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retained this cuftom longer than
only of private differences but c-
of the Prince or People, but in the
name of that God, who had appointed them Governors. (V. Tacit. Germ. c. 7. Cæfar. 1. 6.) Hence it was that thefe nations, when they embraced christianity, were beforehand fo disposed to attribute to the Chriftian Priefts and Bishops that unlimited and fupernatural power; and to have for their decifions that implicit fubmiffion, as well as the blind reverence for their perfons, which have been fo long the misfortune and difgrace of humanity.
"Seats for themselves."] These Judges were Twelve in number. Was this owing to there being Twelve primary Deities among the
Gothic nations *', as there were among the Greeks and Romans? This I fhall not take upori me to decide: but I think one may plainly observe here the first traces of a custom, which hath extended itself to a great many other things. Odin, the conqueror of the north, established a supreme court in Sweden, compofed of Twelve Members, to affift him in the functions of the priesthood and civil government. This doubtless gave rise to what was afterwards called the Senate. And the fame establishment in like manner took place in Denmark, Norway, and other northern ftates. These Senators decided in the last appeal all differences of importance; they were, if I may fay so, the Affefsors of the Prince; and were in number Twelve, as we are exprefsly informed by Saxo, in his life of king Regner Lodbrog. Nor are other monuments wanting, which abundantly confirm this truth. We find in Zealand, in Sweden near Upfal, and, if I am not mistaken, in the county of Cornwal alfo, large ftones, to the amount of
(c) ❝ Wherein are Twelve Twelve, ranged in the form of a
Les Celtes. Orig.
circle, and, in the midst of them, one of fuperior height. Such, in thofe rude ages, was the Hall of Audience; the ftones that formed the circumference, were the feats of the fenators, that in the middle the throne of the king,. The like monuments are found also in Perfia, near Tauris. Travellers frequently meet there with large circles of hewn ftones; and the tradition of the country reports, that thefe are the places where the Caous, or Giants, formerly held their councils. (Vid. Chardin's Travels into Perfia, Vol. III. p. .) I think one may difcover veftiges of this ancient cuftom, in the fable of the Twelve Peers of France, and in the establishment of Twelve Jurymen in England, who are the proper Judges, according to the ancient laws of that country. T
the names of the former. Men, who rendered themselves illustrious by fome noble invention, or by their attachment to the worship of the Gods,received the names of those Gods after their decease; and it was a long time before the following ages thought of diftinguishing the one from the other. Among our Scythian ancestors, the first men who found out a mine of gold, or any other metal; and knew how to work that metal, and make fomething ornamental out of it, were doubtless regarded as divine persons. A mine difcovered by chance, would cafily afford and furnish out that flight magnificence; of which the EDDA has here preserved a faint remembrance.
(e) « Dwell... among the "rocks."] This paffage deferves attention. We may discover here one effect of that ignorant prejudice, which hath made us for fo many years regard all arts and handicrafts, as the occupation of mean people and flaves. Our Celtic and Gothic ancestors, whether Germans, Scandinavians or Gauls, imagining there was fomething magical, and beyond the reach of man in mechanic' skill and industry, could fcarcely believe that an able artist was one of their own fpecies, or defcended
from the fame common origin. This, it must be granted, was a very foolish conceit; but let us confider what might poffibly facilitate the entrance of it into their minds. There was perhaps fome neighbouring people, which bordered upon one of the Celtic or Gothic' tribes; and which, although less warlike than themfelves, and much inferior in ftrength and ftature, might yet excel them in dexterity and addicting themselves to manual arts, might carry on a commerce with them fufficiently extensive, to have the fame of it fpread pretty far. All these circumstances will agree well enough with the Laplanders: who are ftill as famous for their magic, as remarkable for the lowness of their stature; pacific, even to a degree of cowardice; but of a mechanic industry, which formerly must have appeared very confiderable. The ftorics that were invented concerning this people, paffing through the mouths of fo many ignorant relators,would foon acquire all the degrees of the marvellous, of which they were fufceptible. Thus the DWARFS foon became, (as all know, who have dipt but a little into the ancient romances) the forgers of enchanted armour, upon which nei
*La Theologie Celtique. Fr. Orig.
