the warrior's face. But he passed away in his blast; and all was dark around! My soul was sad. I went to the hall of shells. A thousand lights arose. The hundred bards had strung

the harp. Cormac stood in the midst, like the morning star, when it rejoices on the eastern hill, and its young beams are bathed in showers *8. Bright and silent is its progress aloft, but the cloud, that shall hide it, is near ! The sword of Artho*9 was in the hand of the king. He looked with joy on its polished studs: thrice he attempted to draw it, and thrice he failed; his yellow locks are spread on his shoulders : his cheeks

28 Cormac stood in the midst, like the morning star, when it rejoices on the eastern hill, and its young beams are bathed in showers.) Eneid, viii. 586. Quoted by Macpherson.

Ipse agmine Pallas
In medio, chlamyde, et pictis conspectus in armis.
Qualis, ubi oceani perfusus Lucifer unda,
Quem Venus ante alios astrorum diligit ignes,

Extulit os sacrum cælo, tenebrasque resolvit. “When it rejoices on the eastern hills," is from Cowley, as quoted by Gray.

Or seen the morning's well appointed star,

Come marching up the eastern hills afar. Bright and silent is its progress alost,” is a beautiful addition ; " but the cloud that shall hide it is near," is perhaps a conceit,

29 Arth, or Artho, the father of Cormac, king of Ireland. MACPHERSON.

of youth are red 30. I mourned over the beam of youth, for he was soon to set !”

Althan !” he said, with a smile, "didst thou behold

my father ? Heavy is the sword of the king ; surely his arm was strong. O that I were like him in battle, when the rage of his wrath arose ! then would I have met, with Cuthullin, the car-borne son of Cantéla! But years may come on, 0 Althan ! and my arm be strong. Hast thou heard of Semo's son, the ruler of high Temora? He might have returned with his fame. He promised to return to-night. My bards wait him with


My feast is spread in the hall of kings."

30 The sword of Artho was in the hand of the king---thrice he atternpted to draw it, and thrice he failed--his cheeks of youth are red.] An imitation of the three attempts made by Telemachus to draw his father's bow. Pope's Odyssey, xxi. 129.

Then, with a manly pace, he took his stand,
And grasped the bow, and twanged it in his hand ;
Three times, with bated heat, he made essay,
Three times, unequal to the task, gave way;
A modest boldness on his cheek appeared,
And thrice he hoped, and thrice again he feared,

The fourth had drawn it.
But the bow is preposterously converted into a sword, which
young Cormac is unable to draw, not because it was rusty,
but because it was heavy; as if the sword, which he could lift
and wield, were too heavy to be drawn.

[ocr errors]

I heard Cormac in silence. My tears began to flow. I hid them with my aged locks. The king perceived my grief. “Son of Conachar!" he said, “is the son of Semo low 31 ?

" 3Why bursts the sigh in secret! Why descends the tear? Comes the car-borne Torlath? Comes the sound of red-haired Cairbar? They come ! for I behold thy grief. Mossy Tura's chief is low ! Shall I not rush to battle? But I cannot lift the spear ! O had mine arm the strength of Cuthullin, soon would Cairbar fly; the fame of my fathers would be renewed; and the deeds of other times !”

He took his bow. The tears flow down from both his sparkling eyes. Grief saddens round. The bards bend forward from their hundred harps. The lone blast touched their trembling strings. The sound is sad and low! A voice is heard at a distance, as of one in grief. It was Carril, of other times, who came from dark Sli

31 Is the son of Semo low ?] Cuthullin is called the king of Tura, from a castle of that name on the coast of Ulster, where he dwelt, before he undertook the management of the affairs of Ireland, in the minority of Cormac. MACPHERSON.

In the first edition, “ Is the king of Tura low?” But the alteration of phraseology, in the improved edition, has introdu-ced perpetual contradiction between the text and the notes.

[ocr errors]

mora. He told of the fall of Cuthullin. He told of his mighty deeds. The people were scattered round his tomb. Their arms lay on the ground. They had forgot the war; for he, their sire, was seen no more !

“But who,” said the soft-voiced Carril, “who come like bounding roes? Their stature is like young trees in the valley, growing in a shower ! Soft and ruddy are their cheeks! Fearless souls look forth from their eyes 3*! Who but the sons of Usnoth, chief of streamy Etha ? The people rise on every side, like the strength of an halfextinguished fire, when the winds come sudden from the desert, on their rustling wings 33. Sud

ja Fearless souls look forth from their eyes.] This, and the former description of Mor-annel, the scout, “his eyes hang forward from his face,” are unfortunate specimens of what Blair terms, an unaffected simplicity of thought and style. The introduction of the sons of Usnoth into the episode, was a branch of the original plan, of representing old Usaoth as an actor in the poem, listening to the episode, and ready to revenge the death of his son.

33 Like the strength of an half-extinguished Alame, when the winds come, sudden, from the desert on their rustling wings.] Eneid, x. 405.

Ac velut optato, ventis æstate coortis,
Dispersa inmittit silvis incendia pastor :
Conreptis subito mediis, extenditur una

den glows the dark brow of the hill; the passing mariner lags, on his winds. The sound of Caithbat's shield was heard. The warriors saw Cuthullin in Nathos. So rolled his sparkling eyes ! his steps were such on heath! Battles are fought at Lego. The sword of Nathos prevails. Soon shalt thou behold him in thy halls, king of Temora of groves !”

“Soon may I behold the chief !” replied the blue-eyed king. “But my soul is sad for Cuthullin. His voice was pleasant in mine ear. Often have we moved, on Dora, to the chace of the dark-brown hinds. His bow was unerring on


latos acies Volcania

cam pos : Non aliter socium virtus coit omnis in unum: Or, “The people rise on every side," &c. But the addition in Italics, is from another well known simile in the Iliad, xix. 375.

Ως δ' όταν εκ πόντοιο σέλας ΝΑΥΤHΣΙ φανείη
Καιoμένοιο πυρός, το δε ΚΑΙΕΤΑΙ ΥΨΟΘ' ΟΡΕΣΦΙ,
Σταθμω εν οίοπόλω" τους δ' ΟΥΚ ΕΘΕΛΟΝΤΑΣ άελλαι

Πόντον επ' ιχθυόεντα φίλων απάνευθε φέρουσιν. “ Sudden glows the dark brow of the hill; the passing mariner lags on his winds ;To dE KAIETAI etoB' OPEE01---785 do ΟΥΚ ΕΘΕΛΟΝΤΑΣ AEΛΛAI---Φερεσιν. Or, according to Macpherson’s Homer, ii. 260. “ To mariners by night appears the awful flame of a distant fire. Wide rising in a lonely place, it wraps aloft the mountain brow. But them, unwilling, the dusky blast bears o'er the broad back of the main."

« 前へ次へ »