« ZurückWeiter »
kindled before the king. She turned her face to Cathmor, from amidst her waving locks. “Sooner" shall the eagle of heaven be torn, from the stream of his roaring wind, when he sees the dun prey, before him, the young sons of the bounding roe, than thou, O Cathmor, be turned from the strife of renown. Soon
may I see thee, warrior, from the skirts of the evening mist, when it is rolled around me, on Lona of the streams. While yet thou art distant far, strike, Cathmor, strike the shield, that joy mày return to my darkened soul, as I lean on the mossy
11 In after ages, the allusions of the bards to particular passages of the works of Ossian, were very numerous.
I have met with a poem, which was writ three centuries ago, in which the bard recommends, to a lady of his own times, the behaviour of Sul-malla in this place. The poem has little to recommend it, excepting the passage, of which I am to give a translation here. It is an address to the wife of a chief, upon the departure of her husband to war. The passage which alludes to Sul-malla is this:
“Why art thou mournful on rocks; or lifting thine eyes on waves ? His ship has bounded towards battle. His joy is in the murmur of fields. Look to the beams of old, to the virgins of Ossian of harps. Sul-malla keeps not her eagle from the field of blood. She would not tear thee, O Cathmor, from the sounding course of renown.” MACPHERSON, 1st edit.
Such notes are inserted from the first edition, that not a morsel of Celtic poetry may be lost to the public.
rock. But if thou shouldst fall, I am in the land of strangers; O send thy voice, from thy cloud, to the maid of Inis-huna.”
“Young branch of green-headed Lumon, why dost thou shake in the storm? Often has Cathmor returned, from darkly-rolling wars. The darts of death are but hail to me; they have often rattled along my shield. I have risen brightened from battle, like a meteor from a stormy cloud. Return not, fair beam, from thy vale, when the roar of battle grows. Then might the foe escape, as from my fathers of old.
They told to Son-mor, of Clunar, who was slain by Cormac in fight. Three days darkened Son-mor over his brother's fall. His spouse beheld the silent king, and foresaw his steps to war. She prepared the bow, in secret, to attend her blue-shielded hero. To her dwelt darkness, at Atha, when he was not there. From their hundred streams, by night, poured down the sons of Alnecma. They had heard the shield of the king, and their rage arose. In clanging arms they moved along, towards Ullin of the
groves. Son-mor struck his shield, at times, the leader of the war.
“ Far behind followed Sul-allin, over the streamy hills. She was a light on the mountain, when they crossed the vale below. Her steps were stately on the vale, when they rose on the mossy hill. She feared to approach the king, who left her in echoing Atha. But when the roar of battle rose; when host was rolled on host; when Son-mor burnt, like the fire of heaven in clouds, with her spreading hair came Sulallin ; for she trembled for her king. He stopt the rushing strife to save the love of heroes. The foe fled by night; Clunar slept without his blood; the blood which ought to be poured upon the warrior's tomb.
“Nor rose the rage of Son-mor; but his days were silent and dark. Sul-allin wandered, by her grey streams, with her tearful eyes. Often did she look, on the hero, when he was folded in his thoughts. But she shrunk from his eyes, and turned her lone steps away. Battles rose, like a tempest, and drove the mist from his soul. He beheld, with joy, her steps in the hall, and the white rising of her hands on the harp.”
In" his arms strode the chief of Atha, to where his shield hung, high, in night: high on a mossy bough, over Lubar's streamy roar. Seven bosses rose on the shield; the seven voices of the king, which his warriors received, from the wind, and marked over all their tribes.
On each boss is placed a star of night; Canmathon with beams unshorn ; Col-derna rising from a cloud : Uloicho robed in mist; and the
11 The description of the shield of Cathmor is valuable, on account of the light it throws on the progress of arts in those early times. Those who draw their ideas of remote antiquity from their observations on the manner of modern savage nations, will have no high opinion of the workmanship of Cathmor's shield. To remove some part of their prejudice, I shall only observe, that the Belgæ of Britain, who were the ancestors of the Firbolg, were a commercial people ; and commerce, we might prove, from many shining examples of our own times, is the proper inlet of arts and sciences, and all that exalts the human mind. To avoid multiplying notes, I shall give here the signification of the names of the stars engraved on the shield, Ceanmathon, head of the bear. Col-derna, slant and sharp beam. Ul-oicho, ruler of night. Cathlin, beam of the wave. Reul-durath, star of the twilight. Berthin, fire of the hill. Tonthéna, meteor of the waves. These etymologies, excepting that of Cean-mathon, are pretty exact. Of it I am not so certain ; for it is not very probable, that the Firbolg had distinguished a constellation so very early as the days of Larthon, by the name of the bear. MACPHERSON,,1st edit.
soft beam of Cathling glittering on a rock. Smiling, on its own blue wave, Reldurath half sinks its western light. The red eye of Berthin looks, through a grove'}, on the hunter, as he returns,
13 The red eye of Berthin looks through a grove.] These scenes must have been all emblazoned, or embossed upon the shield, with the stars themselves. Dr Stukely published a print and description of the shield of Cathmor, which I have not seen; but we are told, in order to remove our prejudices, that the Belgæ were a commercial people, and that commerce is the proper inlet of arts and sciences. At that rate, as each of the seven bosses returned a separate sound when struck by Cathmor, we must regret, as one of the lost arts of antiquity, that of extracting the seven voices, or notes of music, from a single shield.
Nec non Threicius, longa cum veste sacerdos,
Jamque eadem digitis, jam pectine pulsat eburno. But the shield of Cathmor, the seven bosses of which were studded with seven stars of night, is a plain imitation of the shield of Achilles, of which the boss or centse was occupied by the sun, moon, and earth, the Pleiades, Hyades, Orion, and the Bear ; which last“ points his slant beam to Orion.” (Colderna, slant and sharp beam. Supra "2.) Macpherson's Homer, ij. 253. Iliad, xviii. 488.
“Η τ' αυτού στρέφεται, και τ' ΩΡΙΩΝΑ ΔΟΚΕΥΕΙ.
The Pleiads, Hyads, with the northern team ;
The Bear revolving, points his golden eye. Or, “ The red eye of Berthin (the Bear) looks, through a grove, on the hunter (Orion, o' SPINNA AOKETEI), as he returns, by night, with the spoils of the bounding roe;" in which there is an