Celtic Heathendom/Lecture V
THE SUN HERO.
Lleu and Lug.
Frequent allusions have already been made to Llew Llawgyffes, and, in fact, most of his story has been reproduced: it has also been hinted that in him we have a nature myth about light. It is, however, of capital importance in dealing with the solar mythology of the Celts, and especially of the Welsh, to bear in mind that the nature myth did not prevent the Solar Hero from being regarded as partly of human descent; a different account is sometimes implied in Welsh stories, but this is far the most fertile, and it takes us back to a pre-Celtic and Aryan stage of culture, when it was possible for the magician and medicine-man of the tribe to claim the sun as his offspring. So we might here call him the Sun-man, were it not more in harmony with custom to speak of the Sun-god or Solar Hero. In order to establish these views, we have now to examine more closely the literature relating to Llew, and we may begin with the strange story of his birth (p. 306), which need not be repeated. One of the first things in it to strike one is young Llew's rapid growth; and the vigour with which he scattered the sheet in which he had been wrapped, invites comparison with the description of the infant Apollo, whom the goddesses present bathed in a crystal stream of water as soon as he leaped to life. They next proceeded to wrap him in a white robe, fine and newly wrought, and to place a golden band round his body, while one of their number touched his lips with nectar and ambrosia. No sooner had he tasted of the food of the immortals, than he burst the bonds of his swaddling clothes and walked forth in the fulness of his divinity, while Delos rejoiced and bloomed at his birth. The same sort of precocious growth as in the case of Llew is ascribed to other Celtic personifications of the Sun-god, but no less, be it noticed, to personifications of darkness.One might probably regard the account (p. 240) of Llew's death on the side of his bath as referring originally to the sun setting in the sea; but there is no occasion to lay great stress on that, as we have what seems to be better evidence of the nature myth in the marriage of Blodeueᵭ: to Llew. She was not of the race of men, but created from flowers by Gwydion, with the aid of the master magician Mâth: she was as distinguished for her beauty as her classical counterpart, rosy-fingered Eos. The dawn represents the transition from the darkness of night to the light of day, so that, pictured by the primitive mind as a lovely damsel, she would be regarded as dividing her love between the Sun-god and the princes of darkness in the mythological sense of the term. This is what we find in the story of Blodeueᵭ: Llew goes forth on a journey; whether walking or riding we are not told, but probably the latter, for he had been taught to ride, as we read of him and his father once proceeding on horseback towards Arianrhod's castle (p. 238). Besides, he is known to have had a famous horse called Melyngan Gamre, or the Steed of Yellow-white Footsteps—a most appropriate name for the horse of a Sun Hero. But to proceed with the story: during his absence from home, his wife is visited by another lover, who rests not till he has slain Llew and conquered his dominions. Gwydion brings Llew back to this life, that is, he fetches the sun back to illumine the world once more; and he chases the faithless wife across the heavens, and, according to one version, he overtakes her in the lengthening shades which the cliffs were spreading over a dark lake; that is, the Dawn has become the Dusk or the Gloaming, and he transforms her into an owl, accursed of all the birds that love the light of the sun. Here we have a pretty parallel to Indra's daily struggle to recover the sun from the powers of darkness, and to his remarkable chase of the Dawn when he smashed the wicked woman's chariot and routed her in the sky (p. 299). On the other hand, Llew, brought back, is enabled to vanquish and kill his rival with a cast of his spear, the only one which the story lets him make with his own hand, his father being in the habit of doing most things for him. If it should here be objected, that while Indra brings the sun back everyday, Gwydion is only made to bring Llew back once, our answer would be, that this has already been met, at least in part, and that now its force may be still further broken. For, to begin on Irish ground, we there find stories which mention several births of the Sun-god, that is to say, the Sun-god's father and the Sun-god's son may both be termed Sun-gods as well as he. This agrees well enough with an idea which seems to have once been prevalent in Ireland, that an ancestor might return in the person of one of his descendants. So far as I know, the ancient Brythons were less familiar with the idea of a series of Sun-gods than that of a group of them; not to mention that they are found to have less dwelt on the antagonism between day and night than that between the summer and the winter; but Welsh mythology is nevertheless not wholly without a sort of analogue to Indra's daily exploit in bringing back the sun; for Llew had a twin-brother who reached sudden maturity and rushed off into the sea. The nature of that element became his; he swam about in it like a fish, and never did a wave break beneath him, whence his name Dylan son of the Billow. He fell by the spear of the Culture Hero Govannon, Gwydion's brother the smith; and his deed came to be recorded in a triad as one of the Three nefarious Blows of the Isle of Britain. A pathetic touch, associated with the muse of Taliessin, introduces an Æschylean chorus of outraged spectators, consisting
'Of the Wave of Erinn, of Man, and of the North,
And of Britain, of comely hosts, as the fourth.'
Nay, according to another utterance of the same poet, the wild waves when they dash against the shore are chafing to avenge the death of Dylan. Another view no less romantic is the one still known in the Vale of the Conwy, that the noise of the waves crowding into that river is nought but the dying groans of Dylan. Strange as it may seem, and in spite of the Mabinogi describing Dylan as a big yellow-haired boy, the study of Irish parallels leaves one in no doubt that Dylan represents darkness, the darkness that hies away to lurk in the sea. so that his name of Dylan has become a synonym for that of the Ocean. But how, it may be asked, came the sympathy of the poet to be enlisted on the wrong side, and Govannon's deed to be execrated? That is a question which is not easy to answer to one's own satisfaction, and the best thing to do is to point out the parallel story in Irish. It occurs in that of the war between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomori: when the battle of Mag Tured (p. 253) had been going on for some time, the Fomori wondered how the Tuatha Dé continued to be supplied with arms; in order, therefore, to find this out and to procure other information about the enemy, they sent one of their young heroes to visit him. The one chosen belonged by race partly to the Fomori and partly to the Tuatha Dé; he was son of Bres the Fomorian and Brig daughter of the Dagda, one of the leaders of the Tuatha Dé in the war. He was called Ruadán, and he readily got access to the camp of the Tuatha Dé and visited the forge, where he found their smith Goibniu, whose name makes in the genitive case Goibnenn, the etymologic and inflectional equivalent of the Welsh Govannon; he then gives the Fomori a full account of the celerity with which Goibniu and his fellow-artificers despatched their work. The Fomori send Ruadán back with orders to kill the smith; so Ruadán asks Goibniu to make him a spear, and the smith complies. Ruadán receives the spear duly finished; but just as he was starting to go away, he suddenly turned round and hurled his new spear at its maker; Goibniu was wounded, but not so as to prevent his throwing the spear back at Ruadán in such a way that it sped right through him; Ruadán was nevertheless able to reach his friends, when he fell dead at his father's feet in the assembly of the Fomori. His mother Brig comes and makes for her son a loud lamentation, which is specially described as beginning with a scream and ending with a wail; for it was then, we are told, that wailing and screaming were heard in Erinn for the first time. Such is the story of Ruadán; and the wail and scream, so emphasized in it, refer to the elaborate 'keening,' or peculiar and far-reaching cry which used to be raised on the occasion of a death in the family by Irish women—and Welsh ones also—in the Middle Ages. The statement that this was the first time the 'keen' was heard, together with the probable allusion in the name Ruadán to weeping and mourning, admits of our supposing that the death of Ruadán came to be compared with that of Abel—a comparison, which, applied in like manner to that of Dylan, would serve to explain why the Welsh story took a turn unfavourable to the reputation of Govannon. In any case, the Irish version proves that the Welsh one is very incomplete, and makes it highly probable that Dylan was originally represented acting as a spy or assailant on behalf of the enemies of Govannon, when the latter slew him. He is never associated with Mâth, Gwydion, Llew or Arianrhod, after the day of his strange birth, and at the last his mourners are the Waves of the British waters, which might pass for a happy expression of the poet's own inspiration: in reality it is older and probably an integral part of the myth, as is proved by the fact that the Waves in the Welsh story take up the place occupied in the Irish one by Ruadán's friends, the Fomori or the mythic dwellers of the deep. One of the chief points of interest of the story consists for us in the ever-recurring conquest of darkness by the Culture Hero and friend of man, in the Indra-like repetition of Govannon's interference, which makes Dylan die every day and as often plunges the sympathizing billows in loud grief. But the defeat of darkness means the victory of the sun's light; so the story of Dylan, in its most modern echo, may be said to give the contest that iteration which Gwydion's action in bringing Llew back to life a second time fails to express.
This leads us round to where we were before setting out on this digression; we were then occupied with the story of Llew, and we must now say something of his Irish counterpart, whom it is impossible not to recognize in Lug Lám-fada, or L. of the Long-hand, though the stories about the two seldom coincide; but that is owing in a great measure to the important difference of treatment, which lets Lug act for himself instead of under the ægis of his father, as is mostly the case with Llew. The Donegal story of Lug's birth is perhaps the one that comes nearest to that of Llew: according to the former he was, as it will be remembered (p. 314), the son of Mac Kineely and Ethnea, a name more correctly written Ethne, with a genitive Ethnenn, also written Ethlenn (or Ethlend); so that Lug is not unfrequently called Lug mac Ethlenn, with the usual predilection for the mother's name. But there is another account of Lug's origin, which gives him for father one who would seem to have been himself a personification of the sun. His name was Cian, which appears to be no other word than the Irish adjective cian, 'far, distant, remote:' in that case the fitness of the name needs no remark, the Sun-god being not unfrequently represented as coming from afar. On the subject of Cian's identity there were different opinions, one of which makes him son of Dian Cecht, and says, contrary to the modern version, that Balor betrothed his daughter to the latter during a truce between the Fomori and the Tuatha Dé Danann. Another story makes Lug's father Cian the son of one Cainte, a name which may be identified with that in stories which mention a Cian son of Ailill Aulom; for Cainte meant a satirist, and Ailill was represented as a poet, there being, in fact, poems extant which are ascribed to him. He was, however, more than a poet or satirist, being a form, as the name would indicate, of the Celtic Dis, or god of darkness and death. His epithet of Aulom or Ólom literally meant 'ear-bare,' which is explained by a story relating how on a November eve one of the Tuatha Dé Danann goddesses stripped the skin and the flesh completely off one of his ears, leaving him ever after under that blemish, which she is said to have inflicted on him in retaliation for injury and outrage. On the other hand, he was possessed of a projecting tooth, the venom from which was irresistible, and he is said to have treacherously planted it in the check of a step-son of his, when he approached to bid him farewell: Ailill knew it would kill him within nine days, which was his wish.
Ailill's wife was called Sadb, and she was a druidess given to poetry and divination, that is to say, she was a lady of the same class as Arianrhod, who was also a sorceress. As she was one day sitting by her husband in his chariot, they passed under a thorn which had a good crop of sloes on it: she wished to eat of them, and Ailill shook the branch into the chariot, so that she had as many as she liked. They returned home, and she gave birth to Cian, a smooth, fair, lusty son; but he had the peculiarity that a sort of ridge of skin or caul extended over his head from ear to ear, and as he grew, that excrescence also grew. So when he became a man, he did not suffer those who shaved him to live to divulge the secret. At length he had a barber who came to his work prepared for him, and told him so. He undid the covering of Cian's head, and perceived the reason why he had his barbers killed; then he ripped up the abnormal skin on his head, whereupon there leaped out a worm, which sprang quickly to the top of the house, and subsequently twisted itself about the point of his spear. The barber and Ailill wished to have it killed at once, but Sadb, fearing lest Cian was fated to have the same span of life as the worm, prevailed on her husband to have a place made for it, where it should be supplied with plenty to eat. The worm then, like Fenri's Wolf, grew apace, and its house had to be enlarged for it; by the end of the year it had a hundred heads, each of which would have swallowed a warrior with his arms and all. Such was its voracity and the ravages it began to commit, that it created consternation, and Ailill obtained Sadb's consent to kill the monster; so the whole place was set on fire, in the hope that it would perish in the flames. It was, however, all in vain, for it made its way out of the fire and flew westwards, till it reached the dark cave of Ferna, in the district of Coreaguiny, the most western part of Kerry. There it abode, making the country a desert, so that Finn and his men durst not hunt there.
Now the meaning of this hideous tale is perfectly clear: Cian represents the light of the sun, and the worm born with him is a personification of darkness and winter. The ever-repeated sequence of light and darkness, of summer and winter, is here typified in even a more remarkable manner than by the birth of Llew and Dylan from the same mother; and it is curious to notice that the story locates the dark cave inhabited by the all-devouring worm, in the country with which the name of Diarmait is also associated. Had the story reached us in a complete and consistent form, we should perhaps have been told that Cian was killed by the worm; but, as it happens, we have only another account of his death, which brings that event into a sort of connection with the story of Cúchulainn. For one evening, as Cian was traversing the Plain of Murthemne, with which Cúchulainn is associated in other stories, he espied the three sons of Tuirenn, his determined foes, Brian, Iuchair and Iucharba. So he changed himself into the form of one of the swine that he saw not far off, and joined them in rooting the ground; but Brian suspecting this, immediately changed his brothers into two fleet hounds, who soon found out the druidic pig. Brian then wounded the beast: the latter asked to be spared, which was declined; but he was permitted to change himself back into the human form, when he in vain repeated his previous request. Then he told his foes that he had outwitted them, as they would now have to pay the eric for killing a man and not a beast, adding that their arms would betray the deed to his son Lug. But Brian said that they would use no arms, so they began stoning Cian until they had reduced his body to a crushed mass. When they proceeded to bury it, the earth would not retain it; they tried it six times, and the earth cast it up each time; but when it was buried the seventh time, it was not cast up. Cian told Brian before he died that there never had been slain, and never would be slain, anybody for whom a greater eric would have to be paid than for him: it turned out so; for Lug discovered the murderers, and cunningly imposed on them, with the approval of the Tuatha Dé Danann, an eric which looked a trifle, but was soon found to involve the sons of Tuirenn in adventures of unheard-of toil and danger, at the close of which they died miserably of their wounds. The tale is one of the most famous in Irish literature; but another account makes Lug slay the three with his own hand in Man beyond the Sea. Brian and his brothers are sometimes called tri dee dána, or the three gods of dán, that is to say of professional skill or talent, as the term dán is commonly interpreted; but though Brian is represented as a valiant warrior and skilled as druid and poet, one fails to see why he and his brothers should be assigned a place of pre-eminence in this respect above many others of the Tuatha é Danann; and I should be inclined therefore to give the word dán, in connection with the former, its other meaning of destiny or fate, and to regard the brothers, whose number three reminds one of Mider's three birds and their cognates (p. 332), as the messengers of fate and death. This would explain why they are also found mentioned as the three sons of Danu, the goddess of death, from whom the Tuatha Dé were collectively so called. They are sometimes further made to be par excellence the three gods of the Tuatha Dé, and to give that group its common name, whereas the rôle ascribed them in the stories extant fail completely to justify such a distinction: this applies to Brian even when due account is taken of the wonderful feats attributed to him as a warrior, engaged in procuring the eric he had to pay Lug; and as to his brothers, they are associated with him mostly as dummies. Moreover, no trace of any such pre-eminence as that here suggested can be detected in the oldest story known to us to mention Brian, namely, that of Cúchulainn wooing Emer daughter of the Fomorian chief, Forgall Monach. There Brian is coupled with Balor as one of the stout henchmen of Forgall, and we have to regard him, like Balor, as a Fomorian; but as a messenger of fate and death, it was natural to associate him with Danu in her character of goddess of death, and it was also natural that there should be hostility between him and Lug, who punished him for the death of his father Cian.
The eric imposed by Lug on the three brothers compelled them to procure for him certain fabulous weapons, which he should require in a great battle for which he was busily preparing. The story euhemerizes the conflict into an important historical struggle; but in reality the antagonistic parties were the powers of evil and darkness under the name of the Fomori, or the dwellers in the sea, and the Tuatha Dé Danann under the rule of Nuada of the Silver Hand, whose connections were of a very different kind. His subjects were under tribute to the Fomori, who oppressed them in various ways, until the hero Lug successfully led his host to their attack. But one day previous to that event, the Tuatha Dé Danann happened to be holding an assembly, when they beheld coming towards them Lug and his followers. This is the description given of them: "One young man came in the front of that army, high in command over the rest; and like to the setting sun was the splendour of his countenance and his forehead; and they were not able to look in his face from the greatness of its splendour. And he was Lugh Lamh-fada, and [his army was] the Fairy Cavalcade from the Land of Promise, and his own foster-brothers, the sons of Manannan." The story-teller was more correct than he knew in comparing Lug to the sun; and it was the setting of the same luminary that had given rise to the myth that Lug was brought up at the court of Manannán, one of the great chiefs of Fairy-land, here called the Land of Promise. It was thence he was sometimes represented coming in the morning, as in this instance, and as in the story of Cúchulainn when he comes to that hero's aid. Put to return to Lug's march: on the occasion of his approaching the Fomori's camp later in the day, we read in the same story the following words: "Then arose Breas, the son of Balor, and he said: It is a wonder to me that the sun should rise in the west to-day, and in the east every other day. It were better that it were so, said the druids. What else is it? said he. The radiance of the face of Lugh of the Long Arms, said they." In the protracted conflict which ensued, not only were the powers of darkness routed, but Balor of the Evil Eye, which it was death to behold, was despatched by Lug sending a stone from his sling into the evil eye, so that it came out right through his head. Lug was not only surnamed from his long hands, but he was famous for his mighty blows, and his spear became one of the treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann; nor is it necessary to point out the parallelism between his slaying of Balor and Llew's transfixing his rival by a cast of his spear, which an intervening rock was not enough to stop in its fatal course.
Before proceeding further, it will be well to say something about the names Llew and Lug. The former is in point of sound the same word as the Welsh for lion; but on looking closely into the passages where the name of the Sun-god occurs, it proves to have been originally not Llew but Lleu; but as mediæval spelling did not always carefully distinguish the sounds of u, w and v, it is only the assonances and rhymes that can be thoroughly decisive in this matter. A couple of such instances occur in a poem in the Book of Taliessin; on the other hand, the Mabinogi of Mâth has always Llew, except in one remarkable place. It will be remembered that when Gwydion suspected that he had found Llew in the form of a wounded and wretched eagle on the top of an oak-tree, he sang three verses of poetry to him, at each of which the eagle descended a little, so that at last he let himself down on Gwydion's lap, to be changed by the touch of his wand into his former shape. Now the scribe of the Mabinogi gives these verses in a very confused orthography, clearly leaving it to be seen, as he does also in other parts of the tale, that he was copying from an old manuscript which he did not always understand. When restored to what must have approximately been their original form, they require us to read not Llew but Lleu, and they would then run somewhat as follows:
Dar a dyf y rwng deulynn,
An oak grows between two lakes;
Dar a dyf yn ardfaës
An oak grows in a ploughed field—
Dar a dyf dan anwaeret
An oak grows below the slope;
Y beᵭ yngorthir Nantỻeu
The grave in the upland of Nantỻe,
The scribe of the Mabinogi makes the valley called after Lleu into Nant y Llew, 'the Lion's Glen,' as he was led to do so by his habit of making Lleu's name into Llew, and confirmed in his error by misinterpreting the Nantllev or Nantlleu of the manuscript he had before him. This incidentally proves that he had no personal acquaintance with the neighbourhood of Snowdon; and the same want of familiarity with North Wales is suggested by his once making into Cynwael the Ffestiniog river Cynvael, now called the Kynval, in Merioneth. From the same lack of acquaintance with the district, he wrote also Dinỻef for Dinỻeu, of which more anon. All this is by no means to be wondered at, as the scribe was most likely a native of South Wales; at any rate, the Red Book was probably written at the monastery of Strata Florida, in north Cardiganshire, and one at least of the scribes had a native's acquaintance with Aberystwyth and its immediate neighbourhood. It is not altogether improbable that the change of the name Lleu into Llew, which cannot be phonologically accounted for, was similarly originated by the mistake of some scribe or story-teller who was a stranger to the district where the hero's name was familiar. Once the example was set, the name Llew, as coinciding with ỻew, meaning a lion, might be expected to hold its own ground against the older name Lleu, which either conveyed no sense to the story-teller's mind, or no sense that struck him or his listeners as fitting the character of his hero, such as they would conceive it to have been.
But whatever the time and the cause of the change of Lleu's name to Llew may have been, it exercised some influence on one of the stories about the Sun-god, as it helped to give its form to a portion of the romance of Owein ab Urien, whom we have to mention later as playing a role corresponding in several respects to that of Cúchulainn. Owein, in the course of his wanderings near the utmost limits of the inhabited world, happened to pass near a wood, when he heard a loud howl proceeding from it. On hearing it repeated he drew near, and found a great knoll in the wood, and in the side of the knoll a grey rock with a cleft in it. In the cleft there was a serpent, and close by a pure white lion that wished to pass, but the serpent would dart at him to bite him. Owein, judging the lion the nobler animal, approached, and quickly cut the reptile in two with his sword, whereupon the lion followed him, as it were a greyhound. At the approach of night the grateful beast went out to hunt for him, and brought back a fine roebuck, which Owein cooked and duly divided between him and the lion. Whenever Owein fought afterwards and was likely to be hard pressed, the lion would come to his rescue and kill his antagonists: nothing could prevent him. On one occasion he was shut up within the high walls of a castle, while Owein was to fight a duel outside with a brutal giant who devoured men and women; but it was not long ere the lion got on the battlements, and leaped down to deal Owein's antagonist a fatal wound. Another time the lion was confined in a stone prison, while Owein fought against two men who were likely to give him trouble, and the beast never rested till he forced his way out and killed both. Some would say that the lion was a proper representative of the sun, and the serpent of darkness, which may do for countries where the lion is at home; but that the Welsh tale should have fixed on that particular brute form, is due partly, if not wholly, to the name Llew and its ordinary meaning of 'lion.' The story, shaped accordingly, reached the Continent, and was elaborated into a romance called the Chevalier au Lion, the oldest edition of which is ascribed to Chrestien de Troyes, who lived in the twelfth century: it became popular also in Germany, and reached Scandinavia.
Why a wild beast of any kind should have been introduced into the story of Owein, especially as it would seem to disturb the symmetry of the myth, is a question of some difficulty, reaching beyond the influence of the name Llew. For a little before Owein came across the white lion, he had been avoiding the haunts of men and living with wild beasts. He had in fact been like one of them, and his body had become covered with hair like theirs. Now this is an incident which has its parallel in the madness of Cúchulainn, and in the pretended dumbness of Peredur when he avoids the abodes of Christians; and it belongs to the hero as a form of the Sun-god, so that to introduce the Sun-god in the form of a wild beast as well would seem to be de trop. To this it might perhaps be answered, that it is useless to expect thorough consistency in such matters; and one might even quote as a kind of parallel the case, to be mentioned later, of a horse of the Irish Sun Hero, Conall Cernach, following him to fight with his teeth on behalf of his master. But possibly the story of Cian offers a better parallel, when it represents him taking advantage of some swine he saw not far off on the plain, to change himself to the form that was theirs; and the story of Owein seems to us to suggest that originally it made Owein himself become a beast, and not simply very like one. The strangeness of a story representing the same individual as a knight and as a wild beast successively, would be eliminated by placing the beast by the side of the knight as his companion and ally. Add to these sundry points of contact between the stories mentioned, the verse cited as placing the grave of Mabon, the Welsh equivalent of the Apollo Maponos of the Celts of antiquity (pp. 21, 27-9) at Nantỻe, where Lleu was at last discovered by Gwydion, and one will hardly be able to avoid concluding, that we here have related stories, handed down to us in a fragmentary form which leaves it impossible to ascertain in what exact way they were related to one another. At the point which we have reached, one of the chief things wanting is evidence that Owein was at any time called Llew or Lleu. We have evidence, on the other hand, that Lleu was represented as a wild beast; in fact, that is the only form with which he is invested by the folk-lore of modern Snowdonia. The following is the substance of what I have been able to learn about him:—
The road from Carnarvon to the romantic village of Beᵭgelert passes pretty close to a lake called Llyn y Gadair, the Lake of the Seat; and there is a story current in that part of the country that a long while ago a little knoll between the lake and the road was the seat of a strange beast called the Aurwrychyn, or the Gold-bristle: in fact, the name of the lake in full is explained to have been Llyn Cadair yr Aurwrychyn, 'the Lake of the Gold-bristle's Seat.' He is said to have been in form somewhat like an ox; but he was covered with gold bristles, and he appeared one mass of brilliant gold, so that when the sun shone on him nobody could look at him. One day, however, a hunter's hounds, chasing the red deer, came across Gold-bristle and pursued him across through the pass called Drws y Coed, which opens into the Nantỻe valley, and caught him near Bala Deulyn. As the dogs were killing him, he gave a cry which made the hills resound, and from this ỻef or cry the valley received its name of Nant-ỻef, that is to say, Nantỻe. On this I have two or three remarks to make: the bristles of the Aurwrychyn remind one of Cian in his brute form: and the mention of the dying ỻef or cry may be regarded as an addition to explain the place-name Nantỻe, but the correct analysis of that word is into Nant-Lleu, that is to say, the Glen of Lleu. Phonologically, however, both explanations would fit alike, as Nant-ỻef, as well as Nant-ỻeu, would be curtailed to Nant-ỻe when the accent fixed itself on the first syllable. Lastly, the coincidence which makes the beast die in Nantỻe, where also Gwydion discovered his son Lleu in the form of an eagle, makes it probable that the proper name of the beast in gold bristles was originally no other than that of Lleu.
As we have been brought to the Nantỻe valley, let us follow the river which flows from the lakes in the direction contrary to that taken by Gwydion when searching for Lleu (p. 240): this stream is called the Llyvni, and it reaches the sea some distance west of the western mouth of the Menai; and between the latter and the mouth of the Llyvni is the huge artificial mound called Dinas Dinỻe, which dates probably before the Roman occupation, the Romans being supposed to have made use of it. Its future seems to be gradual demolition by the waves of the Irish Sea, unless it is to experience the still worse misfortune of being desecrated by the builders of so-called watering-places. It was at Dinas Dinỻe that Lleu spent a part of his boyhood; and in a poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen (p. 272) it is called caer lev a gwidion, or the Fortress of Lleu and Gwydion. The present name, Dinas Dinỻe, is tautological, and means literally 'the City of Lleu's Town;' the word din, 'a town or fortress,' having become obsolete, has here been explained by prefixing its synonymous derivative dinas, 'a town or city.' The reasons for going into these details will appear presently; suffice it for the present to recall the statement that Dinỻe stands for an older Dinỻeu derived from Lleu's name, and meaning Lleu's town. This is proved by various facts; among others, it is indirectly proved by the Dinỻef of the scribe of the Mabinogi of Mâth, as already hinted; also by one of the Stanzas of the Graves, which places the grave of Gwydion in Morva Dinỻeu, or the Marsh of Dinỻeu. But we have evidence that the shorter form Dinỻe was also used, especially in the spoken languages, as early as the thirteenth century. It is interesting to add that there was another Dinỻe, called in the Red Book, where it is mentioned, Dinỻe Ureconn, which meant the Uriconian or Wrekin Dinỻe, in the present county of Salop; the longer name served to distinguish it from the one in Arvon.
Such are some of the facts connected with the history of the name Llew, which has been traced to the older form Lleu. The next step is to ascertain how this latter stands with regard to the Irish Lug, genitive Loga. Enough is known of the laws of phonology obtaining in the Welsh and Irish languages respectively, to leave us practically in no doubt as to the identity of the two names. Treating Lleu and Lug henceforth as one and the same name, we have next to try to ascertain its original meaning. It is unfortunate that Irish literature is not known to shed any light on this point, excepting that one vocabulary gives it as meaning a hero; that, however, looks too much like a mere guess based on the stories about Lug. So we have to fall back on Welsh, which supplies related forms in the words lleu-ad, 'a luminary, a moon;' lleu-fer (also lleu-er), 'a luminary, a light;' llew-ych, 'a light, or lighting;' llewych-u, 'to shine.' Nay, lleu itself occurs as an appellative meaning light, as, for example, in the Book of Aneurin, a manuscript supposed to be of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century, where we meet with the term lleu babir, used of rush-lights or the light derived from the rushes used for lighting, which are in modern Welsh called pabwyr. The term lleu babir also occurs in a poem ascribed to Kynᵭelw, a poet of the twelfth century; but the fact that we have to go so far back for instances of the word lleu, and then only to find it in the single combination lleu babir, only serves to show that it
has long since become obsolete, or at any rate of very rare occurrence. The point of chief importance to us is the fact that lleu meant light, and that there is no reason to suppose the name Lleu to be of a different origin from the appellative; we are at liberty also to suppose that the Irish Lug meant light, and thus we arrive at a signification of the name, which exactly describes the Sun-god, whom we have identified under these appellations.
The widely spread Cult of Lug.
We now pass on from the names of the Sun-god to the widely spread cult of which he was the object in all Celtic lands. In Ireland there were great meetings, which constituted fairs and feasts, associated with Lug, and called Lugnassad after him. The chief day for these was Lammas-day, or the first of August, and the most celebrated of them used to be held at Tailltin (p. 148), in Meath. The story of the institution of the fair is thus told by the Irish historian Keating: "Lugh Lámhfhada son of Cian . . . . took the kingship of Erinn for forty years. It is this Lugh that first instituted the fair of Tailltin, as an annual commemoration of Tailltiu, daughter of Maghmór, that is to say, the king of Spain; and she was wife to Eochaidh mac Eirc, last king of the Fir Bolg; she was afterwards wife to Eochaidh Gharbh, son of Duach Dall and chief of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It is by this woman that Lugh Lámhfhada was fostered and educated, until he was fit to bear arms. It is as a commemoration of honour to her that Lugh instituted the games of the fair of Tailltin, a fortnight before Lammas and a fortnight after, in imitation of the games called Olympic; and it is from this commemoration which Lugh made, that the name Lugnasadh is given to the first day or calends of August, that is to say, Lugh's nasadh or commemoration." This is in harmony with what is briefly said in Cormac's Glossary: "Lúgnasad, i.e. a commemorating game or fair, thereto is the name nasad, i.e. a festival or game of Lugh mac Ethne or Ethlenn, which was celebrated by him in the beginning of autumn."
These passages do not quite satisfactorily explain the meaning of the word nassad; but let that pass for the present, and let us add that O'Curry in mentioning this legend says that Lug buried his nurse in a plain in the present barony of Kells, in the county of Meath; that he raised over her a large artificial hill or sepulchral mound, which remains to this day; that he ordered there a commemorative festival, with games and sports after the fashion of other countries, to be held in her honour for ever, and that they were continued down to the ninth century. The games alluded to consisted of a variety of manly sports and contests, but one of their chief characteristics was horse-racing, which reminds one of the racing near the tomb of Patroclus, for which Achilles provided rich prizes. A fair which appears to have been of the same nature used to be held on the calends of August also at Cruachan, a place mentioned in connection with Ailill and Medb (p. 330); but little is known about the fair there. A third fair was held triennially at Carman, now called Wexford; and its time was likewise the first day of August. The stories about its institution vary considerably, and offer some difficulty of interpretation in as far as regards their mythological meaning; but, like the Tailltin fair, it is represented as commemorative of a deceased person, and as having been established after the demons of blight and blast had been overcome. It was considered an institution of great importance, and among the blessings promised to the men of Leinster from holding it and duly celebrating the established games, were plenty of corn, fruit and milk, abundance of fish in their lakes and rivers, domestic prosperity, and immunity from the yoke of any other province. On the other hand, the evils to follow from the neglect of this institution were to be failure and early greyness on them and their kings.
It is not very evident why the stories about the institution of these fairs should give them a funereal interpretation; but it is worth while mentioning that both Tailltin and Cruachan are mentioned as among the chief burial-places in pagan Erinn; and Carman is also alluded to as a cemetery. Moreover, Lug, as we have already seen (p. 397), was, when he came, supposed to arrive from the other world, and to be followed by a fairy train consisting of the sons of Manannán mac Lir. We come next to the association of Lug's name with the fair; for this there was a special reason: it has already been stated that the Lugnassad corresponded in the calendar to the English Lammas—a word which was in A.-Saxon hláfmæsse, that is, loaf-mass or bread-mass, so named as a mass or feast of thanksgiving for the first-fruits of the corn-harvest. That feast 'seems to have been observed with bread of new wheat, and therefore in some parts of England, and even in some near Oxford, the tenants are bound to bring in wheat of that year to their lord, on or before the first of August,' a day otherwise called the Gule of August. In Germany, a loaf of bread had to be given to the shepherd who kept one's cattle. The Church has assigned the day to St. Peter ad Vincula, which supplies no key to the choice of the day in Teutonic lands as a sort of feast of first-fruits; so we seem to be at liberty to regard the latter as having come down from pagan times, which enables us to understand the Irish account of the institution of the fairs and meetings held on that day. Thus if we go into the story of the fair of Carman, we are left in no doubt as to the character of the mythic beings whose power had been brought to an end at the time dedicated to that fair: they may be said to have represented the blighting chills and fogs that assert their baneful influence on the farmer's crops. To overcome these and other hurtful forces of the same kind, the prolonged presence of the Sun-god was essential, in order to bring the corn to maturity. Why Lug should have made the feast for Tailltiu does not at first sight appear; but let us see what can be made out of her. She is strangely described as daughter of Mag Mór, king of Spain: now Mag Mór means the Great Plain, one of the names for the other world, which is corroborated by the allusion to Spain, another of the Irish aliases for Hades (p. 90); and in the story that she was first the wife of the king of the Fir Bolg, and then of that of the Tuatha Dé, we have an indication that she belonged to the class of dawn and dusk goddesses; at one time she was the consort of a dark being, and at another of a bright one, while the Sun-god was her foster-child, which recalls the fostering of Lleu by a nurse at Dinas Dinỻe or some adjacent spot near the sea. That this is the way to regard Tailltiu is proved by a story attributing to her the action of clearing a forest and of thickly covering it within the year with clover blossom. This, at the same time that it helps us to understand the propriety of associating her with an agricultural feast, recalls the Welsh myth of Olwen and the white trefoils that sprang up wherever she set her foot. Both Olwen and Tailltiu were of the number of the goddesses of dawn and dusk—a class of divinities, however, much less differentiated on Celtic than on classic ground. Thus in the present instance I should claim for comparison both Aphrodite and Athene; the former, because wherever she walked on landing in her favourite Cyprus, she likewise made roses bloom and green pastures grow, and the latter as occupying the foremost place at the Panathenæa, just as Tailltiu did at the Lugnassad, there being reasons, to be mentioned later, why one should identify the Celtic and the Greek feasts with one another. Such lines of difference as that drawn between Aphrodite and Athene, or between either and such a goddess, for example, as rosy-fingered Eos, is very rudimentary in Celtic; and in that respect Celtic mythology appears to have retained a more ancient and rudimentary form.
In the above-mentioned stories, the Lugnassad feasts and fairs are described as established in honour of the dead, one by Lug himself and the other by the Tuatha Dé Danann. But there is a different account in one of the manuscripts till recently in the possession of Lord Ashburnham, where one meets with an instance of those quaint explanations of place-names so characteristic of old Irish literature. It is to the following effect: "The Refuse of the Great Feast which I mentioned, that is Taillne. It is here that Lug Scimaig proceeded to make the great feast for Lug mac Ethlenn for his entertainment after the battle of Mag Tured \; for this was his wedding of the kingship, since the Tuatha Dé Danann made the aforesaid Lug king after the death of Nuada. As to the place where the refuse was thrown, a great knoll was made of it: this was [thenceforth] its name, the Knoll of the Great Feast, or the Refuse of the Great Banquet, that is to say, Taillne, at the present day." The way in which Lug's personality is doubled in this story is remarkable; and it is possible that in the vocable Taillne we have a name nearly related to that of Tailltin; while the festivities of the Lugnassad are probably referred to in the allusion to the great feast made by Lug for Lug as a reward for his victory over the powers of darkness in the great mythical battle of Mag Tured. Further, the mention of his assumption of sovereignty as his act of wedding or marrying the kingdom is curious, and leads to a further examination of the term Lugnassad. It is probable that nassad did not mean either a commemoration or a festival, as might be gathered from Keating and Cormac, since it is a word of the same origin as the Latin nexus, 'a tying or binding together, a legal obligation.' Moreover, a compound ar-nass is used more than once in the Ashburnham manuscript just alluded to, in the sense of betrothing one's daughter, or giving her away by solemn contract to a husband; and lastly, a participial form nassa occurs of a girl who has been promised or betrothed to a husband. These facts, and the curious allusion to Lug's wedding the kingdom, go to prove that the term Lug-nassad originally meant Lug's wedding or marriage, and that this was one of the chief things the festivities on that day were meant to call to mind.
