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"the wife of another; and when you "find yourself among robbers.


"Do not accuftom yourself to mocking; neither laugh at your guest, or a "ftranger: they who remain at home, "often know not who the ftranger is that "cometh to their gate.

"Where is there to be found a virtuous man without fome failing? or one fo "wicked as to have no good quality?

"Laugh not at the gray-headed de"claimer, nor at thy aged grandfire. "There often come forth from the wrin"kles of the fkin, words full of wisdom.

The fire drives away difeafes: the oak "expels the ftranguary: ftraws diffolve in"chantments*: Runic characters deftroy "the effect of imprecations: the earth "fwallows up inundations; and death extinguishes hatred and quarrels."

*Hence probably is derived the cuftom of laying two straws croffwife in the path where a witch is expected to come.




HESE Fragments of the Ancient EDDA are followed, in the Edition of Refenius, by a little Poem called, The RUNIC CHAPTER, or the MAGIC OF ODIN. I have before observed, that the Conqueror, who ufurped this name, attributed to himfelf the invention of Letters; of which, they had not probably any idea in Scandinavia before his time. But although this noble art is sufficiently wonderful in itself, to attract the veneration of an ignorant people towards the teacher of it: yet Odin caused it to be regarded as the ART of MaGIC by way of excellence, the art of working all forts of miracles: whether it was that this new piece of fallacy was fubfervient to his ambition, or whether he himself was barbarous enough to think there was fomething fupernatural in writing. He fpeaks, at least in the following Poem, like a man who would make it fo believed.


Do you know (fays he) how to engrave Runic characters? how to "explain them? how to procure them? "how to prove their virtue?" He then goes on to enumerate the wonders he could


perform, either by means of thefe letters, or by the operations of poetry.

"I am poffeffed of fongs: fuch as nei"ther the spouse of a king, nor any fon " of man can repeat; one of them is called "the HELPER: it will HELP thee at thy “need, in sickness, grief and all adver"fities.

"I know a Song, which the fons of men "ought to fing, if they would become "skilful physicians.

"I know a Song, by which I foften " and inchant the arms of my enemies and render their weapons of none effect.

"I know a Song, which I need only to fing when men have loaded me with "bonds; for the moment I fing it, my "chains fall in pieces, and I walk forth at "liberty.

"I know a Song, useful to all mankind; "" for as foon as hatred inflames the fons of "men, the moment I fing it they are ap"peased.

Barthol. p. 658;

+ Ibid. p. 347.

"I know a Song, of fuch virtue, that "were I caught in a ftorm, I can hush "the winds, and render the air perfectly "calm."

One may remark upon this laft prerogative of the verfes known to Odin, that. among all the Gothic and' Celtic nations, the Magicians claimed a power over the Winds and Tempefts. Pomponius Mela tells us, that in an island on the coaft of Bretagne (he probably means the Ifle of SAINTS, oppofite to Breft) there were priefteffes, feparated from the rest of the people, who were regarded as the Goddeffes of Navigation, because they had the winds and tempefts at their difpofal. There are penal ftatutes in the Capitularies of Charlemagne, in the canons of feveral councils, and in the ancient laws of Norway, against fuch as raise ftorms and tempefts; Tempef tarii is the name there given them. There were formerly of these impoftors on the coafts of Norway, as there are at present on thofe of Lapland, to whom fear and fuperftition were long tributary. Hence filly travellers have, with much gravity,. given us ridiculous accounts of witches who fold wind to the failors in those feas. It is no less true, that the very Norwegian fisher


mên would long fince have forgotten that fo foolish an opinion had ever existed, if foreign mariners, who were not difabused like them, did not often come to buy their wind of them, and pay them money for being the objects of their ridicule.

The Miffionaries and firft Bishops, were early in their endeavours to root out this pernicious weed from the foil where they wished to plant the Gofpel. They attacked the Pagan religion with all forts of weapons. As they were often fo credulous as to believe the falfe miracles of Paganism, they were weak enough to oppose them with others, that were no whit better, except in the purity of the intention. In an old Icelandic Chronicle *, we meet with a bishop laying a ftorm with Holy-water, and fome other ceremonies. But to proceed on with the difcourfe of Odin:

"When I fee, fays he, Magicians tra"velling through the air, I difconcert "them by a fingle look, and force them "to abandon their enterprize." He had before spoken of these aerial travellers.

"If I fee a man dead, and hanging * aloft on a tree, I engrave Runic charac

K. Oloff Trygguafon Saga, c. 33. + Barthol. p. 641.


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