« AnteriorContinuar »
along Moi-lena of the streams. The grey dogs bounded on the heath : Their howling reached afar. Fingal saw the departing hero. The soul of the king was sad. He dreaded Cairbar's gloomy thoughts, amidst the feast of shells. My son raised high the spear of Cormac. An hundred bards met him with songs. Cairbar concealed with smiles, the death that was dark in his soul. The feast is spread. The shells resound. Joy
gers, he appointed persons at the gates to invite all who travelled to make use of them.” Pope's note, Iliad, vi. 16.
“ Cathmor, the friend of strangers !--His towers rose on the banks of Atha. Seven paths led to his halls. Seven chiefs stood on the paths and called the stranger to the feast. But Cathmor dwelt in the wood, to shun the voice of praise."
As an improvement upon the death of Axylus, Caolt, in a former imitation, had often prepared the feast on the very spot where he fell. Fingal, ii. 27. Cathmor, in imitation of Gallias of Agrigentum, plants seven chiefs on the seven paths leading to his halls (the persons uppointed at the city gates), to call the stranger to the feast; and, as another improvement upon Axylus, the friend of human race, Didos de av arbçamous, the friend of strangers retires to the wood himself, to avoid the thanks or praise of his guests. But the encomium which the imitator bestows upon the generosity of Cathmor, as so superior to that of Axylus in Homer, might justify the character which Diodorus Siculus has given of the Celts. Κατα δε τας ομιλιας βραχυλογοι, και ΑΙΝΙΓΜΑΤΙAI, και τα πολλα αινιττομενοι ΣΥΝΕΚΔΟΧΙΚΩΣ. πολλα δε λεγοντες εν ΥΠΕΡΒΟΛΑΙΣ, επ' ΑΥΞΗΣΕΙ μεν ΕΑΥΤΩΝ, ΜΕΙΩΣΕΙ δε των ΑΛΛΩΝ. Lib. V.
brightens the face of the host. But it was like the parting beam of the sun", when he is to hide his red head in a storm.
Cairbar rises in his arms. Darkness gathers on his brow. The hundred harps cease at once. The clang of shields is heard. Far distant on the heath Olla raised a song of woe. My son knew the sign of death ; and rising, seized his spear. “ Oscar," said the dark-red Cairbar, “I behold the spear
of Erin. The spear of Temora glitters in thy hand, son of woody Morven! It was the pride of an hundred kings. The death of heroes of old. Yield it, son of Ossian, yield it to carborne Cairbar !"
“Shall I yield,” Oscar replied, “ the gift of Erin's injured king; the gift of fair-haired Cormac, when Oscar scattered his foes ? I came to Cormac's halls with joy, when Swaran fled from
10 Joy brightens the face of the host---like the parting beam of the sun.] Par. Lost, ii. 492. A frequent imitation.
If chance the radiant sun with farewell sweet,
Attest their joy, that hill and valley ring : “When he is to hide his red head in a storm." Virgil, Georg. i. 466.
Quum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit.
Fingal. Gladness rose in the face of youth. He.
of Temora. Nor did he give it to the feeble : neither to the weak in soul. The darkness of thy face is no storm to me; nor are thine eyes the flame of death. Do I fear thy clanging shield ? Tremble I at Olla's song ? No: Cairbar, frighten the feeble: Oscar is a rock!”
“ Wilt thou not yield the spear?” replied the rising pride of Cairbar; “Are thy words so mighty, because Fingal is near? Fingal with aged locks, from Morven's hundred groves! He has fought with little men. But he must vanish before Cairbar, like a thin pillar of mist before the winds of Atha !” “ Were he who fought with little men, near Atha's haughty chief : Atha's chief would yield green Erin to avoid his rage ! Speak not of the mighty, O Cairbar! Turn thy sword on me. Our strength is equal : but Fingal is renowned! the first of mortal men !”
Their people saw the darkening chiefs. Their crowding steps are heard around. Their eyes roll in fire. A thousand swords are half-unsheathed. Red-haired Olla raised the song of battle. The trembling joy of Oscar's soul arose": the wonted joy of his soul, when Fingal's horn was heard. Dark as the swelling wave of ocean before the rising winds, when it bends its head near the coast", came on the host of Cairbar!
Daughter of Toscar! why that tear ? He is not fallen yet. Many were the deaths of his arm before my hero fell ! Behold they fall before my son,
my son, like groves in the desert; when an angry ghost rushes through
11 The trembling joy of Oscar's soal.] Gray's trembling hope, and fearful joy, are here united. In the Elegy ;
There they alike in trembling hope repose. In the Ode on Eton College ;
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy. “ The wonted joy of his soul, when Fingal's horn was heard.” But Gray's fearful joy is from Milton. Par. Lost, i. 788.
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. . 12 Dark as the swelling wave of ocean before the rising winds, when it bends its head near the coast, &c.] Iliad, iv. 423.
Ως δ' ότ' εν αιγιαλώ πολυσχέϊ ΚΥΜΑ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΗΣ
As when the winds, ascending by degrees,
night, and takes their green heads in his hand '3! Morlath falls. Maronnan dies. Conachar trembles in his blood !
blood! Cairbar shrinks before Oscar's sword! He creeps in darkness behind a stone. He lifts the spear in secret ; he pierces my Oscar's side ! He falls forward on his shield : his knee sustains the chief. But still his
But still his spear is in his hand. See, gloomy Cairbar "4 falls ! The
13 Like groves in the desert, when an angry ghost rushes through night, and takes their green heads in his hand.] Berrathon, '. Both from the Highlander, iii. 1.
As when beneath the night's tempestuous cloud,
And bring the groaning forest to the ground. 14 The Irish historians place the death of Cairbar in the latter end of the third century; they say he was killed in the battle against Oscar, the son of Ossian; but deny that he fell by his hand.
It is, however, certain, that the Irish bards disguise, in some measure, this part of their history. An Irish poem on this subject, which, undoubtedly, was the source of their information concerning the battle of Gabhra, where Cairbar fell, is just now in my hands. As a translation of the poem (which, though evidently no very ancient composition, does not want poetical merit) would extend this note to too great a length, I shall only give the story of it in brief, with some extracts from the ori. ginal Irish.
Oscar, says the Irish bard, was invited to a feast, at Temora, by Cairbar, king of Ireland. A dispute arose between the two