We have traces of this idea in a strange story to which allusion has already been made (p. 205). Conn the Hundred-fighter and his druid were one day
overtaken by a thick mist, whence there issued a knight who took them to a beautiful plain, whereon they saw a royal ráth with a golden tree at its door. They entered a splendid house therein, where they beheld a youthful princess with a diadem of gold on her head, and a silver kieve with hoops of gold standing near her, full of red ale; and they saw seated before them on a royal seat a personage of the other sex, whose like had never been seen at Conn's court at Tara, either as to stature or beauty of face and figure. He explained to them that he was no phantom, but that he was Lug, and that it was his pleasure to reveal to Conn the duration of his rule, and that of every prince who should reign at Tara after him. This revelation to Conn begins with the crowned lady giving him two huge bones, the ribs of a gigantic ox and of a boar respectively; she then proceeds to distribute the red ale, with the question, 'For whom is this bowl?' Lug answers, 'For Conn the Fighter of a Hundred;' and the same distribution of the contents of the great vat is repeated in respect of each of Conn's successors; but I should have said that the queen was described by Lug to Conn as the Sovereignty of Erinn till the day of doom. In this story we have Lug pictured to us as a dweller in the other world, where the Sun-god was supposed to spend half his time, and there with him lived as his consort the youthful beauty typifying the kingdom of Erinn. No better proof could perhaps be desired that the interpretation here suggested of the term Lugnassad is in the main correct; and it agrees with the fact that after Lug's death—for euhemerized gods must die—the husband of Erinn is represented bearing the significant name of Mac Greine, or the Son of the Sun. Nor is evidence of a more indirect nature altogether wanting, for if the Lugnassad recalled the marriage of Lug, it might also be expected to have been considered an auspicious time for their own marriages by his worshippers. This is borne out by tradition. Dr. O'Donovan, after briefly describing the position of Tailltin or Teltown, goes on to say that there were in his day vivid traditions of the Lugnassad extant in the country, and that Teltown was, till recently, resorted to by the men of Meath for hurling, wrestling, and other manly sports. This is not all, for 'to the left of the road, as you go from Kells to Donaghpatrick, there is,' he adds, 'a hollow called Lag an Aonaigh, i.e. the Hollow of the Fair, where, according to tradition, marriages were solemnized in pagan times.'
To sum up these remarks: the Lammas fairs and meetings forming the Lugnassad in ancient Ireland, marked the victorious close of the sun's contest with the powers of darkness and death, when the warmth and light of that luminary's rays, after routing the colds and blights, were fast bringing the crops to maturity: this, more mythologically expressed, was represented as the final crushing of Fomori and Fir Bolg, the death of their king and the nullifying of their malignant spells, and as the triumphant return of Lug with peace and plenty to marry the maiden Erinn and to enjoy a well-earned banquet, at which the fairy host of dead ancestors was probably not forgotten. Marriages were solemnized on the auspicious occasion; and no prince who failed to be present on the last day of the fair durst look forward to prosperity during the coming year. The Lugnassad was the great event of the summer half of the year, which extended from the calends of May to the calends of Winter. The Celtic year was more thermometric than astronomical, and the Lugnassad was, so to say, its summer solstice, whereas the longest day was, so far as I have been able to discover, of no special account.
We have not yet done with the name of Lug and Lleu: the genitive of the former is Loga, so it is known from the analogy of other words that if Lug were put back into its Gaulish form, we should have a noun of the u declension making in the nominative singular Lugus, and in the genitive Lugovos, with a nominative plural Lugoves. It requires no great stretch of imagination to see also that we have the same word in the Gaulish name which has become in French Lyons; in Latin authors it is usually Lugdunum; but there is, however, evidence which places it beyond doubt that the older Gallo-Roman form was Lugudunum, that is to say, in Gaulish Lugudûnon or Lugudounon, which would mean the town of Lug. Moreover, the Gaulish compound is made up of the self-same elements which we have in Din-ỻeu; but this latter, not being a compound, would be literally represented in Gaulish by Dūnon Lugovos, or Lleu's Town. It is highly probable, however, that it was obtained by analysing the compound name, which may be supposed to have been the original in this country as well as in Gaul. Now Lyons was not the only Lugdunum, for there was one in the Pyrenees, distinguished as Lugdunum Convenarum, now called Saint-Bertrand de Comminges, in the department of the Haute Garonne; moreover, Laon, the chief town of the department of the Aisne, bore this name; and so, as is generally known, did Leyden on the Rhine in Holland, for Ptolemy in his Geography gives its old name as Λουγόδουνον. Look at the positions of these places on the map, and take into account those of Dinỻeu in Arvon, and Dinỻe in the Wrekin district in Shropshire, also the places where the Lugnassad were celebrated in Ireland, and you will readily admit that the name Lugus, Lug or Lleu, was that of a divinity whose cult was practised by all probably of the Celts both on the Continent and in these islands. In fact, to go more into detail, it may be inferred that the Irish Lugnassad had its counterpart at one at least of the Lugduna of the Continent, namely, the southernmost city of that name, on the Rhone; for it is not improbable that the festival held there every first of August in honour of the deified Augustus simply superseded, in name mostly, an older feast held on that day in honour of Lug.
What took place in the south of Gaul may have come to pass also in Britain: the echoes of a feast or fair on the first of August have not yet died out of Wales, where one still speaks of Gwyl Awst, which would now mean only the August festival, though, according to the analogy of other names, it should be rendered the Feast of Augustus. Gwyl Awst is now a day for fairs in certain parts of North Wales, and it is remembered in central and southern Cardiganshire as one on which the shepherds used, till comparatively lately, to have a sort of picnic on the hills. One farmer's wife would lend a big kettle, and others would contribute the materials held requisite for making in it a plentiful supply of good soup or broth, while, according to another account, everybody present had to put his share of fuel on the fire with his own hands. But in Brecknockshire the first of August seems to have given way, some time before Catholicism had lost its sway in Wales, to the first holiday or feast in August, that is to say, the first Sunday in that month. For then crowds of people early in the morning made their way up the mountains called the Beacons, both from the side of Carmarthenshire and Glamorgan: their destination used to be the neighbourhood of the Little Van Lake, out of whose waters they expected in the course of the day to see the Lady of the Lake make her momentary appearance. A similar shifting from the first of August to the first Sunday in that month has, I imagine, taken place in the Isle of Man. For though the solstice used to be, in consequence probably of Scandinavian influence, the day of institutional significance in the Manx summer, enquiries I have made in different parts of the island go to show that middle-aged people now living remember, that when they were children their parents used to ascend the mountains very early on the first Sunday in August (Old Style), and that in some districts at least they were wont to bring home bottles full of water from wells noted for their healing virtues. In a word, the memory of living Manxmen retains enough to show that the day was once of great importance, though I have not been able to find anything to connect its associations with Lug and the Lugnassad except the name Lhuanys for the first day of August. The story of the Lady of the Little Van Lake, whom the Welsh pilgrims used till recently to go forth to see, is too long to be given here, and also too modern, in the form we have it, to clear up the details of the myth of which it forms a part. Suffice it to say that she may be regarded as belonging to the numerous class of dawn-goddesses, that she wedded a husband in the district, and that after a time she left both him and her children. Now and then, however, she returned to converse with the latter, especially the eldest of them, a youth named Rhiwaỻon, whom she carefully instructed as to the virtues of all kinds of herbs. He afterwards proved the founder of a famous family of physicians, whose descendants are widely spread in South Wales. The Physicians of Myᵭvai, as they were called, were historical, and attached to the princely house of Dinevor; but their ancestor was of mythic descent, and his name enables one to identify him in the Welsh Triads, where he is called Rhiwaỻon of the Broom (-yellow) Hair, and invested with a solar character: among other things, he is classed with two other solar heroes as being, like them, famous for his intimate knowledge of the nature of all material things. It is impossible to say how far the original myth agreed with that of Lug, but the one thing yearly looked for was the appearance of Rhiwaỻon's mother, the Lady of the Lake: she occupied on the Welsh holiday the position assigned to Tailltiu at the Lugnassad, and to Athene at the Panathenæa. Further, the great importance once attaching to Lammas among the Welsh, admits of another kind of proof, namely, the fact, for such it seems to be, that the Welsh term, in the modified form of Gula Augusti, passed into the Latinity of the Chronicles, and even into a statute of Edward III. The widely spread observance of the festival of Augustus would be satisfactorily accounted for on the supposition, that it was a great Celtic feast continued under a new name.
It must by no means be supposed that the worship of the Sun-god here in question rests on inferential evidence alone of the kind just indicated, for proof of a more direct nature is not altogether wanting. Witness the following Latin inscription from the ancient Spanish town of Uxama, a Celtic name now changed into Osma: Lugovibus sacrum, L. L. Urcico Collegio Sutorum d. d. This seems to tell us that a man whose name was L. L. Urcico built a temple for the Lugoves and made a present of it to a college of cobblers, which at once raises several questions, such as, why Lugovibus and not Lugovi, and why a college of cobblers? why should they have had charge of the temple? It is a far cry from Spain to Snowdon, but I know of no means of answering these questions except those provided by the Mabinogi of Mâth, already cited move than once. You will remember how it is there told that Gwydion and his son Lleu assumed the guise of shoemakers, when Gwydion wished to outwit Arianrhod so as to force her to give her disowned son a name. The stratagem proved a success; and the passage tells us that on account of that disguise Gwydion was known as one of the Three Golden Cordwainers of the Isle of Britain; but it does not include his son with him, though he took also an active part in the shoemaking. On the other hand, the triad in question, as it appears in the ordinary lists (i. 77 = ij. 58), excludes Gwydion, the three being Caswaỻon son of Beli, Manawyᵭan son of Llyr, and Lleu respectively. The story about Caswaỻon is lost, but that of Manawyᵭan is detailed in the Mabinogi that goes by his name. Probably nothing but the restricted nature of the triad is responsible for the fact that Gwydion and Lleu are not both included; and it is hard to avoid supposing that the father and the son were the Lugoves of the inscription at Osma, as that supposition would explain their association with the cobblers. This, however, raises the question how, in case the name Lug and Lleu have been rightly explained by us, the father and the son could have been called Lugoves, a word which should, according to the view expressed, have meant lights or luminaries. There was probably an inconsistency underlying this use of that term; but how small it practically was will be readily seen when it is considered that Gwydion as the benefactor of man stood in somewhat the same relation to the sun as did Indra in Hindu mythology, which represents the latter daily recovering the sun for mortals: the Norsemen made the relationship a still closer one, for in one of their stories they regarded the sun, not as Woden's offspring, but as Woden's eye. That the plural Lugoves was not exceptional or peculiar to the inscription mentioned, is not to be supposed: there are two reasons for thinking the contrary. In the first place, there is another inscription which reads Lugoves in large bronze majuscules on an epistylium of white marble found at Avenches, in Switzerland, and as the legend consists solely of this word, the name of the Lugoves must have been very familiar to Gaulish ears. In the next place, the inclusion of the two under one name looks like the beginning of a process of running the character and personality of the father and the son into one, with that of the latter on the whole prevailing; this is the case with nearly all the Irish stories about the Sun-god, while that of Gwydion and Lleu is the only one in Welsh which keeps them well apart. The distinction is a small one, but it is of great importance when Lleu is compared with the Irish sun-heroes. The former does next to nothing for himself, since nearly everything is done for him by Gwydion; and Balder is treated much in the same way by his parents. On the other hand, the wily shrewdness which the Welsh story ascribes to the father is passed on by the Irish one to his son Lug, while the father practically disappears; and altogether a view which made the sun a person with a father who took care of him, looks a very primitive one, and the existence of such a father must have at times been very precarious and liable to effacement by the transcendent character of his offspring, who absorbed his chief attributes. There would, moreover, be another tendency to bring the two more closely together, arising from the wisdom and knowledge ascribed to the Sun-god, as the result presumably of his position and much travelling; so far as this would go, it would tend to invest him with the same cleverness as his father, the Hermes or Culture Hero of the race. Some Irish stories illustrate this to a nicety in the case of Lug, whom they surname the Ildánach, or him of many gifts and of many professions. Thus when Lug, coming from a distance, offers the Tuatha Dé Danann his aid against the Fomori at the battle that was going to be fought on the Plain of Tured, he was asked, on presenting himself at the gates, who he was, whereupon Lug replied that he was a good carpenter. The porter answered that they had a good carpenter, so that they had no need of him. Then Lug said he was an excellent smith, to which the same reply was given. He then went through a large number of professions, including those of soldier, harpist, poet, historian and jurisconsult, magician, physician, cup-bearer, worker in bronze and the precious metals; but he always had the same kind of answer, until he told the porter to ask Nuada the king if he had a man who could exercise all these professions and trades with equal skill. The king was only too delighted to engage such a one, and Lug ere long proceeded to pass under review all the king's men of skill, and to ascertain what service each could render in the struggle that was to take place with the Fomori. Had we no other account of Lug, we should have certainly had to look at him as an Irish Mercury: we should be wrong, no doubt, as a wider view of his character serves to show, but this helps us to see how it was possible to call father and son by the one name of Lugoves.
Before leaving this part of the subject, a word more has to be said of the name Lugdunum, and the various ways in which it has been explained. (1) The pseudo-Plutarch De Fluminibus speaks of it in these words: "There lies close by it [namely, the river Arar] a mountain called Lugdunos, and it had its name changed from the following cause: Momaros and Atepomaros having been driven from the government by Seseronis, wished to found a city upon this hill according to the direction, and suddenly, while the foundations were being dug, there appeared ravens fluttering about, and they filled the trees all round. Now Momaros was skilled in augury, and named the city Lugdunon; for in their idiom they call a raven λοῦγος, and an eminence they call δοῦνον, as Klitopho narrates in the 13th book of his Foundations." Mountain or hill may do as the translation of the sort of town or acropolis which the Grauls called dūnon; but that they had a word lugos, meaning a raven, is a statement which the vocabularies of the Celtic languages seem to leave open to doubt: it was most likely a guess founded on the alleged appearance of the ravens during the founding of the city. (2) Some notes to the Bordeaux Itinerary make Lugdunum mean Mons Desideratus, which was also probably a guess, like the other. (3) A ninth-century Life of St. Germanus by Hericus devotes to the name the following lines:
'Lucduno celebrant Gallorum famine nomen,
Impositum quondam, quod sit mons lucidus idem.'
The motive for the spelling Lucduno is doubtless to be sought in mons lucidus; but it is possible that the latter represents, somewhat inaccurately doubtless, a tradition which had come down from a time when Gaulish had not become a dead language: at any rate it seems to approach the truth more nearly than the other etymologies, and it may be inferred that what underlay the passage in the pseudo-Plutarch was this: the Gauls regarded the raven as the bird of the Lugoves or of one of them; there was a tradition that ravens appeared while Lugdunum was being founded, and that therefore it was dedicated to Lugus, whence its name of Lugu-dûnon. This is of course a mere theory; but so far as regards the ravens, it does not stand alone; for Owein son of Urien, who must be regarded as a solar hero, had a mysterious army of ravens; Cúchulainn, an avatar of Lug, had his two ravens of magic or druidism, and from hearing them his enemies inferred his having himself come; and Greek mythology represents Apollo occasionally attended by a raven, as in the story of Coronis.
From these parallel instances it would seem that the one of the Lugoves to whom the ravens strictly belonged was Lugus, and that fits in with the story of the founding of the Lyons Lugdunum. Another conjecture is possible as to the Lugoves, namely, that they were Lugus with one or more solar brothers like himself, and not his father. There would be no lack of parallel instances: witness the three comrades at Arthur's court, namely, Peredur, Owein and Gwalchmai; or the three Ultonians, one of whom, Conall Cernach, avenges Cúchulainn's death, while the third, Loegaire, has no very distinct rôle assigned him. Similarly, in Norse mythology, Balder had several brothers, one of whom visited him in Hell, and a third avenged his death; even in Greek we have something of the same kind in the presence together of Apollo and Heracles, whose disputes remind one of the rivalry between Cúchulainn, Conall and Loegaire, which was made the subject of an elaborate tale entitled Bricriu's Banquet. More weight attaches here, however, to the fact that neither Lleu nor Lug is associated with a brother of a nature similar to his own; the former had an elder brother Dylan, who hied away to the sea as soon as he was christened; and the latter had two brothers who were dropped into the sea, never more to be heard of, whence it may be inferred that they were more like Dylan than Lleu. On the whole, then, it seems more probable that the Lugoves of Gaulish religion consisted of Lugus and his father, whatever the name may have been which the latter bore in that connection.
Cúchulainn's Birth and Education.
Reference has more than once been made in this course to the Ultonian hero Cúchulainn; it is now time to speak of him more in detail. Irish literature preserves traces of a belief in the re-appearance of an ancestor in the person of a descendant: in other words, the same person or soul might be expected to appear successively in different bodies; and in no case could this seem more natural than in that of the Sun-god who constantly descends to the world of the dead and as often emerges from it. Now Lug seldom appears in the Ultonian sagas; but in one of them he places himself more than once on the way to be re-born, and more than once the mother is Dechtere sister to king Conchobar. It is hardly necessary to say that the accounts of Cúchulainn's birth are very confused and inconsistent. This is due partly to his being treated as the son of Lug in the ordinary way of nature, when he is called Lug's lad and his special nurseling; and partly to his being regarded as Lug himself re-appearing in the flesh after several more or less unsuccessful and obscure incarnations. One of these made the nobles of Ulster look with awkward suspicion at Conchobar, as the unmarried Dechtere acted as her brother's charioteer and shared his ordinary sleeping accommodation: compare the fact that Greek mythology treated Here as sister to Zeus, and also the Greek legend which made Zeus the father of Heracles.
The oldest account we have of Cúchulainn's birth occurs in the eleventh-century manuscript called the Book of the Dun; but a similar version is found in a later one, which adds to the story of the hero's birth the mysterious remark that he was then, as it would seem, a boy of three, which probably refers to his size and strength: compare the rapid growth of Lleu (p. 307). Neither story mentions his mother taking any part in bringing up the boy, but they speak of another of the king's sisters, who was called Finnchoem, setting her affection at once on little Setanta, for that was one of the boy's names: he was the same to her, she said, as her own son Conall Cernach, and the king remarked that there was little for her to choose between her own son and her own sister's son. It is not hinted that Dechtere disowned her child in this story, but it describes her, some time before his birth, trying to pass off for what she no more was than Arianrhod when she had the audacity to appear as candidate for the office of foot-holder to king Mâth (p. 306). The parallel between Dechtere and
Arianrhod is, however, brought into much clearer light in another and a second version in the same manuscript, which materially differs from the other two, and retains very old features of the myth that are not reproduced in them. This is the substance of it:—Fifty maidens from the Ultonian court, with Dechtere at their head, ran away from Emain, and their whereabouts could not be discovered for the spare of three years; but in the mean time Emain was visited by wild birds which ate up the grass and every green herb. The Ultonians felt this to be a great scourge, and they resolved to give them chase; so one day the king and a few of his nobles with their charioteers set out to kill the birds, by which they were allured over the hills and far away to the neighbourhood of the Brugh of the Boyne, notorious for its fairy inhabitants (p. 171). Night overtook them, and, having lost sight of the birds, they unyoked their horses, while one of their number took a turn to see if he could discover a habitation where they might pass the night. Ere long he rejoined his friends with the news that he had found a small house occupied by a man and his wife, who would welcome them with such hospitality as their means admitted of. Thither they went to pass the night; but presently one of their number went outside, and was surprised to come across a fine mansion, at the door of which stood the owner of it bidding him welcome to his house: he entered, and was familiarly saluted by the owner's wife. He asked the meaning of this, and was told that she was Dechtere, and that the fifty maidens dwelt there with her: it was they, in fact, that had in the guise of birds devastated Emain, as they wished to bring Conchobar and his men to their habitation. Dechtere then gave the visitor a purple mantle, with which he returned to his friends; but he, being Bricriu the Ultonian genius of mischief and discord, only told them that he had found a fine house; nor did he fail to dwell on the superior appearance of its owner and especially the beauty of his consort. Conchobar, reasoning in the way natural to kings and princes, said: 'That fellow is one of my men; he is in my land; let his wife come to me to-night.' But no sooner had she been brought than she gave it to be understood that she had been overtaken by the throes of childbirth, whereupon she was allowed to depart. The king and his men in due time went to sleep, and when they woke in the morning, what was their surprise to find themselves alone under the clear sky of heaven! The fairy houses and their fairy inmates had all disappeared, and all they had left behind them was a fine baby-boy in the king's brogue. The baby is handed over, as in the other versions, to the care of the king's sister Finnchoem, who seems now to have been his charioteer; but when she expresses her affection for the baby, it is Bricriu, and not Conchobar, who is made to say that she had little to choose between her own son and her own sister's son. He then relates all that he had learnt the previous day about Dechtere's escapade, which should be compared with the story of Caer (p. 170). What had now become of Dechtere, however, we are not told; but her deserting her son in the manner described is not the only parallel between her and Arianrhod; for, besides her wish to pass for a maiden as already mentioned, she had been her brother's charioteer, a circumstance in which we have the Irish equivalent of Arianrhod's name, which meant her of the Silver Wheel, and of Woden's leman Gefjon of the diúp roᵭul or deeply ploughing wheel, mentioned in a previous lecture (p. 284).
Lug re-born is best known as Cúchulainn, and the place the latter occupies in Irish legend justifies our devoting some of our space to him: he has the additional attraction that what is said of him may, in some instances, be regarded as said of Lug, who has already occupied our attention. Cúchulainn, then, is the sun, but the sun as a person, and as a person about whom a mass of stories have gathered, some of which probably never had any reference to the sun. So it is in vain to search for a solar key to all the literature about him: sometimes he is merely an exaggerated warrior and a distorted man; sometimes his solar nature beams forth unmistakably between the somewhat unwieldy attributes with which he has been invested with utter disregard to consistency or the general effect. There is probably nothing usually considered essential to a solar myth which could not be found in the various stories about Cúchulainn, as may be seen from the following things collected at random from among them.
After the curious accounts relative to his birth, the
next thing to be noticed is his rapid growth and precocious manhood. When he is only five, he sets off to Emain and overcomes all the Ultonian youths at their games in the play-field. When he is seven he longs for a warrior's arms; but at that age he could only get them by a trick, which he explained as a misunderstanding of the words of the druid who was his tutor. This reminds one of Lleu, though the obstacle in Cúchulainn's way was not like that which Arianrhod had prepared for Lleu. Arms then he got, namely, from the king, who was induced even to lend him his own war-chariot: he next bade his comrades in the play-field adieu, and compelled the king's charioteer to drive him across the border into an enemy's land, where he performed wonders of valour. He at length returned with his foes' heads in his chariot, a swift-footed stag between its hind shafts, and a string of wild birds fluttering above his head, as the trophies of his achievements in war and his fleetness in the chase, to which no deer's foot, no bird's wing, was equal: other exploits of his childhood might be added. As he rapidly grew to more than a man's strength, he died young, though not too young, perhaps, to have become bearded, but it was a subject of repeated remark that he remained beardless. Sometimes, when warriors would decline to fight with such a stripling, he would put on a beard, or pick up a handful of grass and sing a charm over it, which would convert it into a beard for him for the time. Cúchulainn's beardlessness reminds one of the youthful Apollo, and stands in contrast to the conventional solar hero with a beard representing the sun's rays. This deficiency was more than made up for in his case in the matter of hair; for though he is called at his birth 'he of little hair,' he had plenty later, and it was remarkable for its three distinct colours—dark near the skin, blood-red in the middle, and yellow at the top, shining like a diadem of gold in front, and streaming behind over his shoulders like so many threads of the precious metal over the edge of an anvil under the hammer of a master goldsmith, or the irresistible brilliance of the sun on a summer's day in the middle of the month of May. If this is to be explained in strict reference to the appearance of the sun, the Irish picture would have as much in its favour perhaps as any other; for it would refer the rays of that body not to its central part, but rather to the circumference of its disk. The three colours would seem to offer more difficulty, but not so much as the four dimples which were said to adorn both his cheeks, and to have been yellow, green, blue and red respectively. Possibly the flashes of his eyes, or the gems serving as pupils in the middle of them, which are described as seven or eight in number, referred to the days of the week respectively, as the three colours of his hair possibly did to the three parts of the day. And a reference to the appearance of the sun shorn of his rays may have been originally involved in the fancy which made Cúchulainn's hair get absorbed into his body, leaving a blood-red drop marking the place of each individual hair, when he was engaged in any great physical effort. This was, however, only a small part of the distortion which he underwent when he was hard pressed in battle: he prepared himself for action after sleep or illness by drawing his hand over his face, which had the effect of making him red all over, and of driving his lethargy from him; but when he got thoroughly angry with his antagonists, the calves of his legs would twist round till they were where his shins should have been; his mouth became large enough to contain a man's head; his liver and his lungs could be seen swinging in his throat and mouth; every hair on his body became as sharp as a thorn, and a drop of blood or a spark of fire stood on each; one of his eyes became as small as a needle's, or else it sank back into his head further than a heron could have reached with its beak, while the other protruded itself to a corresponding length. These contortions won for him the nickname of the Riastartha, or the Distorted One; but it was given him by the men of
Connaught in the west, whereas the courtesans of Ulster, looking at it in a different light, inflicted on themselves, by way of love for him, one of the so-called Three Blemishes of the Women of Ulster, which were as follows. Every Ultonian lady who loved Cúchulainn made herself blind of one eye when conversing with him; every one who loved Conall Cernach, who was cross-eyed, appeared to squint; and every one who loved the stuttering Ultonian hero, Coscraid Menn Macha, laid her speech under an impediment—all three instances of very earnest flattery, which one can, however, easily understand by studying cases of acute loyalty in this country. Now when Cúchulainn was distorted with anger and battle-fury, he became gigantic in size, and made no distinction between friends and foes, but felled all before and behind equally; so it was highly dangerous to stop him from fighting till he felt that he had enough, and when he stopped it was requisite to have three baths ready for him of cold water: the first he plunged into would instantly boil over, and the second would be too hot for anybody else to bear, while the third alone would be of congenial temperature. Whether this has any reference to solar heat or not, the same peculiarity of Cúchulainn's is described in another way: during hard weather he would sit down with the snow reaching to his girdle and cast off his clothes, including his under-clothing, whereupon the heat of his body would melt the snow for a man's cubit all round him.
Cúchulainn was unrivalled in all feats of arms and skill, whether he handled his own weapons or performed tricks with the needles of the astonished ladies of a king's court. It is difficult to understand the language in which the list of Cúchulainn's feats is couched, but such a name as the apple-feat would seem to suggest that some of them were of the nature of a juggler's tricks. Others, however, were doubtless of a more serious nature, as he often brought them into play in his duels with his foes. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about them is that when Cúchulainn went forth in his chariot, he used to practise them above the horses, above his head and that of his charioteer. If a basis for this fancy is to be sought in nature, it must be the overpowering play of the sun's rays blinding one's attempts to gaze at its midday orb. Cúchulainn's agility and strength were such that hardly any kind of walls could confine him, however high they might be. His most usual mode of fighting was to hurl his spear at his antagonist or a stone from his sling, which he did with fatal precision even at an incredible distance; but in extreme cases he used with the same effect a barbed weapon called the gái bolga, which he brought to bear on his foe from below or from above. He rode forth to battle in a scythed chariot,' and his charioteer was Loeg son of Riangabra, who with his wife and kindred lived in an island which Irish mythology places in the neighbourhood of Hades. The chariot was drawn by two horses of no ordinary breed: they were called the Grey of Macha and the Black Sainglend; and they gave their names to two Irish lakes whence they emerged when Cúchulainn caught them respectively, and whither they returned when his career was over. They had the peculiarity, that, wherever they grazed, they ate the grass root and stem, licking bare the very soil. They were swifter than the cold blasts of spring, and the sods from their hoofs as they galloped over the plain looked like an army of ravens filling the sky above the chariot, the iron wheels of which sank at times so deep into the soil as to make ruts ample for dykes and ditches for a fortress. Thus Cúchulainn is on one occasion made to describe a heavy course of this kind round the camp of his enemies, and to extemporize a blockade in this way to delay their march until his friends should arrive on the scene.
Lastly, Cúchulainn was distinguished for his good sense and wisdom, for the sweetness of his speech, and for many excellences or capacities in which he surpassed his contemporaries: among others are mentioned his superiority in the matter of intelligence, prophecy, chess-playing, and ability to tell at a glance the number of men in an enemy's camp. In fact, two of the three cleverest countings of this kind which Irish memory handed down in the form of a triad, were ascribed to Lug and Cúchulainn respectively. But the parallel extends much further than this instance would have led one to expect; for just as Lug excelled all the professional men of the Tuatha Dé Danann because he knew all their professions himself, so Cúchulainn, when he described himself to the lady he wooed to be his wife, was made to say that he yielded superiority to the king alone, that he surpassed all the nobles of Ulster because he had learned all that each of them had to teach in his own profession. For besides what appertained to war and valour, he possessed wisdom in legal and tribal matters, and he revised the judgments of the Ultonians; he could take a part in the administrative work of the king's realm; he had acquired all that the chief file or seer had to impart; and the chief druid had, for his mother's sake, made him a proficient scholar in the arts of the god of druidism (p. 224), so that he was fit to take part in the vision-feast. This is borne out by other parts of the story of Cúchulainn: thus on one occasion he is made to deliver himself of an elaborate charge to his friend Lugaid, who had been chosen king of Ireland, telling him how he was to conduct himself in that office; and if we turn to another field of his acquirements, we find him more than once writing ogams of potent magic, which thrown in the way of the advancing hosts of his enemies seriously embarrassed and delayed their march on the Táin. The superiority which he claimed over the nobles of his country he ascribed to his having been educated by every one of them, whether captain or charioteer, whether king or ollave: so he held himself bound to them all by the ties of fosterage, and he avenged the wrongs of them all without distinction. 'Verily it is therefore,' he says in concluding his account of himself to Emer, 'I was called by Lug . . . . from the swift journey of Dechtere to the house of the great man of the Brugh.' This in its way reminds one of the role which Apollo played in the politics and history of Greece, not to mention the parallel between Dechtere's flight with her fifty maidens to the Brugh of the Boyne and the wanderings of Leto before giving birth to Apollo; but far the most instructive comparisons are to be made between Cúchulainn and Heracles, as will be seen later.
Some of Cúchulainn's Adventures.
Thus far the reader has had presented to him a number of miscellaneous particulars about Cúchulainn's person and attributes; let us now say something more about his actions and the foes he had to face. Of these last, those who claim the first place are Ailill and Medb, the king and queen of Connaught, who have been mentioned on previous occasions, as has also their famous expedition, called the Táin, to Ulster, and especially to the Plain of Murthemne, or the district which was in Cúchulainn's special charge. Ailill may briefly be treated as one of the representatives of darkness, while his queen, who had been Conchobar's wife, belongs to the ambiguous goddesses of dawn and dusk found allied at one time with light and at another with darkness. So Medb did not always show herself hostile to Cúchulainn; in fact, later instances are mentioned of her displaying considerable partiality for him; and when he happened to come on business to her court at Cruachan, she would treat him with more than hospitality in the sense given that word by the civilized nations of our day. It was on the Táin she first heard of him, when his wondrous deeds of valour were daily brought home to her by the fall of the great champions of the west, whom she sent forth one after another to duel with him. At length his prolonged attempt to keep the invaders from the west at bay proved too much for him; and one day, when he was worn out by fatigue and sleeplessness, his charioteer beheld a big man with yellow curly hair on his head coming from the north-east, and making his way towards them right across the camp of his enemies without noticing them or being noticed by any of them, as though he were not seen of them. The charioteer described the dress and equipment of this warrior to Cúchulainn, who observed that it must be some one of his friends from Faery. So it was; for the stranger announced himself to Cúchulainn as his father Lug from Faery, and undertook to occupy his place, at the same time that he sang a kind of fairy music which put Cúchulainn to sleep. There he lay sleeping for three days and three nights, in the course of which Lug cured all his wounds. When at length he woke, he drew his hand over his face as usual, and Lug departed, while Cúchulainn, refreshed, began again to check the men of Erinn with varying success till his friends arrived, too late, however, to prevent the capture on which they were bent.
Cúchulainn was not more famous for his prowess in the field of battle than for his contests with beasts and fabulous creatures of all kinds, and the following story, which has an interest of its own, is told of him when he was as yet only six years of age. King Conchobar, happening one day to visit the field where the noble youths of his kingdom were at their games, was so struck by the feats performed by little Setanta, that he invited him to follow to a feast for which he and his courtiers were setting out. The boy said he would come when he had played enough. The feast was to be at the house of a great smith called Culann, who lived not only by his art of working in metals, but also by the wealth which prophecy and divination brought in. When the king and his men had arrived, Culann asked them if their number was complete, and the king, forgetting the boy that was to follow, answered in the affirmative. Culann explained that he asked the question because when his gates were shut in the evening he used to let loose a terrible war-hound, which he had obtained from Spain to guard his chattels and flocks during the night. So it was done then; but presently the boy Setanta came along, amusing himself with his hurlbat and ball as was his wont. He was hardly aware of the dog barking before it was at him; but he made short work of the brute, though not without rousing the Ultonians to horror at their oversight, for they had no doubt in their minds that the boy had been torn to pieces. The gates were thrown open, and the boy was found unharmed, with the dog lying dead at his feet. Like the rest, Culann welcomed him, for his mother's sake, as he said, but he could not help expressing his regret at the death of his hound; for he declared that his losing the guardian of his house and his chattels made his home a desolation. Little Setanta, who could not see why so much fuss should be made about the dog, bade the smith have no care, as he would himself guard all his property on the Plain of Murthemne till he had a grown-up dog of the same breed. This was the tract between Cuailgne or Cooley and the river Boyne, and he was subsequently identified with it; so that he is found called, for instance, the Rider of Murthemne's Plain, or the Warrior and the Prince of it; and he defended it more strenuously than any other district against the ravages of the Western hosts. When Setanta offered to watch Culann's cattle and other property, the druid present exclaimed that this should henceforth be his name, Cú-Chulainn, that is to say, Culann's Hound. Such is the old account of the way in which little Setanta obtained the name by which he is best known; but when this tale of the killing of Culann's dog comes to be compared with others in point, it is found that Culann must have originally been a form of the divinity of the other world, and that his terrible hound may doubtless be compared with the Cerberus of Greek mythology. The sun as a person makes war on the powers representing darkness and the inclemency of nature; but with these last would naturally be associated evil of all description, including death, the greatest of all ills: these then are the demons and monsters, under their many names, with which Cúchulainn repeatedly fights. But none of them can withstand him, and his warfare with them is briefly described in the words:
'Proud is he and haughty, of valour sublime,
Woe to the demons he pursues!'
