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DEATH OF CUTHULLIN
Arth the son of Cairbres sopreme king of Irelands dyings was socceeded by his soti Cormacs a minor. Cuthullins the son of Semos who had rendered himself famous by tus great actionss and who resideds at the times with Connals the son of Caithbats in listers was elected regent. In the twenty-seventh year of Cuthullin's ages and use third of bis administrations Tortaths the son of Cantelas one of the chiefs of that coiony of Belgsewho were in possession of the south of Irelands rebelled in Connaughts and advanced towards Temoras in order to dethrone Cormacs whos excepting feradaths afterwards king of Irelands was the only one of the Scottish race of icings Rifting in that conotry. Cuthullin marched against thems came op with them at . tie lake of Legos and totally defeated his forces. Torlath fell in battle by Cuthullin's hand} but as he himself pressed too eagerly on the living enemys he was mortally wounded by an arrows and died the second day after. The good fortune of CormaC fell with Cuthullin : many set op for themselves. and anarchy and coofusion reipnedAtbut Cormac was taken off; audCuirbars lord of Athasone of the competitors for tte thrones having defeated all his rivalss became sole monarch of Ireland. The family of Fingals who were in the interests of Cormac's familys wcie resolved to deprive Cairbar of the throne he had osorped. Fingal arrived from Scotland with an armys defeated the friends of Cairbars and re-established the family of Cormac in the possession of the kingdom. The present poem concerns the death of Cuthullin. 1C us in the originals called l Duan-loch Leigos' i. e. The poem of Lego's Lake ; and is m episode introduced in a great poems which celebrated the last expedition of Fingal into Ireland. The greatest part of the poem is losts and nothing remains but some episodess which a tew old people in the north of Scotland retain on memory.
Is the wind on Fingal's shield? Or is the voice of past times in my hall? Sing on, sweet voices for thou art pleasant, and earnest away my night with joy. Sing on, O Bragela, daughter of car-borne Sorglart!
"It is the white wave of the rock, and not Cuthullin's sails. Often do the mists deceive me for the ship of my love! when they rise round some ghost* and spread their grey skirts on the wind. Why dost thou delay thy coming, son of the generous Semo! Four times has autumn returned with its winds, and raised the seas of Togorma", since thou hast been in the roar of battles,
• Tugorma. i. e. l the island of bloe wavess'one of the Hebridess was soblect.to' Conaal. th* son of Caithbais Cuthullin's friend. He U sometimes called the son of i-olgar.s hxn one of that name who was Vhe founder of the famlly. Ceoaat, a ft* days uetorc V-- TT B.
and Bragela distant far. Hills of the isle of mist! when will ye answer to his hounds? But ye are dark in your clouds, and sad Bragela calls in vain. Night comes rolling down: the face of ocean fails. The heathcock's head is beneath his wing: the hind sleeps with the hart of the desart. They shall rise with the morning's light, and feed on the mossy stream. But my tears return with the son, my sighs come on with the night. When wilt thou come in thine arms, O chief of the mossy Tura?"
Pleasant is thy voice in Ossian's ear, daughter of carborne Sorglan! but retire to the hall of shells; to the beam of the burning oak. Attend to the murmur of the sea: it rolls at Dunscaich's walls: let sleep descend on thy blue eyes, and the hero come to thy dreams.
Cuthullin sits at Lego's lake, at the dark rolling of waters. Night is around the hero, and his thousands spread on the heath: a hundred oaks burn in the midst; the feast of shells is smoking wides Carril strikes the harp beneath a tree; his grey locks glitter in the beam; the rustling blast of night is near, and lifts his aged hair. His song is of the blue Togorma, and of its chief, Cuthullin's friend. "Why art thou absent, Connal, in the day of the gloomy storm ? The chiefs of the south have convened against the car-borne Cormac; the winds detain thy sails, and thy blue waters roll around thee. But Cormac is not alone; the son of Semo fights his battles. Semo's son his battles fights: the terror of the stranger! he that is like the vapour of death slowly borne by soltry winds. The son reddens in its presence, the people fall around."
Such was the song of Carril, when a son of the foe appeared; he threw down his pointless spear, and spoke the words of Torlath; Torlath, the chief of heroes, from Lego's sable sorge: he that led his thousands to battles against car-borne Cormac; Cormac who was distant far, in Temora's* echoing halls: he learned to bend the bow of his fathers; and to lift the spear. Nor long didst thou lift the spear, mildly-shining beam of youth! Death stands dim behind thee. like the darkened half of the moon behind its growing light. Cuthuliin rose before the bard', that came from generous Torlath; he offered him the shell of joys and honoured the son of songs. "Sweet voice of Lego!" he said, "What are the words of Torlath? Comes he to our feast or battle, the car-borne son of Contela''?"
the newe of Torlath'a revolt came to Temoras hart sailed to Tocormas his native isle i ivlieie he was detained by contrary winds during the war in which Cuthullin was lulled. t The royal i al-i c of the Irish kings; Teamhr&tlis according to seme of the tarda.
