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.                       141
narrative of events in the original chronicle, but with an addition in the shape of a love episode be­tween Lafinda, a sister of Sweeny, an Irish prince, and Congal, the introduction of several new char­acters, and of some supernatural episodes derived from the pagan mythology of Ireland. The narra­tive is made intelligible where it is obscure in the original, and incredible events, such as the chaining together of the warriors lest they should run away from each other, are omitted, while the tautology and verbiage of the language is eliminated. Its faithfulness as the reproduction of an ancient Celtic poem consists in the skill with which the character­istic style of language, its multiplied and doubled epithets, is renewed in English without the effect of archaism, and the reproduction of its heroic and primitive tone and spirit. Its original merits are the force and vigor of the narrative, the vivid de­scriptions of scenery, the strength and impressive-ness of the supernatural figures, the genuine in­spiration of battle in the combats, and the easy mastery of the "long, resounding line" in the verse. There is no modern poem which so thor­oughly reproduces the ancient form and spirit of a bygone age, and in which so complete and accurate an idea can be obtained of the element of a van­ished poetry as in Congal, and, as has been said, it is like a restoration in shape and substance of a
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