The kings of the North had no standing armies, but their lieges were summoned to war by an arrow in Pagan times, and a cross after their conversion. Their chief dependence was in infantry, which they formed into wedge-like columns, and so, clashing their shields and singing hymns to Odin, they advanced against their enemies.
But if the savages tell us about totems, are they not then 'casual native informants'? If a Maori tells you, as he does, of traditional hymns containing ideas worthy of Heraclitus, is that quite trustworthy; whereas, if he tells you about his idols and taboos, that cannot possibly be worthy of attention? Perception of the Infinite
Yet to insist on this is not to ignore the unmeasured advance of the Greeks in development of society and art. On that head the Hymns, like all Greek poetry, bear their own free testimony. But, none the less, Greek religion and myth present features repellent to us, which derive their origin, not from savagery, but from the more crude horrors of the lower and higher barbarisms.
She recovered consciousness in Armitage's cabin, with the elderly lady who had sung hymns in the boat in attendance; she lay wrapped in blankets in the bunk, with hot-water bottles in great profusion all round her, and felt deliciously drowsy and comfortable. But with returning consciousness some corner of discomfort obtruded itself into her mind. It grew more definite and uncomfortable.
The sermon contained the usual vivid description of the last judgment ah, and I fancied that the congregation did not get the ordinary satisfaction out of it. Fashion had entered the fold, and the singing was mostly executed by a choir in the dusky gallery, who thinly and harshly warbled the emotional hymns.
I saw my Eliseus there, not at all swarthy, but in strange beauty: around his head was a garland of precious stones; a multitude of damsels went before him with palms in their hands, all singing hymns of praise unto God.
Such expressions are like the clouds which, though they are lifting, still linger round the mountain top: they are part of the vapour which had previously obscured from view the reality which was there, and cannot be shaken at any time. Worship may include words spoken, hymns of praise and prayer; but it includes also things done, acts performed, ritual.
All parents or masters whose children or servants had attended such meetings were sentenced to the gallows, while the children and servants were only to be beaten with rods. All people who sang hymns at the burial of their relations were sentenced to the gallows.
"Slay thee!" replied the dweller of the desert; "and well hast thou merited death, for singing thy blasphemous hymns, not only to the praise of thy false prophet, who is the foul fiend's harbinger, but to that of the Author of Evil himself."
After they have been for some time in this posture, they all stand up, upon a sign given by the priest, and sing hymns to the honour of God, some musical instruments playing all the while. These are quite of another form than those used among us: but as many of them are much sweeter than ours, so others are made use of by us.