Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

sent at the time when they elevate the host, I have never bent a knee, a thing which many strangers scruple not to doe, the contrary being not without danger sometimes from the rudeness of the people. I have declined all intimacy with prelates and cardinals, passing my life much alone, either at home or taking the sun abroad. I have never been with the Pope, tho' sollicited to it by the offer of a treatment equall, if not more, than any of my rank have had. In my discourse among our countrymen, I have never omitted to expose the folly and superstition of that religion, infinitely more ridiculous here than it is in England or France; and to the Italians themselves I have done the same, as much as good manners and the Inquisition have allowed me to declare. Whoever is so stupid as to consider no further in Religion than outward shew, will be in danger to be charmed by this practised here. Their churches, the musick, illuminations, shews, and scenes delight the ear and ey beyond our operas. But whoever reflects that Religion is intended for something more solid, will never be satisfy'd by that bigotry and superstition calculated onely for outward appearance, and not in the least to correct human passions, and make men better. I hope such an occasion will never again offer to shew my zeal for the maintenance of the Protestant religion, as that I did once not decline in king James's reign. But if ever it should, I assure you I shall be as forward to expose my fortunes and life in it's defence, as I was in the year 1688. It may be objected, why of all places, I chose Rome to stay so long in? my answer is, (Venice excepted, where, I fear, the moyst air will not agree with me) That the Pope's dominion is the least popish of any in Italy. In most other towns, I know by experience or enquiry, that knowing my particular circumstances, they would make a difficulty to converse with me. Here they are less scrupulous in that point, tho' very many I am sure, have declined it upon that account. If Portugall, by reason of the long voyage by sea, and France and Spain had not been impracticable for the war, I had never come into Italy; and in letters and discourse I have often lamented, that there is no where in Europe a Protestant country favor'd with the warm sun, a blessing the circumstances of my health so much want. I am not without hopes to have so better'd my health, that I may at my return be able to endure the air of my own country; and I would not spoil what I have taken so much pains and care to establish by exposing myself to a cold climate in the rigorous part of the year. So I resolve to see the worst of the winter over, before I quit Italy.

I ask your Lordship's pardon for so long a trouble, which I should not have done, but that transported by the subject I write upon, I have said more than I designed, and if you find any body that this malicious insinuation has had any influence on, you will oblige me in showing them what I now write, or answering for me that I am incapable of so much baseness. And be assur'd that the whole course of my life shall shew me, if not a good Protestant, at least a true one, and, my Lord,

Your Lordship's most faithfull

When James II. attempted to assume an arbitrary power, the Duke, then Earl, of Shrewsbury, was one of the first peers who went over to the Prince of Orange, whom he assisted not only with his presence and counsel, but with his purse also; for he borrowed twelve thousand pounds in order to support the cause, and resigned the command of a regiment of horse, which had been bestowed upon him by James. This is what he alludes to in the letter just quoted; nor

and obedient servant, SHREWSBURY.

was William without a just sense of his value, for on the landing of that Prince, the Earl of Shrewsbury was the person on whose opinion he chiefly acted; his declaration was in great measure drawn up by his Lordship's advice; and he was, immediately on the Prince and Princess being declared King and Queen of England, sworn one of the privy-council, and appointed sole principal secretary of state. The latter office he retained only a short time, for, not approving

some of the court measures, he resigned in 1690, but was again recalled to it in 1693. It was said of him, that "he was always a courtier as long as he was persuaded the court acted for the interest of the country, but whenever a step was taken there which he thought against that interest, he went out of the greatest offices with as much ease as he shifted his clothes."

The Duke of Shrewsbury died on the first of February, 1718, in his fifty-eighth year. A few days previously to his death, he sent for all

his servants into the room, and telling them, that let his physicians say what they would, he was sure he could not live, desired, if death should carry him off suddenly, they would do justice to his memory, by declaring, as he then did, that he died in the communion of the Church of England. And on the very day he expired, he begged his Duchess and the Physician to go to dinner, and come and chat with him when they had done; but before the dinner was over, he had breathed his last.



THE following Song is noticed in the introduction to the Fortunes of Nigel, and part of it is sung by Richie Moniplies. It is supposed to come from the lips of a Scottish Jacobite exile-the chorus is old.



It's hame and it's hame, hame fain would I be,
O, hame, hame, hame to my ain countree;

There's an eye that ever weeps, and a fair face will be fain,
As I pass through Annan-water with my bonnie bands again;
When the flower is in the bud, and the leaf upon the tree,
The lark shall sing me hame in my ain countree.

The green


It's hame and it's hame, hame fain would I be,
O hame, hame, hame to my ain countree;
leaf of loyalty's beginning for to fa',
The bonnie white rose it is withering and a',
But I'll water't with the blood of usurping tyrannie,
And green it will grow in my ain countree.


It's hame and it's hame, hame fain would I be,
O hame, hame, hame to my ain countree;
There's nought now from ruin my country can save
But the keys of kind heaven to open the grave,
That all the noble martyrs who died for loyaltie
May rise again and fight for their ain countree.