The familiar sight of the sun rising and setting is the key to several things in the Cúchulainn legend. For instance, he is described going away from his post in the evening to visit one who prepares for him a bath before he quits her in the morning; and another time one of his enemies finds him bathing in a river early at the break of day. But the rising of the sun out of the sea in the morning does not appear to have had anything like the effect of sunset on the popular imagination, which is to be traced in the Cúchulainn legend in the stories of his visits to the other world, especially in quest of a wife. The maiden's name was Emer daughter of Forgall Monach (p. 376), who lived in a place called Luglochta Loga, explained to mean the Gardens of Lug, another name for the world whence Lug used to come, and the description of Emer's relatives quite bears this out, as she calls herself daughter of the Coal-faced King,
who is also stated to be the son of a sister of Tethra king of the Fomori. Now the dusky father discovers that his daughter has been wooed by the Riastartha: he is displeased and resolves on compassing the death of his would-be son-in-law. So he sets out in disguise on a visit to Conchobar's court, and he persuades the king to have Cúchulainn's military education perfected by sending him to be instructed by certain friends of his, from whom he expects him never to return alive. The first of these is represented living in Alban or Britain, but his country, though given that name, belonged to the geography of the other world. He was called Domnall, and was probably the same mythic being as Domnall the terrible chariot-god, associated with the bards to whom allusion has already been made (p. 323). His name fits in with what is said of him in the story of Cúchulainn; for Domnall, the genitive of which is well known in the Anglicized form of Donnell, would seem to associate him with the deep; and in Welsh it is, letter for letter, Dyvnwal, a name borne by one of the mythic legislators mentioned in the Triads, one of which, iij. 58, associates his name with the beginning of bardism. He has usually the epithet Moel, 'bald,' or Moel-mud, 'bald and mute, or bald-mute,' in harmony with a common habit of representing the dark gods as bald, cropped of their ears, deprived of one eye, or in some way peculiar about the head, and occasionally lacking the power of speech. When Cúchulainn had learned all the feats that Domnall could teach him, he proceeded to leave Alban for an island to the east of it, where a goddess lived who bore the name of Scáthach, which means Shadowy or Shady: she appears to have been the same who was named Buanann, and described as the nurse of the heroes of Irish mythology. Cúchulainn had not gone far when his companions resolved to turn back; and he felt dejected and uncertain as to the direction to take, when a strange beast came and took him on its back. Thus he travelled for four days, at the end of which the kind beast put him down in an inhabited island, where he received food and drink from a maiden he had met before. He also fell in with a certain Echaid Bairche, who directed him on his way to Scáthach's court. Cúchulainn had to cross the plain, he said, which he saw before him, one-half of which was so cold that the traveller's feet would cleave to the ground, and the other half had the peculiarity that the ground cast him on the points of the spear-like grass which grew out of it; but the friendly stranger gave him a wheel and an apple, which he was to follow across the two dismal tracts respectively. He was then to cross a perilous glen, which was a terrible gulf with no bridge but a slender cord stretched across it from one cliff to the opposite one; and this was not all, for at the end he was to encounter the demons and phantoms sent by Forgall Monach to work his destruction. He crossed that 'bridge of dread,' however, in spite of them, and found himself in Scáthach's Isle; there were more obstacles to be overcome before reaching Scáthach's abode, but he surmounted them also, including a bridge that was low at both ends, high in the middle, and so constructed that, when a man stepped on the one end, the other end would rise aloft, and he would be thrown down. He was received with surprise by Scáthach, and with ardent love by her daughter Uathach, who instructed him how to force her mother to teach him. There is a general similarity between this journey and the voyage which Cúchulainn undertook in quest of the sons of Doel Dermait, a story now familiar to you; and the parallel extends even to the internal affairs of Scáthach's country. We read that Scáthach was challenged to battle by another queen of Hades named Aife, and sometimes called Scáthach's daughter. The fighting took place in part on the cord over the Perilous Glen, and Cúchulainn duels on it with Aife, and succeeds in carrying her away to Scáthach's camp, where she is compelled to give hostages to Scáthach. Now Scáthach's abode was the land of death; and the accesses to it are variously described.
But before proceeding further, let us recur for a moment to the dismal plain crossed by Cúchulainn following for a while a mysterious wheel, and for another while an equally mysterious apple. Why the story should have both a wheel and an apple does not appear, as the two would seem to suggest one and the same interpretation; but before coming to that, I wish to point out that the apple is replaced in other stories by the ball with which Cúchulainn, when he was a child, used to play a sort of solitary hurley or golf as he went his ways. It was thus, when only five years old, he left his home on the Plain of Murthemne and crossed the mountains to Emain, and it was so he was proceeding towards Culann the Smith's stronghold, when he perceived the latter's Spanish hound making for him, and killed the monster. There is a more curious instance still: young Cúchulainn' s slumbers durst not be disturbed, so he was one day left sleeping in-doors at Emain, when a battle was raging between the heroes of Ulster and Eogan mac Durthacht, whose name has already been mentioned (pp. 142, 335): the victory fell to the share of the latter, and Conchobar and others of the Ultonians were left on the battle-field. When the wounded survivors reached Emain, it was night and already dark, but the lamentation and tumult elicited by their arrival made Cúchulainn wake: he asked at once where the king was, and, as nobody could tell, he rushed off to the scene of the slaughter; but no sooner had he reached it than he was assailed by one of the demons revelling there, and he would have succumbed had not the Bodb (p. 43), the Mórrígu, perhaps, under another name and in the form of a kind of hoodie, cried out in an upbraiding tone, 'Bad materials of a hero are those there under the feet of phantoms.' Cúchulainn, stung by that taunt, got up again, and struck off the head of his ghost-foe with his hurlbat. Then he drove the ball before him over the field and shouted, 'Is my father Conchobar on this field of slaughter?' The latter answered that he was, and Cúchulainn came and found him all but wholly buried with earth over him on almost every side. He extricated him, and found that he would live if he could get him some food, which he hastened to procure: he then took Conchobar to Emain, whither he carried at the same time a wounded son of Conchobar's on his shoulders. How the latter had got into the position Cúchulainn found him in, we are not told, but it reminds one of the dismal plain to which the traveller's feet would cleave; further, Cúchulainn's coming was so late that the night was then dark, and it looks as though the narrator ought to have told us that the ball he sent over the field was luminous, and that it was by means of it, and not by calling out, that he found the king in the earth: as it stands, the narrative is not very intelligible. Whatever the reason for that may be, there can be little doubt that we have traces here of a primitive and forgotten myth which represented the sun as an apple or ball, after which an infant giant used to run daily across the sky; and the other form, that of a wheel, given to that heavenly body, is of even greater mythological interest, as it offers an Irish instance of a symbolism, the solar origin of which, as mentioned on another occasion (p. 55), has been lately discussed by M. Gaidoz.
Let us now come back to Cúchulainn's training in Scáthach's Island: he went there when he was only six years old, and returned as soon as he had learned all that could be taught him there. But the details of his journey homewards are not given; we are, however, told that on his way he visited the court of Red, king of the Isles; but there must have been a story or stories representing him coming to Erinn, on this or some other occasion, direct from Britain along a more southerly route, and I must now briefly explain why I think this deserving of mention. The Sun-god is a great traveller: thus Lug, for example, arrives from a distance to help the Tuatha Dé Danaan, and Conall Cernach has to be sought for in foreign lands. Like them, Cúchulainn travels too. Moreover, there was a remarkable difference of race, to be noticed later, between him and the other heroes of the Ultonian cycle. On the other hand, he had the charge of a special district consisting of the Plain of Murthemne, which, roughly speaking, meant the level portion of the modern county of Louth. In case, then, he was at any time represented to come to his favourite haunts from another land, what land could more naturally have been regarded the one he journeyed from than the nearest part of Britain lying in the same latitude? This would be the coast from the Mersey to Morecambe Bay, and it is worthy of remark that this trad once belonged to a people called the Setantii, a name which cannot be severed from that of the Seteia supposed to be the Dee, or from that of the Σεταντίων Λιμήν, the Harbour of the Setantii, the position of which corresponds to the mouth of the Ribble. Hence the name Setanta.
Shortly after his return from Scáthach's Isle, Cúchulainn set out for the Gardens of Lug to carry away Emer, according to a promise he had made to her; but for a whole year he was unable to communicate with her on account of the efficient watch kept over her by Forgall's henchmen; but at last he succeeded, and appeared all of a sudden in the middle of the stronghold, where he performed such marvels of valour that Forgall lost his life in leaping terror-stricken over his own walls. Cúchulaiun then made his way out with Emer and her foster-sister. In the pursuit which took place on the part of Forgall's men, he performed all the deeds of valour he had previously boasted himself capable of to Emer. Now she, though the child of a dusky king, was herself a perfect beauty, and endowed with all the accomplishments of a superior lady. The whole picture is drawn on the lines of the nature myth connecting the Sun with the Dawn: the latter, though the daughter of darkness, is beautiful, and she is the Sun-god's wife. The same idea is brought into relief also in an Icelandic story found in a manuscript of the fifteenth century, but evidently made up of old materials. It relates how one of king Olaf's men landed in the fairy realm of Goᵭmundr. His name was Thorsteinn, and he had met with other strange adventures, in one of which he had procured, among diverse articles of great virtue, a small stone which, when concealed in his hand, would make him invisible to others. Falling in with Goᵭmundr and two of his men one day, he was questioned as to who he was, and having duly answered, he in his turn inquired after Goᵭmundr's history, when Goᵭmundr told him that he was then on a dangerous journey to the court of a neighbouring king called Geirrœᵭr, who claimed him as his tributary, and who had caused the death of Goᵭmundr's father when he last went to Geirrœᵭr's court to pay him his tribute. Thorsteinn expressed a desire to accompany Goᵭmundr, but the latter, who was a giant, was amused at the small stature of Thorsteinn, though for a man he was a person of a very powerful frame. When, however, he said that he had a way of making himself invisible, Goᵭmundr consented to take him with him, and Thorsteinn proved the means of rendering Goᵭmundr and his men victors in all the contests in which Geirrœᵭr made them engage. Finally, Thorsteinn killed Geirrœᵭr and enabled Goᵭmundr to annex his kingdom; he also found himself a wife there called Gođrún, daughter of Agᵭi, who is described as the most demon-like of Geirrœᵭr's earls: among other things he had claw-like hands and a dark complexion. The maid was, however, beautiful, and he brought her and her treasures to king Olaf's court, where she was wedded to Thorsteinn. Old Norse tales make Goᵭmundr the king of a Teutonic Elysium, and represent him as a very great personage; but the Icelandic story gives him an antagonistic neighbour, over whom he is made to triumph by the aid of a stranger, who, looked at in the light of our Celtic stories, should be the Culture Hero, or his son the Solar Hero. The latter would seem best to suit the story of Thorsteinn, who, bringing Gođrún away with him to be his wife, cannot help reminding one a little of Cúchulainn carrying away his bride from her father, the coal-faced king Forgall. As to the rest, the conquest of Geirrœᵭr and the annexation of his realm to Goᵭmundr's recall the assistance given by Pwyỻ to Arawn king of Hades (p. 340), while the stone which rendered Thorsteinn invisible challenges comparison with the ring used with the same effect by Owein ab Urien (p. 351). In a word, the Thorsteinn story, though not corresponding through and through to any of the Celtic ones, shows a general similarity to them, which goes to form evidence of a notion once common to Celts and Teutons as to the nether world; and the outlines of that notion are probably to be ranked among the ancient ideas of the Aryan family.
To return to Cúchulainn, it is right to add that some of the stories give his wife a name other than Emer, namely Ethne Ingubai, wherein we have a discrepancy, probably not to be got over by saying that these were two names borne by one and the same person. For it may be that the myth pictured the Dawn not as one but as many, to all of whom the Sun-god made love in the course of the three hundred and more days of the year. Among those mentioned as his wives or lemans may be included not only Emer and Ethne, but also Uathach and Aife; nay, he seems, as we shall see presently, to have had also loves of a somewhat different description, reflecting the sparkling of the dew-drop in the rays of the sun; but he declines to have anything to say to Dornolla, the big-fisted daughter of Domnall: she was too hideous, and she became his implacable foe.
Another tale of Cúchulainn's doings in the world of darkness and death must now be briefly mentioned, as it brings out the unmistakable features of the myth very clearly. While the Ultonians were celebrating the great festival which marked the Calends of Winter and the days immediately before and after them, a flock of wild birds lighted on a loch near them. The ladies of Conchobar's court took a fancy to them, and Cúchulainn was disgusted to find that they had nothing better for the men to do than that they should go bird-catching; but when his gallantry was duly appealed to, with an allusion to the number in Ulster of the noble ladies who were one-eyed out of love for him, he proceeded to catch the birds, which he distributed so liberally that he found when he came to his own wife he had none left for her: he was very sorry on that account, and promised that as soon as ever any wild birds visited the Plain of Murthemne or the river Boyne, the finest pair of them should be hers. It was not long ere two birds were seen swimming on the loch: they were observed to be joined together by a chain of ruddy gold, and they made a gentle kind of music which caused the host to fall asleep. Cúchulainn went towards them; but his wife and his charioteer cautioned him to have nothing to do with them, as it was likely that there was some hidden power behind them. He would not listen, but cast a stone from his sling at them, which to his astonishment missed them, he cast another, with the same result. 'Woe is me!' said he, 'from the time when I took arms to this day, my cast never missed.' He next threw his spear at them, which passed through the wing of one of the birds, and both dived. Cúchulainn, now in no happy mood, went and rested against a stone that stood near, and he fell asleep. He then dreamt that two women, one in green and the other in red, came up to him: the one in green smiled at him and struck him a blow with a whip, the one in red did the same thing, and this horse-whipping of the hero went on till he was nearly dead. His friends came and would have waked him, had not one of them suggested that he was probably dreaming, so they were careful not to disturb his nap. When at length he woke, he would tell them nothing, and he bade them place him in his bed. This all took place on the eve of November, when the Celtic year begins with the ascendency of the powers of darkness. When Cúchulainn had lain in his bed, speaking to nobody, for nearly a year, and the Ultonian nobles and his wife happened to be around him, some on the bed and the others close by, they suddenly found a stranger seated on the side of the bed. He said he had come to speak to Cúchulainn, and he sang a song in which he informed him that he had come from his sister Fand and his sister Liban to tell him that they would soon heal him if they were allowed. Fand, he said, had conceived great love for him, and would give him her hand if he only visited her land, and treat him to plenty of silver and gold, together with much wine to drink. She would, moreover, send her sister Liban on November-eve to heal him. After having added that his own name was Aengus, brother to Fand and Liban, he disappeared as mysteriously as he had come. Cúchulainn then sat up in his bed and told his friends all about the dream which had made him ill: he was advised to go to the spot where it occurred to him twelve months previously, for such are the requirements of the fairy reckoning of time. He did so, and he beheld the woman in green coming towards him: he reproached her for what she had done, and she explained that she and her sister had come, not to harm him, but to seek his love: Fand, she said, had been forsaken by Manannán mac Lir, and had set her heart on him, Cúchulainn; moreover, she had a message now from her own husband, Labraid of the Swift Hand on the Sword, to the effect that he would give him Fand to wife for one day's assistance against his enemies. Cúchulainn objected that he was not well enough to fight; but he was induced to send Loeg his charioteer with Liban to see the mysterious land to which he was invited. Loeg, after conversing with Fand and Labraid of the Swift Hand on the Sword, returned with a glowing account of what he had seen. This revived the drooping spirits of his master, who passed his hand over his face and rapidly recovered his strength. Even then he would not go to Labraid's Isle on a woman's invitation, and Loeg had to visit it again and assure him that Labraid was impatiently expecting him for the war that was about to be waged. Then at length he went thither in his chariot and fought. He abode there a month with Fand, and when he left her he made an appointment to meet her at Ibar Cinn Trachta, or the Yew at the Strand's End, the spot, according to O'Curry, where Newry now stands. This came to the ears of Emer, Cúchulainn's wedded wife, and she, with the ladies of Ulster, repaired there, provided with sharp knives to slay Fand. A touching scene follows, in which Emer recovers Cúchulainn's love, and Fand beholds herself about to be forsaken, whereupon she begins to bewail the happy days she had spent with her husband Manannán mac Lir in her bower at Dún Inbir, or the Fort of the Estuary. Nay, Fand's position in the unequal conflict with the ladies of Ulster became known to Manannán, the shape-shifting Son of the Sea, and he hastened over the plain to her rescue. 'What is that there?' inquired Cúchulainn. 'That,' said Loeg, 'is Fand going away with Manannán mac Lir, because she was not pleasing to thee.' At those words Cúchulainn went out of his mind, and leaped the three high leaps and the three southern leaps of Luachair. He remained a long time without food and without drink, wandering on the mountains and sleeping nightly on the road of Midluachair. Emer went to consult the king about him, and it was resolved to send the poets, the professional men and the druids of Ulster, to seek him and bring him home to Emain. He would have slain them, but they chanted spells of druidism against him, whereby they were enabled to lay hold of his arms and legs. When he had recovered his senses a little, he asked for drink, and they gave him a drink of forgetfulness, which made him forget Fand and all his adventures: as Emer was not in a much better state of mind, the same drink was also administered to her; and Manannán had shaken his cloak between Fand and Cúchulainn that they might never meet again.
This story of Cúchulainn's Sick-bed calls for one or two remarks before passing on. It identifies in a manner the world of waters with that of darkness and the dead; for elsewhere Liban is a woman in charge of a magic well, which, neglected by her, overwhelms her and changes her into an otter, while the waters formed the lake now called Lough Neagh. Liban is to be equated with the Llivon or Llion of the Welsh story of the deluge occasioned by the bursting of Llyn Llion or Llivon's Lake, and with the girl accused of neglecting the well, which Welsh legend describes bursting over Cantre'r Gwaelod, or the Bottom Hundred, a country fabled to have flourished where the billows of the Irish Sea now ride at large on the shores of Keredigion. As to Fand, who had her separate apartment at Labraid's abode, she is called in the story the daughter of Aed Abrat, that is the Fire of the Eyelid, which meant the Tear, daughter of the Pupil of the Eye: she was so called, we are told, on account of her brilliancy and comeliness. With this the probable etymology of the name Fand agrees, being, as it would seem, of the same origin as the English word water, Lithuanian vand˚ú of the same meaning, and as the Latin unda, 'a wave:' it recalls De la Motte Fouqué's Undine, who has, however, her more exact counterpart in the Welsh story of the Lady of the Little Van Lake already mentioned (p. 422). Now Fand had been married to the great sea-god Manannán mac Lir at the Dun of the Estuary, and the wooing of Cúchulainn by her is the sparkling of the pellucid drop in the sun's rays when he has reached the dark places of the earth; but that was to last only for a time, and Fand returns to her former love; that is to say, the crystal drop is finally carried back to the ocean. These pretty myth-pictures may date from almost any age in the history of an imaginative race; but it is probably a touch by the hand of hoary antiquity alone that represents the Sun-god gone mad, and only recalled to the ways in which he should go by the king's magicians and medicine-men.
Another tale, proved by the names involved to belong to the same class, must now be briefly added: it relates how Cúchulainn, on his way back from Scáthach's country, came on November-eve to a city whose prince, called Ruad or Red, king of the Isles, had been obliged to expose his daughter as tribute to the Fomori, three of whom were to come from their distant islands to carry her away from the strand, where she sat alone awaiting their dreaded arrival. Her father promised her to wife to any man who would rescue her, and Cúchulainn hearing of it, awaited the Fomori and killed them, wherefore he was entitled to the hand of the daughter of the king; so the king told him to take her. He excused himself, and told the maiden to come after him to Erinn in twelve months' time, but he forgot to fix the place of their meeting. On the day, however, which had been appointed, Cúchulainn happened to be careering with a friend near Loch Cuan, better known as Strangford Lough, when they beheld on the water two swans joined together by a chain of gold. Cúchulainn cast a stone at them from his sling, which wounded one of them. On hastening to the strand, they found there, not two swans, but two of the finest women they had ever seen. Derborgaill, for that was the name of the maid rescued by Cúchulainn, explained who she was, and how she and her handmaid had come according to his order, though he had now wounded her with a stone which was lodged in her side. Cúchulainn was very sorry for what he had rashly done, and proceeded to suck the stone out of the wound with the blood around it. He afterwards gave her to wife to Lugaid, his greatest friend, as he declared that one whose side he had sucked could not be his own wife, a touch of refinement overcast with gloom by the sequel, which relates how Derborgaill was savagely mutilated by the women of Ulster under very peculiar circumstances, and how her death was grimly avenged on them by the enraged Cúchulainn. Now one version of Derborgaill's story makes her daughter to Forgall king of Lochlann, which meant a country in or beneath a loch or the sea, the home in fact
of the Fomori, whose king is said to have been Tethra, uncle to Forgall. Much consistency, however, is not to be looked for in these matters; nor is Forgall's connection with Lochlann contradicted by the situation of Luglochta Loga, where Cúchulainn finds Forgall's stronghold and his daughter Emer; for, according to another account, the residence of Forgall was in the side of Lusca, a name which means a cave, and is borne by a place in the present county of Dublin, which is perhaps not too far from the coast for the Sun-god to seem to emerge from the direction of it; not to mention that the Fomori, though belonging to the world of waters, may be encountered anywhere underground, even where the sea is far away: we may compare Undine and her kinsmen, who had access to this world wherever there was a stream or a well. According to one of the foregoing accounts, Derborgaill was about to be given away to the Fomori, her father's foes and oppressors; while according to the other, she was the daughter of a king of the Fomori, who, we may infer, wished to bestow her on one of his own race, when she set out to Cúchulainn. The difference amounts to little, and the damsel is to be regarded as behaving in the same way as a goddess of dawn and dusk. She might, further, be said to combine in her own person the characteristics, to a certain extent, of Emer and Fand; but this requires to be explained with reference to her name Derborgaill, more familiar to most of you in its Scotch form of Dervorgild. It is interpreted in the Book of Leinster to mean 'Dér, or Tear, daughter of Forgall king of Lochlann,' which one cannot help comparing with the name of Fand, and associating with Derborgaill's love for Cúchulainn, as an analogous case of the nature myth representing the drop glistening in the sun's rays. Why both stories should treat the liquid element as a, tear I cannot say: a modern author would in such a case probably prefer speaking of the drop of rain or dew, and it is conceivable that the Tears of Forgall king of Lochlann were in ancient Erinn the mythic definition of rain or dew; but I must confess complete ignorance of any facts that would serve to countenance such a view.
Cúchulainn and his Foes.
The epic tale of the Táin involves Cúchulainn in a quarrel with a goddess of a different description from those hitherto mentioned: I mean the Mórrigu, or Great Queen of the Mars-Jupiter of the Goidels (p. 43). According to the Book of the Dun, it happened one day during Cúchulainn's defence of Ulster against the forces of Ailill and Medb from the west, that the Mórrigu presented herself to him in the form of a damsel of highly distinguished appearance, clad in a dress of all colours. 'Who art thou?' inquired Cúchulainn. 'I am the daughter of Buan the king,' said she; 'I am come to thee; I have loved thee on account of thy fame, and I have brought with me my treasures and my herds.' 'Not good, indeed,' said he, 'is the time of thy coming to us: is not the bloom of our . . . . bad? Not easy, then, for me is it to arrange a meeting with a woman,' said he, 'while I am in this struggle.' 'I shall,' said she, 'be of assistance to thee in it.' Thereupon he gave her an insulting reply, which made her completely change her tone, and say: 'It will be hard for thee when I shall come against thee engaged in fighting with the men of Erinn: I shall come in the form of an eel beneath thy feet at the ford, so that thou wilt stumble and fall.' 'That strikes me as a more likely form for thee than that of a king's daughter; but I shall,' he added, 'seize thee in my hand, causing thy ribs to break, and thou wilt be subject to that blemish till I pronounce sentence of blessing on thee.' 'I shall,' said she, 'in the form of a grey she-wolf, drive the cattle to the ford against thee.' 'I shall cast a stone,' said he, 'at thee from my sling, and smash one of thy eyes in thy head; and thou wilt be under that blemish till I pronounce sentence of blessing on thee.' 'I shall come,' said she, 'to thee in the form of a hornless red heifer at the head of the herd, so that they will rout thee at the mires, at the fords and at the pools, and thou wilt not perceive me meeting thee.' 'I shall,' said he, 'fling a stone at thee, and break one of thy legs under thee, and thou wilt be under that blemish till I pronounce sentence of blessing on thee.' Thereupon she left him for a while; but, according to her threat, she returned one day when he was engaged in single combat with a formidable foe; and, in the form of an eel, she gave three twists round his feet, so that he fell at full length across the ford: presently he got up and seized the eel in his hand, so that her ribs broke within her. The noise of the strokes dealt by Cúchulainn and his antagonist at one another in the ford was such as to frighten the western army's flocks and herds, so that the latter broke loose and rushed eastwards across the camp with the tents on their horns: this was the Mórrigu's opportunity, so she came in the form of a she-wolf and drove the cattle in the other direction down upon Cúchulainn, whereupon he cast a stone from his sling, as he had promised, and smashed her eye. Afterwards she came down on the ford in the form of the hornless red heifer at the head of the herd, and was lamed by Cúchulainn, as he had foretold. The Mórrigu had now to bethink herself how she might be healed of her triple blemish, for wounds inflicted by Cúchulainn could not be healed without his own intervention. One day, as Cúchulainn felt thirsty after the performance of a fabulous feat of valour against the troops of the west, the Mórrigu presented herself to him in the guise of an old woman, lame and blind of one eye, engaged in milking a three-teated cow. He asked her for a drink, and she gave him the milking of the first teat, whereupon he wished her the blessing of gods and not-gods, and she was healed of one of her wounds. He asked her again for milk, which she gave him from the second teat, and he repeated the blessing, at which another of her wounds was healed. He had likewise the milk of the third teat, and on his pronouncing his blessing on her a third time, she was made whole, whereupon she reminded him that he had said that he would never heal her. 'Had I only known it was thou,' said he, 'I should never have healed thee to the end of the world.' Cúchulainn and the Mórrigu were now, so to say, quits, and the story ends without shedding any light on the later relations between them. Another story, however, which describes Cúchulainn's death, makes the Mórrigu, out of friendship for him, break his chariot on the eve of the fatal day, so as to induce him to stay at home; how the reconciliation had been effected I cannot say; and I have only entered into these details because they form the Irish counterpart of the hostility evinced by Here towards Heracles, and their final reconciliation.
The Mórrigu, it is needless to say, failed in her friendly effort to keep Cúchulainn at home on the day already referred to, for the warriors of Ulster were again in their couvade, and he alone was left to face the enemy, who was this time under the command of Lugaid king of Erinn, and Erc king of Leinster. The former slew Cúchulainn near Loch Lamraith in the Plain of Murthemne on the very day when the Ultonians were able to come out of their confinement; and Conall Cernach, Cúchulainn's foster-brother, pursued Lugaid, and overtook him before the close of the day bathing in the Liffey. A parley took place, followed by a protracted duel, resulting in Conall slaying Lugaid, who surrendered to him both his realm and his head. In this singular combat Conall had the aid of his horse, a beast said to have been provided with a dog's head in order to aid his master in his battles; so when Conall had been bound by Lugaid to fight with only one hand, as the latter had lost one of his hands that day, Conall's canine horse took part in the conflict by biting a piece out of Lugaid's side, which rendered the rest of the fight easy for his antagonist. This, it will be seen, forms a remarkable parallel to Owein ab Urien's lion assisting him in his duels on more than one occasion (p. 402). But to return to Cúchulainn: his slayer was Lugaid, as has just been said, and he is so important a character that his history must here be detailed at some length. He is usually called Lugaid Riab nDerg, or L. of the Red Stripes, represented as Cúchulainn's special friend, or else as his foster-son and even as his own son. He is variously known as Lugaid mac Conroi, 'L. son of Cúroi,' and L. mac na Tri Con, 'L. son of the Three Cús,' or Hounds, and he is possibly to be also identified with Lugaid mac Con, or L. Hound's Son, whose story, however, differs very widely from the others, owing, it may be, at least in part, to racial reasons. It is also conceivable that Mac Con or Mac na Tri Con originally meant merely Him of the Hound, or of the Three Hounds, in reference to a simple or triple Cerberus as companion of the Plutonic deity: Gwyn ab Nûᵭ: had likewise both a horse and a hound of a formidable kind.
Now the mother of Lugaid of the Three Hounds was, according to one account, Bláthnat, wife of Cúroi mac Daire, a great magician associated with the mountain range of Slieve Mis in Kerry, where his stronghold has given a lofty height between Tralee and Dingle its name of Cathair Chonroi, 'Cúroi's Fortress,' Anglicized Caher Conree. Now Bláthnat's name, derived from bláth, 'bloom,' reminds one of that of Blodeueᵭ, from blodeu, 'flowers,' and she is herself represented as unfaithful a wife to Cúroi as Blodeueᵭ was to Lleu (p. 239); for she is not only said to have loved others, but a tragic tale relates how she became Cúchulainn's wife after he had slain Cúroi with her aid. Cúchulainn and two other Ultonians had paid a friendly visit to Cúroi at his abode in the west; and Cúchulainn, whether then or later we are not told, found opportunity of coming to a treacherous understanding with Bláthnat. So at the time fixed upon by her, namely, November-eve, Cúchulainn and his followers stationed themselves at the bottom of the hill watching the stream that came down past Cúroi's fort; nor had they to wait long before they observed its waters turning white: it was the signal given by Bláthnat, for she had agreed to empty the milk of Mider's three cows from Mider's cauldron into the stream, which has ever since been called the Finnghlais or White Brook. The sequel was that Cúchulainn entered Cúroi's fort unopposed, and slew its owner, who happened to be asleep with his head on Bláthnat's lap. Cúchulainn took away Bláthnat, with the famous cows and cauldron; but he was not long to have possession of his new wife, for Cúroi's poet and harper, called Ferceirtne, resolved to avenge his master; so he paid a visit to Cúchulainn and Bláthnat in Ulster, where he was gladly received by them; but one day, when the Ultonian nobles happened to be at a spot bordering on a high cliff, Ferceirtne suddenly clasped his arms round Bláthnat, and flinging himself with her over the cliff, they died together.
This story may perhaps be regarded as presenting the difficulty, that the treachery more usually characteristic of the dark powers is here ascribed to the Sun-hero, somewhat as if Lleu and Goronwy had changed places in the story of Blodeueᵭ's infidelity; but it is impossible to make Cúchulainn one of the dark beings, among whom Cúroi, on the other hand, must be classed. For we find him among the allies who gave Ailill and Medb assistance on the Táin, in which he was ready personally to engage had he not been checkmated. This eharacter of a Dis or Pluto agrees well with the fact that Cúroi appears as an ancestor in the west, which is attested, among other things, by an ancient ogam, on a low cromlech near Caher Conree, commemorating a man described as Son of Cúroi. Like Niall of the Nine Hostages, and others of the same type, Cúroi engaged in wars outside Erinn and far away: one story places his exploits even among the Scythians. Like the solar heroes, the princes of darkness not only grew to manhood in a short time, but they were also, like them, great travellers, conquering far and wide, the reason being, in the last resort, that wherever the light of the sun shines, there darkness likewise comes in its turn. It is right, however, to add that there is a story which represents Cúchulainn as having a long-standing cause to hate Cúroi. Cúchulainn and the heroes of Ulster once on a time resolved to go on a plundering expedition to the Isle of the Men of Falga, a fairy land ruled by Mider (p. 145) as its king. Cúroi, who was a great magician, insinuated himself among the raiders in disguise, and by means of his arts he succeeded in leading the Ultonians into Mider's stronghold, after they had repeatedly failed in their attempts. He did this on the condition that he was to have of the plunder the jewel that pleased him best. They brought away from Mider's castle Mider's daughter Bláthnat, as she was a damsel of exceeding beauty; also Mider's Three Cows and his Cauldron, which were objects of special value and virtues. When they came to the division of the spoils, the mean-looking man in grey, who had led the victorious assault, said that the jewel he chose was Bláthnat, whom he took to himself. Cúchulainn complained that he had deceived them, as he had only specified a jewel, which he insisted on interpreting in no metaphorical sense; but by means of his magic, the man in grey managed to carry the girl away unobserved. Cúchulainn pursued, and the dispute came to be settled by a duel on the spot, in which Cúchulainn was so thoroughly vanquished that Cúroi left him on the field bound hand and foot, after having cut off his long hair, which forced Cúchulainn to hide himself for a whole year in the wilds of Ulster, while Cúroi carried away to his stronghold of Caher Conree both Bláthnat and her father's cows and cauldron. This story seems to mix up two things, the first of which was the carrying away of the Three Cows and the Cauldron of the king of the fairy island, of which a very different version represents it as Cúchulainn's own doing (p. 261). Now Falga is variously supposed to have been the Isle of Man or Insi Gall, that is to say, the Western Isles; but, according to Cormac's Glossary, the cows, which were white cattle with red ears, belonged, not to Mider, but to another king of the other world, who was called Echaid Echbél, or E. Horse-mouth. He lived in Alban, and his cows used to come to graze in Dalriada, on a headland, now called Island Magee, in Antrim, where they were appropriated by Cúchulainn and his men, from whom they were then stolen by Cúroi and carried away whither Cúchulainn knew not. This, it will be seen, is a Goidelic version of the story of Cacus stealing from Hercules some of the heifers he had taken from Geryon. The other thing confused with the story of Echaid's Cows was that of the contest for the daughter of Mider king of the fairies. This latter story taken by itself is transparent enough: it is devoted to the different stages in the usual conflict between the representative of light and darkness for the dawn-goddess: in the first engagement the former is vanquished and cropped of his long yellow hair, whereupon his retirement takes place for a time, just as he withdraws distraught from the haunts of men, when Fand is taken away from him by Manannán, the other great magician of Irish story. At the next stage the Sun-god succeeds in disposing of Cúroi and carrying away his wife to his own home; but the powers of darkness gain possession of her once more, for that is probably the meaning of her being borne away over the cliff.
According to these stories, Lugaid was the son of the unfaithful Bláthnat; but there seem to have been plenty of different accounts of his parentage, in which other sets of names figure; and one of them is interesting as an instance, to a certain extent, of associating with darkness and death the ideas of guilt and depravity. Medb, queen of the West, had two sisters, called respectively Clothru and Ethne Uathach, or E. the Horrible. They had three brothers, called na tri Finn Emna, or the Three White Ones of Emain. Why they were so called is a question of the same kind as why the corresponding Welsh name should have been borne by a god of death like Gwyn ab Nûᵭ; he was, however, only one, according to the story of Kulhwch, of three Gwyns, who are possibly to be equated with the three Finns of Emain. The individual names of these last were Bres, Nár and Lothur, which one might perhaps render War, Shame and Hell. Now Lugaid is considered the son of this Evil Triad and Clothru or the Horrible Ethne. The story of his origin, briefly told in the Book of Leinster, forms a picture less colossal but more disgusting than that sketched by Milton of the relations between Death and Sin and Satan. Now the four provinces of Erinn which were usually hostile to Ulster wished to choose a king to rule over the kingdom at Tara; and among those who met together were Ailill and Medb, Cúroi, and Erc king of Leinster, in whose palace at Tara the meeting was held. The Ultonians were of course not consulted, but the vision of the seer at the bull-feast indicated as the over-king that was to be chosen, a warrior who was then in Ulster, standing, as it happened, by Cúchulainn's sickbed. Messengers were sent to him, and it was when they announced their errand that Cúchulainn sat up and delivered a charge to Lugaid as to how he was to conduct himself in his office of king.
This friendship between Cúchulainn and Lugaid is very remarkable; it is illustrated also in the Táin epic, where Lugaid is called son of Nós and described as king of Munster. Ailill and Medb are represented availing themselves of that friendship to make use of Lugaid as their intermediary when they wish to negociate with their great enemy Cúchulainn. We have had an instance also of it in the story of Cúchulainn giving his own bride Derborgaill to Lugaid to wife (p. 465), and to this may be added one which mentions Forgall Monach betrothing Emer to Lugaid mac Nóis king of Munster, and the latter declining to have anything to do with her as soon as she explained to him that Cúchulainn was to be her husband, whom Lugaid, according to this euhemerized passage, did not wish to anger. On Welsh ground the possession of the bride would in both cases have only been settled as the result of a battle between the rival suitors, and the friendship and mutual regard ascribed to Cúchulainn and Lugaid is peculiarly Irish. It arises from the story of Cúchulainn's sojourn in Scáthach's Isle as Scáthach's pupil, that is to say, as her foster-son; but Scáthach had other foster-sons, who were accordingly Cúchulainn's foster-brothers there. The foster-brother was, according to Celtic ideas, one's friend par excellence, and this is the origin of Cúchulainn and Lugaid's friendship, for Lugaid was Cúchulainn's foster-brother in Scáthach's Isle; and the same remark applies to the others who were their fellow-pupils there, several of whom, including two called Fer Baeth and Fer Diad respectively, were induced by Medb, much against their inclination, to fight with Cúchulainn on the Táin. In their case their former friendship with Cúchulainn serves to deepen the tragic tone of the story. The most formidable of all the old friends of Cúchulainn was Fer Diad, and the duel between them lasted a noinden or four days; the dialogues preceding each conflict turn mostly on the friendly relations between the heroes when together in Scáthach's Isle, and they have been elaborated with considerable care, while Cúchulainn's grief when his friend and antagonist fell on the fourth day is very touching. Fer Diad, it may be explained, was a match for Cúchulainn so long as they fought with the same weapons, but Cúchulainn at last called for the Gái Bolga, which he always held in reserve. This was a missile which he directed that time by means of his feet, from the water in the ford upwards into his antagonist's body, and it proved at once fatal. What this strange weapon may have been in actual war, one cannot exactly say; but, mythologically speaking, the direction of it from the water upwards would seem to indicate as its interpretation the appearance of the sun as seen from the Plain of Murthemne when rising out of the sea to pierce with his rays the clouds above. In another instance the Gái Bolga is brought down on the head of Cúchulainn's antagonist with the effect of crushing him, which would seem to refer to the action of the sun's rays on the clouds below from his position on high in the heavens.
