James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


Fragments of Ancient Poetry

Collected in the Highlands of Scotland










WHERE *) is Gealchoſſa my love, the daughter of Tuathal-Teachvar? I left her in the hall of the plain, when I fought with the hairy Ulfadha. Return ſoon, ſhe ſaid, O Lamderg! for here I wait in ſorrow. Her white breaft roſe with ſighs; her cheek was wet with tears. But ſhe cometh not to meet Lamderg; or ſooth his ſoul after battle. Silent is the hall of joy; I hear not the voice of the ſinger. Brann does not ſhake his chains at the gate, glad at the coming of his maſter. Where is Gealchoſſa my love, the daughter of Tuathal-Teachvar? [p.68]

LAMDERG! ſays Firchios ſon of Aydon, Gealchoſſa may be on the hill; ſhe and her choſen maids purſuing the flying deer.

FIRCHIOS! no noiſe I hear. No ſound in the wood of the hill. No deer fly in my ſight; no panting dog purſueth. I ſee not Gealchoſſa my love; fair as the full moon ſetting on the hills of Cromleach. Go, Firchios! go to Allad **), the grey-haired ſon of the rock. He liveth in the circle of ſtones; he may tell of Gealchoſſa.

ALLAD! ſaith Firchios, thou who dwelleſt in the rock; thou who trembleſt alone; what ſaw thine eyes of age?

I ſaw, anſwered Allad the old, Ul[p.69]lin the ſon of Carbre: He came like a cloud from the hill; he hummed a ſurly ſong as he came, like a ſtorm in leafleſs wood. He entered the hall of the plain. Lamderg, he cried, moſt dreadful of men! fight, or yield to Ullin. Lamderg, replied Gealchoffa, Lamderg is not here: he fights the hairy Ulfadha; mighty man, he is not here. But Lamderg never yields; he will fight the ſon of Carbre. Lovely art thou, O daughter of Tuathal-Teachvar! ſaid Ullin. I carry thee to the houſe of Carbre; the valiant ſhall have Gealchoſſa. Three days from the top of Cromleach will I call Lamderg to fight. The fourth, you belong to Ullin, if Lamderg die, or fly my ſword.

ALLAD! peace to thy dreams!—found the horn, Firchios!—Ullin may hear, and meet me on the top of Cromleach. [p.70]

LAMDERG ruſhed on like a ſtorm. On his ſpear he leaped over rivers. Few were his ſtrides up the hill. The rocks fly back from his heels; loud craſhing they bound to the plain. His armour, his buckler rung. He hummed a ſurly ſong, like the noiſe of the falling ſtream. Dark as a cloud he ſtood above; his arms, like meteors, ſhone. From the ſummit of the hill, he rolled a rock. Ullin heard in the hall of Carbre.—






The ſignification of the names in this fragment are; Gealchoſſack, white-legged. Tuathal-Teachtmhar, the ſurly, but fortunate man. Lambhdearg, bloodyhand. Ulfadba, long beard. Fichios, the conqueror of men. 


Allad is plainly a Druid conſulted on this occaſion.