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•Through the wild waves, as they roar,
Thy steady course of honour keep,
Nor fear the rocks, nor seek the shore i
And gilds the horrors of the deep.*
VIII. TFIE FATAL SISTERS.
From the Norse Tongue.*
(Haste, the loom of Hell prepare),
Hurtles in the darken'd air.
• To be found in the Orcades of Thormodus Torfaeus ; Hafniae, 1697, folio: and also in Bartholin us.
Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c.
The design of Mr. Gray in writing this and the three following imitative Odes is given in the Memoirs of his Lite. For the better understanding the first of these, the reader is to be informed, that in the eleventh century, Sigurd, earl of the Orkney Islands, went with a fleet of ships, and a considerable body of troops, into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making' war on his father-in-law Brian, king of Uublin : the earl and all his forces were out to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death ot Brian, their king, who fell in the action. On Christmas-day (the day of the battle) a native of Caithness, in Scotland, saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks, he saw twelve gigantic figures resembling women: they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove, they sung the following dreadful song; which, when they had finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking her portion) galloped six to the north and as many to tlie south. These were the Valltyriur, female divinities, servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic Mythology. Their name signifies Choosers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawu swordsin their hands; and In the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valhalla, the hall of <Jdint or paradise of the brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed heroes with horns of mead and ale.
Glitt'ring lances arc the loom,
Weaving; many a .soldier's doom,
See the griesly texture grow
And the weights, that play below
Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore,
Sword, that once a monarch bore,
Mista black, terrific maid,
Sangrida, and Hilda see, Join the wayward work to aid:
'Tis the woof of victory.
Ere the ruddy sun be set,
Pikes must shiver, javelins sing,
Blade with clattering buckler meet,
(Weave the crimson web of wai)
Let us go, and let us fly,
Where they triumph, where they die.
As the paths of fate we tread.
Wading through th' ensanguined field t
Gondula, and Gei-ra, spread
O'er the youthful king your shield.
We the reins to slaughter give,
8pite of danger he sh-all live
(Weave the crimson web ot war).
They, whom once the desert-beach
Pent within its bleak domain, Soon their ample sway shall stretch
O'er the plenty of the plain.
Low the dauntless earl is laid,
Gored with many a gaping wound s
Fate demands a nobler head;
Soon a king shall bite the ground.
Long his loss shall Erin weep,
Ne'er again his likeness see; Long her strains in sorrow steep,
Strains of Immortality!
Horror covers all the heath,
Clouds of carnage blot the sun. Sisters, weave the web of death;
Sisters, cease; the work is done.
Hail the task, and hail the hands!
Songs of joy and triumph sing! Joy to the victorious bands;
Triumph to the younger king.
Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,
Learn the tenor of our song. Scotland, through each winding vale
Far and wide the notes prolong.
Sisters, hence with spurs of speed:
Each her thundering falchion wie Eact, bestride her sable steed:
Harry, hurry to the field*
IX. THE DESCENT OF ODIN.«
From the Norse- Tongu*.
«J Z^^^^rS Dortllo,lDtt8' d* causi. contemn
Upreis Odinn allda gautr, &c.
iNt/thehnr, the hell of the Gothic nations, consisted of nine world*.
«*H nh^tLr<;hdeVOtedKaU1SUch as died °f *i«*ne,8, old age orTMa^
SSuh? in e: °Vfcr " Presided "«»»* the fcoddes. of
Pr. What call unknown, what charms presume
O. A traveller, to thee unknown,
Is he that calls, a Warrior's Son.
Thou the deeds of light shalt know;
Tell me what is done below,
For whom yon glitt'ring board is spread,
Drest for whom yon golden bed.
Pr. Mantling in the goblet see
O. Once again my call obey,
Pr. In Hoder's hand the hero's doom: