Hell is a place of suffering and punishment found in many religious traditions. Some depict the duration of this punishment as endless, while in others it is an intermediary period between incarnations of life. Many of these traditions locate it beneath the Earth's external surface and often include entrances from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise and Limbo.
- Alphabetized by author or source
- Let heaven exist, though my own place may be in hell. Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated, but let there be one instant, one creature, wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification.
- Jorge Luis Borges, in "The Library of Babel" (1941).
- In English, war is hell. In German, hell is a sunny day.
- Nein., Twitter (2014)
- Hell is more bearable than nothingness.
- Philip James Bailey, Festus (1813), scene Heaven.
- Hell is the wrath of God — His hate of sin.
- Philip James Bailey, Festus (1813), scene Hell, line 194.
- The heart of man is the place the devil dwells in; I feel sometimes a hell dwells within myself.
- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (1642), Part I, Section LI.
- But quiet to quick bosoms is a hell,
And there hath been thy bane.
- Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell
The tortures of that inward hell!
- Lord Byron, The Giaour (1813), line 748.
- When the final taps is sounded and we lay aside life's cares,
And we do the last and glories parade, on Heaven's shining stairs,
And the angels bid us welcome and the harps begin to play,
We can draw a million canteen checks and spend them in a day,
It is then we'll hear St. Peter tell us loudly with a yell,
"Take a front seat you soldier men, you've done your hitch in Hell."
- Frank Bernard Camp, "Our Hitch in Hell", st. 6, in American Soldier Ballads (1917), p. 21.
- A more famous variant was later used as an epitaph of PFC Cameron, USMC, at Lunga Point Cemetery, Guadalcanal:
- And when he goes to Heaven
To Saint Peter he will tell:
Another Marine reporting , Sir;
I've served my time in Hell!
- Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol. 5: The Struggle for Guadalcanal (1949), p. x.
- And when he goes to Heaven
- Quien ha infierene nula es retencio.
- Just as seeing Heaven's light gave him an awareness of God's presence in all things in the mortal plane, so it has made him aware of God's absence in all things in Hell.
- Ted Chiang, "Hell Is the Absence of God", in Starlight 3, 2001.
- The function of the lawyer is to preserve a sceptical relativism in a society hell-bent for absolutes. The worse the society, the more law there will be. In Hell there will be nothing but law and due process will be meticulously observed.
- Grant Gilmore, The Ages of American Law (1977), p. 110.
- Hell is full of good meanings and wishings.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651), No. 176.
- Who dares think one thing, and another tell,
My heart detests him as the gates of hell.
- You show signs of levity, and that is the one thing not permitted here. This place is for serious persons only. If you are not serious now, by hell you'll get serious pretty quick!
- This petty place cannot be Hell, Roadstrum? Ah, but it is my friend. That, you see, is the hell of it.
- And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.
- For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
- Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain: This life flies.
One thing is certain and the rest is lies;
the flower that once has blown forever dies.
- Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat (1120).
- When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of his glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.” Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, “Lord, when saw we Thee hungry, and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?” And the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye gave Me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.” Then shall they also answer Him, saying, “Lord, when saw we Thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?” Then shall He answer them, saying, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.” And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
- Why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?
- A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace, flamed; yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end.
- Hail, horrors, hail,
Infernal world! and thou profoundest hell,
Receive thy new possessor.
- Long is the way
And hard, that out of hell leads up to light.
- On a sudden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
- Nor from hell
One step no more than from himself can fly
By change of place.
- Myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep,
Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide;
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
- The gates that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
Far into Chaos, since the fiend pass'd through.
- It is not God who decides whether a person's spirit enters heaven or hell upon his death; it is decided by the spirit himself. Humans are created so that once they reach perfection they will fully breathe the love of God. Those who committed sinful deeds while on earth become crippled spirits who are incapable of fully breathing in the love of God. They find it agonizing to stand before God, the center of true love. Of their own will, they choose to dwell in hell, far removed from the love of God.
- To rest, the cushion and soft dean invite,
Who never mentions hell to ears polite.
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle IV, line 149.
- The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.
- Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays (1928), Ch. 1: The Value of Scepticism.
