in 1640 and 1660, which vanished first before Parliamentarian zeal and then before Restoration court bawdy. The climactic, compulsive transformation of the devils into snakes tends to indicate that, whatever their pretenses to epic glory, their satanic success is based on a chaotic sexual dynamic. And the idolatrous worshippers of the King’s image, whatever their lofty declarations, soon revealed that they were motivated by a very different love as they surged toward Restoration. Adam and Eve’s first fallen act is an earthy release of the libido:
37> Eve and Adam’s pursuit of neo-platonic divinity and heavenly luxury, and their rejection of healthy work in an earthly Eden, has ended in a rough bout of too-earthly sex. They awaken from their subsequent sleep angry, darkened, shamed, cheated, fleeced. And so did, though perhaps not so quickly, Restoration England. In Readie and Easie Way Milton had urged his countrymen to retain the simpler, solider prosperity of a republic. They instead had pursued the fabulous imperial way, which in the long run produces dividends indeed for Britons. But in 1667, when Milton publishes his poem, the euphoria of 1660 had yielded to national indignation at the sexual, political, and cultural chaos caused by a libertine court and the disasters caused by the mercantile-based war with the Dutch. Milton, in 1667, probably rejoiced, as a prophet probably should who lives to see his prophecy consummated.
 I would like to thank editors Michael Nagy and Bruce Brandt for their help with a an earlier version of this essay that appeared in Proceedings of the 14th Annual Northern Plains Conference on Earlier British Literature (2007).