Page images
PDF
EPUB

" this fage Giant was saved and preserved on board “his bark (B).” Gangler demands, What then became of the fons of Bore, whom you look upon as Gods ? Har replied: To relate this is no trivial matter. They dragged the body of Yinir into the middle of the abyss, and of it formed the earth. The water and the sea were composed of his blood ; the moune tains of his bones; the rocks of his teeth ; and of his hollow bones, mingled with the blood that ran from his wounds, they made the vast ocean ; in the midst of which they infixed the earth (c). Then having formed the heavens of his fcull, they made them rest on all fides upon the earth : they divided them into four quarters, and placed a dwarf at each corner to sustain ir. These dwarfs are called EAST, West, SOUTH, and NORTH. After this they went and seized upon fires in Muspelsheim, (that flaming world in the south,) and placed them in the abyss, in the upper and lower parts of the sky, to enlighten the earth. Every fire had its assigned residence. Hence the days were distinguished, and the years reduced to calculation. For this reason it is said in the poem of Vo. LUSPA, Formerly the sun knew not its palace, the

moon was ignorant of its powers, and the stars

knew not the stations they were to occupy (D).” These, cried out Gangler, were grand performances indeed! most ftupendous undertakings ! Har goes on, and says, The earth is round, and about it is placed the deep sea; the shores of which were given for a dwelling to the Giants. But her up, in a place equally distant on all sides .n the sea, the Gods built upon earth a fortrei ugainst the Giants (E), the circumference of which surrounds the world. The materials they employed for this work, were the eyebrows of Ymir; and they called the place Midgard, or the Middle Mansion. They afterwards toffed his brains into the air, and they became the clouds : for VOL. II.

с

thus e ed ..

thus it is described in the following verses. “Of the 5 flesh of Ymir was formed the earth; of his sweat, " the seas; of his bones, the mountains ; of his hair, “ the herbs of the field; and of his head, the hea

vens : but the merciful Gods built of his eye-brows “ the city of Midgard, for the children of men ; and " of his brains were formed the noxious clouds.'?

REMARKS ON THE FOURTH FABLE.

I beg leave here, once for all, co (B) « This . . Giant was sayobserve, that my divisions do not

on board his bark."] Wę always agree with those of the discover here evident traces of the Edda of Resenius, or those of the history of the deluge. That all Edda of Upsal. For, as they dif- the nations of Asia, and even those fer in the several manuscripts, I of America, had preserved some thought I might regard them all remembrance of it, was generally as arbitrary, and form other divi. known : bụt that the same presions when they appeared more vailed among our northern ancescommodious.

tors, the • Goths and' Celts, has

never, I believe, been remarked (A) “ The sons of Bore” are before. the Gods, and particularly ODIN: for as to his brothers, Vile and Ve, (c) « They infixed the earth."] they are scarcely mentioned elfe- The reader will remember that where. The ancient priests of the nothing existed as yet, but the i north *, affirmed themselves to Flaming World towards the south, be descended of the family of wherein resided evil Genii; and Bere ; and in this, they might the those masses of Ice towards the more easily obtain credit, because north, which were formed by the among the Celts, as among the rivers of hell. Between theso was Jews, the priesthood descended à void space, called the ABYSS from father to fon.

This is the place into which the

Gods

C

* Fr. Des Celtes,

Gods threw the body of the Gie formed of the onic half of her the ant. This monstrous fi&tion pro. Earth, and of the other the Heabably at first contained some im- vens : to which another tradition portant doctrine : but as at pre- adds, that men were formed out sent little regard is paid to pro- of her head; whence Berosus confound and learned conjectures, I cludes, that this occafioned man to fhall not give myself the trouble to be endowed with intellectual powfathom the meaning of so strange ers. I do not pretend to aver, that an allegory. Whatever was couch- the Chaldeans and northern naed under it, it hath been a fruitful tions borrowed all these chimæras source of poetic figures and ex- of each other, although this is not pressions ; of which the ancient impossible. These ancient nations SCALD's incessantly availed them- had as yet but a few ideas, and selves. Pocts have in all ages been their imaginations, however fruitfond of appearing to speak the lan- ful, being confined within narrow ģuage of the Gods, by using these limits, could not at first give their forts of phrafes; as by this means inventions that prodigious variety, they could conceal their own want which was displayed in succeeding of invention, and poverty of ge- ages. nius.

