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alluded in another work*, and which may be said to have incorporated, with great vigour of imagination, the entire system of Scandinavian mythology.
accompanying the Valkeries, when engaged in fulfilling the commands of Odin.
“ From these beautiful divinities, so they were once esteemed, who bestrode the sightless coursers of the air,' was most probably derived in subsequent times (with grief be it spoken) the degrading idea of witches riding upon broomsticks. At least, so soon as Christianity began to prevail, (vide Mallet's Northern Antiq. v. ii. p. 101, Transl.) severe edicts were promulgated in different kingdoms against those who travelled through the air in the night-time. The belief in such nocturnal flights, scarcely yet exploded among our country people, was the fashionable creed in the days of James the First. Had our aerial navigators started into existence a century or two sooner, they might possibly have exercised that monarch's sagacity how to bring them within the letter of the law.
“ A wild boar, whose flesh was daily renewed, supplied the heroes in Valhalla with food, after their revival from having cut each other in pieces. We are not, however, to suppose that this peculiar mode of diversion was institutedt for their amusement only. These heroes were selected, on account of their distinguished valour, as assistants to the gods at that future period of time predicted in the Edda, when the evil genii should burst from their different confinem ments to wage war against them, and the destruction of all things ensue. On this account, it is said, their arms were buried with them.”-HOLE.
* Shakspeare and his Times, vol. ii. p. 549, note.
Of these portraitures, the first presents the god to his worshippers under the attitude of calm and majestic sublimity.
A still more striking delineation of Odin is given
in the following lines, where he is brought before us in the exercise of his most terrific functions:
From Valhalla's courts, . Conspicuous, arm'd in steel, with clashing noise, The god of war came striding over clouds, A pillar huge of fire; likest a storm O'ershadowing heaven, pregnant with sulph'rous flame. His golden shield beam'd like the setting sun; His dreadful sword was in his hand ; his look Might withér armies; and upon
his crest Death say, too terrible to view.-B. ix. *
* As a specimen of the calm beauty, philosophic dignity, and tenderness of thought, which pervade a large portion of this extensive and elaborate poem, I must beg leave to quote the following lines, being a part of the meditations of Alfred, in his seclusion beneath the cottage roof of the neat-herd, and under the persuasion that his queen had fallen a sacrifice to the savage fury of his enemies.
Ye stars, or beamy worlds, that hang on high
Reverting, however, to the poem of Mr. Hole, we find Valdemar, animated to enthusiasm by the
First form’d, must needs surpass in wisdom, might,
appearance of Odin, summoning his warriors to be ready to take the field by dawn of day; whilst Hacon, jealous of his authority, refuses to acknowledge him as superior in command, and declares that he will march beneath no other banner than his own. Valdemar, anxious to preserve unanimity, yields up his claim, and admits Hacon to an equality of power, and to a perfect independence as to the marshalling and regulation of his own forces. The priests of Odin are then described as offering, during the night, sacrifices to that deity, whilst one of them, instigated to prophetic ecstasy by the suggestions of Urda, declares that Arthur shall never
Thou livest still; thy pure angelic mind,