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: This is the famous Ode which was translated by Gray from Bartholin's Latin version. As given in the Njal's Saga, the • Woof' has been admirably rendered by Mr. Dasent.
The issue of the battle was as Brodir had foreseen. He himself killed King Brian, but was taken and tortured to death in revenge. One passage from the description of the fight in the Saga we must quote. The account was probably brought back to Iceland by Thorstein, Hall of the Side's son, who figures in it:
* Then Earl Sigurd called on Thorstein, the son of Hall of the Side, to bear his banner [the famous raven banner, wrought by his mother with mighty skill]; and Thorstein was just about to lift the banner, but then Asmund the White said-
"" Don't bear the banner; for all they who bear it get their death."
« “ Hrafn the Red !” called out Earl Sigurd ; “ bear thou the banner."
• “Bear thine own devil thyself,” answered Hrafn. Then the Earl said
“ 'Tis fittest that the beggar should bear the bag ;” and with that he took the banner from the staff and put it under his cloak.
A little after Asmund the White was slain, and then the Earl was, pierced through with a spear.
• Then flight broke out throughout all the host.
• Thorstein, Hall of the Side's son, stood still while all the others fled, and tied his shoe-string. Then Kerthialfad asked why he ran not as the others.
6“ Because," said Thorstein, “I can't get home to-night, since I am at home out in Iceland.” Kerthialfad gave
him peace. • Hrafn the Red was chased out into a certain river; he thought he saw there the pains of hell down below him, and he thought the devils wanted to drag him to them.
"Then Hrafn said
" " Thy dog, Apostle Peter, hath run twice to Rome, and he would run the third time if thou gavest him leave.”
· Then the devils let him loose, and Hrafn got across the river.' *
The result of Brian's battle was thus complete victory for neither side. Christianity had still a long course to run before its teaching .ould shine out in its true purity; and in Iceland, as elsewhere throughout the North, the old faith underlay the new, chequering it strangely.
The first Icelandic bishop was Isleif, son of Gizur the White, Hjallti's companion on the Law-Mount. He had been educated
* Oxonian in Iceland,' p. 74. Vol. 111.–No. 221.
for the priesthood at Erfurth, in Thuringia, one of the great schools of the time, and brought back to his own country a wide reputation for learning. John, the first bishop of Holar, who was brought up by him, used to say, “whenever he heard of those who were goodly to look upon, or of great skill in any way, “Such was Isleif the bishop, my foster-father, the goodliest and most skilful of men.' His son Gizur succeeded him, and established the see at Skalholt. A second Icelandic bishopric, for the northern division of the island, was soon afterwards established at Holar, with a great-grandson of Hall of the Side for its first bishop.
Ecclesiology is by no means a strong point with the most recent Icelandic tourists, and their descriptions give us but vague ideas of the present state of the churches throughout the island, or of their antiquity and architectural character. According to Mr. Metcalfe, indeed, there is but little to say about them. They are almost all new, and of wood; "they don't look like churches. They might be so many wooden warehouses, with their squareheaded windows and utter want of architecture.' Such, he tells us, is the present church of Thingvalla, which occupies the site of the old heathen temple, near the mouth of the Oxara river. The materials for the first church here, together with a great bell, were sent from Norway by St. Olaf. This building was destroyed by a tempest; and a second, the timber for which was the offering of the Norwegian King Harald Sigurdson, shared the same fate.
Another site on the Thingfield has a still higher interest than that of the church. The two great crosses brought to Iceland by Gizur and Hjallti, and borne before them on the Law-Mount, were afterwards fixed in the rock, where they remained for some centuries. The place of that which measured the height of Olaf Tryggvason is still pointed out as the “Cleft of the Cross.'
The two ancient cathedrals of Iceland have altogether fallen from their high estate.
Skalholt, that is the single farm-house now representing the place, stands on an eminence just in the fork formed by the junction of the Bruará and Hvitá, and overshadowed on the south by the tall Vordufell. As may at once be perceived, the site of the episcopal residence was chosen with great tact and forethought. In the first place, there was abundance of grass in the fertile Biskupstunga to fatten the beeves and palfreys of the bishops. And as for fish, there were waters enough around to supply the extensive demand, and hot springs to cook them when caught, or, if requisite, to wash the ecclesiastics. But what was of great importance, Skalholt was secure against hostile surprise on every side but the north-east in consequence of the riverbarriers about it. ... Very little now remains to show the former importance of the place. The present little church is merely a chapel
of of ease. Grass-grown mounds to the south-west of this edifice indicate the site of extensive ecclesiastical buildings. Yonder, an enclosure marks the large episcopal garden. There are also the foundations of & prayer-house to the east of the church, measuring twelve paces long and six wide.'*
We must not conclude without a special word of thanks to Mr. Metcalfe for one of the pleasantest volumes of Icelandic travel that have come to our hands. It covers wider ground than has been attempted by most recent tourists, and is especially valuable for the local legends and folk-lore' which its author has industriously collected from all quarters. With such excellent claims to attention it is much to be regretted that Mr. Metcalfe, in this book as well as in his former descriptions of adventure in the North, should think it necessary to imitate the German baron who insisted on performing a series of elaborate leaps over chairs and tables, pour apprendre d'être vif.' Mr. Metcalfe's caprioles are not quite so heavy, but they are quite as uncalled for, and quite as much out of place. Here and there, indeed, they verge on irreverence—a fault which we scarcely expect to find in the book of an “Oxonian.'
