« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
vaders to land without opposition, visited her, extracted her heart's seand then a parley ensued. They de- cret, and tendered his advice. Rising manded of the new comers their ob- from her bed, she arrayed herself in jects and conditions, and received an her best, and taking the children with answer similar to that given by them- her, got up into her chariot, and set selves to the poor Firbolgs some gene- out for her father's court, near Loch rations back. They rejoined that it Derg, on the Shannon. On the route was a most unhandsome thing to take she urged her charioteer to destroy people by surprise in that fashion ; the children; but he was deaf'to herenbut if they only re-embarked, and treaties, and she was obliged to enact withdrew nine waves from the land, the part of executioner herself. Fiothey would then receive them in a nula, with a girl's acuteness, sorely manner meet for warlike visitors, and distrusted her stepmother; and when their own relations in the twentieth they arrived at the edge of a lake, and degree. The simple Milesians con- she and her brothers were commanded sented ; and by the time that the nine to get down and bathe, she refused in waves were passed, a druidic fog had the most decided manner for them and fallen between them and the shore. herself. However, Aoife, with assistOccasionally a luminous rift was made ance from her retinue, forced them in this dark curtain, and the island into the water, and then and there, was seen in the guise of the back of by a stroke on the head of each with a black swine, weltering on the waters, a wand, the wicked Druid's gift, she and shooting up huge spear-like bris- changed them into four beautiful tles. A mighty storm next swept the vessels round the rocky shores. Some On arriving at her father's palace, effected a landing in Kerry, others in he made inquiry about his grandLouth, and the rest on the bleak children, and suspecting that her rewestern coast. The wise and valiant presentation of their being in health Danaans at last found their spells and at home, was not true, he cast her their arms too weak before the resist- into a druidic sleep, and made her reless might of the Milesians, and a new veal her wickedness. Restoring her dynasty began.
to her ordinary state, be bitterly reproached her in the presence of the Court, changed her into a grey vul
ture by a stroke of his wand of power, LIR, though the father of a demi-god, and doomed her to live in the cold, was not able to secure domestic com- and windy, and sleety air, while time fort. Having lost his beloved wife, was to endure. he sought relief in travel ; and being All repaired to the lake where the on a visit with Bogha Derg, King of enchantment was effected, and were Conacht, he was induced to enter on kept in a state of delight listening to the married state again, taking the the magic songs of the birds. The beauteous and virtuous Princess Aebh chariots stood by the shore, and the (Eve) as his new partner. She bore steeds consumed their provender, and him twins, Fionula (Fair-shoulder), the knights and ladies still listened and Aodh (Hugh), and at a second entranced, night and day, until by the birth, Fiachra and Conn. This was power of Aoifé's words, they were followed by her death ; and after obliged to rise in the air, and direct some time the bereaved widower again their flight to Loch Derg. There sought the Court of his father-in-law. through the mildness of summer, and He was there tempted to commit ma- the harsh winds and ice of winter, they trimony again, hoping that the sister of abode three hundred years. Fionula his lamented wife, the Princess Aoifé, pressing her dejected and shivering would do the duty of an aunt, at least, brothers to her side, covering them to his orphans. For a year there was with her wings, and cheering them nothing to be complained of, but then with her grandfather's prophecyshe began to be jealous of the tender- that when men with shaved heads ness and attention ever exhibited by came over the sea, set up their tables Lir to the Princess Fionula, and her in the east ends of their houses, and brothers. From mere despite she took rung their bells, the first sound would to her bed, and there remained a year. again restore their human form. At last a skilful but wicked Druid Three hundred years being gone,
THE CHILDREN OF LIR.
