together with many valuable works from his library, nearly twenty years after his
Dictionary was said to have been completed. Better far would it have been had they
been restored on his death. As it was, a hard fate neither permitted him to com-
plete worthily the great work which he had sketched out in these volumes, nor suffered
the threads which had fallen from his hands to be taken up by those who were com-
petent to unravel them till many years after his decease.

From the thankless task of contemplating the short-comings of others, it is
grateful to turn to the part which Mr. Vigfusson has had in this undertaking.
With the most praiseworthy determination, neither turning to the right nor to the
left, he has pursued his course and fulfilled his task unflinchingly for seven years,
during which he has resided in Oxford. Those only who, like the writer, were
acquainted with the Cleasby transcripts as they came from Copenhagen, can tell how
far more meritorious and scientific the printed Dictionary is than those undigested
collections. Mr. Vigfusson might have been contented with restoring order and in
imparting life and spirit into the rude mass which had been handed over to him ; but in
reality he did much more. He has embodied into the work the materials to be found
in the Poetic Dictionary of Dr. Egilsson, and he has also largely availed himself of
the quotations and references in the excellent Icelandic-Norse Dictionary of Fritzner,
as well as the greater part of the Glossary of Möbius. Added to which he has
sought words and phrases and proverbs from very many glossaries too numerous to
mention. The result has been that as the Oxford Dictionary now appears, about
one-third of the references has been derived from the Cleasby transcripts, which were
originally meant to illustrate, as we have already said, the golden age of prose Icelandic
literature. Thus it is that we find copious quotations in them from such classical works
as Njála, Grágás, and the Laxdćla and Egils Sagas. Besides these, the following list
will pretty nearly exhaust the works quoted in the Cleasby collections, and from these
the quotations were less copious :—the Hefôarvíga Saga, Hrafnkels Saga, VápnfirSinga
Saga, Ljósvetninga Saga, Viga Gliims Saga, Gisla Saga, FóstbrćSra Saga, Bjarnar
Saga Hitclćla-kappa, Gunnlaugs Saga, Bandamanna Saga, Grettis Saga, the Sturlunga,
Árna Biskups Saga, and the Sagas of some other Bishops extending to about
one-third of the first volume of the Biskupa Sögur. So far as the Laws are con-
cerned, besides the Grágás, quotations are made from the first and part of the second
volume of Norges Gamle Love and the two Kristinréttir. Besides the domestic Sagas
of Iceland mentioned above, quotations and references were made from and to the
Fornmanna Sögur, the Fornaldar Sögur, and from the Skuggsja, the Snorra Eclda, and
the Sćmunds Edcla and Skálda, so far as the prose diction was concerned. In addition
to these, copious use was made of some moral and biblical treatises and paraphrases,
such as Stjórn and the Homilies, now printed, but then quoted from the MSS. 226, 619,

as the head sense is to take the word by the wrong end. In Iceland all notion of the true origin of cyrcndi
became lost; árr, a messenger, being an obsolete poetical word, unknown except in the bad sense of an imp,
devil, evil spirit,—
a remnant, we believe, of Biblical sentences like Matth. xxv. 41, where, in the Icelandic version,
árr happens to be used, whence the bad sense clung to the word even when detached and alone.—G. V.