Page images


This fable is remark Wodan (fays Paulus Diaable upon many accounts. conus. Rer. Langobard. It throws great light upon 1: I. c. 3.) . quem, adjeéta one of the principal doc litera Guodan dixere, ab trines of the ancient reli- univerfis Germaniæ genti$gion of Europe *;' and in bus, ut Deus adoratur. particular, confirms what Confult, on this subject, Tacitus tells us; concern

Pelloutier Hist. des Celing the idea which the Ger tes, tom. ii. p. 74. & seq. mans entertained of the Supreme God: Regnator om (A) " He hath twelve nium deus, cætera

subjecta at " names.”] These twelve que parentia. Germ. c. 39. names are enumerated in The Germans and Scandi the Edda; but I did not navians at first called this chuse to interrupt the text divinity, Tis, Tuis or Teut, with a list of such harsh a word to which the Gauls and unusual sounds: I added that of Tad, or Tat, shall therefore give them which fignifies Father here for the curious, toat this day in the British gether with some conjeclanguage. (v. Rostrenen tures that have been made Diction. Celt. : p. 712.) by the learned concerning We fee in the Edda that their fignifications. 1. Althe name of Father was fader (the Father of all.) also given him by the 2. Herian (the Lord, or Scandinavians. In future rather, the Warrior.) 3. ages, and doubtless after Nikader (the supercilious.) the time of Tacitus, thefe 4. Nikuder (the God of the people accuftomed them fea.) 5. Fiolner (he who selves to call him by an knoweth much.) 6. Omi appellative name, God, or (the sonorous.) 7. BiGuodan, i.e. The Goop: flid (the agile, or nimble.) This, by degrees, they 8. Vidrer. (the munifichanged into Odin, cent.): 9. Suidrer (the which the Anglo-Saxons exterminator.) pronounced

WODAN. dur (the destroyer by fire.)

10. Sui

[merged small][ocr errors]

I shall give many


11. Ofki (he who chufes upon most of these points, such as are to die.) 12. was much the same with Salkir (the happy, or what we have read in the blessed. The name of text.

Alfader is what occurs proofs of this below. most frequently in the EDDA, I have translated (c) “ He was then it Universal Father. " with the giants.”] It

is not easy to translate the (B) “ To display his original word. The'Go“ glory.”] These are thic* nations had Giants important questions; but and Spirits of many difthe answers are still more ferent orders, which we remarkable. From their want terms to distinguish, conformity with the chri Those mentioned in the ftian doctrines, one would text are called in the oribe tempted to believe that ginal Icelandic Rymthuse, Snorro had here embel from the word Rym, Frost, lished the religion of his and Thuss, a Giant or SaPagan ancestors, by bring- tyr. We shall see preing it as near as possible fently the origin of this to the Gospel, if we did denomination. With renot find the same unfolded spect to the word Thuss, System literally expressed it may serve to show, by in the VOLUSPA, a poem

the bye, the conformity of undoubted antiquity, of thinking between the and which was composed • Gothic and' Celtic nalong before the name of tions, upon

the Christianity was known most trivial subjects. The in the north; and also if Gauls, as well as the the same system were not northern nations, becontinually referred to in lieved the existence of the every other place of the Thulses, and gave them EDDA. But what ought the same names. Only to remove every remain the Thusses, or Satyrs of ing doubt, is that we the Gauls, seem to have know from other proofs, been somewhat more dir. that the belief of the Go posed to gallantry than

thic and' Celtic nations those of the north; which



[ocr errors]

* Les Celtes. Fr, Orig.


we Thall not be surprized peared in ages so little
at. Many of the fathers metaphysical as those, a
of the church speak of the thing incomprehensible or
Arange liberties which impoffible. I shall only
these gentry took with remark, that of all the
women : They called systems we know, that of
them in Latin Dusii. St. the ancient Persians bears
Augustin, in particular, the greatest resemblance
tells us, he had been af to this of the EDDA. I
sured by so many persons shall have occafion more
that those beings fought a than once to repeat this
commerce with women, observation, which con-
and seduced them; that firms what has been ad-
none but an imprudent vanced by some of the
person could pretend to learned, That the Goths
disbelieve it. De Civit. 6 and’ Celts were former,
Dei, 1. 15. C. 23. If it ly the same people with
were not for incurring the Persians.
this imputation, I should Is it not fingular, that
have been tempted to look all those who have treated
upon these stories as only of the religion of these
so many excuses, which people, should have given
love inyents to cover the themselves so much trou-
faults it induces frail fe ble to guess at what they
males to commit.

thought concerning the

creation of the world, and (D) All was one vast should at length conclude '.« abyss.”] It will not, that they could know noI hope, be expected of thing about it, but what me here, that I should

was very uncertain; when heap together all the paf at the same time, they had fages of Greek and Latin at their elbow an authen-. authors, which are analo tic book, which offered gous to this in the text. them a detail of almost Nobody is ignorant of all the particulars they them. Almost all the an could desire to know? I cient sects agree in the cannot help making this doctrine of the Primitive reflection, in its utmost Chaos. To create Mat extent, upon reading what ter out of Nothing, ap

the learned Abbé Banier



hath published concerning hereafter, contained in the religion of the Gauls, them some truth, the inthe Germans, and the na

terpretation of which they tions of the north.

reserved to themselves.

This is confirmed by Cæ(E) “ NIFLHEIM, or far and others, ' concern" Hell.”] The original ring the Gauls;' and word “ Niflheim," figni needs no other proof here fies in the Gothic lan than the mysterious and guage, the abode of the fignificant name which is wicked, or more literal

given to every thing. Şo ly, Evil-home.

much for the Hell

of the by this description of Hell, Celtic and Gothic' nahow much the genius of tions, on which I shall the ancient northern po make no farther remarks éts and philosophers * in at present, because they clined them to allegory; will occur more naturally and it is very probable on many occasions herethat almost all the fables after. that we fhall meet with

We fee,

[merged small][ocr errors]

* Des entiens Philosophes Celtes. Fr. Orig.



Of the burning World, and of Surtur.


HEN Thridi opened his mouth and

said, Yet, before all things, there existed what we call 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, cometh from ** the South. A rolling Sun beams from « his sword. The Gods are troubled;

men tread in crouds the paths of death; “ the Heaven is split asunder.” But, says Gangler, What was the state of the world, before there were families of men


the earth, and before the nations were formed ?


« PreviousContinue »