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field! Tall Morla came, the son of Swarth, and stately strode the youth along! He spoke to Erin's blue-eyed chief, among the lesser heroes. "Take Swaran's peace," the warrior spoke, "the peace he gives to kings, when nations bow to his sword. Leave Erin's streamy plains to us, and give thy spouse and dog. Thy spouse high-bosom'd, heaving fair! Thy dog that overtakes the wind! Give these to prove the weakness of thine arm; live then beneath our power!"
"Tell Swaran, tell that heart of pride, Cuthullin never yields. I give him the dark rolling sea; I give his people graves in Erin. But never shall a stranger have the pleasing sun-beam of my love. No deer shall fly on Lochlin's hills, before swift-footed Luäth." "Vain ruler of the car," said Morla, "wilt thou then fight the king? The king whose ships of many groves could carry off thine isle? So little is thy green-hilled Erin to him who rules the stormy waves !" "In words I yield to many, Morla. My sword shall yield to none. Erin shall own the sway of Cormac, while Connal and Cuthullin live! O Connal, first of mighty men, thou hear'st 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 Erin, 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 poured along; as mist that is rolled on a valley, when storms invade the silent sun-shine of heaven! Cuthullin moves before in arms, like an angry ghost before a cloud; when meteors inclose him with fire; when the dark winds are in his hand. Carril, far on the heath, bids the horn of battle sound. He raises the voice of song, and pours his soul into the minds of the brave.
"Where," said the mouth of the song, "where is the fallen Crugal? He lies forgot on earth; the hall of shells is silent. Sad is the spouse of Crugal! She is a stranger † in the hall of her grief. But who is she, that, like a sun-beam, flies before the ranks of the foe? It is Degrena, lovely fair, the spouse of fallen Crugal. Her hair is on the wind behind. Her eye is red; her voice is shrill. Pale, empty is thy Crugal now! His form is in the cave of the hill. He comes to the ear of rest; he raises his feeble voice; like the humming of the mountain bee; like the collected flies of the eve! 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
*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 halls of shells.
+ 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 grief.
Deo-gréna signifies a sun-beam.
youth. She is fallen, O Cairbar, the thought of thy youthful hours!"
Fierce Cairbar heard the mournful sound. He rushed along like ocean's whale. He saw the death of his daughter: He roared in the midst of thousands. His spear met a son of Lochlin! battle spreads from wing to wing! As a hundred winds in Lochlin's groves; as fire in the pines of a hundred hills; so loud, so ruinous, so vast the ranks of men are hewn down. Cuthullin cut off heroes like thistle; Swaran wasted Erin. Curach fell by his hand, Cairbar of the bossy shield! Morglan lies in lasting rest! Ca-olt trembles as he dies! His white breast is stained with blood; his yellow hair stretched in the dust of his native land! He often had spread the feast where he fell. He often there had raised the voice of the harp: when his dogs leapt around for joy; and the youths of the chace prepared the bow!
Still Swaran advanced, as a stream, that bursts from the desert. The little hills are rolled in its course ; the rocks are half-sunk by its side! But Cuthullin stood before him, like a hill, that catches the clouds of heaven. The winds contend on its head of pines; 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. But Erin falls on either wing, like snow in the day of the sun.
"O sons of Erin," said Grumal. "Lochlin conquers on the field. Why strive we as reeds against the wind? Fly to the hill of dark-brown hinds." He fled like the stag of Morven; his spear is a trembling beam of light behind him. Few fled with Grumal, 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 haste, to Connal. "O Connal, first of mortal men, thou hast taught this arm of death! Though Erin's sons have fled, shall we not fight the foe? Carril, son of other times, carry my friends to that bushy hill. Here, Connal, let us stand, like rocks, and save our flying friends."
Connal mounts the car of gems. They stretch their shields, like the darkened moon, the daughter of the starry skies, when she moves, a dun circle, thro' heaven; and dreadful change is expected by men. Sithfadda panted up the hill, and Sronnal 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 thro' which the flame had rushed, hurried on by the winds of the stormy night; distant, withered, dark they stand, with not a leaf to shake in the gale.
Cuthullin stood beside an oak. He rolled his red eye in silence, and heard the wind in his bushy hair; the scout of Ocean came, Moran the son of Fithil. "The ships," he cried, "the ships of the lonely isles.
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 ?” Blow," said Cuthullin, "blow ye winds that rush along my isle of mist. Come to the death of thousands, O king of resounding Selma! Thy sails, my friend, are to me the clouds of the morning; thy ships the light of heaven; and thou thyself a pillar of fire that beams on the world by night. O Connal, first of men, how pleasing, in grief, are our friends! But the night is gathering around! Where now are the ships of Fingal? Here let us pass the hours of darkness; here wish for the moon of heaven."
The winds come down on the woods. The torrents rush from the rocks. Rain gathers round the head of Cromla. The red stars tremble between the flying clouds. Sad, by the side of a stream whose sound is echoed by a tree, sad by the side of a stream the chief of Erin sits. Connal son of Colgar is 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, son of Damman, I loved thee as myself!"
"How, Cuthullin, son of Semo! how fell the breaker of the shields? Well I remember," said Connal, "the son of the noble Damman. Tall and fair
he was like the rain-bow of heaven."
Albion came, the chief of a hundred hills. In