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Cuthullin gives the joy of shells. Partake the feast of Erin's blue-ey'd chief!" He answered like the sullen sound of Cromla before a storm. "Though all thy daughters, Inis-fail! should stretch their arms. of snow; should raise the heavings of their breasts, and softly roll their eyes of love; yet, fixed as Lochlin's thousand rocks, here Swaran should remain; till morn, with the young beams of the east, shall light me to the death of Cuthullin. Pleasant to my ear is Lochlin's wind! It rushes over my seas! It speaks aloft in all my shrouds, and brings my green forests to my mind: The green forests of Gormal, which often echoed to my winds, when my spear was red in the chace of the boar. Let dark Cuthullin yield to me the ancient throne of Cormac ; or Erin's torrents shall shew from their hills the red foam of the blood of his pride!"
"Sad is the sound of Swaran's voice," said Carril of other times! "Sad to himself alone," said the blue-eyed son of Semo. But, Carril, raise the voice on high; tell the deeds of other times. Send thou the night away in song; and give the joy of grief. For many heroes and maids of love, have moved on Inis-fail: And lovely are the songs of woe that are heard in Albion's rocks; when the noise of the chace is past, and the streams of Cona answer to the voice of Ossian." *
The Cona here mentioned is that small river that runs through Glenco in Argyleshire. One of the hills which environ
"In other days," "* Carril replies, "" came the sons of Ocean to Erin! A thousand vessels bounded on waves to Ullin's lovely plains. The sons of Inisfail arose, to meet the race of dark-brown shields. Cairbar, first of men, was there, and Grudar, stately youth! Long had they strove for the spotted bull, that lowed on Golbun's+ echoing heath. Each claimed him as his own. Death was often at the point of their steel! Side by side the heroes fought; the strangers of Ocean fled. Whose name was fairer on the hill, than the name of Cairbar and Grudar! But ah! why ever lowed the bull, on Golbun's echoing heath. They saw him leaping like snow. The wrath of the chiefs returned !"
"On Lubar's grassy banks they fought; Grudar fell in his blood. Fierce Cairbar came to the vale, where Brassolis, || fairest of his sisters, all alone, raised the song of grief. She sung of the actions of Grudar, the youth of her secret soul! She mourned him in the field of blood; but still she hoped for his that romantic valley is still called Scornafena, or the hill of Fingal's people.
*This episode is introduced with propriety. Calmar and Connal, two of the Irish heroes, had disputed warmly before the battle about engaging the enemy. Carril endeavours to reconcile them with the story of Cairbar and Grudar; who, though enemies before, fought side by side in the war. The poet obtained his aim, for we find Calmar and Connal perfectly reconciled in the third book.
+ Golb-bhean, as well as Cromleach, signifies a crooked hill. Lubar, a river in Ulster. Labhar, loud, noisy.
|| Brassolis signifies a woman with a white breast.
return. Her white bosom is seen from her robe, as the moon from the clouds of night, when its edge heaves white on the view, from the darkness which covers its orb. Her voice was softer than the harp to raise the song of grief. Her soul was fixed on Grudar. The secret look of her eye was his. "When shalt thou come in thine arms, thou mighty in the war ?"
"Take, Brassolis," Cairbar came and said, "take, Brassolis, this shield of blood. Fix it on high within my hall, the armour of my foe! Her soft heart beat against her side. Distracted, pale, she flew. She found her youth in all his blood; she died on Cromla's heath. Here rests their dust, Cuthullin! these lonely yews sprung from their tombs, and shade them from the storm. Fair was Brassolis on the plain ! Stately was Grudar on the hill! The bard shall preserve their names, and send them down to future times!"
"Pleasant is thy voice, O Carril," said the blueeyed chief of Erin. "Pleasant are the words of other times! They are like the calm shower of spring; when the sun looks on the field, and the light cloud flies over the hills. O strike the harp in praise of my love, the lonely sun-beam of Dunscaith! Strike the harp in the praise of Bragela; she that I left in the Isle of Mist, the spouse of Semo's son! Dost thou raise thy fair face from the rock to find the sails of Cuthullin? The sea is rolling distant far; its white foam deceives thee for my sails. Retire, for it is
night, my love; the dark winds sing in thy hair. Retire to the halls of my feasts; think of the times that are past. I will not return till the storm of war is ceased. O Connal! speak of war and arms, and send her from my mind. Lovely with her flowing hair is the white-bosomed daughter of Sorglan." Connal, slow to speak, replied, "Guard against the race of Ocean. Send thy troop of night abroad, and watch the strength of Swaran. Cuthullin! I am for peace till the race of Selma come; till Fingal come, the first of men, and beam, like the sun, on our fields!" The hero struck the shield of alarms, the warriors of the night moved on! The rest lay in the heath of the deer, and slept beneath the dusky wind. The ghosts of the lately dead were near, and swam on the gloomy clouds: And far distant, in the dark silence of Lena, the feeble voices of death were faintly heard.
* It was long the opinion of the ancient Scots, that a ghost was heard shrieking near the place where a death was to happen soon after. The accounts given, to this day, among the vulgar, of this extraordinary matter, are very poetical. The ghost comes mounted on a meteor, and surrounds twice or thrice the place destined for the person to die; and then goes along the road through which the funeral is to pass, shrieking at intervals; at last, the meteor and ghost disappear above the burial place.