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mon to the Greek and the Barbarian, it is impossible not to perceive the fragments of a belief brought from some earlier seat of empire, and which neither could have been imported into Hellas and Western Europe by a new dynasty of kings, nor communicated by a band of roving minstrels. In the illustrations they have received during the long course of their preservation, and under circumstances so varying as all the public and private events that fill the histories of these countries, there will of course be many particulars exhibiting little affinity with each other, and which taken separately may seem to deny this community of their origin. But even these, when carefully examined, will be mostly found to resolve themselves into distinctions arising from a difference of national character, or corruptions produced by some later change in national institutions; and the most discordant will hardly afford a stronger contrast in their lineaments, than the physical differences displayed in the conformation of the human frame, upon the shores of the Ægean Sea and the banks of the Frozen Ocean. In Greece, like every thing else which has been exposed to the refining taste of that extraordinary people, they will all be found submitted to the same plastic norm which fitted the bard's “thick-coming fancies” for the studies of the sculptor: and in modern Europe, a new religion, in attempting to curtail their influence or obliterate the remembrance of them, has more or less corrupted the memorials of their attributes. It is to the latter that we must more particularly look for an explanation of those anomalies, which not only appear to contradict our recollections of antiquity, but occasionally to exhibit the popular faith as being at variance with itself. It will scarcely need remark, that the introduction of Christianity among the nations of the West, must speedily have effected a change in general opinion, as to the right, and the degree, in which these imaginary divinities were commissioned

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to exert a power over the destinies of man. But so gradual were the successes of the triumphant faith over this particular branch of the ancient creed, that although the memory of “ Thunaer, Wodan, and Saxnote",” (?) is scarcely distinguishable among the documents of several centuries, a continued belief in the agency of their subordinate associates still maintains its sway over every sequestered district of Northern Europe. Perhaps the sweeping clause which was to embrace the whole of this fraternity, and who were far too numerous to

7 Such are the names of the three account for the difference of orthodivinities mentioned in the Francic pro- graphy. That they occupied the same fession of faith published by Eccard. rank in the respective mythologies of Francia Orientalis, vol. i. p. 440. Ek the two great Teutonic stocks, is conforsacho. ... Thunaer ende Woden, firmed by the days named after them. ende Saxnote, end allem them unhol. In England we have had successively dum the hira genotas sint. I renounce Wodnes-dag and Wednesday (prout (forsake) Thunaer and Wodan and Wensday). In Denmark it has been Saxnote, and all those impious (spi- Odins-dagr and Oens-dag. It was from rits) that are their associates. The this circumstance, in all probability, namc of Saxnote has been a stumbling- coupled with the notion of Wodan's or block to the critics, and appears likely Odin's psychopompic duties, that the to remain so. In its present condition Romans were induced to consider him the word has certainly no intelligible as the same deity with their own Mermeaning, and, if correct, refers to a deity cury. In an Etruscan patera published of whom no other trace exists. The by Winkelmann and afterwards by usual interpretation, Saxon Odin, is a Lanzi, this god is seen weighing the mere conjecture, and certainly not a souls of Memnon and Achilles; which happy one. The same may be said of would afford another reason for the Mr. A. W. Schlegel's emendation (In- supposed affinity. But the worship of dische Bibliothek, p. 256.) of Saxmote Odin as supreme God, like that of Dioor assembly of the Saxons, at which nysus in his mysteries, and perhaps of they celebrated heathen festivals, and Osiris (see Zoega De Usu Obeliscorum), which is as objectionable on the score appears to have been a comparatively of grammar as the decried Saxnote. recent feature in the Northern creed. One remarkable circumstance in the Thunaer, Thor, was the Thunderer, and present text is, that Thunaer and Wodan held the same precedence in Norway, are not inflected, while the conjunction the last refuge of his worship, that he has gained the very addition in which does in the Francic renunciation. The they are defective. It is to be regretted day consecrated by his name was also that no one has consulted the original the Northern sabbath. There is so document since the publication of the much affinity between some parts of first transcript.-It is difficult to under. the history of Odin, Dionysus, and stand why this formulary should be made Osiris, that the name of either might be the foundation of a theory, that Wodan substituted in the respective accounts of and Odin are distinct personages. The Snorro, and the several writers on well-known practice of the Scandinavian Greek and Ægyptian mythology, withdialects, which suppresses the aspirate out violating the general truth of the in all those words that in the cognate recital. tongues begin with a w, will sufficiently

be specifically named, either admitted of an accommodating latitude in the interpretation, or was taken with considerable mental reservation. However this may be, we shall have no difficulty in believing that the expounders of the new religion were rarely free from those impressions which, imbibed in early infancy, the reason vainly struggles to eradicate in after life, and of which it may be said, that however little they generally appear to govern our external conduct, they always maintain their ground in the recesses of the mind. Few could have been bold enough to assert that the memorials of the past, and the alleged experience of the present, had no better foundation than the terrors and caprice of an over-heated imagination, or those illusions of the sense which owe their existence to disease or defective organization. Many must have retained a lurking conviction of the truth of their former belief; and even where this was not the



