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or finds a barrier as unexpected as insurmountable; or, if gratified, sees that those honours, which seeking, it prized, when obtained are empty and joyless. The veil which shrouds futurity from our eyes, by giving free scope to the imagination, heightens by conceal. ment the gust for fruition; and life, seen through its obscure medium, seems not as it is, a barren mountain, but a flowery valley. The experience of the aged, the precepts of the wise, whi
which point out the and vexation of spirit which, what we call its pleasures, engender, are unbeeded or disbelieved. We Aatter ourselves that what has been the destiny of man collectively, does not appertain to us individually. Each regards himself as a comet, which, enveloped in a blaze of light, shall run its eccentric course, in defiance of the organised system by which the stars are retained in their regular orbits. Thou hast now learnt by experience, that such is the constitution of the human mind, that anticipation is ever superior to fruition; and that a sad reality but too often crushes at one stroke the airy fabric, which the fertile hand of fancy beguiles the tedious hour in erecting. Hope can extract gold from dross, honey from poison; she lights up the dungeon with the beaming rays of felicity; and, without her, the palace is immersed in the • dark shades of gloom and wretchedness.”
Touched to the soul by the truth of his precepts, and the solemn and persuasive earnestness of his manner, I was about to fall on his neck, when---I awoke, and found it was but a dream!
THE ROMANCE OF THE NORTH;
Resumed from page 66. “ Have we not,” exclaimed some, “ already traversed a sufficient space! Are we now destined to pass the seas, after having passed so many rivers and frozen lakes? Is it not, at last, time to settle, and to reap the fruits of our labours ?" Others, who still remembered Asgard, and the mildness of that climate in which they
received their birth, regretted them severely, and complained bitterly of those who had dragged them from the happy spot.
Odin and Freya, well informed of these murmurs and complaints, consulted together, and determined upon a step, for the success of which they once more trusted to the ignorance and barbarism of those who were under their command. They communicated it to Mimer, and it met with his disapprobation. Odin, nevertheless, persisted in it, and only deferred its execution till the morrow. Ćonvoking then a general assembly, he opened it with one of those harangues, the eloquence of which, supplied by nature herself, has always a ready and certain effect.
“People!” said be to them, “ the protecting deity of our nation appeared this night to Freya, who stands by my side, and also to myself. He revealed to us what are your sentiments and your wishes, and he taught us the means of gratifying them. Those who still remember the delicious land of Asgard, remember it with regret, especially those who, being more advanced in years than myself, had already run a consi. derable part of their career, before they engaged in the expedition which has led us hither. They wish to revisit their ancient country, and to live under the shade of the trees which were planted by their fathers. But, pressed down as they are by age, and exhausted by fatigue, how would they' be able to support the labour of returning by so long a road? For them, the gods have taught us a more prompt and easy means of attaining the desired object. From this day ihe blessed spirits of all who perish by the sword, in the service of the country, or in the bloody sacrifices by which we honour the gods, shall speed through the air, and in a few moments shall find themselves in the delicious land of Asgard. That country, already so fertile, is embellished for them by the hands of the supreme intelligence. There shall they see flowing rivers of milk and of hydromel; a part of their days shall be employed in exquisite feasts, and the other in combats, where their skill and valour shall be brilliantly displayed. The terrible wounds which they receive shall be dressed by beautiful women, who will soon
render thèm capable of new encounters. The pleasures of love shall lavishly crown the victors, and eternal youth shall allow them to lead this delightful life to endless ages.
“ Warriors! so favourable an oracle ought to inspire you with fresh ardour; and you, old men, who regret the place of your birth, since you can no longer signalize yourselves in fight, go and present yourselves before the altar of the god of victory; let your blood, poured out in libations to him, render that god propitious to our projected conquests. If, however, there be any among you, too weak or too cowardly to embark, or to sacrifice himself, let him remain behind, and live upon this shore; but let him know that when, at length, death, which no one can avoid, shall cut him off from the number of the human race, his shade, wandering on the ice which covers this sea during the winter, shall long lament there his having failed to serve his country when he had the power, and shall long regret the delights of Asgard.”
