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VOLUSPA. “ At the beginning of time, when noth. “ing was yet formed, neither shore, nor sea, nor “ foundations beneath; the earth was no where to be “ found below, nor the heaven above : All was one " valt abyss (D), without plant or verdure." Jafnhar added, Many winters before the earth was made, Nijheim (e) or Hell was formed, and in the middle of it is a fountain named Hvergelmer. From this fountain run the following rivers, Anguish, the Enemy of Joy, the Abode of Death, Perdition, the Gulph, the Tempest, the Whirlwind, the Bellowing and Howling, the Abyss. That which is called the Roaring runs near the gates of the Abode of Death.
REMARKS ON THE FIRST FABLE.
This fable is remarkable upon also given him by the Scandinavimary accounts. It throws great ans. In future ages, and doubtless light upon one of the principal after the time of Tacitus, these doctrines of the ancient religion people accustomed themselves to ated in thc Edda; but I did not was composed long before the chuse to interrupt the text with a name of Christianity was known list of such harsh and unusual in the north; and also if the same sounds : I shall therefore give them system were not continually referhere for the curious, together with red to every other place of the some conjectures that have been Edda. But what ought to remove made by the learned concerning every remaining doubt, is that we their significations. 1. Alfader know from other proofs, that the (the Father of all.) 2. Herian belief of the · Gothic and Celtic (the Lord, or rather, the Warrior.) nations upon most of these points, 3. Nikader (the supercilious.) 4. was much the same with what we Nikuder (the God of the sea.) 5. have read in the text. I shall give Fiolner (he who knoweth much.) many proofs of this below. 6. Omi (the sonorous.) 7. Biflid (the agile, or nimble.) 8. Vidrer (c) « He was then with the gi(the munificent.) 9. Suidrer (the “ ants."] It is not easy to tranexterminator.) 10. Suidur (the late the original word The destroyer by fire.) 11. Oski (he · Gothic *' nations had Giants and who chufes such as are to die.) 12. Spirits of many different orders, Salkir (the happy, or bleffed.) The which we warit terms to distinname of Alfader is, what occurs guish. Those mentioned in the most frequently in the EDDA, I text are called in the original Icehave translated it Universal Fatber. landic Rymtbufe, from the word
of Europe * ;' and in particular, call him by an appellative name, confirms what Tacitus tells us, Gol, or Guodan, i. e. The Good : concerning the idea which the This, by degrecs, they changed inGermans entertained of the Su- to ODIN, which the Anglo-Saxons preme God: Regnator omnium deus, pronounced WODAN. Wodan, cætera fubje&ta atque parentia. Germ. (says Paulus Diaconus. Rer. Lanci 39. The Germans and Scandli- gobard. 1. I. C 3.) quem, adjecta linavians at first called this divinity, tera Guodan dixere, ab universis GerTis, Tuis, or Teut, a word to maniæ gentibus, ut Deus adoratur.which the Gauls added that of Consult, on this subject, Pelloutier Tad, or Tat, which fignifies Fa- Hist. des Celtes, tom ii. p. 74. & THER at this day in the British feq. language. (v. Rofrenen Diction. Celt. p. 712.) We see in the Ed- (A) “He hath twelve names."] da that the name of Father was These twelve names are enunier
ated Fr. La Religion Celtique.
Rym, Froft, and Thuss, a Giant or (B) « To display his glory.”] Satyr. We shall see presently the These are important questions; origin this denomination. With but the answers are still more re- respect to the word Tbuss, it may markable: From their conformity serve to show, by the bye, the conwith the christian doctrines, one formity of thinking between the would be tempted to believe that • German and Gaulish people, even Snorro had here embellished the upon the most trivial subjects. The religion of his Pagan ancestors, by Gauls, as well as the northern na: Ďringing it as near as poffible to tions, believed the existence of the the Gospel, if we did not find the Thufes, and gave them the fanie fame unfolded system literally ex- names. Only the Tbusjes, or Sapressed in the Voluspa, a poem of tyrs of the Gauls, seem to have undoubted' antiquity, and which been fomewhat more disposed to
gallantry' * Les Celtes. Fr. Orig. 7. Gothic and Celtic. First Edit.