- I do my own penance for my own sins. What do you say, huh? Ah, it's all bullshit except the pain, right? The pain of hell, the burn from a lighted match increased a million times. Infinite, and you don't fuck around with the infinite. There's no way you do that. The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand, the kind you can feel in your heart. Your soul, the spiritual side, and you know the worst of the two is the spiritual.
- Martin Scorsese and Mardik Martin, in Mean Streets (1973); in the context presented in the film this primarily refers to the pain and anguish of Hell, but it was later quoted by Stephen King in IT (1986), in a more ambiguous way which permits it to be interpreted as primarily refering to God, with just the phrase: You don't fuck around with the infinite.
- And what of your own fortunes, gentlemen? The last circle of Hell is reserved for betrayers, and mutineers.
- You know nothing of Hell.
- Captain Jack Sparrow and Twigg from the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
- Black is the badge of hell,
The hue of dungeons and the suit of night.
- I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the oil that's in me should set hell on fire.
- You, mistress,
That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,
And keeps the gate of hell!
- Now the devil that told me I did well
Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
- Hell is empty,
And all the devils are here.
- There are countless circles of hell;
Believers never penetrate the ninth circle.
- Dejan Stojanovic in The Sun Watches the Sun, “Inferno” (the first poem in the book) (1999).
- Facilis descensus Averno;
Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis;
Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,
Hoc opus, hic labor est.
- The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.
- Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), VI. 126, as translated by John Dryden. ("Averni" in some editions.)
- Variant translation: Easy is the descent to Lake Avernus (mouth of Hades); night and day the gate of gloomy Dis (god of Hades) is open; but to retrace one's steps, and escape to the upper air, this indeed is a task; this indeed is a toil.
- The gates of hell are open night and day;
- In the throat
Of Hell, before the very vestibule
Of opening Orcus, sit Remorse and Grief,
And pale Disease, and sad Old Age and Fear,
And Hunger that persuades to crime, and Want:
Forms terrible to see. Suffering and Death
Inhabit here, and Death's own brother Sleep;
And the mind's evil lusts and deadly War,
Lie at the threshold, and the iron beds
Of the Eumenides; and Discord wild
Her viper-locks with bloody fillets bound.
- Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), Book VI, line 336. C. P. Cranch's translation.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 362-64.
- Curiosis fabricavit inferos.
- He fashioned hell for the inquisitive.
- Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book XI, Chapter XII. Quoting an unnamed author. Adapted from "Alta, scrutantibus gehennas parabat." God prepared hell, for those who are inquisitive about high things.
- Hell is paved with good intentions.
- Quoted as Baxter's saying by Coleridge. Notes Theol., Polit. and Miscel, p. 259. Ed. 1853.
- Hell is paved with infants' skulls.
- Baxter. In Hazlitt—Table Talk. He was stoned by the women of Kidderminster for quoting this in the pulpit.
- L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs.
- Hell is full of good wishes or desires.
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Richard Chenevix Trench calls it "queen of all proverbs".
- Hell is paved with priests' skulls.
- Undique ad inferos tantundem viæ est.
- There is in hell a place stone-built throughout,
Called Malebolge, of an iron hue,
Like to the wall that circles it about.
- Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto XVIII, line 1.
- We spirits have just such natures
We had for all the world, when human creatures;
And, therefore, I, that was an actress here,
Play all my tricks in hell, a goblin there.
- John Dryden, Tyrannick Love, Epilogue.
- The way of sinners is made plain with stones, but at the end thereof is the pit of hell.
- Ecclesiasticus, XXI. 10.
- Hell is paved with the skulls of great scholars, and paled in with the bones of great men.
- Giles Firmin, The Real Christian (1670). Quoted as a proverb.
- Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding sheet of Edward's race;
Give ample room and verge enough
The characters of Hell to trace.
- Thomas Gray, Bard, Canto II.
- El infierno es lleno de buenas intenciones.
- Hell is full of good intentions.
- Adapted probably from a saying of Antonio Guevara, quoted by the Portuguese as "Hell is paved with good intentions, and roofed with lost opportunities".
- Hell is no other but a soundlesse pit,
Where no one beame of comfort peeps in it.
- Robert Herrick, Noble Numbers, Hell.
- Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming.
- Isaiah, XIV. 9.
- And, bid him go to hell, to hell he goes.
- Samuel Johnson, London, line 116.
- Hell is paved with good intentions.
- Samuel Johnson, (Quoted) Boswell's Life of Johnson (1775).
