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Of these portraitures, the first presents the god to his worshippers under the attitude of calm and majestic sublimity.
Th' irradiate sky, by swift degrees display'd,
Glory and light, as of a thousand suns,
Burst through the blue meridian vault, and soon
Aloft, in sight of all, through brilliant clouds
On each hand parting from the splendid frame,
Descended smooth a mighty chariot, roll'd
Magnific, as of gold or living fire.
Its gorgeous wheels, flashing purpureal rays,
Upraised on high a concave blazing dome,
Within whose vast recess, sublime enthroned,
Sat a majestic shape, conspicuous; clothed
As in einpyreal armour, and his brows
Girt with a tow'ring crown, celestial bright.
Awful he sat, nor seem'd in power and state
Less than a god; as with almighty arm
He rein'd the furious tigers, whose huge forms,
Floating terrific through the radiant air,
Drew his resplendent pomp. Beside him hung
His dazzling shield stupendous, and in range
Of trophied grandeur countless lances shone,
While his right arm upheld a flamy spear
High-eminent, which as a signal beam'd
To thousand shapes of lineament divine,
Who in refulgent train attendant moved
After th' imperial car.-B. v.
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 wither armies; and upon his crest Death sat, 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
Amid blue fields of air, shining in scenes
Confineless in extent, before whose dome
The roofs of earthly kings are mockeries,
Ye speak with full and unconfuted voice
Some pre-existent Sire, some vital soul,
Whose power first made, and still unceasing rules
The structure of these heavens, and all the worlds
That beam afar throughout unbounded space.
These, Reason tells, no mortal hand could frame,
In compass like, in order such, so fair,
In grandeur so sublime :--the Power who these
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,
And goodness, sense of creature's intellect;
Infinite as unspeakable; that made
All we behold around, systems of worlds
Stretching beyond weak fancy's utmost flight,
Of which this earth is but a humble part.
The good man's life connects this earth with heaven,
And from this troubled scene he slides with ease
Into a happier and more perfect state.
Death has thus lost his terrors: and the good
Sees here the dawn of being and new life.
The soul divine, exercised and prepared
In goodness, and whose native seat is heaven,
Will there assume its own untainted bliss,
Immortal and unchangeable of ill,
Winging its way, free from material check,
To share unfading happiness in scenes
Of endless beauty and variety,
Among angelic shapes and blessed spirits
More various than men's minds, or stars, or flowers,
Delights unspeakable as unconceived,
Around the present throne of the Supreme,
In still ascending scale, progressive joys,
More, and more happy, through eternal time,
As such good spirit shall permitted know
Divinity, and of his gifts partake.
Oh! there, thou dearest partner of my soul,
Image of goodness, lost, departed saint,
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 equa
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,
Clothed in a form of beauty ev'n on earth,
From this low world's impure and suffering strife,
Has been removed to meet society
Of beings like thyself, fair, kind, and good,
To dwell in happy realms, where never tears,
Nor pain, nor fear, can enter, but where all
Is perfect peace :
Oh! if, through favour of the good Supreme,
I where thou art may e'er aspire to be,
In thy immortal purity ev’n thou
Again wilt own me : there our sacred love
We will retain ; and heaven itself to me
Shall be more happy from thy presence there.
sway the British sceptre, until, violating every tie of concord, the most renowned of the northern heroes
Plant in each other's breast the deadly wound, an announcement which seeming to afford them a sure presage of victory, they rush forward in two columns to meet the British army.
Towards night, Lancelot and his forces are beheld approaching in the distant horizon, and Hacon, infuriated by the sight, advances instantly to attack them ; but Valdemar, well acquainted with the bravery and determination of the British warriors, arrests his course, and advises postponing the engagement until the morning, when the sun may be a witness of their might; and Hacon's reluctant assent to this proposition, the suggestion of prudence and experience, closes the fourth book.