"Majestic Though In Ruin"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 153

Context: At the grand council of the rebel angels in Hell, following their expulsion from Heaven, Satan calls for discussion of the future course of action. Moloch pleads for guerrilla warfare; Belial suggests mere endurance of Hell; Mammon calls for peace. Then Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies, as his name means in Hebrew, rises to address the assembled leaders of the rebels and their followers. He is next to Satan himself in importance and has been earlier in Heaven an angel of great rank; he still retains much of his majesty, even in Hell, and so Milton describes him as he rises to address the hellish crew:

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. . . in his rising seemed
A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
Drew audience and attention . . .

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