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Art. IV.Deutsche Mythologie, von Jacob Grimm. Göttin

gen, 1835. 8vo. There is no subject of inquiry relating to the history of a people more interesting than its popular mythology and superstitions. In these we trace the early formation of nations, their identity or analogy, their changes, as well as the inner texture of the national character, more deeply than in any other circumstances, even than in language itself. Not many months have passed by since our attention was called to one division of this subject by the curious work on the old legend of Friar Rush, by Ferdinand Wolf and Dr. Endlicher.* We have much pleasure in being able to state that these two distinguished scholars have now nearly ready for publication a much more complete work on the same class of the beings of this popular creed, including all the legends of the German Rush and the English Robin Goodfellow. But the subject has been brought before us in all its generality by the arrival of the long-expected Mythologie of Dr. James Griinm. Our opinion of Dr. Grimm's work may be stated in a few wordswe consider it to be one of the most admirable books that Germany

has ever sent us. But it is in itself too extensive, and at the same time by far too compact, to allow of our attempting to give an analysis of its contents.

Christianity was first introduced among the Teutonic tribes about the beginning of the fourth century, when a few missionaries carried it to the banks of the Rhine, and to the Alamanns and Goths. Among the latter people it obtained a permanent establishment during that century, being first adopted by the West-Goths, and afterwards by the East-Goths. In their footsteps followed soon after the Vandals and the Gepidæ. The Burgundians, in Gaul, became Christians at the beginning of the fifth century, and the Suevi, in Spain, about fifty years later. At the conclusion of this century and the beginning of the next, the Franks were converted, and they were followed by the Alamanns and the Langobards. In the seventh and eighth centuries followed the conversion of the Bavarians; in the eighth, that of the Frieslanders, the Hessians, and the Thuringians; and towards the ninth, that of the Saxons. In Britain, the Anglo-Saxons had received the Gospel about the conclusion of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh century.

In the tenth century the Danes became Christians; at the beginning of the eleventh, the Norwegians; in the second half of the eleventh, the Swedes and the Icelanders.

* See Foreign Quarterly Review, Part XXXV. p. 180.

The period of the establishment of Christianity among the Slavic and Hungarian tribes varied from the eighth to the eleventh century. The Lithuanians were not converted till the beginning of the fifteenth ; and the Laplanders are scarcely more than half Christians at the present day.

Just as in our island we have districts where the people are much more ignorant than in others, and where the popular superstitions still retain their hold on the peasantry, so was it with the Teutonic tribes in the earlier ages of their Christianity. In the midst of the Christian peoples, there were still districts where the light of the Gospel had not penetrated. Thus in Neustria, the banks of the Loire and the Seine-in Burgundia, the Vosges—in Austrasia, the Ardennes, were inhabited in the sixth and seventh centuries by people who were mere Pagans. Similarly there dwelt pagan tribes towards Friesland and in Flanders, long after the surrounding tribes bad been converted. From this circumstance it arises, that among some of the earlier monkish writers we have notices of heathen customs which they had had an opportunity of witnessing, and allusions to articles of the older creed which still in their time survived partially, and which now throw great light on the history of Teutonic Mythology.

However, when Christianity was fully established, in their conversion the old pagans had received a new belief, without quitting altogether their old one. There were certain beings of the ancient creed who were worshipped as gods, and with whom the people were only acquainted through their priests; and with these Christianity of course clashed at its first introduction. But there was a much larger class of beings of the popular belief, with whom the people supposed they had a nearer connexion, and whose influence, good or evil, they believed themselves to be daily experiencing; these were, like themselves, works of the Creator, - with passions, too, like themselves, and in whose invisible society they were themselves frequently living. They were substantial beings also, but of a far more refined nature, and infinitely more powerful. They wielded the elements, caused most of the visible convulsions of nature, as well as many of the accidents with which humanity was visited. While Christianity destroyed every where the worship of Woden, the belief in the airy spirits of the popular creed was unimpaired; for whatever differ. ent opinion the monks night entertain of their nature and calling, they found nothing in their own faith which directly proscribed them.

In fact, the popular belief in these things and their effects was so intimately interwoven in the national character, that they held by it like the language, with which, also, they had a strong tie in

the multitude of words and names for things and circumstances which called them perpetually to men's minds. The common ceremonies of life at every minute bore allusions to them ; things so difficult to eradicate, that now, after so mnany centuries of successive improvement and refinement, in our salutations, in our eating and drinking, even in our children's games, we are perpetually, though unwittingly, doing the same things which our forefathers did in honour or in fear of the elves and dwarfs of the heathen creed.

Many of these ceremonies and customs appeared to the monks, and with reason, to be much more objectionable than others. Some of them bore too pointed an allusion to the worship of the old pagan deities-others were of a degrading nature, or of a mischievous tendency which was quite at variance with the lowest estimate of Christianity. Some of these were marked out for public punishment in the laws of the different states; but many more are entered in the penitentiaries and ecclesiastical laws among the crimes to be atoned for by that spiritual punishment which the penitence of the offender was made to inflict upon himself. Hence to us these penitentiaries and laws are the most valuable authorities for the early history of the popular superstitions. The Anglo-Saxon penitentiaries, in particular, are full of curious details of this nature, whether we find them written in the Latin or in the vernacular tongue, in both of which they are tolerably abundant. A few specimens may amuse some of our readers, both from their connection with the subject of which we are speaking, and from the curious manner in which the punishments are doled out. We prefer giving them from inedited sources. In a valuable Penetentiary printed in a collection of Anglo-Saxon remains not yet published, are, among others, the following notices :

If any man destroy another by witchcraft, let him fast seven years ; three on bread and water, and, during the other four, three days a week on bread and water."

