Page images

by that Bridge, if it were easy for every one to walk

over it.

There are in heaven a great many pleasant cities, and none without a divine garrison. Near the fountain, which is under the Alh, ftands a very beautiful city, wherein dwell three virgins, named Urda, or the PAST; Verdandi, or the PRESENT ; and S/kulda, or the Future. These are they who difpense the ages of men ; they are called Nornies, that is, Fairies *, or Destinies. But there are indeed a great many others, besides these, who allift at the birth of every child, to determine his fate. Some are of celestial origin ; others descend from the Genii ; and others from the Dwarfs : : as it is said in these verses, « There are " Nornies of different originals : fome proceed from “ the Gods, some from the Genii, and others from " the Dwarfs.”—Then, fays Gangler, if these Nornies dispense the destinies of men, they are very unequal in their distribution ; for some are fortunate and wealthy, others acquire neither riches nor honours; some come to a good old age, while others die in their prime of life. Har answers, The Nornies, who are sprung of a good origin, are good themselves, and dispense good destinies : but thole men to whom misfortunes happen, ought to ascribe them to the evil Nornies or Fairies (c.) Gangler proceeds, and desires to know something more concerning the Ath. Har replied, What I have farther to add concerning it is, that there is an eagle perched upon its branches, who knows a multitude of things : but he hath between his eyes a fparrow-hawk. A fquirrel runs up and down the Ath, fowing misunderstanding between the eagle and the serpent, which lies concealed at its root.


* Nornir, I. is rather Fates, or Deltinies, Parcae. I have therefore chose to retain the original word in some of the following pallages, l'am ther than render it FAIRIES, after M. Mallet.


Tour stags run across the branches of the tree, and devour its rind. There are so many serpents in the fountain whence spring the rivers of hell, that no tongue can recount them, as it is said in these verses. “ The large Alh suffers more than one would believe, “ A ftag eats and spoils it above; it rots on the « fides ; while a serpent gnaws and corrodes it be. *6 low.” And also in these, « Under the great Ash

are many ferpents, &c.They relate belides, that the Fairies, or Destinies who reside near the fountain of the Past, draw up water thence, with which they bedew the Alh, to prevent its branches from growing withered and decayed. Of so purifying a nature is that water, that whatever it touches becomes as white as the film withinside an egg. There are upon this subject very ancient verses, to this effect, “ The great " and facred Ash is besprinkled with a white water, “ whence comes the dew which falls into the valleys, “ and which springs from the fountain of PAST6 TIME.” Men call this the Honey-dew, and it is the food of bees. There are also in this fountain two swans, which have produced all the birds of that fpecięş.


(A) " Administer justice.”] men. The ancient Gothic and' We see in the preceeding fable, Celtic nations for a long time had that the Gods assemble together no other place of rendezvous, than in the open air, in a valley : Here some tree remarkable for its size is their principal residence, under and age. The states of East Friezean Ath-Tree. In this, as in other land, even fo late as the thirteenth things, the Gods are made to con- century, assembled under three forn themselves to the manners of large oaks which grew near Autich; and it is no more than three fairly own, the whole is unintelcenturies ago, that most of the ligible.' One of the translators of German princes held their con

the Edda will have Minis to be ferences under trees t. The aver-' Minos ; I am no more warranted fion these people had for inclosed by reason to oppose him in this, places; the fear of putting them- than he was to entertain such a selves into the power of a perfidi- conceit. oas chieftain, who, fortified in his castle, was stronger than the laws (c) “ The evil Fairies.”] Here and magistrates : and lastly, that we have a compleat theory of ancient impression, not even yet Fairyism. In this passage of the worn entirely out, with which Edda we have the bud and germ their religion had inspired them (as it were) of what the ancient in favour of trees; these are pro- romances * and popular superstibably the causes of the singular tions have so widely branched, custom here alluded to in the and applied to such a variety of EDDA.

things. All the Celtic ' and

Gothic' tribes have had a great (B) “ Do you, or do you not veneration for the Fairies, or Del" understand this ?”] To this I tinies ; and not without reason, can only answer in the negative. since every man's fate or fortune This whole description is most was in their hands. The romanccertainly allegorical. We meet in es inform us, that there were two it indeed with some glimmering kinds of them, the Good and Bad ; rays of light, but they are fo tran- but they distinguish them no farfient and so broken, that one day ther. The three principal, accord


+ Vid. Keysl. Antiq. Sept. p. 78, 79, 80.