It will now be readily understood how it came about that Irish mythology could treat the Sun-god and certain of the dark beings as at times his bosom friends; and also how some of them had nevertheless to fight with him and fall by his hand. Lugaid was one of this class, but the euhemerism of Irish tales, in the form we have them, has tried hard to keep Lugaid as the friend of Cúchulainn distinct from Lugaid as his mortal enemy; and one of the results is, that we cannot, with our imperfect knowledge of Irish literature, trace how the story originally described Lugaid becoming hostile to Cúchulainn. It is otherwise with the corresponding Teutonic story of Brynhild wooed to be Gunther's wife by Siegfried, who some time afterwards falls the victim of a foul murder perpetrated with Gunther's aid; for the narrative tries to account for the change in Gunther's feelings towards his friend and benefactor. But in the case of Cúchulainn and Lugaid we have to make a spring, so to say, from the tenderness of their friendship into the thick of their deadly feud, when the braves of Ulster were again in their couvade, and their land was devastated by their enemies from the other provinces of Erinn. For they were this time under the leadership, not of Ailill and Medb, but of Lugaid and his friend Erc king of Leinster, aided by cunning magicians called Calatín and his Sons, who had also assisted Cúchulainn's foes on the Táin. The sequel has already been briefly related, how Cúchulainn, trying to make head against them, fell by the hand of Lugaid. Now the stories which treat Lugaid as Cúchulainn's friend do not permit the former to be seen in his character of a personification of darkness and death, of evil both physical and moral. This has to be gathered indirectly from such facts as the following. The flagstones of Lugaid's court, under which his body was said to be buried, appear to have been so well known to Irish folk-lore as to have elicited an explanation which interpreted them to mean blushes and disgrace, or else developed them into an odious triad of murder, disgrace and treachery. All this was doubtless based on the character ascribed to Lugaid; and a similar conclusion is to be drawn from the story of Conall Cernach avenging the death of his friend Cúchulainn on Lugaid by slaying him and carrying away his head as a trophy. On his return homewards, Conall, meeting his comrades, laid the head down on the top of a stone, where it was forgotten by him; and when one was despatched to bring it away, it was found to have corroded its way through the stone: such appears to have been the virulence of its nature.Other accounts make Erc the slayer of Cúchulainn: his name has its explanation in its Welsh equivalent erch, 'dun, horrible,' Gr. πέρκος, which seems to indicate that he belonged to the same class of dark beings as Lugaid. As the slayer of Cúchulainn, he also is described having his head cut off by Conall, and the tragedy is much deepened by the account given of the grief of Acall, Erc's wife, or, according to another version, his sister, who dies of a broken heart. But such a story would have many forms, and one other of those extant makes Conall slay a king of Leinster under circumstances which might be not inaccurately described as those of the deaths of Lugaid and of Erc taken together to make one tragedy. There had been a great battle at the end of Aitherne's unspeakable progress, and in the battle the king of Leinster had slain two brothers of Conall. It should be explained that the king's name was Mesgegra mac Dáthó, who was a decidedly dark personage (p. 330), and that Conall, arriving after the battle had been fought, set out on the track of the victorious men of Leinster, who, on reaching their own country, disbanded, leaving the king and his charioteer alone. The latter came to the river Liffey, and as the king looked at the water he saw floating down the stream a nut as big as a man's head: he alighted to pick it out of the water, when his charioteer happened to nap and to have a disturbing dream. When he woke he thought the king had eaten the whole kernel, so he cut off the king's hand with half the kernel in it; but, on discovering his mistake, he drove his sword through his own body. This was not all, for now Conall Cernach arrived on the scene; and the king would not fight unless Conall had one of his hands tied, so that they might be more fairly matched. That was done, and they reddened the Liffey with their blood; but Conall prevailed, and carried the head of his opponent away with him: the same story is related of it when laid down on a stone as of Lugaid's. On his way back towards the borders of his own country, Conall accidentally met Buan, Mesgegra's wife, going home with her suite. 'Whose art thou, woman?' said Conall. 'I am the wife of king Mesgegra,' said she. 'Thou hast been ordered to come with me,' said Conall. 'Who has ordered it?' said the queen. 'Mesgegra,' answered Conall. 'Hast thou brought a token?' asked Buan. 'Here are his chariot and his horses,' said Conall. 'Many,' said she, 'are they to whom he makes presents.' 'Here is his head then,' said Conall. 'I am now free,' said she. Thereupon the king's head was seen to change colour, red and pale white alternately. 'What ails the head?' said Conall. 'I know,' said she; 'it is the words that passed between him and Aitherne: he said that no man of the Ultonians should carry me away. It is the conflict on account of what he then said, that is what ails the head.' 'Come thou to me to my chariot,' said Conall. 'Wait,' said Buan, 'for me to bewail my husband.' She then raised her cry of lamentation so that it was heard as far as Tara and Aillen: after that she threw herself headlong and died on the spot. Her grave is on the road, and it is called Buan's Hazel from the tree which grows through it. Apart from this incident which recalls the death of Acall, the story of Conall fighting with Mesgegra in the Liffey is so like that of his overtaking Lugaid in the same river, that we may treat them as referring to the same mythic event, and regard Lugaid and Mesgegra as virtually one and the same mythic being. This is countenanced by the allusion to Mesgegra in Emer's lamentation over her husband's death.
THE SUN HERO.
Kulhwch and Gwri of the Golden Hair.
Up to this point we have used the various forms of the Sun-god's name, Llew, Lleu, Lug and Lugus, as our finger-posts; but we have now to pass from the range of their guidance to consider some other versions of the solar myth. We may begin with one of those connected with the Arthurian legend, but not so closely connected with it as not to be readily treated by itself: I mean the story of Kulhwch and Olwen. Now Kulhwch's mother's name was Goleuᵭyᵭ, 'Light-as-day or Day-bright,' and she was daughter to a prince called Anlawᵭ, who was also the father of Eigr or Igrayne, Arthur's mother. His father's name is given as Kilyᵭ, which meant a companion, fellow, and, perhaps, a husband; and his grandfather's name is represented as being Kelyᵭon Wledig, which might possibly be regarded as meaning Prince Kelyᵭon, with the latter word taken as the equivalent of a Caledo, in the sense of one of the Caledones or Caledonians; but there is no evidence for the existence of either Caledo or Kelyᵭon as a masculine singular. So it is preferable to treat Kelyᵭon Wledig as an archaism for Gwledig Kelyᵭon, which would mean Prince of Caledonians or of Caledonia. The story is chiefly interesting as a kind of parallel to Cúchulainn wooing and marrying Emer, daughter of Forgall king of Lochlann, as will be seen from the following abstract of it. Previous to the birth of Kulhwch, his mother lost her senses, and wandered Leto-like on the mountains: it was the fright caused her by a herd of swine that was the immediate cause of her being delivered. The swine-herd took the baby to his father's court, where men called him Kulhwch, or Him of the Pig-sty, because he had been found in a pig-sty. He was nevertheless noble; and when he was yet a stripling, his father, who had been for some time a widower, married a woman who had a daughter of her own. The step-mother wished Kulhwch to marry her daughter, but he excused himself on the score of his youth, whereupon the mother was much angered, and swore him a 'destiny' that he was to have no woman to wife but Olwen the daughter of Yspyᵭaden Pencawr, or Hawthorn Head-giant. The step-mother had every reason to believe that uncanny father likely to put an end to Kulhwch's life as soon as he came to him with a request for his daughter's hand; for it was known to her that no suitor ever returned from Yspyᵭaden's castle, as its giant-owner was to lose his life the day his daughter married. Kulhwch told his father what his step-mother had said as to his marrying Olwen, and the father said that nothing was easier if he would only go to the court of his cousin Arthur, and follow his instructions: these were, that he should ask Arthur to cut his hair, and, when it was done, that he should demand Olwen as his kyvarws or boon; for the ceremony of hair-cutting by the king meant his making him one of his men, and his acquiring the right to demand a boon of his lord. Kulhwch complied, and went to the court of Arthur, who took his golden scissors and cut Kulhwch's hair, whereby he discovered that he was of his kin; so he made him tell him who he was. Kulhwch, as instructed by his father, asked as his boon that he should have Olwen to wife. Arthur had no objection; but neither he nor his knights had ever heard of Olwen, and, though they were by no means unused to travel, they had not the remotest idea where Yspyᵭaden's abode might be. When a considerable time had been vainly spent in the search, and Kulhwch was beginning to grumble that he was still without his boon, he was challenged to go himself on the search with a small party of Arthur's knights, selected with special reference to their skill in such undertakings. He accordingly went with them, and it was not long ere they arrived near a great stronghold, on the way to which they came across an endless flock of sheep, watched by a shepherd sitting on the top of a mound. He was a remarkable person clad in skins, and he kept at his side a shaggy mastiff bigger than a stallion nine winters old; nor was it his habit to lose even a lambkin from the flock, or to allow anybody to pass that way unharmed; nay, the plain was covered with tree-stumps and clumps, the green of which had been scorched away to the very soil by the breath of his nostrils. Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoeᵭ, who knew all languages, even those of some of the animals, was asked to address the shepherd on behalf of the party; but he protested that he was under no obligation to go a step further than the others; so they all advanced together, and the more fearlessly as their magician Menyw son of Teirgwaeᵭ, strengthened their failing courage with the assurance that he had laid the mastiff under a spell which rendered him harmless. The shepherd told them that he was Custennin, brother to Yspyᵭaden, whose castle they sought and could now see not far off; but on learning what their business was, he tried to persuade them to go back the way they had come, as no one who went on such an errand to Yspyᵭaden's castle was ever known to return. They would not listen, and Kulhwch, as he took leave, gave Custennin a ring of gold; but it would not go on any one of his fingers, so he put it in one of his gloves, and when he reached home he handed it to his wife. This gave her occasion to extract from him all the news about Kulhwch and his party, when Custennin said she would see them very shortly. She was filled with two feelings, one of joy at the coming of Kulhwch, whose mother she stated to have been her sister; and the other of sadness at the thought that the youth was not likely to escape alive from Yspyᵭaden's hands. Custennin's wife was a fit consort for that mighty herdsman, and at the coming of Kulhwch she rushed, overjoyed by their approach, to embrace him; but Kei, who as the leader of the party had his eyes open, adroitly reached her a bundle of fire-wood he found close by: the woman's fond hugging instantly reduced it to the dimensions of a withy. 'Ah, lady,' said Kei, 'had it been I that were so squeezed, nobody else would ever have a chance of loving me.' In the course of their stay at Custennin's house, she opened a stone chest near the fireplace, and out came a yellow-haired, curly-headed youth. This, she said, was the only one left of her twenty-four sons, who were one by one destroyed by Yspyᵭaden, and she had no hope of his escaping any more than his brothers; but Kei advised her to let this her surviving son cling to him and his friends. She then prayed them not to go to Yspyᵭaden: they would not be dissuaded, but would wait until Olwen herself arrived, for they had learned that it was her habit to come to wash herself every Saturday at Custennin's house, where she and her maid always left behind them all their rings and jewels. Then follows a curious description of Olwen, in which it is stated, among other things, that her hair was yellower than the flower of the broom, and her skin whiter than the foam of the billow; that wherever she trod there sprang up four white trefoils, whence her name Olwen, meaning Her of the White Track. Kulhwch wooed her; but she proceeded to explain to him, that he must ask her father, who had obtained her word of honour that she would not marry without his consent. She advises him what to say to Yspyᵭaden, and how to answer him; so Kulhwch and his friends set out to call on Yspyᵭaden, and on their way they kill his nine porters and his nine mastiffs without any ado. They make their way to the giant and salute him: then they tell him their business. 'Where are my servants and those blackguards of mine?' said he, referring to his porters. 'Lift the supports under my eyebrows that have fallen over my eyes, that I may see the form of my son-in-law.' When that was done, he promised them an answer on the morrow, and, as they were departing, he cast a poisoned javelin at them, which was caught by one of the party and hurled back through the giant's knee-socket, which he resented in strong terms. The next day they returned for his answer, but he put them off with the excuse that he must consult the girl's four great-grandfathers and four great-grandmothers, who were, he said, still alive. As they were going away he cast the second poisoned javelin at them, which was caught by one of the party as on the previous day, and hurled back with such effect that it went through Yspyᵭaden's chest and out through his spine: this annoyed him greatly, for, as he said, it was likely to occasion him a difficulty of breathing when walking up-hill, and possibly to interfere with his stomach. They returned on the third day, and had a javelin cast at them as before, which Kulhwch himself caught and sent back through the apple of Yspyᵭaden's eye and out through the back of his head: that annoyed him rather more than the woundings on the previous days; so on the fourth day he thought it proper to sit down with his would-be son-in-law and go into details. He stipulated that Kulhwch was to have Olwen to wife provided he could fulfil certain conditions which he named: these last involved so many apparent impossibilities and the intervention of so many mythic heroes, that their chief interest may be said to consist in their forming a catalogue of the subjects of so many tales, most of which have been lost. With the aid of Arthur and his men, Kulhwch procures all the impossibilities; Yspyᵭaden's castle is stormed by Goreu, the only one surviving of Custennin's twenty-four sons; the giant himself, like Forgall on a similar occasion, loses his life; and the marriage of Olwen is consummated.
This tale, which I have been compelled to abridge very considerably, contains a number of things of interest to the student of mythology; but I need only allude to one or two of them. The clover-blossoms that were wont to spring up in Olwen's track recall the roses that grew where Aphrodite trod, and the former's giant-father's name Yspyᵭaden, meaning 'hawthorn,' reminds one of the thorn of winter, the pricking of which makes Sigrdrifa fall asleep, and of the mistletoe which, thrown by his blind brother, gives Balder his fatal wound; but the story of Kulhwch is to be read briefly in the Norse Lay of Skirni, which relates how Gerᵭr Gymir's daughter was successfully wooed for the love-smitten Frey by his messenger; how the latter had asked of the shepherd that 'sat on the ho we watching all the ways,' which he should take in order to visit Gerᵭr in spite of her father's hounds; and how the shepherd thought him a fey person or a ghost to think of attempting such a thing. Still more to our purpose is it to notice the parallel between Kulhwch and Cúchulainn, excepting always a difference, already indicated between the former and Lleu, namely, that while Cúchulainn does almost everything for himself, Kulhwch achieves all he does by obliging others to toil for him: the only time he is described acting of his own initiative is when he receives Yspyᵭaden's poisoned javelin and sends it back with the greatest precision through the apple of the giant's eye, which, as it decided Yspyᵭaden to come to terms with Kulhwch, forms the turning-point of the story, and invites comparison with Lleu's one hurl of his spear when he transfixed his foe. The parallel is still further pretty close: Kulhwch was born in a hovel belonging to a swineherd, or in a sty used by his pigs, as Cúchulainn, according to some of the accounts, was born in the bothie of the man in the Brugh of the Boyne. Both were of noble blood, and grew to be greatly admired on account of their personal charms; Kulhwch had, so far as we are allowed to judge, the same unerring hand that characterized Cúchulainn in the use of his spear; Cúchulainn marrying was a matter of great importance to the nobles of Ulster, and so was the marriage of Kulhwch one of great interest—a forced interest, it is true—to the knights of Arthur's court. Their respective brides were similar, and this extends to the difficulty of visiting them. Of the brides' mothers we read nothing; but the general resemblance between their fathers Forgall and Yspyᵭaden is too obvious to need discussion in detail, and both lose their lives when their daughters marry. But I pass over this to make a remark or two on the mothers of the heroes respectively. Now Kulhwch' s mother was daughter of Anlawᵭ Wledig or Prince Anlawᵭ, of whom we know nothing, and she was sister to the wife of Custennin, brother and herdsman to Yspyᵭaden: her own name was Goleuᵭyᵭ, or Light-as-Day, and her sister was the mother of the twenty-four youths slain all but one by Yspyᵭaden. The number twenty-four points pretty clearly, in my opinion, to the twenty-four hours of the day, and we equate the twenty-four sous of Custennin with the twenty-four ladies liberated from the stronghold of the Perverse Black Knight by Owein ab Urien. This last description of them as imprisoned ladies is more in harmony with Greek mythology, which also made them such and called them the Hours, keepers of heaven's cloud-gate and ministers of the gods. It is not likely that twenty-four was the original number in Welsh mythology; and the Irish story of the three Sons of Dóel Dermait opposes to it those three and their sister. The latter, whom I take to represent night, was not brought back by Cúchulainn, who released her three brothers from captivity, just as Kulhwch was the means of saving the life of the only surviving son of his aunt's two dozen children, who thus lived to see the wedding of Kulhwch and Olwen, that is to say, the time when the sun was about to rise to illumine the world for another day. The Irish myth was consistent in not making Cúchulainn bring back the hours of darkness, but only those of light; and the fixing their number as three refers probably to the division of the day into three parts—morning, noon and afternoon or evening. In any case, three is also the number of the Horæ as given by Hesiod, who calls them Eunomia, Dike and Eirene respectively; and I am not sure that the Χάριτες or the Graces of Greek mythology were not, in point of origin, the same as the Horæ: be that as it may, the latter were supposed to watch over men and prosper their works, presiding chiefly over the changes of time and the seasons. Whether they were not confined originally to the narrow limits of the day I cannot say, but we have no grounds in Celtic literature for extending their domain beyond it; and after the analogy of myths relating to the sun and to light, we may naturally expect them, whether three or twenty-four, to have been regarded as the offspring of parents more or less allied with darkness. This is borne out on Irish ground by the description already alluded to, of Dóel Dermait's daughter and brother, and by that of Custennin's wife in the Welsh story, not to mention that the father of the twenty-four sons was brother to Yspyᵭaden, the chief of the giants of the dark world. Now Kulhwch's mother was sister to the wife of Custennin; what then are we to make of her name, with its unmistakable reference to the light of day? The only answer which would seem to satisfy these conditions is, that she was a representative of either the dawn or the gloaming. In case we fix on the dawn, the Sun-god, whose spouse is a dawn-goddess, is himself the son of a dawn-goddess, which cannot be regarded as an objection in a nature myth of the kind in question here. However, I am disposed, on the whole, to suppose the gloaming or dusk to suit our tales better—that light which, for some time after the sun himself has sunk out of sight, continues to illumine the skies in these latitudes, and to tip the mountains and the clouds with colours which are now and then of indescribable beauty. Out of that blaze of departing light the Sun is obscurely born during the hours of darkness to begin his career anew; but before he has made love to the rosy-fingered Morn, he has lost his mother. This hypothesis would help us to assign a possible meaning to Cúchulainn's mother's name by referring it to her as the dawn, or better, perhaps, as the gloaming. The story of her escape from Emain to the fairy house to give birth to her son during the night, which was so arranged by Lug that the infant should be brought up by the nobles of the Ultonian court, need not be further gone into as a parallel to the mad wanderings of Goleuᵭyᵭ and the bringing home of her son by the swineherd to his master's court; and I wish to dwell only on her name as suggesting how to explain that of the goddess Dechtere. The Welsh word dyᵭ, 'day,' which enters into the composition of Kulhwch's mother's name, is not to be found in that of Dechtere; but her name has a partial resemblance to the English word in its old form of dæg: the kindred German word tag still retains the guttural. This brings one to a group of well-known words which incline me to consider the name Dechtere to belong to the same mythical category as that of Goleuᵭyᵭ, and to refer to the goddess as the mother of the blazing sun, or else, more probably, to her as a personification of the light that overspreads the sky before the sun appears above the horizon, or after he has just sunk below it. Originally, however, it may have alluded more particularly to the hot days of summer; for myths about the sun may have to do with the seasons of the year as well as with the landmarks within the narrower space of a day. It is unfortunate that classical scholars have nothing certain to say as to the meaning of the name of Apollo's mother Leto or Latona, in whom we undoubtedly have one of the Hellenic counterparts of the Celtic figures which we have been trying to examine.
In the foregoing stories the Sun-god is, as a rule, not brought up by his mother, and in the next to be mentioned the separation between mother and son is brought about in a remarkable way. The following is the purport of the tale:—Pwyỻ Prince of Dyved had taken to wife
Rhiannon daughter of Hyveiᵭ the Old, and when they had lived together two years without any issue, the nobles of the land began in the third year to demand that he should choose another wife that he might have an heir. He persuaded them to wait another year, in the course of which a son was born to Rhiannon. But the night he was born his mother slept, and so did the six nurses who had been engaged to watch, and when they woke in the morning the boy was nowhere to be found, for it was the eve of the Calends of May, when all evil spirits and uncanny things roam at large. The nurses, to avoid being burnt alive for their negligence, conspired to swear that Rhiannon had devoured her son, so they smeared her face with the blood of some puppies they found in the house. This could not be concealed, and it went forth to the country that Rhiannon had destroyed her own baby, and the nobles again wanted Pwyỻ to put her away; but he replied that they could not demand this, unless she continued without offspring, which was not the case, and that if she had done wrong she should be punished. Rhiannon sent for doctors and wise men, so that rather than contend with the lying nurses she might undergo penance. The penance fixed was, that she should remain for seven years sitting daily by the horse-block near the gate, that she should tell her story to every one who came or was thought by her to be ignorant of it, and that she was to offer to all guests and strangers to carry each of them on her back to the hall: it was, of course, a rare thing for anybody to accept such an offer. This was at a place called Arberth, in the present county of Cardigan, where Pwyỻ held his court. At that time, Nether Gwent, or the country, roughly speaking, between the lower courses of the Wye and the Usk, was ruled over by a prince whose name was Teyrnon Twrv Bliant, and he is said to have been the best man in the world. Now Teyrnon had a highly prized mare that foaled on the eve of every First of May, but nobody knew what became of the foals; and the year Rhiannon gave birth to her son, Teyrnon was determined to find out what happened to the foals; so he had the foal then born, together with its mother, placed in-doors, while he proceeded to watch over them himself that night. It was not long ere he heard a great noise, and after the noise he saw a claw protruding through the window and seizing the colt by the mane. Teyrnon quickly drew his sword and cut the claw off at the elbow, so that he had the colt and the claw by him in the stable. Then he heard a great tumult and noise outside, whereupon he opened the door and rushed for some distance in the direction of the noise, but the night was too dark for him to see who caused it; so remembering that he had left the stable-door open, he hastened back, and found on the ground close by it a baby in swaddling clothes, with a sheet of satin wrapped round it. He fastened the stable-door and took the baby to his wife's bed-room; when she had been told of the adventure, she examined the baby's clothes and found that it must have been the son of gentle parents. Moreover, as she had no children, she arranged to make people believe that the baby was her own: so they had the child baptized with the baptism that was usual at that time, and they called him Gwri Gwaỻt Eurin, or Gwri of the Golden Hair, for what hair he had was as yellow as gold. Before he was a year old he could walk vigorously, and he was bigger than any three-year-old child though it were good of growth and stature; and in his second year he was as big and strong as a child of six. Ere he was fully four he would contend with the servants to be let to take the horses to water, and Teyrnon, at his wife's suggestion, had the colt of the same age with the boy broken in for him to be his own. In the mean time, the news about Rhiannon reached Teyrnon, and he had begun to scrutinize the boy's looks, for he had formerly been one of Pwyỻ's men; and he came to the conclusion that the lad was exactly like Pwyỻ, that in fact he must be Rhiannon's lost child. After consulting his wife and agreeing with her that it would be the right thing to restore him and release his mother from her penance, he took him to Arberth. When they arrived, Rhiannon offered to carry them to the hall, which they very naturally declined; but in the course of the feast that was going on, Teyrnon gave the history of the boy, and followed it up with an appeal to all those present to say whether they did not think he was Pwyỻ's son: nobody had any doubt in his mind on the matter; and Rhiannon observed that if that were true, she would be rid of her pryderi (the Welsh for anxiety). 'Lady,' said Pendaran Dyved, one of the chief nobles present, 'well hast thou named thy son
Pryderi, and Pryderi son of Pwyỻ Head of Hades is the name that suits him best.' 'Consider,' said Rhiannon, 'whether his own name be not more suitable to him.' 'What is the name?' said Pendaran. 'Gwri of the Golden Hair is the name we gave him,' said Teyrnon. 'Pryderi,' said Pendaran, 'shall be his name.' 'It is best,' said Pwyỻ, 'to take the boy's name from the word his mother uttered when she got joyful tidings of him.' This was agreed upon, and Teyrnon was thanked for his behaviour in the matter and offered presents of all kinds to carry away. Pryderi was given over to Pendaran Dyved to be educated. In the course of years Pwyỻ died; Pryderi succeeded him, and chose as his wife Kicva, daughter of Gwyn Gohoyw, son of Gloyw Waỻtlydan, son of Prince Casnar of the nobility of this island. So ends this branch of the Mabinogi.
Considerable complication arises out of Pwyỻ and Pryderi's relations with Hades, and, so far as concerns the present story, we have to distinguish between Pwyỻ Prince of Dyved and Pwyỻ Head of Hades, and between Gwri of the Golden Hair and Pryderi son of Pwyỻ Head of Hades. In Gwri we have a sort of parallel to Cúchulainn and Lleu. Gwri's rapid growth recalls both Lleu and Cúchulainn, in common with whom he was also remarkable for his golden hair. We cannot compare his life with Cúchulainn's, as no action of his is described besides his taking his father's horses to drink, which reminds one of Shakspear's classic picture of Phœbus watering his steeds. The allusion also to the colt born at the time of Gwri's own birth deserves special notice, as it has its counterpart in the story of one of the obscure incarnations of Lug before he was born Setanta or Cúchulainn. It is to the effect that when Conchobar and his party, including his charioteer Dechtere, were overtaken in the fairy neighbourhood of the Brugh of the Boyne, they came across a solitary new house there, the owner of which bade them enter. They hesitated, both on account of the smallness of the building and of its probable lack of provisions and sleeping accommodation: in, however, they went, and they had not been there long when they suddenly espied a kitchen door. In due time they had food and drink of the most varied and luxurious description brought them, and they had never, they thought, found themselves better served. But when they had become merry and rather more, their host informed them that his wife in the kitchen was overtaken by the pains of childbirth. Dechtere went to her, and a boy was born, at the same time that a mare at the door gave birth to two colts. In the morning the Ultonian party found themselves alone in the open air with their horses, the baby and the two colts. The colts were kept as a present for the baby, and the latter was reared by Dechtere for some time; but one day the child fell ill and died, to her profound grief; but for the next avatar of Lug, Dechtere found herself chosen to be the mother, as she was informed by him in a dream, when he took the opportunity also of charging her to keep the colts for the boy that was to be born and to be called Setanta. The coincidence is not seriously lessened by the colts being two in the one story and only one in the other, as that is a consequence of the fact that a man who tights on horseback in the Mabinogion would be made to ride forth in a chariot drawn by two horses in the epic tales of Ireland. Herein Irish would seem to have antiquity on its side, since the chariot and chargers associated with the Irish Sun-god find their counterpart in those of Helios in Greek mythology.
Corc and Diarmait.
Various allusions have been made to Diarmait, and now something more must be said of him, especially as both his parentage and his death have an important bearing on the view here taken of the Sun-god. Diarmait was the son of Corc and grandson of Duben, so the story of Corc has now to be briefly resumed where we left it off (p. 309). It will be remembered that after Corc had been completely purged of the paganism of his nature when he was a year old, he was taken back to Erinn: the next thing we read of him is that, years later, his father Cairbre, as provincial king, sent him as a hostage to Cormac mac Airt king of Erinn, who had his court at Tara. Cormac entrusted Corc to a mighty warrior called Aengus of the poisoned Spear, and Aengus treated him as his foster-son, and he was with him on the occasion of a hurried visit by Aengus to Tara to avenge an insult to his family. Aengus then killed a son of Cormac's, and in so doing he put out one of the king's eyes. After doing this, Aengus and Corc escaped, and the latter freed himself from his position as a hostage. A war ensued, which is regarded as the beginning of the great movement of the tribes of Leinster usually known as the Expulsion of the Déisi, some of whom came as far as Dyved, in the south-west corner of Wales, and settled there. But the story of Corc makes him, after Aengus' death, accompany another band of the exiles on sea, and sail westwards until they came to Bói's Island (p. 309), to which the narrator at this point gives the name of Tech nDuind iar nÉrinn, or Donn's House behind Ireland. When Corc saw the island where he had been reared, he asked his companions to stay with him there; but his story goes no further, except to state in a general way that he remained in the south of Ireland. His mother's name, as already mentioned (p. 308), was Duben, genitive Duibni or Duibne, so he is usually known as Corc Duibne, or Duben's Cropped One. It is clear at a glance that Duben's twin sons Corc and Cormac are to be compared with Arianrhod's children Dylan and Lleu, and that they may be taken to represent darkness and light respectively. Of Cormac, however, next to nothing is said, but we are left to suppose that he was handed over at his birth to the nobles of Munster to be burnt. But Corc, in whom the interest of the story centres, clearly lends himself to a comparison with Dylan; for as Dylan hies away to the sea as soon as he is christened, so Corc is taken as soon as he is born to a little island in the Atlantic, and in the course of his later wanderings he welcomes the sight of it once more and desires to remain on it. This, it is needless to say, is in keeping with the systematic association of the world of waters with that of darkness, as suggested more than once already. Further, the identification here suggested of Corc with darkness has in its favour the important evidence of the story how his brother deprived him of one of his ears. That seems in some way to typify the action of the sun on the dark shades of night, and it is impossible to avoid seeing that it refers to the same attribute of the dark being as that which gave Ailill Aulom, or A. Bare-ear, his surname (p. 391). Further, Corc Duibne may be shown, in a round-about way, to have had another name, Donn, 'brown or dark.' For Corc had a famous son called Diarmait O'Duibne, or D. grandson of Duben. But the accounts given of his parentage vary, some calling his father Corc, and some others, not to say most others, being wont to give him the name Donn; but there was probably no contradiction between them, as his name may be inferred to have been in full Corc Donn, or the Brown Cropped One. This would exactly explain why Bói's Isle, where Corc was reared for the first year of his life, appears in the same story under the more usual name of Donn's House behind Ireland. Of course Donn in his connection with that spot in the sea was the subject of another story of a different kind: he was, it is said, the king and leader of the Milesians when they arrived to invade Ireland, but he happened to be drowned near the spot, which the peasants are still said to call Donn's House. That the cropped king of darkness should be the father of the solar hero Diarmait is in no way surprising, as it amounts probably to not much more than another way of saying that the darkness of night precedes the light of day; and the way in which his mother is described suggests a dawn goddess associated with the Liffey; for she is called Crochnuit, daughter of Currach Life, that is to say, of the Plain of the Liffey, the unenclosed portion of which is now known as the Curragh of Kildare.
It would take up too much of our space to examine the many adventures associated with Diarmait's name: I can only give you here the story of Diarmait's death as briefly as possible. After Grainne, who had been promised to Finn, had compelled Diarmait to elope with her, and Finn had given up his attempt to recover her or to punish her husband, peace was made between Diarmait and Finn, who nevertheless remained ever jealous of Diarmait. When years had elapsed, the latter's wife and daughter had a feast made for Finn and his followers, and it happened whilst Finn was their guest that Diarmait was one night waked by the voice of a hound. He marvelled at that, and would have got up to sock the dog, but it was the last night of the year, and Grainne, after wishing him safety, observed that it was the Tuatha Dé Danann that were busying themselves. Presently Diarmait heard the hound's voice again, and he would have gone out after the dog, but his wife's advice prevailed. He fell into a deep sleep, but by and by he was waked by the voice of the dog again, and, as it was now daylight, he went out lightly armed and accompanied by his favourite hound. He walked on and on until he reached the top of Benn Gulbain, a mountain now called Benbulbin, in the county of Sligo. There he found before him Finn all alone, and, without greeting him, he asked him if it was he that was hunting, whereupon Finn answered that it was not, but that a party of his men who had gone before him were there, and that one of the dogs had come across the track of a wild boar. He went on to say that it was the Boar of Benn Gulbain, and that it was idle for them to hunt him, as they had tried it often before: in fact, the beast had killed, he said, half a hundred of their number that very morning. Moreover, he added, that the boar was coming up the hill towards where they now were; the huntsmen were fleeing before him, and he thought it advisable for them both to quit the knoll where they were standing. But Diarmait would not go, and Finn told him he had better, as he was under gessa or prohibitions not to hunt a swine. He said he had never heard that before, and he wished Finn to explain. The latter then began to relate to him how he, Diarmait, was brought up at the house of his foster-father, the great magician Aengus of the Brugh of the Boyne, and how his mother Crochnuit was the mother also of a son of Roc mac Díocain, who was Aengus' steward. As a matter of favour and considerable pay, it was conceded to Roc that his boy, though a plebeian, should be reared as the playfellow and foster-brother of Diarmait. But one evening, when Aengus had Diarmait's father and Finn staying at his house, the former's jealousy was much roused by the attention which he saw some of Aengus' men paying to the son of the steward; presently two of Finn's dogs fell to fighting, when the weaker members of the household suddenly rushed away, and the steward's son ran for shelter between the knees of Diarmait's father, who gave him a squeeze which killed him. The steward's grief was great, and he would take no eric but that Diarmait should be placed between his knees; but being unable to get that, and having learnt something of his master's art, he fetched a magic wand, and with it struck the corpse of his child, so that it was transformed into a grey cropped pig. Before the boar had had time to rush out, Roc pronounced an incantation over him, according to which he was to have the same span of life as Diarmait, who was, however, to fall by him. It was then, as Diarmait was now told, that the gessa were laid on him by his foster-father Aengus that he was never to hunt a pig. Finn, therefore, advised Diarmait again to move away from the knoll where they stood talking together, but he was not to be frightened. So Finn left him, and refused even to leave him his dog Bran to encourage Diarmait's. 'By my honour,' said Diarmait, 'it is to kill me that thou hast made this hunt, Finn; and if it be here that I am fated to die, I have no power to shun it.' Presently the boar came, and inflicted a fatal wound on Diarmait before the monster himself perished. According to another account, said to be the one now current among the peasantry) Diarmait killed and flayed the boar without receiving any harm: then Finn asked him to measure the hide, which he did by pacing it; but not being satisfied, he asked him to pace it again, which he did, walking against the lie of the bristles, so that he had one of his feet pricked by a venomous bristle, which caused his death in a very short time. In either case, Finn and his men had arrived on the spot before Diarmait was gone; and Finn is described bitterly saying to him that he was only sorry that the women of Erinn were not there to see the pale face of the darling they had so much loved. But Diarmait asked Finn to fetch him some water, that he might drink from the palms of his hands; for Finn, when he obtained his power of divination, had it also granted him that whosoever drank water from the palms of his hands should at once be cured of all wounds and diseases. Finn said that Diarmait did not deserve it of him, whereupon Diarmait proved that he did by recalling to Finn's memory the various occasions on which he had rescued Finn from the hands of his enemies. Then Finn said there was no water to be found there, which Diarmait showed to be untrue, at the same time that he pointed out a spring only nine paces from where he stood. Finn was very unwilling; but he was threatened by Ossín and the other Fenians, who loved Diarmait more than Finn: so he went to fetch water, but on his way back he thought of Grainne, and spilt it: he was forced, much against his will, to go a second time, but the result was similar. Ossín and the Fenians grew furious, and he set out the third time; but when he came with the water, it was too late: Diarmait had expired. Grainne's grief when she heard of it was no less profound and frantic than that of Aphrodite when her darling Adonis was killed by the boar he was hunting, a parallel which might be followed further. To return to Finn: he was wily enough to induce Grainne at last to become his wife, and to make use of her to obtain peace from the Sons of Diarmait when he had found that they could not be resisted in arms, and that they had meant to avenge on him their father's death. Lastly, as soon as Aengus, Diarmait's foster-father, became aware of it, he came to fetch his body: that night, he said, was the first since his foster-son was but nine months old that he had not watched over him and protected him against his foes. He was not prepared for Finn's treachery, as he had made peace between them. Now he carried away Diarmait's body to the Brugh of the Boyne, saying that though he could not call him back to this life, he would put a soul in him, so that he might converse with him daily.
