Page images


Of the Twilight of the Gods.


ANGLER then inquired, What can you tell me

concerning that day? Har replied, There are very many and very notable circumstances which I can impart to you. In the first place, will come the grand, the desolating' Winter; during which the snow will fall from the four corners of the world : the frost will be very severe; the tempest violent and dangerous; and the Sun will withdraw his beams. Three such winters shall pass away, without being softened by one summer. Three others shall follow, during which War and Discord will spread through the whole globe. Brothers, out of hatred, shall kill each other ; no one shall spare either his parent, or his child, or his relations. See how it is described in the VOLUSPA: “ Brothers, becoming murderers, shall stain themselves « with brothers' blood; kindred shall forget the ties of « consanguinity; life shall become a burthen; adultery “ shall reign throughout the world. A barbarous age! “ an age of swords ! an age of tempests! an age of 66 wolves! The bucklers shall be broken in pieces ; 66 and these calamities shall succeed each other till the « world shall fall to ruin.” Then will happen such things as may well be called prodigies. The Wolf FENRIS will devour the Sun ; a severe loss will it be found by mankind. Another monster will carry off the Moon, and render it totally useless : the Stars shall


fly away and vanish from the heavens: the earth and the mountains shall be seen violently agitated; the trees torn up from the earth by the roots; the tottering hills to tumble headlong from their foundations; all the chains and irons of the prisoners to be broken and dashed in pieces. Then is the Wolf Fenris let loose ; the sea rushes impetuously over the earth, because the great Serpent, changed into a Spectre, gains the shore. The ship Naglefara is set afloat: this vessel is constructed of the nails of dead men; for which reason, great care should be taken not to die with unpared najls; for he who dies so, supplies materials towards the building of that vessel, which Gods and men will wish were finished as late as possible. The Giant Rymer is the pilot of this vessel, which the sea, breaking over its banks, wafts along with it. The Wolf Fenris advancing, opens his enormous mouth; his lower jaw reaches to the earth, and his upper jaw to the heavens, and would reach still farther, were space itself found to admit of it. The burning fire flashes out from his eyes and nostrils. The Great Serpent vomits forth floods of poison, which overwhelm the air and the waters. This terrible monster places himself by the side of the Wolf. In this confusion, the heaven shall cleave asunder; and by this breach the Genü of Fire enter on horseback. Surtur is at their head : before and behind him sparkles a bright glowing fire. His sword outshines the Sun itself. The army of these Genii passing on horseback over the bridge of heaven, break it in pieces : Thence they direct their course to a plain ; where they are joined by the Wolf Fenris and the Great Serpent. Thither also repair LOKE and the Giant RYMER, and with them all the Giants of the Frost, who follow Loke even to death. The Genii of fire march first in battle array, forming a most brilliant squadron on this plain ; which is an hundred degrees square on every side. During these prodigies,


HEIMDAL, the door-keeper of the Gods, rises up; he violently sounds his clanging trumpet to awaken the Gods: who instantly assemble. Then ObIn repairs to the fountain of Mimis, to consult what he ought to do, he and his army. The great Ash Tree of Ydrasil is shaken; nor is any thing in heaven or earth exempt from fear and danger. The Gods are clad in armour ; ODIN puts on his golden helmet, and his resplendent cuirass'; he grasps his sword, and marehes directly against the Wolf Fenris. He hath THOR at his side ; but this God cannot assist him ; for he himself fights with the Great Serpent. FREY encounters SURTUR, and terrible blows are exchanged on both sides; 'till Frey is beaten down; and he owes his defeat to his having formerly given his sword to his attendant Skyrner. That day also is let loose the dog named Garmer, who had hitherto been chained at the entrance of a cavern. He is a monster dreadful even to the Gods; he attacks Tyr, and they kill each other. THOR beats down the Great Serpent to the earth, but at the same time recoiling back nine steps, he falls dead upon the spot *, suffocated with floods of venom, which the Serpent vomits forth upon him. ODiN is devoured by the Wolf Fenris. At the same instant VIDAR advances, and pressing down the monster's lower jaw with his foot, seizes the other with his hand, and thus tears and rends him till he dies. LOKE and HEIMDAL fight, and mutually kill each other. After that, SURTUR. darts fire and flame over all the earth: the whole world is presently consumed. See how this is related in the VOLUSPA. “ Heimdal lifts up his crooked “ trumpet, and sounds it aloud. Odin consults the “ head of Mimis; the great Ash, that Ash sublime “ and fruitful, is violently shaken, and sends forth a


* The reader will observe, that our ingenious Author has represented this somewhat differently above, in p. 99.


groan. The Giant bursts his irons. What is doing

among the Gods? What is doing among the Genii? “ The land of the Giants is filled with uproar: the « Deities collect and assemble together. The Dwarfs « sigh and groan before the doors of their caverns. « Oh! ye inhabitants of the mountains, can you say « whether any thing will yet remain in existence ? « [The Sun is darkened; the earth is overwhelmed in « the sea; the shining stars fall from heaven; a va

pour, mixed with fire, arises : a vehement heat pre“ vails even in heaven itself*.]”

* The passage in brackets is given from the Latin of Goranson, being omitted by M. Mallet.




The Sequel of the Conflagration of the World.


N hearing the preceding relation, Gangler asks,

What will remain after the world shall be consumed, and after Gods, and Heroes, and Men shall perish? For I understood by you, adds he, that mankind were to exist for ever in another world. Thridi replies, After all these prodigies, there will succeed many new abodes, some of which will be agreeable, and others wretched: but the best mansion of all will be Gimle (or HEAVEN), where all kinds of liquors shall be quaffed in the Hall called Brymer (A), situated in the country of Okolm. That is also a most delightful palace which is upon the mountains of Inda*, and which is built of shining gold. In this palace-good and just men shall abide. In Nastrande (i. e. the shore of the dead) there is a vast and direful structure, the portal of which faces the north. It is compiled of nothing but the carcases of Serpents, all whose heads are turned towards the inside of the building: there they vomit forth so much venom, that it forms a long river of poison: and in this float the perjured and the murderers; as is said in those verses of the VOLUSPA: " I know that there is in Nastrande, an abode remote “ from the Sun, the gates of which look towards the « north; there drops of poison rain through the win“ dows. It is all built of the carcases of serpents. “ There, in rapid rivers, swim the perjured, the assas

sins, and those who seek to seduce the wives of " others. In another place, their condition is still

worse ;

* This and the pieceding names are very different in the Edition of Goranson.

T. VOL. 11.


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »