Page images

« worse ; for a wolf, an all-devouring monster, per« petually torments the bodies who are sent in thi« ther (B).” Gangler resumes the discourse, and says, Which then are the Gods that shall survive ? Shall they all perish, and will there no longer be a heaven nor an earth ? Har replies, There will arise out of the sea, another earth most lovely and delightful : covered it will be with verdure and pleasant fields: there the grain shåll spring forth and grow of itself, without cultivation. VIDAR and VALE shall also survive, because neither the flood, not the black conflagration shall do them ảny harm. They shall dwell in the plains of Ida; where was formerly the residence of the Gods. The sons of Thor, MODE and MAGNE repair thither: thither come BALDER and HODER, from the mansions of the dead. They sit down and converse together; they recal to mind the adversities they have formerly undergone. They afterwards find among the grass the golden Dice *, which the Gods heretofore made use of. And here be it observed, that while the fire devoured all things, two persons of the human race, one male and the other female, named Lif and Lifthraser, lay concealed under an hill

. They feed on the dew, and propagate so abundantly, thật the earth is soon peopled with a new ráče of mortalš. Whất you

will think still more wonderful is, that Sunna (the Sun), before it is devoured by the Wolf FENRIS, shall have brought forth a daughter, as lovely and as resplendent as herself, and who shall go in the same track formerly trode by her mother; according as it is described in these verses: “ The brilliant monarch of “ Fire't shall beget an only daughter, before the wolf

's commits


* Goranson renders it Crepidas, “ Sandals.” But M. Mallet's sion is countenanced by Bartholin. Deaurati orbes aleatorii, p. 597. T.

+ There seems to be a defect or ambiguity in the Original here, which has occasioned a strange confusion of genders both in the French


« commits his devastation. This young Virgin, after

the death of the Gods, will pursue the same track as s her parent (c).”

Now, continues Har, if you have any new questions to ask me, I know not who can resolve you;

because I have never heard of any one who can relate what will happen in the other ages of the world : 1 advise you therefore to remain satisfied with my relation, and to preserve it in your memory.... Upon this, Gangler heard a terrible noise all around him; he looked every way, but could discern nothing, except a vast extended plain. He set out therefore on his return back to his own kingdom; where he related all that he had seen and heard : and ever since that time, this relation hath been handed dowÅ among the people by Oral Tradition (D).

d'etre en

of M. Mallet and the Latin version of Goranson. The former has, « Le Roi brillant du feu engendrera une fille unique avant

que ". glouti par le loup ; cette fille suivra le traces de SA MERE, apres la mort « des dieux:” The latter, Unicnm filiam genuit rubicundissimus ille REX antiquam eum Fenris devoraverit ; quæ cursura est, mortuis Diis, viam MATERNAM. I have endeavoured to avoid this, by expressing the passage in more general terms.



Had the Edda had no other even on that account, to have been claim to our regard, than as hav- preserved from oblivion. And ing preserved to us the opinions really on this head it throws great and doctrines of the “ ancient light on History: whether we “ northern nations *"' on that im- consider that branch of it which portant subject, an existence after principally regards the ascertainthis life, it would have merited, ment of facts, or that which de


* Les Celtes. Fr, Orig.

votes itself rather to trace the dif- winter, were to be the final marks ferent revolutions of manners and of her decay, The moral world opinions. Such as are only fond is to be no less disturbed and of the former species of history, troubled than the natural. The will find in these concluding Fan voice of dying Nature will be no bles, the principles of that wild longer heard by man.

Her senenthusiastic courage which ani- sacions being weakened, and as it mated the ravagers of the Roman were totally extinct, shall leave Empire, and conquerors of the the heart a prey to cruel and ingreatest part of Europe. · Such as human passions. Then will all interest themselves more in the the malevolent and hostile powlacter, will see (not without plea. ers, whom the Gods have heretosure and astonishment) a people fore with much difficulty conwhom they were wont to consi- fined, burst their chains, and fill der as barbarous and uncultivated, the universe with disorder and employed in deep and sublime confusion. The host of Heroes speculations; proceeding in them from VALHALL shall in vain atmore conclusively, and coming, tempt to assist and support the possibly, much nearer to the end, Gods; for though the latter will than those celebrated nations who destroy their enemies, they will have arrogated to themselves an nevertheless fall along with chem: exclusive privilege to reason and that is, in other words, In that knowledge.