they once more were obliged to take The Druids of Conaght at the intheir flight to the sea of Moyle, be- stigation of their dark master, would tween Erinn and Alba, and there for occasionally bring the curse of drunkthree hundred years more, endured enness on all the fighting men of unspeakable sufferings. In their Ulster ; and adding insult to injury, flight they passed over the pleasant send the pangs of women on them rath where their childhood had been when particularly enraged. Indeed, spent, and now it was but a grass- as Gaul looked across to Britain for covered mound, with a slimy ditch at the perverse knowledge of occult its base. The last three hundred mysteries, and as on the continent of years of their sad pilgrimage were Britain they, too, kept an eye on the passed on the wild waves of the great little islet of Anglesea, perhaps these western sea near Irrus Domnann islanders paid reverence to their next (Erris). The bell that rung in the neighbours in Erin, among whom the first Mass celebrated on Inis na deepest dyed in the black art were Gluaire (Isle of Glory), restored them the
sages west of the Sionan. to their human shapes; but they were The claidhim (glaive) of the Celtic now emaciated and decrepit, and only curaidh was held by its master in as waited for baptism, to flee away to much esteem as the enchanted wearest eternal.*
pons of the Scandinavian warriors by Before we lose sight of the Danaans them. When exhibiting his trophies we must notice the Glas Gaibhne, the on occasions of trinmph, he sat with grey cow of the smith, Lon Mac his naked blade laid across his thighs ; Liomtha, the Danaan, the first who and if any spurious specimen was proforged iron swords in Ireland.+ She duced, the sword was expected to supplied him and his family and ser- make a motion as if it designed to cut vants with abundance of milk and him across. butter, and was well guarded during the day. At night she retired to the neighbouring rocks ; and as her hoofs were set on her feet with the hollow This guardian hound of Ulster was in front, the stupid cow-stealers who once bewitched by a pair of women of wished to make a prize of her, never the Sidhe. They had appeared on a could find out her byre. However, lake adjoining his palace in the plain the Fomorian chief of Torry Island, of Louth, as two beautiful swans Balor Balc, got possession of her at yoked to each other by a golden chain; last. She lived for centuries, for we and he was so-ill advised as to direct find her affording nourishment to Fion his charioteer, Lae, to assail them with Mac Cumhail and his warriors in the sling and spear. They could not be latter part of the third century. struck, and the disappointed cham
Fogs and magic wands were the pion went away sadly, set his back favourite instruments used by the against a rock, and a magnetic or Druids. Frequently, when a Christian druidic sleep fell on him. While unand pagan army were on the point of der its influence, two women-one meeting in “ battle and conflict,” the with a green, and the other with a Druid enveloped his party in mist, red cloak-approached, treacherously and they would have their own way smiled on him, and then chastised with their foes, only that the other him with horse-switches till he was side were equally provident, and the nearly dead. chaunt of hymns and the ringing of So the warrior lay on his bed in a bells converted the thick fog into the state of lethargy for a long year; and thinnest possible air.
at its close, as Fergus was sitting be
THE ENCHANTMENT OF CUCHULLAIN.
* The " children of Tuirrean," the children of Lir," and the “children of Uisneach," form the “Three Sorrows of Story” so lovingly quoted by admirers of Celtic literature. It is a grief to us to have spoiled two of them by inevitable contraction. There being nothing of a magical character about the last-named one, it has no place in this article ; but a charming version furnished by Samuel Ferguson may be found in the Hibernian Nights' Entertainments in an early volume of the UNIVERSITY.
† As a good blade of modern times would be called an Andrew Ferrara or a Toledo, so the trenchant weapon of an early Irish knight was appropriately named Mac an Loin, Lon's son.
tween him and the wall, Conal Kear- her lips, and all memory of Cuchulnach between him and the door, lain's falsehood disappeared from her Luacha holding him up (in the original mind.
between him and the pillow”), a From the above story, translated person appeared before the company and edited by the late Eugene Curry, and ordered the sick man to go to the we extract the magic process of divisame rock where he had been en- nation used in the choice of a king chanted, and it would be all well with when ordinary means were found inhim. On arriving there he was ac- sufficient:costed by one of his fair executioners, who explained that all had been done
"Thus was that bull-feast prepared, in love and kindness; that the beau- namely, a white bull was killed, and one tisui princess Fand, who had been de- broth, and he slept under that meal; and
man ate enough of his flesh and of his serted by Mananan Mac Lir, had con
a charm of truth was pronounced on him ceived a violent affection for him, and by four Druids; and he saw in a dream would have him come to her in the the shape of the man who should be made beautiful island of the Sidhé.
king there; and his form, and his descripSo to this fairy island, Inis La- tion, and the sort of work that he was enbraidh, Cuchullain was borne, and gaged in. The man screamed out of his there he lived forgetful of his chaste sleep, and described what he saw to the and loyal wife, the fair Eimer. How- kings, namely, a young, noble, strong man, ever, this last-named lady was not with two red streaks round him, and he sitresigned to her bereavement.
ting over the pillow of a sick man in Emania She
(royal fortress near Armagh).” heard that the Fairy princess and her infatuated mortal lover were enter- The terrible superstition of the taining themselves over their wine- Lianan Shia (Sidhe or Sighe) dates, cups and chess-board at Ibar Kian as we here find, from an early period. Trachta (Newry), and thither she King Connor and his noble "Dog* of came with fifty of her ladies, each Ulster,” lived in the very commenceprovided with a deadly skean, to slay ment of the Christian era.
