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several opportunities will occur for observing the various shapes which the same primitive legend has assumed under the various influences to which it has been subjected at the different points where it has been deposited along the stream of Aryan migration.

The most universal agency in modifying Aryan mythology among the Western nations has been the introduction of Christianity. The mass of beliefs and practices which formed the religious faith and worship of the pre-Christian Teutons, in whom we find our ancestry, did not at once yield to the force of Christian teaching. As Roman Christianity became tainted by numerous symbols and festivals of the paganism it supplanted, so the Teutonic tribes, long after their conversion, clung to the old beliefs which in fact entered into all their forms of thought and speech about the world, as well as to the observances which had, in many cases, woven themselves into the habits of their daily lives. The influence, indeed, of the new religion on these Teutonic superstitions was various. Those which were clearly incompatible with essential principles of Christian thought and life, were, of course, ultimately compelled to give way, though the struggle of the Church with even these was protracted longer than might have been anticipated, and isolated remains of heathen cultus may still be discovered by the antiquary, in various retired districts throughout Europe.1 In some

1 See some instances in Sir John Lubbock's "Origin of Civilization," chap. v. But the whole subject of such survivals of an earlier culture in a later has been recently investigated, with great learning, in Tylor's "Primitive Culture," vol. i. chapters iii. and iv.

cases, however, the Church was forced to content itself with a compromise, throwing what is often a very thin veil of Christianity over ideas and practices of Teutonic heathenism. An instance or two of this kind may be worthy of attention, as introducing us to some of the Scottish ballads.

In studying the intellectual progress of modern Europe, we are met by no fact more mournful than the prolonged hold, even over educated minds, of the belief in witches and witchcraft. In its essential nature this savage superstition takes us back to that rudimentary faith in supernatural power, designated by the historians of religion fetichism, which is found among tribes at the lowest stage of civilization.1 Springing from essential tendencies of human thought, it crops out in places which are separated by all the earth's diameter, and distinguished by every variety in the manners of life; while it survives among us still in minds which have yet been scarcely affected by the scientific spirit of modern times. Though the culture of the past three half centuries has taught us to view this faith as wholly alien to Christian civilization, yet even the revolting results which it exercised on judicial practice did not exclude it, till recent times, from the realm of Christian thought. The reason of this is evidently the fact, that it found a point of attachment in a certain cycle of Christian dogma,—the doctrine of a devil, and a world

1 It is just possible that, in Britain, there may have been a slim thread of historical connection between ancient Druidism and modern witchcraft, some of the Druids, whose individual personality has come down to us, having been women. See Burton's "History of Scotland," vol. i. pp. 222–4.

of demons over which he rules. It must not be supposed, indeed, that the malignant features of witchcraft were first stamped upon it by being dragged into the service of a Christian dogma, or—to speak perhaps more truly -by dragging a Christian dogma into its service;1 but the result of this alliance was to obliterate all the mitigating features of the primitive superstition, reducing it to a scheme of pure diabolism. This fact is worth referring to as illustrating one of the effects upon heathen superstitions resulting from their contact with Christian ideas; but for our more immediate purpose witchcraft might almost have been passed without mention. For it cannot but strike one as remarkable, that a superstition which was so universally prevalent, which, by its fascinating horror, must have seized such a hold on the popular imagination and entered so extensively into popular thought and language, should yet have influenced so slightly the songs and ballads, even of a people over whom it appears to have exercised a more unrestricted tyranny than over any other. I shall not attempt to account for this circumstance, except by suggesting the unpoetical nature of the materials furnished. by such a superstition; for the essential object of poetry

1 There is abundant evidence, from the laws of Rome, both under the Republic and under the pagan Empire, that the magic of ancient paganism was believed to be employed for malicious purposes (Lecky's "History of Rationalism," vol. i. pp. 42-4, Amer. edit.); while Simrock has pointed out beliefs in Teutonic heathenism which have probably given to witchcraft the malignant aspect exclusively developed in Christendom ("Deutsche Mythologie," § 129).

2 "In other lands the superstition was at least mixed with much of imposture; in Scotland it appears to have been entirely undiluted."-Lecky's History of Rationalism, vol. i. p. 144, Amer. edit.

-the production of an intellectual pleasure—could hardly be attained by any treatment of a faith so grossly unspiritual, and suggestive of no ideas which can be imagined without unmitigated pain.

In the very few ballads into which witchcraft enters as an essential motive in the development of the plot, the superstition appears in its more ancient form, and rises to that aspect of sublimer horror which has been. noticed as a prominent characteristic imparted to it by the sterner features of Scottish scenery acting on the Scottish mind.1 The ballad of Willie's Ladye may be taken in illustration. Its theme is a common property of the Aryan nations. Sir Walter Scott refers to its occurrence in ancient Greek mythology, in the Golden Ass of Apuleius, and in a mediæval legend ;2 while Professor Child notices Danish and Swedish ballads founded on the same story.3 In the Scottish ballad, the witchmother of Willie, fired into malicious resolution by his marrying against her will, tortures his wife by working a spell, similar to that by which, in the Greek myth,

1 Buckle, referring to the influence which the physical features of Scotland have exerted on its superstitions, says: "Even the belief in witchcraft

has been affected by these peculiarities; and it has been well observed, that while, according to the old English creed, the witch was a miserable and decrepit hag, the slave rather than the mistress of the demons which haunted her, she, in Scotland, rose to the dignity of a potent sorcerer, who mastered the evil spirit, and, forcing it to do her will, spread among the people a far deeper and more lasting terror."-History of Civilization, vol. ii. p. 148, Amer. edit. See also the numerous authorities he adduces in a note to this passage; and I may add one authority more recent, Burton's "History of Scotland," vol. vii. p. 382.

2 Scott's "Border Minstrelsy," vol. iii. pp. 168–9.

3 Child's "English and Scottish Ballads," vol. i. p. 162.

Hera took revenge on Alcmena, when the latter had won the erratic affections of Zeus.

"Of her young bairn she's ne'er be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter;
But she shall die and turn to clay,

And you shall wed another may."

But the good office which was performed for Alcmena by a stratagem of her maid Galanthis, is here accomplished, in a similar manner, by the ingenuity of a good spirit named Billy Blind, who, in his kindly services to men, resembles the homely Brownie, for

"He spak aye in good time."

Instructed by this propitious familiar, Willie pretends that his child is born, and invites his mother to the christening. Surprised by the trick, the hag demands to know who has revealed the secret of her spell?

"O wha has loosed the nine witch knots,

That were amang that ladye's locks?
And wha's ta'en out the kames o' care,

That were amang that ladye's hair?

And wha's ta'en down that bush o' woodbine,
That hung between her bour and mine?

And wha has killed the master kid,

That ran beneath that ladye's bed?

And wha has loosed her left foot shee,
And let that ladye lighter be?"

The elaborate charm, the explanation of which has been thus elicited from the witch herself, is soon dissolved by

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"And now he has gotten a bonny son,
And meikle grace be him upon!"

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