great day all the inferior Divini. I have before observed, that ties, whether good or bad, shall • the philosophers of the north *' fall in one great conflict back considered nature as in a state of again into the bosom of the Grand perpetual labour and warfare. Divinity, from whom all things Her strength was thus continually have proceeded, as it were emawasting away by little and little; nations of his essence, and who and her approaching dissolution will survive all things. After this, could not but become every day the world becomes a prey to more and more perceptible. At flames; which are, however, delast, a confusion of the seasons, stined rather to purify than dewith a long and preternatural stroy it; since it afterwards makes


* Les Celtes. Fr.

its appearance again more lovely, the text, of which this Fable is the more pleasant, and more fruitful comment: since in reality the than before. Such, in a few same ideas, but expressed with a words, is the doctrine of the ED- superior ponip and strength than DÀ, when divested of all those are found in that old poem. It may poetical and allegorical ornaments, perhaps afford some pleasure to which are only accidental to it. peruse the following extracts, givOne sees plainly enough, that the en literally from the translation of poem called VOLUSPA hath been Bartholin *.

“ The Giant Rymer arrives from the east, carried in a chariot : the u ocean swells: the Great Serpent rolls himself furiously in the wa« ters, and lifteth up the sea. The eagle screams, and tears the dead « bodies with his horrid beak. The vessel of the Gods is set afloat.

ni « The vessel comes from the east : the host of Evil Genii t arrives « by sea : Loke is their pilot and director. Their furious squadron « advances, escorted by the Wolf Fenris: Loke appears with them ř.

[ocr errors]

“ The black prince of the Genii of Fire S issues forth from the « south, surrounded with fames: the swords of the Gods beam forth " rays like the Sun. The rocks are shaken, and fall to pieces. The « female Giants wander about 'weeping. Men tread in crowds the “ paths of death. The heaven is split asunder.

“ New grief for the Goddess who defends Odin. For Odin ad“ vances to encounter Fenris; the snow-white slayer of Bela V, against 4 the black ' prince of the Genii of Fire : Soon is the spouse of “ Frigga beaten down..

us the

• Vid. Causæ Contemptæ a Danis Mortis, 4to. 1689. Lib. 11. cap. 14. P. 590, et seq. I have rather followed the Latin of Bartholin, than the French Version of our author.

.'T. + Muspelli Incola. Bartholin.

| A stanza is here omitted, being part of what is quoted above in the 32d fable, p. 163 : as also one or two stanzas below. T.

§ Surtur, Island. orig.-The reader will observe some variations between the version here, and that given of this same stanza in p. 13. they are owing to the different readings of the original. T.

|| Sc. Frey.

" Then runs Vidar, the illustrious son of Odin, to avenge the death !! of his father. He attacks the murderous monster, that monster “ born of a Giant ; and with his sword he pierces him to the heart.

« The Sun is darkened: the sea overwhelms the earth : the shining “ stars vanish out of heaven; the fire furiously rages; the ages draw “ to an end: the flame ascending, licks the vault of heaven.”

Many other pieces of poetry his essence, together with the might be quoted to shew that the world, certain intelligences, orScandinavians had their minds full dained to govern under his direcof all these prophecies, and that tions, and who were to undergo they laid great stress upon them, the same revolutions as the world But the generality of readers may itself, until the day appointed for possibly rather take my word for the renovation of this universe. it, than be troubled with longer The fires concealed in the veins extracts. It will be of more im- of the earth never cease to dry up portance to remark, that what we the moisture contained therein, hạye been reading is, for the most and will, in the end, set it all on part, nothing else but the doctrine flames. “ A time will come, says of Zeno and the Stoics. This “ Seneca,' when the world, ripe remarkable resemblance hath ne- “ for a renovation shall be wrapt ver been properly considered, and « in, flames; when the opposite highly deserves a discussion. “ powers shall in conflict mutual

The ancients universally assure ly destroy each other; when the us, that the Stoic philosophy estab- « constellations shall dash togelished the existence of an eternal " ther; and when the whole unidivinity, diffused through and per,

plunged in the same vading all nature ; and being, as common fire, shall be consumed it were, the soul and primum mo- “ to ashes.” (Senec. Consol. ad bile of matter. From this divini- Marciam. cap. ult.) This genety proceeded, as emanations from 'ral destruction was to be preceded

· by



« PreviousContinue »