It was Fand, or send her back alone to Inis the fate of those mortals who loved, Labraidh (pr. Lavray). Before using and were beloved by women of the the weapons, however, she appealed to Sidhe, or hill-people--fairies, that they the good feelings of the woman in could not be freed from the connexion power; and, strange to tell, so wrought unless with the entire consent of their on her that she renounced the faith- wayward mistresses. In further illusless husband, and was in some degree tration of the system, we subjoin the recompensed by the sight of her very old legend of deathless lover, Mananan coming invisible to the mortal eyes present, to IOLLANN EACHTACH AND THE LIANAN. bear her away in his resplendent chariot.
IOLLANN was a friend of Fion, and Cuchullain was as furious at his was willing to become more intiloss as ever Achilles when he lay in mately connected with him by marhis galley and bewailed Briseis. The rying his aunt Tuirreann. It had poets and Druids of Connor's Court, come to Fion's ears that Iollann was surrounded him, and after some at- already provided with a sighe-love, tempts on his part to kill a few of so he secured the fate of his aunt in them, they strengthened their spells this wise. He put her hand into and laid hold on his arms and legs. that of Oisin, who intrusted her to This appeared to be the essential por- Caoilte, who intrusted her to Mac tion of the charm: he became power- Luacha, &c.; and thus she passed less and asked for a drink. They under the guardianship of Diarmaid reached him the goblet of oblivion, the Brown, Goll Mac Morna, another aud when he took it from his mouth, Luacha, and so into the arms of Iolhe had no more recollection of Fand lann. Her married life was happy for than if he had never seen or heard of a while, but it did not please the her. Eimer then put the chalice to Sighe, Uchtdealbh (Fair Bosom), that
* Mac Pherson with his usual recklessness or ignorance, makes Cuchullain a faithful ally of Fingal (Fion Mac Cumhail) who flourished in the end of the third century. VOL. LXIII.NO. CCCLXXIV,
her mortal lover should be happy in hill, river, and wood spirits, of course, any society but her own. So she helped their worshippers to a forepaid her a visit in the absence of her knowledge of future events, and anihusband, and invited her out as she mals reverenced in particular localiwished to give her an important mes- ties gave oracular answers; the cat sage from Fion, relative to a feast he of Cruachan is an instance. Mananan wanted to have prepared. Being Mac Lir, so often mentioned, delighted safe from the eyes of the household, in mystifying his mortal adorers, subshe muttered some words, and draw- jecting them to trials, and then reing a druidic wand from under her warding their virtuous acts. One mantle, she struck her with it, and legend connected with his beneficent changed her into the most beautiful character strikingly resembles the stag-hound that eyes ever beheld. story in “ Zadig,” and the subject of She then took her to the house of Parnell's “Hermit.” Feargus Fionnliath, on the shore of The ancient, as well as the modern the bay of Galway. Iollann, hearing Irish were very disagreeably affected on his return that his wife had gone by severe weather. They disliked the out with a strange woman, and had east wind so much as to call it the not since been seen, guessed that Druidic Red Wind, and gave it fetich Fair-Bosom had disposed of her in worship. Here is a quatrain on the some way, and began to tremble for subject from an old poem : the result. It was not long arriving. Fion missing his aunt, demanded her
“ The murmuring of the Red Wind from
the East, safe in life and limb at the hands of
Is heard in its course by the strong as Oisin, who demanded her from Caoilté,
well as the weak. who demanded her from Mac Lua
A wind that blasts the bottom of the cha, &c., till Luacha the second de
trees, manded from Iollann, the person of And withers man, is that Red Wind.” his wife in good health, or his own head. Iollann acknowledged the jus- But we hear much less of the baneful tice of the request, and merely de- than the benign influences among our manded a few days' grace.
