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Scandinavia?. I forbear to accumulate a pedantic parade of authorities on this occasion: nor can it be expected that I should enter into a formal and exact examination of this obscure and complicated subject in its full extent, which is here only introduced incidentally. I will only add, that Scotland and Ireland, as being situated more to the north, and probably less difficult of access than Britain, might have been objects on which our northern adventurers were invited to try some of their earliest excursions: and that the Orkney-islands remained long under the jurisdiction of the Norwegian potentates.
In these expeditions, the northern emigrants, as we shall prove more particularly below, were undoubtedly attended by their scalds or poets. Yet even in times of peace, and without the supposition of conquest or invasion, the Scandinavian scalds might have been well known in the British islands. Possessed of a specious and pleasing talent, they frequented the courts of the British, Scottish, and Irish chieftains. They were itinerants by their institution, and made voyages, out of curiosity, or in quest of rewards, to those islands or coasts which lay within the circle of their maritime knowledge. By these means, they established an interest, rendered their profession popular, propagated their art, and circulated their fictions, in other countries, and at a distance from home. Torfæus asserts positively, that various Islandic odes now remain, which were sung by the Scandinavian bards before the kings of England and Ireland, and for which they received liberal gratuities". They were more especially caressed and rewarded at
9 It is conjectured by Wormius, that cedes the period of legitimate history. Ireland is derived from the Runic Yr, a Their migration to Scotland has been bow, for the use of which the Irish were referred with great probability to the once famous. Lit. Run. c. xvii. p. 92. earlier part of the fourth century. But The Asiatics near the lake Mæotis, from the origin of the Picts, their language, which Odin led his colony in Europe, the etymology “of the names of places were celebrated archers. Hence Hercules and persons over that part of Scotland in Theocritus, Idyll. xiii. 56.
which they inhabited,” is a subject which -Μαιωτισι λαβων ευκασμια τοξα.
divides the opinions of Scottish anti.
quaries. See Mr. Chalmers's Caledonia, Compare Salmaz. de Hellen. p. 369. and Dr. Jamieson's Etymological ScotAnd Flahert. Ogyg. Part. iii. cap. xviii. tish Dictionary (Introduction).-Edit.] p. 188. edit. 1685. Stillingfleet's Orig. * Torf. Hist. Orcad. in Præfat. (See Brit. Præf. p. xxxviii.
the Sagas of Egill, and Gunnlaug [The Celtic population of Ireland pre- Ormstunga.—Edit.]
the courts of those princes, who were distinguished for their warlike character, and their passion for military glory.
Olaus Wormius informs us, that great numbers of the northern scalds constantly resided in the courts of the kings of Sweden, Denmark, and Englands. Hence the tradition in an antient Islandic Saga, or poetical history, may be explained; which says, that Odin's language was originally used, not only in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but even in England'. Indeed it may be naturally concluded from these suggestions, that the Scandinavian tongue became familiar in the British islands by the songs of the scalds: unless it be rather presumed, that a previous knowledge of that tongue in Britain was the means of facilitating the admission of those poets, and preparing the way for their reception. .
And here it will be much to our present argument to observe, that some of the old Gothic and Scandinavian superstitions are to this day retained in the English language. MARA, from whence our Night-mare is derived, was in the Runic theology a spirit or spectre of the night, which seized men in their sleep, and suddenly deprived them of speech and motion“, NICKA was the Gothic demon who inhabited the element of water, and who strangled persons that were drowning". Boh was one of the most fierce and formidable of the Gothic generals *, and the son of Odin: the mention of whose name was sufficient to spread an immediate panic among his enemies '. * Lit. Dan. p. 195. ed. 4to.
language of the antient Angles, who + Bartholin. iii. 2. p. 651. It was a settled in the more northern parts of Enconstant old British tradition, that king gland. And in this dialect, which inArthur conquered Ireland, Gothland, deed prevailed in some degree almost Denmark, and Norway. See Galfrid. over all England, many other poems are Monum. ix. 11. Rob. of Glouc. ed.' composed, mentioned likewise in WanHearne, p. 180. 182. What is said in ley's Catalogue. (See the Preface to the text must have greatly facilitated the this edition. Edit.] It is the constant Saxon and Danish conquests in England. doctrine of the Danish historians, that The works of the genuine Cædmon are the Danes and Angles, whose successors written in the language of the antient gave the name to this island, had the same Angles, who were nearly connected with origin. the Jutes. Hence that language resem See Keysler, Antiquitat. Sel. Sepbled the antient Danish, as appears from tentrional. p. 497. edit. 1720. passages of Cædmon cited by Wanley. * See Keysler, ut supr. p. 261. And Hence also it happened, that the later in ADDEND. ibid. p. 588. Dano-Saxonic dialect, in which Junius's * See Keysler, ibid. p. 105. p. 130. POETICAL PARAPHRASE OF GENESIS was y See Temple's Essays, part 4. pag. written, is likewise so very similar to the
The fictions of Odin and of his Scandinavians, must have taken still deeper root in the British islands, at least in England, from the Saxon and Danish invasions.
