"a saur reek an’ brimstane about him"

Fallen Angels in Hell, c.1841
Public DomainFallen Angels in Hell, c.1841 - Credit: John Martin

Brimstone may be an old name for sulphur, which is produced by active volcanoes. It figures frequently in the Bible as a symbol of God’s wrath and a punishment for sinners. It is also part of hell’s most important geological feature: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).