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GLAM AND GRETTIR.
drawn over the moon, now driven off from her; and even as Glam fell, a cloud was driven from the moon, and Glam glared up against her.' When the hero beheld these glaring eyes of the giant Ghost, he felt some fiendish craft in them, and could not draw his short sword, and ‘lay well nigh 'twixt home and hell.' This half-light of the moon, which robs the Strong of half his power, is repeated in Glam's curse: 'Exceedingly eager hast thou sought to meet me, Grettir, but no wonder will it be deemed, though thou gettest no good hap of me; and this I must tell thee, that thou now hast got half the strength and manhood which was thy lot if thou hadst not met me: now I may not take from thee the strength which thou hast got before this; but that may I rule, that thou shalt never be mightier than now thou art ... therefore this weird I lay on thee, ever in those days to see these eyes with thine eyes, and thou wilt find it hard to be alone—and that shalt drag thee unto death.
The Moon-demon's power is limited to the spell of illusion he can cast. Presently he is laid low; the 'short sword' of a sunbeam pales, decapitates him. But after Glam is burned to cold coals, and his ashes buried in skin of a beast 'where sheep-pastures were fewest, or the ways of men,' the spell lay upon the hero's eyes. "Grettir said that his temper had been nowise bettered by this, that he was worse to quiet than before, and that he deemed all trouble worse than it was; but that herein he found the greatest change, in that he was become so fearsome a man in the dark, that he durst go nowhither alone after nightfall, for then he seemed to see all kinds of horrors. And that has fallen since into a proverb, that Glam lends eyes, or gives Glamsight to those who see things nowise as they are.'
In reading which one may wonder how this world would
look if for a little moment one's eyes could be purged of glamour. Even at the moon's self one tries vainly to look: where Hindu and Zulu see a hare, the Arab sees coils of a serpent, and the Englishman sees a man; and the most intelligent of these several races will find it hard to see in the moon aught save what their primitive ancestors saw. And this small hint of the degree to which the wisest, like Merlin, are bound fast in an air-prison by a Vivien whose spells are spun from themselves, would carry us far could we only venture to follow it out. •The Moon,' observed Dr. Johnson unconsciously, 'has great influence in vulgar philosophy.' How much lunar theology have we around us, so that many from the cradle to the grave get no clear sight of nature or of themselves! Very closely did Carlyle come to the fable of Glam when speaking of Coleridge's
prophetic moonshine,' and its effect on poor John Sterling. • If the bottled moonshine be actually substance ? Ah, could one but believe in a church while finding it incredible! ... The bereaved young lady has taken the veil then! ... To such lengths can transcendental moonshine, cast by some morbidly radiating Coleridge into the chaos of a fermenting life, act magically there, and produce divulsions and convulsions and diseased developments.' One can almost fancy Carlyle had ringing in his memory the old Scottish ballad of the Rev. Robert Kirk, translator of the Psalms into Gaelic, who, while walking in his nightgown at Aberfoyle, was 'snatched away to the joyless Elfin bower.'
It was between the night and day
The item of the night-gown might have already prepared us for the couplet; and it has perhaps even a mystical connection with the vestment of the 'black dragoon' which
Sterling once saw patrolling in every parish, to whom, how. ever, he surrendered at last.
A story is told of a man wandering on a dark night over Dartmoor, whose feet slipped over the edge of a pit. He caught the branch of a tree suspended over the terrible chasm, but unable to regain the ground, shrieked for help. None came, though he cried out till his voice was gone; and there he remained dangling in agony until the grey light revealed that his feet were only a few inches from the solid ground. Such are the chief demons that bind man till cockcrow. Such are the apprehensions that waste also the moral and intellectual strength of man, and murder his peace as he regards the necessary science of his time to be cutting some frail tenure sustaining him over a bottomless pit, instead of a release from real terror to the solid ground
The Plague Phantom-Devil-dances—Destroying Angels-Ahriman
in Astrology-Saturn-Satan and Job-Set-The Fatal SevenYakseyo — The Singhalese Pretraya — Reeri — Maha SohonMorotoo—Luther on Disease-demons-Gopolu-Madan-Cattledemon in Russia-Bihlweisen—The Plough,
A FAMILIAR fable in the East tells of one who met a fearful phantom, which in reply to his questioning answered'I am Plague: I have come from yon city where ten thousand lie dead : one thousand were slain by me, the rest by Fear.' Perhaps even this story does not fully report the alliance between the plague and fear; for it is hardly doubtful that epidemics retain their power in the East largely because they have gained personification through fear as demons whose fatal power man can neither prevent nor cure, before which he can only cower and pray.
In the missionary school at Canterbury the young men prepare themselves to help the 'heathen' medically, and so they go forth with materia medica in one hand, and in the other an infallible revelation from heaven reporting plagues as the inflictions of Jehovah, or the destroying angel, or Satan, and the healing of disease the jealously reserved monopoly of God."
12 Chron. xvi. 12; 2 Kings xx. ; Mark v. 26; James v. 14 ; &c., &c. The Catholic Church follows the prescription by St. James of prayer and holy
The demonisation of diseases is not wonderful. To thoughtful minds not even science has dispelled the mystery which surrounds many of the ailments that afflict mankind, especially the normal diseases besetting children, hereditary complaints, and the strange liabilities to infection and contagion. A genuine, however partial, observation would suggest to primitive man some connection between the symptoms of many diseases and the mysterious universe of which he could not yet recognise himself an epitome. There were indications that certain troubles of this kind were related to the seasons, consequently to the celestial rulers of the seasons,—to the sun that smote by day, and the moon at night. Professor Monier Williams, describing the Devil-dances of Southern India, says that there seems to be an idea among them that when pestilences are rife exceptional measures must be taken to draw off the malignant spirits, supposed to cause them, by tempting them to enter into these wild dancers, and so become dissipated. He witnessed in Ceylon a dance performed by three men who personated the forms and phases of typhus fever. These dances probably be long to the same class of ideas as those of the dervishes in Persia, whose manifold contortions are supposed to repeat the movements of planets. They are invocations of the souls of good stars, and propitiations of such as are anointing for the sick only after medical aid—of which Asa died when he preferred it to the Lord-has failed ; i.e. extreme unction. Castelar remarks that the Conclave which elected Pius IX. sat in the Quirinal rather than the Vati. can, “because, while it hoped for the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in every place, it feared that in the palace par excellence divine inspirations would not sufficiently counteract the effluvias of the fever.' The legal prosecutions of the 'Peculiar People' for obeying the New Testament command in case of sickness supply a notable example of the equal hypocrisy of the protestant age. England has distributed the Bible as a divine revelation in 150 different languages; and in London it punishes a sect for obedience to one of its plainest directions.
i London 'Times,' June 11, 1877.