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retained this custom longer than “ Seats for themselves.”] These most other people. All the, an- Judges were Twelve in number. cients affure us, that the priests a- Was this owing to there being mong the Gauls were arbiters, not Twelve primary Deities among only of private differences but c- the 'Gothic nations *, as there ven of national disputes : that they were among the Greeks and Rodisposed of controverted goods, mans ? This I shall not take upori excommunicated thecontumacious, me to decide : but I think orie and inflicted death upon the guil- may plainly observe here the first ty. Who could help trembling traces of a custom, which hath exbefore governors, who, to speak tended itself to a great many other in the language of the Edda, dis- things. Odin, the conqueror of tributed justice in the name of the the north, established a supreme Supreme God? In effect, both court in Sweden, composed of Cæsar and Tacitus inform us that Twelve Members, to affift him in among the Germans, none but the the functions of the priesthood and Priests had a right to inflict pe- civil government. This doubtless nalties; and this, not in the nanie gave rise to what was afterwards of the Prince or People, but in the called the Senate. And the fanie name of the God of Armies, in the establishment in like manner took name of tha: God, who had ap- place in Denmark, Norway, and pointed them Governors. (V. other northern states. These SeTacit. Germ. c. 7. Cæsar. I. 6.) nators decided in the last appeal all Hence it was that these nations, differences of importance; they when they embraced christianity, were, if I may say so, the Affeffors were beforehand fo disposed to at- of the Frince; and were in aumtribute to the Christian Priests ber Twelve; as we are expressly and Bishops that unlimited and informed by Saxo, in his life of supernatural power; and to have king Regner Lodbrog. Nor are for their decifions that implicit other monuments wanting, whichi fubmission, as well as the blind re- abundantly confirm this truth. We verence for their persons, which find in Zealand, in Sweden near · have been so long the misfortune Upsal, and, if I am not mistaken; and disgrace of humanity. in the county of Cornwal also,
large stones, to the amount of (c) “ Whercin are Twelve Twelve, ranged in the form of a
circle, Les Celtes. Orig.
circle, and, in the midst of them, the names of the former. Men one of superior_height. Such, in who rendered themselves illustrithose rude ages, was the Hall of ous by some noble invention, or Audience; the stones that formed by their attachment to the worthe circumference, were the feats fhip of the Gods,received the names of the senators, that in the middle of those Gods after their decease; she throne of the king, The like and it was a long time before the monuments are found also in Per- following ages thought of distinfia, near Tauris. Travellers fre- guishing the one from the other. quently meet there with large cir- Among our Scythian ancestors, cles of hewn stones; and the gra- the first men who found out a dition of the country reports, that mine of gold, or any other metal; these are the places where the and knew how to work that Crous, or Giants, formerly held metal, and make something ornatheir councils. (Vid. Chardin's mental out of it, were doubtless Travels into Perfia, Vol. III. p. regarded as divine persons. A
.) I think one may discover mine discovered by chance, would vestiges of this ancient custom, in cafily afford and furnish out that the fable of the Twelve Peers of flight magnificence; of which France, and in the establishment the Edda has here preserved a of Twelve Jurymen in England, faint remembrance. ! who are the proper Judges, according to the ancient laws of (E) “ Dwell ... among the that country. T.'