This chimera, so vividly depicted to them, had a powerful effect on the imaginations of the Scythians. During the feast which followed this harangue, each one, fülly confiding in the truth of what Odin had told them, believed that he had nothing to do but to make choice of one of the alternatives which had been proposed by the chief. Those who still possessed strength and vigour, resolved to follow Odin in his career of conquest. The greatest part of the old men determined to offer themselves in sacrifice; a very few remained on the shore, with some old women and children; and these children were to be brought up in the hope of crossing the sea, and joining their fathers, as soon as they should have become sufficiently strong.
The morrow was appointed for the sacrifice and the departure. In the course of the night, Mimer sought an interview with Odin and Freya.“ Is it possible," said he, “ that you can thus impose upon the credúlity of a people, who have submitted themselves to your government? What! do you put the steel into the hands of your subjects to be used against themselves? Do you make suicide one of their laws? Tyrant, unworthy to live!” “ I will not,” replied Odin,
"live any longer than is necessary to render secure the glorious destiny of myself and of my people. But listen to me, Mimer, and do me justice. “Conceiving, as thou dost, that thou hast some knowledge of philosophy, thou shouldst not be ignorant that men ought to be governed according to the time, the place, and the circumstances in which they are situated. It was by thyself that I was encouraged to conduct my Scythians from the banks of the Caspian Sea to those of the Tanais; it was thou who gavest me the sword of Mithradates, and madest me conceive unbounded hopes. Leave it to me to adopt the most proper means to realize those hopes; suffer me to enīploy those illusions which I use, to raise the minds of the barbarians who are under my sway. O, Mimer! it is necessary to make victors and conquerors of those barbarians, before attempting to make them civilized men.. When, unopposed rulers of the finest realms of Europe, my descendants shall tread under foot the ashes of the vanquished Romans, they will then study their laws; they will adopt their maxims; they will become wise sovereigns, after having been fortunate usurpers. But, at present, all that our nation stands in need of is a formidable chief, and subjects sufficiently deceived to be blindly obedient.”
Mimer for some time reflected deeply upon this reply from Odin. 6 At length you triumph,” said be, « you bring conviction to my mind; you know better than I do the nature of man. To-morrow I will show you that I approve of your project. I will set an example to the rest of the nation, and will seem to it to be inore convinced than yourself of the truth of all that you have asserted. I ask of you but one last fa. vour: it is, that Freya may give me the stroke of death. Twenty years have I sighed for her. By your valour you deserved to possess her, and I have never dared either to contend with you for her, or even to make known to her my passion. It was to contribute to her happiness that I served you so well. Now, that I have but a moment to live, I disclose to her my love; I open to her my heart; let her pierce it, and I shalí. die contented, in dying by her hand.”
The day dawned, and every thing was got ready for
the departure and the sacrifice. Some old men, who arranged themselves near the altar, were the only ones who, at first, seemed disposed to take the latter step. Mimer advanced, put himself at their head, and said, “ People, who are in part indebted to me for having, in the train of the great Odin, penetrated into this frozen clime, it is my business to reconduct you back to the country from which I drew you, as neither your strength nor mine will allow us to proceed any farther. I will show you the road to the happy land of Asgard. Let us depart. Beautiful and noble Freya! take this sacred poinard and plunge it into my bosom. My spirit, which reluctantly quits thy presence, will soon return, to bring thee news of the country to wbich I am going. Dear Odin, preserve my head: I will frequently come to animate it, that I may aid thee after death with my counsels, as I have done during my life.” Saying these words, he offered his breast to Freya; and, turning away her eyes, and breathing a deep sigh, she struck the blow. Mimer expired, and Odin preserved the bones of his scull, which he caused to be cased in gold, and which he ever after consulted as an unerring oracle, from which he could, he said, receive intelligence of those who, by their death, had been restored to the delicious land of Asgard.
The embarkation, in the mean while, took place, and a landing was safely effected in Scania, notwith standing the obstacles thrown in the way of it by the Scanian savages. The Scythians, animated by their leader, defeated the natives, penetrated into the country, and soon made themselves masters of it. The Scanian monarch perished in the battle; and his daughter, the fair Usalia, was the prize of the young warrior who had the most distinguished himself. This warrior was Sciols, the eldest son of Odin. His father, who hurried onward to new conquests, established him as king of this country. Then, taking advantage of the ice, which, during a part of the year, fills the strait that divides Scania from Denmark, Odin entered the island of Zealand, which he reduced under his authority as easily as he had reduced Scania.
In the following year he compelled the Jutes and Cimbrians to ackņowledge his sway. Each successive