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whose right hand was strong to strike for their rights. We have had too many chiefs who were neither kings nor warriors, neither wise nor generous. "We have them still, who have power and wealth, but cannot govern. Witness the heartless cruelty inflicted on the poor in a hundred glens, witness the wretched huts, damp, dark, dirty, squalid, in which thousands live in the Highlands, while money more than sufficient to build suitable houses is spent in luxury, on dogs and horses. Nay, more, some of our "kings" refuse to guarantee the outlay to many who are able and willing to change their lairs, they can't be called houses, into comfortable abodes. Surely the time is coming when a man has turned a piece of barren waste into a garden, and built thereon a dwelling-place where comfort, cleanliness, and dignified self-respect are possible, he cannot be removed until what he has spent shall so far as its value is permanent be re-paid him. This scheme is not so ambitious as that of peasant proprietors, but it is more practical, would not disarrange very much existing relations, and would be a powerful lever for removing many things which are now pressing sore upon the hearts of the people. Our chieftains have Trojans to fight in the shape of the forces of rude nature, such as the Duke of Sutherland is fighting so bravely on the slopes of Dalchore and Kildonan. In this warfare they need the combined qualities of soldier and king. Even the Duke, I will venture to say, shows more of the prowess of the warrior, than the wisdom of the king. By dividing the wastes, and by doing sufficient in the way of building to give a fair start to enterprising tenants bound down to trench so much a year, with ample security that they would not be defrauded of the fruit of their labour, in the course of time field after field would wave with corn, and the desert would recede. True, more time would be needed, but then money would be saved which might be spent in widening the basis of this noble war, approved by the God of hosts. We gladly, however, apply to his Grace the eulogium of the bard, in reference to his "kingdom":—
A king whom double royalty
As for the manless, to use an old word, soulless chiefs of the Leckmelm order, who can grace neither the sceptre of the wise, nor the sword of the brave, let them pass into oblivion as soon as the moans, we hope not the curses, of those whom in their defenceless weakness they have insulted and oppressed. The bard spurns them, their notions, their principles, and their actions—he loves chivalry, not self-seeking littleness.
But we must return to our poet. Agamemnon and Priam meet to offer solemn sacrifice, and to take the oath which bound each nation to accept the issue of the combat between Paris and Menelaus as decisive of the war. The description of this ceremony is extremely interesting, and reads well in Gaelic, which is thoroughly at home in matters of outwarl pomp, and of religious emotions. Three lambs are liken and offered in sacrifice, to the Earth, the Sun, and to Jupiter. The Trojans provided the two lambs—one black, the other white—the one male, the other female— which were offered to the elemental powers of Earth and Sky; the Greeks provided the one offered to Jupiter—the Father of gods and men. Homer thus indicates the higher religious conceptions of his countrymen. Wine was furnished by both sides, and mingled in one golden goblet; ■water was poured on the hands of Agamemnon, who like the patriarch acted the part of priest, for priests as a separate order were scarcely recognised by the Greeks, and then poured out upon the earth; the three lambs yielded their lives to the knife of the king. Before the performance of these significant rites, the king prayed as follows, according to our translator's version :—
Athair neamhaidh mhnir, bhithbhuain
Dha 'n ionad aoiaidh do ghnath,
Teampull Ida nan ard chruach!
A Ghrian a xhiubhlas nan speur
Farsuinn reith o chcann gu ceann!
Aiinhnichean tha triall a ghlinn
'S a thalamh o'n gin gach clann!
A chumhachdan dubh a ghniinnd
A fhuair smachd os cionn na dh' eug
A phtanaa luchd brisdeadh nihionn
'S gach righ a chuir suim 'sa bhreig
Togaibh an diugh fianuis fhior,
'S biodh bhur neart mar dhion do'n choir, 4c.