It's hame and it's hame, hame fain would I be,
O hame, hame, hame to my ain countree;
The great now are gane a' who ventured to save,
The new grass is growing aboon their bloody grave,
But the Sun through the mirk blinks blythe in my ee,
I'll shine on ye yet in your ain countree.


THE people of Sweden, whether high or low, are all particularly given to tales of ghosts and spirits; with the latter, indeed, they are not only a passion as an entertainment, but a serious matter of belief. A sufficient proof too that such superstitions are not always confined to the common class may be found in the general credence that was given, even in Stockholm, to the dream of Charles XI. which with us, and in the present day, would be considered as the mere creation of delirium. But with the peasant, such a belief seems to be a part of his habitual thinking; and even the postilion will entertain his traveller on the journey with the tales of his popular superstition. These are perhaps more numerous with the Swede than with the peasant of any other country, each element having its peculiar spirits, and each spirit having some legend of love or terror attached to his existence; but to make the subject more intelligible, it will be requisite to treat of each class in its order.

The Swedish word Troll is very undefined; properly speaking, it means the little wood-and-mountain spirits; but it is also applied, in a more gene ral sense, to the whole race of supernatural beings in their various forms and attributes. The wood-and-water sprites are known more particularly under the names of Skogara and Sjora, little beings that milk the cows and lame the horses; but, if any thing of iron is cast over them, their power to work mischief ceases. The cattle may be also secured from them by hiding garlic or assafoetida about their heads.

Amongst the spirits that have most to do with the human race, the Kobolds play a conspicuous part. They dwell in and about the habitations of men, on which account they are commonly called Tomtegubbar (sing. Tomtegubbe, i. e. the old woman of the hearth), and sometimes Tomtebisar, and Nisse god drang, i. e. Nisse good-lad, because they help the family in all its difficulties. These swarm in the lofty trees that grow near houses; on which account great

care is to be taken not to cut any down, especially those that are old. Many, who have neglected this caution, have been punished for it by some incurable disease.

If any one has a sickness, the cause of which is beyond the intelligence of the common people, it is immediately believed to have originated in the guardian-spirit where he was first taken ill, or supposed that he was so; hence the common expression," he has met with something evil in the air,-in the water,-in the field." In such cases, it is essential to mollify the Nisse, which may be done thus: pour some liquid into a goblet, and mix with it the filings of a bride-ring, or of silver, or of any metal that has been inherited, taking care that the odd number, particularly the trine, be observed. With this mixture, you go to the place where the man was supposed to be taken ill, and pour it over the left shoulder, but you must not look round nor utter a syllable. If there is any doubt as to the place, the liquid must then be poured out at the door-post, or on some ant-hill.

In addition to the belief in these things, which seems to be the peculiar growth of the country, the Swedes have the usual tales of dwarfs and giants, and the night-mare, and dragons whose office it is to watch concealed treasures. Nor is there any want with them of elves or fairies, the lightest and prettiest creations of the popular superstition of the North! Elf, (in the plural, Elfwor,) in its original and limited acceptation, signifies a river-sprite; and hence, every great river is called Elf; for instance, Gota Elf. Most probably too, the German river Elbe has taken its name from the same word, though lost to the Saxon language by the course of time; at all events, it is not of French origin, as is evident from a remark in one of the French dictionaries under the head " Alphes;-Chez lez anciens peuples du Nord; être aerien, qui n'existe que dans les imaginations du bas peuple en Suede." (Alphes-in use amongst the ancient people of the North,-an aerial being

that exists only in the imaginations of the lower classes in Sweden.)

The mythology of these little beings is nearly the same among the Swedes as it was with ourselves about a century ago; and when the Swedish peasant sees a circle marked out on the morning grass, he attributes it to the midnight dances of the fairies. With them, as with us,

O'er the dewy green,
By the glow-worm's light,
Dance the elves of night,

Unheard, unseen;

Yet where their midnight pranks have been, The circled turf will betray to-morrow.

Sometimes, however, the night wanderer is unlucky enough to enter into their charmed circle, and then they instantly become visible to him, and play him a thousand tricks; but always more in waywardness than in malice, for they are not really mischievous. Their voice, too, is said to be as gentle as the murmuring of the air; and, indeed, the only point in which they are not quite so poetical as the English fairy is the place of their dwelling, which, instead of being a cowslip-bell, is the hollow of a round little stone, called an elf


The fable of the spirit called Strömkari is no less beautiful, though belonging to another element. According to the old belief, he sits in his blue depths, playing constantly on the harp; and when any children by chance have seen him in his lonely waters, they have always had from him the gift of harmony, for he himself lives in one eternal music. He will play, too, by lakes and streams, to the dancing of the elves, who, on his account, generally choose the river-meads for the place of their midnight revelling, a superstition infinitely more beautiful than the sweetest of Greece or Rome.

The Skogara is a spirit of a darker nature, whose cry is often heard at night in the woods; on such occasions you must answer it by calling out He! which prevents its doing you any injury.

The Neck is no less evil; but he belongs to the water; and formerly those who intended to bathe used first to charm him by flinging any thing metallic into the stream; at such times of security, it was the

custom of the peasants to taunt him with mocking verses, singing, Neck, Neck, you thief, you're on the land,

but I'm in the water;

and on coming out of the water again, they took back the metal, reversing the words,

Neck, Neck, you thief, I'm on the land, but you're in the water.


