« ForrigeFortsett »
Rubro subtegmine Randveri mortis. Texitur haec tela Intestinis humanis, Staminique stricte alligantur Capita humana, Sunt sanguine roratae Hastae pro insilibus, Textoria instrumenta ferrea, Ac sagittae pro radiis: Densabimus gladiis Hanc victoriae telam. Prodeunt ad texendum Hilda, Et Hiorthromula, Sangrida, et Swipula; Cum strictis gladiis; Hastile frangetur, Scutum diffindetur, Ensisque Clypeo illidetur. Texamus, texamus Telam Darradar ! Hunc (gladium) Rex juvenis Prius possidebat. Prodeamus, Et cohortes intremus, ubi nostri amici Armis dimicaht! Texamus, texamus Telam Darradi;” Et Regi deinde Deinde adhaereamus' Ibi videbant Sanguine rorata Scuta Gunna et Gondula, Quae Regem tutabantur. Texamus texamus Telam Darradio Ubi arma concrepant
Bellacium virorum, Non sinamuseum Vita privari: Habent Valkyriae Caedis potestatem. Illi Populi terras regent, Qui deserta promontoria Anteå incolebant. Dico potenti Regi Mortem imminere. Jam sagittis occubuit comes; Et Hibernis Dolor accidet, Quinunquam Apud viros delebitur. Jam tela texta est, Campus veró (sanguine) roratus; Terras percurret Conflictus militum. Nunc horrendum est Circumspicere, Cum sanguineanubes Per aera volitet: Tingetur aer Sanguine virorum, Antequam vaticinia nostra \ Omnia corruant. Bené canimus De Rege juvene, Victoriae carmina multa: Benè sit nobis canentibus. Discat autem ille, Qui auscultat, Bellica carmina multa, Et viris referat. Equitemus in equis, Quoniam efferimus gladios strictos Ex hoc loco.
In the argument of this Ode, printed at the bottom of the page in this edition, it is said that the battle was fought on Christmas Day; on which Mr. Gray, in his manuscript, remarks, that “the people of the Orkney islands were Christians, yet did not become so till after A. D. 966, probably it happened in 995; but though they, and the other Gothic nations, no longer worshipped their old divinities, yet they never doubted of their existence, or forgot their ancient mythology, as appears from the history of Olaus Tryggueson.”—See Bartholinus, lib, viii. c. i. p. 615.
3. Iron sleet of arrowy shower. L. 3.
How quick they wheel'd; and flying, behind them shot
* So Thormodus interprets it, as though Darradar were the name of the person who saw this vision; but in reality it signifies a range of spears, from Daur Hasta,
et Radir Ordo. G.
4. Hurtles in the darken'd air. L. 4.
The noise of battle hurtled in the air.
Shaks. Jul. Caes.
F. Hic Baldero Medo Paratus extat, Purus potus, Scuto superinjecto: Divina verö soboles Dolore afficietur. Invita haec dixi, Jamgue silebo. O. Noli, Fatidica, tacere. Te interrogare volo, Donec omnia novero. Adhuc scire volo, Quisnam Baldero Necem inferet, Ac Odini filium Vita privabit? F. Hodus excelsum fert Honoratum Fratrem illuc. Is Baldero Necem inferet, Et Odini filium Vita privabit. Invita haec dixi, Jamgue tacebo. 0. Noli tacere, Fatidica, Adhuc te interrogare volo, Donec omnia novero. Adhuc scire volo, Quisnam Hodo Odium rependet, Aut Balderi interfectorem Occidendo rogo adaptet! F. Rinda filium pariet In habitaculis occidentalibus : Hic Odini filius, Unam noctem natus, armis utetur; Manum non lavabit, Nec caput pectet Antequam rogo imponet Balderi inimicum. Invita haec dixi, Jamgue tacebo. O. Noli tacere, Fatidica, Adhuc te interrogare volo. Quaenam sint virgines, Quae prae cogitationibus lachrymantur, Et in coelum jaciunt
1. The Vegtams Kvitha, from Bartholinus, lib. iii. c. ii. p. 632.
Enarra mihi, quae apud Helam geruntur:
Ego tibi quae in mundo.
* Sleipner was the horse of Odin which had eight legs.-Vide Edda.
Cervicum pepla: - Gigantum mater.
Sed potius trium
2. Hela's drear abode. L. 4.
Hela, in the Edda, is described with a dreadful countenance, and her body half flesh-colour and half blue. G.
3. Him the Dog of Darkness spied, L. 5.
The Edda gives this dog the name of Managarmar; he fed upon the lives of those that were to die.
4. The thrilling verse that wakes the dead. L. 24.
The original word is vallgaldr; from valr mortuus, et galdr incantatio. G.
5. Tell me what is done below. L. 40.
Odin, we find both from this Ode and the Edda, was solicitous about the fate of his son Balder, who had dreamed he was soon to die. The Edda mentions the manner of his death when killed by Odin's other son Hoder; and also that Hoder was himself slain afterward by Vali, the son of Odin and Rinda, consonant with this prophecy.
6. Once again my call obey. Prophetess, &c. L. 51.
Women were looked upon by the Gothic nations as having a peculiar insight into futurity; and some there were that made profession of magic arts and divination. These travelled round the country, and were received in every house with great respect and honour. Such a woman bore the name of Volva Seidkona or Spakona. The dress of Thorbiorga, one of these prophetesses, is described at large in Eirick's Rauda Sogu, (apud Bartholin, lib. i. cap. iv. p. 688.) She had on a blue vest spangled all over with stones, anecklace of glassbeads, and a cap made of the skin of a black lamb lined with white cat-skin. She leaned on a staff adorned with brass, with a round head set with stones; and was girt with a Hunlandish belt, at which hung her pouch full of magical instruments. Her buskins were of rough calf-skin, bound on with thongs studded with knobs of brass, and her gloves of white cat-skin, the fur turned inwards, &c. G.
