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use, all unanimously depose, viz. That before the times of Christianity all these parts of Europe worshipped Odin and the Gods of the EDDA.
Nevertheless, if it were necessary to anfwer an objection, which the bare perusal of the EDDA alone, and the Remarks I have added, will sufficiently obviate; the reader need only cast his eyes over fome Fragments of Poetry of the ancient northern SCALDS, which I have translated at the end of this book: He will there find, throughout, the fame Mythology that is set forth in the EDDA; although the authors of these pieces lived in very different times and places from those in which Sæmund and Snorro flourished.
These doubts being removed, it only remains to clear up such as may arise concerning the fidelity of these different tranflations. I freely confess my imperfect knowledge of the language in which the EDDA is written. It is to the modern Danish or Swedish languages, what the dialect of Ville-hardouin, or the Sire de Joinville is to modern French *. I should have been frequently at a loss, if it had not been for
the aslistance of Danish and Swedish verfions of the EDDA, made by learned men skilful in the old Icelandic tongue. I have not only consulted these translations, but by comparing the expressions they employ with those of the original, I have generally ascertained the identity of the phrase, and attained to a pretty strong assurance that the fense of my text hath not escaped me. Where I suspected my guides, I have carefully confulted those, who have long made the EDDA, and the language in which it is written, their peculiar study." I stood particularly in need of this assistance, to render with exactness the two fragments of the more ancient EDDA, namely, the SUBLIME DisCOURSE OF ODIN, and the RunIC CHAPTER; and here too my labours were more particularly aflisted. This advantage I owe to Mr. ERICHSEN, a native of Iceland, who joins to a moit extensive knowledge of the antiquities of his country, a judgment and a politeness not always united with great erudition. He has enabled me to give a more faithful translation of those two pieces than is to be met with in the EDDA of RE
I am however a good deal indebted to this last. J. P. RESENIUS, professor and magistrate of Copenhagen towards the end of the last century, was a laborious and learned
man, who in many works manifested his zeal for the honour of letters and of his country. He published the first edition of the EDDA, and we may, in some respects, say it is hitherto the only one. This edition, which forms a large quarto volume, appeared at Copenhagen in the year 1665, dedicated to King Frederick III. It contains the text of the EDDA, a Latin translation done in part by a learned Icelandic priest, named MAGNUS OLSEN or OLAï, and continued by TORFAE US; together with a Danish version, by the historiographer STEPHEN OLAï, and various readings from different MSS.
With regard to the text, Resenius hath taken the utmost care to give it correct and genuine. He collated many MSS. of which the major part are still preserved in the royal and university libraries; but what he chiefly made the greatest use of, was a MS. belonging to the King, which is judged to be the most ancient of all, being as old as the thirteenth, or at least the fourteenth century, and still extant. Exclusive of this, we do not find in the edition of Refenius any critical remarks, calculated to elucidate the contents of the EDDA. In truth, the Preface seems intended to make amends for this deficiency, since that alone would fill a volume of the fize of this book; but, ex
cepting a very few pages, the whole con fifts of learned excursions concerning Plato, the best editions of Aristotle, the Nine Sybils, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, &c.
From the manuscript copy of the EDDA preserved in the university library of Upsal, hath been published a few years since, a fecond edition of that work. This MS. which I have often had in my possession, feems to have been of the fourteenth century. It is well preserved, legible, and very entire. Although this copy contains no effential difference from that which Refenius has followed, it notwithstanding afforded me assistance in some obscure paffages ; for I have not scrupled to add a few words to supply the sense, or to suppress a few others that seemed devoid of it, when I could do it upon manuscript authority : and of this I must beg my readers to take notice, whenever they would compare my version with the original: for if they judge of it by the text of Resenius, they will frequently find me faulty, since I had always an eye to the Upsal MS. of which Mr. SOLBERG, a young learned Swede, weil versed in these subjects, was so good as to furnish me with a correct copy. The text of this MS. being now printed, whoever will be at the trouble, may easily fee, that I have never followed this new light, but
when it appeared a surer guide than Rese-
Notwithstanding these helps, it must be ;
* The Latin Version of coarseness of the Latinity.