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ROGER OF WENDOVER Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1

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ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
page 126



A.D. 699.] vision of drichthelm. 121 guide, who was going before me, replied to my inward thought, and said, 'Do not think so.' When he had conducted me, much frightened at so horrid a sight, to the other end, on a sudden I saw the whole region before us begin to grow dusk and filled with darkness, which, as we entered, became so dense that besides it I could see nothing but the shape and dress of him who went before me. And as we went on through the gloom, on a sudden there appeared before us frequent globes of murky flames, rising, as it were, out of a great pit, and falling back into the same. When I was conducted thus far, my guide suddenly disappeared, leaving me alone in the midst of the darkness and of this horrid vision. A s those globes of fire continued, without any intermission, now to rise on high and then to sink to the bottom of the abyss, I observed that the wreaths of flame, as they ascended, were full of human spirits, which, like embers flying up with smoke, were now thrown on high, and then dropped down into the depth below with the retiring vapours of the fire. A n intolerable stench, too, came forth with those vapours, poisoning all those regions of darkness. When I had stood there a long time in much dread, and not knowing what to do, all at once I heard behind me the sound of wretched lamentation, and the laughter of insulting demons, which became plainer as it approached me; when I observed a gang of malignant spirits with much exultation dragging the howling and lamenting souls of men into the midst of that darkness ; after which, I could not clearly distinguish the lamentation of the men from the laughter of the devils, but had a confused sound of both in my ears. Meanwhile, certain of those dark spirits, ascending from the fiery abyss, ran and surrounded me, glaring on me with their eyes of flame, and distressing me much with the stinking fire which they breathed from their mouth and nostrils, and endeavouring to seize me with the fiery tongs which they held in their hands, yet they did not dare to touch me, though they terrified me much. Being thus on all sides enclosed with enemies and darkness, and looking about on every side for succour, there appeared behind me, in the direction I had come, as it were, a bright stai- shining through the darkness, which increased by degrees, and came rapidly towards me ; when it drew near, all those evil spirits that


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