That the tales of the Scandinavian scalds flourished among
946. See also instances of conformity numents are found in Persia near Tauris. between English and Gothic supersti- [See the “ Voyages de Chardin,” p. 377. tions in Bartholinus, L. ii. cap. 2. p. 262. ed. 1686. 12mo. It is astonishing, that
It may be urged, that these super- after the most evident proofs of these stitions might be introduced by the stone monuments being the production Danes; of whom I shall speak below. of our northern ancestors, writers will But this brings us to just the same point. persist without any authority whatever The learned Hickes was of opinion, from in calling them Druidical.-Douce.] [It a multitude of instances, that our trial is also “ astonishing,” that with such by a jury of Twelve, was an early Scan “evident proofs" of their existence in dinavian institution, and that it was almost every part of Europe and Asia, brought from thence into England. they should be exclusively assigned Yet he supposes, at a period later than either to “our northern ancestors, is necessary, the Norman invasion. See their Celtic antagonists. The occurWootton's Conspectus of Hickes's The rence of such monuments in Cornwall, saur. pag. 46. Lond. 1708. And Hickes. where the Saxons only obtained a footing Thesaur. Dissertat. Epistol. vol. i. at a very late period, and in those parts p. 38. seq. The number TWELVE was of Ireland which were frequented by sacred among the Septentrional tribes. neither Saxons nor Scandinavians, clearly Odin's Judges are TWELVE, and have forbids the assumption of their Teutonic TWELVE seats in Gladheim. Edd. Isl. origin; while their name (Thing-stadar), fab. vii. The God of the Edda has and the purpose to which they were apTWELVE names, ibid. fab. i. An Aristo- plied in the North of Europe, may recracy of TWELVE is a well known antient ceive an illustration from the page of establishment in the North. In the Dia- Homer: logue between Hervor and Angantyr,
Κήρυκες δ' άρα λαόν έρήτυον· οι δε γέροντας the latter promises to give Hervor TWELVE
Eίασ' επι ξεστοίσι λίθοις, ιερώ ένι κύκλο. MEN'S DEATHS. (He gives her that which
II. xviii, 503. is to be the death of twelve men--the sword Tirfing.--Edit.] Hervarar-Saga, These “sacred circles" in the North apud Ol. Verel. cap. vii. p. 91. The were not only used as places of public Druidical circular monuments of sepa- assembly, but were the scenes of all jurate stones erect, are more frequently of dicial proceedings. From a passage in the number TWELVE, than of any other the 67th chapter of Egills-Saga, there number. See Borlase, ANTIQUIT. Cornw. is reason to believe, that they were also B. iii. ch. vii. edit. 1769. fol. And made the theatres of the "trial by battle." Toland, Hist. Druid. p. 89. 158. 160. The Irish antiquaries consider them to See also Martin's Hebrid. p. 9. In have been places of public worship. Zealand and Sweden, many antient cir * Magh-Adhair, a plain of adoration, cular monuments, consisting each of where an open temple consisting of a twelve rude stones, still remain, which circle of tall straight stone pillars with a were the places of judicature. My late very large flat stone called Crom-leac, very learned, ingenious, and respected serving for an altar, constructed by the friend, doctor Borlase, pointed out to Druids and similar to that in Exodus me monuments of the same sort in Corn xxiv. “And Moses ...... builded an altar wall. Compare Keysler, p. 93. And under the hill, and twelve pillars, acit will illustrate remarks already made, cording to the twelve tribes of Israel." and the principles insinuated in this O'Brian in voc.-EDIT.) Geoffrey Dissertation, to observe, that these mo- of Monmouth affords instances in his
the Saxons, who succeeded to the Britons, and became possessors of England in the sixth century, may be justly presumed 2. The Saxons were originally seated in the Cimbric Chersonese, or those territories which have been since called Jutland, Angelen, and Holstein; and were fond of tracing the descent of their princes from Odina. They were therefore a part of the Scandinavian tribes. They imported with them into England the old Runic language and letters. This appears from inscriptions on coins", stones“, and other monuments; and from some of their manuscriptsd. It is well known that Runic inscriptions have been discovered in Cumberland and Scotland: and that there is even extant a coin of king Offa, with a Runic legendo. But the conversion of the Saxons to christianity, which happened before the seventh century, entirely banished the common use of those characters f, which were esteemed unhallowed and necromantic; and with their antient superstitions, which yet prevailed for some time in the popular British History. The knights sent into Anglo-Suecico-Latin. Præf. pag. 21. Wales by Fitzhammon, in 1091, were See Hickes's Thesaur. BAPTISTETWELVE. Powel, p. 124. sub anno. See RIUM BRIDEKIRKENSE. Par. ii. p. 4. also an instance in Du Carell, Anglo Tab.ii. Saxum REVELLENSE apud Scotos. Norman Antiq. p. 9. It is probable that Ibid. Tab. iv. pag. 5.-Crux LAPIDEA Charlemagne formed his TWELVE PEERS apud Beaucastle. Wanley Catal. MSS. on this principle. From whom Spenser Anglo-Sax. pag. 248. ad calc. Hickes. evidently took his Twelve Knights. Thesaur. ANNULUS AUREUS.
