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arrived at the ninth quatrain, when Cummain began the tenth by repeating the verses taught him by the angel, which were these:

Jeibið tennéair caor n-Duig-reing The smith's-tongs grasp a black-red bar,
ima n-dregaid alla uird

Upon which falls the ponderous sledge.

Comgan immediately replied :

Sceinnið tuireann ar gać leić
ima seć seinnid na build

Sparkles fly upon all sides,
Whilst all around the bellows playu.

It was then that Cummain gave him the name of Mac da Cerda', or the youth of two arts, or professions, viz. folly and poetry.

(3.) Guaire, son of Colman, was King of Connaght, and celebrated for his liberality and hospitality. He died A.D. 662, according to the Four Masters. See his genealogy in O'Donovan's Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachrach (p. 61, and Geneal. Table). The Four Masters, at A. D. 662, quote a Poem in which it is said that the mother of Guaire was Cumman, daughter of Dalbronach, who was also the mother of St. Caimin of Inis-Cealtra. It is impossible, however, that this Cumman, who is said to have been blessed by St. Patrick', and who was the sister of St. Brigid, could have been the mother of King Guaire, who died in 662. The same Rann, however, quoted by the Four Masters, states that “seven and seventy sons were born of her,"

moirseiser ar seachtmogat, as seo ro genair uaite,

which Colgan qualifies by adding, “nempe ex ejus semine;" and we may therefore be permitted to receive with the same qualification the statement that she was the mother of Guaire. In the list of her sons given by Aengus, in his tract De Matribus Sanctorum, we find the name of Caimine of Inis-Cealtra, but not that of King Guaire; and the entire number of saints who sprang from her (in consequence of St. Patrick having blessed her womb) is said to be seven and forty, -conad ar sin po ģenedar uaići moirseses ar dib richtib do naemaib, “so that on that account (viz. St.

d Play. –The reader will perceive that the rhyme is in the vowels of the words being and leic; uird and build, according to the usage of Irish metre. His being able to improvise these rhymes proved Comgan to be the counsellor indicated by the angel of wbom Cummain was in search.

e Mac da Cerda.—The foregoing narrative is abridged from the original, and is not to be regarded as a translation : it has been thought worthy of preservation here as a specimen of the ancient Irish

historical tales or romances. Maelochtair, the father of Comgan, seems to have been a Pagan prince : but if so, he was afterwards converted to Christianity, for the author of the Irish Life of St. Mochuda tells us :-" It was this Maelochtair that afterwards gave the ground upon which the Church of Lismore was built, to Mochuda, when he was banished froin Rathan."

St. Patrick.-See Aengus, “On the diothers of the Saints," in the Book of Leacan.

Patrick's blessing) there were born of her two score and seven saints.” Assuming, then, that these forty-seven (or seventy-seven, if the other account be adopted) were not her immediate children, but only her descendants (as Colgan suggests), it is probable that a too literal adherence to the words of the ancient authorities gave rise to the opinion that Guaire and Caimin were her sons. Perhaps, also, there was some confusion between the names of Cumine and Caimine, and that the statement that Cumine the Long and Guaire had the same mother, was the origin of the mistake that Caimine of Inis-Cealtra was half-brother to Guaire. A similarity or identity of name in Irish saints has been a frequent cause of confusion and error. Colgan has enumerated more than twenty saints of the name of Cumin, Cumian, Caimin, Cumen, &c., all which are, in fact, the same name in different spellings.-Acta SS. p. 59.

(4.) Crimhthann Cael is also said to have been her son. His father was Aedh Cirr, King of Leinster, who died, according to the Four Masters, A. D. 591.

