« ForrigeFortsett »
THE DESCENT OF ODIN.
FROM THE WORSE-TONGUE^
[The original is to be found in Bartholinus, de Causis contemnendx Mortis; Hafniae, 1689, Quarto. Ufireis Odinn allda gautr, &c]
UPROSE the King of Men with speed,
e That leads to Hela's dread abode. JViflheimr, the hell of the Gothic nations, consisted of nine worlds, to which were devoted all such as died of sickness, old age, or by any other means than in battle. Over it presided Hela, the Goddess of Death.
 The Edda gives this dog the name of Managarmar; he fed upon the lives of those that were to die.
Hoarse he bays  with hideous din,
Right against the eastern gate,
What call unknown, what charms, presume To break the quiet of the tomb?
 Several Editions have it brays. It is not, however, the nature of the dog, but of the ass, to bray. To bay is, according to Johnson, to bark, as a dog at a thief.
Who thus afflicts my troubled sprite,
A Traveller, to thee unknown,
Mantling in the goblet see The pure bev'rage of the bee:
 Odin, we find both from this Ode and the Edda, was solicitous about the fate of his son Balder, who had dreamed that 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 afterwards by Vali, the son of Odin andRintla, consonant with this prophecy.
O'er it hangs the shield of gold;
Once again my call obey . Prophetess, arise, and say,
 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, "a necklace of glass beads, 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 anHunlan"dish belt, at which hung her pouch full of magical "instruments. Her buskins were of rough calfskin, "bound on with thongs studded with knobs of brass, "and her gloves of white cat-skin, the fur turned in"wards, &c." They were also called Fiolkyngi or Fiol-kunnug; i. e. Multi-scia: and Visindakona; i. e. Oraculorum Mulier: JVornir; i. e. Parcas.
What dangers Odin's Child await,
In Hoder's hand the Hero's doom; His brother sends him to the tomb. Now my weary lips I close • Leave me, leave me to repose.
Prophetess, my spell obey, Once again arise, and say, Who th' Avenger of his guilt, By whom shall Hoder's blood be spilt?
In the caverns of the west, By Odin's fierce embrace comprest, A vvond'rous Boy shall Rinda bear, Who ne'er shall comb his raven-hair, Nor wash his visage in the stream, Nor see the sun's departing beam, Till he on Hoder's corse shall smile Flaming on the fun'ral pile. Now my weary lips I close: Leave me, leave me to repose. ■