which had been so successfully wielded in crushing the rule of Wodan, could only be exerted with diminished effect; since the same day which heard the proofs of his identity with the Evil One, also witnessed the suppression of that ceremonial which alone ensured the permanency of the public faith. . On the other hand, the superstitions of the forest, the mountain, or the domestic hearth, were attended with but few rites, and those of such a nature as to be easily concealed from the general eye. The divinities addressed were mostly local, either attached to particular places, persons, or things, and only petitioned or deprecated in matters of private interest. And however forcibly it might be urged that their interference in human affairs was only prompted by the machinations of Satan; yet as this was nothing better than a change of name in the cause, without denying the effect, and no equivalent agency was made to supply its place, these arguments only tended to corrupt without extirpating the obnoxious opinions. The consequence of such a

temporizing system, ---but which, with reference to the state of society that it was called upon to influence, contains more practical wisdom than it has usually received credit for,—was a gradual amalgamation of the ancient and established faith. In those documents approaching nearest to the æra of a nation's conversion, such as the oldest Icelandic Sagas, we find the mention of these domestic deities attended with no diminution of their power, or derogation from their former rank. In later periods they are chiefly noticed to mark the malignancy of their disposition, or to ridicule their impotent pretensions, and occasionally they are brought forward to bear their reluctant testimony to the superiority of the dominant faith. From this source have emanated those recitals which exhibit to us either dwarfs or fairies expressing a desire of procuring the baptismal rite for their infant offspring; and those corruptions of a still later age, which represent their condition as only seemingly felicitous, and the joys and marvels of their subterranean abodes, as the mere varnished exterior of misery and filth 78. It is true, where the stream of tradition has continued pure, we still find them spoken of as the beneficent friends and protectors of mankind; as still in the enjoyment of their attributes and pleasures, their gardens of ever-blooming verdure, their adamantine palaces, their feasts, their revelry, their super-earthly and entrancing music. The Gael indeed has condemned his Daoine Shi' to the hollow mockery of these delights; but the Cymry, more faithful to the tenets of his ancestors, believes his Tylwyth Têg to be in the continuance of their former rights and happiness, which the folly

79 Perhaps to these ought to be added of the Northumbrian dwarf, who hoped “the paying the kane to hell;" but if, for an ultimate though remote salvation, as it is believed, the whole fairy system See notes to the Lady of the Lake. he but another name for the ancient The better portion of the ancient demons demonology, the fine may be explained were souls in a progressive advancement upon other principles. The same argu- towards perfection, and on their return ment will then apply to the declaration to their celestial birth-place,

alone of the human race has deprived the present generation from sharing in

There will be no necessity for entering minutely into those embellishments of popular fiction, which owe their existence to a general belief in the powers of magic, sortilege, and divinations. The conformity of practice between the ancient and modern world in their application of these several arts has been generally acknowledged, and no exclusive theory has obtained to account for the mode of their transmission. Warton indeed has observed, that “the Runic (Northern) magic is more like that of Canidia in Horace, the Romantic resembles that of Armida in Tasso :" but this is an artificial distinction, which had no existence in the popular creed, however much it may seem to be authorized by the documents to which he has referred. The magic of the North (like the poetry in which it is found) may in a great degree be considered as only a genial reflex of the practices of daily life; since many of the records preserving it were written at a period when the

79 See Grahame's Sketches, &c. quoted the cattle-spayer of Finland publicly in the notes to the Lady of the Lake, chaunts the Runic rhyme, at the present and Davies's Celtic Mythology, p. 156. day, with the same assurance of its s. It may be right to caution the efficacy with

which the epode was sung by reader against a very common error, in the priests of Pergamus and Epidaurus. which the motives that gave rise to the Comp. Pind. Pyth. iii. 91. These arts, practice of magic and divination have like their names, bore once a sacred been confounded with the criminal character ; and however much they abuses that sprang from their use in may have been made to minister to the later times. Poor human nature has follies and vices of the multitude, in frailties enough to answer for, without their decried and degraded state, they ascribing to its “malignitythe inven are clearly referable in their origin to tion of magic rites and ceremonies, one of the most exalted principles of our Nothing can be more clear in this im. nature, or (to use the language of Proportant chapter of the history of the metheus) were first resorted to daiporry buman mind, than that the invocation agos ñdovno (Æsch. P. V. v. 494.). Their and the charm have regularly descended history may tend to confirm the axiom, from the exploded liturgies of the tem. -that the religious usages of one age ple; and that the discarded mantle of often become the superstition of a sucinfant science has “rested on” the ceeding one: but it will also teach the wizard and the crone. The beldame more consolatory doctrine, that the imwho mutters the spell over the bruise or pulses of the human heart may be the wound, only practises the same ho- founded in error, without necessarily nourable “craft" which proved the involving either malignity or crime. divine descent of the Asclepiades; and

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