previous next

[398] rality, and habitual piety of the Icelanders, without a grateful sense of the adaptation of Christianity to the wants of our race, and of its ability to purify, elevate, and transform the worst elements of human character. In Iceland Christianity has performed its work of civilization, unobstructed by that commercial cupidity which has caused nations more favored in respect to soil and climate to lapse into an idolatry scarcely less debasing and cruel than that which preceded the introduction of the Gospel. Trial by combat was abolished in 1001, and the penalty of the imaginary crime of witchcraft was blotted from the statutes of the island nearly half a century before it ceased to disgrace those of Great Britain. So entire has been the change wrought in the sanguinary and cruel Norse character that at the present day no Icelander can be found who, for any reward, will undertake the office of executioner. The scalds, who went forth to battle, cleaving the skulls of their enemies with the same skilful hands which struck the harp at the feast, have given place to Christian bards and teachers, who, like Thorlakson, whom Dr. Henderson found toiling cheerfully with his beloved parishioners in the hay-harvest of the brief arctic summer, combine with the vigorous diction and robust thought of their predecessors the warm and genial humanity of a religion of love and the graces and amenities of a high civilization.

But we have wandered somewhat aside from our purpose, which was simply to introduce the following poem, which, in tile boldness of its tone and

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
England (United Kingdom) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Henderson (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1001 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: