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According to the Saga of the Yngling family, there was in northern Asia a river properly called by the name of Tanais, and which falls into the ocean at the Black Sea; and on the east of it was Asaheim; and here was Asguard. “In that city [Asguard) was a chief called Odin, and it was a great place for sacrifice. It was the custom there that twelve temple Godars should both direct the sacrifices, and also judge the people. They were called Diars, or Drotners, and all the people served and obeyed them. Odin was a great and very far travelled warrior, who conquered many kingdoms, and so successful was he that in every battle the victory was on his side. It was the belief of his people that victory belonged to him in every battle. It was his custom when he sent his men into battle, or on any expedition, that he first laid his hand upon their heads, and called down a blessing upon them; and then they believed their undertaking would be successful. His people also were accustomed, when
, ever they fell into danger by land or sea, to call upon his name; and they thought that always they got comfort and aid by it, for where he was they thought help was
Often he went away so long that he passed many seasons on his journeys.”
“There goes a great mountain barrier from north-east to south-west, which divides the Greater Sweden from other kingdoms. South of this mountain ridge it is not far from Turkland, where Odin had great possessions. But Odin having foreknowledge, and magic-sight, knew that his posterity would come to settle and dwell in the northern half of the world. In those times the Roman chiefs went wide around in the world, subduing to themselves all people; and on this account many chiefs fled from their domains. Odin set his brothers Ve and Vitir over Asguard; and he himself, with all the gods and a great many other people, wandered out, first westward to Gardarige, (Russia) and then south to Saxland (Germany). He had many sons; and after having subdued an extensive kingdom in Saxland, he set his sons to defend the country. He himself went northwards to the sea, and took up his abode in an island which is called Odinso in Fren."
“When Odin of Asaland came to the north, and the gods with him, he began to exercise and teach others the arts which the people long afterwards have practised. Odin was the cleverest of all, and from him, all the others learned their magic arts; and he knew them first, and knew many more than other people. But now, to tell why he is held in such respect, we must mention various causes that contributed to it. When sitting among his friends his countenance was so beautiful and friendly, that the spirits of all were exhilarated by it; but when he was in war he appeared fierce and dreadful. This arose from his being able to change his colour and form in any way he liked.
he liked. Another cause was, that he conversed so cleverly and smoothly, that all who heard were persuaded. He spoke everything in rhyme, such as now composed, and which we call scald-craft. He and his temple-gods were called song-smiths, for from them came that art of song into the northern countries. Odin could make his enemies in battle blind, or deaf, or terrorstruck, and their weapons so blunt that they could no more cut than a willow twig; on the other hand, his men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild bulls, and killed people at a blow, and neither fire nor iron told
them. These were called Bersækers. Odin could transform his shape: his body would be as if dead, or asleep; but then he would be in shape of a fish, or worm, or bird, or beast, and be off in a twinkling to distant lands upon his own or other people's business. With words alone he could quench fire, still the ocean in tempest, and turn the wind to any quarter he pleased. Odin had a ship which was called Skidbladnir, in which he sailed over wide seas, and which he could roll up like a cloth. Odin carried with him Mimir's head, which told him all the news of other countries. Sometimes even he called the dead out of the earth, or set himself beside the burial-mounds; whence he was called the ghost-sovereign, and lord of the mounds. He had two ravens, to whom he had taught the speech of man; and they flew far and wide through the land, and brought him the news.
In all such things he was pre-eminently wise. He taught all these arts in runes, and songs which are called incantations, and therefore the Asaland people are called Incantation-smiths."