So ends this story, and it is scarcely necessary, after the remarks made on the subject on diverse previous occasions, to say that it all represents the varying fortunes of the struggle between the Sun-hero and his dark antagonist for a goddess of the usual type, who is represented first betrothed to Finn, then eloping with Diarmait, and after his death becoming Finn's wife likewise. It may here be noted as to her name, that Grainne implies some such an early form Grannja, the close relationship of which to that of Grannos of the Apollo Grannus of the Celts of antiquity cannot be mistaken. Finn's character is a subject of considerable difficulty, to which I shall return later; suffice it here to compare Finn with the Welsh Gwyn ab Nûᵭ, who contests with Gwythur the hand of Creiᵭylad daughter of Llûᵭ. But Gwyn's story offers no parallel to Finn's tortuous way of leading Diarmait to meet his death in a hunt; rather are we reminded of Gunther and the hunt he had a hand in planning for the assassination of Sigfried. Lastly, the nature interpretation of the rôle assigned the Boar of Benn Gulbain is subject to no doubt: the savage brute symbolizes the same element as the terrible worm born with Cian (p. 392). So the noble Diarmait, beloved of all, and the grisly Boar were the offspring of one mother: they represent light and darkness.
Irish literature speaks of other mythic swine, one of which may be mentioned here: it was a monster sow belonging to Mesroida mac Datho king of Leinster, a prince of the same class as Ailill Aulom and the like. The milk of three-score prime cows went to feed the sow of Mac Dáthó every day for seven years; and it was reared with malice and venom that it might be the bane of the men of Erinn. It was, however, not the only remarkable property of Mesroida, for he possessed also a hound called Ailbe, which resembled Culann the smith's, killed by Cúchulainn, except that the range of its watching was much wider, being nothing less than the whole of the province of Leinster. Now both Conchobar king of Ulster and Medb queen of Connaught sent to Mac Dáthó to ask him for the dog: both made magnificent offers to him. This plunged the owner in perplexity and despair; but he had a shrewd wife who persuaded him to promise the dog to both, and to invite them both, with their followers, to fetch it on a given day. The Ultonians came; so did the men of Connaught; and either company was surprised to meet the other at Mac Dáthó's gate. He welcomed all, and killed the great swine to feast them: by this time its stomach alone would have been a load for nine men. No sooner was the banquet ready than the question arose who was to carve the colossal carcase; and they proceeded to decide it according to the merits of the men of Ulster and Connaught in the raids which each had made into the other's country. One after another of the would-be carvers had to give way to somebody whose claim was superior to his, until at length it looked as if the Connaught brave named Cét mac Magach was to be the man; but at the last moment Conall Cernach rushed into the room. Cét, who recognized in him a formidable rival, but knew not what business had made him late, addressed him in words to the following effect:
The porcine representation of darkness was not peculiar to the ancient Irish; traces of the same sort of nature myth are to be found also in Wales; for to return to Diarmait, it is important to notice the time of his death. It took place on the last night of the year or on the morning following. Now as the Celts were in the habit formerly of counting winters, and of giving precedence in their reckoning to night and winter over day and summer (p. 360), I should argue that the last day of the year in the Irish story of Diarmait's death meant the eve of November or All-halloween, the night before the Irish Samhain, and known in Welsh as Nos Galan-gaeaf, or the Night of the Winter Calends. But there is no occasion to rest on this alone, as we have the evidence of Cormac's Glossary that the month before the beginning of winter was the last month; so that the first day of the first month of winter was also the first day of the year; and that according to the ancient Irish, it was the proper time for prophecy and the unveiling of mysteries, while in Wales it was not unusual within almost recent times for women to congregate on that night in the parish churches to learn their own fortune from the flame of the candle each held in her hand, and to hear the names or see the coffins of the parishioners destined to die in the ensuing twelvemonth: it sometimes happened that one saw one's own coffin, and many were the pathetic events connected with this pagan survival. In Ireland it was also the time for another custom: it was then that fire was lighted at a place called after Mog Ruith's daughter Tlachtga. From Tlachtga all the hearths in Ireland are said to have been annually supplied, just as the Lemnians had once a year to put their fires out and light them anew from that brought in the sacred ship from Delos. The habit of celebrating Nos Galan-gaeaf in Wales by lighting bonfires on the hills is possibly not yet quite extinct; and within the memory of men some of whom are still living, those who assisted at the bonfires used to wait till the last spark was out, when, unlike Diarmait, the whole company would suddenly take to their heels, shouting at the top of their voices:
Yr hwch ᵭu gwta
The cropped black sow
Hwch ᵭu gwta
A cutty black sow
Here a stile takes the place of the cross-roads, which are apt to figure in English folk-lore; and we have it again in the corresponding but less specific rhyme from my native part of north Cardiganshire, which runs thus:
Add to this that the Scotch Gaels have formed from the word Samhain, 'All-hallows,' a derivative Samhanach, meaning an All-hallows demon or goblin, supposed to steal babies as well as perpetrate other atrocities then. Now the Irish story makes it clear what all this means, and why the night in question was regarded as the saturnalia of all that was hideous and uncanny in the world of spirits. It had been fixed upon as the time of all others when the Sun-god, whose power had been gradually falling off since the great feast associated with him on the first of August, succumbed to his enemies the powers of darkness and winter. It was their first hour of triumph after an interval of subjection, and the popular imagination pictured them stalking abroad with more than ordinary insolence and aggressiveness; and, if it comes to giving individuality and form to the deformity of darkness, to describe it as a sow, black or grisly, with neither ears nor tail, is not perhaps very readily surpassed as an instance of imaginative aptitude.
Outside Celtic we have parallels in the Norse smith Völundr (p. 381) and the German Wieland, but with the deformity reduced within the narrow limits of lameness. So also in the case of the Greek god Hephæstus, who was, however, the father of the dragon form of Erichthonius, one of the early kings of Athens. Hephæstus and Athene were closely associated in the ugly story of his origin and in the pious cult of which they were both the objects in Attica. On the Celtic side, the latter association recalls the Irish mythic magician Mog Ruith and his daughter Tlachtga (p. 211), whose name is connected, indirectly, it is true, with the annual distribution of fire to the hearths of Erinn at Samhain or the first of November. For at Athens that was the time of the Chalceia, an ancient feast in honour of Hephæstus and Athene, the exact date being the ἕνη καὶ νέα of the month of Pyanepsion, that is approximately the last day of October. This feast was preceded, immediately preceded, as it is supposed, by the Apaturia, which was the meeting-time of the phratriæ or the tribes, both at Athens and in most of the Ionian communities. It lasted several days, and was partly devoted to civic business, such as the adopting of new members into the tribes, and more especially to the registering, subject to close scrutiny, of the names of all the legitimate children born during the year then ending. When the sacrificing and feasting on the last day were over, the children's fathers and other representatives of the tribes went forth in a procession, after lighting their torches at the state hearth. Then the Chalceia began with a torchlight race engaged in by the younger men; and altogether the part played by the torch in the doings in honour of Hephæstus on those festive days is very noticeable. The nearest Celtic parallel is to be found in the racing away from the bonfires in Wales and the distribution of fresh fire in Ireland; but it is to be added that the Samhain feast in the latter country was, like the Greek Apaturia, partly devoted to business, namely, to a public scrutiny of the trophies which the Irish braves claimed to have won during the year then ending; otherwise the feast, which occupied, not only Samain or the first of November, but also the three days before and the three days after it, was given up to the usual games and the fair, to pleasure and amusement, to eating and banqueting. Having digressed so far, I can hardly turn back without searching whether the Greek calendar does not offer something to match the other two great feasts of the ancient Celts at the beginning of the months of August and May; for I have never been able to find that they held any remarkable feast in winter, a lacuna which, if not more apparent than real, must have had a meaning. But however that may be, it follows from the coincidence between the Goidelic Samhain and the Greek Chalceia, that the Panathenæa, with its great variety of games and contests in honour of the goddess Athene, who used to be then presented with a splendid peplos, must have taken place at the same time as the Lugnassad, said to have been established by Lug in honour of Tailltiu or Taillne his foster-mother. The parallel in other respects between the great festival of the Greeks and the feasts held at the same date in all Celtic lands (pp. 409—424) would take up too much time to discuss here; but having proved two-thirds of my case, so to say, I must now continue my digression to the remaining third. At this point, however, I must confess to somewhat less success, as the Greek calendar shows nothing occurring just three months before the Panathenæa. So one has to be content with an approximation in the Athenian Thargelia, centring on the sixth day of the month of Thargelion. This is at least six days later than one could wish for a feast to match the Goidelic Beltaine, or the first of May; but it was also about the time of the Delia in the island of Delos. Both were held in honour of the Sun-god Apollo; and further the Thargelia commemorated his slaying the dragon Pytho; but it had another feature which encourages one to equate it with the Goidelic feast in spite of the discrepancy of date, namely, that it was considered the regular occasion for all kinds of purification in order to preserve the city from plague and pestilence. Among the peculiar rites that characterized it was the leading about of two adult persons, as it were scapegoats, excepting that at the end they were sacrificed and burnt, so that their ashes might be dispersed. With this may be compared Cormac's account of the ancient Beltaine, when he says that it was so called from two fires which the druids of Erinn used to make with great incantations; and cattle, he adds, used to be brought to those fires and driven between them as a safeguard against the diseases of the year. The regretable brevity of Cormac is made less serious by what is known of the practices connected with the First of May in Scotland; since we clearly learn from them how one man originally became a victim for his companions, and how the selection was made: they did not choose him for his ugliness, as the ancient Greeks seem to have done. The parallel which has been roughly drawn here between the Celtic and the Greek calendar suggests that at one time the Greeks regarded the old year as ending with the Apaturia, and the new one beginning with the Chalceia in honour of Hephæstus on the ἕνη καὶ νέα of Pyanepsion. Lastly, a year which was common to Celts with Greeks is not unlikely to have once been common to them with some or all of the other branches of the Aryan family.
Diarmait's Home and Duben's Name.
After this digression, I must now return to Diarmait and Corc, since the remarks already made on them would be incomplete without devoting some little space to the name of the latter's mother. It is given in the Book of the Dun as Duibind in the accusative, which might, as nd and nn have in that manuscript much the same value, be written Duibinn, were it not more probable that it ought to be corrected into Duibin, as the genitive there given is Duibni, more normally written Duibne, in modern spelling Duibhne. This helps to fix the declension of the name in Old Irish, and we may treat it as nom. Duben, gen. Duibne, dative and accusative Dubin; but it seldom occurs except in the genitive, which is common enough; for there was not only Corc Duibne, but also a people called Corco Duibne, a name Anglicized into Corcaguinny in that of a barony situated on the Dingle peninsula in Kerry. But the descendants of Duben were at one time much more widely spread, and the island of Valentia is found called Dairbhre of the Ui Duibne, or the D. of Duben's Descendants; and, according to O'Donovan, the principal families of the Corco Duibne, which were the Ui Failbhe or O'Falvys, the Ui Seagha or O'Sheas, and the Ui Congaile or O'Connells, were in possession of the following lands shortly before the English invasion: the O'Falvys, of Corcaguinny; the O'Sheas, of the territory of Ui Rathach, now called the Barony of Iveragh,
in the south-west of the county of Kerry; and the O'Connells, of that of Magunihy, in the south-east of the same. Add to this that Corc Duibne was supposed to have left descendants of his settled near Kinsale, in the county of Cork, and one may infer that most of the ancient inhabitants of Kerry and a good deal more considered themselves descended from Duben. However, the survival of the name Corco Duibne as Corcaguinny, allows us to infer that the traditional descent from an ancestress Duben continued more vigorously accredited on the Dingle peninsula than anywhere else, and it so happens that this can be corroborated in a remarkable manner; for the barony of Corcaguinny is richer in Ogam inscriptions probably than any other Irish district of the same area. Two of them are of special interest to us here, as they seem to refer to the mythic ancestress. For if you put Duben, genitive Duibne, back into the form which the name should, according to analogy, have had in early Irish, you will have some such a name as Dubina or Dobina, genitive Dubinïas or Dobinïas: this is exact enough to enable you at once to recognize the name in its attested forms in Ogam. One of the stones I allude to lies in a disused burial-place called Ballintaggart, near Dingle, in the barony of Corco Duibne or Corcaguinny, and it reads: Maqqvi Iaripi Maqqvi Moccoi Dovvinias; that is to say '(The Grave or the Stone) of Mac Erp, son of Dovvina's Descendant. Mocco Dovvinias was probably the standing designation of the head of the clan to which Mac Erp belonged, and with it may be compared the fashion in use now of speaking of the O'Donoghue or the O'Conor Donn, meaning respectively the Descendant of Donchadh and of Conchobar. In any case, the pedigree implied in the inscription is made to end with the distant ancestress whose name in the genitive is given as Dovvinias. The final sibilant was very precarious even in early Irish, and no trace of it occurs in the other inscription to be mentioned. This latter occurs on a stone in the same neighbourhood, which stands on a small headland near Dunmore Head in a wild situation arguing no lack of sentiment on the part of him who chose the site: the legend is the following:—
the country with which Duben's name was more or less closely connected, forms a kind of an indented peninsula between Kenmare River and Tralee Bay, such a position as regards the western sea as one might have considered the special domain of a goddess of dusk or dawn: compare the relation of Duben's Welsh counterpart Arianrhod and others of the same class to the world of waters (pp. 236, 380). With regard to the divinity of the Irish goddess, the reader may naturally ask, how any one about whom there was such a story as that about Duben and her relations with Cairbre Musc could have been the object of respect, not to say of divine reverence, such as may be inferred to have been hers. Here mythology and religion probably went their own several ways, just as readers of the Odyssey do not find the piety of Eumæus much disturbed by the hideous tales of lewdness which Greek story had to relate, not only of the minor divinities, but especially of Zeus, the greatest. The dark side of Duben's character is much less dwelt upon in Irish literature than is that of Arianrhod in the Welsh Mabinogi of Mâth ab Mathonwy; but the faded outline of a flattering picture of the latter has nevertheless come down to us within the narrow compass of a triad, which allows her to rank as one of the Three White or Blessed Ladies of the Isle of Britain. All this means
that there was a distant time when religion and mythology were at one as to the character of such divinities as Duben and Arianrhod. Even Lugaid appears to have been once the object of worship: you may take the name Mo-Lugaid as evidence, and note the fact that the ancient centres of Irish paganism, left 'waste without adoration,' are compared to the site of Lugaid's house.
In connection with my attempt to show that Diarmait, Corc and Duben were intimately associated with Kerry, it is worth while to observe that the inhabitants of that part of Ireland were probably among the least purely Celtic and the most thoroughly Ivernian in the island. Though nothing conspicuously different from the legends of other districts seems to characterize those of Kerry, it is not impossible that a closer examination of them would result in the discovery of non-Celtic traits. That is, perhaps, the light in which one should regard the attribution to Diarmait of a mole, described as a love-spot, on his face, and curly hair on his head of a dusky black colour, the Ivernian race being, as it is supposed, itself of a dark complexion.
The Celtic Sun Hero and the Norse Balder.
It is proposed at this point to give you the means of comparing the story of the Sun-god of the Celts with that of Balder. The latter, as given in old Norse literature, is approximately as follows:—
Balder was one of the sons of Woden and Frigg: he was the best of the Anses and praised of them all. He was so fair of face and so bright that rays of shining light issued from his body. The whitest of all plants was compared to Balder's brow and known by that name, whence an idea may be formed, says one author, of the beauty of his hair and of his body. He was not only the whitest, the sweetest-spoken and the mildest of all the Anses, but it was a property of his nature that he could not go wrong in his judgments. He dwelt in a place in heaven called Breiᵭablik or Broad-gleam, the most blessed of all lands, where nought unclean or accursed could abide. But once on a time Balder began
to be disquieted by dreams of ill-omen; and when he told the Anses of it, they took counsel together how to ensure his safety. The result of their deliberation was, that Woden went down to the nether world to consult a dead sibyl about the dreams that haunted Balder; and Frigg, who dwelt in a house called Fensalir or the Hall of the Fen, sent to make all things swear that they would not hurt her beloved son Balder: the oath was exacted from fire and water, from iron and all metals, from stones and earth, from the trees of the forest, from diseases and poisons, from four-footed beasts and from birds and serpents: the mistletoe alone was deemed by Frigg too young a thing to be asked to swear. But Loki, the brewer of mischief and the sire of a bestial triad consisting of the Fenri Wolf, the Leviathan of the deep, and Hell the witch of Niflheim or the Home of Fog, was by no means pleased to see that Balder could not be hurt like others; so one day when the Anses were amusing themselves by throwing their spears and arrows at Balder, since they knew they could not hurt him, Loki went, disguised as an old woman, to where Frigg lived in the Hall of the Fen. When the hag was asked what the Anses were doing, she replied that they were throwing missiles at Balder, and she inquired if it was true that nothing would hurt him. Frigg answered that everything had been bound by oath not to hurt him except the mistletoe. On hearing this, Loki found excuse to depart, and went to the spot where Frigg said the plant called mistletoe grew, a little to the east of Walhalla; and he brought a twig of it to where Höᵭr stood in the outskirts of the assembly; for that was the name of a blind god of great strength. Loki asked Höᵭr why he did not join the others in honouring Balder, to which he replied that he could not see where Balder was, and that he had besides no arms: then Loki cunningly handed him the mistletoe, and directed him whither to throw it. So Höᵭr hit Balder, who fell dead on the spot. The Anses were shocked, but they could do nothing, as the spot was a sanctuary or asylum. Frigg, however, asked who would earn her goodwill and love by hastening to Hell to treat with her for the release of Balder. Hermóᵭr the Swift, another of the sons of Woden, undertook to set out on his father's horse Sleipnir on that perilous journey. But first of all the Anses brought Balder's body down to place it in his ship called Ringhorn, which, as it surpassed all other ships in size, they could not move an inch towards the sea. So they sent for a giantess called Hyrrokin, or Fire-smoke, to come from Giant-land to launch it for them, which she did at the first push, with such effect that the rollers underneath it struck fire and all the earth trembled, a performance which struck Thor as so like his own that he was with difficulty restrained from smashing Hyrrokin's head with his hammer Mjölnir. Balder, after Woden had whispered in his ear, was then placed on the funeral pile in his ship, a sight at which the heart of his wife Nanna broke: so her body was placed on the pyre by his: the fire was lit, and Thor hallowed it with his hammer and threw a dwarf into it called Lit. Moreover, Balder's horse, with all his harness, was burnt with his master, and Woden laid on the pyre his gold ring Draupnir or Dropper, which from that time forth had the peculiarity that every ninth night eight gold rings of the like weight with itself dropped from it. Not only the Anses assisted at the funeral, but also a multitude of mountain giants and rime-ogres. Vengeance was wreaked on the slayer of Balder; for Woden was told when he went to the sibyl about the dreams that haunted his son, that Höᵭr bearing the fatal branch would be his death, but that Woden's son Vali, born of Vrindr in the Halls of the West, would avenge his brother when he was only one night old; 'He shall neither wash his hands,' was the reply, 'nor comb his hair, till he has borne the murderer of Balder to the funeral fire.' Such was the horror in which Balder's murder was held among the Anses that they never wished to hear the name of Höᵭr ever mentioned afterwards. The vengeance inflicted on Loki was very terrible: when he saw how angry the Anses were at what he had done, he fled, and finally sought refuge in the form of a salmon in a waterfall; but the Anses made a net and caught him. They then took him into a cave, where they left him bound with bonds of iron on three jagged pieces of rock, one under his shoulders, one under his loins, and the third under his knee-joints, while a terrible serpent hangs over his body distilling venom in his face. Loki's wife stands by with a cup to receive the venom, and when it is full she empties it; but while she is doing that, the venom drips on Loki's face and then he writhes, causing what men call earthquakes; and this goes on till the doom of the gods. That is one account; but another makes Loki, before his doom, appear among the Anses to bandy words with them, and even to boast to Frigg that he was the cause why Balder no longer rode into the hall. He is then reminded by Woden that he had already undergone disgrace eight winters underneath the earth in the form of a woman and milkmaid, and another of the Anses told him that they were about to bind him on swords with the intestines of his rime-cold son, the punishment already mentioned; for the intestines turned into bonds of iron. He then left the Anses as he was threatened by Thor, of whom he went in bodily fear. As to Hermóᵭr, he pursued his journey for nine nights without interruption through glens deep and dark, till he came to the river called Giöll or Yell, when he was questioned as to his errand by the maid who had charge of the Yell-bridge. On he rode until he came to the fence of Hell's abode, which his horse cleared at full speed, and on entering the hall he found his brother Balder seated in the place of honour. He abode with him that night, and in the morning he asked Hell to let him ride home with him to the Anses. He urged her to consider the grief which everybody and everything felt after Balder; to which she replied that she would put it to the test by letting him go if everything animate and inanimate wept for him, and by detaining him if anybody or anything declined to do so. Hermóᵭr was accompanied to the gate by Balder, who gave him the gold ring Dropper to take to Woden as a token, while Nanna gave him a mantle and other gifts for Frigg, and a gold ring for Fulla, Frigg's maid and confidante. With these presents Hermóᵭr reached home, to announce to the Anses the answer which Hell had given to his request. Messengers were at once sent forth to the world to bid all be weep Woden's son out of the power of Hell. This was done by all, by men and animals, by earth and stones, by lives and by all metals, as you have doubtless seen these things weep, says the Prose Edda, when they pass from frost to warmth; but as the messengers were on their way home after discharging their duty, they chanced to come across a cave occupied by a giantess called Thökk, whom they ordered to join in the weeping for Balder with the rest; but her answer was—'Thökk will weep dry tears at Balder's balefire. What have I to do with the Son of Man quick or dead? Let Hell keep what she holds.'
The ogress was suspected of being Loki in disguise; for this happened before his punishment had overtaken him. But be that as it may, the refusal prevented Balder's return just then. Return, however, he did at the proper time; for the story would be incomplete without the prophecy put into the mouth of the third and last sibyl of the Volospá, to the following effect: "I behold Earth rise again with its evergreen forests out of the deep; the waters fall in rapids; above hovers the eagle, that fisher of the falls. The Anses meet in Ida-plain; they talk of the mighty Earth-serpent, and remember the great decrees and the ancient mysteries of Fimbul-ty. There shall be found in the grass wonderful golden tables, their own in days of yore. The fields unsown shall yield their increase. All sorrows shall be healed. Balder shall come back. Balder and Höᵭr shall dwell in Woden's mansions of bliss, in the holy places of the blessed gods. . . . Then shall Hœni choose the rods of divination aright, and the sons of the Twin-brethren shall inhabit the wide world of the winds. . . . I see a hall brighter than the sun, shingled with gold, standing on Gem-lea. The righteous shall dwell therein and live in bliss for ever." Lastly, Balder had a son called Forseti, meaning a judge, and he dwelt in heaven in a house called Glitnir or the Glistener, built on pillars of gold and thatched with silver, where he sat all day giving judgment in all cases of law: his was the best tribunal for both gods and men, for everybody quitted it having had his due.
The foregoing is a summary of the most important passages bearing on Balder in old Norse literature; but I should not have thought it needful to give it at such length had there been any work to which one might refer as reproducing the substance of the various allusions to Balder, without omitting particulars of importance to the line of argument here adopted. The myth, when detailed in a fairly complete form, has the advantage of telling with so much clearness its own tale as to the solar nature of the hero, that it needs no exposition beyond an incidental remark or two by way of comparing or contrasting it with some of the Celtic stories which have been passed in review in my previous remarks. It is needless to observe that the prophetic form, in which alone a part of the story is preserved, is due to Christian and Biblical influence, and especially to the idea of those who saw in Balder a type of Christ, who was to come to make all things new in a new heaven and a new earth; and as Malachi prophesied that 'the sun of righteousness' should 'arise with healing in his wings,' so Balder was to come back and all sorrows were to be healed. It is important to notice Balder's compulsory delay, as it follows from the fact that Balder was not simply the sun, but the summer sun, whose return is witnessed by the dwellers in the North only after protracted waiting. Balder's obscurer brother descends after him to the abode of Hell, and leaves it the next morning; and his other brother and avenger Vali is of more rapid growth even than the Celtic representatives of the sun, since he is born in the Halls of the West during the night, and rises in the morning to conquer the power of darkness to which Balder had succumbed. These less illustrious brothers of his have their counterparts in Celtic, not so much perhaps in Lug's more obscure incarnations, as in Cúchulainn's comrades and rivals, Loegaire and Conall, the latter of whom, second only to Cúchulainn himself in valour, survived to be the avenger of his death.
It is remarkable that Balder has a dwelling-place in the heavens, and this seems to refer to the arctic summer, when the sun prolongs his stay above the horizon. The pendant to the picture would naturally be his staying as long in the nether world. At length a general weeping for Balder takes place—a tender touch which the writer of the Prose Edda seems to have correctly interpreted by a reference to the tears, as it were, with which most objects are bedewed when warmer weather follows a hard frost. Of course Frigg's messengers, who are the unnamed suns of the days between winter and summer, can with their increasing warmth make most things weep, but not the ogress Thökk who dwells in a cave penetrated neither by the light of day nor by the frost of winter, and her tearlessness is artistically made the obstacle to Balder's return. In other words, it was still too soon; but in due time he fails not to come back, and then follow the happy results described by the sibyl. The latter makes his murderer Höᵭr be his brother and come back with him; for the Norse nature myth pictured darkness as brother to light, and death as following in the track of life; but the touching picture of the murdered and his murderer returning together to live in peace and amity in the new order of things, betrays the influence of the notion that the story of Balder's death was a sort of account of Abel's and the first fratricide. As to Höᵭr, he was a blind god of great might; and taken in conjunction with these two attributes, his name Höᵭr, genitive Haᵭar, is a remarkable one, as it is the same word which we have in the Anglo-Saxon heaᵭu, 'war or battle,' also in Irish and Welsh cath and câd respectively of the same meaning. From this it seems to follow that he was chiefly a personification of promiscuous death, such as would be suggested to the primitive mind by the startling incidents of battle, in which it was frequently thought that the wrong man fell, while he who ought to succumb escaped; and with this agrees the fact also that there was a feminine Höᵭ, who was a Valkyria or chooser of the slain. This approach to a blending in the god Höᵭr's person of Mars and Pluto has its parallels in Celtic myths, where the god of death, always present in the battle-field, may be easily mistaken for a god of battle in the proper sense of the word: witness, for example, a poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen, where Gwyn ab Nûᵭ is made to enumerate the great battles in which he had been present; but Gwyn is not so much a war-god as a god of the dead and king of the other world, who fetches the fallen to his own realm.
The story of Balder, in the only form we have it, makes Höᵭr the innocent slayer of that god, by giving the genius of mischief which guides him in his act a separate personality bearing the distinct name of Loki; and it must have been a nice question who murdered Balder; for it might be argued that it was not Höᵭr, as he could not see, and that it was not Loki, as he did not throw the fatal twig. Norse law would treat him as murdered by them both, by Höᵭr as the hand-bani, or the one whose hand committed the deed, and by Loki as the ráᵭ-bani, or the one who contrived it. But who slew Cúchulainn? The stories vary; for we found one stating that it was Erc, and one that it was Lugaid, a discrepancy which one might be at first inclined to put down to the carelessness of Irish story-tellers; but the Norse tale allows one to suppose that it is to be traced to a different origin; and the Irish accounts as they stand are best explained on the theory that they were both his slayers. Now Erc and Lugaid appear in them as warriors, but there is no more reason to regard them as originally and essentially war-gods than in the case of Höᵭr and Loki, though Erc at least came sooner or later to be invested probably with that character,—a view which derives indirect corroboration from the fact that Irish hagiology makes a saint bearing the name of Erc resemble St. Martin, an assimilation which I should trace to a probable equivalence of the names Erc and Mars. I should, therefore, venture to regard the Erc who had a hand in the slaying of Cúchulainn, as corresponding closely enough in his character of a quasi Mars to Höᵭr. The avenger of Cúchulainn was his foster-brother Conall Cernach, or C. the Victorious, who, according to different stories, slew both Lugaid and Erc, and carried away their heads. In Conall we have, as already hinted, another personification of the sun; for he was the son of the sister of Cúchulainn's mother; and her name Finnchoem, meaning white and lovely, would seem to point to her as a dawn or gloaming goddess: she was Cúchulainn's foster-mother as well as the mother of Conall. Further, the latter's name is Cynwal in Welsh, which is more conservative of consonants, and this represents an early Celtic form Cuno-valos or Cuno-walo-s, the genitive of which occurs as Cvnovali on an old inscribed stone in the neighbourhood of Penzance in Cornwall. The correspondence between Conall and the slayer of Höᵭr suggests the inference that in the latter's name Vali we have the remains of a full name answering to Cuno-valos reduced and modified in a way not uncommon in old Norse. Moreover, as the Anses caught Loki in the waterfall of Franang, so Conall overtook Lugaid bathing in the Liffey and beheaded him, leaving his body, with the exception of the venomous head, for others to bury beneath the notorious Three Flags of Lugaid's court (p. 483). It is needless to point out how this recalls the three stones of torture on which Loki was laid in bonds of iron.
One might at first sight be tempted to regard Lugaid and Loki as kindred names; but that would be hazardous. The former makes in the genitive Lugdech, which in its early form in Ogam is found variously written Lugudeccas and Lugudeca, which yields the crude form Lugudec, to be treated probably as a compound Lugu-dec, meaning one who had something to do with Lug or lug; this cannot, however, be defined so long as the signification of the second element is unknown. Provisionally perhaps one might regard it as equivalent to 'Lug-slayer,' or possibly the darkener, conqueror or devourer of lug in the sense of light. It might be objected that Lugaid is not made in Irish story to kill Lug, but Cúchulainn; that, however, does not much matter, as Cúchulainn is an avatar of Lug or the latter in another form. Had more Irish myths been preserved, and in a more ancient form, one might expect to find that Lugaid was in the first instance matched with Lug and not with Cúchulainn. As it is, we are only told that Lug was slain by Mac Cuill, whose name being interpreted seems to mean the Son of Destruction, which would also exactly suit Lugaid, the Loki of Goidelic mythology. The name of Lugaid was, however, not confined to Ireland; for wherever the Sun-god roamed, there his mortal foe must also come in his time; and as we found traces of the cult of Lugus among the Celts of the Continent, so also his adversary must have figured in their beliefs. In fact, one finds in the country of the Gaulish Arevaci of Spain the Latinized form of a name practically identical with that of Lugaid: I allude to an inscription found at the Arevacian city of Segovia, giving, among other proper names, that of a certain Luguadicus, whose son Valerius Anno, as we learn from the monument, was a native of another town of the Arevaci, namely Osma, the ancient Uxama and the very place where another inscription, as already mentioned (p. 424), connects the cult of the Lugoves with a temple superintended by a college of cobblers. One or two minor points have still to be noticed very briefly. The relationship between Lug and Cúchulainn is not without its parallel in the story of Balder, who had a son Forseti or Judge, another edition, so to say, of himself, for Balder also was an unerring judge. At first sight it looks a little capricious to make the sun a judge; but from the point of view of those whose imagination gave the myth its form, nothing perhaps could have been more natural; for if the Sun-god was to be regarded as a judge at all—and every great prince had to give judgment on all sorts of occasions—he must excel in that capacity, for the position of vantage occupied by him would make him impartial, and, for the dwellers in the far North, patient to listen all the livelong day to all comers, at the same time that he saw all that went on in the world below. This excellence as a judge, without however laying too much emphasis on the habit of sitting long to hear suits, probably a characteristic to be traced only to the slowness of the summer sun in the arctic regions, belonged also to Lug, who is described as jurisconsult and historian, and more especially to his son Cúchulainn, who boasted to Emer that he revised the verdicts of the Ultonian brehons, whereby he constituted himself a sort of court of appeal in his own person; and in this connection it is worth the while to mention how the conquest of Erinn by the Milesians brought with it the replacing of Mac Gréine, or Son of the Sun, by Amorgen of the White Knee (p. 365), who has the combined functions of a just judge, of poet and of historian or story-teller ascribed to him; but it is in the person of Moen (p. 311) that the Celtic Sun-god is before all things a judge, that he is neither king nor warrior, but a great brehon alone.
These remarks on the parallelism between the Celtic Sun-god and Balder would be incomplete without a word respecting the latter's mother Frigg. She is proved by the Anglo-Saxon word Frígedæg, now Friday, and by the Old Norse habit of calling the planet Venus Frigg's Star, to have been treated to a certain extent as a counterpart of the Latin Venus. Her dwelling in a mansion called Fensal, the Hall of the Fen or Swamp, recalls Lleu's mother Arianrhod and her sea-girt castle. But we have also treated as her counterpart the maiden giantess Gefjon, who created the island of Seeland, which she brought, as an addition to Denmark and as the price of her love, from the site since occupied by lake Wener. She knew everybody's destiny, and passed for one of Woden's loves; but Frigg was his wife, and even the latter's life had not been immaculate, though her laches could not vie in enormity with those of Arianrhod or Duben. Both Frigg and Gefjon belong, however, to the same class of goddesses as the Celtic ones, though there is little left to prove it in the case of Frigg except the name of her abode in the Fenn. The strolling maiden Gefjon belonged perhaps to a lower stage of culture than the ideas of the Wicking period, which brought the Anses to dwell together and made Frigg lead a matrimonial life comme il faut as Woden's consort.
In the last section I spoke of the Sun-god in the person of a mythic judge: we have now to discuss a Welsh story which makes him a great bard and poet, bearing the well-known name of Taliessin. It is convenient to follow the long-established custom of speaking of certain Welsh poems as Taliessin's, and of a manuscript of the 13th century in which they are contained as the Book of Taliessin. Those poems represent a school of Welsh bardism, but we know in reality nothing about their authorship; and the personality of Taliessin is as mythic as that of Gwydion and Merlin, both of whom have also been treated as the authors of Welsh verse. The name, however, of Taliessin, viewed in this light, has an interest far surpassing even that of Merlin; this will be best understood with the aid of what we read in the so-called History of Taliessin. There we make the acquaintance of Kerridwen, wife of Tegid the Bald, whose patrimony was where Llyn Tegid or Bala Lake now lies. Besides other children, including a daughter who was the handsomest woman of her time, they had a son Avagᵭu, who was the ugliest man in the world; so Kerridwen, thinking that he had no chance of being tolerated among gentlemen unless he had some noble excellence or science, undertook, with the aid of the books of Fferyỻ, as Vergil the magician is called in Welsh, to boil for his benefit a cauldron of poesy and science, that he might gain reputation for his knowledge and skill with respect to future events. She placed a blind fellow called Mordav and a certain Gwion the Little in charge of the cauldron, while she went forth to gather herbs of virtue according to the hours of the stars and the directions of astronomy. The cauldron was to boil on without interruption for a whole year; but before the time was up, three precious drops from the cauldron fell on one of Gwion's fingers, and on account of the scalding sensation he put it in his mouth, when he suddenly knew everything, and above all things that he had everything to fear from Kerridwen: so he fled, leaving the cauldron to burst from the virulence of its contents. Kerridwen pursued Gwion, and it went so hard with him that he had to assume various forms, but always with the result of being checkmated by her: at last, beholding a heap of wheat, he dropped into it in the shape of a grain, whereupon she changed herself into a crested black hen, found him out and devoured him. In due time he was born again, and with such a fair face that Kerridwen his mother had not the heart to destroy him, so she had him wrapped in a hide and cast into the sea; the hide was picked up at Aberdovey on one of the stakes of Gwyᵭno's weir on the Calends of May, under the following circumstances. It was usual to find in the weir the value of a hundred pounds every First of May, so that year Gwyᵭno gave it to a hapless son of his called Elphin, who accordingly went with his men to examine the weir at the proper time. Their disappointment was so great that one of them said to Elphin that he had never till then been really luckless, when he had broken off the luck of the weir. Observing the hide on the weir, Elphin said: 'This may contain the value of a hundred pounds.' The man engaged in opening it exclaimed, on beholding a child's forehead, 'Here is a charming forehead (tal iessin)!' 'Taliessin let him be,' said Elphin, lifting the boy with his hands and bewailing his lack of luck. Presently the baby Taliessin sang a poem to console Elphin in his disappointment; this was followed shortly afterwards, to everybody's astonishment, by two more poems to which he gave utterance in answer to questions as to his previous existence and as to his knowledge. On this I need scarcely make any remark, as you cannot fail to see at once how closely it corresponds to the story of Moen picked up from the sea and heard to speak thrice in the first hours of his life (p. 311). In the case of Lleu and Gwri and Cúchulainn, the precocity was one of growth generally, but here it is confined to speech and wisdom. The First of May must, according to Celtic ideas, have been the right season for the birth of the summer Sun-god; and his mother who drops him in the sea and goes her way is Kerridwen the Minerva of Welsh poets: she may probably be ranked with Arianrhod and Gefjon.
