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attributed to the Gods, and ranked among the most valuable gifts conferred on mortals. Thofe that excelled in it, were diftinguished by the first honours of the ftate: were conftant attendants on their Kings, and were often employed on the most important commiffions. Thefe bards were called by the fignificant name of Scald, a word which implies "a fmoother or polifher of language.'

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"The language in which their productions are preserved, and which once prevailed pretty extenfively in the north, is commonly called Iflandic Iceland being the place where it was fuppofed to be spoken in the greateft purity, and where it is to this day in use. The Iflandic is the mother of the modern Swedish and Danish tongues, in like manner as the Anglo-faxon is the parent of our English. Both these mother-tongues are dialects of the antient Gothic or Teutonic; and of fo near affinity, that, in the opinion of the learned, what was spoken in one of them, was without much difficulty understood by thofe who ufed the other. Hence it is, that fuch as ftudy the originals of our own language, have conftantly found it neceffary to call in the affiftance of this ancient fifter dialect.

"The characters, in which this language was originally written, were called Runic; from an Iflandic word that fignifies a Furrow. As the materials ufed for writing in the firft rude ages were only wood or ftone, the convenience of fculpture required that the ftrokes fhould run chiefly in ftrait lines; and the refemblance to plowing fuggefted the appellation. The word Runic was at first applied to the letters only; though latter Writers have extended it to the verfes written in them."

It is from these verfes the fpecimens here published are taken; one of which we fhall quote, to gratify the curiofity of the Reader. It is the Incantation of Hervor, who calls upon her dead father to deliver to her his fword; which is fuppofed to have been buried with him. The circumstances of this poem are calculated to infpire terror in the highest degree; but for want of imagery in the original, and a poetical turn in the translation, they lofe much of their natural effect. We do not think our Editor alfo very happy in his choice of the pieces here published; remembring to have read fome performances in Bartholinus, which, we think, afforded preferable fpecimens of this northern poetry.

The Incantation of HERVOR.

Awake, Angantyr! Hervor, the only daughter of thee and Suafa,

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Suafa, doth awaken thee. Give me, out of the tomb, the hardened fword, which the dwarfs made for Sunfurlama.

Hervardyr, Hiorvardur, Hrani and Angantur; with helmet and coat of mail, and a fharp fword; with field and accoutrements and bloody fpear, I wake you all under the roots of

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Are the fons of Andgrym, who delighted in mischief, now become duft and afhes? Can none of Eyvor's fons now speak with me out of the habitations of the dead? Hervaidyr, Hiorvardur!

So may you all te, within your ribs, as a thing that is harged up to putrefy among infects, unless you deliver me the fword, which the dwarfs made, and the glorious belt.

[Here the tomb ofens, the infide of which appears all on fire, and the following words are fung out of the tomb.]

ANGANTYR. Daughter Hervor, full of fpells to raise the dead, why doelt thou call fo? Wilt thou run on to thy own mitchief? Thou art mad and out of thy fenfes, who art desperately refolved to waken dead men.

I was not buried either by father or other friends: two which lived after me got Tirfing, one of whom is now poffeffor thereof.

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HERVOR. Thou doft not tell the truth. So let Odin preferve thee fafe in the tomb, as thou haft not Tirfing by thee. thou unwilling, Angantyr, to give an inheritance to thy only CHA?

ANGANTYR. I will tell thee, Hervor, what will come to pafs, this Tirfing will, if thou doft believe me, deftroy almoft all thy offspring. Thou shalt have a fon, who afterwards must

By dwarfs the ancient Scandinavians did not mean human creatures fhort of flature, but a kind of inferior demons, who inhabited the rocks and mountains, and were remarkably expert at forging weapons, proof against all force or fraud. In short, they meant by duergar, or dwarfs, fomething like our fairies-Ought not that to have been a reafon for our Tranflator to have used a different term?

It was the custom of the ancient Danes to incircle the fepulchres of their kings and heroes with large trees.

Tirfing is the name of the fword.--This is faid in order to make her dedit from her purpofe; as forefeeing it will prove fatal to her pofterity.

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poffefs Tirfing, and many think he will be called Heidrék by the people.

HERVOR. I do by inchantments make that the dead fhall never enjoy reft, unless Angantyr deliver me Tirfing; that cleaveth fhields, and killed Hialmar.

ANGANTYR. Young maid, I fay, thou art of manlike courage, who doft rove about by night to tombs, with spear engraven with magic fpells |, with helmet and coat of mail, before the door of our hall.

HERVOR. I took thee for a brave man, before I found out your hall. Give me, out of the tomb, the workmanship of the dwarfs, which hateth all coats of mail. It is not good for thee to hide it,

ANGANTYR. The death of Hialmar lies under my fhoulders: it is all wrapt up in fire: I know no maid, in any country, that dares take this fword in hand,

HERVOR. I fhall keep and take in my hand the fharp sword, if I may obtain it. I do not think that fire will burn, which plays about the fight of deceased men.

