James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


Fragments of Ancient Poetry

Collected in the Highlands of Scotland








XIII. 1)


CUCHLAID ſat by the wall; by the tree of the ruſtling leaf 2). His ſpear leaned againſt the moſſy rock. His ſhield lay by him on the graſs. Whilſt he thought on the mighty Carbre whom he ſlew in battle, the ſcout of the ocean came, Moran the ſon of Fithil.

RISE, Cuchulaid, riſe! I ſee the ſhips of Garve. Many are the foe, Cuchulaid; many the ſons of Lochlyn.

MORAN! thou ever trembleſt; thy fears increaſe the foe. They are the ſhips of the Deſert of hills arrived to aſſiſt Cuchulaid. [p.60]

I ſaw their chief, ſays Moran, tall as a rock of ice. His ſpear is like that fir; his ſhield like the riſing moon. He ſat upon a rock on the ſhore, as a grey cloud upon the hill. Many, mighty man! I ſaid, many are our heroes; Garve, well art thou named 3), many are the ſons of our king.

HE anſwered like a wave on the rock; who is like me here? The valiant live not with me; they go to the earth from my hand. The king of the Deſert of hills alone can fight with Garve. Once we wreſtled on the hill. Our heels overturned the wood. Rocks fell from their place, and rivulets changed their courſe. Three days we ſtrove together; heroes ſtood at a diſtance, and feared. On the fourth, the King ſaith that I fell; but Garve ſaith, he [p.61] ſtood. Let Cuchulaid yield to him that is ſtrong as a ſtorm.

NO. I will never yield to man. Cuchulaid will conquer or die. Go, Moran, take my ſpear; ſtrike the ſhield of Caithbait which hangs before the gate. It never rings in peace. My heroes ſhall hear on the hill.—





This is the opening of the epic poem mentioned in the preface. The two following fragments are parts of ſome epiſodes of the ſame work. 


The aſpen or poplar tree. 


Garve ſigifies a man of great ſize.