(5.) Cuana, son of Cailchine, or Ailchine, was King or Chief of Fermaighe(Fermoy), and was called Laech Liathmhuine, the hero of Liathmhuine, or Cloch Liathmhuine, in the parish of Kilgullane, barony of Fermoys. He died, according to the Four Masters, A. D. 640, and was celebrated for his hospitality and generosity, in which virtues he was the rival of Guaire, King of Connaught. He is mentioned in the Life of St. Molagga, published by Colgan, and a singular instance is there given of a contest of liberality between him and Guaire, to which they were excited by certain Pagan Druids for the hope of gain, and which ended in Cuana's being induced by the Druids to abandon to plunder and massacre, as an act of generosity 11 the town of Carn-chuilinn" and its inhabitants.

(6.) Brecan of Dairinis. No mention of this saint is made in the Martyrologies, nor in Colgan's works, nor is he noticed in the Annals. I am, therefore, unable to give any account of him, the passage before us being (so far as I know) the only ancient authority in which his name occurs. There are two islands called Dairinis, celebrated as the abode of holy men: one in Munster, near Lismore (which is probably that here mentioned as the residence of St. Brecan), the other in Leinster, in the region of Hy Cinnselagh, near Wexford.—Colgan. Acta SS. P. 397, n. 7.

The most suspicious circumstance in these parratives is the fact that Mumhain Rimh, or Flann, the mother of St. Cummain Fota, appears to have had so many hus

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8 Fermoy.-See O'Donovan's note at A. D. 640, codice Cluanensi, quem Leabhar na huidri vocant." Four Masters.

The fragment of this DIS., now preserved in the h Carn-chuilinn.–Vit. St. Molaggæ, c. 8. ap. Col Library of the Royal Irish Academy (if it be the gan. Acta SS. P. 146, who states (p. 149, D. 14), same as that referred to by Colgan), does not conthat the acts of Cuana, written by his contemporary tain this work. There is an account of the death of Fiach, were extant in the book of Clonmacnois in Cuana in the Book of Leinster (M$. in the Library his time:-“Extant hodie in celebri illo et vetusto of Trinity College, Dublin), fol. 199.

bands, and but one son by each of them. The unfortunate event which gave birth to St. Cummain occurred (as it would seem) whilst she was still in her father's house, and as yet unmarried. St. Cummain was born in 589, or 590; it follows, therefore, that Aedh Cirr (the father of Crimhthan Cael), must have been her first husband, as he is recorded to have died in 591. She was afterwards married to Colman, King of ConDaught, and to Cailchinne, the father of Cuana, chieftain of Fermoy, but in what order does not appear, as the dates of their deaths are not preserved. Her fourth, and last husband, if we can trust the romantic history of Mac da Carda, was Maelochtair, King of the Decies of Munster, from whom she was separated, as above related; after which she devoted herself to a religious life.

Her history, however, although strange and romantic, contains nothing impossible or inconsistent; and we may even go so far as to say, that the illegitimacy and irregularity attributed to St. Cummain's birth, as well as to that of many other British and Irish saints, ought to be considered as a remarkable evidence of the substantial truth of these narratives; for it is not to be supposed that writers of mere fiction would gratuitously represent those whom they wished to set forth as models of sanctity and ecclesiastical perfection, to have been born in horrible incest and fornication, if they had not been compelled to do so by the notorious facts of historyk.

And a little reflection will convince the reader that in the age to which these narratives refer, nothing is more probable than that children born under such irregular and criminal circumstances should be devoted to the religious life, and brought up in the monasteries. This, in fact, is one of the many evidences of the benign and civilizing influence exercised by the Church' over a rude and barbarous age, in which Paganism still continued to exist side by side with Christianity, and still retained no small influence over both chieftains and people. The child of crime, devoted to immediate death by its unnatural parent, was often saved by some pious hand, or by maternal yearning, and conveyed to the nearest religious house, there to be brought up in the faith. And hence many who, like St. Cummain Fota, were the offspring of fearful guilt, were led to devote themselves, perhaps for that very reason, and with

i Her fourth.—The father of St. Brecan of Dairinis is not named. If he was different from those whose names are given, then Maelochtair was her fifth husband

