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against the gods, their resentment, and the vengeance they took of him when he was seized and shut up in a cavern, formed of three keen-edged stones, where he rages with such violence that he causes all the earthquakes that happen. He will remain there captive, adds the same mythology, till the end of the ages; but then he shall be slain by Heimdall, the doorkeeper of the gods.'-p. 96.

Then follows an account of the Valkyrior, or Virgins that wait upon the departed heroes, in the halls of Valhalla

'Odin also employs them to choose in battles those who are to perish, and to make the victory incline to whatever side he pleases. The court of the gods is ordinarily kept under a great ash-tree, and there they distribute justice. This ash is the greatest of all trees (symbolic of universal nature); its branches cover the surface of the earth; its top reaches to the highest heaven; it is supported by three vast roots, one of which extends to the ninth world. An eagle, whose piercing eye discovers all things, perches upon its branches. A squirrel is continually running up and down it to bring news, while a parcel of serpents, fastened to the trunk, endeavour to destroy him. From under one of the roots runs a fountain, wherein wisdom lies concealed. From a neighbouring spring (the fountain of past things) three virgins are continually drawing a precious water, with which they water the ash-tree. This water keeps up the beauty of its foliage, and after having refreshed its leaves, falls back again to the earth, where it forms the dew of which the bees make their honey. These three virgins always keep under the ash; and it is they who dispense the days and ages of men. Every man hath a destiny apportioned to himself who determines the duration and events of his life. But the three destinies of more especial note are Urd (the Past), Verdandi (the Present), and Skuld (the Future).'

Such is a brief summary of the myths and symbols of this religion, as developed in the prose Edda. Fatalism lies at the bottom of it, and although it contains glimpses of deep insight, it must be regarded, on the whole, as the crude attempt of a people, making their way through a state of barbarism towards a state of civilization, to solve the problem of the universe. We find in it none of those moral teachings and metaphysical speculations which characterize the Druidical Triads. It is full of wild, bold, and gigantic figures and impersonations; full of a kind of vitality and robust health; but it is objective and material, it does not touch the highest hopes, nor allude to the highest emprises of humanity, but is altogether a frozen religion, stained with the most sensuous colours of poetry. There is a great contrast between it and Druidism. În the latter, peace is the greatest blessing of society; in the former, war. The one offers beautiful virgins and a whole 'Mediterranean Sea of brewis,' to the brave departed; the other insists on purity and the practice of

all moral virtues and graces, before any one can attain to that lofty spiritual condition which unites the creature to the Creator. Fatalism, as we said, is the foundation of the first, and free-will of the last. Both acknowledge the existence of Providence ; but the former attributed every over-ruling influence to its 'lords many' and 'gods many;' the latter, to the supreme power alone. Both had similar ideas of hell, as a place of punishment, and both seem to agree that the punishment is limited and not eternal. The Scandinavians had a tradition of the creation and the deluge, the ancient Britons of the deluge alone. The Things, or courts of judicature of the former, were similar to those of the latter; both were held in the open air, and both within the circle of a doom-ring, made of upright stones. Both had local district courts, and one national court; the latter was held in retired places on immense plains; that of the Scandinavians, which they called All Thing, on a volcanic platform north of the lake Reykjavik; and that of the Britons on Salisbury Plain. And it is singular enough that the Logberg, or law mount, of the one, corresponds to the Carreg Lafar, or speaking stone, of the other. Trial by jury, or an institute nearly resembling it, was likewise common to both peoples, and both enacted laws punishing those who should unsheathe their swords in the legal assemblies. The priests always opened these courts with sacrifices, in the presence of the lords of the districts, the people standing outside the sacred circle. A certain portion of land, also, was allotted to the free born among the Scandinavians and the Britons alike. Both worshipped in groves and had temples of stones; both slew their victims at the foot of the altar, drew auguries from their entrails, and finally buried their remains within the sacred precincts.

We might extend this parallel much further, if the space were at our disposal. We think there is proof enough shown that both these nations derived their customs and traditions from a common source, and that both of them had an eastern origin, although they differ so materially in many important particulars. We have already alluded to the traditions of the deluge which are found amongst them both. The best Welsh antiquarians agree in the opinion that the Cromlech is symbolical of the ark. Let us now look at the Scandinavian tradition of the Deluge as it is recorded in the Voluspa―

In the day-spring of the ages, there was neither sea, nor shore, nor refreshing breezes. There was neither earth below nor heaven above to be distinguished. The whole was only one vast abyss, without herb and without seeds. The sun had then no palace; the stars knew not their dwelling-places; the moon was ignorant of her power.

Then there was a luminous, burning, flaming world towards the south; and another, nebulous and dark, towards the north. From the latter world flowed out incessantly into the abyss that lay between the two, torrents of venom, which, in proportion as they removed far away from their source, congealed in their falling into the abyss, and so filled it with scum and ice. Thus was the abyss, by little and little, filled quite full; but there remained within it a light immovable air, and thence exhaled icy vapours. Then a warm breath coming from the south melted those vapours, and formed of them living drops, whence was born the giant Ymir. It is reported that whilst he slept, an extraordinary sweat under his armpits produced a male and female, whence is sprung the race of the giants-a race evil and corrupt, as well as Ymir their author. Another race was brought forth, which formed alliances with that of the giant Ymir; this was called the family of Bor, so named from the second of that family, who was the father of Odin. The sons of Bor slew the giant Ymir, and the blood ran from his wounds in such abundance, that it caused a general inundation, wherein perished all the giants, except only one, who, saving himself in a bark, escaped with all his family. Then a new world was formed. The sons of Bor, or the gods, dragged the body of the giant in the abyss, and of it made the earth; the sea and rivers were composed of his blood, the earth of his flesh, the great mountains of his bones, the rocks of his teeth, and of splinters of his broken bones. They made of his skull the vault of heaven, which is supported by four dwarfs, named North, South, East, and West. They fixed there tapers to enlighten it, and assigned to other fires certain spaces which they were to run through-some of them in heaven, others under heaven. The days were distinguished, and the years were numbered. They made the earth round, and surrounded it with the deep ocean, upon the outward banks of which they placed the giants. One day, as the sons of Bor, or the gods, were taking a walk, they found two pieces of wood floating upon the water; these they took, and out of them made a man and woman. The eldest of the gods gave them life and souls; the second, motion and knowledge; the third, the gift of speech, hearing, and sight, to which he added beauty and raiment. From this man and this woman, named Ask and Embla, is descended the race of men who are permitted to inhabit the earth.'

We are aware that this brief incursion into the shadowy domains of the remote past has been, somewhat like that past, loose and irregular, but there is a large class of our readers to whom it will not, perhaps, be the less acceptable on that

account.

118

ART. V. Coningsby; or, the New Generation. By B. D'ISRAELI, Esq., M.P. Fifth Edition. London, 1849.

CONINGSBY has reached a fifth edition, and its author has almost achieved the ambition of his life, and secured his position as the leader of a party and a place in the Cabinet.

Is it the disgrace of our literature, or the disgrace of our Parliament, that the only man who has risen into political eminence through literary ability is that clever, sarcastic, extravagant, reckless, disrespectable and disrespected person who formerly styled himself D'Israeli the Younger? In France, men point with some degree of pride to a Guizot, a Thiers, a Lamartine, a Villemain-not to mention numerous lesser names- -as men in whom the aristocracy of intelligence has achieved its due political recognition. In England we must be content to point to the author of 'Coningsby'—a fact which the present writer contents himself with stating, leaving to others the task of moralizing on it.

There is, we believe, a point of view from which D'Israeli's career may be examined with considerable interest. As a man of letters or as a statesman, he has small if any intrinsic value; but the combination is curious, and his success is a lesson. His position in the political world is analogous to his position in the literary world, with this enormous difference—that in the House of Commons he is in competition with a set of men for the most part greatly his inferiors in ability, and hampered by all sorts of routiniary prejudices; whereas in the world of literature he has rivals in the Past and in the Present, and is deficient in every quality which could sustain that rivalry with effect. The genesis of a statesman from an author is, however, here rendered doubly piquant as a subject of study, no less from his deficiencies than from the serious defects in our political world which his success implies.

As an author, in spite of a certain notoriety and undeniable talents, his value is null. He has written books, and these books have been immensely successful; but they have no place in our literature-they are indubitable failures or fleeting ephemerides. He has taken many leaps, but has gained no footing. He has written a quarto epic; he has written a tragedy; he has written novels, pamphlets, and a political treatise on the Constitution; but all these works are as dead as the last week's newspaper. The most insignificant niche in the temple is denied them. If anybody looks at them, it is not on

their account, but on his account. The noise they made has passed away like the vacuous enthusiasm of after-dinner friendships. They have achieved notoriety for their author, oblivion for themselves. Let him write a novel, and all the world' will read it, quote it, laugh over it, talk about it; and among its hundreds of readers not one will have felt his heart stirred, his soul expanded, his experience deepened, his hopes exalted, his moral nature strengthened, or his taste refined; for not one single passage will have gone direct to any serious purpose. Personalities, sarcasms, and the piquancy of political scandal, will create a 'sensation;' but other qualities are needed to create a work. Coningsby' may reach a fifth edition, but 'Coningsby' has no place in our literature, for it has no enduring qualities. Place Mrs. Gore's or Mrs. Trollope's name upon the title page, and the factitious value of the book vanishes at once. Looked at calmly, what is all this display of wit and cleverness which glitters through the many novels of the author of 'Vivian Grey'? what is all their oriental gorgeousness of diction, their ambitious rhythm, sonorous with weighty words, which elsewhere have meanings in them? Verbiage-nothing else. There is no heart pulsing beneath that eloquence; there is no earnest soul looking through those grand words. It is all a show got up' for the occasion; and the showman, having no belief in his marionnettes, you have no belief in them. The bitter satirist of Grecian infidelity-Lucian-makes Timon the Misanthropist tell Jupiter that all the godlike epithets with which the poets dignify him, are not the utterances of reverent belief but the necessities of rhythm, not what their souls pour forth, but what the halting verse requires Tóre yàp AŬTOTS NOλυώνυμος γινόμενος ὑπερείδεις τὸ πίπτον τοῦ μέτρου, καὶ ἀναπληροῖς τὸ κεχηνὸς τοῦ ῥυθμοῦ. Just the same lip-worship of great principles covering practical disregard of all principles, do we meet with in D'Israeli's writings. This renders them null. He writes solely for effect, and no man who writes for effect can be permanently effective.

Earnestness always commands respect. No qualities will compensate for its absence. Without it, nothing can be done well, nothing can gain the tribute of mankind. Believe in a lie, and if you believe it you will be respected; but repeat a Gospel truth, if you only repeat it, and pretend to believe in it, no honest man will open his heart to you. For we all feel that in this life it is not the rightness but the uprightness of our views which distinguishes the honest man. Humanum est errare.

Now, in D'Israeli's works, we note as a decided characteristic the absence of all earnestness-a want of truthfulness. There

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