The rest of this eclectic prayer, in which the king acknowledges the religion of Troy as well as his own, is a declaration of the various details of the oath, and need not be quoted. At the close of the ceremony all joined in the following very intense and concrete prayer:—
Ard Righ nan cumhachd ud shuas
It is extremely interesting to look through Gaelic glasses at those ancient religious views and practices, not to speak of the mental expansion which a knowledge of them cannot but bring, just as a physician grows in knowledge by a study of diseased bodies as well as sound. Sacrifice was not appointed or inaugurated by Moses, it was but purified and put upon a higher, though temporary basis.
We cannot dwell upon the details of the combat which, in the presence of both armies, was entered upon by the angry King of Sparta, and the seducer of his Queen. Here is the portrait of Paris as he prepares for battle, in armour which as before could not save him from dishonour and defeat:—
Chairich air a ghuaiUibh aigh
An comhdach de'n stuillin chruaidh.
Shin e na h-osain, 'an tus
Mu chalpannan ur-gheal garbh
Ailbheagan airgid gu leir,
Dhuin a bheairt bu cheutach dealbh.
'X sin, cheangail an laoch mu chliabh
GorsaiJ phrais le h-iallaibh teann
Chroch e siar ri thaobh o'n bhoinn
Claidheamh reul-airgiodach grinn;
Sgiath chumadail tharbhach throni,
His antagonist equipped himself for the strife in similar fashion, with the important difference that he added to it a soldier's heart The translation is faithful almost to the letter, and the representation given of the ■warrior in full dress is intelligible to every Celtic reader, as word for word, it might be used, not so very long ago, by a native bard to describe a native chief in arms. Maclauchlan well sustains the burden of transfusing into Gaelic the mute excitement which seized the rival armies, as the two chiefs met in fierce though unequal strife, the details of its progress, and its disastrous issue to the pleasure-loving Trojan, who was barely saved from death by the intervention of the goddess of love who bodily carried him off the field in a golden cloud to the chamber of his stolen paramour, who received him with bitter taunts on the way he escaped the field where he left his honour, and afterwards, after the manner of women, with sympathy. A characteristic imprecation of Menelaus against Jupiter must not be omitted, as it sounds well in Gaelic. During the struggle he fetched a stroke on the head of his opponent; which he thought would have cloven it in twain, when lo ! his blade went to shivers in his hand—
Ghliongraich an lann air a' chruaidh,
The King sighed a deep and bitter sigh, looked up to the heavens, and exclaimed—
Athair Iobh! nach goirt a chuis,
Here, as has often happened since the mishap which was due to the careless smith, is ascribed angrily to the "act of God."
The motive which induced me to attempt to bring a portion of Maclauchlan's translation of Homer in the above form before the numerous readers of this magazine, was a desire to interest them more in the literary labours of this brave, accomplished, and devoted Celtic scholar, whose work has never had the justice done to it which it deserves. I understand that seven books of the Iliad lie hid in MSS. Should there not be an effort made to have them published. If the other books are equal to the one before me in poetic power, even though the exact critic may find knots on the thread now and again, they will bear comparison to those who understand Gaelic, with translations which the world has delighted to honour. For Highland students, especially for those studying for the Church, and who therefore are supposed to learn Greek, a minute comparison between such a translation and the original would bo a valuable aid in helping them to appreciate Homer, to understand the beauties and the defects of their own language, not to speak of the valuable mental discipline issuing in increased power, secured by an exercise of this kind. It says little for students of Celtic literature that in the meantime such a privilege is impossible. For my own part, I should be gratified if the Gaelic Society were to keep their Transactions for a year, valuable though they be, in their minute-books, and give the members instead, a neat, handy edition of Maclauchan's poetic works, more especially of his translation of a portion of the Iliad, with, if possible, an introduction to the translation, and some annotations by Professor Blackio, himself famous in this line, as in many others. By so doing they would, T am persuaded, do much to help our future ministers in the Highlands, and possibly some others to master Greek, and gain a greater mastery over Gaelic, both of which are so indispeusable to the efficient discharge of their duties as expounders of the Word of God. I do trust a serious effort will be made to get the translation published in a form that shall be not unworthy of its great excellence.