ther fwords, nor conjurations could make any impreffion. They were poffeffed of caverns, full of treasure, intirely at their own difpofal. This, to obferve by the bye, hath given birth to one of the Cabalistic doctrines, which is perhaps only one of the branches of the ancient northern theology*. As the dwarfs were feeble, and but of fmall courage; they were fupposed to be crafty, full of artifice and deceit. This, which in the old romances is called DISLOYALTY, is the character always given them in those fabulous narratives. All these fancies having received the feal of time and universal confent, could be no longer contested; and it was the bufiness of the poets to affign a fit origin for fuch ungracious beings. This was done in their pretended rife from the dead carcafe of a great Giant. The Dwarfs at first were only the maggots, engendered there by its putrifaction: afterwards the Gods bestowed upon them understanding and cunning. By this fiction the northern warriors justified their contempt of them, and at the fame time accounted for their fmall ftature, their industry, and their fuppofed propensity for inhabiting caves and clefts of the rocks. After all, the notion is
not every where exploded that
perfuaded of their exiftence. In
I have, in this one place of the translation, applied the word FAIRIES, in our common English notion of it :-But our author has generally, throughout this work, used the French word Fees, (i. e. FAIRIES) to fignify, not the little imaginary dwarfish beings, to which we appropriate the word; but to exprefs the Fates or Deftinies; or those inferior female Divinities that are affigned to watch over the lives and fortunes of individuals. In this he seems rather to have had an eye to the Oriental fables, than to those of genuine Gothic origin: however, the duty of a tranflator requiring me to follow him, I beg leave here to apprize the reader of this our author's application of the word.
THE EIGHTH FABLE.
Of the Holy City, or Refidence of the Gods.
ANGLER demanded: Which is the capital of the Gods, or the facred city? Har answers, it is under the Afh Ydrafil; where the Gods affemble every day, and adminifter juftice (A). But, iays Gangler, What is there remarkable with regard to that place? That Afh, fays Jafner, is the greatest and best of all trees. Its branches extend themfelves over the whole world, and reach above the heavens. It hath three roots, extremely diftant from each other:
the one of them is among the Gods; the other a imong the Giants, in that very place where the abyss was formerly; the third covers Niflheim, or Hell; and under this root is the fountain Vergelmer, whence flow the infernal rivers: this root is gnawed upon below by the monstrous ferpent Nidhoger. Under that root, which ftretches out towards the land of the Giants, is alfo a celebrated fpring, in which are concealed Wisdom and Prudence. He who has poffeffion of it is named Mimis; he is full of wisdom, because he drinks thereof every morning. One day the Univerfal Father came and begged to drink a cup of this water; but he was obliged to leave in pledge for it one of his eyes, according as it is faid in the VoLUSPA: "Where haft thou concealed thine eye, "ODIN? I know where; even in the limpid foun"tain of Mimis. Every morning does Mimis pour "Hydromel (or Mead) upon the pledge he received "from the Univerfal Father. Do you, or do
not, understand this? (B)." The third root of the Afh is in heaven, and under it lies the holy fountain of TIME-PAST. 'Tis here that the Gods fit in judgement. Every day they ride hither on horfeback, paffing over the Rainbow, which is the bridge of the Gods. Thefe are the names of the horfes of the Gods: Sleipner is the best of them; he hath eight feet, and he belongs to Odin. The others are Glader, Gyler, &c. The horse of the God Balder, was burnt along with his mafter. As for Thor, he goes on foot to the tribunal of the Gods, and fords the rivers Kormt, Gormt, &c. All these is he obliged to cross every day on foot, in his way to the Afh Ydrafil; for the Bridge of the Gods is all on fire. How comes it to pass, interrupted Gangler, that the Bridge Bifrost is on fire? That, fays Har, which you fee red in the Rainbow, is the fire which burns in heaven: for the Giants of the mountains would climb up to heaven