Paradise Lost "Less Than Archangel Ruined"
by John Milton

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"Less Than Archangel Ruined"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Shortly after their plunge into Hell, having been ousted from Heaven, the rebel angels stand in ranks before Satan, ready to hear their chief. Milton says they still appear great as gods, a mightier assembly than the Greeks and Trojans who fought at Troy, mightier than Charlemagne's great knights, mightier than the heroes of Arthurian romance. Before the fallen angels stands Satan, still much like the archangel he was in Heaven, though his face is worn with care and scarred with thunderbolts. He still stands straight and proud. As Milton writes:

. . . he above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a tower; his form had not yet lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured . . .