13 APRIL 1867, Page 21

Viga Glum's Saga. Translated from the Icelandic. By the Right

Hon. Sir Edmund Head. (Williams and Norgate.)—Prefaced with a Greek epigram from the pen of Mr. Lowe, this matter-of-fact account of murders deserves general appreciation. As a story it is not artisti- cally constructed, and it mixes up so many characters that we are often confused as to their identity. But the broad features of it live in the memory from their quaintness. Sir Edmund Head speaks disrespectfully in his preface of the Berserkers who figure in the Saga, and the admirer of Guy Livingstone will shudder to hear them called "those pests of society of that day," who "were allowed to make their way in the world and advance their fortunes as professional bullies." Glum him- self seems to have been an honest man with a taste for homicide. "A fit of laughter came upon him," we are told, "and affected him in such a manner that he turned quite pale, and tears burst from his eyes, just like large hailstones. He was often afterwards taken in this way when the appetite for killing some one came upon him." It is just after this that he kills his brother-in-law, telling the father of the victim that "nothing is yet done which will hinder our being on the footing of kinsmen." We confess we do not quite understand the legal bearing of

the crimes recorded in the Saga, but it seems that the science of special pleading was not unknown in the Iceland of that day.