Let us now return to the story of the three stray drops from the cauldron, to which Taliessin's knowledge of all things is traced. Kerridwen had taken as husband him of Bala Lake called Tegid, in whose baldness we have probably a touch of the same kind as the croppedness of Corc and Ailill Aulom. The contents of the cauldron had been intended by Kerridwen for the intellectual endowment of Tegid's son Avagᵭu, whose name is no longer known to the Welsh except as a synonym for Hell or for the prince of darkness, in the Christian sense of the term. The legend deriving poetry and knowledge from the powers of the nether world had probably a considerable variety of forms; and the supposed fact of that derivation of the muse is the key-note to much that is characteristic of the most peculiar poems in the Book of Taliessin. For our purpose it matters little what man or how many men wrote them, or even when they were written; for they contain an element of thought which clearly belongs to an ancient order of things. It is more to the point to note that many of them imply an antagonistic school of poets, which Taliessin is represented relentlessly attacking. This may be supposed to have been a more Christian school than that to which he is made to belong; and that was probably of the essence of the feud. The legendary life of Taliessin opposes his patron Elphin and the bard himself to the powerful sixth century prince Maelgwn of Gwyneᵭ, and the poets of his court respectively. Maelgwn, according to Gildas, his contemporary and critic, had for a time been a monk; and he is believed to have received his education from no less a teacher than St. Cadoc, with whose name Welsh tradition connects a number of sayings of a philosophic and Christian nature. Be that as it may, Maelgwn belonged to the dynasty of Cuneᵭa, which was so famous for the number of distinguished saints it gave the Church, that it is termed one of the Three Holy Clans of Britain. Further, it was under Maelgwn's rule that Bangor in Arvon is supposed to have first become the home of a bishop; and everything suggests that the poets favoured by Maelgwn and his court were likely to be less pagan in the tone of their teaching than those can possibly have been who appropriated the name of Taliessin, that is if we may judge from the poems ascribed to him. The quarrel was even then probably of old standing; it may be supposed to date from the time when the Brythons began to accept Christianity, and to have combined itself possibly with the Pelagian controversy. On the other hand, it is certain that it lasted many centuries after Maelgwn's death; for even in the fourteenth century the bardic or semi-pagan school was sufficiently vigorous to elicit a bitter denunciation from a Welsh priest and poet, Siôn Kent, who treats it as consisting of the Men of Hu, whose muse was the genius of lying as distinguished from the better muse that was of Christ. Kent's words briefly indicate with sufficient clearness the nature of the charge which a Christian poet would bring against the semi-pagan bards of the Taliessin school. The latter retaliate, in the assumed person of Taliessin, by charging the others with gross ignorance of the mysteries of bardism. Thus Taliessin now and then propounds to them and to the monks long lists of questions, mostly of an impossible and unanswerable kind, but all asserted to lie within the limits of his personal knowledge; for he has gone through all sorts of transformations, and has in some form or other assisted at all the great events through which the world has passed since its beginning. He challenges them also to prophesy to their patron, thereby intending them to fathom their inferiority to him, who can tell all that is to happen till the end of the world. In a word, his pretensions are of the most extravagant kind, and cannot well have been surpassed by those of the druids in the days of their greatest power in Erinn and Mona, or by those of the boldest sorcerer among the savages of modern times.
The only pretensions closely resembling Taliessin's, and decidedly of the same origin as his, known to me in Celtic literature, are those of Amorgen, the seer of the Sons of Mile, on the occasion of their invading Ireland. There is, however, a difference between them: when Taliessin asserts that he was present at the great events of all previous ages, that is an intelligible way of magnifying his own importance; but when he states that he had gone through many forms, and specifies that he had been a word, a book, a bridge, a coracle, a sword, a drop in a shower, and the like, one fails to see the point of the brag; whereas Amorgen is clear; for he would not say, 'I was' or 'I have been,' but 'I am:' thus, among other things, he says he is the wind and the wave, a loch on the plain, a spear, a tear of the sun, and the like. Some, doubtless, of the assertions he makes owe their strangeness to a primitive formation of predicate without the aid of a particle corresponding to such a word as 'like.' But even allowing for this, there remains enough to show that we have here to do with the self-glorification of the chief of the initiated, whether you call them bards or seers, poets or prophets; by means of his knowledge and skill in druidism or magic, he can take any form he likes, and command the elements according to his will. It is in this light that I would read a certain class of transformations which Taliessin boasts having undergone. As to his visits to the other world, he not only professes to have been in Caer Sidi and the Glass Fortress, he not only boasts having taken part in the harrying of Hades; but it is a familiar country to him, and he has witnessed how its inhabitants, whom neither plague nor death can reach, quaff a drink sweeter than wine from a copious fountain with which that submarine isle is blest. He knows every dwarf beneath the ocean, and has observed the rank assigned to each. This is not all: so truly is he a bard, that he is recognized as such even in the mythic mother-country of all bardism and knowledge; and that recognition takes the tangible form of a bardic or professorial chair reserved for him in Caer Sidi, and for his successors in his profession for ever. But he had other chairs, one of which was called the Chair of Kerridwen of uncertain location; and the triad is completed by one belonging to him called the Chair of Teyrnon, which is possibly to be looked for also in the direction of Caer Sidi and the realm beneath the waves of ocean, for Teyrnon was one of the lieges of Pwyỻ Head of Hades, according to the account in the Mabinogi called after his name. The Chairs of Kerridwen and Teyrnon are the subjects of two poems in the Book of Taliessin.
Let us now examine the Taliessin legend from another point of view, and begin with the name. This has probably been tampered with by popular etymology, and its ordinary form is perhaps less to be relied on than the rarer ones of Telessin, or Telyessin. What it may have exactly meant, we know not; but it is clear that it is a compound, and it is probable that the second part should be treated as essin or eisin, which I would equate with the name of the great mythic poet of the Goidels, Ossín, better known in English in the form of Ossian, which it has taken in Scotland. The same view expressed in another way would be that Ossín is the reduced or de-compounded form of a longer name corresponding to the Welsh Telessin, or Telyessin. I would, however, go beyond this verbal equation, and regard Taliessin and Ossín as representing, in point of origin, one and the same character belonging to an earlier stage of Celtic mythology. On the Welsh side, Taliessin is Gwïon re-born, while on the Goidelic side Ossm is the son of Finn, which is contrary to the ordinary rule that regeneration is more common in Irish stories than in Welsh ones. The discrepancy is, however, not such as to preclude our comparing Gwion and Finn with one another. In the first place, Finn was the chief of a band of warriors called the Fiann. Now in this term Fiann we have a word admitting of being equated letter for letter with the proper name Gwion, the meaning of which is unknown in Welsh. This alone does not amount to a proof of the identity of the names, but it becomes an important item of evidence when backed by an unmistakable parallel between the stories about Gwion and Finn. How Gwion got his knowledge and power of predicting the future by tasting of the brew meant for another person, the hideous Avagᵭu, has already been told; and it only remains to relate how on the other side Finn got his wisdom.
The principal foes of Finn and the family to which he belonged were called Urgrenn son of Lugaid Corr, and Goll the 'One-eyed' son of Morna; and Finn as a boy was with difficulty hidden away from them and their men. In order to cope with them, he went to a poet to learn his art, and Finn, whose name was Demne Finn, that is Demne the Fair or White, told his tutor that his name was Demne. Now the tutor's own name was also Finn, more usually called Finn Éces or Finn the Seer. The boy found the sage watching Fiac's Pool in the Boyne; for there was a prophecy that Finn was to catch one of the Salmons of Knowledge and eat of it, with the result that he should no longer be in ignorance of anything he might wish to know. He had been watching the pool seven years, when at last he caught the long-expected fish. He handed it to his pupil to cook, with strict orders not to taste of its flesh; but when it was brought him cooked, the boy was obliged to confess that he had in cooking the fish burnt his thumb, which he then put in his mouth, just as Gwion did with his scalded finger; he was next made to confess that his name was Finn; and his tutor, perceiving that all his labour had been in vain, handed him the whole salmon to eat, and pronounced him the real Finn of the prophecy. From that day forth, Finn, whenever he wanted to know anything, had only to put his thumb in his mouth and chew it.
In order to make you further acquainted with the source of Finn's knowledge, I could not do better than quote the following passage from Prof. O'Curry's Lectures on the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, ij. 143: "In those very early times there was a certain mystical fountain which was called Connla's Well, (situated, so far as we can gather, in Lower Ormond). As to who this Connla was, from whom the well had its name, we are not told; but the well itself appears to have been regarded as another Helicon by the ancient Irish poets. Over this well there grew, according to the legend, nine beautiful mystical hazel-trees, which annually sent forth their blossoms and fruits simultaneously. The nuts were of the richest crimson colour, and teemed with the knowledge of all that was refined in literature, poetry, and art. No sooner, however, were the beautiful nuts produced on the trees, than they always dropped into the well, raising by their fall a succession of shining red bubbles. Now during this time the water was always full of salmon; and no sooner did the bubbles appear than these salmon darted to the surface and eat the nuts, after which they made their way to the river. The eating of the nuts produced brilliant crimson spots on the bellies of these salmon; and to catch and eat these salmon became an object of more than mere gastronomic interest among those who were anxious to become distinguished in the arts and in literature without being at the pains and delay of long study; for the fish was supposed to have become filled with the knowledge which was contained in the nuts, which, it was believed, would be transferred in full to those who had the good fortune to catch and eat them. Such a salmon was, on that account, called the Eo Feasa, or 'Salmon of Knowledge;' and it is to such a salmon that we sometimes meet reference among our old poets, where, when speaking of objects they pretend to be above description, they say, 'unless they had eaten of the salmon of knowledge they could not do it justice.'" The author then proceeds to give references in point from Irish literature; but we meet with the crimson nuts elsewhere mentioned as forming part of the food of the gods of the ancient Goidel, the Tuatha Dé Danann, and they were probably believed to account for the surpassing wisdom and cleverness ascribed to those gods. With the salmon that lay in wait for the crimson nuts may be compared in passing the Salmon of Llyn Llyw, connected by the story of Kulhwch with the Severn, and stated to have been the first animal created, his memory being made to go back in the matter of Mabon's history (p. 29) further than all the other ancients of the brute creation, which, arranged in the order of the lengths of their ages, were the Eagle of Gwernabwy, the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, the Stag of Rhedynvre, and the Blackbird of Kilgwri. It is not very clear whether Erinn was supposed to have but one sacred and secret well of the kind described, bearing various names and mysteriously connected with all the chief rivers of that country, or else several such wells severally connected with them. But we read of the sacred well in connection with the Shannon and with the Boyne: the former was Connla's Well, of which the paragraph cited speaks, and a verse in the Book of Leinster describes the tree overshadowing it as 'a many-melodied hazel of knowledge;' it also derives the name of the Shannon from a lady called Sinann, daughter of Lodon son of Lir, there being no river so called till she presumed to gaze into the sacred well, when the water suddenly burst forth at the insult in pursuit of her and drowned her: that is how the Shannon was formed and named. A similar story in the same manuscript gives the like account of the calamity which happened to a lady called Boann (pp. 123, 144). She had been rash enough to visit the secret well, which nobody durst do except Nechtan and his three drink-bearers alone; the infuriated stream pursued her across the country as far as the sea and drowned her. So was formed and named the river Boann or Boyne, which fills a great place in Irish legend, and is identified by the writer of the story referred to, in some mysterious way, with other rivers known to literature, such as the Severn, the Tiber, the Jordan, the Euphrates and the Tigris, whereby he brings the Irish stream into connection with Paradise and satisfies his wish to blend the legends of his own country with those of other nations. Another form which the Boyne story took was to the effect that this most mystic of Irish rivers traversed the whole world in seven years.
With the Irish source of knowledge, so jealously guarded from the gaze of women, may perhaps be compared what is said in old Norse literature respecting the fountain of Woden's wisdom, as described in the passages brought together by Vigfusson and Powell in their Volospá Reconstructed, to the following effect: "Where is the chief abode or sanctuary of the gods ? . . . It is at the Ash Ygg's steed, where the gods held their court every day. This Ash is the greatest and best of trees; its limbs spread over all the world, and three roots of it stretch across the heaven, and hold it up and stretch wonderfully far. One turns towards the Anses, the second towards the Rime-ogres, where once the Yawning Gulf was, but the third stretches over Cloud-world, and Hwergelme [Cauldron-Whelmer] is under this root, and Felon-cutter [the snake] gnaws the bottom of this root. But under the root that trends towards the Rime-ogres is Mim's Burn, wherein is wisdom and understanding, and he that owns the burn is named Mim; he is full of knowledge, because he drinks from the brook out of the Yellhorn." Here the communication with the whole world, which Irish paganism leaves to the mystic river, is replaced by the mighty ramifications of a vast world-tree; but we are chiefly interested in the passage representing Woden so greatly coveting the water of wisdom that for one draught alone he pledged his eye to the giant who owned it. It is thus put in Vigfusson and Powell's Reconstruction of the Volospá:
"Well I know, Woden, where thou didst hide thine eye, in the blessed Burn of Mim;
I see a river pouring forth a stream of loamy water out of the pledge of the Lord of Hosts.
I know where Heimdall's Horn is hidden under the shadowy Holy
Mim drinks out of the clanging Horn a draught of mead every morning from the Burn."
All this agrees fairly well, despite the mythic tree of the ancient Norsemen being an ash, with the ancient Irish idea, which traced science and wisdom beyond the Salmon, and even the holy water in which he swam, to a Tree of Knowledge that overshadowed its banks—more correctly speaking, to nine trees; and this is to be specially noticed, as it seems to give a clue to the meaning. The Salmon of Llyn Llyw had more to say than the other ancients questioned by Arthur's men, because he had lived longer in the world; and here probably the nine hazels are to be regarded as symbolic of time, the bringer of experience and the great teacher of all. The number nine refers here, I take it, to the nine-night week of the ancients, as it does also in the case of another source of knowledge, the wonderful Cauldron of the Head of Hades, that was kept boiling by the breath of nine maidens (p. 256): these are, to borrow other terms, the Nine Muses of the Greek classics, and the Nine Maiden Mothers of Heimdal, whom the Norsemen of old sometimes regarded as the first birth of time, the father of princes, churls and thralls alike.
We left Taliessin and Gwion placed respectively over against Ossín and Finn. Beyond the account of Gwion tasting of the contents of the Cauldron of Sciences, and the unfailing knowledge he thereby acquired of all coming events, the references to his name in Welsh literature are so obscure that we learn little from them. They favour, however, tho notion that the character of Taliessin, who boasts himself Gwion, was a reproduction of that of the latter; but Taliessin pretended to have been not only a poet or prophet, but also a warrior engaged in various important expeditions to the other world, to which reference has been made more than once. Was Gwion also a warrior? The allusions to him in Welsh poetry are too obscure to be said to prove this, but he was probably the person mentioned among the warriors and champions enumerated in the story of Kulhwch, where we read of Gwion the Cat-eyed, so called because he was so sharp-sighted that he could cut a haw from off the eye of a gnat without hurting it, an exaggerated sharpness of sight probably to be traced to the solar origin of the hero to whom it is ascribed. On the Goidelic side, Ossín is not only represented as a famous warrior, but also as a great poet, in both of which roles he only reproduced the character of his father Finn, who was not merely celebrated as a warrior and huntsman, but especially as poet and diviner; so much so, in fact, that the strange statement is made, that no warrior was allowed to join his Fiann unless he was well skilled in the poet's art, a curious qualification for membership in a body which some speak of as 'the militia' of ancient Erinn.
There remains a difficulty which we must now try to discuss. I have already treated Finn as the Goidelic equivalent of the Welsh Gwyn, son of Nûᵭ, king of the fairies and the demons of the spirit world; whereas it is impossible to identify Gwion or Taliessin with that repellent personage, or with any other, perhaps, but Gwyn's direct antagonist, the Sun-god. Briefly put, the explanation is, that the Irish have confounded two Finns of the most incompatible characters under the one name. Finn means 'white or fair,' as its Welsh counterpart Gwyn means also 'white;' but whether the Welsh ever called Gwion by the name Gwyn or Gwion Gwyn, I cannot say: if they did, they must have in time dropped it in order to avoid the sort of confusion which I suppose to have arisen on Irish ground. The proof that this correctly represents the Irish case is to be found in the fact, that the stories about Finn divide themselves into two groups, namely, (1) those connected with a Gwion-Finn (or Deimne Finn, corresponding to Gwion), but especially that concerning his acquisition of the power of divination, and (2) those relating to a Gwyn-Finn (or Finn Éces, corresponding to Gwyn ab Nûᵭ), such, for example, as the long story of the antagonism between Finn and Diarmait. The friendship of the latter as a Solar Hero with Finn as a Solar or Culture Hero, would have analogies on Irish ground; but their mutual hostility at another time in their history would be very difficult, mythologically speaking, to explain: why, for instance, should Grainne, who was betrothed to Finn, elope with Diarmait on the night when she was to be wedded to Finn, and then become Finn's wife years later, after Diarmait had died under circumstances that placed it in Finn's power easily to save his life? Why should Finn have employed in the pursuit of Diarmait diverse kinds of witches and uncanny beasts, at the same time that he failed to shake the friendship of his own son Ossín or of his grandson Oscar for Diarmait? As soon as we treat Finn here as the counterpart of Gwyn, it all becomes plain, and finds its parallel produced, somewhat in the other direction, it is true, not only in the story already mentioned of Lleu and his wife Blodeueᵭ, but in one where the god of darkness and death appears as a principal under the very name Gwyn which now engages our attention. His antagonist, occupying the position corresponding to that of Diarmait in the Irish tale, is given the name of Gwythur vab Greidiawl, which may be Englished Victor son of Scorcher, not a very inappropriate designation for the summer sun; and the whole episode, as incorporated in the story of Kulhwch, where alone it occurs, discloses such a vista of ancient savagery, and ends with such a quaint arrangement, that I make bold to quote it at length, as follows:—"A little previously, Creiᵭylad, daughter of Llûᵭ of the Silver Hand, had gone with Gwythur ab Greidiawl; but before he had slept with her, Gwyn ab Nûᵭ came and took her away by force. Gwythur gathered a host together and came to give battle to Gwyn. The lattor prevailed, and caught Greid ab Eri, Glinneu eil Taran, Gwrgwst Ledlwm and Dyvnarth his son. He caught also . . . . ab Nethawc and Nwython, together with Kyledr the Wild, Nwython's son: he killed Nwython, took out his heart and forced Kyledr to eat his father's heart: it was therefore Kyledr became wild and left the abodes of men. This was told Arthur, and he came to the North, summoned Gwyn to his presence, released his knights from his prison, and made peace between Gwyn and Gwythur. That peace was made on this wise: the damsel was to remain at her father's house untouched by either party. They were to fight for her on the Calends of May every year thenceforth till the Day of Doom, and he who should prove victorious on the Day of Doom was to take the damsel to wife." Such is the story, but to discuss it here would take up a great deal of our time; so a remark or two must suffice. Though Gwythur's name seems to be the Welsh equivalent of the Latin word victor, Gwythur is not expressly described as victorious, like Conall, surnamed Cernach or the Triumphant; but the act of fighting on the Calends of May meant victory for him; and if we had the myth in a more extended form, Gwyn's victory would be found to happen at the beginning of winter. In other words, the Sun-god should recover his bride at the beginning of summer after his antagonist had gained possession of her at the beginning of winter. In an ancient poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen, Gwyn is made to give his name as Hûd Gwyn, 'the White Spell or White Magic,' and to call himself the lover of Creurdilad, as the lady is there called. The name is to be recognized in Shakspear's Cordelia, though the story, as it reached the great dramatist, had confounded Llûᵭ: with Llyr or Lear, who also had daughters who figure in Celtic romance. But the father of Creiᵭylad was Llûᵭ, the Celtic Jupiter, so that the story lends itself the more readily to comparison with that, among others, of Persephone, daughter of Zeus, carried away by Pluto, who was, however, able to retain her at his side only for six months in the year. That dusky divinity of the classics forms an apt counterpart to Gwyn ab Nûᵭ, and the Finn who corresponds to him in Irish literature.
Before closing this chapter, the story of the childhood of Amorgen, father of Conall Cernach, deserves to be mentioned. It is to the effect that there was in Ulster a famous smith called Eccet or Eccen, surnamed Sálach, the Dirty or Sooty; he was such a master craftsman that Ulster never boasted a better. Now Eccet had a gorgeously dressed daughter and an infant boy called Amorgen: he was a hideous creature and in every way disgusting, not to mention that he had reached the fourteenth year of his age without uttering a word. It happened one day when Eccet was from home, that Aitherne's man came on an errand to the smith's house, and beheld Eccet's daughter sitting in splendid apparel in a chair, with the hideous Amorgen on the floor hard by. He cast grim looks at Greth, for that was the name of Aitherne's man, and presently asked him if he ate curds and other things which the urchin himself considered dainties. But Greth was frightened at being addressed by an infant that had never spoken before, and, hearing the question repeated, he rushed out of the house and hastened home, where his master was astonished by his frightened looks. Then he told Aitherne all that had happened; but in the mean time the smith had also come home and heard from his daughter that Amorgen had spoken for the first time. He at once guessed that the ingenious wording of the boy's utterance betokened coming greatness, and that Aitherne, who would probably be of the same opinion, would come, as he feared, to kill the boy in order to avoid the rise of a possible rival. So it was thought expedient to take the boy out of the way, and his sister took him to the sea near Slieve Mis in the south, which must mean either the Bay of Dingle or of Tralee, in the west of Kerry, while his father made an earthen image of him, which was dressed up to counterfeit Amorgen asleep close to where Eccet was at work. It was not long ere Aitherne came, as anticipated: it was ostensibly to have work done by the smith; but after receiving from the latter's hands an axe finished and hafted, he gave a blow with it to the supposed child: this was assumed to have killed it, and Aitherne was pursued to his house, and the nobles of Ulster undertook to fix the eric which he was to pay to the smith, and the latter so managed the matter that Aitherne was bound to include in the eric an engagement to educate a son of Eccet's until he should be equal to the poet himself in his profession. When this had received the usual sanction, Amorgen was fetched and delivered to Aitherne to be brought up by him. Sooner or later Amorgen lost his hideousness, and he eventually became the chief of the professional men of Ulster; and when they competed for the fostering of Cúchulainn he is made to describe himself as famed for prowess in arms as well as wisdom and eloquence of speech.
Now in the Welsh talc of Taliessin, the father of the ugly boy Avagᵭu was a nobleman called Tegid the Bald of Penỻyn, whose abode was where Bala Lake now lies, and Eccet's gorgeously dressed daughter in the Irish version is matched by Tegid's daughter Creirwy, who was the handsomest woman of her time. Tegid had, however, more than one ugly son, for Avagᵭu had a brother called Morvran, which literally means a sea-crow or cormorant. Of him it is said that he had the luck to be one of the three warriors who escaped from the Battle of Camlan; for his appearance prevented anybody from touching him, as he was taken to be an auxiliary devil from hell: he was hairy all over, like a stag. His brother Avagᵭu was probably still more hideous, since we learn that his lack of personal attractions was perceptible even to his mother Kerridwen, who accordingly exerted herself to bring him up endowed with transcendent talents. It is to be noticed that in the Irish tale the mother is not once mentioned, everything being left to the father and his daughter, neither of whom does anything in the Welsh version; but it is something to be able to place Eccet the Sooty Smith over against Tegid the Bald, of whom Welsh literature says little. The first part of the story of Amorgen is just the reverse of that of Lleu or Cúchulainn with their precocious growth, or that of Finn, who was a royal champion at the age of nine; for at the age of seven Amorgen was, according to one of Cormac's versions, no bigger than a man's fist; and it contrasts equally with the story of Taliessin and Móen, who were endowed with the power of speech from the hour of their birth. Goddesses of the class of Arianrhod and Duben had children of two kinds, representing darkness and light respectively; and Amorgen should be the counterpart of Dylan and Corc. In fact, the story of his being taken to the sea west of Kerry compares curiously with Corc taken out of Erinn to an islet on the same coast. Whether he underwent, while in the west, any change corresponding to that of Corc cleansed of the taint of his incestuous origin, we are not told; nor do we know how or when he got rid of the indescribable hideousness of his person. The more usual versions of the myth would suggest two boys, one a hideous creature like Amorgen, and the other his brother, chubby and xanthous; for it is not to be believed that the story gave any warrant for the change of the one character into the other.
Some help to get over the difficulty will be found in a view which the Irish sometimes took of the poet's art, namely, when they treated it as a personification at first repellent, but radiant at a later stage and fair to behold. Thus an Irish poet called Senchán was, at the moment of his embarking once on a time for the Isle of Man, asked free passage by a youth to whom the poet's retinue gave a wide berth as soon as his request was granted. It turned out that on all occasions when Senchán was likely to be hard put to in matters of skill in his own art, the hideous youth answered for him with marvellous promptitude. The adventure as related by Cormac, partly in Irish and partly in Latin, ends thus: When they came back to Ireland they saw the aforesaid youth before them; and he was a young hero, kingly, radiant, with a long eye in his head, and with his hair of a golden-yellow colour; fairer than the men of the world was he, both in form and in dress. He then went sunwise round Senchán and his suite, 'et nusquam apparuit ex illo tempore: dubium itaque non est quod ille poematis erat spiritus.' O'Donovan's comment, that 'the spirit of poetry is represented as ill-visaged at first, because of the difficulty of the art to a beginner,' fails adequately to explain why the picture should be made disgusting and revoltingly loathsome, as other ways of representing the difficulties of an art would have been more natural and more to the point. The key has to be sought rather in the ancient notion that poetry traced its origin to the world of the dead, whose king was sometimes given the outward appearance and lividness of a corpse; and one has, in fact, only to read the beginning of Cormac's account of Senchán's Spiritus Poematis to see at once that it is in part a description of a corpse in an advanced stage of decomposition. Compare the livid divinity called in a poem in the Book of Taliessin Uthr Ben, or Wondrous Head, who appears in Geoffrey's narrative with his name expanded into Utherpendragon, otherwise Uther Ben-dragon, that is to say, Wondrous Head-dragon or Leader. This comparison is all the more relevant as Uthr Ben represents himself in the Taliessin poem as bard, harper, piper, crowder—in a word, seven-score professionals all in one, an idea to be faintly traced in the Mabinogi of Branwen, when it makes Brân, on his expedition to Ireland, wade across with the musicians of his court on his shoulders (p. 269), and when it afterwards represents Brân's head, detached from his body, keeping his men company for many years. Outside Celtic literature one may compare the Norse story of Mim's head conversing with Woden and telling him many secrets, but especially that of Woden's visit to the dead sibyl to inquire about the future of his son Balder. On that occasion Woden rode to the spot "where he knew the Sibyl's barrow stood. He fell to chanting the mighty spells that move the Dead, till she rose all unwilling, and her corpse spoke: 'What mortal is it, whom I know not, that hath put me to this weary journey? I have been snowed on with the snow, I have been beaten with the rain, I have been drenched with the dew, long have I been dead.'"
We cannot here enter fully into the question of the assimilation of a divinity of death to a corpse, but enough has been said to explain how Amorgen's story has a parallel in that of the Spiritus Poematis, and on the Welsh side we have Amorgen's counterpart in Avagᵭu, though the preparation for the latter' s intellectual endowment is interrupted in the story of Gwion. We gather, however, from a boast of his mother's in one of the Taliessin poems that it was so far resumed that he was enabled to be victorious among his bardic rivals. But I am forced to leave unexplained the discrepancy that, while Amorgen's tutor Aitherne is to be regarded as a Culture Hero, I have hesitatingly to treat Gwion as a form of the Sun-god. A word or two must now be devoted to another Amorgen, for we found Taliessin's extraordinary pretensions and transformations matched in Irish by those only of Amorgen the White-kneed, poet and brehon of the Milesian invaders of Erinn (p. 365). The Tuatha Dé Danann of that time are described as under the rule of three chiefs called Mac Gréine, 'Son of the Sun;' Mac Cuill, 'Son of Destruction;' and Mac Cecht, 'Son of the Plough:' a three-fold arrangement which in some measure recalls the three departments of Zeus, Posidon and Pluto, in Greek mythology. When the Tuatha Dé Danann are defeated by the Milesians, Airem the 'Ploughman' is made the slayer of Mac Cecht, Eber of Mac Cuill, and Amorgen of Mac Gréine, whereby it was meant to oppose Amorgen, so to say, to Mac Gréine; and his solar nature may perhaps be inferred from this as well as from his epithet. He is said to have been an impartial brehon and to have delivered the first judgment in Erinn. In any case, he seems to have had nothing in common, except his name and the attribute of poetry, with the pupil of Aitherne. The latter Amorgen belongs to the Ultonian cycle, and the other occurs in stories, which, connected as they are with the south-west, place Amorgen's landing in Kerry, and his first battle near the mountains called Slieve Mis. The name Amorgen seems to have literally meant a wonder-child, and this would apply equally well to Eccet's ugly progeny and to Amorgen the White-kneed, whose pretensions resemble those of Taliessin, and whose birth and infancy may have formed the burden of a story like that of Taliessin. One may here compare Lug termed par excellence the child of victory, which in its turn vividly recalls the career of the newly-born Apollo, master of the lyre as well as of unerring arrows.
The Stratification of Solar Myths.
This lecture would be incomplete without some allusion to the fact that, though Celts and Teutons appear to have originally had the same notion of a Sun-god, which was likewise Aryan, probably, in the widest sense of the word; they have also had a habit more or less general of treating the sun as a female. I have been searching in vain among the ever-growing mass of writings on Aryan mythology for any clear recognition of this two-fold treatment. The theory I have been forced to form is, that the myths about the sun under such names as Lleu and Lug, Cúchulainn and Balder, failed at an early period to tell with distinctness and precision the tale of their origin, and that they ceased to be understood as applying to the sun, so that the stories in which they figured became severed more or less completely, so to say, from their original fountain-head. This being so, the sun under other and familiar names might serve as the source of other myths different from the earlier ones. How ancient those of the earlier order must be will appear from the following brief examination of some of those belonging to the later one; but it may be premised of the latter that they are comparatively poor in point of mythic development; for 'words like Hemera, day, Nyx, night, Helios, sun, Selene, moon, may send out a few mythological offshoots, but it is chiefly round dark and decaying names, such as Kastor and Pollux, Apollo and Athene, that the mythological ivy grows most luxuriantly.' The word for sun is in Irish grian, genitive gréine, of the feminine gender, as it is also in the Gaelic of Scotland and of the Isle of Man. The term is unknown to the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages, but it probably means that which shines, glitters or sparkles, for it is related to Irish grian, genitive griin, 'gravel,' which is a masculine represented in Welsh by graean or graian of the same meaning; hence a single particle of gravel is called in Welsh graienyn, and, according to a Welsh proverb, it is its business to shine or sparkle—Tywynnid graienyn ei ran, that is to say, 'A particle of gravel shines its destined best.' Thus the two Irish words grian may be said roughly to represent the highest and lowest powers of shining, or the uttermost poles of our imagination in that respect. The other Celts use a different word, which is common to them with many other Aryan nations: in Welsh it is haul, 'sun,' formerly heul, O. Cornish houl, heuul, Breton héol: the Gothic word was sauil, and the O. Norse sól, whence the modern Danish and Swedish is sōl also; to these must be added the Lithuanian sáule (for saulja) and the Latin sōl. Of these words the Latin is masculine, the Gothic neuter, and the Scandinavian ones feminine: in fact, one of the Eddic poets speaks of more than one female sun, as follows: 'The Sun [Sól] shall bear a daughter ere the Wolf destroy her; that maid shall ride, when the powers have passed away, along the paths of her mother.'
It may be remarked next that the word used in the Brythonic languages is masculine, exclusively masculine if one follow the dictionaries; but I have no doubt that it was formerly feminine in them all, though I can only prove it with regard to Welsh, in which the sun is still sometimes spoken of in that gender: I have heard it now and then in my native county of Cardigan, where one may also near a riddle in which the sun and the moon are alluded to as a gold-headed maid and a silver-headed youth respectively. Englishmen of the present day think it strange that the Germans, who use the same word as they do, should nevertheless make it a feminine sonne, forgetting that their own ancestors did the same thing, for the Anglo-Saxon sunne, 'sun,' was always feminine. The change from that gender to the masculine took place possibly under the influence of Latin and the Romance languages, and in Welsh under the influence of Latin and English. The Latin sol, as already stated, was always masculine, and so was the Greek ἥλιος, whether etymologically related to it or not, while Sanskrit not only calls the sun sûrya and sûryâ, masculine and feminine respectively, but also svar, neuter. Add to this the fact that the old Slavonic word was also a neuter slŭnĭce, with which the modern Slavonic forms agree. Still the Slaves cannot be said to have never personified the sun, for they sometimes regarded that heavenly body as a woman stepping into her bath in the evening, and rising in the morning refreshed and purified, or else as sinking at night into the arms of her mother the Sea. To return to Celtic, the sun, personified under the Welsh name of Haul, has a trace of myth associated with her in the supposition that she enters a fortress in the evening: this betrays itself in the Snowdonian term for sunset, which is hauligaera, or (the going of the) Sun to (her) Fortifications. But the sun appears to have been the subject of another myth under another Welsh name which was also feminine, namely, huan. This occurs in a poem in the Book of Taliessin:
'Nj ỽyr neb pan rudir y bron huan:'
Nobody knows where the Sun reddens her breast.
The allusion would seem to be to a ruddy sunset, but it must be admitted to be somewhat obscure. Nor is it very evident what the word huan means, but it would seem to have been originally the exponent of a myth associated with the sun as a female, though we are left without the means of realizing clearly what that myth was. Whatever it and that connected with the word haul may have been, they go with the names of the later order; and these last, together with the others noticed, belong to the period of the separate existence of the nations using them, and not to that of the undivided Aryan family. This may be regarded as sufficiently shown by their lack of agreement in the important matter of gender, and also probably by the comparatively scanty nourishment which the mythological ivy, so to speak, is found to have drawn from them. Had the Celts, or, still better, the Goidelic Celts, been alone in making the sun feminine at a certain point in their history, one would have been tempted to see in that tendency the influence of a non-Aryan race conquered and absorbed by them; but the divergence of gender pointed out is not such as to favour that view: it only warrants the inference that each nation acted independently. Nor are those that were led to regard the sun as a female to be considered peculiar in so doing; for there is no lack of other peoples in different parts of the world who took the same view of that heavenly body. This, however, by no means precludes our asking, why the sun should be treated as a he by one nation and as a she by another, or even by the same nation in a different stage in its history. Very possibly geography and climate may have had something to do with it, but the question must for the present be regarded as one which the student of mythology has not yet sufficiently studied: it awaits the attention both of him and the anthropologist.
