Page images

The sound spreads wide : the heroes rise, like the breaking of a blue-rolling wave. They stood on the heath, like oaks with all their branches round them", when they echo to the stream of frost, and their wi. thered leaves rustle to the wind.

High Cromla's head of clouds is grey; the morning trembles on the half-enlightened ocean. The bluegrey mist swims slowly by, and hides the sons of Inis


“ Rise ye,” said the king of the dark brown shields, “ ye that came from Lochlin's waves. The sons of Eria have fled from our arms—pursue them over the plains of Lena. And Morla, go to Cormac's hall and bid them yield to Swaran ; before the people shall fall into the tomb, and the hills of Ullin be silent." They rose like a flock of sea-fowl when the waves expel them from the shore. Their sound was like a thousand streams that meet in Cona's vale, when after a stormy night, they turn their dark eddies beneath the pale light of the morning.

As the dark shades of autumn fly over the hills of grass; so gloomy, dark, successive, came the chiefs of Lochlin's echoing woods. Tall as the stag of Morven, moved on the king of groves. His shining shield is on his side like a flame on the heath at night, when the world is silent and dark, and the traveller sees some ghost sporting in the beam.

A blast from the troubled ocean removed the settled mist. The sons of Inisfail appear like a ridge of rocks on the shore.

“Go, Morla, go," said Lochlin's king, " and offer peace to these. Offer the terms we give to kings when nations bow before us; when the valiant are dead in war, and the virgins weeping on the field.”

Great Morla came, the son of Swart, and stately strode the king of shields. He spoke to Erin's bluceyed son, among the lesser heroes.

b As when hear'n's fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks or mountain pines
With singed tops, their stately growtb, though bare,
Stand on the blasted beath.


« Take Swaran's peace," the warrior spoke, “ the peace he gives to kings, when the nations bow before him. Leave Ullin's lovely plains to us, and give thy spouse and dog. Thy spouse high-bosomed, heaving fair. Thy dog that overtakes the wind. Give these to prove the weakness of thine arins, and live beneath our power.

« Tell Swaran, tell that heart of pride, that Cuthul. lin never yields. I give him the dark-blue rolling of ocean, or I give his people graves in Erin! never shall a stranger have the lovely sun-beam of Dunscaich; nor ever deer fly on Lochlin's hills before the nimble-footed Luath."

“ Vain ruler of the car," said Morla, “ wilt thou fight the king; that king whose ships of many groves could carry off thine isle; so little is thy green-hilled Ullin to the king of stormy waves.

" In words I yield to many, Morla, but this sword shall yield to none. Erin shall own the sway of Cormac, while Connal and Cuthullin live. O Connal, first of mighty men, thou hast heard the words of Morla ; shall thy thoughts then be of peace, thou breaker of the shields? Spirit of fallen Crugal! why didst thou threaten us with death! The narrow house shall receive me in the midst of the light of renown. Exalt, ye sons of Inisfail, exalt the spear and bend the bow; rush on the foe in darkness, as the spirits of stormy nights.”

Then dismal, roaring, fierce, and deep, the gloom of battle rolled along; as mist that is poured on the valley, when storms invade the silent sunshine of heaven,

The chief moves before in arms, like an angry ghost before a cloud; when meteors inclose him with fire; and the dark winds are in his hand. Carril, far on the heath, bids the horn of battle sound. He raises the voice of the song, and pours his soul into the minds of heroes.

Where," said the mouth of the song, “ where is

(As evening mist
Risen from a river o'er the marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the lab'rer's heels,
Nomeward returning


the fallen Crugal? He lies forgot on earth, and the hall of shells d is silent. Sad is the spouse of Crugal, for she is a strangere in the hall of her sorrow. But who is she, that like a sun-beam, flies before the ranks of the foe? It is Degrenar, lovely fair, the spouse of fallen Crugal. Her hair is on the wind behind. Her eye is red; her voice is shrill. Green, empty is thy Crugal now, his form is in the cave of the hill. He comes to the ear of rest, and raises his feeble voice; like the humming of the mountain-bee, or collected flies of evening. But Degrena falls like a cloud of the morn; the sword of Lochlin is in her side. Cairbar, she is fallen, the rising thought of thy youth. She is fallen, O Cairbas, the thought of thy youthful hours.”

Fierce Cairbar heard the mournful sound, and rushed on like ocean's whale ; he saw the death of his daughter; and roared in the midst of thousands. His spear met a son of Lochlin, and battle spread from wing to wing. As a hundred winds in Lochlin's groves, as fire in the firs of a hundred hills; so loud, so ruinous, and vast the ranks of men are hewn down. Cuthullin cut off heroes like thistles, and Swaran wasted Erin. Cue rach fell by his hand, and Cairbar of the bossy shield. Morglan lies in lasting rest; and Ca-olt quivers as he dies. His white breast is stained with his blood; and his yellow hair stretched in the dust of his native land. He often had spread the feast where he fell; and often raised the voice of the harp; when his dogs leapt 2. round for joy, and the youths of the chase prepared the bow.

