Art thou, nor prophetess of good;
But mother of the giant brood!


Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
That never shall enquirer come
To break my iron-sleep again;

Till Lok has burst his tenfold chain;
Never, till substantial night
Has reassum'd her ancient right;
Till wrapt in flames, in ruin hurl'd,
Sinks the fabric of the world.

Var. V. 87. Hie thee, Odin, boast. MS.
V. 90. Has] Have. MS.

V. 92. Has reassum'd] Reassumes her. MS.

"Et deorum crepusculum
Dissolventes aderint."



W. Herbert has published a translation of the introductory lines of this poem, and also much curious information illustrating several passages in the text. See his Select Iceland. Poetry, p. 43. He mentions some little amplifications in Gray, tending to convey notions of the Icelandic mythology, not warranted by the original, as "Coal-black steed; Raven"Thrice he trac'd the Runic rhyme; hair; "The portals nine of hell; ""Foam and human gore."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

V. 89. “ χάλκεος ύπνος,” Hom. "Ferreus somnus," Virg. En. xii. 309. "Iron sleep," Dryden. And " An iron slumber shuts my sleeping eyes," Dryden. Georg. iv. 717.

V. 90. 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 "Introd. à l'Hist. de Dannemarc par Mallet," 1755, quarto; or rather a translation of it published in 1770, and entitled "Northern Antiquities; in which some mistakes in the original are judiciously corrected. Mason.



[From Evans. Spec. of the Welsh Poetry, 1764, quarto, p. 25, where is a Prose version of this Poem, and p. 127. Owen succeeded his father Griffith app Cynan in the principality of N. Wales, A.D. 1137. This battle was fought in the year 1157. Jones. Relics, vol. ii. p. 36.]

OWEN's praise demands my song,
Owen swift, and Owen strong;
Fairest flower of Roderic's stem,
Gwyneth's shield, and Britain's gem,
He nor heaps his brooded stores,
Nor on all profusely pours;
Lord of every regal art,

Liberal hand, and open heart.

Compare with this poem, "Hermode's Journey to Hell," in Dr. Percy's Translation of Mallet's Northern Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 149. See Beronii Diss. de Eddis Island. p. 153. Mundi credita Kπúρwσ in qua solem nigrescere, tellurem in mari submersam iri, stellas de coelo lapsuras, ignem in vetustam orbis molem et fabricam disævituram, v. Sibyll. Velusp. Stroph. liii.


*The original Welsh of the above poem was the composition of Gwalchmai the son of Melir, immediately after Prince Owen Gwynedd had defeated the combined fleets of Iceland, Denmark, and Norway, which had invaded his territory on the coast of Anglesea. There is likewise another poem which describes this famous battle, written by Prince Howel, the son of Owen Gwynedd; a literal translation of which may be seen in Jones. Relics, vol. ii. p. 36. In Mason's edition, and in all the subsequent editions, it is said that Owen succeeded his

Big with hosts of mighty name,
Squadrons three against him came;
This the force of Eirin hiding,
Side by side as proudly riding,
On her shadow long and gay
Lochlin plows the wat'ry way;
There the Norman sails afar
Catch the winds and join the war:
Black and huge along they sweep,
Burdens of the angry deep.

Dauntless on his native sands
The dragon-son of Mona stands;
In glitt'ring arms and glory drest,
High he rears his ruby crest.
There the thund'ring strokes begin,
There the press, and there the din;




father, A.D. 1120. The date I have altered, agreeably to the text of Mr. Jones, to A.D. 1137.

V. 4. Gwyneth] North Wales.

V. 8. "With open heart and bounteous hand."

Swift. Cad. and Van.

V. 10. "A battle round of squadrons three they shew." Fairfax. Tasso, xviii. 96.

V. 13. "And on her shadow rides in floating gold."
Dryden. A. Mir. G. Steevens.

V. 14. Lochlin] Denmark.

"Watery way," Dryden. Æn. iii. 330. Rogers.

V. 20. The red dragon is the device of Cadwallader, which all his descendants bore on their banners. Mason.

V. 23. "It seems (says Dr. Evans, p. 26,) that the fleet landed in some part of the frith of Menai, and that it was a kind of mixt engagement, some fighting from the shore, others from the ships; and probably the great slaughter was owing

[blocks in formation]

Talymalfra's rocky shore

Echoing to the battle's roar.

Check'd by the torrent-tide of blood,
Backward Meinai rolls his flood;
While, heap'd his master's feet around,
Prostrate warriors gnaw the ground.
Where his glowing eye-balls turn,
Thousand banners round him burn:
Where he points his purple spear,
Hasty, hasty rout is there,
Marking with indignant eye
Fear to stop, and shame to fly.
There confusion, terror's child,
Conflict fierce, and ruin wild,
Agony, that pants for breath,
Despair and honourable death.



to its being low water, and that they could not sail. This will doubtless remind many of the spirited account delivered by the noblest historian of ancient Greece, of a similar conflict on the shore of Pylus, between the Athenians and the Spartans under the gallant Brasidas. Thucyd. Bel. Pelop. lib. iv. сар. 12.99

V. 25. "Tal Moelvre." Jones.

V. 27. This and the three following lines are not in the former editions, but are now added from the author's MS.


V. 31. From this line to the conclusion, the translation is indebted to the genius of Gray, very little of it being in the original, which closes with a sentiment omitted by the translator: "And the glory of our Prince's wide-wasting sword shall be celebrated in a hundred languages, to give him his merited praise."



[See S. Turner's Vindication of Ancient British Poems, p. 50. Warton's Engl. Poetry, vol. i. p. lxiii.]

HAD I but the torrent's might,

With headlong rage and wild affright
Upon Deïra's squadrons hurl'd

To rush, and sweep them from the world!

* Of Aneurin, styled the Monarch of the Bards. He flourished about the time of Taliessin, A. D. 570.1 This Ode is extracted from the Gododin. See Evans. Specimens, p. 71 and 73. This poem is extremely difficult to be understood, being written, if not in the Pictish, at least in a dialect of the Britons, very different from the modern Welsh. See Evans, p. 68-75.

"Aneurin with the flowing Muse, King of Bards, brother to Gildas Albanius the historian, lived under Mynyddawg of Edinburgh, a prince of the North, whose Eurdorchogion, or warriors wearing the golden torques, three hundred and sixtythree in number, were all slain, except Aneurin and two others, in a battle with the Saxons at Cattraeth, on the eastern coast of Yorkshire. His Gododin, an heroic poem written on that event, is perhaps the oldest and noblest production of that age." Jones. Relics, vol. i. p. 17.- Taliessin composed a poem called Cunobiline's Incantation,' in emulation of excelling the Gododin of Aneurin his rival. He accomplished his aim, in the opinion of subsequent bards, by condensing the prolixity, without losing the ideas, of his opponent.

V. 3. The kingdom of Deira included the counties of Yorkshire, Durham, Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland. See Jones. Relics, vol. i. p. 17.

1 Mr. Jones, in his Relics, vol. i. p. 17, says, that Aneurin flourished about A. D. 510.

« VorigeDoorgaan »