9> s. ix. JAN. 11, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.
ceptions not all illogical his mind will evolve when applied to the lifelong problems of good and evil, this world and the next, the natural and the supernatural. A Spectator essayist remarked not long since that the human imagination recoils before the effort to depict a four-legged angel. Our fixed type is no doubt the traditional angel of art, the fair, winged, female figure with flowing robe and hair and benignant smile. "Great Pan is dead," leaving his horns, hoof, and tail for the adornment of Satan, the result being the bogey whose objective existence is still unquestioned by numbers of pious souls, although Luther treated him with supreme disdain, and brave Tom Ingoldsby and others did their best to reduce the mon- strosity to the level of a November Guy Fawkes. This is but a minor instance of the effects of heathenism upon Christianity, strange Aberglauben tenaciously held though happily without serious detriment to genuine religious knowledge and faith often vividly present to the minds of vigorous denouncers of "paganism" and "idolatry." Carlyle says that Dante had no more doubt of the existence of the citta dolente and the Male- lolge pool than we have that we should see Constantinople if we went there, but it is
Erobable that the Sage of Chelsea goes eyond the Florentine bard. The Hebrew and Christian rebel archangel and his compeers, whose fall has not deprived them of dignity, are paralleled by the shadowy Typhon of the Egyptians, and to a certain extent by the Titans of Greek mythology, though these are mostly tremen- dous ogres, with forms and passions of men and brutes combined. Milton makes Satan naturally grand, nay beautiful, even if for his vile ends he assumes for a short time the shape of the despised toad or serpent. Ahriman is a powerful force wrestling with Ormuzd on something like equal terms, though the issue of the conflict is predestined. A clergy- man once told me in the Sunday schpol that the devil should be respected, no doubt on account of his superior powers and intelli- gence. The quaint ideas of children with regard to the evil principle were the subject of an article and correspondence in the Spec- tator a few years ago. To them he is a vague black spectre, perhaps hiding round the corner or in the cupboard playing spy ; but if they feel that a temptation to petty theft or falsehood has been resisted, they are some- times known to crow over Satan's discom- fiture. I remember mentally chuckling at his supposed chagrin, because I decided not to touch a tempting dish within reach.
When at a later date I was discussing with a schoolfellow the futility, as it seemed to me, of an intelligent being waging obstinate war against Omnipotence, with full knowledge of ultimate defeat Robbie Burns in a kindly mood advises the deil to take a thought and mend my companion bluntly assented in these words, " Depend upon it, the fellow is a fool ! " The character loses something of its strength and impressiveness when "some paltry, juggling fiend" is described in legend or fable as the devil, reducing the arch-enemy to the size and influence of a malicious con- juror, as Mephistopheles, devoted to the pursuit of one man's soul, or to the dimen- sions of a Puck or a "Gabriel hound," in which form he once disturbed a service at Bungay Church. Robinson Crusoe, a man of signal courage in an age when superstition was rampant, thought it most likely that the gleaming eyes of the poor old goat in the cave belonged to the devil, who had surely more pressing employment than scaring the solitary inhabitant of a desert isle. The in- explicable footprint in the sand was ascribed to the same source.
Thus much for conflicting conceptions of one definite being. The problem which I think needs to be faced is the tacitly assumed destiny of the prince of darkness to act as an infernal bourreau. By what mandate is he who causes the ruin of souls to execute judgment upon them through the ages, in which hateful task he takes characteristic delight 1 ? Is he not rather their companion in misery 1 As Goethe puts it :
Audi hier sind jene grossen Scharen,
Die mit ihm gleiches Lasters waren,
Doch lange nicht so bos als er.
Hier liegt die ungezahlte Menge,
In schwarzem, schrecklichem Gedrange,
Ira Feuerorkan um ihn her ;
Er sieht, wie sie den Richter scheuen,
Er sieht, wie sie der Sturm zerfrisst,
Er sieht's und kann sich doeh nicht freuen,
Weil seine Fein noch grosser ist.
Pluto, the grisly god lately discussed in the columns of ' N. <fe Q.,' with his train of furies, Cerberus, and other monsters, cannot be called a fallen angel, nor can they. He is the brother and equal of Jupiter and Neptune, and does not appear to share the woe which he contemplates in iron majesty. Hela, the fearsome Norse goddess of Niflheim, was, I understand, a daughter of the Allfather Odin, and no rebel. The Hindoo Yamen, if I mistake not, is a parallel to Pluto. Are Azrael, the Mohammedan angel of death, and those grim inquisitors Murikar and Nakir, evil beings or ministers of Allah's stern justice 1 In Dante's * Inferno '