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"through grass. There dwells a chief of the race "of Dermid. Place me there in night."
He slowly rose against the hill. He saw the troubled field: the gleaming ridges of battle, disjoined and broken around. As distant fires, on heath by night, now seem as lost in smoke: now rearing their red streams on the hill, as blow or cease the winds; so met the intermitting war the eye of broad-shielded Dermid. Through the host are the strides of Foldath, like some dark ship on wintry waves, when she issues from between two isles, to sport on resounding ocean!
Dermid with rage, beholds his course. He strives to rush along. But he fails amid his steps; and the big tear comes down. He sounds his father's horn. He thrice strikes his bossy shield. He calls thrice the name of Foldath, from his roaring tribes. Foldath, with joy, beholds the chief. He lifts aloft his bloody spear. As a rock is marked with streams, that fell troubled down its side in a storm; so streaked with wandering blood, is the dark chief of Moma! The host, on either side, withdraw from the contending of kings. They raise, at once, their gleaming points. Rushing
comes Fillan of Selma. Three paces back Foldath withdraws, dazzled with that beam of light, which came, as issuing from a cloud, to save the wounded chief. Growing in his pride he stands. calls forth all his steel.
As meet two broad winged eagles, in their
sounding strife, in winds; so rush the two chiefs on Moi-lena, into gloomy fight. By turns are the steps of the kings forward on their rocks above; for now the dusky war seems to descend on their swords. Cathmor feels the joy of warriors, on his mossy hill; their joy in secret, when dangers rise to match their souls. His eye is not turned on Lubar, but on Selma's dreadful king. He beholds him on Mora, rising in his arms.
Foldath+ falls on his shield. The spear of Fillan pierced the king. Nor looks the youth on the fallen, but onward rolls the war. The hundred voices of death arise. "Stay, son of Fingal, stay thy speed. Beholdest thou not that
* Fingal and Cathmor.
†The fall of Foldath, if we may believe tradition, was predicted to him, before he had left his own country to join Cairbar, in his designs on the Irish throne. He went to the cave of Moma, to inquire of the spirits of his fathers, concerning the success of the enterprise of Cairbar. The responses of oracles are always attended with obscurity, and liable to a double meaning: Foldath, therefore, put a favourable interpretation on the prediction, and pursued his adopted plan of aggrandizing himself with the family of Atha.
Foldath, addressing the spirits of his fathers.
“Dark, I stand in your presence; fathers of Foldath, hear. Shall "steps pass over Atha, to Ullin of the roes?"
"Thy steps shall pass over Atha, to the green dwelling of kings. "There shall thy stature arise, over the fallen, like a pillar of thun"der-clouds. There, terrible in darkness, shalt thou stand, till the "reflected beam, or Clon-cath of Moruth, come; Moruth of many "streams, that roars in distant lands."
Cloncath, or reflected beam, say my traditional authors, was the name of the sword of Fillan; so that it was in the latent signification of the word Cloncath, that the deception lay. My principal reason for introducing this note, is, that this tradition serves to show, that the religion of the Fir-bolg differed from that of the Caledonians, as we never find the latter inquiring of the spirits of their deceased ancestors.
"gleaming form, a dreadful sign of death? "Awaken not the king of Erin. Return, son of "blue-eyed Clatho."
"Malthos beholds Foldath low.
"stands above the chief. Hatred is rolled from "his soul. He seems a rock in a desert, on "whose dark side are the trickling of waters; "when the slow-sailing mist has left it, and all "its trees are blasted with winds. He spoke to "the dying hero, about the narrow house. "Whether shall thy grey stone rise in Ullin, or "" in Moma'st woody land! where the sun looks, "in secret, on the blue streams of Dalrutho? "there are the steps of thy daughter, blue-eyed 86 6 'Dardulena!"
"Rememberest thou her," said Foldath, "because no son is mine: no youth to roll the bat"tle before him, in revenge of me? Malthos,
* The characters of Foldath and Malthos are sustained. They were both dark and surly, but each in a different way. Foldath was impetuous and cruel: Malthos, stubborn and incredulous. Their attachment to the family of Atha was equal; their bravery in battle the same. Foldath was vain and ostentatious: Malthos, unindulgent but generous. His behaviour here towards his enemy Foldath, shows that a good heart often lies concealed under a gloomy and sullen character.
+ Moma was the name of a country, in the south of Connaught, once famous for being the residence of an Arch-Druid. The cave of Moma was thought to be inhabited by the spirits of the chiefs of the Fir-bolg, and their posterity sent to inquire there, as to an oracle, concerning the issue of their wars.
Dal-rhuäth, parched or sandy field. The etymology of Dardulena is uncertain. The daughter of Foldath was, probably, so called, from a place in Ulster, where her father had defeated part of the adherents of Artho, king of Ireland. Dor-du-lena; the dark wood of Moi-lena. As Foldath was proud and ostentatious, it would appear, that he transferred the name of a place, where he himself had been victorious, to his daughter.
"I am revenged.
I was not peaceful in the
"field. Raise the tombs of those I have slain, "around my narrow house.
Often shall I for
"sake the blast, to rejoice above their graves; <when I behold them spread around, with their "long-whistling grass."
His soul rushed to the vale of Moma, to Dardu-lena's dreams, where she slept, by Dalrutho's stream, returning from the chase of the hinds. Her bow is near the maid, unstrung. The breezes fold her long hair on her breasts. Clothed in the beauty of youth, the love of heroes lay. Dark-bending from the skirts of the wood, her wounded father seemed to come. He appeared, at times, then hid himself in mist. Bursting into tears she arose. She knew that the chief was low. To her came a beam from his soul, when folded in its storms. Thou wert the last of his race O blue-eyed Dardu-lena.
Wide spreading over echoing Lubar, the flight of Bolgar is rolled along. Fillan hangs forward on their steps. He strews, with dead, the heath. Fingal rejoices over his son. Blue shielded Cath
*The suspense, in which the mind of the reader is left here conveys the idea of Fillan's danger more forcibly home, than any description that could be introduced. There is a sort of eloquence, in silence with propriety. A minute detail of the circumstances of an important scene is generally cold and insipid. The human mind, free and fond of thinking for itself, is disgusted to find every thing done by the poet. It is, therefore, his business only to mark the most striking outlines, and to allow the imaginations of his readers to finish the figure for themselves.
Son of Alpin, bring the harp. Give Fillan's praise to the wind. Raise high his
ear, while yet he shines in war.
praise, in mine
"Leave, blue-eyed Clatho, leave thy hall! "Behold that early beam of thine!
"withered in its course.
The host is
No further look, it is "dark. Light-trembling from the harp, strike, virgins, strike the sound. No hunter he de"scends, from the dewy haunt of the bounding 64 roe. He bends not his bow on the wind; nor "sends his grey arrow abroad.
"Deep-folded in red war! See battle roll against his side. Striding amid the ridgy strife, "he pours the death of thousands forth. Fillan " is like a spirit of heaven, that descends from the "skirt of winds. The troubled ocean feels his
steps, as he strides from wave to wave. 'path kindles behind him.
"heads on the heaving seas!
Clatho, leave thy hall!"
Islands shake their
The book ends in the afternoon of the third day, from the opening
of the poem.