Pagan forefathers. The beneficent He at once set forward to the Danaan sage, Dagdae, had for son palace-cavern of his sighe, and ob- Aongus, who, long after his mortal tained his wish, but on the pure condi- career, dwelt in the mound by tlie tion of being faithful to her till his Boyne, and showered his benefits on death, and never more seeking mor- good, kind people. It was in this tal mistress or wife. She then sought subterraneous fort that the father of out Tuirrean, and bringing her to Diarmaid, having accidentally killed some distance from Fergus's rath, the son of a Druid, the enraged and restored her to her pristine shape, sorrowful father struck the body of and then delivered her over to her his child just as life was departing, nephew. Luacha the second, the and changed him into the fatal“green last of the sureties, represented to cropped boar,
bar," which afterwards the great chief, that the least recom- caused the death of the peerless hero pense he could make him for the --the paragon of all the warriors of terror he had experienced, was the Fionn's Court. hand of the restored beauty, and Fion Mananan was so reverenced in gave his gracious consent to this Man, to which island he gave his second espousals of his aunt.
name, that the extinction of the worSome circumstances of a strange ship paid to him there was the greatcharacter, which want of room and est difficulty experienced by St. Paother considerations prevent us quot- trick and his successors. ing from the original, mark this tale, In a parting glance at ancient diin its plot and circumstances, as the vination, we cannot pass over the pework of a genuine Pagan inventor. culiar privilege enjoyed by Fionn.
In a late paper we quoted at full Finn Eges, the Druid, remained length a receipt for obtaining a spirit seven years at a ford on the Boyne, of poetic prophecy, The clairvoyance, watching for the Salmon of Knowif it can be so called, obtained by a ledge, which whoever ate would be heavy meal of bull's flesh and broth, gifted with the most ample prescience. will be found a few pages back. Thé Among his many pupils was Fion,
then a young man, and their chief tion to make our readers acquainted business was to watch for this salmon. with such other particulars of the At last it was taken, fried by Fion, magic rites of the Irish Druids as and carried to his master. “Hast have been preserved by our old thou tasted of this fish ?” “No, but writers. a blister having arisen on its side, I It would be interesting to trace the pressed my thumb on it, and feel- resemblances between the superstiing a burning smart, I clapped it tions and legends of the Celts of Irein my mouth."
“ You may take all land and the West Highlands, with away, and feed on it. You have got those of the old Bretons, and Gerthe gift which I have watched for mans, and Scandinavians. As all are these seven years past. When you offshoots of the great Aryan family, wish to know what is passing in any they must possess modifications of part of Erinn, or to be acquainted the same primitive beliefs and usages, with any future event, apply your varied by the influence of climate and thumb to your tongue.
the natural features of the land occuIn the Northern Volsung tale, the pied by each people, and the remarkgreat original of the “Nibelungen able circumstances in their separate Lied,” Regin employs Sigurd to roast histories. In time, novelties to some the dragon's heart, and bring it to extent would be introduced; but still him. During the operation he ap- many of the long-cherished myths, plies his finger to the article to try and superstitions, and practices would if it be done. The same thing takes be found to claim a common origin. place as in the Irish tale, and Sigurd We intend to devote a future paper gets all knowledge, and understands to the elucidation of this subject. the language of birds. It is our inten
THEIR MAJESTY'S SERVANTS.
Few persons who have not essayed acter of patrons, with men of public in their day to collect the lives of celebrity, of a different kind, and, actors, and of those whose career has above all, their unconsciously minute been essentially connected with the and spirited painting of contemporary stage, have any adequate notion of manners, give to these generally carethe
vastness of the contribution which less and often brilliant records, a English literature owes to this depart- very special and permanent value. ment of biography and narrative. Nothing can be more capricious than Unequal, desultory, and often not the selection of the subjects of this altogether reliable, as such memoirs kind of biography: while such men as are, they are yet, on the whole, the Betterton and Sheridan are undismost fascinating, and by no means the tinguished by a memoir, we have an least instructive reading in which an almost illimitable harvest of minor idle man can engage. The Gipsy biographies. To these we are far from life, the wandering habits, the gaiety objecting-quite the reverse ; but the and privations, the deeply tragic and omissions cause bleak and awful sometimes splendid vicissitudes of the chasms in the series, such as no after actor's life, give to the story some- industry and enthusiasm can supply. thing of the interest of the desultory But when this immense collection and satiric old Spanish romance; and of biographical lore has been scanned its connexion with literature and men and sifted, the labour of a writer in of letters, and sometimes, in the char- Doctor Doran's track is but begun;
" Their Majesty's Servants: Annals of the English Stage, from Thomas Betterton to Edmund Kean.” By Dr. Doran, F.S.A. In two volumes. London: Wm. H. Allen and Co.