Drake's [In the poem of Beowulf twolf York, Append. p. 102. Tab. N. 26. wintra tid,' the time of twelve winters, And Gordon's Itin. Septentr. p. 168. is evidently a mere epic form of expres
See Hickes's Thesaur. Par. i. page sion to denote an indefinite period. It 135. 136. 148. Par. iii. Tab. 1. 2. 3. 4. is like the forty days of the Hebrews, 5. 6. It may be conjectured, that these the ivõuap of the Iliad, the
eleven of Piers characters were introduced by the Danes. Plowman. This number therefore ought It is certain that they never grew into not to be interpreted too literally, un common use. They were at least inconless supported by the context.-EDIT.] venient, as consisting of capitals. We
2 « Ex vetustioribus poetis Cimbro- have no remains of Saxon writing so old rum, nempe Scaldis et Theotiscæ gentis as the sixth century. Nor are there any versificatoribus, plane multa, ut par est of the seventh, except a very few charters. credere, sumpsere.” Hickes. Thesaur. i. (Bibl. Bodl. NE. D. 11. 19. seq.] See p. 101. See p. 117.
Hickes's Thesaur. Par. i. page 169. See a See Gibson's Chron. Saxon. p. 12. also CHARTA ODILREDI AD MONASTEseq.
Historians mention Women's RIUM DE BERKING. Tab. i. Casley's Cat. Beorth, i, e. Woden's hill, in Wilt- Bibl. Reg. In the British Museum. shire. See Milton, Hist. Engl. An. 588. See ARCHÆOL. vol. ii. p. 131. A.D.
See Sir A. Fountaine's Pref. Saxon 1778. 4to. Money. Opra. Rex, Sc. Botren Mo f But see Hickes, ubi supr. i. p. 140. NETARIUS, &c. See also Serenii Diction.
belief, abolished in some measure their native and original vein of poetic fablings. They suddenly became a mild and polished people, addicted to the arts of peace, and the exercise of devotion; and the poems they have left us are chiefly moral rhapsodies, scriptural histories or religious invocations". Yet even in these pieces they have frequent allusions to the old scaldic fables and heroes. Thus, in an Anglo-Saxon poem on Judith, Holofernes is called BALDER, or leader and prince of warriors. And in a poetical paraphrase on Genesis, Abimelech has the same appellation'. This Balder was a famous chieftain of the Asiatic Goths, the son of Odin, and supposed to inhabit a magnificent hall in the future place of rewards. The same AngloSaxon paraphrast, in his prosopopaia of Satan addressing his companions plunged in the infernal abyss, adopts many images and expressions used in the very sublime description of the Eddic hell": Henry of Huntingdon' complains of certain extraneous words and uncommon figures of speech, in a Saxon ode on a victory of king Athelstan. These were all scaldic expressions or allusions. But I will give a literal English translation of this poem, which cannot be well understood without premising its occasion. In the year 938, Anlaff*, a pagan
6 It has been suggested to me by an Jated below. See Sect. i. p. 2. See also ingenious friend, that Guy and Sir Bevis, the description of the city of Durham. the first of which lived in the reign of Hickes, p. 179. It has nothing of the Athelstan, and the latter, as some sup- wild strain of poetry. The saints and pose, in that of Edgar, both christian relics of Durham church seem to have champions against the pagan Danes, were struck the poet most, in describing that originally subjects of the genuine Saxon city. I cannot discern the supposed subbards. But I rather think, they began limity of those mysterious dithyrambics, to be celebrated in or after the crusades; which close the Saxon MENOLOGE, or the nature of which expeditions dictated poetic calendar, written about the tenth to the romance-writers, and brought into century, printed by Hickes, Gramm. vogue, stories of christians fighting with Anglo-Sax. p. 207. They seem to be infidel heroes. The cause was the same, prophecies and proverbs; or rather, and the circumstances partly parallel ; splendid fragments from different poems, and this being once the fashion, they thrown together without connection. consulted their own histories for heroes, See Hickes. Thesaur. i. p. 10. Who and combats were feigned with Danish adds many more instances. giants, as well as with the Saracen. See Fab. xlix. See Hickes, ubi supr. infr. Sect. iii. p. 145. 146. 147. There p. 116. is the story of Bevis in British, YsTORI 1 Who has greatly misrepresented the Bous o HAMTUN. Lhuyd's Arch. Brit. sense by a bad Latin translation. Hist. p. 264.
lib. v. p. 203. Except an ode on Athelstan, trans * [See Mr. Turner's History of the