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tales represent the belief of their age, if not of their author. His Eukrates looks down the chasm into Hades, and sees the dead reclining on the asphodel in companies of kinsfolk and friends; among them he recognizes Sokrates with his bald head and pot-belly, and also his own father, dressed in the clothes he was buried in. Then Kleodemos caps this story with his own, how when he was sick, on the seventh day when his fever was burning like a furnace, every one left him, and the doors were shut. Then there stood before him an all-beauteous youth in a white garment, who led him through a chasm into Hades, as he knew by seeing Tantalos and Tityos and Sisyphos; and bringing him to the court of judgement, where were Aiakos and the Fates and the Erinyes, the youth set him before Pluto the King, who sat reading the names of those whose day of life was over. But Pluto was angry, and said to the guide, 'This one's thread is not run out, that he should depart, but bring me Demylos the coppersmith, for he is living beyond the spindle.' So Kleodemos came back to himself free from his fever and announced that Demylos, who was a sick neighbour, would die; and accordingly a little while after there was heard the cry of the mourners wailing for him.1 Plutarch's stories, told more seriously, are yet one in type with the mocking Lucian's. The wicked, pleasure-seeking Thespesios lies three days as dead, and revives to tell his vision of the world below. One Antyllos was sick, and seemed to the doctors to retain no trace of life; till, waking without sign of insanity, he declared that he had been indeed dead, but was ordered back to life, those who brought him being severely chidden by their lord, and sent to fetch Nikander instead, a well-known currier, who was accordingly taken with a fever, and died on the third day. Such stories, old and new, are current among the Hindus at this day. A certain man's soul, for instance, is carried to the

1 Lucian. Philopseudes, c. 17-28.

2 Plutarch. De Sera Numinis Vindicta, xxii. ; and in Euseb. Præp. Evang. xi. 36.

realm of Yama by mistake for a namesake, and is sent back in haste to regain his body before it is burnt; but in the meanwhile he has a glimpse of the hideous punishments of the wicked, and of the glorious life of those who had mortified the flesh on earth, and of suttee-widows now sitting in happiness by their husbands.1 Mutatis mutandis these tales reappear in Christian mythology, as when Gregory the Great records that a certain nobleman named Stephen died, who was taken to the region of Hades, and saw many things he had heard before but not believed; but when he was set before the ruler there presiding, he sent him back, saying that it was this Stephen's neighbourStephen the smith-whom he had commanded to be brought; and accordingly the one returned to life, and the other died.2

The thought of human visitors revealing the mysteries of the world beyond the grave, which indeed took no slight hold on Christian belief, attached itself in a remarkable way to the doctrine of Christ's descent into Hades. This dogma had so strongly established itself by the end of the 4th century, that Augustine could ask, 'Quis nisi infidelis negaverit fuisse apud inferos Christum ?'3 A distinct statement of the dogma was afterwards introduced into the symbol commonly called the 'Apostles' Creed: ' 'Descendit ad inferos,' 'Descendit ad inferna,' 'He descended into hell.' The Descent into Hades, which had the theological use of providing a theory of salvation applicable to the saints of the old covenant, imprisoned in the limbo of the fathers, is narrated in full in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, and is made there to rest upon a legend which belongs to the present group of human visits to the other world. It is related that two sons of Simeon,

1 Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 63.

2 Gregor. Dial. iv. 36. See Calmet, vol. ii. ch. 49.

3 Augustin. Epist. clxiv. 2.

4 See Pearson, 'Exposition of the Creed ;' Bingham, 'Ant. Ch. Ch.' book x. ch. iii. Art. iii. of the Church of England was reduced to its present state by Archbp. Parker's revision.

named Charinus and Leucius, rose from their tombs at the Resurrection, and went about silently and prayerfully among men, till Annas and Caiaphas brought them into the synagogue, and charged them to tell of their raising from the dead. Then, making the sign of the cross upon their tongues, the two asked for parchment and wrote their record. They had been set with all their fathers in the depths of Hades, when on a sudden there appeared the colour of the sun like gold, and a purple royal light shining on them; then the patriarchs and prophets, from Adam to Simeon and John the Baptist, rejoicing proclaimed the coming of the light and the fulfilment of the prophecies; Satan and Hades wrangled in strife together; in vain the brazen gates were shut with their iron bars, for the summons came to open the gates that the king of glory may come in, who hath broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder; then the mighty Lord broke the fetters and visited them who sat in darkness and the shadow of death; Adam and his righteous children were delivered from Hades, and led into the glorious grace of Paradise.1

