Friday, February 17, 2006

Das Wetter ist hell!

James Brush of Coyote Mercury has alerted me to possible "hits from Hell" in response to my previous, Mephistophelian post.

Well, there are already Cash's "Ring of Fire," The Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," Prodigy's "Fire" ... oh, not those sorts of hits. I just thought ... the devil having all the best music, and all...

So, what is going on down in Hell? I haven't located any contemporary images, but on a typical day back in the 12th century, as shown by the above Medieval illustration of "Hell" borrowed by Wikipedia from the Hortus Deliciarum manuscript of Herrad von Landsberg, the weather was none too pleasant. It appears to have been raining fire, a point confirmed by Milton some 500 years later:

... a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd

Such was Milton's weather report in Paradise Lost 1.68-69, but that report was already some five or six thousand years old in Milton's time.

Is fiery precipitation the norm for Hell? Not at all. Hell also has the freezing kind:

... a frozen Continent
Lies dark and wilde, beat with perpetual storms
Of Whirlwind and dire Hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice (PL 2.587-591)

Not the best conditions for any outdoor concerts playing those greatest hits from hell, but the hellish weather at least has some variety.

Aber nie hell.


At 7:33 AM, Blogger Macuquinas d' Oro said...


To answer your query about the weather in Hell, I think I can assure you that it’s a balmy 74 F today, at least in my Circle of the Infernal Regions. Excellent whether for biking and running.
Admittedly, this meteorology is an inference, not an observation, but my grounds are an unassailable theodicy. The only possible explanation of the evil and insanity that invests us is that we are already removed to the nether regions, where our sufferings are appropriate and condign punishment, and no impeachment of the deity’s benevolence or omnipotence.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Oudeis Oudamou,

Interesting conjecture. Or infernal inference.

Either way, it explains a lot.

What seems to be unjust suffering is actually justified punishment for something that we have already done ... but have, um, forgotten?

By the way, note the unorthodox yet orthographic "Jeffery."

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wide variety of weather in Hell reminds me of February in Texas. Yesterday it was sunny and in the mid-80s. Today it's near freezing. Perhaps that's why Gen Sheridan stated that if he owned Hell and Texas, he'd rent out Texas and live in Hell. But then maybe he didn't realize the variety of percipitation one finds down there. Still, as David Byrne once sang (in a not-hit referencing Hell), "They've got better BBQ and beer than we have up here."

Oh, and let's not forget "Friend of the Devil."

Thanks for the link.


At 3:59 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Which Byrne song was that? It's not a line from "Heaven is a Place," I'm pretty sure.

Hell and the devil make their appearance repeatedly in popular culture, especially in songs. For example, that Band classic "The Weight":

I picked up my bag, I went lookin' for a place to hide;

When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin' side by side.

I said, "Hey, Carmen, come on, let's go downtown."

She said, "I gotta go, but m'friend can stick around."

And don't forget "The Devil Came Down to Georgia," by the Charlie Daniels Band.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The song is called "You and Eye." It's from his 1994 self-titled solo album. It's an amusing song that plays with some of the lines and ideas from the earlier TH classic "Heaven"


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