網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

LORD KAIMES. LORD KAIMES, it is very well known, paid great and successful attention to the improvement of agriculture. A great number of years ago, a German quack, who called himself Baron von Haak, vaunted of having discovered a powerfully fertilizing manure, which he advertised for sale, pretending that a very small quantity sufficed to fertilize an acre of land in a very extraordinary manner. Happening to converse with one of his neighbours on the subject, a plain sagacious farmer, the former observed to Lord Kaimes, that he had no faith in the baron's nostrum, as he conceived the proposed quantity vastly too small to be of any use. “My good friend," said Lord Kaimes, “such are the wonderful discoveries in science, that I should not be surprised if, at some future time, we might be able to carry the manure of an acre of land to the field in our coat pocket!” “Very possibly,” replied the farmer, “ but, in that case, I suspect you will be able to bring back the crop in your waistcoat pocket."

QUAKER WIT.

A QUAKER at Norwich, one of the Gurney family, having bought a horse which proved unsound, of a gentleman named Bacon, he wrote to inform him of it, but received no answer. Shortly after, meeting the seller at Norwich, he requested him to take back the horse, which the other positively refused to do. Finding his remonstances of no avail, the Quaker calmly said, “Friend! thou hast doubtless heard of the devil entering the herd of swine, and I find that he still sticks fast in the Bacon. Good morning to thee, friend!”

AN EXCELLENT CUSTOM. AN excellent custom extends to every debtor confined in the prison of Swansea Castle, by virtue of which they have an opportunity, if their debts be small, with a little exertion, prudence, and economy, to liberate themselves from the horrors of a jail. Having obtained this indulgence, which on proper representation it is in

the power of the high bailiff to grant, they are allowed to expose whatever articles their slender funds may enable them to muster, for sale in the open street, on that side of the market place next to the castle. The limits of this bailiwick are distinctly pointed out by a range of small stones down the highway, and within this boundary the debtors are as secure from the molestation of their creditors, as though they were confined to their dismal cells within the walls of the castle.

THOMAS WARTON.

66 How many

THIS elegant poet and amiable man, during his residence at Winchester, was fond of associating with his brother's scholars : indeed he entered so heartily into their sports and employments, as to have been occasionally involved in rather ludicrous incidents. Being engaged with them in some culinary occupation, and alarmed by the sudden approach of Dr. Warton, he has been known to conceal" himself in some dark corner, and has been drawn out from his hiding-place, to the no small astonishment and amusement of the doctor, who had taken him for some great boy. He would also assist the boys in making their exercises, generally contriving to accommodate bis compositions to the capacity of him whom he was assisting.

was a question, the answer to which regulated him; and a boy was perhaps as likely to be Aogged for the verses of Mr. Warton as for his own. I remember an anecdote used to be told relating to this part of Mr. Warton's conduct, which is somewhat characteristic of both the brothers. Warton had given a boy an exercise, and the doctor thinking it too good for the boy himself, and suspecting the truth, ordered him into the study, after school, and sent for Mr. Warton. The exercise was read and approved : “And don't you think it worth half-a-crown, Mr. Warton ?” said his brother. Mr. Warton assented. “Well, then, you shall give the boy one." Our author accordingly. paid the half-crown for his own versos, and the doctor enjoyed the joke.

faults ? "

THE ROMANCE OF THE NORTH;

OR,

THE HISTORY OF ODIN,
The Conqueror, the Legislator, and, snbsequently, the Deity

of the Scandinavians.
FROM THE FRENCH OF M. DE PAULMY.

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. THE ancient history of the Scandinavians, that is to say, of the inhabitants of the three kingdoms of Denmark, Nora way, and Sweden, is full of such strange stories that they must be looked upon as merely romantic. They have, in fact, served as the ground-work to real romànces, written in Icelandic or Norwegian ; a language from which, with an admixture of German, are derived the languages of Denmark and Sweden.

Torfæus has given us a list of more than a hundred of these romances, and extracts from some of them, in his Latin work on the northern antiquities.