These were probably the Nornir or Parcae, just now mentioned: their names were Urda, Verdandi, and Skulda; they were the dispensers of good destinies. As their names signify time past, present, and future, it is probable they were always invisible to mortals; therefore when Odin asks this question on seeing them, he betrays himself to be a god; which elucidates the next speech of the prophetess.
8. Mother of the giant-brood. L. 86.
In the Latin “Mater trium Gigantum.” He means, therefore, probably An: gerbode, who, from her name, seems to be “no prophetess of good,” and who bore to Loke, as the Edda says, three children; the wolf Fenris, the great serpent of Midgard, and Hela, all of them called giants in that wild but curious system of mythology; with which, if the reader wishes to be acquainted, he had better con
sult the translation of M. Mallet's Introduction to the History of Denmark, than the original itself, as some mistakes of consequence are corrected by the translator. The book is entitled Northern Antiquities.—Printed for Carnan, 1770, 2 vols. 8vo.
Mr. Gray entitles this Ode, in his own edition, a FRAGMENT ; but from the prose version of Mr. Evans, which I shall here insert, it will appear that nothing is omitted, except a single hyperbole at the end, which I print in italics.
Panegyric upon Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, by Gwalchmai, the son of Melir, in the year 1157.* >
1. I will extol the generous hero, descended from the race of Roderic, the bulwark of his country; a prince eminent for his good qualities, the glory of Britain, Owen the brave and expert in arms, a prince that neither hoardeth nor coveteth riches. -
2. Three fleets arrived, vessels of the main; three powerful fleets of the first rate, furiously to attack him on the sudden : one from Jwerddon,t the other full of well-armed Lochlynians,t making a grand appearance on the floods, the third from the transmarine Normans, which was attended with an immense though successless toil.
3. The dragon of Mona's sons was so brave in action, that there was a greattumult on their furious attack; and before the prince himself there was vast confusion, havoc, conflict, honourable death, bloody battle, horrible consternation, and upon Tal Malvre a thousand banners; there was an outrageous carnage, and the rage of spears and hasty signs of violent indignation. Blood raised the tide of the Menái, and the crimson of human gore stained the brine. There were glittering cuirasses, aird the agony of gashing wounds, and the mangled warriors prostrate before the chief, distinguished by his crimson lance. Lloegria was put into confusion; the contest and confusion was great; and the glory of our Prince's widewasting sword shall be celebrated in an hundred languages to give him his merited praise.
From the extract of the Gododin, which Mr. Evans has given us in his Dissertatio de Bardis in the forementioned book, I shall here transcribe those particular passages which Mr. Gray selected for imitation in this Ode.
1. Simihi liceret vindictam in Déirorum populum ferre,
2. Amicum enim amisi incautus,
Viri ibant ad Cattraeth, et fuére insignes,
Whoever compares Mr. Gray's poetical versions of these four lyrical pieces with the literal translations which I have here inserted, will, I am persuaded, be con
* See Evans's Specimen of Welsh poetry, p. 25, and for the original Welch, p.127. t Ireland. f Danes and Normans.
vinced that nothing of the kind was ever executed with more fire, and at the same time, more judgment. He keeps up through them all the wild romantic spirit of his originals; elevates them by some well-chosen epithet or image where they flag, yet in such a manner as is perfectly congruous with the general idea of the poems; and if he either varies or omits any of the original thoughts, they are only of that kind which, according to our modern sentiments, would appear vulgar or ludicrous: two instances of this kind occur in the latter part of this last Ode. How well has he turned the idea of the fourth line: “Exiis quinimio potu madidio” and the conclusion, “Aliter ad hoc Carmen compingendum,” &c. The former of which is ridiculous; the latter insipid. 4. I find amongst Mr. Gray's papers, a few more lines taken from other parts of the Gododin, which I shall here add with their respective Latin versions. They may serve to shew succeeding poets the manner in which the spirit of these their *...* predecessors in the art may be best transfused into a modern imitation of 6Lois Have ye seen the tusky boar, Or the bull, with sullen roar, On surrounding foes advance 2 So Carádoc bore his lance. Quando ad Bellum properabat Caradocus, Filius apri silvestris qui truncando mutilavit hostes, Taurus aciei in pugna conflictu, Is lignum (i.e. hastam) ex manu contorsit. Conan's name, my lay, rehearse, Build to him the lofty verse, Sacred tribute of the bard, Verse, the hero's sole reward. As the flame's devouring force; As the whirlwind in its course; As the thunder's fiery stroke, Glancing on the shiver'd oak: Did the sword of Conan mow The crimson harvest of the foe. Debitus est tibi cantus qui honorem assecutus es maximum, Qui eras instar ignis, tonitrui, et tempestatis, Viribus eximie, eques bellicose, Rhudd Fedel, bellum meditaris.
1. If what Boileau says be true, in his Art Poetique, that
the merit of this little poem is decided. It is written in strict observance of those strict rules, which the Poet there lays down.—Wide Art Poetique, Chant. ii. 1.82. Milton, I believe, was the first of our English poets who exactly followed the Italian model: our Author varies from him only in making the rhymes in the two first quartetts alternate, which is more agreeable to the English ear, than the other method of arranging them.