THE HARROWING OF HELL

  1. "'A spirit speaks to hell and bids the portals be opened.'
  2. Lift up your gates.
  3. ...[T]he light bade them unlock, and Lucifer answered,
  4. 'Who is that?
  5. What lord are you?' said Lucifer. The light at once replied,
  6. The King of Glory.
  7. ...Dukes of this dim place, at once undo these gates
  8. that Christ may come in, the Heaven-King's son.'
  9. And with that breath hell broke along with Belial's bars;
  10. ...Lucifer could not look, the light so blinded him.
  11. And those that the Lord loved his light caught away,
  12. And he said to Satan, 'Lo, here's my soul in payment
  13. For all sinful souls....
  14. Mine are they and of me--I may the better claim them.
  15. Although Reason records, and right of myself,
  16. That if they ate the apple all should die,
  17. I did not hold out to them hell here forever.
  18. ...[S]oul shall requite soul and sin revert to sin,
  19. And all that man has done amiss, I, man, will amend."
  20. -William Langland, "Piers Plowman," Passus 18: The Harrowing of Hell