gallantry than those of the north; this of the EDDA. I shall have which we shall not be surprized occasion more than once to repeat at. Many of the fathers of the this observation, which confirms church speak of the strange liber- what has been advanced by some ties which these gentry took with of the learned, That the · Goths women : They called them in La- and' Celts were formerly the cin Dufii. St. Augustin, in parti- fame people with the Persians. cular, tells us, he had been assured Is it not singular, that all those by so many persons that those be- who have treated of the religion ings fought a commerce with wo- of these people, shonld have given nien, and seduced them; that none themselves so much trouble to but an imprudent person could guess at what they thought conpretend to disbelieve it. De Civit. cerning the creation of the world, Dei, l. 15. C. 23. If it were not and should at length conclude that for incurring this imputation, I they could know nothing about it, should have been tempted to look but what was very uncertain ; upon these stories as only so many when at the same time, they had excuses, which love invents to co- at their elbow an authentic book, ver the faults it induces frail fe- which offered them a detail of almales to commit.
most all the particulars they could
desire to know? I cannot help (D) “ All was one vast abyss.”] making this reflection, in its utIt will not, I hope, be expected of most extent, upon reading what me here, that I should heap toge- the learned Abbé Banier hath puther all the passages of Greek and blished concerning the religion of Latin authors, which are analo- the Gauls, the Germans, and the gous to this in the text. Nobody nations of the north. is ignorant of them. Almost all the ancient sects agree in the doc- (2) “ Niflheim, or Hell.”] trine of the Primitive Chaos. To The original word " NiAbeim," create Matter out of Nothing, ap- significs in the Gothic language, peared in ages fo little metaphysi- the abode of the wicked, or more cal as those, a thing incomprehen- literally, Evil-home. We see, by fible or in possible. I fall only this description of Hell, how much remark, that of all the systems we the genius of the ancient norknow, that of the ancient Persians thern poets and philosophers * inbears the greatest resemblance to clined them to allegory; and it is VOL. I. B
very * Des anciens Philofophes Celtes. Fr. Orig.
very probable that almost all the mysterious and significant name fables that we shall meet with, which is given to every thing. So hereafter, contained in thein some much for the Hell.of the Celtic truth, the interpretation of which and Gothic' nations, on which I they reserved to themselves. This shall make no farther remarks at is confirmed by Cæsar and others present, because they will occur •concerning the Gauls ;' and needs more naturally on many occasions no other proof here than the hereafter.
THE SECOND FABLE.
of the burning World, and of Surtur.
WHEN Thridi opened his mouth and said, Yet,
before all things, there existed what we cali Muspelsheim (A) It is a world luminous, glowing, not to be dwelt in by strangers, and situate at the extremity of the earth. Surtur, (the Black) holds his empire there. In his hands there shines a flaming -sword. He shall come at the end of the world ; he shall vanquish all the Gods, and give up the universe a prey to flames. Hear what the VOLUSPA says of him. “ Surtur, filled with deceitful stratagems, com" eth from the South. A rolling Sun beams from " his sword.' The Gods are troubled ; men tread in “ crowds the paths of death; the Heaven is split a. “ funder." But, says Gangler, What was the state of the world, before there were families of men upon the earth, and before the nations were formed? Har answered him. The rivers, called Elivages, flowed so far from their sources, that the venom which they rolled along became hard, like the scoria of a furnace when it grows cold. Hence was formed the ice ; which stopped and flowed no more. Then all the ve.
nom that was beginning to cover it, also became frozen : And thus many strata of congealed vapours were formed, one above another, in the vast abyss. Jafnhar added : By this means that part of the abyss which lies towards the north, was filled with a mass of gelid vapours and ice ; whilst the interior parts of it were replete with whirlwinds and tempests
. Directly op, posite to it, rose the south part of the abyss, formed of the lightnings and sparks which flow from the world of fire. Then Thridi proceeded, and said ; By this means a dreadful freezing wind came from the quarter of Nifheim, whilst whatever lay opposite to the burning world was heated and enlightened. And as to that part of the abyss which lay between these two extremes; it was light and serene like the air in a calm. A breath of heat then spreading itself over the gelid vapours, they melted into drops ; and of these drops were formed a man, by the power of him who governed (B). This man was named YMIR ; the Giants call him Aurgelmer. From him are descended all the families of the Giants; according to that of the Voluspa ; " The prophetesses are all come of Vit
tolfe, the spectres of Vilmode, and the Giants of Y“ MIR." And in another place; “ The rivers Eliva
ges have run drops of poison; and there blew a “ wind, whence a Giant was formed : From him came " all the families of the Giants.". Then spake Gangler, and said, How did this family of Ymir spread itself? Or do
believe that he was a God? Jafnhar replied, we are far from believing him to have been a God; for he was wicked, as were all his pofterity. Whilft
, he slept, he fell into a sweat, and from the pit of his left arm were born a male and female. One of his feet begot upon the other a fon, from whom is defcended the race of the Giants, called from their ori. ginal, the Giants of the Frost (c).