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CELTIC POETRY. 151
And mint-sweet herb that loves the ledge rare-aired, at ease
reclined, Surveys the wide, pale-heaving floor crisped by a curling
wind ; With all its shifty shadowing belts, and chasing scopes of
green, Sun strewn, foam-freckled, sail-embossed, and blackening
squalls between, And slant, cerulean-skirted showers, that with a drowsy
sound, Heard inward, of ebullient waves, stalk all the horizon round.
With its faithfulness to tone and character, its skillful reproduction of style and language, its force and vigor of narrative, its forms of mythologic mysticism and its appreciation of the magic of nature, Congal is the most perfect reproduction of the form and spirit of ancient Celtic poetry in existence, and from it the English reader, who is not a Celtic student, can obtain the best knowledge of its pervading elements.
Congal is not the only contribution made by Sir Samuel Ferguson to Celtic poetry. The Lays of the Western Gael are a series of ballads founded on events in Celtic history and derived from the early chronicles and poems. They are original in form and substance, the ballad form and measure being unknown to the early Celtic poets of Ireland, but they preserve in a wonderful degree the ancient spirit, and give a picture of the ancient times with