The Early Kings of Norway: Also An Essay on the Portraits of John Knox

By Thomas Carlyle | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X. .
REIGN OF KING OLAF THE SAINT

THE late two Jarls, now gone about their business, had both been baptized, and called themselves Christians. But during their government they did nothing in the conversion way; left every man to choose his own God or Gods; so that some had actually two, the Christian God by land, and at sea Thor, whom they considered safer in that element. And in effect the mass of the people had fallen back into a sluggish heathenism or half-heathenism, the life-labour of Olaf Tryggveson lying ruinous or almost quite overset. The new Olaf, son of Harald, set himself with all his strength to mend such a state of matters; and stood by his enterprise to the end, as the one highest interest, including all others, for his People and him. His method was by no means soft; on the contrary, it was hard, rapid, severe, -- somewhat on the model of Tryggveson's, though with more of bishoping and preaching superadded. Yet still there was a great deal of mauling, vigorous punishing, and an entire intolerance of these two things: Heathenism and Sea-robbery, at least of Sea-robbery in the old style; whether in

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