Odin, we are told, died in his bed, assuring his followers he was going to Valhalla; and to be admitted after death to a participation in his presence and its delights was ever the proudest wish of the Northmen. This trust incited Regner Lodbrog to chaunt in his bold death-song
“Hoc ridere me facit semper
Mary Stuart. p. 196. Mr. P. Fraser Tytler's account of the martyred Queen's last moments is inexpressibly affecting, and cannot be read without an almost personal feeling by any inhabitant of Wensleydale. On the night before her execution, “after supper she called for her ladies, and asking for a cup of wine, drank to them all, begging them to pledge her, which they did on their knees, mingling their tears in the cup, and asking her forgiveness if they had ever offended her. This she readily gave them, bidding them farewell with much tenderness, entreating in her turn their pardon, and solemnly enjoining them to continue firm in their religion, and forget all their little jealousies, living in peace and love with each other. "She next examined her wardrobe, and selected various dresses as presents to her servants, delivering them at the moment with some kind expressions to each. She then wrote to her almoner, lamenting that the cruelty of her enemies had refused her the consolation of his presence with her in her last moments, imploring him to watch and pray with her that night. After this she made her will; and lastly, wrote to the king of France. By this time it was two in the morning and finding herself fatigued, she lay down, having first washed her feet, whilst her women watched and read at her bedside. They observed that, though quite still and tranquil, she was not asleep, her lips moving, as if engaged in secret prayer. It was her custom to have her women read to her at night a portion of the “Lives of the Saints,” a book which she loved much; and this last night she would not omit it, but made Jane Kennedy choose a portion. She selected the life entitled, “The Good Thief, which treats of that beautiful and affecting example of dying faith and divine compassion. “Alas!' said Mary, ‘he was indeed a very great sinner, but not so great as I am. May my Saviour, in memory of His Passion, have mercy on me, as he had on him, at the hour of death. At this moment she recollected that she would require a handkerchief to bind her eyes at her execution; and bidding them bring her several, she selected one of the finest, which was embroidered with gold, laying it carefully aside. Early in the morning she rose, observing that now she had but two hours to live ; and having finished her toilet she came into her oratory, and kneeling with her women before the altar, continued long in prayer. Her physician then, afraid of her being exhausted, begged her to take a little bread and wine; which she did cheerfully, thanking him at the same time, for giving her her last meal.” On her proceeding to the hall, her servants were cruelly prohibited from following her. “This stern and unnecessary order was received by them with loud remonstrances and tears; but Mary only observed, that it was hard not to suffer her poor servants to be present at her death. She then took the crucifix in her hand, and bade them affectionately adieu: whilst they clung in tears to her robe, kissed her hand, and were with difficulty torn from her, and locked up in the apartment. The Queen after this proceeded alone down the great staircase, at the foot of which she was received by the Earls of Shrewsbury and
1 But this makes me always rejoice, that in the halls of our father Balder (or Odin) I know there are seats prepared, where in a short time we shall be drinking ale out of the hollow skulls of our enemies. In the house of the mighty Odin no brave man laments death. I come not with the voice of despair to Odin's hall.
2 Now I end my song. The goddesses invite me away: they whom Odiu has sent to me from his hall. I will sit upon a lofty seat, and drink ale joyfully with the goddesses of death. The hours of my life are run out. I will smile when I die.
Kent, who were struck with the perfect tranquillity and unaffected grace with which she met them. dressed in black satin, matronly, but richly; and with more studied care than she was commonly accustomed to bestow. She wore a long veil of white crape, and her usual high Italian ruff; an Agnus Dei was suspended by a pomander chain round her neck, and her beads of gold hung at her girdle. At the bottom of the staircase she found Sir Andrew Melvil, her old affectionate servant, and Master of her Household, waiting to take his last farewell. On seeing her he flung himself on his knees at her feet, and bitterly lamented it should have fallen on him to carry to Scotland the heart-rending news of his dear mistress's death. Weep not, my good Melvil,' said she, 'but rather rejoice that an end has at last come to the sorrows of Mary Stuart. And
carry this news with thee, that I die firm in my religion, true to Scotland, true to France."" Her request for the attendance of her servants was again renewed. This, after some consultation, was granted. “ Followed by them, and by Melvil bearing her train, she entered the great hall, and walked to the scaffold, which had been erected at its upper end. It was a raised platform, about two feet in height and twelve broad, surrounded by a rail, and covered with black. Upon it were placed a low chair and cushion, two other seats, and the block. The Queen regarded it without the least change of countenance, cheerfully mounted the steps, and sat down with the same easy grace and dignity with which she would have occupied her throne. On her right were seated the Earls of Shrewsbury and Kent, on her left the two Sheriffs, and before her the two executioners. The Dean of Peterborough, Sir Amias Paulet, Sir Drew Drewry, Beal the Clerk of the Privy-council, and others, stood beside the scaffold; and these with the guards, officers, attendants, and some of the neighbouring gentry, who had been permitted to be present, made up an assembly of about two hundred in all. Beal then read the warrant for her death, which she heard with apparent attention; but those near her could see, by the sweet and absent expression of her countenance, that her thoughts were far off. When it was finished, she crossed herself, and addressed a few words to the persons round the scaffold. She spoke of her rights as a Sovereign Princess, which had been invaded and trampled on, and