Another difficulty attaching to solar myths is one that has occurred to me in reading M. Gaidoz's remarks already mentioned (p. 55). His summary of the history of the Roman Jupiter, for example, is that he was made, by way of extension, into the god of the sky from being the god of light; but in the early times to which this must refer the god of light must, it seems to me, have meant the god of the sun. Then comes the question as to the relation in which a sun-god of this order stood in the mythology of the Aryans to the younger divinities to whom it usually gives solar attributes. Did the older Sun-god cease to be specially associated with the sun and become identified with the sky at the same time that other solar gods rose into repute? Were the two things brought about by a common cause, and as the working out of one and the same idea? In Greek mythology, for example, the treatment of Apollo and Heracles, as sons of Zeus, would seem to favour an affirmative answer. The case is not very dissimilar on Celtic ground, where the place of Zeus is held in Irish by Nuada, and that of a subordinate in command of his forces by Lug, the Sun-god; or take another cycle, with Conchobar standing for Zeus, and Cúchulainn for the Sun-hero, a youth devotedly attached to him as his lord and foster-father. Nay, in the former case one seems to detect Lug stepping into the place of the Celtic Zeus, namely in the legend of the Lia Fáil or Stone of Fál (pp. 206, 210); for it states, among other things, that it was at Tara the stone had been placed, but that it was at Tailltin it should permanently remain, and that there the meeting-place should be for games as long as sovereignty belonged to Tara. How it got to Tailltin is related briefly in the Book of Leinster (9a), which gives it the name in Fál mór or 'the Great Fál,' and explains that it was a Stone of Vision at Tara; but it also terms it an idol, and states that its welcome to Conn (p. 205) was the last instance of its functioning as an oracle, as its heart sprang out of it from Tara as far as Tailltin, where it appears to have been known as Fál's Heart; and, lastly, it is hinted that the real cause of the idol's power coming to an end was the birth of Christ. That is, doubtless, a comparatively late comment, and it is needless to repeat how Tailltin and its great fair of the Lugnassad (p. 410) were closely identified with Lug; and the passing of the Lia Fáil from Tara to Tailltin would seem to imply nothing less than the eclipsing of the older god's glory by that of the younger. When Lug prophetically declares the destinies of the kingdom to Conn (p. 210), he may be said to usurp the functions of a god corresponding to the Welsh Merlin acting in the capacity of prophet. It is true that it is with Nuada it has been attempted to connect the Lia Fáil, and that the etymological equivalent of Nuada is in Welsh Nûᵭ or Llûᵭ, and not Merlin's name. On the other hand, should Nuada Finnfáil prove to mean Nuada of the White Fence, one would have to admit the probability of an allusion in the epithet to a pellucid prison like Merlin's. Add to this that a passage in the Welsh story of Kulhwch, the significance of which has been overlooked, associates with Llûᵭ the sort of imprisonment which has in these lectures (p. 155) been dwelt upon in connection with Merlin: it makes Mabon son of Modron say, when about to be released by Arthur from the dungeon where he had been for ages incarcerated (p. 29), that his captivity was more grievous even than that of Llûᵭ of the Silver Hand and of Greid son of Eri. These two, with Mabon's, would seem to have formed a triad of the most remarkable incarcerations the story-teller had ever heard of, and one is tempted to treat Llûᵭ and Merlin as the names of one and the same divinity in two distinct cycles of stories. Further, Mabon is to be identified with the Apollo Maponos of the Celts of antiquity (p. 21), and the vast duration of his captivity is probably to be explained by his having to a certain extent been assimilated to the older god to be detected in Merlin and Llûᵭ. In other words, it is probably an instance of the Celtic Apollo taking the place of the Celtic Zens, as in the case of the Irish Lug.
When we pass beyond the limits of Celtic, we may suppose a displacement of a somewhat similar kind to have happened with regard to the god whom one may briefly describe as the Zeus of the Aryan family generally: he was at first presumably the god of the sun, but he became that of light and the luminous heavens, while among the Celts he showed a tendency to become further modified into a divinity of the sea and even of the nether world. Lastly, the relative positions of this most ancient of sun-gods and of the younger divinities or heroes associated with the sun seem to afford data for fixing the order, so to say, of the mythological stratification. Thus by way of a precarious inference we penetrate to a primary stage, with the Aryan Zeus as the Sun-god of the system; then we ascend to a secondary one, characterized by the rise of such younger gods as Apollo, Lug and Balder, around whose names myths were developed in marvellous abundance; lastly we come to a tertiary stage, marked by the sun appearing variously as he, she and it, surrounded by no abundant accumulation of myth.
- See the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (in Didot's Homeri Carmina et Cycli Epici Reliquæ), lines 119—139.
- R. B. Mab. p. 306; Triads, ij. 50; but i. 94 reads Melyngan Mangre, which seems less correct: it would mean 'the Yellow-white One of the Habitation,' which looks less probable. The triad describes the three horses as each a 'rhoᵭedig farch,' which can only mean a gift horse; but I know of no legend to throw any light on the term. Llew's horse is also mentioned in the Book of Taliessin, poem xxv. (Skene, ij. 176) as 'march ỻeu ỻetuegin,' where it is uncertain whether ỻetuegin applies to the horse or to his owner.
- R. B. Mab. p. 68; Guest, iij. 201; but it is not to be found in the ordinary lists of triads.
- Poem xliij.: see Skene, ij. 199.
- An Irish instance of the waves of 'the melancholy main' bewailing a death occurs in the Bk of Leinster, l86a; see also the editor's Introd. p. 47a.
- Poem ix.: see Skene, ij. 145.
- The MS. I have consulted is in the British Museum, and is numbered Harl. 5280: the portion of the story here in point occurs at folio 68a (57a of an older paging).
- Harl. 5280, fol. 68a: Tic Bric ⁊ caines amarbnad (?)eghis ar tós goilis fodeog Conud and sin roclos gol ⁊ egem artos anerinn Is si din anprich sin roairic feit. &c.
- See R. B. Mab. p. 174; Guest, i. 57.
- At first sight Ruadán might be thought derived from Ir. ruad, 'red,' a colour here not more out of place than the yellowness of Dylan's complexion; but the name is probably of the same origin as Sanskrit rud, 'jammern, heulen, weinen; bejammern, beweinen;' rodana, neut. 'the act of weeping, tears;' also the name of the god Rudra, together with Rodasî sometimes given as the fem. of Rudra. The European cognates include among them Latin rudo, 'I roar,' Lith. raúdmi, O. Bulg. rydaja̧, 'I weep,' A.-Sax. reótan, 'to weep.'
- Harl. MS. 5280, fol. 63a. In the same MS. 19a, and in the Bk. of the Dun, 124b, Lug is called son of Conn son of Ethne—Lug mc Cuind mic Ethlend—a pedigree otherwise unknown to me: possibly, however, Cuind came in as Cuinn and as a mistake for Céin, tho gen. of Cian. Then Ethne would be mother of Cian and grandmother of Lug.
- Atlantis, iv. 169; Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, p. 43.
- O'Curry, ij. 139, 149; Four Masters, A.D. 241.
- O'Curry, ij. 57-8.
- Bk. of Leinster, 288a.
- Ib. 291b, 292a; the Bodley MS. Laud. 610, fol. 95b2.
- See the Taliessin poem, No. 16; Skene, ij. 159.
- Pursuit of Diarmuid, ij. §§ 3—8.
- It is known as the Death of the Children of Tuirenn, and will be found edited, with an English translation by O'Curry, in the Atlantis, Vol. iv. 159, &c.; see also an English version in Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, pp. 37—96.
- Only known to me from a verse quoted by Keating, p. 122.
- Bk. of Leinster, 10a; Keating, p. 122; compare Cormac's Glossary, the Stokes-O'Donovan ed. p. 145.
- As, for instance, in the Bk. of the Dun, 39a: 'bói indan dóib orba do gabáil.' The Welsh form is dawn, 'talent, genius,' and commonly 'the gift of oratory.' The Welsh and Irish words are nearly related to the Latin donum; and it is needless to say that the name of the goddess Danu, genitive Danann, has nothing to do with them, though something approaching to a confusion of these words may be found evidenced in a conjecture repeated by Keating, p. 122.
- See this view quoted by Keating, p. 120.
- Bk. of the Dun, 123a, where they are called 'Brion ⁊ Bolor.'
- A different account from the foregoing of the death of Cian was known to the Four Masters, who say that he fell in the year 241 at the Battle of Samhain, which the learned editor O'Donovan would identify with a Cnoc-Samhna near Bruree in the county of Limerick; but this is quite consistent with the more usual meaning of Samhain as the Irish name for November-eve. A Samhain battle would point to a time notoriously inauspicious to Celtic solar heroes, and such a conflict might obviously rage at more than one spot and in more than one story.
- See O'Curry's Fate of the Children of Tuireann in the Atlantis, Vol. iv. pp. 160-3; also Joyce, p. 38.
- Ibid. pp. 176-7.
- The difference of sound amounts to this: the ew in Llew is sounded like Italian eu in Europa, and somewhat like Cockney ow in 'down town;' while the eu in Lleu consists approximately of German e followed by German ü.
- Skene, ij. 158, where the instances are lleu, gynheu, and lleu, kaden. I have noted in the same volume an indecisive llev at p. 31, while passages at pp. 176, 190, 211, make for Lleu or lleu.
- But it is worthy of note that where the scribe first came across the name he began to write ỻen, though he ended by making it into ỻeỽ, that is to say, Llew. So one may infer that the MS. before him read either lleu or llev: see R. B. Mab. p. 71, and ed.'s note, p. 312.
- The manuscript reads: 'Dar a dyf y rỽng deu lenn. gorduwrych awyr a glen, ony dywetaf i eu oulodeu. lleỽ pan yỽ hynn.' 'Dar a dyf yn ard uaes. nys gỽlych glaỽ. nys mỽ y taỽd. naỽ ugein angerd a borthes. yn y blaen lleỽ llaỽ gyffes.' 'Dar a dyf dan anwaeret. mirein medur ym ywet. ony dywedaf i ef. dydaỽ lleỽ ym harffet.' See the R. B. Mab. pp. 78-9. Lenn for lynn, and glen for glynn, show the same fashion of spelling as Res for Rhys on a highly ornamented cross at Llantwit, which can hardly be later than the 11th century: see Hübner's Inscriptiones Brit. Christianæ, No. 63, and Westwood's Lapidarium Walliæ, p. 11, plate 5. The ou of oulodeu, for later eulodeu, more usually written aelodeu, 'limbs, members,' must date, if my translation be right, from the spelling of Old Welsh in the technical sense of the term, let us say of the 9th or 10th century.
- Published in the Myvyrian Arch. of Wales, Vol. i. 78, where it is printed as follows:
'Y Bed yngorthir Nanllau
Ny uyr neb y gynneddfeu
Mabon vab Modron glau.'
- R. B. Mab. p. 74.
- R. B. Mab. p 71.
- I allude more especially to the entry under the year 1113 in Brut y Tywysogion (London, 1860), pp. 130-3.
- See the R. B. Mab. p. 186, where it will be seen that the MS. calls the lion purdu, 'purely black;' but the older MS., called Rhyᵭerch's White Book (in the Hengwrt Collection), col. 234, calls the beast purỽyn, or purely white, which is mythologically doubtless more correct.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 186—191; Guest, i. 75—81.
- The author is indebted for this to the Brython (published at Tremadoc) for the year 1861, p. 252, and to Mrs. Rhys' memory, for when she was a child she often heard talk of the Aurwrychyn as a grand extinct animal at which no man could gaze on account of his mass of gold bristles. The beast was so wild that nobody could get near him. He used to cross the mountains from Cwmglas (between Llanberis and the Pass) to Nantỻe, where he was at last caught; but she has never heard anything said of his death.
- Skene, ij. 57.
- Other old names have occasionally been treated in the same way: thus the word tref, 'town,' is sometimes substituted for din, as in the case of Dinmeirchion, which has become Tre'meirchion, near St. Asaph in the Vale of Clwyd; and similarly the mythic town of Arianrhod is no longer spoken of in Arvon as Caer Arianrhod, but as Tre' Ga'r 'Anthrod. See the Cymmrodor, vi. 163, where other forms are also mentioned: 'Anthrod stands for the latter part of Arianrhod, with a th inserted betwen n—rh, as in penrhyn, cynrhon, pronounced penthryn and cynthron in N. Wales, while in S. Wales they become pendryn and cyndron. For the case of Carmarthen, see p. 160.
- The lines in point will be found printed in the Myvyrian Arch. of Wales, i. 78; but, as they there stand they look exceedingly corrupt, Dinỻeu having been printed Dinỻen, which can only be explained as here suggested.
- For the name occurs with English thl for Welsh ỻ in the Record of Carnarvon (Record Office, 1838), where the Villa de Dynthle occurs more than once, pp. 20, 21, 22, 24.
- Red Book, col. 1047; Skene, ij. 288; Rhys, Celtic Britain2, p. 314.
- There are other instances of Irish ug or og being represented by eu in mediæval Welsh, such as the case of the Welsh word meu (in meu-dwy, 'a hermit,' literally servus Dei) as compared with the Irish mug, genitive moga, 'a slave.' Compare also the Latin pugillares, 'writing tablets,' which yielded Old Welsh poullor-awr, glossing pugillarem paginam (Stokes' Capella Glosses in Kühn'a Beitræge, vij. 393), together with peullaỽr, which occurs in a poem in the Bk. of Taliessin in the sense of 'books' (Skene, ij. 141). In Old Welsh, og seems to have occasionally been thus made into ou (later eu and au) much in the same way that English has made 'sorrow,' 'tallow,' 'morrow,' out of older forms corresponding to the German sorg, talg and morg-en. For more about the phonology of the change in question, see my Lect. on Welsh Phil.2 pp. 66, 67, 412.
- O'Davoren in Stokes' Three Irish Glossaries, p. 103. O'Reilly's Dictionary gives Logh the meanings of 'God, fire, ethereal spirits, a loosing, dissolving, untying.'
- Skene, ij. 66.
- The rush is peeled almost completely and then dipped in tallow, and this forms a common means of lighting rustic homes in Wales.
- See the Red Book, cols. 1165-9 ; the poem has been published by me in the Montgomeryshire Collections issued by the Powys-land Club, Vol. xi. p. 171-8: see more especially pp. 171, 177.
- The Irish name is Tailltiu, gen. Taillten, acc. and dative Tailltin. It is Anglicized Teltown, the name of a place where the remains of a ráth exist near the Boyne. Cancel an n in Tailltinn, p, 148.
- Keating, pp. 126-9.
- Cormac's Glossary (Stokes-O'Donovan ed.), p. 99.
- Manners, &c. ij. 148; MS. Mat. p. 287.
- Iliad, xxiij. 255—270.
- See O'Curry, ij. 38—47, iij. 527-47; also Bk. of Leinster, 215.
- Bk. of the Dun, 38b, 39a, 51a.
- Bk. of Leinster, 215a.
- This is the substance of a part of a note by Thos. Hearne in his edition of Robert of Gloucester's Chronicles (Oxford, 1724). p. 679.
- See Leo's Angelsächsisches Glossar (Halle, 1877), s. v. hláfmæsse, col. 543.
- In the Book of Leinster, 9a, 200b, which is followed in this matter by Keating.
- It is called Mag Mór mi Aonaig, 'the Great Plain of the Assembly or the Fair,' on which, the Fomori are attacked by Lug, according to one of the stories about his doings: see the Atlantis, iv. 178-9. Similarly, Bres, when driven from the kingship and seeking the aid of his Fomorian kindred, found the latter with their king, his father, holding a great assembly on a Mag Mór: see the MS. Harl. 5280, fol. 64b.
- Bk. of Leinster, 9a: see also 200b.
- R. B. Mab. p. 117; Guest ij. 276.
- Scimaig looks like the genitive of a word scimach; but in the MS. Harl. 5280, fol. 21b, it is written scimaig, with a mark of undefined contraction over the m. Another form occurs in the Bk. of Leinster, which identifies this Lug with Lug mac Ethlenn: see 11b and the top margin, which has the following verses:
Cermait mac in dagdæ de rageogain lug scicmaiṅge.
babara broin for sin maig aflaith echach ollathir.
'For sin maig' is glossed '.i. for brug maic [in]doc.'
- The manuscript is now in the library of the R. Irish Academy, classed D, iv. 2; and the passage here translated occurs on folio 82b, which has been kindly read for me by Prof. Atkinson: I have also consulted the British Museum Codex already referred to as Harleian 5280, and especially page 21b. The former reads tall ni and taill ni, the latter tailne and taillne, a name which looks like a derivative from Tailltiu, genitive Taillten, as it admits of being treated as a curtailed form of Tailltne.
- Besides the place called Taillne, and the Tailltin where, according to the Bk. of Leinster, 9a, Lug's foster-mother lived, the forest said to have been cleared by her was called Caill Cúan, the situation of which seems to be defined by 200b. There is a Cuan Teilion, or Teelin Harbour, in Donegal, and Strangford Lough is Loch Cuan; but see Stokes & Windisch, ij. pp. 242, 248.
- The Latin term was a most important one, and we have an Irish word of kindled origin in the noun nassad, used in the sense of a legal sanction, in a verse in the Book of the Dun, 118b, which treats the death of Loegaire Mac Néill as a punishment for his violating an oath he had sworn by the sun and the moon and the elements:
"Loegaire mac Néill died beside Casse—green is the land;
God's elements by him pledged brought the encounter of death on the king:
In the battle of Ath Dara the Swift was Loegaire taken, son of Niall;
The just sanction of God's elements, that is what killed Loegaire."
The tract in which it occurs has recently been published by the Rev. Charles Plummer in the Rev. Celt. vi. 163. A different version, in which the word in question does not occur, is to be found in the Bk. of Leinster, 43a (see also Atkinson's Introduction, p. 23). In these words the original meaning of a tying or binding is involved, but it has added to it the idea of what makes the obligation effective or avenges the violation of it.
- Fol. 83b: arnaisai sede uile do feraib remibsium, 'he had betrothed all these to husbands before them;' and further on—arnais iarum Forgall ann ingin don ri, 'Forgall then betrothed the girl to the king.'
- See the Bk. of Leinster, 92a: Ba nassa damsa indingen út uair chéin, 'that girl has been betrothed to me long ago.'
- Edited with a translation in O'Curry's MS. Mat. pp. 618-22, from the British Museum MS. Harl. 5280.
- He describes himself as Lug mac Edlend, mic Tighernmais, that is to say, Lug son of Edle (better Edne or Ethne), son of Tigernmas, which is noteworthy as virtually identifying Tigernmas with Balor; but the value of the suggestion is reduced by the display of ignorance in treating Edle as Lug's father and not his mother.
- Bk. of Leinster, 10a; Keating, p. 130-1.
- The Four Masters, A.M. 3370, note. Perhaps the marriages at the Lugnassad followed a season of no marrying: in Scotland at least the month of May was a close time in this respect: see Thos. Stephens' Gododin (published by the Cymmrodorion), pp. 125-6, where he quotes Thomas de Quincey in Hogg's Instructor for July, 1852, p. 293.
- O'Curry (quoting MS. Harl. 5280), pp. 618, 620.
- See also Dio Cassius, xlvi. 50: τὸ Λουγούδουνον μὲν ὀνομασθὲν νῦν δὲ Λούγδουνον καλούμενον: see also the Berlin Corpus Inscr. ij. 2912, 3235, iij. 5832, v. 875, 7213, vij. 1334, 1.
- A place-name into which Lug's name enters in the Bk. of the Dun, 82a, is (in the dative) Modaib Loga, which is there explained to be the same as the compound Lugmod.
- For this I am indebted to my learned colleague, the Regius Professor of History at Oxford, who has directed my attention to Gregory of Tours, Hist. Francorum, vi. 4.
- Traces of a fifth Lugdunum, in documents belonging to the church of Le Mans, are mentioned in the Rev. Celt. vij. 399.
- M. d'Arbois de Jubainville, in an article in La nouvelle Revue historique de Droit français et étranger (see his offprint entitled Études sur le Droit celtique (Paris, 1881), p. 92), was the first to notice this interesting coincidence; and he suggests that the ludi miscelli and the tournaments of eloquence, which Caligula ordered to take place there in his presence (Suetonius' Caligula, 20: see also his Claudius, 2; Strabo, iv. 3, 2 [p. 261]), formed simply the Gallo-Roman continuation of a Celtic custom which had its beginning previous to the advent of the Roman.
- Such as Gwyl Fair, Gwyl Iwan, Gwyl Fihangel, the feasts respectively of SS. Mary, John, and Michael the Angel.
- The whole is given as the first of my Welsh Fairy Tales in the Cymmrodor, iv. 163—179; but see also vi. 203-4.
- See Triads, i. 10 = ij. 21b = iij. 70, and compare i. 22 = iij. 28, also i. 49 = ij. 43 = iij. 27, which go to prove that our Rhiwaỻon is to be identified with Rhiwaỻon son of Urien. Other passages in Welsh literature, such as Triad i. 52, suggest that the Lady of the Van Lake's name was Modron danghter of Avaỻach, and that among her children are to be reckoned not only Rhiwaỻon but also the solar heroes Mabon and Owein, with the latter's twin-sister Moruvᵭ. Urien, the father, is decidedly to be classed among the dark divinities; and this explains why, after her lover had long wooed the Lady that was wont to row on the Little Van Lake in a golden boat, the marriage did not take place till New-year's-eve, that is to say, the middle of winter: see the Cymmrodor, iv. 178-9.
- Annales Cambriæ (the Rolls edition, 1860), p. 109 (A.D. 1287).
- See Ducange, s. v. gula, where he refers to a statute of Edward III. a. 31, c. 14, and quotes therefrom: Aueragium aestiuale fieri debet inter Hokedai et gulam Augusti.
- The Berlin Corpus Inscr. Lat. Hispaniarum, ij. No. 2818. The writer in the Rev. Celt., vij. 399, already referred to, cites Pliny's Hist. Nat. iii. 4, 11, as proving Uxama to have been a Celtic city belonging to the Arevaci. As to the name Uxama, see my Celtic Britain2, p. 280.
- Mommsen's Inscrip. Helvet. No. 161.
- Such as that of the Children of Tuirenn already mentioned.
- O'Curry, ij. 248-50, iij. 42-3; D'Arhois de Jubainville, Études sur le Droit celtique, pp. 85-6; also the same scholar's Cycle Myth. pp. 176-7.
- Plutarch, ed. Dübner (Paris, 1855), Vol. v. p. 85 (Pseudo-plutarchea de Fluviis, vi. 4): see also Midler's (Didot) Frag. Hist. Gr. iv. p. 367.
- The nearest word known to the alleged lugos, 'a raven,' would be the Irish luch, 'a mouse;' luglíath, 'grey as a mouse,' Bk. of Leinster, 120a; lochrúna, 'dark secrets,' so rendered in the Stokes-O'Donovan Cormac, p. 100, where lochdub is also translated 'all black;' Welsh, llyg, 'a shrew or field-mouse;' llygoden, 'a mouse;' llygliw, 'of the colour of a mouse.'
- Otherwise called Itinerarium Hierosolymitanum, and cited by Diefenbach in his Origines Europææ, p. 325.
- Diefenbach, loc. cit.; but the Bollandists read Lugduno.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 153-9, 192; Guest, ij. 407-15, i. 84.
- Windisch's Irische Texte, p. 220; Bk. of the Dun, 48b; see also 57a, where the words fiaich lúgbairt are used, meaning, as it would seem, 'ravens that bring Lug or light:' compare the Welsh lleu-fer, 'light -bearing or light-giving, a luminary.'
- Ovid's Metamorphoses, ij. 542, where the raven's officiousness reminds one of the rôle played in the hamlets of Glamorgan by Blodeueᵭ as an owl: see p. 241, above.
- Bk. of Leinster, 119a, gein Loga (voc.); 123b, sainaltram Loga.
- Windisch, p. 139 (§ 5) and p. 138 (§ 3).
- She is called his ara, 'charioteer,' in the Bk. of the Dun; but the Egerton Ms. says that she sat in his chariot do raith, that is to say, 'to drive or guide' the horses: the verb implied is ráim, which Windisch explains as 'ich befahre (das meer), rudere,' but the original signification must have been wider: see Windisch, pp. 136, 139.
- Folio 128: it is incomplete, and the fragment has been published in Windisch's Irische Texte, pp. 136—141.
- Namely, the British Museum MS. Egerton, 1782, fol. 152, which is assigned to the fifteenth century, and published with the other by Windisch.
- Windisch, p. 141.
- Windisch, pp. 140-2 and 143-5, where it has been divided into two pieces.
- It is right to say that the story of the Táin in the Bk. of the Dun makes his father and mother rear him during his first years at a place in the Plain of Murthemne; but the passage in question, fol. 59a, gives the name of neither parent: 'Altasom ém ol Fergus la mathair ⁊ la athair ocond dairggdig immaig murthemne.' 'Verily he was reared,' said Fergus, 'by his mother and his father at the Red-house (?) in the Plain of Murthemne.'
- Bk. of the Dun, p. 59.
- Ib. p. 61.
- Ib. 61a—63a.
- Ib. 69b, 72b, 74b.
- Windisch, p. 140.
- Ib. p. 221; Bk. of the Dun, 81a; and Bk. of Leinster, 120a. A different account is to be found in the story of the Phantom Chariot of Cúchulainn, published by O'Beirne Crowe in the Journal of the Kilkenny Arch. Ass. tor 1870-1: pp. 376-7, and the Bk. of the Dun, 113b.
- Windisch, p. 221, from the Bk. of the Dun, 48b; but 81a gives a somewhat different description; see also 122b.
- Windisch, p. 221: 'fil secht suilse ar a rusc.'
- 'Seven' is the stock number (Bk. of the Dun, 121b), but it is unnatural to give four pupils to one eye and only three to the other: it was a way of meeting the requirements of the Christian week, while 'eight,' which is the number in the story of Bricriu's Banquet ( Windisch, p. 279), was probably the original number, corresponding to the eight days of the pagan week. It would not, perhaps, be refining too much to regard the four dimples as referring to the four days of the noinden or half-week.
- Windisch, p. 265; also Bk. of the Dun, 59a, 72a.
- Windisch, pp. 212, 216; Bk. of the Dun, 78b.
- Bk. of the Dun, 59a, 72a, and 79b, where a remarkable passage occurs about 'his lights' (scoim, Welsh ysgyfaint) and 'his heavies' (tromma, Welsh afu, 'liver'):—Táncatár ascoim ⁊ a tromma combátár ar etelaig inabél ⁊ inabrágit.
- Windisch, pp. 206-7; also Stokes, Rev. Celt. viij. 61.
- Bk. of Leinster, 86b; O'Curry, iij. 448-9.
- Windisch, p. 220; Bk. of the Dun, 63a, 72a.
- Bk. of the Dun, 68a, 71a; but the Bk. of Leinster, 70b, makes the snow melt for thirty feet all round him, which is more like the extravagance to be expected.
- Windisch, p. 286; Bk. of the Dun, 108b.
- Bk. of the Dun, 73a, 122b; Bk. of Leinster, 120a; and the story published by Crowe in the Kilkenny Journal for 1870, p. 379; also the Bk. of the Dun, 113b, where the number of the feats rises to twenty-seven. For more references, see Windisch, s.v. cless, p. 426.
- Windisch, p. 299.
- O'Curry's Manners, &c. iij. 451; Stokes & Windisch, Irische Texte, pp. 184, 206.
- Bk. of the Dun, 79a, 80a: see also 125b.
- Stokes & Windisch, Ir. Texte, pp. 178-80, 196—200.
- Windisch, p. 268.
- Rev. Celtique, iij. 180-1; Bk. of Leinster, 121a, 121b. The lake called after the Liath (or Grey) of Macha was Linn Léith, in Sliab Fuait or Fuad's Mountain, near Newtown Hamilton, in the county of Armagh; and the one called after the Dub (or Black) Sainglend was the Loch Dub or Black Lake, in Museraige-Thire, a district consisting of the Baronies of Upper and Lower Ormond, in the county of Tipperary.
- Bk. of the Dun, 57b.
- Windisch, p. 221.
- Bk. of the Dun, 113a.
- Bk. of the Dun, 80a, 80b.
- Ib. 121b.
- Ib. 58a.
- The whole is to be found in the story of the Wooing of Emer, especially on folios 123a—124b; and some of the textual difficulties way be disposed of by comparing with it Windisch, pp. 141-2.
- The words in point are—conid amfissid fochmaire hi cerdaib dé druidechta conid ameolach hi febaib fiss. (Bk. of the Dun, 124b). I take fiss. to stand for fissi'; ( = fessi): compare the tarbfes, or bull-feast, in Windisch, pp. 212-3.
- Windisch, pp. 213-4.
- Bk. of the Dun, 57a, 57b, 63b.
- It is so I venture to translate the words, 124b—Især ém domrim-gartsa ó lug mac cuind maic ethlend diechtra dían dectiri co tech mbuirr in broga. See p. 391, above.
- Bk. of the Dun, 77b, 78a, 78b.
- Bk. of the Dun, 60a—61a; Bk. of Leinster, 63a—64b.
- Windisch, pp. 216, 221.
- The Irish is ár-chu, and ár moans slaughter of any kind, including of course slaughter in war; and Cúchulainn himself is called Archu Emna, or the Slaughter-hound of Emain, in the Bk. of Leinster, 87b, printed by O'Curry, iij. 452. But while recalling the dogs trained for war which used to be imported by the Gauls from Britain (Strabo, iv. 5, 2), it is to be noticed that the story in the Bk. of the Dun makes the smith's dog an imported one from Spain, a name sometimes used instead of that of Hades (pp. 90-1).
- This I take to be the sense of a verse in the Bk. of the Dun, 48b, which reads iu the facsimile: uallach uabrech árd lagol mairg fri siabru se (Windisch, p. 221, prints sé). It should be restored thus—Uallach uabrech ard a gal, mairg fri siabru sechethar. The previous line—Bróenán fola fota fland latoeb crand comardade—is more difficult, but it should probably end with crand or dechrand: compare Windisch, p. 263, lines 14 and 16.
- Bk. of the Dun, 57a, 58a.
- Ib. 63b.
- The story is known as the Wooing of Emer: it is to be found in a fragmentary state in the Bk. of the Dun, 121a—127b. For the portions of the narrative not to be found there, I have made use of the Ashburnham manuscript already referred to as numbered D, iv. 2, in the library of the R. Ir. Acad.
- The dative Luglochtaib is glossed in the Bk. of the Dun, 123a, by gortaib, 'gardens;' and the Loga added is perhaps redundant, as the name would seem to be complete either as Luglochtaib or Lochtaib Loga. It is not to be denied, however, that it is possible to give Lug a different explanation in this name.
- Ingen rig richis garta, with garta glossed einech, 'face,' ibid. 123a.
- In the Ashburnham MS., fol. 82c, he is called Domnall mil de mal, 'while Harl. 5280 gives the name as Domnall milde mon.
- See the Stokes-O'Donovan ed. of Cormac, p. 17. Compare also the words—'ac scáthaig bhuadaig bhuanand' in the Bk. of Leinster, 88a, quoted in O'Curry's Manners, &c. iij. 454-5, and rendered 'With Scathach, the gifted Buanand.'
- The story occupies fol. 82c, and the following ones in the Ashburnham MS., and the curious passage about the wheel and the apple, will be found at 83a, while the Harl. MS. 5280 has it at 32b.
- The Irish name is glenn ngaibthech, which appears also in the Vision of Adamnan (Windisch's Irische Texte, p. 185), as does also the Vicious Bridge (ib. p. 184), but placed across the Glen, and called droichet analta, or Cliff Bridge, which O'Curry (ij. 309), influenced probably by a slightly different reading, calls the Bridge of the Pupils. I mention these as instances of Irish mythology worked into the religious tales of the converted Irish. The idea of future punishment is introduced, and hell-fire liberally borrowed from Christian sources, but the pagan geography of Hades remains little changed.
- Bk. of the Dun, 59a, and Bk. of Leinster, 62a, where the ball is described as being of silver.
- Ib. 59b, 60a.
- Bk. of the Dun, 58b.
- Ib. 126a: according to O'Curry, p. 280, he returned by way of Cantire and the island of Rathlin.
- See the Bk. of Leinster, 171b, where, besides Scythia, Dacia, Gothia, &c., we have the remarkable words: 'icrichaib léodús in insib cadd ⁊ in insib or.,' 'in the territories of Lewis, in the Islands of Cat and in the Islands of Orkney (?).'
- The readings of Ptolemy's manuscript are various, the river being either Σετηία or Σεγηία, and the harbour Σεταντίων λ. (or Σετανίων λ.) and Σεγαντίων λ., besides less important ones: see Müller's edition (Paris, 1883), ij. 3 (Vol. i. pp. 84, 85). But if the hypothesis here suggested, for which I am indebted to Mr. Henry Bradley, prove well-founded, it will dispose of the alternative readings with γ. There is a difficulty in the retention of nt in the Irish Setanta, which it would be hard to account for except on the supposition that the name was not a native Irish word. The original may accordingly be regarded as Setantios or Setantjos, meaning a Setantian, or one of the people called the Setantii. It is worth noticing that a very obscure poem, in which Scáthach, who was, among other things, a poetess or prophetess, speaks of Cúchulainn when she prophesies for him, alludes to a Setantian stream: the words are—curoch fri sruth setinti, 'a coracle against the stream of Setanta:' see the Bk. of the Dun, 125b.
- Bradley's Remarks (in the Archæologia, xlviij) on Ptolemy (Westminster, 1884), p. 15. For Ribble, p. 74 above, read Mersey.
- He brought with them their two erre of gold and silver, which would seem to have meant their two burdens, in allusion possibly to their personal ornaments: the words in the Ashburnham MS. 84b, appear to be—'conadib nerrib dior ⁊ arcat,' and they recall Elen Lüyᵭog's Silver Host (p. 173).
- Rafn's Fornaldar Sögur (Copenhagen, 1829), i. 411; and the Formanna Sögur (Copenhagen, 1827), iij. 175—198, appendix.
- On the question of the relation of the Thorsteinn story to other Teutonic stories, see E. Heinzel, Ueber die Nibelungensage (Vienna, 1885), where a great variety of references are given: see also Cerquand's Taranis et Thor in the Rev. Celt. vi. 420.
- As in the first part of the story of Cúchulainn's Sick-bed.
- Bk. of the Dun, 43a—50b; Windisch, pp. 205—227; also published, with a translation by O'Curry, in the Atlantis, i. 370—392, ij. 98—124.
- Atlantis, Vol. ij. p. 115.
- The leaps referred to were places called Léim Conculainn, which were not uncommon in Ireland: so was Luachair, 'a place where rushes grow,' frequent enough, and is, in fact, so still. The one here in question is placed by O'Curry south of Emain, with the road of Midluachair from Emain to Tara passing through it: see the Atlantis, ij. p. 122.
- See the story of Echaid mac Máireda's Death in the Bk. of the Dun, 39a—41b, with a translation by O'Beirne Crowe in the Kilkenny Association's Journal for 1870, pp. 96—112.
- The Triads, iij. 13 and iij. 97.
- See the Bk. of Carmarthen, poem xxxviij, Skene, ij. 59; and the Traethodydd (Holywell) for 1880, pp. 479-81, where I have made some remarks on the different versions of the tale.
- Bk. of the Dun, 126a; the Ashburnham MS. (D. iv. 2 in the library of the R. I. Acad.), 84b; and the Bk. of Leinster, 125a, 125b.
- At this point the Bk. of the Dun breaks off without giving the girl's name, but it calls her father Ruad or Red, king of the Isles; at the same time the Ashburnham version, 84b, speaks of her as the daughter of Ruad, and as Derborgaill by name.
- The Bk. of Leinster begins the story at this point by introducing Derborgaill in love with Cúchulainn on account of his fame, the stock excuse put into the mouths of all love-sick maidens who take the initiative in Irish tales.
- The one related in the Bk. of Leinster, 125b.
- Bk. of the Dun, 123a; and the Stowe MS. 82b.
- O'Donovan's Battle of Magh Rath, p. 52, note.
- Irish dér means a 'tear,' and is in fact the etymological equivalent of that English word and its congeners in other languages, such as Greek δάκρυ}} and Welsh deigr of the same signification, both Irish and English having levelled the path of the voice by removing the guttural consonant. So Derborgaill literally meant Forgall's tear. As to the structure of the name, it is to be observed that it is not a compound, and that, though dér, 'a tear,' has not yet been met with except as a feminine, the cognates make it fairly certain that it was originally neuter in Irish. It is known that, under the influence of neuters of the O declension (Latin ij. decL), other neuters in Irish sometimes take a final nasal, which should correspond, but for this false analogy, to the ν of ἀγαθον and the m of bellum, and is found written in Gaulish v or n. Thus, though the Irish muir is of the same meaning, etymology and declension as the Latin mare, it becomes muirn in Muir n-Icht, 'the Ictian Sea,' or the English Channel; similarly, teg or tech, 'house,' of the same etymology and declension as the Greek τέγος, becomes tegn, as in teg n-dagfir, 'domus viri boni:' for more instances, see the Grammatica Celtica2, pp. 235, 270. Treated in the same way, dér would become dérn, and prefixed to Forgaill would, according to the rule as to n + f (earlier n + v), yield Dervorgaill, with the v prevented from hardening into f, and the n ultimately elided. Dervorgaill would be written in the ancient Irish orthography Derborgaill, which the scribe of the story in the Bk. of Leinster, 125, has spelled Derbforgaill, in which he inserted an f with the punctum delens in order to preserve the transparence of the etymology which he wished to advocate, and which appears to have been the right one. Accordingly the name should be now pronounced Der Vorgaill, or, in one word, Dervorgaill with the accent on the middle syllable; and that it is so, I learn from Prof. Mackinnon of Edinburgh, who recollects this name borne by an old woman in his native isle of Colonsay when he was a child: it was, as he kindly informs me, always accented on the syllable vor. The dér here in question is to be distinguished from dĕr, said to mean a girl; and it is to be borne in mind in reading this conjecture.