Strathbbaak, Ddnkkld. A. 0. SUTHERLAND, B.D.
A KELTIC COLONY.
In the year 1857 a letter appeared in the Caernarvon Herald directing attention to the gradual decay of the Kymric language, urging at the same time, and with much fervency, the necessity of some effort being made to arrest, if possible, so serious a calamity.
In that letter the writer proposed the formation of a Kymric colony in some portion of South America, where it was demonstrated the object could be effected with success. This proposition gave rise to a spirited correspondence between a number of patriots and well-wishers of the Kymric nation, and, after some time, Patagonia was fixed upon as a proper place to plant a colony whose settlers would speak and nourish therein their own language, that ultimately it might become the official language of the country.
A committee was named to carry out these ideas, and three commissioners were appointed to proceed to Buenos-Ayres, being invested with full powers to conclude an arrangement with the Government of that country to the effect that the emigrants should get possession of the land free, and enjoy civil and religious liberty, and the use of their native language. These conditions were agreed to and ratified by a special Act of Parliament.
After much opposition from the Welsh people, which retarded the movement very considerably for about five years, the first vessel with its live cargo of Keltic-spoken emigrants landed at the mouth of the river Chabut, and with much joy and the booming of cannon took possession of their future home.
The country (situated in lat 44 S.) proved to be everything they desired, except scarcity of timber for building purposes. The climate is most agreeable and healthy—probably in this not surpassed by any portion of the globe—not so cold as England in winter nor so hot in summer, and free from fog, its coast fronting on the South Atlantic, teeming with chosen fish of various kinds, and seals (presumably the valuable South sea seal) in great plenty. Salt for curing to any amount is close at hand.
The wheat attains a growth of seven feet, and grain is very beautiful, superior to any country inSouth America, and selling for seed at a high price.
Since the first vessel's arrival, several others followed; that, and the increase of population, has swelled their number to about one thousand of the healthiest, happiest, richest, and most contented people in the universe. So they say themselves.
Fishing would prove very remunerative in Patagonia, owing to having salt on the spot, and its proximity to the best market in the world.
The principal town, surveyed with great care, is to cover a space of eight hundred acres, about two miles from the river's mouth, and must ere long become a place of great importance.
There is neither frost nor snow to mar or impede winter work The natives (honest and brave) could not be subdued by the armies of BuenosAyres, but the Christian influence of the Kymrin gained him the ascendancy, and peace and friendship crowns this prosperous colony. Many of the natives can speak the Kymric language fluently.
la brief, everything indicates a brilliant future to this united band.
The Cambrians carry on a lucrative trade with the Indians of the interior, and already many of them have made considerable fortunes by it.
The writer of this was informed by a very intelligent gentleman, who was attached to a division of a Buenos-Ayres force destined to coerce the Patagonians, that the commander was instructed to march (after crossing the Kio Negro) as close as practicable to the spur of the Andes, to avoid crossing large rivers which might exist in that region, these being the first white men traversing the district. In answer to questions which he permitted me to ask, he stated that they crossed several rivers about thirty to forty feet wide, and in some places fifteen feet deep, running with a sluggish current through a champagne country, covered with abundance of grass, capable of supporting thousands of cattle without winter shelter.
This extensive country evidently only requires emigrants to cultivate its broad acres, to render it one of the most prosperous countries in existence.
"What a happy thought for a man butfetted with trouble in old Wales or her sister country Scotland, to own a snug property of his own, free of rent and taxes, with no fear of the bailiff intruding into his sacred sanctum, his- family all smiles around him, sharing that inexpressible pleasure enjoyed and appreciated by a freeholder of this land of realized promise.
May the God of the Kymric race, direct and influence our Highland brothers to swell the number of this sturdy and patriotic band, is the earnest prayer of the undersigned,
GWILYM GLAN MOB.