Such mischievous beings, as well as magic animals, are not to be called by their own names, but by euphemisms, or by slight allusions to their peculiar characteristics. beating cats, or speaking crossly to them, their names must not be plainly spoken out, for they belong to the infernal host, and have acquaintances amongst the Bergtroll in the mountains, whom they visit frequently. The cuckoo, the owl, and the pie, are also birds of supernatural powers, and great care is to be taken how you speak to them, or you run the risk of being choked. They are not to be killed either without good reason, for their adherents might revenge their deaths. But it is still more dangerous to harm toads, for enchanted princesses are often hidden in them; and many, who have neglected this caution, have been struck lame for their temerity, without either fall or blow. If you speak of the Trollpack (the witch host), you must name fire and water, and the name of the church that you belong to; this prevents them from doing any injury. The weasel must not be called weasel, but Aduine; the fox you must call Blue-foot, or, he who runs in the woods; the wolf, Greyfoot, or, Gold-foot; and the bear, the Old-man, or, the Grandfather. With these precautions you may shoot them, and they lose the power of harming you.

Children born on a Sunday can see spirits, and tame the dragon who is said to watch over hidden treasures. Even the horse is a prophetic animal; should he neigh much when a bride is entering the church, she is supposed not to be a virgin. The same inference is drawn in her disfavour if the strings of the harp, that is played before her, happen to break too frequently.

A Tomtegubbe is generally imagined in the shape of a deformed dwarf, whose favourite colour is

grey,—that is, as applied to his own person, for he cannot bear it in others, and hence the grey cattle of some places never prosper. But a good Tomtegubbe is a friendly crea ture, who protects the house in all its dangers, and often does the work of the servants when they sleep too long o' mornings. This superstition extends even to Stockholm; and if one of these spirits is visible any where in the evening, something extraordinary is expected; according to the popular belief, they have always been seen roaming disquietedly about the royal castles, and the parts adjacent, on the eve of any of those revolutions so frequent in Swedish history. I once, during my residence at Stockholm, had a convincing proof of the prevalence of this superstition, when a multitude was actually collected about a house, under the idea that a Tomtegubbe had crept in, and was still sitting there. To get rid of the crowd, an examination took place, and it then turned out that a boy in grey clothes had for this once been mistaken for a spirit.

Words connected with Troll, Helvete (Hell), and Diefvul (Devil), always express something great and daring; as for instance," the waterfalls of Trollhatta;" and indeed this part of the subject deserves more attention than our narrow limits will allow of; as it is, we must content ourselves with giving one tale, illustrative of the Swedish superstitions, though, independent of that, it has very little merit either to the scholar or to the novel reader.

A rich peasant, who lived in a village of the southern Bahus-Lan, was celebrating his daughter's marriage. The tables were covered, the meat served up, and the guests were conversing together in expectation of their host's arrival, when on a sudden they perceived that the dishes vanished. At the same moment too the host entered, and, seeing this, exclaimed: "Why, the fiend has been here and eaten up our dinner!" That he might not, however, disturb


the merriment of the time, a fresh course was ordered, but even then it was evident that more mouths were at work than were visible. Still no notice was taken of this astonishing consumption of the meats, except by an old knight, who happened to have more courage, as well as more wit, than his neighbours. He listened attentively, till he heard a munching at the table, as if so many pigs were eating at a trough, whereupon he mounted his horse, and rode to a neighbouring mountain, the abode of a kindly spirit, to whom he said, "Lend me thy cap,* and take mine in pledge for it." The mountain spirit made answer, and said, "I will lend it to thee, but promise me to return it before set of sun." The knight promised, they exchanged caps, and he returned with this prize on his head, which, while it made himself invisible, opened his eye to the unearthly beings that were sitting among the guests, cramming themselves as fast as they could from the dishes before them. On these he fell might and main, with his whip, flogging them on the hands till not one dared to move a finger, and then turned them head over heels out of the chamber. Having settled this, he took off his cap to become visible to the guests, and said, "Hitherto the devil has been feeding with you; now sit down to your dinner in peace, and I am your guest instead." And they sate down and ate in peace, and, after the expulsion of the unbidden guests, there was still much meat remaining.

Towards evening the knight returned to the mountain, flung off the cap in the place where he had received it, and set off again at a hard gallop. Scarcely, however, had he turned his horse's head about, than a whole rout of goblins were after him, and had just caught the tip of the animal's tail,t to pull him into the abyss, when he got to a bridge. But the good horse was too quick for them; he got safely over the bridge, and the goblins fell back again.

*These caps were said to render the wearer himself invisible, while they made him capable of seeing the world of spirits. They were supposed to be the peculiar property of the mountain gnomes. According to the German superstition, the dwarf lost his power with his cap, and became the servant of him who was fortunate enough to get possession of it. There is a beautiful story on this subject in Arndt's Tales, called, The Nine Mountains at Rambin.

+ This will, no doubt, strongly remind every one of Tam O'Shanter's mare.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »