Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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CELTIC POETRY.
153
These ballads have a solemnity of measure like the voice of one of the ancient bards chanting of
Old, forgotten, far-off things And battles long ago,
and they are clothed with the mists of a melan­choly age. They include such subjects as The Tain Quest, the search of the bard for the lost lay of the great cattle raid of Queen Maev of Con-naught, and its recovery by invocation from the voice of its dead author arising in misty form above his grave; The Healing of Conall Carnach, a story of violated sanctuary and its punishment; The Welshmen of Tyrawly, one of the most spirited and original, and which has been pronounced by Mr. Swinburne as among the finest of modern bal­lads, telling of a cruel mulct inflicted upon the members of a Welsh colony in Ireland and its ven­geance, and other incidents in early Irish history. The verses on Aideen's Grave are a characteristic specimen of the tone and spirit of these ballads. The author's introductory note says:—
" Aideen, daughter of Angus of Ben Edar (now the Hill of Howth), died of grief for the loss of her husband Oscar, son of Ossian, who was slain at the battle of Gavra (Gowra near Tara in Meath) a. d. 284. Oscar was entombed in the rath, or earthen fortress, that occupied part of the field of battle,
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III