Dante, elaborating in the 'Divina Commedia' the conceptions of paradise, purgatory, and hell familiar to the actual belief of his age, describes them once more in the guise of a living visitor to the land of the dead. Echoes in medieval legend of such exploring expeditions to the world below still linger faintly in the popular belief of Europe. It has been thus with St. Patrick's Purgatory,2 the cavern in the island of Lough Derg, in the county Donegal, which even in the seventeenth century O'Sullevan could describe first and foremost in his 'Catholic History' as 'the greatest of all memorable things of Ireland.' Mediæval visits to the other world were often made in the

1 Codex Apocr. N. T. Evang. Nicod. ed. Giles. 'Apocryphal Gospels,' &c. tr. by A. Walker; 'Gospel of Nicodemus.' The Greek and Latin texts differ much.

2 The following details mostly from T. Wright, 'St. Patrick's Purgatory' (an elaborate critical dissertation on the medieval legends of visits to the other world).

spirit. But like Ulysses, Wainamoinen, and Dante, men could here make the journey in body, as did Sir Owain and the monk Gilbert. When the pilgrim had spent fifteen days in prayer and fasting in the church, and had been led with litanies and sprinkling of holy water to the entrance of the purgatory, and the last warnings of the monks had failed to turn him from his venture, the door was closed upon him, and if found next morning, he could tell the events of his awful journey-how he crossed the narrow bridge that spans the river of death, how he saw the hideous torments of hell, and approached the joys of paradise. Sir Owain, one of King Stephen's knights, went thither in penance for his life of violence and rapine, and this was one of the scenes he beheld in purgatory:

"There come develes other mony mo,

And badde the knygth with hem to go,
And ladde him into a fowle contreye,
Where ever was nygth and never day,
For hit was derke and wonther colde :
Yette was there never man so bolde,
Hadde he never so mony clothes on,
But he wolde be colde as ony stone.
Wynde herde he none blowe,

But faste hit frese bothe hye and lowe.
They browgte him to a felde full brode,
Overe suche another never he yode,
For of the lengthe none ende he knewe;
Thereover algate he moste nowe.
As he wente he herde a crye,
He wondered what hit was, and why,
He syg ther men and wymmen also
That lowde cryed, for hem was woo.
They leyen thykke on every londe,
Faste nayled bothe fote and honde
With nayles glowyng alle of brasse :
They ete the erthe so wo hem was;
Here face was nayled to the grownde.
"Spare," they cryde, "a lytylle stounde."
The develes wolde hem not spare:

To hem peyne they thowgte yare.'

When Owain had seen the other fields of punishment, with their fiery serpents and toads, and the fires where sinners were hung up by their offending members, and roasted on spits, and basted with molten metal, and turned about on a great wheel of fire, and when he had passed the Devil's Mouth over the awful bridge, he reached the fair white glassy wall of the Earthly Paradise, reaching upward and upward, and saw before him the beautiful gate, whence issued a ravishing perfume. Then he soon forgot his pains and


'As he stode, and was so fayne,

Hym thowgth ther come hym agayne
A swyde fayr processyoun

Of alle manere menne of relygyoun,
Fayre vestementes they hadde on,
So ryche syg he never none.
Myche joye hym thowgte to se
Bysshopes yn here dygnité ;
Ilkone wente other be and be,
Every man yn his degré.

He syg ther monkes and chanones,
And freres with newe shavene crownes;

Ermytes he saw there amonge,

And nonnes with fulle mery songe;

Persones, prestes, and vycaryes;

They made fulle mery melodyes.

He syg ther kynges and emperoures,

And dukes that had casteles and toures,

Erles and barones fele,

That some tyme hadde the worldes wele.

Other folke he syg also,

Never so mony as he dede thoo.

Wymmen he syg ther that tyde:

Myche was the joye ther on every syde:
For alle was joye that with hem ferde,
And myche solempnyté he herde.'

The procession welcomed Owain, and led him about, showing him the beauties of that country:

'Hyt was grene, and fulle of flowres

Of mony dyvers colowres ;

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