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The court bard was a domestic officer. He held his land free, and was entitled to a horse and a woollen garment from the king, and a linen garment from the queen. At the three principal feasts, of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, he sat next to the prefect of the palace, who delivered the harp into his hand, and at these festivals he had the robe of the steward for his fee. When a song was required, the bard who had gained the badge of the chair, in musical contest, first sung a hymn of glory to God, after that another in honor of the prince, and then the bard of the hall was to sing some other subject. If the queen desired a song, he attended her in her own chamber. When he accompanied the prince's domestic servants upon a foray, he had an ox or a cow from the booty, and, while the prey was dividing, he sung the praises of the monarchy. He also sung in the same strain at the head of the troops, when drawn up for fight. This was to remind the Welsh of their ancient right to the whole kingdom ; for, their inroads being almost always on the English territories, they thought they did no more than seize on their own. When invested with this office, the prince gave the bard a harp, and the queen a gold ring. If he asked any gift or favor of the prince, he was fined an ode or poem ; if of a nobleman, three ; if of a common person, he was obliged to sing till he was weary or fell asleep.

Wales, immediately after its incorporation with England, ceased to be the theatre of turbulence,

bloodshed, and distress. Nothing more strongly marks the beneficial change than the new features which the Welsh poetry assumed after that event. We see no

more, in endless repetition, the horrible imagery prowling wolf, the gushing blood, and the screaming kite feasting on human prey. It is no longer the baneful encomium on the wasteful conflict and the barbarous chief. The fair sex now began to form the subject of the bardic lay, and their charms imparted that inspiration, which had previously been derived only from the mead-cup and the princely gift. The praise of the sword was abandoned for more pacific themes; and the mountain muse found that delight in beauty and rural nature, which she had formerly experienced only in murder and devastation.

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IRELAND.

EARLY HISTORY OF IRELAND.

THE vanity of nations, as well as of individuals, leads them to set up pretensions to high antiquity of origin. Thus the Chaldeans traced back their history for a space of four hundred and seventy thousand years; and the Egyptians were scarcely less moderate in their claims. It is a good evidence of the credulity which this species of pride inspires, that the faith of the latter people in their fabulous chronology was not disturbed by a chasm of eleven thousand three hun. dred and forty years, which occurs between two of their kings, Menes and Sethon.

If the bardic historians of Ireland have been a little less extravagant in their pretensions, it is because their stories were fabricated at a later date, and after the Bible had been introduced among them. They there. fore commence their story but a few weeks before the flood, when, agreeably to their legends, Cesara, a niece of Noah; arrived with a colony of antediluvians upon the Irish coast. These were, at different times, followed by other bands; and in the fourth century after the flood, Ireland was invaded and taken posses- . sion of by Partholen, a descendant of Japheth.

After holding the country for three hundred years, the race of Partholen was swept away by a plague ; and, in the time of Jacob, another colony, led by Nemedius, took possession of the country.

The wars that these settlers waged with the Fomorians, an African tribe of sea-rovers, form one of the favorite themes of the ancient Irish muse.

The next, and, in number, the third of these colo. nies, were Belgians, and known under the name of Fir-Bolgs; these subjected the country to the yoke of regal authority, and divided it into five kingdoms, -a form of government which existed till the twelfth century of the Christian era. The dynasty of the FirBolgs was, however, soon disturbed by the Tuatha de Danaan, — a people famed for necromancy, which they had learned in Greece. Aided by the Stone of Des. tiny, the Sorcerer's Spear, and the Magic Caldron, which they obtained in Denmark and Norway, and led by Nuad of the Silver Hand, the Danaans landed upon the island under cover of a mist, and penetrated into the country before they were discovered. The alarmed inhabitants retreated before them into Connaught, when, at Moytura, on the borders of Lake Masg, that bloody conflict took place, which is called the Battle of the Field of the Tower, and which was long a favorite theme of Irish song. Having driven their opposers to the Isle of Man, North Aran, and the Hebrides, the victorious Danaans became sole masters of the country. But they in turn were dispossessed of their sway by the Scotic or Milesian colony, which

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