صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

For past delights are all our store,

Though fostered once in regal splendor.
Rise, sister of three brethren dear,

Let custom dull the edge of anguish,
In hollow rock or cavern drear,

By doom unrighteous, bound to languish. Leaving the Rock of the Seals, they alighted again on the waters of Moyle, where the sharp brine pierced them keenly, although they strove to keep their feet under their wings as closely as they could. They continued to suffer thus, until their feathers grew, and the wounds of their feet were healed. They used frequently to go as near the shore as they could, on that part of the Irish coast which looks towards Scotland, and every night they came together to Moyle, which was their constant place of rest. One day as they drew nigh the shore of Bama, to the north, they saw a number of chariots and horsemen, splendidly arrayed, with horses richly caparisoned, approaching from the west.

“Do you observe that brilliant company, you sons of Lir?” said Fingula.

“We know not who they are,” replied her brethren, “but they seem to be Irish; whether of the Sons of Mile, or the Tuatha Danaans, it is impossible for us to conjecture.”

They drew close to the shore, in order to observe more accurately. When the horsemen saw them coming, they hastened towards them, until they came within speaking distance. The persons of note who were amongst them were Aodh Aithiosatch, or Merry Hugh, and Feargus Fithcall (of the Complete Armor), the two sons of Bogh

Dearg the Monarch, and the third part of his body. guard. The children of Lir inquired how the Tuatha Danaans were, and especially Lir and Bogh Dearg, with their friends and dependants.

“They are all well in their respective homes,” replied the horsemen. “At present, it is true, they are in your father's palace, partaking of a splendid banquet, in health and joy, knowing no other want than that of your absence, and their ignorance of your place of abode, since you left the Lake of the Speckled Oak.” .

“Evil has been our life since then,” said Fingula, “for neither we nor any other creature, that we have heard of, ever suffered so much as we have done, since we came to the waters of Moyle"; and she uttered the following words :

We four are well,
Though in keen want and sombre grief we dwell.

Happy are they
Who sit in Lir's bright ball, and share his banquet gay.

Rich food and wine
For them in sparkling gold and silver shine;

While far away
His children shiver in the hungry spray !

We, who of yore
On dainties fared, and silken garments wore,

Now all our fare,
Cold sand, and bitter brine, for wax and honey rare ;

Our softest bed,
The crag that o'er those surges lifts its head;

Oft have we laid
Our limbs on beds of tenderest down arrayed.

Now must we lie,
On Moyle's rough wave, with plumage seldom dry;

A pageant rare
Oft bore us to our grandsire's palace fair.

Ah, mournful change!
Now with faint wings these dreary shores I range.

O’er Moyle's dark tide,
Plume touching plume, we wander side by side ;

Sharing no more
The joys that cheered our happy hearts of yore;

The welcome mild,
That on our grandsire's kingly features smiled;

Lir's counsel meet,
And fond paternal kiss, that made the morning sweet.

The horsemen returned soon after to the house of Lir, and told the principal men of the Tuatha Danaans where they had seen the birds, and the dialogue they had held together.

“We cannot assist them,” they replied, “but we are well pleased to hear that they live, for they will be restored to their former shape, after a long time has elapsed.”

The children of Lir, meantime, reiurned northwards to the Sea of Moyle, where they remained until their time in that place had expired. Then Fingula spoke to her brothers, and said :

“It is time for us to depart from hence, for the period appointed for us to remain here is at an end”; and she added these verses :

At length we leave this cheerless shore,

Unblest by summer's sunshine splendid;

Its storm for us shall howl no more,

Our time on gloomy Moyle is ended.
Three hundred sunless summers past,

We leave at length this loveless billow;
Where oft we felt the icy blast,

And made the shelving crag our pillow.
Still on our lingering night of pain,

Far distant beams the dawn of gladness;
Light ease beside the western main

Awaits our long accustomed sadness.
Long must we haunt that billowy shore,

Ere breaks for us the day beam splendid,
But here our numbered years are o'er,

Our time on gloomy Moyle is ended. After that time the children of Lir left the Sea of Moyle, and flew until they came to the most westerly part of the ocean. They were there for a long time, suffering all kinds of hardship, until they happened to see a man, a tiller of the ground, who used often to watch them when they came near the shore, and took great pleasure in listening to their music. He told the people on the coast of what he had seen, and spread the tidings of the prodigy far and near. However, the same tale remains to be repeated, for the children of Lir never suffered so much before or after as they did on that very night, after the husbandman had seen them; the frost was so keen, and the snow coming so thick upon the wind. The waters all congealed into ice, so that the woods and the sea were of one color. Their feet stuck to the ground, leaving them unable to move, and they began to utter the most lamentable cries, while Fingula comforted, and strove to persuade them not to grieve, but in vain; and she repeated these lines :

Sad are my suffering brethren’s piercing cries,

This dreary night!
Sharp drives the snow shower, o'er the moonless skies,

With ceaseless flight!
Where'er they search the frost-bound ocean o'er,
On solid ice their thirsty beaks are ringing,

. Nor on the wintry shore Fresh water laves their plumes, nor bubbling fount is springing.

O thou dread Monarch, who to sea and coast

Their being gave,
And led’st, as shadowy rumor tells, a host,

Through the deep wave!
Behold these wretched birds with pitying eyes,
Their lingering years in joyless slavery spending,

In thy great might arise,
And bid our souls be free, their bonds of anguish rending.

“Brothers,” said Fingula, “confide in Him who made heaven, and the elements, the earth with all its fruit, and the sea with all its wonders, and you will find comfort and relief.

“We do confide in him,” they answered.

“And I confide with you,” said Fingula, " in the only being who is full of knowledge and of pity." They remained on the Oraas Domhnan (Deep Seas) until their time was fulfilled, when Fingula said :

“It is time for us to go to Fioncha, where Lir and his people dwell, and our people also.”

“We are well content to do so,” replied they; and

« السابقةمتابعة »