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was necessary to explain some obscure passages, and to point out the use which might be made of others: I could easily have made a parade of much learning in these notes, by laying under contribution the works of Bartholin, Wormius, Verelius, Amkiel, Keysler, Schutze, &c. but I have only borrowed from them what appeared absolutely necessary; well knowing, that in the present improved state of the republic of letters, good sense hath banished that vain ostentation of learning, brought together without judgment and without end, which heretofore procured a transitory honour to so many persons laboriously idle.
I am no longer afraid of any reproaches on that head: One is not now required to beg the reader's pardon for presenting him with a small book. But will not some object, To what good purpose can it serve, to revive a heap of puerile fables and opinions, which time hath so justly devoted to oblivion? Why take so much trouble to dispel the gloom which envelopes the infant state of nations ? What have we to do with any but our own cotemporaries ? much less with barbarous manners, which have no sort of connection with our own, and which we shall happily never see revive again? This is the language we now often hear. The major part of mankind, confined in their views, and averse to labour, would fain persuade themselves, that whatever they are ignorant of is useless, and that no additions can be made to the stock of knowledge already acquired. But this is a stock which diminishes whenever it ceases to increase. The same reason which prompts us to neglect the acquisition of new knowledge, leads us to forget what we have before attained. The less the mind is accustomed to exercise its faculties, the less it compares objects, and discovers the relation they bear to each other. Thus it loses that strength and accuracy of discernment which
are - its best preservatives from error. To think of confining
studies to what one may call mere necessary truths, is to expose one's self to the danger of being shortly ignorant of those truths themselves. An excess and luxury (as it were) of knowledge, cannot be too great, and is never a doubtful sign of the flourishing state of science. The more it occasions new researches, the more it confirms.and matures the preceding ones. We see already, but too plainly, the bad effects of this spirit of economy, which, huttful to itself, diminishes the present stock of knowledge, by imprudently refusing to extend it. By lopping off the branches which hasty judgments deem unprofitable, they weaken and impair the trunk itself. But the truth is, it would cost some pains to discover new facts of a different kind from what we are used to; and therefore men chuse to spare themselves the trouble, by continually confining themselves to the old ones. Writers only show us what resembles our own manners. In vain hath nature varied her productions with such infinite diversity. Although a very small movement would procure us a new point of view, we have not, it seems, either leisure or courage to attempt it. We are content to paint the manners of that contracted society in which we live, or perhaps of only a small part of the inhabitants of one single city; and this passes, without any opposition, for a compleat portrait of the age, of the world, and of mankind. It is a wonder if we shall not soon bring ourselves to believe, that there is no other mode of existence, bụt that in which we ourselves subsist.
And yet there never was a time when the public was more greedy after novelty: But where do men for the most part seek for it? In new combinations of ancient thoughts. They examine words and phrases through a microscope : They turn their old stock of books over and over again : They resemble an architect who should think of building a city, by erecting
successively different houses with the same materials. If we would seriously form new conclusions, and acquire new ideas, let us make new observations. In the moral and political world, as well as in the natural, there is no other way to arrive at truth. We must study the languages, the books, and the men of
every age and country; and draw from these the only true sources of the knowledge of mankind. This study, so pleasant and so interesting, is a mine as rich at it has been neglected. The ties and bands of connection, which unite together the different nations of Europe, grow every day stronger and closer. We live in the bosom of one great republic (composed of the several European kingdoms) and we ought not to despise any of the means which enable us to understand it thoroughly; Nor can we properly judge of its present improved state, without looking back upon the rude be.' ginnings from which it hath emerged*.
The Translator hath con- been useless in an English Vercluded this Introduction in a man- sion, and had spoke of his work ner somewhat different from his with a degree of diffidence, which author, as he had taken occasion could now be spared, after it has to give some Remarks on the received such full applause from Freach Language, that would have the Public.
N. B. RESENIUS's Edition of the EDDA, &c. corisists properly of Three distinct Publications : The FIRST contains the whole EDDA : Viz. not only the XXXIII FABLES, which are here translated ; but also the other FALLES (XXIX in number) which our Author calls in pag. 183. the Second Part of the EDDA, though in the original they follow without interruption ; and also the Poctical Dictionary described below in pag. xx. and 141, which is most properly the SECOND PART of the EDDA. (vid. p. xix.)
The Title Page of this wbole Work is as follows,
“ Edda ISLANDORUM An. Chr. M.CC.XV Islan. icé Conscripta per SNORRONEM STURLÆ Islandia Nomophylacem, Nunc primum ISLANDICE'DANICE, et LATINE' ex Antiquis Codicibus MSS. Bibliothecæ Regis et Aliorum in lucem prodit, Opera et Studio PETRI RESENIJ. J. V. D. Juris ac Ethices Professoris Publ. et, Consulis Hayniensis, &c. HAVNIÆ, M.DC.LX.V." 4to.
The SECOND Work is thus intitled,
66 PHILOSHOPIA Antiquissima Norveg 0-DANICA dicta Voluspa, quæ est pats. EDDÆ SÆMUNDI, EdDA Snorronis non brevi antiquioris, ISLANDICE' et LATINE' publici juris primum facta à PETRO JOH. RESENIO. &c. HAVNIÆ M.DC.LXV.” 4to.
The THIRD Piece is intitled thus,
“ ETHICA ODINI pars EDDÆ SÆMUNDI vocata Raavamal, una cum ejusdem Appendice appellato a Runa Capitule, multis exoptata nunc tandem ISLANDICE et LATINE' in lucem producta est, per PETRUM JOH. RESENIUM, &c. HAVNIÆ 1665,” 4to.
E D DA,
M Y T H O L OG Y.
The Vision of Gylfe: and Illusions of Har.
TORMERLY in Sweden reigned a king named
GYLFE, who was famous for his wisdom and tkill in magic. He beheld with astonishment, the great respect which all his people shewed to the Newcomers from Asia; and was at a loss whether to attribute the success of these strangers to the superiority of their natural abilities, or to any divine power refident in them. To be fatisfied in this particular, he resolved to go to ASGARD (A), disguised under the appearance of an old man of ordinary rank. But the Asiatics were too discerning not to see through his Vol. II.
design ; * The original is Æfirnir, ( Afe) which fignifics either Gods or Afin