« PreviousContinue »
The Author had once thoughts (in concert with a Friend) of giving THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH POETRY: In the Introduction to it he meant to have produced fome fpecimens of the Style that reigned in ancient times among the neighbouring nations, or those who had fubdued the greater part of this Island, and were our Progenitors: The following three Imitations made a part of them. He has long fince dropped his defign, especially after he had heard, that it was already in the hands of a Perfon well qualified to do it juftice, both by his tafte, and his refearches into antiquity.
N the Eleventh Century Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney-Iflands, went with a fleet of fhips and a confiderable body of troops into Ireland, to the affistance of Sitryg with the filken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of Dublin: the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sitryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater lofs by the death of Brian, their King, who fell in the
action. On Christmas-day, (the day of the battle) a Native of Caithness in Scotland faw at a distance a number of perfons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and feeming to enter into it. Curiofity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks, he faw twelve gigantic figures resembling women: they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove they fung 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 the South.
AN OD E.
OW the ftorm begins to low'r,
(Hafte, the loom of Hell prepare,)
* Iron-fleet of arrowy fhow'r
Hurtles in the darken'd air.
Note-The Valkyriur were female Divinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic mythology. Their names fignify Chufers of the flain.. They were mounted on fwift horfes, with drawn fwords in their hands; and in the throng of battle felected fuch as were deftined to flaughter, and conducted them to Valkalla, the hall of Odin, or paradife of the Brave; where they attended the banquet, and ferved the departed Heroes with horns of mead and ale.
How quick they wheel'd; and flying, behind them fhot
Sharp fleet of arrowy fhower
Milton's Parad. Regain'd.
The noife of battle hurtled in the air.