"He comes to thy battle," replied the bard, '• to 'he sounding strife of spears. When morning is grey en Lego, Torlath will fight on the plain: and wilt t;.uu meet him in thine arms, king of the isle of mist? Terrible is the spear of Torlath! It is a meteor of night. He lifts it, and the people fall: death sits in the lightning of his sword." "Do I fear," replied Cuthullin, "the spear of car-borne Torlath? He is brave as a thousand heroes; but my soul delights in war. The sword rests not by the side of Cuthullin, bard of the times of old! Morning shall meet me on the Main- and gleam on the blue arms of Memo's son. But sit thou on the heath, O bard! and let us hear thy voice; partake of the joyful shell; and hear the songs of Temora."
"This is no time," replied the bard, " to hear the song of joy; when the mighty are' to meet in battle like the strength of the waves of Lego. Wnv art thon so dark, Slimorae! with all thy silent woods? No green star trembles on thy top; no moon-beam on thy side. But the meteors of death are there, and the grey watry forms of ghosts. Why art thou dark, SHmcra! with thy silent woods?" He retired in the sound of his song: Carril accompanied his voice. The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul. The ghosts of departed bards heard it from Slimora's side. Soft sounds spread along the wood, and the silent valleys of night rejoice. So •when he sits in the silence of noon, in the valley of his breeze, the humming of the mountain-bee comes to Ossian's ear: the gale drowns it often in its conrse; but the pleasant sound returns again.
c The bards were the heralds of ancient times; and their persons were sacrrd on account of their office. In later times they abused that privileges and as their per ions were inviolables thev satyrised and lampooned so freely these who were not liked by their patronss that they became a poblic noisance. Screened under the character nf heraldss they grossly abosed the enemy when he would isot accept the terms they offered
d Cean-tcolas i head of a family.i
e Slia'-mor, s great hill-'
"Raise," said Cuthullin, to his hundred bards, " the song of the noble Fingal: that song which he hears at night, when the dreams of his rest descend; when the bards strike the distant harp, and the faint light gleams on Selma's walls. Or let the grief of Lara rise, and the sighs of the mother of Calmar-^, when he was sought, in vain, on his hills, and she beheld his bow in the hall. Carril, place the shield of Caithbat on that branch; and let the spear of Cuthullin be near; that the sound of my battle may rise with the grey beam of the east." The hero leaned on his father's shield; the song of Lara rose. The hundred bards were distant far: Carril alone is near the chief. The words of the song were his; and the sound of his harp was monrnful.
"Alcletha* with the aged locks! mother of carborne Calmar! why dost thou look towards the desart, to behold the return of thy son? These are not his heroes, dark on the heath: nor is that the voice of Calmar: it is but the distant grove, Alcletha! but the roar of the mountain wind '." Who e bounds over Lara's stream, sister of the noble Calmar? Does not Alcletha behold his spear? But her eyes are dim '. It is not the son of Matha, daughter of my love?"
"It is but an aged oak, Alcletha'." replied the lovely weeping Alona'. "It is but an oak, Alcletha, bent over Lara's stream. But who comes along the plain? sorrow is in his speed. He lifts high the spear of Calmar. Alcletha! it is covered with blood '." "But it is covered with the blood of foesi, sister of car-borne Calmar! his spear never returned unstained with blood, nor his bow from the strife of the mighty. The battle is consomed in his presence: he is a flame of death. Alona '. youth / of the mournful speed! where is the son of Alcletha? Does he return with his fame! in the midst of his echoing shields ! Thou art dark and silent '. Calmar is then no more. Tell me not, warrior, how he fell, for I cannot hear of his wound."
f Calmar the son of Matha. His death Is related at largeih the third book of Flnfal. He was the only son of Matha: and the family was extinct in him. The seat of the family was on the banks of the river Laras in the neighbourhood of Legos and pro. bably near .;e place were Cathullin lay l which circomstance soggested to him the lamentation i Alcletha over her son.
g Ald-cl. • l as i decaying beauty;' probably a poetical name given the mother of Calmars by th 1ard himself.
ib Alcleth i speaks. Calmar had promised to returns by a certain day; and his mother and his sister Alona are represented by the bards as looking with impatience to. wards the quarter where they expected Calmar woold make his first appearance.
t Amines' exqoisitely beautiful.'
"Why dost thou look towards the desart, mother of car-borne Calmar?"
Such was the song of Carril, when Cuthullin lay on his shield: the bards rested on their harps, and sleep fell softly around. The son of Semo was awake alone; his soul was fixed on the war. The burning oaks began to decay; faint red light is spread around. A feeble voice is heard! the ghost of Calmar came. He stalked in the beam. Dark is the wound in his side. His hair is disordered and loose. Joy sits darkly on his face; and he seems to invite Cuthullir .o his cave.
"Son of the cloudy night !'" said the rising chief of Erin: " Why dost thou bend thy dark eyes on me, ghost of the car-borne Calmar? Wouldst thou frighten me, O Matha's son '. from the battles of Cormac? Thy hand was not feeble in war; neither was thy voice"s for peace. How art thou changed, chief of Lara! if thou now dost advise to fly! But, Calmar, I never fled. I never feared" the ghost of the desart. Small is their knowledge, and weak their hands; their dwelling is in the wind. But my soul grows in danger, and rejoices in the noise of steel. Retire thou to thy cave; thou art not Calmar's ghost; he delighted in battle, and his arm was like the thunder of heaven."
k Alcletha speaks.
/ She addresses herself to Latin-s Calmar's friends who had returned with the news •f his death. m See Calmar's speech. Fing. B. I. rt See CuUtfllln's reply to Coanals coacernlngCrogal's ghost, Fine. B. :L