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explanatory of the expressions contained in the Poetical Dictionary. He gave this abridgment the form of a Dialogue, whether in imitation of the ancient northern poets, who have ever chosen this most natural kind of composition, or whether from fome ancient tradition of a conversation fie milar to that which is the subject of the Edda.
This name of EDDA hath frequently exercised the penetration of the etymologists. The most probable conjectures are, that it is derived from an old Gothic word signifying GRANDMOTHER. In the figurative language of the old poets, this term was, ; doubtless, thought proper to express an ancient doctrine. The Edda is preceded by a Preface *, of greater or less extent, according to the different Original Copies, but equally useless and ridiculous in all t. Some people have attributed it to Snorro, and he might perhaps have written that part which contains the same facts that are found in the beginning of his Chronicle; but the rest has certainly been added by some fcholar- un
* Vid. Verel. ad Her RANSON's Latin Version, var. Saga P: 5
at the end of this Volume :
Vid. pag. 275–280. It + The Reader may fee is printed in Italics, to a literal translation of this distinguish it from the EDPREFACE prefixed to Go
known to him; nor do we find it in the manuscript at Upsal, which is one of the most ancient.
I have not translated this abfurd piece; and shall only say, that we are there carried back to the Creation and the Deluge, and thence passing on to the Assyrian Empire, we at length arrive at Troy; where, among other strange circumstances, we find in the heroes of that famous city, the ancestors of Odin, and of the other Princes of the north. We know it has ever been the folly of the western nations to endeavour to derive their origin from the Trojans *. The fame of the siege of Troy did not only spread itself over the neighbouring countries; it extended also to the ancient Celts (and Goths.' The Germans and Franks had probably traditions of it handed down in their historical songs, since their earliest writers deduce from the Trojans the original of their own nations. We owe doubtless to the same cause, the invention of Antenor's voyage to the country of the Vineti f; and of Æneas's arrival in Italy, and the origin of Rome.
This conversation, (described by SNORRO) which a Swedish King is supposed to
* Timagines quoted by Ammianus Marcellinus, refers the origin of the Celts to the Trojans. + Vid. Liv, i. 1. T.
have held in the court of the Gods, is the first and most interesting part of the EDDA. The leading tenets of the ancient“ Gothic ** Mythology are there delivered, not as maintained by their Philosophers, but (which makes an important distinction) by their SCALDS or Poets. By reading it with care, we discover, through the rude and simple stile in which it is composed, more of art and method than could be expected; and such a chain and connection, that I know not whether it can be equalled by any book of Greek or Roman Mythology. It is this part only of the EDDA that I have endeavoured to translate with accuracy, and to elucidate with Remarks. The SECOND PART is likewise in the dialogue form, but carried on between other speakers, and is only a detail of different events transacted among the Divinities. Amidst thefe Fables, none of which contain any important point of the 'Gothic Religion though they are all drawn from that source, I have only selected such as appear to contain some inge-' nuity, or are expressive of manners. At the same time, I have only given a very general idea of them. Let me beg of such as regret this omission, to consider, that what I suppress, would afford them no in
formation, and that pleasure alone can plead for a subject devoid of utility.
In regard to the Poctical Treatise at the end of the EDDA, what I can say of it is confined to fome Remarks, and Examples selected from among the few articles which are capable of being translated. The three pieces remaining of the more ancient EDDA of Sormund deserve our close attention, both on account of their antiquity and their contents. The first, ftiled VOLUSPA, or " Oracles of the Prophetess," appears to be the Text, on which the EDDA is the Comment. In the second, called HAVAMAAL *, or “ the Sublime Discourse,” are found lectures on morality, supposed to have been given by Odin himself. The third is the “ Runic Chapter,” which contains a short system of ancient Magic, and especially of the enchantments wrought by the operation of Runic characters. At the end of the EDDA will be found some account of these three Tracts; it would have been very difficult to have been more diffuse about them.
* Maal or Mall, signi 66 Collocutio. A. S. mæ. nifies SPEECH in the old " lan. 1. ad maela. Icelandic ; nor is the word “ que respondent Goth. unknown in the other dia « MATHLJAN. Huc lects of the Gothic lan « pertinent Lat. Barb. guage. 66 MELL, vet.
66 Mallus & Mallare." Ang. Loqui. Apellynge, Lye apud Jun. Etym.
Some people have maintained that all the Fables of the EDDA were nothing but the offspring of the Author's fancy. This even seems to have been the opinion of the famous HUET. We cannot pardon this learned man for the peremptory air he afsumes in treating on a subject he so little understood as the antiquities of the north. All he has said upon this subject is full of inaccuracies * To suppose that Snorro invented the Fables of the Edda, plainly proves the maintainer of such an opinion, neither to have read that work, nor the ancient historians of the north, of Germany or of England. It shows him to be ignorant of this great truth, which all the ancient monuments and records of these countries; which all the Greek and Roman writers since the sixth century; which the Runic inscriptions, universal tradition, the popular superstitions, the names of the days, and many modes of speech still in
* See his book De l'O- History of Philosophy, afrigine des Romans, p. 116. firms, that one finds enWhat is most astonishing graven on those stones the is, that he pretends to
mysteries of the ancient have himself seen in Den- Religion. This shows mark, the ancient histories how little one can rely of that country, written in upon the accounts given Runic characters on the of one country in another rocks. Another author, that lies remote from it. Mr. DESLANDES, in his