ARGUMENT-CUTHULLIN, after the arms of Fingal had expelled Swaran from Ireland, continued to manage the affairs of that kingdom as the guardian of Cormac, the young king. In the third year of Cuthullin's administration, Torlath, the son of Cantéla, rebelled in Connaught and advanced to Temora to dethrone Cormac. Cuthullin marched against him, came up with him at the Jake of Lego, and totally defeated his forces. Torlath fell in battle by Cuthullin's hand; but as he too eagerly pressed on the enemy, he was mortally wounded. The affairs of Cormac, though, for some time, supported by Nathos, as mentioned in the preceding poem, fell into confusion at the death of Cuthullin. Cormac himself was slain by the rebel Cairbar; and the re-establishment of the royal family of Ireland by Fingal, furnishes the subject of the epic poem of Temora.

[ocr errors]



Is the wind on the shield of Fingal? Or is the "voice of past times in my hall? Sing on, sweet "voice! for thou art pleasant. Thou carriest away my night with joy. Sing on, O Bragéla, daughter of car-borne Sorglan!


"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 com"ing, son of the generous Semo? Four times has "autumn returned with its winds, and raised the cr seas of Togorma,* since thou hast been in the


roar of battles, and Bragéla distant far! Hills "of the isle of mist! when will ye answer to "his hounds? But ye are dark in your clouds. "Sad Bragéla calls in vain! Night comes rolling "down. The face of ocean fails. The heath"cock's head is beneath his wing.

The hind

* Togorma, i. e. the island of blue waves, one of the Hebrides, was subject to Connal, the son of Caithbat, Cuthullin's friend. He is sometimes called the son of Colgar, from one of that name who was the founder of the family. Connal, a few days before the news of Torlath's revolt came to Temora, had sailed to Togorma, his native isle; where he was detained by contrary winds during the war in which Cathullin was killed.

[ocr errors]

"sleeps with the hart of the desert. They shall "rise with the morning's light, and feed by the mossy stream. But my tears return with the "sun. My sighs come on with the night. When "wilt thou come in thine arms, O chief of Erin's 66 wars ?"

Pleasant is thy voice in Ossian's ear, daughter of car-borne 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 Dunscär's walls: let sleep descend on thy blue eyes. Let the hero arise in thy dreams!

Cuthullin sits at Lego's lake, at the dark rolling of waters. Night is around the hero. His thousands spread on the heath. A hundred oaks burn in the midst. The feast of shells is smoking wide. 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, Con"nal, in the day of the gloomy storm? The chiefs "of the south have convened, against the car"borne Cormac. The winds detain thy sails. "Thy blue waters roll around thee. But Cor66 mac is not alone. The son of Semo fights his "wars! Semo's son his battles fights! the terror " of the stranger! He that is like the vapour of "death, slowly borne by sultry winds. The sun "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. He spoke the words of Torlath! Torlath, chief of heroes, from Lego's sable surge!

He that led his thousands to battle, 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! Cuthullin rose before the bard,† that came from generous Torlath. He offered him the shell of joy. He honoured the son of songs. "Sweet voice of

66 Lego!" he said, "what are the words of Tor"lath? Comes he to our feast or battle, the car"borne son of Cantéla?"

"He comes to thy battle," replied the bard, "to the sounding strife of spears. When morn"ing is grey on Lego, Torlath will fight on the

[ocr errors]

plain. Wilt thou meet him, in thine arms, king "of the isle of inist? Terrible is the spear of Tor"lath! it is a meteor of night. He lifts it, and

*The royal palace of the Irish kings; Team-hrath, according to some of the bards.

The bards were the heralds of ancient times: and their persons were sacred on account of their office. In later times they abused that privilege; and as their persons were inviolable, they satirized and Tampooned so freely those who were not liked by their patrons, that they became a public nuisance. Screened under the character of heralds, they grossly abused the enemy when he would not accept the terms they offered.

Cean-teola', head of a family.

« VorigeDoorgaan »