Stevie Smith (1902-1971), "Thoughts about the Christian Doctrine of Eternal Hell," Collected Poems
(New York: New Directions, 1983), pp. 387-388:
Is it not interesting to see
How the Christians continually
Try to separate themselves in vain
From the doctrine of eternal pain.
They cannot do it,
They are committed to it,
Their Lord said it,
They must believe it.
So the vulnerable body is stretched without pity
On flames for ever. Is this not pretty?
The religion of Christianity
Is mixed of sweetness and cruelty
Reject this Sweetness, for she wears
A smoky dress out of hell fires.
Who makes a God? Who shows him thus?
It is the Christian religion does,
Oh, oh, have none of it,
Blow it away, have done with it.
This god the Christians show
Out with him, out with him, let him go.
James Joyce (1882-1941), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
, Chapter III:
And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality and
boundlessness of this fire is as nothing when compared to its intensity, an
intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen by divine design for
the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a fire which proceeds directly
from the ire of God, working not of its own activity but as an instrument
of divine vengeance. As the waters of baptism cleanse the soul with the
body so do the fires of punishment torture the spirit with the flesh. Every
sense of the flesh is tortured and every faculty of the soul therewith: the
eyes with impenetrable utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the
ears with yells and howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter,
leprous corruption, nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads
and spikes, with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments
of the senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence
amid the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the
offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and
ever increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the Godhead.
Rev. J. Furniss, C.SS.R., The Sight of Hell
(Dublin: James Duffy and Co., Ltd., 1874 = Books for Children and Young Persons
, X), Chapter XVIII:
Little child, if you go to Hell, there will be a devil at your side to strike you. He will go on striking you every minute for ever and ever, without ever stopping.
Id. (Chapter XX):
Now look at that body, lying on the bed of fire. All the body is salted with fire. The fire burns through every bone and every muscle. Every nerve is trembling and quivering with the sharp fire. The fire rages inside the skull, it shoots out through the eyes, it drops out through the ears, it roars in the throat as it roars up a chimney. So will mortal sin be punished.
Id. (Chapter XXI):
St. Teresa says that she found the entrance into Hell filled with these venomous insects. If you cannot bear the sight of ugly vermin and creeping things on the earth, will you be content with the sight of the venomous things in Hell, which are a million times worse? The bite or the pricking of one insect on the earth sometimes keeps you awake, and torments you for hours. How will you feel in Hell, when millions of them make their dwelling-place in your mouth, and ears, and eyes, and creep all over you, and sting you with their deadly stings through all eternity? You will not then be able to help yourself or send them away because you cannot stir hand or foot.
For even worse, see Furniss, Chapter XXVII. The Sight of Hell
was recently reprinted by "Catholic Way Publishing. Publishers of Quality Catholic Paperbacks."