James Macpherson Poems >>
Fragment XIII

Cuchlaid sat by the wall; by the
tree of the rustling leaf.

His spear leaned against the mossy rock.
His shield lay by him on the grass.
Whilst he thought on the mighty Carbre
whom he slew in battle, the scout of
the ocean came, Moran the son of Fithil.

Rise, Cuchulaid, rise! I see the ships
of Garve. Many are the foe, Cuchulaid;
many the sons of Lochlyn.

Moran! thou ever tremblest; thy
fears increase the foe. They are the
ships of the Desert of hills arrived to assist
Cuchulaid.

I saw their chief, says Moran, tall as
a rock of ice. His spear is like that fir;
his shield like the rising moon. He sat
upon a rock on the shore, as a grey
cloud upon the hill. Many, mighty
man! I said, many are our heroes;
Garve, well art thou named,
many are the sons of our king.

He answered like a wave on the
rock; who is like me here? The valiant
live not with me; they go to the
earth from my hand. The king of the
Desert of hills alone can fight with
Garve. Once we wrestled on the hill.
Our heels overturned the wood. Rocks
fell from their place, and rivulets changed
their course. Three days we strove
together; heroes stood at a distance,
and feared. On the fourth, the King
saith that I fell; but Garve saith, he
stood. Let Cuchulaid yield to him that
is strong as a storm.

No. I will never yield to man.
Cuchulaid will conquer or die. Go,
Moran, take my spear; strike the shield
of Caithbait which hangs before the
gate. It never rings in peace. My heroes
shall hear on the hill,--