If any one observe lots, or divination ; or keep his wake (watch) at any wells, or at any other created things, except at Ġod's church ; let bim fast three years, the first on bread and water, and the other two, on Wednesdays and Fridays, on bread and water ; and the other days let him eat his meat, but without flesh."*

The same for a woman, who useth any witchcraft to her child, or

*

Gyf bwa blytas o88e bwatunga bega ; offe bis wæccean æt ænigum wylle hæbbe, oðde æt ænigre ośre gesceafte butan æt. Godes cyricean; fæste he nii. gear, þæt an on blafe and on wætere, and þa twa on Wodnes-dagum and Frige-dagum on hlafe and on watere, and þa oðre dlagas bruce his metes butan flæsce anum.

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who draws it through the earth at the meeting of roads, because that is great heathenness.”

If a mouse fall into liquor, let it be taken out, and sprinkle the liquor with holy-water, and, if it be alive, the liquor may be used, but if it be dead, throw the liquor out and clean the vessel.”

He who uses any thing that a dog or mouse bas eaten of, or a weasel polluted, if he do it knowingly, let him sing a hundred psalms; and if he know it not, let him sing fifty psalms.

He who gives to others the liquor that a mouse or weasel has been drowned in, if he be a layman, let bim fast three days; if he be a churchman, let him sing three hundred psalms. And if he did it without his knowledge, but afterwards knew it, let him sing the psalter."

In a Saxon homily against witchcraft and magic, preserved in the public library of the University of Cambridge, we have several notices of the heathen superstitions of our forefathers, at a comparatively short distance of time from their conversion. are ashamed,” says the writer, " to tell all the scandalous divinations that every man useth through the devil's teaching, either in taking a wife, or in going a journey, or in brewing, or at the asking of something when he begins any thing, or when any thing is born to him."*

And again, • Some men are so blind, that they bring their offerings to immoveable rocks, and also to trees, and to wells, as witches teach, and will not understand how foolishly they do, or how the lifeless stone or the dumb tree may help them, or heal them, when they themselves never stir from the place.”+

“ Moreover,” he goes on to say, “ many a silly woman goes to the meeting of ways, and draweth her child through the earth, and so gives to the devil both herself and her offspring.”+ In fact, as the same early writer observes, " every one who trusts in divinations either by fowls, or by sneezings, or by horses, or by dogs, he is no Christian, but a notorious apostate.”ę Among the

* Us sceamed to secganne ealle da sceandlican wiglunga þe ge-hwæs menn drifað, þurh deofles lare, 088e on wifunge, 0ðde on wadunge, odde on brywlace, oppe gif hî man hwæs bitt þonnc hî hwæt onginnað, oppe bî hwæt' bið accenned.-MS. Bibl. Pub. Camb. li. 1, 33, fol. 395.

+ Sume men synd swa ablende þæt bî bringað beora lác to eorðfæstum stanum, and eac to treowum, and to wyl-spríngum, swa swa wiccan tæcad, and nellað understandan bu stuntlice bî doð, 088e hu de deade stán ogðe þæt dumbe treow him mage ge-belpan, 0ðde hæle for-gifan, þonne hî sylfe ne a-styriad of þære stowe næfre.-16. fol. 396.

# Eác sume ge-witlease wif farað to wega gelætum, and teoð heora cild þurh da eorðan, and swa deofle be-tæсað bí sylfe and heora bearn. -16.

f Eall swa ge-lice de pe ge-lyfr wiglungum o88e be fugelum, 088e be fnórum, oðde be horsum, ogde be hundum, ne bið he na Cristen ac bið for-cuð wider-saca.--1b, fol. 394.

many Latin' penetentialia in the British Museum, there is one which is very full in its enumeration of such offences against “ Christendom," although it seems that many of them were criminal, chiefly when committed by a priest or monk. Amongst other offenders are here enumerated,

“He who endeavours by any incantation or magic to take away the stores of milk, or honey, or other things belonging to another, and to acquire them himself.

“ He who, deceived by the illusion of hobgoblins, believes and confesses that he goes or rides in the company of her whom the foolish peasantry call Herodias or Diana, and with immense multitude, and that he obeys her commands.

“He who prepares with three knives in the company of they may predestine happiness to children who are going to be born there.

“ He who makes his offering to a tree, or to water, or to any thing, except a church.

They who follow the custom of the pagans in inquiring into the future by magical incantations on the first of January, or begin works on that day, as though they would on that account prosper better the

persons, that

whole year.

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They who make ligatures or incantations and various fascinations with magical charms, and hide them in the grass, or in a tree, or in the path, for the preservation of their cattle.

“ He who places his child on the roof or in a furnace for the recovery of his health, or for this purpose uses any charms, or characters, or magical figment, or any art, unless it be holy prayers, or the liberal art of medicine.

“He who shall say any charm in the collecting of medicinal herbs, except such as the paternoster and the credo."

Many of the customs alluded to in the foregoing extracts may be traced, under different forms, nearly up to the present day; and none more so than well-worship, some of the ceremonies of which are still performed in different parts of our island. We are tempted to point out two inedited allusions to this latter branch of popular superstition, which we think extremely curious. When the Saxon hero, Hereward, was holding so bravely the marshes of Ely against the Norman Conqueror, he one day repaired in disguise to William's court, and before presenting himself there, passed the night in a cottage in the town where the court was then held. It happened that at the same time there resided in the cottage a noted witch, who was employed by the King to daunt the courage of Hereward's soldiers by her incantations. Being disturbed at midnight by hearing the witch in conversation with his bostess, he followed them into the garden. They repaired to a fountain of water which flowed towards the east, and there

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