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Brutus however repulses them, lands and en: camps on the sea shore. In the night an aurora borealis astonishes his men, such a phenomenon having never been seen by them before.
He endeavours to keep up their spirits, by telling them that what they look upon as a prodigy, may be a phenomenon of nature usual in those countries, though unknown to them and him ; but that if it be any thing supernatural, they ought to interpret it in their own favour, because heaven never works miracles, but for the good. About midnight they are attacked again by the Barbarians, and the light of the aurora, is of great use to them for their defence.
Brutus kills their chief leader, and Orontes the three next in command. This discourages them, and they fly up into the country. He makes prisoners of some of the natives, who had been used to those feas, and enquires of them concerning a great island to the south west of their country; they tell him they had been in such an island upon piratical voyages, and had carried some of the natives into captivity. He obtains some of thele captives, whom he finds to be Britons; they describe their country to him, and undertake to pilot him.
In the next book, Brutus touches at the Orcades, and a picture is given of the manners of , the savages. The North Britons he brought with him from Norway, relate strange stories
concerning one of the greatest of their ilands supposed to be inhabited by Daemons, who forbid all access to it by thunders, earthquakes, &c. Eudemon relates a tradition in Greece, that in one of the northern islands of the ocean, fome of the Titans were confined after their overthrow by Jupiter. Brutus, to confound their superstition, resolves to land in that illand.
Brutus fails thither in a finall vefsel of fir oars attended only by Orontes, who insists on fharing with him in this adventure. When the boat approaches the shore, a violent hurricane rises, which dashes it against the rocks, and beats it to pieces. All the men are drowned but Brutus and Orontes, who swim to land. They find a thick forest dark and iinpenetrable, our of which proceeds a dreadful noise..
All at once the sun was darkened, a thick night comes over thein; thundering noises, and bellowings are heard in the air, and under ground. A terrible eruption of fire breaks out from the top of a mountain, the earth shakes beneath their feet, Orontes flies back into the wood, but Brutus remains undaunted, though in greai danger of being fwallowed up, or burnt by the fire. In this extremity he calls upon God; the eruption ceases, and his guardian angel appears to Brutus, telling him God had pcrmitted the evil spirit to work seeming miracles by natural means, in order to try his virtue, and to humble the pride of Orontes, who was too conndent in his courage, and too little regardful of provide nce. That the hill before them was a . Ее
volcano; that the effects of it dreadful, though natural, had made the ignorant savages believe the island to be an habitation of fiends. That the hurricane, which had wrecked his boat, was a usual symptom preceding an eruption. That he might have perished in the eruption, if God had not sent him his good angel to be his preserver.
He then directs him to seek the south-west parts of Great Britain, because the northern parts were infested by men not yet disposed to receive religion, arts and good government; the fubduing and civilizing of whom was reserved by providence for a son, that should be born of him after his conquest of England.
Brutus promises to obey; the angel vanishes. Brutus finds Orontes in a cave of the wood; he is fo ashamed of his fear, that he attempts to kill himself. Brutus comforts him, ascribes it to a supernatural terror, and tells him what he had heard from the angel. They go down to the coast, where they find Hanno, with a ship to carry them off.
The ensuing book describes the joy of Brutus, at sight of the white rocks of Albion. He lands at Torbay, and, in the western part of the
iland, meets with a kind reception. • The climate is described to be equally free
from the effeminacy and softness of the southern climes, and the ferocity and savageness of the norihern. The natural genius of the native being thus in the medium between these extremes, was well adapted to receive the improvements in virtue, he meditated to introduce. They are
represented worshippers of the sun and fire, but of good and gentle dispositions, having no bloody sacrifices among them. Here he meets the Druids, at an altar of turf, in an open place, offering fruits and flowers to heaven.
Then follows a picture of the haven, which · is succeeded by an account of the northern parts,
supposed to be infested by tyrants, of whom the Britains tell strange stories, representing them as giants, whom he undertakes to assist them in conquering.
Among these islands, our poet takes notice of the island Mona, groaning under the lash of superstition, being governed by priests. .
Likewise of another distracted by dismal Anarchy, the neighbours eating their captives, and carrying away virgins; which affords room for a beautiful episode, describing the feelings of a passionate lover, who prevailed on Brutus to fly to the rescue of a favourite fair-one, whom, by his aid, he recovered from the arms of her brutal ravisher.
Our poet also speaks of a third under the dominion of Tyranny, which was stronger than the rest, and defended by giants living in castles, high rocks, &c. some of these giants our poet names, as Corineus, Gogmagog, &c. Here he proposed to moralize the old fables concerning Brutus, Gogmagog, doc. . Brutus, however, is opposed in his attempt by the priests, conjurers, and magicians; and Ee 2
the priests are supposed to have had fecrets, which past for supernatural, such as the use of gunpowder, &c. He meets with many difficultics likewise froin his own people, which interrupt his designs; particularly from one of his kinsmen, whois young, fierce, and ambitious. He is earnest for conqucring all by force, and treating the people who submitted to him as slaves.
But Brutus gives it as his opinion, not to conquer and destroy the natives of the new-dilcovered land, but to polish and refine them, by introducing true religion, void of superstition and all falle notions of the Deity, which only leads to vice and misery, anong people who are uncorrupted in their manners, and only want the introduction of useful arts, under the fanction of a good government, to establish and ensure their
This turbulent kinsinan likewise endangers a revolt, by taking away a woman betrothed to a Britain.
Some of Brutus's followers take part with him, and raise a faction, which, by his wisdom and firmness, le suppreffes ; and brings the difcontented back to their duty, who at length unite with him against the giants, their common enemy. It must not be omitted, that the kinsman is represented as repenting of his feceflion,
* Here the poet could have had a fine opportunity of exposing the inhuman conduct of the Europeans, with relpect to the Indians.