- Compare the Old Norse definition of dew in the Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 63: "Rime-mane is the horse called, which draws the night from east over the blessed Powers. Every morning the foam drops from his mouth; hence the dew in the valleys."
- The word ainmgorti used here, 74a, is obscure to me.
- I am not sure whether this be correct: the Irish in the Bk. of the Dun, 74b, is, 'commema do fergara fót;' but when it is described done at 77a, we have 'ger gara' instead of fergara, which is perhaps to be read into fergara. The nom. sing, occurs as fer gaire at 77b.
- Ibid. 74a, 74b.
- Bk. of the Dun, 76b, 77a.
- Bk. of the Dun, 77a, 77b, where the wounds healed are not quite the three inflicted in the previous part of the story: the Mórrigu hero has her head, an eye and a leg healed, whereas, according to the previous account, they should have been her ribs, an eye and a leg respectively. But such inconsistencies are quite common in old versions of Irish tales, showing that the scribes used a variety of older editions.
- Bk. of Leinster, 119a—123b; extracts will be found, published with a translation by Stokes, in the Rev. Celt. iij. 175—185.
- O'Curry, 513-4.
- Another name of the same lake given in the Bk. of Leinster was Loch Tondchuil, 121b.
- Bk. of Leinster, 122b.
- These are supposed (O'Curry, p. 479) to have been Cúchulainn, Conall Cernach and Cúroi, the genitives of the names being Conculainn, Conaill and Con-roi respectively. Cú-roi or Cú-rui (with or without the mark of length on the diphthong) seems well attested (Bk. of the Dun, 61a, 69a, 71b; Bk. of Leinster, 31b, 169b), but it must have also had the form Cú-rí, as the genitive occurs in the form Conn-ri in ancient ogam on a stone in his district: this pronunciation is again approximated in the Anglo-Irish Caher Conree, which late Irish authors sometimes write Cathair Chonrai or even Cathair Chonrigh.
- Bk. of Leinster, 169b. What passes as Cúroi's cairn is known on the shoulder of the mountain; but no remains of his cathair or fort have ever been found, and O'Curry (iij. 80), looking for the remains of walls, would not identify it with the height now called Caher Conree, which O'Donovan found to be no wall, but 'a natural ledge of rocks' (Battle of Magh Rath, note, p. 212). In 1883, I travelled past the foot of the mountain to Dingle, and returned the same way, but failed both times to get a good view of the top on account of the mist, which seemed to render it a fitting abode for a god resembling the Welsh Gwyn ab Nûᵭ or the Manx Manannán.
- With the exception of a short paragraph in the Bk. of Leinster, 169b, the author is indebted for this story to O'Curry. ij. 97, iij. 79-82, and Keating's History of Ireland (O'Connor's ed., Dublin, 1865), pp. 220-5; they differ, however, in detail.
- Celtic Britain2, p. 263; Brash, p. 175, pl. xvi: see note, p. 472.
- See Windisch's Irische Texte, pp. 294-5; compare also the Welsh elegy to Cúroi in the Bk. of Taliessin (Skene, ij. 198), where he is mentioned as one who 'was wont to hold a helm on the Sea of the South.'
- That was not all, for the Bk. of Leinster, 169b, adds the words: diarfumalt (.i. diarchommil) cacc nambó moachend.
- O'Curry, iij. 81; O'Connor's Keating, loc. cit.
- See O'Curry, iij. 80, and a gloss on Falga in the Bk. of Leinster, 169b.
- The Stokes-O'Donovan Cormac, p. 72; also the Four Masters, A.M. 2859, O'Donovan's notes i, t. In the Bk. of Leinster these cows are called in the genitive, 'na tri nerc (.i. bó) iuchna,' and 'nanerc niuchna,' and the same word Iuchna, said there to be a proper name, occurs also in Cormac's article; but I have seen no explanation of the term.
- Bk. of Leinster, 124b.
- R. B. Mab. p. 106, where they are called Gwyn son of Esni, Gwyn son of Nwyvre, and Gwyn son of Nûᵭ: Guest's text and translation, ij. 205, 259, unaccountably omit the two first Gwyns.
- Nár means 'shame' and 'shameful;' the plural of bres occurs as bressa, meaning 'battles:' see Stokes' Calendar of Oengus, Prol. 74; and lothur is quoted in the Gr. Celtica2, p. 782, with the sense of alveus, canalis: it seems to be derived from loth, meaning 'coenum, Lerna' (Gr. Celt2, p. 15), 'Mefitis' (Windisch's Ir. Texte, s. v. p. 669), and 'palus' and 'hell' (Stokes' Goidelica2, p. 69). Lóthar or Lothor, gen. Lóthair, was also the name of Medb's herdsman on the Táin, Bk. of the Dun, 65a.
- According to the Bk. of Leinster, 124b, the mother was Clothru, who became Conchobar's wife after her sister Medb had left him; but O'Curry, ij. 290, following probably other versions of the story, makes Ethne the king's wife. The name Ethne Uathach occurs also in the story of the Deisi: see the Bk. of the Dun, 54a.
- Windisch, pp. 212, 213.
- Bk. of the Dun, 74a: the other Táin references to him are 67a, 69a, 70b, 73a, 73b, also possibly 62a, where we read of Fer Ulli mac Lugdach.
- See the Stowe MS. (R. I. Academy, D. iv. 2), fol. 83b, which maintains the consistency of the story it relates by not naming Lugaid among Cúchulainn's fellow-pupils in Scáthach's Isle: see 83a.
- The word denoting this relation was in Irish comalta, which is as if one had in Latin a word com-alt-ius, meaning 'reared together with,' and so is the Welsh equivalent cyfaillt or cyfaill, the only term in the language for 'friend.'
- For the whole story, original text and translation, see O'Curry, iij. 414—463.
- Stokes & Windisch, Ir. Texte, pp. 184, 206.
- Cox's Tales of the Teutonic Lands, pp. 96—106.
- Bk of Leinster, 119a—120b; also 93a.
- O'Curry's MS. Mat. pp. 478-9.
- Ibid. pp. 49, 483, 513-4.
- Compare Lancelot fighting with one hand, in Wright's Malory (London, 1866), iij. 263.
- Bk. of Leinster, 116b, 117a; Stokes, Rev. Celt. viij. 47—63.
- Bk. of Leinster, 116a—117a, 122a—122b, and 123b.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 100—143; Guest's Mab. ij. 247—318.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 100, 102, 106; Guest, ij. 198, 252, 258; also Brut Tysilio in the Myv. Arch. ij. 289, where Eigr is said to have been daughter of Amlaỽd ỽledic.
- The name (R. B. Mab. pp. 115, 126, 129, 137, 265) means Gwrhyr, Interpreter of Languages, the word Gwalstawt, which occurs written also in other ways, mostly less correct (R. B. Mab. pp. 112, 114), heing the A.-Saxon wealhstód, 'an interpreter.' The oldest Welsh form seems to be gwalstot in Rhonabwy's Dream (R. B. Mab. p. 160), a story in a somewhat older hand than the other Red Book ones to which the page references have just been given. The Irish etymological equivalent of the name Gwrhyr was Ferghoir, borne (in The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, i. § 17; also Joyce's Old Celt. Romances, p. 288), by the Stentor of Finn's party, whose every shout was audible over three cantreds. Gwrhyr and Ferghoir are probably derived from the Celtic root gar or ger, 'to call,' and the meaning of the Welsh name suggests a time when the herald had to shout from the advanced post of his own men to that of the enemy. Add to this that Arthur's court had the services of another accomplished interpreter of human speech in a person called Kadyrieith, R. B. Mab. p. 160; Guest, ij. 417.
- Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 111-7.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 191-2; Guest, i. 82-3.
- Theog. 902.
- The relation between the Charites and the Sanskrit Harits will be found discussed in Max Müller's Lectures on the Sc. of Language8, ij. 408-11, 418.
- Sanskrit dah, 'burn,' dagdha, 'burnt;' Lithuanian degu, 'I burn,' degti, 'to burn,' degta-s, nu-degta-s, 'burnt, destroyed by fire,' daga, 'hot weather, harvest-time, harvest;' O. Prussian dagis, 'summer;' O. Norse dag-r, Gothic daga-s, German tag. Having got thus far, one at once recognizes the equivalent of Sanskrit dagdh- or of the Lith. degt- in the Welsh word goᵭaith, formerly godeith or gwoᵭeith (for an early Celtic wo-deχt-), 'a blaze, especially the burning of a place overrun with brakes, brushwood or furze.' Similarly Gloᵭaith, the name of a place near Llandudno, is probably to be analysed into Gloᵭaith and interpreted as the place for burning glo or charcoal: it is spelled Glodeyth in the Record of Carnarvon, p. 1. It may be conjectured that we have the element deith, deyth or daith in a noun edeithor, which occurs in the probable sense of 'burner, scorcher or blazer,' in the Bk. of Taliessin (Skene, ij. 203); and edeithor without the prefix would be deithor, of possibly much the same meaning, and involving a base corresponding to that from which Dechtere has been derived by adding the ja termination. Windisch, p. 138, gives once the shorter form Dectir.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 17—25; Guest, iij. 59—71.
- This charming catholicity of the story-teller has been completely snuffed out in Lady Ch. Guest's translation, iij. p. 65, which is as follows: 'and they caused the boy to be baptized, and the ceremony was performed there.' How this very bald statement could have been extracted from the Welsh words I do not quite understand: they are, 'Peri a wnaethant bedydyaỼ y mab or bedyd awneit yna:' see the R. B. Mab. p. 21.
- Windisch, pp. 138-40, from Egerton, 1782, and the Bk. of the Dun, 128a, 128b.
- Windisch's talmi (.i. iarsin) du is to be corrected into talmidu (i. iarsin), p. 137; see Bk. of the Dun, 128a.
- On the other hand, it is not to be forgotten that Conall Cernach, when pursuing Lugaid, had his chariot drawn by a single charger, the canine horse to which allusion has already been made (p. 403), as possibly the Irish counterpart of the brute auxiliary of the Chevalier au Lion and of Owein ab Urien.
- The story of The Pursuit always calls Diarmait's father Donn; but the editor quotes at some length, ij. 84—92, a poem which he thinks the production of some Munster poet of the thirteenth or the following century, and in this the father is called Corc and the grandfather Cairbre (ij. 85, 89). This can hardly be a late invention, as the modern tendency seems to have boon to ignore the Corc and Duben legend in favour of a pedigree such as that quoted by the editor of The Pursuit, ij. 93, from O'Flaherty's Ogygia, iij. 69, making Diarmait son of Donn, son of Duibne, son of Fothad, &c. But the value of a pedigree which treats Duibne as a man's name is not very great. Donn, however, is Diarmait's father throughout The Pursuit: the word means dark or brown, and is possibly to be regarded as a surname or another name of both Corc and Diarmait.
- The Pursuit, ij. § 39; Stokes-O'Donovan's Cormac, pp. 43, 128; the Four Masters, A.D. 1234, editor's note, iij. 272.
- The Pursuit, ij. § 36, &c.; Joyce's Old Celt. Romances, pp. 332—350.
- Note 83 to the Pursuit, ij. p. 81.
- For the text, see Windisch, p. 96, &c., and for an abstract of the story, see O'Curry's MS. Mat. p. 486, note; also his Battle of Magh Lena, p. 14, note.
- The Irish fochích I treat as involving cích, usually signifying a breast or pap; but I have been influenced in the translation by the Welsh equivalent cig, meaning simply flesh: so fochích would mean 'beneath the breast or beneath the flesh,' in the sense of 'in the body or person of.' Perhaps Lug should here be treated as lug, and rendered 'light.'
- The text, Bk. of Leinster, 113b, has adcomsa, which I do not understand, so I have treated it as adcímsa or adciimsa.
- O'Curry, ij. 291.
- As a picture of manners, I leave the story to tell its own tale: it is in this respect one of the most striking within the whole range of Irish literature; and the incident has been treated by Prof. Zimmer in his Kelt. Studien, ij. 189—193; also by M Duvau in the Rev. Arch. viij. 336.
- This is accepted by O'Donovan in his Introduction to the Bk. of Rights, p. lv; but in Stokes's Three Irish Glossaries, p. 20, precedence is given to another MS. which reads: Fogamur .i. donmís derid is ainm isin fogamur .i. fogham .i. gæth ⁊ mur, &c. This is rendered as follows in O'Donovan's translation, p. 74: 'Fogamur it is a name for the last month in the autumn,' &c.; but the Irish, which has been tampered with by somebody who did not understand the ancient reckoning, only means, as it stands, 'for the last month is it a name in the autumn.' I should propose to mend the original very slightly thus: Fogamur .i. donmis derid is ainm insin . fogamur .i. fogham, &c. 'Fogamur, (to wit) for the last month that is a name,' &c.
- For a few instances, see O'Curry, p. 284, and iij. 201 et seq.
- I may refer to the Brython for 1859, pp. 20, 120; but I have read valuable matter in the folk-lore offered for competition at the London Eisteᵭvod of 1887, especially in the MS. of the writer calling himself Gwerinwr. I am, however, not certain which of the superstitions attached to the eve of the first of November, and which to that of the second, called Dy'gwyl y Meirw or the Feast of the Dead.
- Tlachtga has been identified by O'Donovan with an ancient ráth on the Hill of Ward near Athboy in the Minister portion of Meath, while the Well of Tlachtga was at the foot of the Hill of Ward, which was probably the Hill of Tlachtga, where she died. According to O'Donovan, the full name of Athboy was Áth Buidhe Tlachtgha, 'the Yellow Ford of Tlachtgha:' see the Bk. of Rights, pp. 3 and 10, note; also p. l, and O'Donovan's Four Masters, A.D. 1172 (iij. 5). Tlachtga was, in the first instance, the name of the daughter of Mog Ruith (pp. 211, 381): see the Bk. of Leinster, 331b; also 331c and 326g, where a man's name Fer Tlachtga is derived from hers.
- Preller's Gr. Myth. i. 146.
- The Cymmrodor, vi. 176-7: see also the first number of the Scottish Celtic Review, where one should read samhanach for lamhanach in the introductory remarks.
- With the Welsh instances already mentioned should also be ranged the 'grimly boar all black in a cloud' seen by Arthur in a dream, and interpreted to refer to the Spanish giant (p. 334) he was to overcome: see Malory, i. 173-4, and Geoffrey, x. 3.
- See Windisch, Irische Texte, p. 205, and Stokes in the Rev. Celt. v. 231; but for details about the Apaturia and Chalceia, see Preller's Gr. Myth. i. 146-7; A. Mommsen's Heortologie, pp. 302-17, also table i.; and Daremberg and Saglio's Dict. des Antiq. grecques et romaines (Paris, 1887), s.v. Apaturia and Chalceia, also calendrier, where it is shown, in connection with the Macedonian calendar, exclusively adopted (with modifications) in the East, that the year was treated in more than one reckoning as beginning with what we should call the end of October or the beginning of November: see especially pp. 829b, 831b.
- See Preller's Gr. Myth. i. 173, &c; A. Mommsen's Heortologie, pp. 116—205.
- Preller, i. 209; A. Mommsen, p. 422.
- As to the Thargelia and Delia, see Preller, i. 209-10, and A. Mommsen, pp. 414-25; Cormac's statement will be found in the Stokes-O'Donovan edition, pp. 19, 23; but for an account of the Scotch Beltaine, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol. xi. p. 620; also Pennant's Tour in Scotland in 1769 (3rd ed., Warrington, 1774), i. 97, 186, 291; Stephens' Gododin, pp. 124-6; and an interesting monograph on the subject by Dr. Murray in the New English Dict. s. v. Beltane.
- See the facsimile, pp. 53b, 54a.
- This agrees with the form used by Keating, namely, Duibhin, which he would probably use both as acc. and nom.: O'Connor's edition, p. 273. It is not difficult to see how the mistake would arise, if we suppose the scribe to have converted nn into nd, and to have found Duibin ningin conairi, 'D. daughter of C.,' written or spaced inexactly in the copy before him.
- What relation, if any, the word corco or corca bears to Corc's name, I am unable to say; but here are a few notes bearing on them. Corc makes in the genitive Cuirc, and the lord of a territory called Muscraighe, after Cairbre Musc, Corc's father, used in the eleventh century to give himself the name O'Cuirc, or Corc's Descendant: vice versa, one of the districts called Muscraighe was distinguished later as Corc's, namely, the barony of Clanwilliam in county Tipperary. See the Four Masters, A.D. 1043, 1044, 1100, 1503. Cuirc is written Quirk in English, while in early Irish it was Curci, attested by an ogam in the neighbourhood of Dingle. As to corco or corca, the dative plural ó na Corcaibh, 'from the Corca,' is given in the Book of Rights, p. 97, and the genitive plural na (g-) Corc, 'of the Corca,' p. 104, in reference possibly, as O'Donovan suggests, to clans called Corca Achlann, Corca Firtri and Corca Mogha; a plural Cuirc is treated in the same way as meaning the Corca in a note by Prof. Hennessy to his edition of the Book of Fenagh, pp. 30, 31; but these last seem to have been so termed as the descendants of a Corc Ferdoit son of Fergus, and the term might be Englished 'the Corcs.' The late tendency was very decidedly to prefer corca to corco, as in Corcaguinny and Corkaree, a barony in the county of Westmeath, supposed to be the tribe-name given in Adamnán's Vita S. Columbæ as Korkureti (Reeves's edition, p. 89). So I am on the whole inclined to see in korku and corco a word like the Old Irish mocu, moco or mitco (treated later as maccu and even mac-u), to which Stokes, in Kuhn's Beitræge, i. 345, would give the sense of grandson or descendant. It entered with a collective meaning into clan-names, such as Mocu-Dalon, Mocu-Sailni and Mocu-Runtir, Latinized 'genus Runtir:' see also the remarks on the word in Rhys' Lec. on Welsh Phil.2 pp. 407—412, but cancel the suggestion there made that the word involves ua or o, 'grandson.' Perhaps neither corco nor muco is a word of Celtic origin.
- The Bk. of Rights, O'Donovan's note, p. 47.
- Ibid.; also p. 76, and the same scholar's notes to the Four Masters, A.D. 1095 (Vol. ij. 950), 1495 (Vol. iv. 1220), 1581 (Vol. v. 1756); also his edition of the old Topographical Poems (Dublin, 1862), pp. 108-9, and notes 594-9.
- The Bk. of Fenagh, note by the editor, 32.
- The change of sound is not a very unusual one: Corco Duibne was softened down to Corco Dhuine; but the spirant sound which analogy would indicate the dh to have once had, has long since been generally superseded by that of gh. The pronunciation represented by the spelling Corcaguinny was evolved in consequence of a tendency, discernible here and there, to reduce the spirant gh into a corresponding mute g.
- This is a guess; but Erp would be the name whose genitive occurs as (H)irp in the Bodley MS. Laud. 610; see fol. 95b2, where we read of a Cathmol mc Hirp, who was buried with Lugaid mac Con in Cuil m-Brocholl, somewhere in South Munster. The name occurs in the Welsh Triads, i. 40 = ij. 5, as that of Yrp Lluyᵭawg, who obtained a vast host from the Welsh by outwitting them in arithmetic. He was possibly a Pict; the name Erp was borne by several persons also in Norse literature: see the Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 51, 56, 58, also ij. 2, 6, where a poet Erp Ljutandi is mentioned.
- Erca would be the early nominative feminine corresponding to the genitive Ercïas of the inscription. One reads of Clann Erci, so-called from their mother, in Scotland: see the Bk. of Fenagh, pp. 330-1.
- It is right to say that Mr. Brash, p. 179, omits the particle mo or mu—for the vowel is not certain—after quoting an inaccurate reading of Mr. Windele's; while in his posthumously published work on Ogham Inscriptions, Sir S. Ferguson, whose recent death I deeply deplore, calls (p. 41) the scorings here in question 'characters not now Legible;' but the examination of the stone by my wife and myself, under more favourable circumstances, in the summer of 1883, led us to the unexpected conclusion which has just been stated.
- For Mohaulum, see the Bodley MS. Laud. 610, where we have Ailill Mohaulum, 94b2, 95a1, Ailella Mohauluim, 95b1, Mohaulum alone, 94b2; Mohauluim gen. 95a2; the h is represented by an s with a dot, which is liable to be forgotten by the scribe, as happens once on 95a1, where also Moluigid occurs, applied to a Lugaid identical probably in point of origin with the slayer of Cúchulainn. As to Mo-Febis, see the Bk. of the Dun, 74, where Febis or Femis is said to have been the mother's name; but the Four Masters make Mofebis a man, and date his death A.M. 3751, though they mention his son Mog Ruith engaged in war A.M. 3579, or 172 years earlier. Allusions to Mafemis will be found also in the Bk. of Leinster, 15b, 19a, and Mofemis in O'Curry's Manners, ij. 9.
- See the index to the Martyrology of Donegal (Dublin, 1864), and Stokes' Calendar of Oengus, p. ccxciij.
- It is right to say that the exact sound meant to be represented by vv is not known, if it be taken to have differed from the ordinary power of a single v. The irregular retention of the consonant may be supposed based on some peculiarity of dialect connected with Munster; and an important parallel, which countenances this view, offers itself in the name Eber of the mythic ancestor or eponymous hero of the Ivernian populations of the south of Ireland, especially Munster. The name is otherwise reduced to Ier, Er and Ir, which is the one usually preferred as that of the ancestor of the Ivernian element in Ulster: the form represented in common by Eber and the shorter names must have been in early Irish Iveros or Everos. Eber is also written Emer, which comes down from a time when both b and m here, as well as the b in Duben, Duibne, were sounded v. Ier is not often to be met with, but it occurs, for instance, in the Bk. of Leinster, 326e, and in the Bk. of the Dun, 99a, where we have in the gen. ier diernaib muman, 'Iveri de Ivemiis Momonis:' compare Erp, genitive Hirp, and the Iaripi already referred to; also a dissyllabic genitive Iair in Stokes' Calendar of Oengus, Oct. 26.
- The Triads, i. 73, iij. 107. The word I have rendered 'White or Blessed Ladies' is gwenrïain, consisting partly of gwen, the fem. of gwyn, 'white',' which, though one of the commonest words in my language, I am unable satisfactorily to translate into English; for besides 'white,' it may mean 'respected, holy, felicitous, blessed,' with a variety of nuances which no single English word will convey: thus the poets speak of Duw gwyn, 'holy or blessed God,' and nef wen, 'the blessed or blissful heaven,' while their lemans have not unfrequently been addressed by them as fy nyn wen, 'my heavenly maid;' and my father used to call his respected step-mother mam wen, a term in common use in parts of Mid-Wales, and best rendered by the French belle mère. These and the like uses of the adjective are paralleled by the Lithuanian treatment of baltas, 'white:' see Nesselmann's Dict. p. 319.
- Stokes, Calendar of Oengus, Prolog. lines 205-8.
- See The Pursuit, i. § 5, and pp. 61-2; also the poem referred to in my note, p. 504, which seems to give Corc or Diarmait the epithet donn, 'brown or dark,' ij. 85; but the words are separated by the artifice or the straits of the poet, and the editor, taking a view different from mine, treats Donn as a separate name, ij. 89. The conjecture that Diarmait is to be reckoned as belonging to the Ivernians, is in some measure corroborated by the fact that hitherto no successful attempt has been made to explain his name as Celtic, and that the same remark applies to that of Duben.
- The sources which I have consulted are the following: the Prose Edda in Edda Snorronis Sturlæi (Copenhagen, 1848), i. 90-2, 102, 104, 172-86; Vigfusson & Powell, Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 69, 71, 104, 108, 114, 181-3, 197, 201, 574-5, ij. 23, 623-4, 628, 637, 641-8; Simrock, Die Edda (Stuttgart, 1855), pp. 292-3, 295-6, 299, 316-20.
- What plant or flower he referred to is not quite certain; the cotula foetida, pyrethrum inodorum, and the eye-bright or euphrasy, are mentioned in Vigfussun's Icelandic Dictionary, s.v. Baldr.
- Corpus Poet. Bor. i. 126.
- The giantess is probably not to be regarded as a form of Loki, but rather as a personification of fate or destiny; and I suggest with diffidence that her name is of the same origin as the Welsh tynghed, 'destiny,' Irish tocad: see Nigra's Reliquie Celtiche, p. 43.
- Skene, ij. 54, 55.
- See the Bk. of Ballymote, quoted by O'Curry, pp. 513-4.
- The view of O'Curry at p. 507, where he tries to derive it from Tigernach.
- Mart. of Donegal (Dublin, 1864), pp. 292-3.
- Hübner's Inscrip. Brit. Christianæ, No. 2; Rhys' Lectures on Welsh Philology2, pp. 379, 406, where the surmise that val- is cognate with wolf is probably to be cancelled.
- The stones are at Ardmore and Kilgrovane in co. Waterford: I examined both in 1883; but see Brash, pp. 247, 257, pl. xxxvi.
- What the original figure may have been, it would be hard to guess with any certainty; but compare the old Teutonic idea that an eclipse of the sun was owing to his being swallowed by a celestial beast of prey, and see an ingenious picture of the scene in York Powell's Old Stories from British History (London, 1882), p. 11.
- It admits, however, of being also translated 'the Son of (the) Hazel.'
- My attention was called to this by a paragraph in the Rev. Celt. vij. 399; but the inscription will be found given by Hübner in Vol. ij. of the Berlin Corpus, No. 2732, as follows: Valerio Ann[o]ni Luguadici f(ilio) Ux[am(ensi] a[nn(orum] xxv sodales [f(aciendum] c(urarunt). One might be tempted to explain the Irish Lugudec-, taken alone, to mean 'the biter or tearer of Lug,' in reference to some such a story as that of the Boar of Benn Gulbain killing Diarmait, or as the Welsh one that gave Lleu the brute form of the Aurwrychyn or Gold-bristle previous to his being killed by the hunter's hounds: compare the second element dec- with such words as Greek δάκνω, 'I bite,' and the Gothic tahjan, 'to tear;' but if Lugudec- and Luguadicus are to be taken together, one is led to suggest the possibility that the original nominative was Lugu-ádix or Lugu-ádex, and the genitive Lugu-adécas, yielding in early Irish Lugu'déccas, later Luigdech: compare such words as Irish beothu, 'life,' genitive bethad, as evidence that the accent was at one time movable in Irish. With adec- I know of no Celtic word to compare, unless it possibly be the Irish adaig, 'night,' or aidche of the same meaning, but standing for an early feminine derivative adecja.
- Corpus. Poet. Bor. i. 104, ij. 465.
- Ibid. i. 105.
- Guest's Mab. iij. 321-6, 356-61; Stephen's Literature of the Kymry2, p. 425.
- Elphin's reply is ambiguous: if read Tàl iessin, it means 'fine forehead,' but if Tâl iessin, 'fine pay;' while read as one word, the distinction would be lost; but the story as it proceeds implies tál, 'pay or profit:' see Guest, iij. 328, 363.
- Triads, iij. 18.
- See the original, quoted in Pughe's Dictionary, s.v. Hu.
- Bk. of Leinster, 12b; Trans. of the Ossianic Soc. for 1860, v. 234; M. d'Arbois de Jubainville's Cycle, pp. 244-6, where the author dwells on the parallel and the difference.
- Skene, ij. 137-44.
- A remarkable instance of this, with the absence of the definite article, will be found in the poem where Mider describes his own fairy realm: for the text, see the Bk. of the Dun, 131b, and Windisch's Irische Texte, pp. 132-3.
- Bk. of Taliessin, poem xiv.; Skene, ij. 155, and poem xxx.; Sk. ij. 181.
- Ib. poem vij.; Sk. ij. 135, from which one may be referred also to the Black Book, line 4 of poem v., Skene, ij. 7.
- Ib. poem xiv.; Sk. ij. 154-5.
- R. B. Mab. p. 22; Guest, iij. 66.
- Skene, ij. 155-7, 158-9.
- Telessin and Telyessin are the forms in Rhonabwy's Dream (R. B. Mab. pp. 150, 160), while the Kulhwch story has the less intelligible spelling Teleessin (p. 107). If the first element in the name was telg, that would account for the optional forms Telyessin (i.e. Telj-essin) and Tel-essin, the g being either represented by the semi-vowel or completely dropped. Telg- might be regarded as related to the Irish word tailc, 'strong,' and tailce, 'strength, firmness;' but there would also be no lack of words to connect with tel or tal, supposing either of them to be the first part of the name: witness the Welsh telyn, 'harp,' and telaid, 'fair, graceful,' telediw, 'fine, handsome, beautiful,' not to mention tal in the Gaulish name Vepotalos, whatever that meant. The Black Book shows a decided preference for Taliessin.
- Ossín, Oissín or Oisín, is said to mean a 'little fawn' (O'Curry, p. 304), from oss or os, 'cervus.' But, so far as I know, the fitness of the name is nowhere made conspicuous; if, however, it should prove well founded, I should compare Lieu in the story which represents him killed by staghounds.
- Though Finn is not said to he re-horn as Ossín, there was an Irish story which gave him a second life, namely, in the person of an Ultonian king called Mongán: see the Bk. of the Dun, 133a—134b; also M. d'A. de Jubainville, Cycle, pp. 336—343, and O'Curry, iij. 175.
- A poet is represented addressing them as Fián Find: see Bk. of Leinster, 296b: the poem is quoted by O'Curry, ij. 385. The term Fiann occurs as a collective used in the feminine singular, while the individual members were called in the plural Fianna.
- The word looks as if it ought to be an abstract noun meaning 'assurance, certainty,' from demin, 'sure, certain.'
- The original of the story will be found published by Dr. K. Meyer in the Rev. Celt. v. 201: see also pp. 197-8; likewise Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, pp. 414-5, note 25, where we are told that Linn Féic, or Fiac's Pool, was near the village of Slane.
- See also the Stokes-O'Donovan ed. of Cormac, p. 35, s. v. Caill Crinmon.
- The Pursuit, i. §§ 51, 54; Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, p. 314.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 130-1; Guest, ij. 300.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 129-31; Guest, ij. 297—300. Kilgwri, according to a note in Guest's Mab. ij. 362, is in Flintshire; but according to Morris' Celt. Remains, p. 90, it is Worrall in Cheshire. Cwm Cawlwyd is above Llanrwst in the Geirionyᵭ district, and I trace Gwernabwy in the name of a farm called Bod 'Ernabwy, near Aberdaron, in the extreme west of Carnarvonshire, where Rhedynvre likewise occurs as tbhe name of another farm, now shortened to 'Dynvra. The poet D. ab Gwilym makes a graceful allusion to these ancient animals in his poem lij., p. 99 of the London (1789) edition.
- See O'Curry's Manners, &c. ij. 144, and compare the stories of the Shannon and the Boyne in the Bk. of Leinster, 156a and 191a.
- Bk. of Leinster, 156a, line 17: fail coll nécsi nilcheolach.
- Ib. 191a.
- Joyce, Old Celtic Romances, p. 188.
- Vigfusson & Powell's Corpus Poet. Bor. ij. 634, where the sources of the several passages are given.
- Vigfusson & Powell, ibid. p. 623.
- Skene, ij. 108, 303 (i. 287): see also ij. 130 (i. 525), ij. 153 (i. 535).
- R. B. Mab. p. 112; Guest, ij. 268.
- See Keating, quoted by O'Curry, ij. 381.
- R. B. Mab. p. 134 , Guest, ij. 305.
- Skene, ij. 54, where the original runs thus:
'hud im gelwire guin mab nud.
gorterch creurdilad merch lut.'
- For instance, in the Irish tale of the Children of Lir, published by O'Curry in the Atlantis, iv. 113—157, and in Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, pp. 1—36.
- The tale occurs at length in the Bk. of Leinster, 117b, 118a, and briefly in Cormac's Glossary (Stokes-O'Donovan edition), p. 85, where, besides other differences, Amorgen's age is said to have been seven. The name of the smith varies in the MSS. between Eccet, Echen and Ecul: I should guess the correct spellings to have been Eccet and Eccen, corresponding to possible Welsh forms Adgant and Adgan, the latter of which occurs as Atgan in the Lives of the Cambro-Brit. Saints (Llandovery, 1853), p. 88.
- Windisch, p. 142.
- Guest's Mab. iij. 321, 356.
- R. B. Mab. p. 108; Guest, ij. 261; Triads, iij. 83.
- O'Curry's Magh Lena, pp. 68—71.
- Stokes' Three Irish Glossaries, s.v. prúll ( = Welsh prwystl), p. 38, and Stokes' Bodleian Fragment of Cormac's Glossary, read before the R. Ir. Acad. Nov. 30, 1871.
- See the Stokes-O'Donovan ed. of Cormac, p. 138.
- No. xlviij: see Skene, ij. 203-4.
- R. B. Mab. pp. 35, 40-2; Guest, iij. 117, 124-8.
- Vigfusson & Powell, Corpus Poet. Bor. ij. 636.
- Ib. i. 182.
- One of the Breton words for death, ar marô, is in point, as it literally means 'the dead.'
- No. xvi: see Skene, ij. 158.
- Bk. of Leinster, 12b—13b; M. d'A. de Jubainville's Cycle, pp. 242-61.
- It occurs in the British Museum MS. Harl. 5280, fol. 63a (52a), as gein mbuada, or child of victory; and Amorgen analysed may be explained as gein n-amra, 'wonderful child,' an attested description of another person: see Windisch, p. 590, s.v. gein, and Stokes' Three Irish Glossaries, p. lxxxiij. Gein maks gene in the genitive, and is a neuter of the same origin and formation as the Latin genus, generis; but the corresponding Irish declension being little used, some uncertainty prevailed as to the case-endings, and the nominative appears as Amorgene and Amorgin or Amairgin, as well as Amorgen: see Windisch, p. 870, s.v.
- Max Müller in the Nineteenth Century for 1885, xviij. 635.
- Corpus Poet. Bor. (Grimnis-Mál), i. 68.
- That haul, 'sun,' was at one time feminine in the literary language is proved beyond doubt by a passage in Brut y Tywysogion, and contained in manuscripts dating as late as the end of the fourteenth century. In the Rolls edition (London, 1860) it reads—"Yny ulỽydyn honno duỽ Calan Mei y symudaỽd yr heul y ỻiỽ, ac y dywaỽt rei not erni diffyc." If heul had been masculine, we should have liỽ and arnaỽ for lliỽ and erni. A reference to the event occurs also in the Myvyrian, iij. 577. The entry is under the year 1185, and it is à propos of an eclipse of the sun. Add to this a curious passage too long to quote, which occurs in the Red Book, col. 516, lines 11—19. Lastly, D. ab Gwilym addresses a poem to the sun as a she, in the course of which he invokes her as Ymmerodres Tês, or the Empress of Warm Weather.
- Max Müller's Chips, ij. 82.
- Skene, ij. 134 (poem vij. line 145).
- Possibly it signified one that howls or barks as a hound giving tongue. D. ab Gwilym treats the moon as the huan of the night in poem civ. line 28, p. 204; and an owl is called in Welsh a dallhuan, or blind huan.
- Études, p. 93.
- O'Curry, quoting and translating, pp. 618, 620, from the Harl. MS. 5280 in the British Museum.
- R. B. Mab. p. 131; Guest, ij. 300-1.
- It is not to be found in the form to he expected in the ordinary lists; but see Triads, i. 50 = ij. 7, 49 = iij. 61, in which Mabon figures with Llyr instead of Llûᵭ; see also R. B. Mab. pp. 300, 306, and the Cymmrodor, vij. 130.