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144 CELTIC POETRY.
his brain in the cavities of his head was destroyed by the clamors of the conflict; his heart shrunk within him with the panic of dismay; his speech became faltering from the giddiness of imbecility; his very soul fluttered with hallucination, and with many and various phantoms, for that was the root and true basis of fear itself. He might be compared on this occasion to a salmon in a weir, or to a bird after being caught in the strait prison of a crib."
The following is the way in which this is rendered in Congal, Sweeny's offense having consisted in drowning the hermit Ere in the Boyne: —
To Sweeny as the hosts drew near, ere yet the fight should
join, Seemed still, as if between them rolled the foam-strewed,
tawny Boyne. And as the swiftly nearing hosts consumed the narrowing
space, And arrow flights and javelin casts, and sword strokes came
in place, Through all the rout of high-raised hands, and wrathful,
glaring eyes, Erc's look of wrath, and lifted hand before him seemed to
rise, Through all the hard-rebounding din from breasts of Gaels
and Gauls, That jarred against the vault of heaven, when clashed the
brazen walls, Through all the clangorous battle-calls, and death shouts
hoarse and high,