Art. 7.-1. Anuario Estadístico de España correspondiente al
Año de 1859. Madrid, 1860. 2. Geschichte Spaniens zur Zeit Französischen Revolution. Von
Herman Baumgarten. Berlin, 1861. 3. Spain, her Institutions, Politics, and Public Men. By S. T.
Wallis, Author of Glimpses of Spain.' 4. Espagne en 1860. Par M. Vidal. Paris, 1860. 5. Situation Economique et Industrielle de l'Espagne en 1860. By
M. Lestgarens. Paris, 1861. 6. L'Espagne et son Avenir Commercial. Par Ch. de Hardy de
Beaulieu. Paris, 1861. 7. Papers relating to the Annexation of Eastern Santo Domingo
to Spain. 1861. 8. Letters from Spain. By John Leycester Adolphus, M.A.
London, 1858. 9. The Handbook of Spain. London, 1855. NEW countries have undergone so remarkable a series of
mutations as Spain. Strength and debility, splendour and poverty, glory and shame, have been there exhibited in a manner so surprising, as to have afforded inexhaustible materials for the
* Oxonian in Iceland,' 335, 336.
pen of the historian and the speculations of the political philosopher.* The division of Spain into numerous small states originated in the wars by which the Christians slowly won back from the Moors the territories they had lost. The districts wrested from time to time from the dominion of the infidels were generally appropriated by the chiefs of the several expeditions, and Spain was thus divided into as many separate kingdoms as it contained provinces. In the progress of time-by intermarriages, succession, or conquest-all the minor sovereignties were annexed to or became dependent on the two powerful kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. Soon after the union of these crowns by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1481 the last of the Moorish provinces was conquered, and Spain regained its unity as a great Christian state. The feudal constitution, however, was a great obstacle to the formation of a centralised power, and a contest between the Crown and the nobility was carried on in Spain as in the other kingdoms of Europe. In England the struggle terminated in favour of the Nobility and the Commons; in Spain in the ascendancy of the Crown. The privileges of a powerful and numerous aristocracy had reduced the power of the sovereigns of the Spanish kingdoms almost to a nullity, and the people possessed considerable weight in their councils. Aragon, although monarchical in its form, was democratical in its spirit and its institutions; and the attachment of the Aragonese to their form of government was so great, that in a preamble to one of their statutes they declared that such was the barrenness and poverty of their country, that were it not for the freedom by which it was distinguished, they would certainly abandon it and seek a settlement in some more favoured land. † In Castile the prerogative was extremely limited, and its Cortes were composed of the nobles, the dignified ecclesiastics, and the representatives of the cities. To constitute Spain a powerful kingdom, it was necessary to extend the prerogative. The Cortes had been turbulent and troublesome, but the nobility, by reason of their independent jurisdictions and their armed levies, had come more frequently into collision with the Crown. The object of the first sovereigns of united Spain was first to cripple the power of the nobility, then to humble the commonalty. The nobles were deprived of their seats in the great council of the nation on the principle that since they paid no taxes they had no right to assist in imposing them ; and they cared little for the subsequent suppression
The Gothic monarchy subsisted in its integrity for nearly three centuries. Although a Christian power, it was rude and barbarous. † Robertson's 'Charles V.,' Introduction.
of popular liberties which they did not share. The royal authority was then exalted on the ruin of the grandees, and the Cortes were reduced to a name, their meeting to a formality, and their power to a shadow. Freedom, however, was not entirely suppressed without a struggle. At the commencement of the reign of the Emperor Charles V., Spain was on the verge of a great rebellion. Several of the cities of Castile and Aragon took up arms, and there were risings in various parts of the country ; but the nobility and the commons did not act in concert, provincial jealousies prevented combined action, and gave the Sovereign an easy victory.
To annihilate liberty a more potent instrument was required than any that even a despotic government possessed. The introduction of the Inquisition has been attributed to the religious zeal of Ferdinand and Isabella, but it is certain that political far more than religious views led to the naturalization of the Holy Office in Spain. It was intimately connected with the government, and was dependent upon the civil power for the means of executing its decrees. Professing to root out heresy, it effectually eradicated liberty. The Pope at first hesitated to sanction its introduction, and consented only after a prolonged negotiation. The Aragonese were the first to comprehend the purpose of the new ecclesiastical tribunal. They took up arms against it, murdered the chief inquisitor, and prevented its establishment in their country, alleging that its mode of trial was secret, and therefore incompatible with liberty. It soon, however, covered as with a network the whole of Spain, and entangled in its meshes the reason and the conscience of the inhabitants. The Inquisition wrought upon the imagination of a susceptible people with such effect that it completely fascinated and subdued them. They even became vehemently attached to it, and transferred to the most hateful tribunal ever erected in the world the affection they had formerly entertained for their own municipal institutions and parliaments. A theocratical despotism thus became the permanent form of government; its portentous shadow gradually fell upon the whole of Spain; the intellectual light of the rest of Europe was then effectually shut out, and bigotry became inseparably blended with patriotism.
Religious wars developed both the military virtues and the
**To the Inquisition the worst parts of the Spanish character may undoubtedly be traced.'—Southey's Letters from Spain,' p. 182.
That the Inquisition was in fact a political engine quite as much as a religious institution, there is now, I believe, no doubt; and much of the odium which it has thrown upon the Church will one of these days, I am sure, be transferred to the State which deserves it.'—Wallis's 'Spain,' p. 27!.