Some of these histories have been separately printed and published with Latin translations, by Bebelius and others. Saxo Grammaticus, Petreius, and Wormius, have also writ. ten the listory of Odin and of his successors. The narrative of the deeds of this ancient conqueror of the north, who at last was worshipped as a deity, can only be considered as a very interesting romance. We will here give an abridgment of it, and we have some reason to believe that it will not be thought unworthy of attention. Should it fail to amuse all our readers, it will at least astonish them. Many perhaps will find it difficult to comprehend how men could be seduced and governed by means of illusions so absurd and so shocking as those which were employed by Odin and Freya ; but it betrays a want of knowledge of human nature, to be ignorant that all sorts of illusions can mislead men, and especially inexperienced men, who have not yet learned to guard against being led astray. Fortunately, however, the history of the world proves to us, that those errors which are hurtful to society are dispelled by degrees; and that, as men become enlightened, reason recovers her ascendancy; occasionally interrupted indeed, by those transient clouds which always, from time to time, obscure the light of our natural understanding.

THE ancient historians and romancers of the north, state the arrival of Odin in Scandinavia to have taken place about sixty years before the birth of our Saviour, and the occasion of that arrival is thus narrated by them.

During more than forty years, Mithradates,* King of Pontus in Asia, supported against the Roman republic a war, in which on one side, the greatest men that ever that republic produced---and on the other side, Mithradates alone, displayed such superlative courage and talents, that the recital of their exploits still obtains our admiration. By his first successes, Mithradates had become master of all Asia, and of Greece; he vanquished the consul Aquilius; but the fortunate Scylla wrested from him all his conquests, and confined him within the limits of the single kingdom of Pontus, This first fall did not beat down the Asiatic monarch; he formed an alliance with Tigranes, King of Armenia, and had rendered himself no less formidable than before, when Lucullus, by three successive defeats, once more reduced to the last extremity this high-spirited enemy of the Romans. Deserted by his ally, he escaped from captivity only by abandoning the riches of his camp to the victor, who departed to enjoy them tranquilly in Rome, where he led that voluptuous life which, still hetter than his warlike exploits, has caused to be handed down to us the name of Lucullus.

Mithradates, nevertheless, for the third time, appeared on the theatre of the world, more inveterate against the Romans, more ardent to combat against them than he had ever been. The defeat of the consul Glabrio inspired him with fresh hopes; and, casting a bold and menacing glance even to the extremities of the earth, he sought every where for enemies to the Romans. Greece, which they had subjugated, devastated Asia, could no longer supply them; but the borders of the Caspian Sea were inhabited by a ferocious people, who knew no other law than that of the strongest, had scarcely any idea of a divinity, and no principles of humanity. These were the Nomadic or wandering Scythians, more particularly known by the name of Ases or Asiotes. The centre of this uncivilized empire was at Asgard, a place probably situated where

* I agree with Dr. Clarke, that this name is improperly, though usually, spelt Mithridates. TRANSLATOR.

D

the city of Astracan now stands, in a tolerably mild climate, and a country sufficiently fruitful, but which was connected with the rest of the world only by frightful desarts.

The numerous tribe of the Ases acknowledged the young Odin as its chief. He had been raised to the supreme authority by the cruel means which were iu use in his nation; that is, after having successively vanquished, in single combat, all those of his compatriots, and even of his relations, who thought themselves able to contend with him for the throne. He ascended that throne by shedding rivers of blood; and after these exploits, he was thought worthy of possessing thecrown, and the most beautiful woman of the nation. Her name was Freya.

Having no longer any thing to conquer at home, Odin was sighing for new couquests, when a philosopher of his nation (for, hy a strange chance, this barbarous nation had one) sought him, and gave him reason to conceive the most brilliant hopes.

Mimer was the name of this Scythian philosopher. Having heard some indistinct rumours respecting the magnificence of the Asiatic cities, the arts of civilized states, and the philosophy of the Greeks, he resolved to obtain a knowledge of these subjects, and to travel in those beautiful countries, as Zamolxis and Anacharsis had formerly done. He traversed, therefore, the desarts which separate the Caspian from the Black Sea; and, having coasted round the latter, he reached Byzantium, where Mithradates was assembling his forces to en counter the Romans once more.

In the camp of the King of Pontus, Mimer found some Athenians and other Greeks, who, having attached themselves to the fortunes of that prince, had followed him in his disasters, and flattered themselves that they should return to their native land in his train. A number of European and Asiatic artists, whose talents Mithradates had exercised and protected in the days of his prosperity, formed the same wishes, and cherished the same hopes. Each of them, pleased with the idea of being known to an inhabitant of the utter. most part of the universe, gave to the Scythian philosopher all the information which he could desire; and he

« 上一頁繼續 »