“ rocks.”] This passage deserves
attention. We may discover here Named the Golden one effect of that ignorant preju" Age.”] This Golden Age of dice, which hath made us for fo the Edda is not worthy to be many years regard all arts and compared with that of the Greek handicrafts, as the occupation of poets ; but in return, it may per- mean people and saves. Our haps have this advantage over the Celtic and Gothic ancestors, other, that it is not altogether whether Germans, Scandinavians without real existence. There is or Gauls, imagining there was no doubt but this Mythology, like something magical, and beyond all others, perpetually confounds the reach of man in • mechanic' the natural Deities, with those skill and industry, could scarcely persons who were only deified by believe that an able artist was one men, and to whom were ascribed of their own species, or descended VOL 11. E
from the fame common origin. ther swords, nor conjuration: This, it must be granted, was a could make any impression. They very foolish conceit; but let us were possessed of caverns, full of consider what might pollibly faci- treasure, intirely at their own dif.. litate the entrance of it into their posal. This, to observe by the minds. There was perhaps some bye, hath given birth to one of neighbouring people, which bor- the Cabalistic doctrines, which is dered upon one of the Celtic or perhaps only one of the branchesGothic' tribes; and which, al- of the ancient northern theology*. though less warlike than them. As the dwarfs were feeble, and but selves, and much inferior in of small courage; they were supstrength and stature, might yet, posed to be crafty, full of artifice excel them in dexterity, and ad- and deceit. This, which in the dicting themselves to manual arts, old romances is called DISLOYALmight carry on a commerce with ty, is the character always given them sufficiently extensive, to have them in those fabulous narratives. the fame of it spread pretty far. All these fancies having received All these circumstances will agree the seal of time and universal conwell enough with the Laplanders: sent, could be no longer contested ; who are still as famous for their and it was the business of the magic, as remarkable for the low- poets to assign a fit origin for such ness of their stature; pacific, even ungracious beings. This was done to a degree of cowardice; but of in their pretended rise from the a mechanic.industry, which for- dead carcase of a great Giant. merly must have appeared very The Dwarfs at first were only the considerable. The storics that maggots, engendered there by its were invented concerning this putrifaction : afterwards the Gods people, passing through the mouths bestowed upon them understand. of fo many ignorant relators,would ing and cunning. By this fiction foon acquire all the degrees of the the northern warriors justified marvellous, of which they were their contempt of them, and at fufceptible. Thus the Dwarf's the same time accounted for their foon became, (as all know, who small stature, their industry, and have dipt but a little into the an- their supposed propensity for in'cient romances) the forgers of en- habiting caves and clefts of the chanted armour, upon which nei- rocks. After all, the notion is
* La Tbeologie-Celtique. Fr. Orig.
every where exploded that persuaded of their exiftence. In there are in the bowels of the Iceland, at this day, the good folks earch · Fairies t', or a kind of shew the very rocks and lills, in dwarfish and tiny beings, of hu- which they maintain that there man shape, remarkable for their are swarnis of these small subterriches, their activity and malevo- raneous men, of the most tiny size, lence. In many countries of the but most delicate figures. north, the people are still firmly
+ I have, in this one place of the translation, applied the word FAIRIES, in our comnion English notion of it :-But our author has generally, throughout this work, used the French word Fees, (i. e. FAIRIES) to signify, not the little imaginary dwarfish beings, to which we appropriate the word; but to express the Fates or Destinies; or those inferior female Divinities that are assigned to watch over the lives and fortunes of individuals.- In this he seems rather to have had an eye to the Oriental fables, than to those of genuine Gothic origin : however, the duty of a translator requiring me to follow him, I beg leave here to apprize the reader of this our author's application of the word.
THE EIGHTH FABLE.
Of the Holy City, or Residence of the Gods.
ANGLER demanded : Which is the capital of I the Gods, or the sacred city? Har answers, it is under the Alh Ydrasil; where the Gods afsemble every day, and administer justice (A).
But, iays Gangler, What is there remarkable with regard to that place? That Ash, says Jafner, is the greatest and best of all trees. Its branches extend themselves over the whole world, and reach above the heavens. It hath three roots, extremely diftant from each other :
the one of them is among the Gods; the other as inong the Giants, in that very place where the abyss was formerly ; the third covers Niflheim, or Hell ; and under this root is the fountain Vergelmer, whence flow the infernal rivers : this root is gnawed upon below by the monstrous ferpent Nidhoger. Under that root, which stretches out towards the land of the Giants, is also a celebrated spring, in which are concealed Wisdom and Prudence. He who has pofsession of it is named Mimis ; he is full of wisdom, because he drinks thereof every morning. One day the Universal Father came and begged to drink a cup
of this water ; but he was obliged to leave in it one of his eyes, according as it is said in the Vo
“ Where haft thou concealed thine eye, « ODIN? I know where; even in the limpid foun“ tain of Mimis. Every morning does Mimis pour “ Hydromel (or Mead) upon the pledge he received " from the Universal Father. Do
you not, understand this? (B).” The third root of the Ash is in heaven, and under it lies the holy fountain of TIME-PAST. ?Tis here that the Gods fit in judgement. Every day they ride hither on horseback, passing over the Rainbow, which is the bridge of the Gods. These are the names of the horses of the Gods: Sleipner is the best of them; he hath eight feet, and he belongs to Odin. The others are Glader, Gyiler, &c. The horse of the God Balder, was burnt along with his master. As for Thor, he goes on foot to the tribunal of the Gods, and fords the rivers Kormt, Gormt, &c. All these is he obliged to cross every day on foot, in his way to the Ash Ydrasl; for the Bridge of the Gods is all' on fire. How comes it to pass, interrupted Gangler, that the Bridge Bifrost is on fire ? That, says Har, which you fee red in the Rainbow, is the fire which burns in heaven: for the Giants of the mountains would climb up to heaven