The Moslems fancy that it is necessary, when a man is
bow-strung, to relax the rope a little before death occurs to let the
soul escape. The Greeks and Romans seemed to think that the soul made
its escape with life out of the death-wound.
The Moslems say that the souls of the faithful assume the forms of
snow-white birds, and nestle under the throne of Allah until the
Heraclitus held the soul to be a spark of the stellar essence: “scintilia stellaris essentiae.”
(Macrobius: Somnium Scipioris
, lib. i. cap. 14.)
Vital spark of heavenly flame,
Quit, oh! quit this mortal frame.
Pope: The Dying Christian to his Soul.
Soul, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, is represented by several emblems,
as a basket of fire, a heron, a hawk with a human face, and a ram.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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