- Et metus ille foras præceps Acheruntis agundus,
Funditus humanam qui vitam turbat ab imo,
Omnia suffuscans mortis nigrore, neque ullam
Esse voluptatem liquidam puramque relinquit.
- The dreadful fear of hell is to be driven out, which disturbs the life of man and renders it miserable, overcasting all things with the blackness of darkness, and leaving no pure, unalloyed pleasure.
- Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, III. 37.
- Look where he goes! but see he comes again
Because I stay! Techelles, let us march
And weary death with bearing souls to hell.
- Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlane the Great, Act V, scene III, line 75.
- In inferno nulla est redemptio.
- There is no redemption from hell.
- Pope Paul III, when Michael Angelo refused to alter a portrait introduced among the condemned in his "Last Judgment".
- He knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
- Proverbs, IX. 18.
- Do not be troubled by St. Bernard's saying that "Hell is full of good intentions and wills."
- Francis de Sales, letter to Madame de Chantal. (1605). Letter XII, p. 70. Selections from the Spiritual Letters of S. Francis de Sales. Translation by the author of "A Dominican Artist." Letter LXXIV in Blaise ed. Quoted also in Letter XXII, Book II. of Leonard's ed. (1726). Collet's La Vraie et Solide Piété, Part I, Chapter LXXV.
- It has been more wittily than charitably said that hell is paved with good intentions; they have their place in heaven also.
- Robert Southey, Colloquies on Society.
- St. Austin might have returned another answer to him that asked him, "What God employed himself about before the world was made?" "He was making hell."
- Robert Southey, Commonplace Book, Fourth Series, p. 591.
- Self-love and the love of the world constitute hell.
- Emanuel Swedenborg, Apocalypse Explained, Par. 1,144.
- Nay, then, what flames are these that leap and swell
As 'twere to show, where earth's foundations crack,
The secrets of the sepulchres of hell
On Dante's track?
- Algernon Charles Swinburne, In Guernsey, Part IV, Stanza 3.
- In the deepest pits of 'Ell,
Where the worst defaulters dwell
(Charcoal devils used as fuel as you require 'em),
There's some lovely coloured rays,
But you can't expect the burning to admire 'em!
- Edgar Wallace, Nature Fails, L'Envoi.
- Die Helle ist mit Mönchskappen, Pfaffenfalten, und Pickelhauben gepflastert.
- Hell is paved with monks' cowls, priests' drapery, and spike-helmets.
- Wander traces the saying to 1605.
- That's the greatest torture souls feel in hell,
In hell, that they must live, and cannot die.
- John Webster, Duchess of Malfi, Act IV, scene 1, line 84.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
- Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- An immortality of pain and tears; an infinity of wretchedness and despair; the blackness of darkness across which conscience will forever shoot her clear and ghastly flashes, — like lightning streaming over a desert when midnight and tempest are there; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; long, long eternity, and things that will make eternity seem longer, — making each moment seem eternity, — oh, miserable condition of the damned!
- Richard Fuller, p. 311.
- What will you do in a world where the Holy Spirit never strives; where every soul is fully left to its own depravity; and where there is no leisure for repentance, if there were even the desire, but where there is too much present pain to admit repentance; where they gnaw their tongues with pain, and blaspheme the God of heaven?
- James Hamilton, p. 311.
- Many might go to heaven with half the labor they go to hell, if they would venture their industry the right way.
- Ben Jonson, p. 311.
- The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
- John Milton, p. 312.
- The Lamb is, indeed, the emblem of love; but what so terrible as the wrath of the Lamb? The depth of the mercy despised is the measure of the punishment of him that despiseth. No more fearful words than those of the Saviour. The threatenings of the law were temporal, those of the gospel are eternal. It is Christ who reveals the never-dying worm, the unquenchable fire, and He who contrasts with the eternal joys of the redeemed the everlasting woes of the lost. His loving arms would enfold the whole human race, but not while impenitent or unbelieving; the benefits of His redemption are conditional.
- Edward Thomson, p. 311.
- The longer men sin, the more easily they can; for every act of transgression weakens conscience, stupefies intellect, hardens hearts, adds force to bad habits, and takes force from good example. And, surely, there is nothing in such associations; as wicked affinities will insure to the sinner in the future state, to incline him to repentance.
- Edward Thompson, p. 312.