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chosen out of the best families; and, the honours of their birth, joined with those of their function, procured them the highest veneration among the people. They were versed in astrology, geometry, natural philosophy, politics, and geography, and had the adıninistration of all sacred things; were the interpreters of religion, and the judges of all affairs, indifferently. Whoever refused obedience to them, was declared impious and accursed.

Strabo distinguishes three kiuds; bardi, vates, and druids. The bardi were the poets; the rates, priests and naturalists; and the druids besides the study of nature, applied themselves to morality. Their chief settlement in Britain, was in the isle of Anglesey, the antieut Mona. Their garments were remarkably long, and they wore a white surplice, when engaged in religious ceremonies. They carried a wand in their hands, and an ornament of gold, suspended from the neck, called the druid's egg. Their necks were decorated with gold chaius, and their bands and arms with bracelets: their hair was kept very short, and their beards were suffered to grow to a great length. By them, the British and Gaulish youth were educated. The children of the nobility were carried away to cares, or the most desolate parts of forests, and there instructed by the druids, on the motion of the heavens, in the course of the stars,--the power and wisdom of the gods, the transmigration of souls,-the immortality of the soul, and other druidical doctrines. They worshipped the Supreme Being under the name of Esus or Hesus, and the syinbol of the oak. A wood, or a grove was their temple. Here, all their religious rites were performed. The oak, was considered as the emblem, or rather, the peculiar residence of the Almighty. Chaplets of this tree were worn both by the druids and the people in their religious acts;—the altars were strewed with its leaves, and covered with its branches. The fruit, but particularly the misle toe, was thought to contain a Divine virtue, and to be the peculiar gift of heaven. The ceremony of taking the misietoe, is exceedingly curious, and worthy recital. Every thing was prepared for sacrifice under the oak, to which two white bulls were fastened by the horns. The chief druid dressert a white, attended by a vast concourse of people, ascended the tree; then, with a consecrated golden knife, he cropped the misletoe, and received it in his robe, aniid the most enthusiastic acclamations of the people. The priest then descended the tree; the bulls were sacrificed, and the Deity invoked to bless this gift, and render it efficacious in the cure of those diseases, in which it should be resorted to.

Their consecrated groves were fenced round with stones to prevent the intrusion of any strangers. Some of their groves were circular, and others oblong; the area in the centre, was encompassed with several rows of very large oaks, very close together. Within this small circle, were several smaller trees, encompassed with large stones; and near the centre of these lesser circles, were stones of a prodigious size, and convenient height, upon which the victims were immolated. Each of these altars was encircled with another row of stones. These were, most probably, intended to keep the people at a respectful distance from the priest.

8. The Northern Nations. This division will contain the mythology of the Norwegians, Swedes, and Icelanders; and will be detailed more at length, because the books from which ibis account is taken, are not only expensive, but difficult of access. The Edda, and Voluspa, contain a. complete collection of fables, not at all similar to those of Greece and Rome. The Edda was composed in Iceland, in the thirteenth century, and is a commentary on the Voluspa, the bible of the North. Odin, Woden, or Wodan, was their supreme divinity. This hero is supposed to have emigrated from the east. He is represented as the god of batties, and slaughters thousands at a blow. His palace is called Valhalla, where the souls of those who had fallen bravely in battle, partake supreme felicity. The day is spent in imaginary combats, and the night in feasiing on the most delicious vịaods prepared, and served up by the Valkyriæ,* virgins celebrated for their celestial

• The horrific occupation of the Valkyriæ, while preparing the loom of hell;' is thus described by Gray in his Fatal Sisters :'

Glittring lances are the loom,
Where the dusky warp we strain,
Weaving many a soldier's doom,
Orkney's woe, and Ranyer's bane.