* Facts of history.Many similar instances are to be found in the lives of the Irish saints. St. Brigid herself was born of a concubine out of wedlock. St. Cuthbert was the offspring of fornication, as was also St. Ailbe (Ussher's Works, vol. vi. p. 333): and we shall have occasion to mention others in the course of this work. The same was also the case

with the British and Scottish saints. For example, St. Kentigern (Ussher. ib. p. 222), St. Kynedus, whose birth was exactly similar to that of St. Cummain (ib. p. 45), St. Faustus, "ex horrendo incestu natus” (ib. vol. v. p. 440), and St. David (Colgan. Acta SS. p. 425), may be mentioned to show that the fact here noticed was not peculiar to the saints of Ireland..

1 The Church.-See the case of St. German adopting the son of Gortigern, the offspring of incest. Irish Nennius, p. 91.

a view to expiate the stain of their birth, to the most rigid practices of penitence and devotion.

Of the history of St. Cummain Fota but few facts are preserved. He appears to have been celebrated for learning, for he is represented to have been named by St. Columba, or rather, perhaps, the successor of St. Columba in the Abbey of Hy, as the director and spiritual adviser of King Domhnall. The legend of Guaire Aidhne and St. Camine of Inis-cealtra, above given at length, represents him as wishing to have the church filled with books of learning, for the propagation of the Gospel and of the Word of God; and in the parallel between the Irish and European saints (see p. 69, supra), he is said to have been similar in life and habits, “unius vitæ et moris,” with St. Gregory the Great, the author of the Liber Doralium.

He is recorded by the Four Masters to have been Bishop of Clonfert, and from the short poem on his death, which they have preserved (see p. 86, supra), it appears that he died in the southern half of Ireland, probably in his native country, and with his own tribe; and that his body was carried to Leth Chuinn, the northern half of Ireland, along the Shannon, to be buried, most probably, at his Cathedral Church at Clonfert; for they afterwards tell us, that in 1162 bis relics were taken from the earth, and placed in a shrine by the clergy of that Cathedral.

The same authority has also informed us (see p. 86) that the tutor of St. Cummain was Colman Ua Cluasaigh, who died shortly after his pupil, in the same year, A. D. 661.

The festival day of St. Cummain Fota in the Calendar of the ancient Irish Church was the 12th of November.

94

IV. THE HYMN OR PRAYER OF ST. MUGINT,

THIS Hymn is in prose, and is composed in imitation of one of the Peni

. translation of the Preface will be given in the Additional Notes, where the occasion on which the Hymn was composed, and the history and date of its author, will be discussed. The text in the MS. is not accompanied by any interlineary gloss.

The verses are numbered in the margin for the convenience of reference, although no such numbers occur in the original MS.

The first verse, Parce Domine, is evidently founded upon Joel, ii. 17. It occurs (preceded by the Antiphon Ne reminiscaris) in the Breviary of Sarum, and also in the Breviary of Aberdeen, after the seven Penitential Psalms ; thus :-"Ne reminiscaris Domine delicta nostra, vel parentum nostrorum, neque vindictam sumas de peccatis nostris.” The rubric adds, “ Non dicitur ulterius quando dicitur in choro, Parce Domine, parce populo tuo quem redemisti precioso sanguine tuo, ne in eternum irascaris nobis ; et ne des hæreditatem tuam in perditionem, ne in æternum obliviscaris nobis [sic].”Brev. Sar. (De Sanctis, fol. li.) Paris. (F. Byrckman) 1516, fol. Brev. Aberdon. [reprint by Tovey] (Psalter. fol. lxxviii.). Both verses are still retained in the Litany of the Anglican Church, but without the clause et ne des hæreditatem, &c. In the modern Roman Breviary the verse Ne reminiscaris only (which seems to have been founded on Tobit, iii. 3) occurs as an Antiph. before the Penitential Psalms, the verse Parce Domine being omitted.

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