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.                        135
tered, and confused in dates and characters, and bearing the marks of a great deterioration in style, like the degradation of Latin prose in its later era. The passages which competent Celtic scholars have pronounced from philological evidence to be of an earlier construction, are a good deal stronger as well as simpler in expression than those by which they are surrounded, and indicate that, if the ear­lier poetry had been preserved in its purity with­out being amplified and weakened by scholastic and artificial phraseology, it might have rivaled the early Teutonic poetry in force, directness and sim­plicity, and strength of construction. As it is, the Celtic poems and histories are not only confused and prolix with interminable genealogies and pro­verbial reflections, but are written in a style, with a redundance and complication of epithets, at once weakening and tiresome. Thus in an Irish his­tory of the Triumphs of Turlogh O'Brien, written in the thirteenth century, there is the following description of the dress and arms of a hero: —
"His noble garment was first brought to him, viz., a strong, well-formed, close-ridged, defensively-furrowed, terrific, neat-bordered, new-made, and scarlet-red cassock of fidelity; he expertly put on that gold-bordered garment, which covered him as far as from the lower part of his soft, fine, red-white neck, to the upper part of his expert, snow-
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