First edition of the earliest collection of verse from the Eddic and skaldic traditions translated into English.
"If an Islandic [sic] poet had occasion to mention a rainbow, he called it, The bridge of the gods; if gold, The tears of Freya..."
This book set out to prove that Norse mythology and culture were more than than their reputation in England as barbarian raiders. Editor Thomas Percy talks of the Vikings' "amazing fondness for poetry... cherish[ing] it with all possible care" (preface). It contains five samples of Norse poetry, including the first English translations of the HAKONARMAL from the HEIMSKRINGLA and THE DEATH-SONG OF RAGNAR (which contained a famously misinterpreted line leading readers to believe Vikings drank from the skulls of their defeated enemies). Percy would go on to published a collection of old English ballads, RELIQUES OF ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY, that became a major influence on Romantics like Scott, Coleridge, and Wordsworth. An excellent copy of the book that began to shift the popular English perception of the Old North.
London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley, in Pall-mall, 1763. Full title: Five pieces of runic poetry translated from the Icelandic language. Octavo. 7'' x 4.5''. Modern three-quarter brown calf over marbled boards, double-ruled gilt spine, red morocco spine label. Engraving of runes on title page. Introductory notes before each poem, transcriptions of Icelandic originals at rear. , 100 pages. Partially erased pencil ownership signature on title page. Binder's ticket before rear endpaper. Pages gently embrowned, a few signatures heavier, some leaves foxed.
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