« PreviousContinue »
PROPHETESS.. What call unknown, what charms, presume To break the quiet of the tomb? Who thus afflicts my troubled sprite, And drags me from the realms of night? Long on these mould’ring bones have beat The winter's snow, the summer's heat, The drenching dews, and driving rain! Let me, let me sleep again. Who is he, with voice unblest, That calls me from the bed of rest?
A Traveller, to thee unknown,
 Odin, we find both from this Ode and the Edda, was solicitous about the fate of his son Balder, who had dreamed that he was soon to die. The Edda mentions the manner of his death when killed by Odin's other son Hoder; and also that Hoder was himself slain afterwards by Vali, the son of Odin and Rinda, consonant with this prophecy.
For whom yon glittring board is spread,
Mantling in the goblet see
Once again my call obey . Prophetess, arise, and say,
 Women were looked upon by the Gothic nations as having a peculiar insight into futurity; and some there were that made profession of magic arts and divination. These travelled round the country, and were received in every house with great respect and honour. Such a woman bore the name of Volva Seidkona, or Spakona. The dress of Thorbiorga, one of these prophetesses, is described at large in Eirick's Rauda Sogu, (apud Bartholin. lib. i. cap. iv. p. 688.) “ She had on a “ blue vest spangled all over with stones, a necklace of glass beads, and « a cap made of the skin of a black lamb lined with white cat-skin. “ She leaned on a staff adorned with brass, with a round head set with
What dangers Odin's Child await,
Prophetess, my spell obey,
In the caverns of the west,
stones; and was girt with an Hunlandish belt, at which hung her
pouch full of magical instruments. Her buskins were of rough calf“ skin, bound on with thongs studded with knobs of brass, and her « gloves of white cat-skin, the fur turned inwards, &c.” They were also called Fiolkyngi, or Fiol-kunnug ; i. e. Multi-scia: and Visindakona ; i. e, Oraculorum Mulier: Nornir ; i. e. Parcæ.
A wondrous Boy shall Rinda bear,
call obey ;
 These were probably the Nornir, or Parcæ, before-mentioned ; their names were Urda, Verdandi, and Skulda; and they were the dispensers of good destinies. As their names signify Time past, present, and future, it is probable they were always invisible to mortals: therefore when Odin asks this question on seeing them, he betrays himself to be a god; which elucidates the next speech of the Prophetess.
Ha! no Traveller art thou, King of Men, I know thee now; Mightiest of a mighty line
No boding Maid of skill divine Art thou, nor Prophetess of good; But mother of the giant-brood !
Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
 In the Latin, “Mater trium Gigantum.” He means, therefore, probably Angerbode, who, from her name, seems to be “no Prophetess “ of good,” and who bore to Loke, as the Edda says, three children; the Wolf Fenris, the great Serpent Midgard, and Hela, all of them called Giants in that wild but curious system of mythology.
(8) Till Lok has burst his tenfold chain. Lok is the Evil Being, who continues in chains till the Twilight of the Gods approaches; when he shall break his bonds; the human race, the stars, and sun, shall disappear ; the earth sink in the seas, and fire consume the skies: even Odin himself and his kindred deities shall perish. For a further explanation of this mythology, see“ Introduction a l'His