ANGANTYR. O conceited Hervor, thou are mad rather than thou, in a moment, fhouldest fall into the fire, I will give thee the word out of the tomb, young maid; and not hide it from thee.

[Here the fword was delivered to Hervor out of the tomb, whe proceeds thus.]

HERVOR. Thou didft well, thou offspring of heroes, that thou didst fend me the sword out of the tomb; I am now better pleafed, O Prince, to have it, than if I had gotten all Norway.

ANGANTYR. Falfe woman, thou doft not understand that thou fpeakeft foolishly of that in which thou doeft rejoice: for Tirfing fhall, if thou doeft believe me, maid, destroy all thy offspring.

HERVOR. I must go to my feamen. Here I have no mind to ftay longer. Little do I care, O royal Ancestor, about what my fons may hereafter quarrel.

It was ufual with the northern nations to infcribe Runic characters on their weapons, in order to prevent their being blunted by inchantment, as alfo to give them irresistible ftrength and keennefs.

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ANGANTIZ Tace and ke Himri hare, with thou fat long move and enjoy: touch but the edges of it, there # poliz In them both a most cruel devourer of men.

Herron, 1 ll keep, and take in hand, the farp fword, wood too, tad let me tave: I as set fe, & fulf Father, 200t was my fons may bereafter quame".

ANGANTYR. Farewel. Daughter: I so click give thee twese men's death: if thou cans beleve with might and coureges even & the goods, whith Anigrym's has left behind

HERTOR. Dwell all of you fafe in the tomb. I mu? be gose and after hence, for i feem to be la the mith of a placę where fire burneth round about me.

To the Eng & trandation is added the original, for which the Tranflator makes the following apology.

"The Editor was in fome doubt whether he Bould fubjoin or fupprefs the originals. But as they lie within little compaís, and as the books whence they are extracted are very fearce, he was tempted to add them as vouchers for the authenticity of his verfion. They have alfo a farther ufe.-It has been lid by fome critics, that the prevalence of rhyme in European poetry was derived from the Latin hymns, invented by the monks in the fourth and fifth centuries; but from the original of Egill's Ode, it will befoon that the antient Gothic poets occafionally used rhyme with all the variety and exactness of our niceft moderns, long before their converfion to Chriftianity; and therefore were not likely to adopt it from the monks; a race of men whom they were either unacquainted with, or beld in derifion. Upon the whole, it is hoped that the few pages affigned to the lilandic originals will not be thought an ufclefs incumbrance by any Readers; but, it is prefumed, will be peculiarly acceptable to fuch curious perfons, as ftudy the antient languages of the north." The important ufes of which ftudy, fays our Editor, have been often evinced by able writers; and that it is not dry or unamufive, it is hoped this little work may demonftrate. Be this, however, as it will, the public is fo far obliged to him, as its aim, at least, is profeffedly to fhew that, if thefe kind of studies are not always employed on works of taste or claffic elegance, they serve at leaft to unlock the treafures of native genius; prefenting us with frequent fallies of bold imagination, and conftantly affording mitter for philofophical reflection, by fhowing the workings of the human mind in its almoft original state of nature.

Letters

Letters concerning the Spanish Nation; written at Madrid during the Years 1760 and 1761. By the Rev. Edward Clarke, M. A. Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Rector of Pepper Harrow in Surry. 4to. 12 s. fewed. Becket.

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Spain.

HERE are few parts of Europe, with whofe internal condition we are fo little acquainted, as with that of

To whatever cause this ignorance of fo confiderable a nation. may be attributed, the want of good accomodations on their roads is certainly a confideration that deters many from visiting a country which, in other refpects, would excite and gratify the curiofity of Travellers.

It is true, our trading intercourfe with Spain, though it has been on the decline for many years paft, is ftill very confiderable; but as these commercial affairs are all transacted at a few of the principal ports, they afford us little infight into the country:-As to perfons of rank or fortune, who travel for improvement or pleasure, they find thofe ends better answered in the more cultivated territories of France, and in the claffic regions of Italy.

Hence it is the lefs to be wondered at, that we are furnished with few accounts of this unfrequented country, and ftill fewer that are fatisfactory*.-Indeed it is not an eafy matter, even for those who vifit this country, to gain much intelligence concerning any fubject of enquiry, from a people who, as Mr. Clarke obferves, are fo referved and ignorant as the Spaniards are: which circumftance, together with their caution towards Heretics, and dread of their infernal Inquifition, are almost infuperable obftacles to a stranger's extracting any material information. from them.

For these reasons, the anecdotes and defcriptions contained in the letters now before us, cannot fail to prove acceptable to the Public; especially as from the character and fituation of the Writer, we may expect that the particulars are authentic, and the representations agreeable to the prefent ftate of things in that part of the world.

This general ignorance of Spain, in which all her neighbouring nations are alike circumftanced, is to be unde ftood only with reference to the geography and natural history of the country, with the manners and cuftoms of the inhabitants: for the civil hiftory has been written by feveral Authors, of that nation, who are justly he d in high eftem.

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