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Ye hags of darkness, be it yours to know
* “Olaus Magnus concludes his account of the military exercises of the old Scandinavians in the following manner: * Tales erant, ut eis nullus labor insolitus, nullus locus asper, aut arduus erat, non armatus hostis formidolosus, non mors ipsa errorem eis incutere valuit; adeo ut quandoque in duello morientes soluto in risum ore per summam doloris dissimulationem spiritum reddiderint. L. 15. c. 16.Quintus Curtius relates (1.7. c. 10.) that Alexander, having condemned to death some Sogdian prisoners, the inhabitants of a country adjacent to ancient Scythia, was surprised at their testifying great joy by dancing and singing, and demanded the reason of it. They informed him, that to perish by the ignoble (the same sentiment prevailed among the Goths) was disgraceful; but to be restored to their forefathers by so illustrious a conqueror caused them to celebrate their fate by dancing, and singing their customary songs. This peculiar mode of defying or welcoming death strongly resembles the ferocious contempt which the North American
It is only necessary to add, as the concluding event of this book, that Inogen, the instant she is
Indians display at its approach. Many instances of the kind are given by Bartholine. He mentions (l. 1. c. 5) a Danish princess, who, though her husband was slain before her face, and her son transfixed with spears, neither grew pale at the approach of death, nor changed the serenity of her countenance; but with her last breath resolutely declared that the shedding her blood should cause the destruction of her enemies. A warrior being taken prisoner, and offered his liberty, rejected it; but gratefully acknowledged his enemy's generous indulgence, in permitting him, according to his request, to be burnt alive with some of his particular friends. Another endures unmoved the sharpest torments; answers with great composure his enemies' interrogatories, and talks with the same cheerfulness as if sitting at a banquet. Another, while his intestines were pulling out, is said not to have uttered a single groan. Bartholine quotes in a different chapter (l. 1. c. 10.) the epicedium, which he sung while suffering the most grievous torments It is much in the same style with Lodbroc's well known ode, and like that, in several places, greatly resembles the death-song of a Canadian savage. It appears probable, that the Norwegians, (vide Mallet's Hist. of Denmark, v. 1. c. 11.) in the tenth and eleventh centuries, discovered that part of America, and made frequent voyages to it. To suppose that so peculiar a mode of setting death and their enemies' cruelty at defiance originated from those adventurers who settled there, and in process of time might have been incorporated with the original inhabitants, would be too
freed from the embrace of Hengist, by the appearance of the Danish monarch, bounds away through the forest, terror giving wings to her speed. We now return, at the opening of the seventh and last book, to the hero of the poem, whom we had left at the close of the fifth eagerly pursuing the unfortunate Waldemar, until that chieftain and his infuriated steed were lost, as might came on, in the shades of Celidon. Arthur, now finding every effort to overtake his enemy for the present unavailing, gives up the pursuit, determined that, when morning dawns, the forest shall no longer conceal him from his vengeance. In the mean time, himself and his courser being nearly exhausted by their exertions, he anxiously looks round for a place of shelter and repose, and, at length, meets both beneath the friendly thatch of a shepherd.
hazardous a conjecture. A similarity between the customs of barbarous nations is no proof of their being descended from the same race of people; yet where the resemblance is singular and striking, as in the above and following instance, it may not appear unworthy notice, though no particular inference can be drawn from it. The old Scythians, according to Herodotus (l. 4.) made cups of their enemies' skulls, and carried their scalps about them, as marks of their valour and emblems of victory. It is well known that the Indians in North America consider the latter in the same light. The Goths, who are generally allowed to be descended from the ancient Scythians, being no less polished than they were, and somewhat more so than the Canadian nations now are, neglected the scalps of their enemies, but fashioned, like their ancestors, their skulls into cups, as more durable and elegant trophies of their military renown.”—Hole.
Deep in a vale, adjacent to the wood,
He is received by this lowly but honest couple, as soon as their first fears and astonishment are subdued, with the utmost simplicity and kindness. They are sitting at their evening meal, and invite their guest, whom they yet view with mingled awe and admiration, to partake of it. The scene is one on which the poet seems to dwell with complacent delight; and he has brought before us a picture that, in point of domestic sweetness and natural beauty, has seldom been excelled, and which, in some of its features, reminds us of that exquisitely tender passage at the close of the sixth Iliad, where the child of Hector is represented as shrinking with terror from his dazzling armour and nodding crest. Of Arthur, who had just succeeded in allaying the
apprehensions of his new friends, it is said—
His helm unbraced, how mild his features shone !