Fire and Hemlock - a couple more things...

Tarja Rainio vierran at
Mon Jul 24 16:50:20 EDT 2000

on 24.7.2000 23:25, Neil Ward at neilward at wrote:
> Can you explain 'waters of Lethe'?  I recently finished Stephen Baxter's
> existing Xeelee novels, with "Ring", and in that book he uses 'Lethe' and
> 'Lethe's waters' as swearwords.  I thought he made it up!

No he didn't. It comes from Greek mythology. This is from the Myths and
Legends series' (cheap reprints of copyright-free? old mythology books) book
_Greece and Rome_ by H.A.Guerber:

"the blessed Lethe, whose waters had the power to make one forget all
unpleasant things, thus preparing the good for a state of endless bliss in
the Elysian Fields [Paradise]."

There's also a quote from Milton:

"Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
Her wat'ry labyrinth, whereof who drinks,
Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain."

Hope this clarifies it some.


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list