Still Swaran advanced as a stream that bursts from the desart. The little hills are rolled in its course; and the rocks half-sunk by its side. But Cuthullin stood before him like a hillo that catches the clouds of hea.

d The ancient Scots, as well as the present Highlanders, drunk in shells: hence it is that we so often meet, in the old poetry, with the chief of shells, and the ball of shelis

e Crugal had married Degrena but a little time before the battle; consequently she may with propriety be called a stranger in the hall of her sorrow.

f Dec-grena signifies 3 sun-beam. 8 Mediisque in millibus ardet.

VIRG. h Virgil and Milton hrve made use of a comparison similar to this; I shall lay bots before the reader, and let him judge for hintself which of these two great posts have

st succeeded.

ven. The winds contend on its head of pines; and the hail rattles on its rocks, But, firm in its strength, it stands and shades the silent vale of Cona.

So Cuthullin shaded the sons of Erin, and stood in the midst of thousands. Blood rises like the fount of a rock, from panting heroes around him. But Erin falls on either wing like snow in the day of the sun.

“ O sons of Inisfail," said Grumal, “ Lochlin conquers on the field. Why strive we as reeds against the wind! Fly to the hill of dark-brown hinds.” He iled like the stag of Morven, and his spear is a trembling beam of light behind him. Few fled with Grumal, the chief of the little soul : they fell in the battle of heroes on Lena's echoing heath.

High on his car of many gems, the chief of Erin stood; he slew a mighty son of Lochlin, and spoke in baste to Connal. « Ó Connal, first of mortal men, thou hast taught this arm of death! Though Erin's sons have fled, shall we not fight the foe? O Carril, son of other times, carry my living friends to that bushy hill. Here, Connal, let us stand like rocks, and save our fying friends.”

Connal mounts the car of light. They stretch their shields like the darkened moon, the daughter of the starry skies, when she moves a dun circle through heaVen. Sithfadda panted up the hill, and Dusronnal haughty steed. Like waves behind a whale; behind them rushed the foe.

Now on the rising side of Cromla stood Erin's few sad sons; like a grove through which the fame had

ashed, hurried on by the winds of the stormy night. Cuthullin stood behind an oak. He rolled his red eye in silence, and heard the wind in his bushy hair ; when ne scout of ocean came, Moran the son of Fithil. "The ships," he cried, “ the ships of the lonely isle:

Like Eryx or like Athos great he shows,
Ocher Appenine when white with snows:
His head divino obscure in clouds he hides,
And shakes the sounding forests on his sides. .DRYDEN,
On th' other side Satan alarm',
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremow'd :
His stature reach'd the sky. MILTON.

the sc

There Fingal comes, the first of men, the breaker of: the shields. The waves foam before his black prows, His masts with sails are like groves in clouds." ;

.66 Blow,” said Cuthullin, “all ye winds that rush over my isle of lovely mist. Come to the death of thousands, O chief of the hills of hinds. Thy sai „, my friend, are to me like the clouds of the morning; and thy ships like the light of heaven; and thou thyself like a pillar of fire that giveth light in the night. 0 Connal, first of men, how pleasant are our friends! But the night is gathering around; where now are the ships of Fingal? Here let us pass the hours of darkness, and wish for the moon of heaven.

The winds came down on the woods. The torrents rushed from the rocks. Rain gathered round the head of Cromla ; and the red stars trembled between the flying clouds. Sad, by the side of a stream whose sound was echoed by a tree, sad by the side of a stream the chief of Erin sat. Connal son of Colgar was there, and Carril of other times.

“ Unhappy is the hand of Cuthullin," said the son of Semo," unhappy is the hand of Cuthullin, since he slew his friend. Ferda, thou son of Damman, I loved thee as myself."

" How, Cuthullin, son of Semo, fell the breaker of the shields ? Well I remember,” said Connal, “ the noble son of Damman. Tall and fair he was like the rainbow of the hill."

" Ferda from Albion came, the chief of a hundred hills. In Muri's: hall he learned the sword, and won the friendship of Cuthullin. We moved to the chase together; and one was our bed in the heath.

“Deugala was the spouse of Cairbar, chief of the plains of Ullin. She was covered with the light of beauty, but her heart was the house of pride. She loved that

i Muri, say the Irish bards, was an academy in Ulster for teaching the use of arms The signification of the word is a cluster of people;' which renders the opinion pru bable. Cuthullin is said to have been the first who introduced into Ireland complete armour of steel. He is famous, among the senachies, for teaching, horsemanship to the Irish, and for being the first who used a chariot in that kingdom: which last circuit tince was the occasion of Ossiap's being so circumstantial in bis description of cute

no caria the first book.

« PreviousContinue »