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Now farewel grief, farewel to care, “ To every ill farewel.
“ And see, our Richard, my dear Lord !
- The waters bathe his eye; « O my sweet boy, my only love,
“ When scarce a hope was nigh !"
Then Arthur kiss'd his lovely wife,
And blest his lovely son;
Nor joys the tale be done!
Now I rove Throwildest scenes of strange sublimity, NiAhil's nine worlds, and Surtur's fiery plain, And where upon Creation's uttermost verge, The weary Dwarfs, that bear the weight of Heaven, Hope the long winter that no spring must cheer, And the last sound that from Heimdaller's trump Shall echo thro' all worlds, and sound the knell Of earth and heaven.
A strange and savage faith Of mightiest power!
The mythology of Scandinavia, the religion of our Gothic ancestors, has, more than any other code of polytheism, a claim to our particular attention. With it is connected a considerable portion of our annals, and the manners, customs, poetry and laws, not only of this island, but of nearly the whole of Europe, have, in a great degree, derived
their form and colour from this wild and singular system of fabling. Chivalry, gallantry, and romantic fiction are more peculiarly the children of the North, and many of the impressive superstitions which delight imagination in the Tales of the Trouveurs, and in the works of our elder bards, and even still linger in the popular, may with little difficulty be traced to the pages of the Icelandic Edda.
Modern poetry, however, seems to have drawn few embellishments from this ample store-house of imagery; from Dryden to Gray rare are the features which bear any resemblarice to the sublime paintings of scaldic fancy, To the latter, it must be allowed, we are indebted for the introduction into lyric poetry of some very splendid and terrific strokes, the immediate offspring of the Edda, and his imitations froin the Norwegian, in words that breathe and burn, place before our eyes two of its noblest fictions ; but this fortunate commencement has not hitherto stimulated many to pursue a similar path. Two or three odes by Penrose, Sterling and Bruce, the Arthur of Hole and the Sketches of Sayers, a few imitations by Mathias, and the translations of Percy, Downman and Cottle form, I believe, nearly a complete list of our attempts to introduce the Scandinavian mythology
One principal reason why these efforts have failed, though under the conduct of great poetical powers, has been owing to the ob. scurity which time has thrown over the doctrines of the Edda. Hence the beautiful Sketches of Sayers, and many admirable de scriptions in Arthur are little relished or understood by the common reader. To render poetry of this description interesting, and to impart a taste for its imagery and allusions, it is necessary that the fictions and manners on which it is constructed should be familiar. It has been found essential, in order to enter into the spirit of the Classics of ancient Greece and Rome, to study accurately their mythology, history and customs, and many works written in a popular and elegant manner, and therefore well calculated to facilitate this preFiminary knowledge, have been published in various languages. Now, with regard to the fables and religion of the Goths, we possess
but one production which, from its fulness and authenticity, can be safely taken for a guide. From the Introduction to the History of Denmark by M. Mallet, or rather from this work as translated, and under the title of “ Northern Antiquities,” greatly improved by the corrections of Dr. Percy, almost every information requisite to a perfect intimacy with the Edda or gothic system of religion, may be acquired. Thirty years, however, having elapsed since these volumes appeared, they are now with difficulty obtained, nor are they, when procured, from their form and elaboration, adapted for general perusal. The Lovers.of English poetry, indeed, seem at the present period, as little to relish the imagery drawn from this source as previous to the publication of the work, and those who have lately indulged in a display of the bold fictions of the Goths have done it at the risque of being unintelligible, and therefore neglected.
As I am confident, however, that a knowledge of the religion and manners of the ancient inhabitants of Scandinavia is alone wanting to induce a taste for these ingenious