Of all the ancient Theogonies, I (0) « The stars knew not, &c."] find only that of the Chaldees,. The matter of the sun and stars which has any resemblance to this existed long before the formation of the EDDA. Berofus, cited by of those bodies: this matter was Syncellus, informs us that that peo- the Æther, the Luminous World. ple, one of the most ancient in the One cannot but remark in this world, believed that in the begin- Fable, the remains of the Mosaic ning there was only Water and do&rine ; according to which the Darkness; that this Water and creation of a luminous substance, Darkness contained in them divers in like manner, preceded that of monstrous animals, different in the fun and moon. And what in' form and size, which were all re- dicates one common origin of both presented in the temple of Bel; accounts, is what Mofes adds in that a female, named Omorca, was the same place. " And God said, the mistress of the Universe; that “ Let there be lights in the firmathé God Bel put to death all the “ ment of heaven, to divide the monsters, destroyed Omorca her. “ day from the night ; , and lec felf, and dividing her in two, " them be for signs of seasons, and

“ of

• of days and of years, &c.". Genii. At this very day they are Gen. c. i. ver. 14.

supposed to be banished among

the rocks of Caucasus, or Imaus, (E) “ A fortress against the ever since Tabmuras, fur-named " Giants, &c.”] The Persian my. Divbend (he who fubdued the thology abounds with circumstan- Dives) vanquished and put them ces analogous to this. There are to flight. Mahometism has not always Giants, or mischievous Ge- been so severe as Christianity, in nii, who wish ill to men, and hurt eradicating these ancient superstithem whenever it is in their pow. tions, and therefore the inhabitants

The Heroes have no employ- of Persia are still very much infament so dear and fo glorious as tuated with them. that of making war upon those

cr.

THE FIFTH FABLE.

Of the formation of Afee and Emla.

THESE were indeed important labours, said

Gangler ; but whence came the men, who at present inhabit the world ? Har answered, The fons of Bore, as they were walking one day upon the fhore, found two pieces of wood floating on the waves. They took them, and made a man of the one, and a woman of the other (A). The first gave them life and foul; the second reafon and motion; the third, hearing, fight, fpeech, garments, and a name. called the man Aske, and the woman Emla. From these two, are descended the human race; to whom the Gods have assigned a habitation near MIDGARD. Then the sons of Bore built, in the middle of the world, the fortress of ASGARD; where dwell the

Gods,

They

Gods, and their families (B). There it is, that fo many wonderful works are wrought on theearth, and in the air, Har added, And there it is that the palace of Odin is situated, called Lidskialf, or the Terror of the Nations. When Odin is there seated on his lofty throne, he thence discovers every country, he sees all the actions of men, and comprehends whatever he beholds. This wife is FRIGGA, the daughter of Fiorgun. The issue of that marriage is what we call the family of the Ases, that is, of the Gods; a race intirely divine, and which hath built the ancienASGARD. Wherefore Odin is justly called the UNIVERSAL FATHER; for he is the parent of Gods, and men; and all things have been produced by his pow

The Earth is his daughter and wife (C). On her hath he begotten Afa-Thor (or the God Thor) his first-born. Strength and Valour are the attendants on this God, and therefore he triumphs over every thing that hath life.

er.

REMARKS ON THE FIFTH FABLE.

(^) "They made a man, &c.”] drowned; and to make them reWe are come at last to the crea. gard the sea, as their proper

and' tion of our species. The circun- natural element. We shall see, by Itances of this fable, Thew that it the sequel, that the great aim of was invented among a people ad- these warlike Theologians was to dicted to navigation, and settled in inspire courage, and to renove all a country surrounded with seas and pretences and grounds for fear. lakes. Bartholin conjectures, that Aske, in the Gothic language, sigthe philosophers of the north, in nifies an Ash-TREE, and Emla, an making men spring from the sea, Elm. I shall leave to others to intended to fortify the Scandinavi- find out the realon why the preans against the fear, that annihila- ference hath been given to these tion was the consequence of being two trces; and what relation there

could

« PreviousContinue »