814. CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE HELLS.
HERE, CONCERNING THE HELLS OF THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED THEIR LIFE IN HATREDS, REVENGES, AND CRUELTIES.
Such spirits as cherish deadly hatred, and hence breathe out vengeance and nothing less than death to another, knowing no rest till then, are kept in the deepest cadaverous hell, where there is a noisome stench as of carcasses; and, wonderful to say, such spirits are so delighted with the stench there that they prefer it to the most pleasing odors. Such is their dreadful nature, and their consequent phantasy. A like stench actually exhales from that hell. When the hell is opened (which occurs rarely, and then only for a short time), so great a stench pours forth from it that spirits cannot remain in the neighborhood. Certain genii, or rather furies, who were sent forth thence in order that I might know their quality, infected the sphere with such poisonous and pestilent breath that the spirits about me could not stay; and at the same time it so affected my stomach that I vomited. They manifested themselves under the appearance of a little child, of not uncomely face, with a concealed dagger, whom they sent to me, bearing a cup in his hand. From this it was given me to know that they had a mind to murder, either with the dagger or with poison, under a show of innocence. Yet they themselves had naked bodies, and were very black. But presently they were sent back into their cadaverous hell, and it was then given me to observe how they sank down. They went on to the left, in the plane of the left temple, and to a great distance, without descending, and afterwards sank down; first into what appeared as a fire, then into a fiery smoke as of a furnace, and then under that furnace, toward the front, where were many most gloomy caverns tending downward. On the way they were continually revolving and intending evils, and chiefly against the innocent, without cause. When they sank down through the fire they greatly lamented. That they may be well distinguished as to whence and what they are, when they are sent out they have a kind of ring to which are affixed points as of brass, which they press with the hands and twist about. This is a sign that they are of this nature, and are bound.