charms, and everlasting youth. They drank mead, (the nectar of Scandinavia) out of the sculls of their enemies whom they had killed. Sleepner, the horse of Odin, is also honoured, as well as his master. Loke, or Lok, the evil spirit or gevius of the North, resembles the Typhon of Egypt. Signa; or Sinna is Loke's consort: hence the derivation of our word sin. The most frightful attitudes are given to their giants, Weymur, Ferbanter, Belupher, and Heliunda. The accounts of their various exploits, are more ridiculous and uninteresting than those furnished by the Greek and Roman mythology. The principal deity after Odio, was Frigga, or Frea, his wife; she was called the mother of earth, and of the gors, and was the Tautrs and Astarte of the Phenicians. Thor was their next deity; he presided over the winds and seasons, and particularly on or thunder; he carried a mace, or club, which as often as he discharged it, returned spontaneously to his hand; he grasped it with gauntlets of iron, and could renew his strength at pleasure: he was considered the avenger and defender of the gods. Niord, the Neptune of the Nortb, reigned over the sea and winds. Balder, the son of Odlin, was wise, eloquent, and endowed with such naje-ty, that his very glances were bright and shining. Tyr, was also a warrior-deity, and the protector of champion, and brave men. Brage, presided over eloquence and poetry. His wife named Iduna, had the care of certain apples, which the gods tasted, when they found themselves grow old, and which had the power of instantly restoring them to youth. Heimdal was their porter. The gods fiad made a bridge between heaven and earth: this budye is the rainbow. Heimdal was employed to watch at one of the extremities, to prevent the giants from getting into heaven. It was difficult to suprise hin, for he had the faculty of sleeping more lightly than a bird, and of disco

See the grisely texture grow,
('Tis of human entrails made,)
And the weights that play below,
Each a gasping warrior's head,
Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore
Shoot the trembling corels along.
Sword, that once a monarch bore,
Keep the tissue close and strong.

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vering objects by day or night, at the distance of a hundred leagues. He had an ear so fine, that he could hear the grass grow in the meadows, and the wool on the backs of the sheep

He carried a sword in one hand, and in the other a trumpet, whose sonnd could be heard through all the worlds. "Loke, before pamed, had several children. the wolf Fenris, the serpent Midgard, and Hela, or death, owe their birth to him : all three are enemies to the gods : who, after various struggles, have chained this wolf till the last day, when he is to break loose, and devour the sun. The serpent has been cast into the sea, where he is to remain till he is conquered by the god Thor. And Hela, or death, is banished into the lower regions, where she governs nine worlds, into which she distributes those who are sent to her. This place was called Nifheim, and was reserved for those who died of disease or old age. Hela, or death, here exercised her despotic power; ber palace was Anguish; her table, Famine ; her waiters, were Expectation and Delay; the threshold of her door, was Precipice; her bed, Leanness; she was livid and ghastly:her very looks inspired horror. Every man has a destiny appropriated to himself, who determined the duration and events of his life. The three principal destinies were, Urd, the past; Werandi, the present; and Sculde, the future.

The meaning of the word Voluspa is, a prophecy of Vola, or Fola, a name synonimous with Sybil, and consequently used to designate a female, endowed with the gift of prophecy. It is very antient, and contains an abstract of all the Northern mythology. This book gives a description of the chaos; the formation of the world; the crea

The entrance to Nifheim, the dreadful abode of Hela, is thus described by Gray, in his descent of Odin':

Down the yawning steep he rode
That leads to Hela's drear abode.
Him the dog of darkness spyed;
His shaggy throat he opened wide,
While from his jaws, with carnage filled,
Foam and human gore distilled.
Hoarse he bays with hideous din,
Eyes that glow, and fangs that grin;
And long pursues with fruitless yell,
The father of the pow'rful spell

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tion of giants, men, and dwarfs, who were the different species of its inhabitants; and details the employment of the faeries, or destinies, who are called nornies. The functions of the deities, and their most memorable exploits, are next recorded. The work concludes with a long and animated description of the final state of the universe, and its dissolution by fire. Odin, and all the pagan deities are to be confounded in this general ruin; and a new world is to spring up, arrayed in all the bloom of celestial

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All these different systems of mythology which we have, but cursorily, passed in review before us, are replete with confusion and folly. It may be asked, perhaps, Why the nations of antiquity should have given their celestial heroes, such vile and licentious characters. The reason is obvious. The individuals of those nations were buried in sin, and committed every species of vice, with pleasure and

with greediness. Their deities, then, would be like themPorta

selves,–guilty of every enormity. The light of Christianity however, has in this, and many other countries, long since dispelled the dark cloud of paganisin. How grateful should we be, then, that we live in an age where

geniiine religion, and the worship of the true God are daily in

culcated and practised ! ola,

Select Books on Mythology.
Bryant's Mythology, 6 vols. 8vo. Potter's Antiquities of Greece,

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2 vols. 8vo. Adam's Roman Antiquities, 8vo. Sir William Jones' i Essays in the Asiatic Researches. Mallet's Northern Antiquities, 2 vols . 8vo. But some of these books are expensive and difficult

of access. As far as regards the mythology of Greece and Rome, for young persons, we would recommend Tindal's Abridgment of Spence's Polymetis, 19mo. the Dictionary of Polite Literature, 3 vols, 24mo. or Hort's Ladies' Mythology, 12mo.


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