T. * The romances in which the Fairies and Destinies are used as Tynonymous, are not those of Gothic origin, but rather the Oriental tales and fables. The Fairies of our own northern ancestors, are properly what are called throughout this work the Dwarfs: whereas our author applies the word Fees (Fairies) in nearly the same sense as the Latin Nymphae and Parcae ; and perhaps this may be the sense in which it is generally used by his countrymen. The Nornne, lowever,

of the Edda, seem to be evidently the same with the Wčird Sija ters, so famous in Gothic History and Romance. See Bartholin. Cause Contempt. Mort.


610. Junii Etymol. Ang. (Verb. WERDE.)


ing to the Edda, are the PRESENT, and sorcerers. We fee, in the the Past, and the FUTURE ; a process or trial of the famous circumftance which is wanting in Maid of Orleans, that she was the Greek fable of the Parcae, and accused of going often to a cerwhich is in itself not badly ima- tain oak in a solitary place, to gined. The Romans, who enlarg- consult the Fairies (Fr. Fees.) ed their heaven, and increased the These Fairies were, I believe, as number of their Gods, in propor- to their origin, deified propheterrion as they extended their en- ses. The Celtic ' and Teutonie pire; having adopted these' north- women had a peculiar talent for

divinitieś, consecrated to improving all sorts of superstition ; them divers monuments, some of and turning every thing into ewhich have been recovered. These mens. Those who had noft dirmonuments agree very well with tinguished themselves in this art, the Edda f. They alınost al- were deified, and became Goddesways present to view three fe- fes after their decease; and as males: the oracles these pro- they had predicted the fate of nounced had rendered them fa- men on earth, were believed still mous. They were especially re- to do it in heaven. forted to at the birth of a child. This error is very ancient. In In many places there were ca- the time of Vespasian, there was, verns, where the prðple fancied according to Tacitus, a female they might enjoy the pleasure of named Velleda, half a Prophetess, their presence, and hear them and half a Fairy, who, from the fpeak. Some places in France re- top of a tower where she lived retain fill the name of the Fair- c!uti, exercised far and near, a JES Oven, the FAIRIES Well, power equal to that of kings. &c. Saxo, the Grammarian, speaks Latè imperitabat are the words of of a chapel, where king Fridlcif the historiair. The most illustriwent to consult them about his ous warriors undertook nothing Jon Olaus, and he adds, that he without her advice, and always saw three young women fitting consecraied to her a part of the there. Sax. l. 6. This fuperfti- booty. V. Tacit. Hift. 1.4 & 5. tion, so general throughout Eu- In general, one may observe, that roje, hath prevailed almost as

the worship paid to women, hath long as that relating to witches always had here in Europe great


* Fr. Celtiques.

# Vid. Keyfi. Ant. p. 33, 270, 396, 446.

advantage over that which was nities have survived all the Gods directed to men. The religious and Genii, both of the Celts and respect which was here paid to Romans, and though at last bathe Fairies or Destinies, is of all nished every where else, have the doctrines of the ancient reli- found a kind of asylum in our gion *, that which hath longest romances. prevailed. These fabulous divi

Fr. La Religion Celtique.

To the instances given by our author (in Note A) of the Go. chic nations assembling under Trees, may be added the following in our own country, viz.

The Wapentake of SKIRE-Ake in the Weft-riding of Yorkshire, is thought to have taken its name from a remarkable Oak, to which the inhabitants repaired upon public occasions, as at a general Convention of the Distria, &c. See Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 84, 150.So Berkshire is thought to have been denominated from BERORE, a bare, or disbarked Oak, to which, upon particular emergencies, the illhabitants were wont, in ancient times, to resort and consult about public matters. Camb. Brit. (by Gibson, 1 Ed. p. 137.) The Translator of this Book knows a Manor in Shropshire, where the ManorCourt is held to this day under a very aged Ash-trec : there the Steward calls over the Copy-holders, and fornis a Jury; and then adjourns the Court to a nсighbouring inn, for the dispatch of business.


Of the Cities which are in Heaveri.

ANGLER says to Har, You tell me very won

derful things; but what are the holy cities to be seen in heaven? Har replies, There are many VOL. II.




« PreviousContinue »