Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

The famous bishop, Charles Mac Cuillenan, in the Psalter of Cajhel, informs us that the Britons descended originally, or were so called, from this Briotan Maol, and several other most ancient manuscripts give the fame account; one of them fays:

"The brave Nemedian train,

"Under Briotan, launch into the main;

"A prince, whom all the ancient annals trace

"As the great founder of the British race."

Another poet and antiquary makes the fame declaration; thus:

"The warlike Welch the great Briotan claim, "To be the sounder of the British name."

This, in our opinion, seems to be the true source of the word Britannia, whatever may have been faid by different authors of its having been derived of Brutus, or Braatanac, . faid to be a Phœnician expression. Camden asterts the fame in these words: Britannia die!a ejl a quodam qui vocabatur Brit anus.

That this Briotan, or Britan, may have been the origin of the name of this island, I can readily assent to; but not that he was the father of the Britijh race; because he was a Magogian by descent, and none but Gomerians first peopled this Britijh i//and: nor Ireland, but the issue of Magog. And, indeed, there are many things which are strenuously asserted by several authors, regarding ancient history, which the records of Irela?id are capable of clearing up, many of which I hope to throw some light upon. 4 I must I must again lament, that so sew men of genius, who have great talents for promoting historical knowledge, understand that noble language in which they are wrote; or, that some means were not devised to facilitate the study of them, for the benefit of poets, as well as historians, of our own times. However, thus did the poor remains of the Nemedians, who lived under the tyranny of their African masters in Ireland, endure the greatest oppression, till the arrival of the Firbolgs, who were the descendants of Simon Breac, mentioned before; and this was about two hundred and sixteen or seventeen years after the death of Neinedius; which is recorded by a very ancient poet, as. a • confirmation of what is mentioned by the Psalters, and other records, of this fact.

"Seventeen above two hundred years had pass'd,

Since first Nemedius landed on the coast; "Till the bold Firbolgs left the Grecian shore "For liberty, and would be slaves no more"."

-it will be entertaining, in this place, to shew whence they derived the name Firbolg; and, at the fame time, give a sufficient reason for their revolt from Greece, to avoid a most cruel flavery they underwent there. It must be observed, that, although these people went under this name in general, they had three denominations from the business they were employed in; for the Grecians^ at that time, were carrying on several great works, some of which were the sinking a great number of wells and canals, for public, as well as private use, and the improving and cultivating the land upon the hills, with the earth dug out of

these

these wells and canals. They had each a separate part to do in this business; thofe who were the diggers, were called Firdhomhnoins, from jir a. man, and dhomhnoin a deep place. Thofe who carried away the earth to the hills, were called Firbolgs, from fir a man, and bolg a. fack, or bag, in which they carried it away; and such as were the guards who defended them at their work, were called Firgailiains, from fir, and gailiain a spear, which was the weapon they used to be armed with; thus they were named. from their employments, and it is now the custom of the Irish to give names to one another from their business, their form, the colour of their hair, or any other accidental circumstance attending them, besides the proper family-name, descended to them from their ancestors. These Firbolgs were the first whofe chiefs were properly called kings; and it is with the five leaders that hrought them out of Greece, the chronology of the kings of Ireland begins.

The next invaders of Ireland were the Tuatha de Danans, descended from one of the grandsons of Nemedius; who had migrated, as was faid before, northwards, from the tyranny of the African race, and then went eastward and settled, some among the Assyrians, and some among the Achaians, where they became versed in all the arts. of sorcery; which probably was brought thither from the Egyptians. From these countries they wandered back again to the North, and settled in Denmark and Norway, where they were kindly received, and much admired for their great knowledge and learning. The Danes gave them towns to live in, where they erected seminaries, or

Z schools, schools, appointing proper masters in each of the four cities, or towns. And when they had continued some time in Denmark, they being a restless people, removed into the North of Scotland, where they continued several years. They brought with them from Denmark certain curiosities, one of which is now in Wejlminjler abby, the stone under the old coronation chair. The others were, the sword of a prince, called JLuighaidh Lamhshada, or Long-handed, with which he fought in battle; also a spear belonging to the fame prince, and a particular large caldron. When they made their incursion into Ireland, they carried these curious pieces of antiquity with them; and it appears, from several Irish records, that the Jlone was in the possession of Mortough, king of Ireland, when his brother, Fergus the Great, carried his arms into Scotland, and subdued the princes that governed that kingdom; for, when he had finished his conquest, he sent over to his brother, desiring him to fend him the jlone, that he might be crowned upon it. For the Scythians, in general, believed that there was infinite virtue in this Jlone, from an old prophejy which is recorded of it, that in whatsoever country this jlone is preserved, a prince of the Scythian race, that is, of the family of Milefius, king of Spain, should undoubtedly reign. Os this, HeSlor Boetius gives an account, in his history of Scotland1 as quoted by Keating, in these words:

"Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque locatum
"Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem."

Keating translates it as follows:

"Unless "Unless the fix'd decrees of fate give way, ^ "The Scots shall govern and the scepter sway, I u Where e'er this stone they find, and its dread sound) "obey."

The addition of the sound to this verse, is occasioned by what is reported concerning this stone, that it exhibited a strange noise every time a king was crowned upon it, and continued to do so, till the birth of Christ, when the phænomenon ceased. This noise was a contrivance of the druid priests. However that be, Fergus was persuaded, from the prophesy, of its having an extraordinary power, and therefore coveted to be crowned upon it, believing the succession would be thereby perpetuated in his family. And, accordingly, the stone was sent over to him, and he was actually crowned upon it.

This stone, in the Irish annals, is called Lia Fail, the fatal stone, or stone of destiny, and was, forages, preserved there, and held in great esteem, till Mortogh sent it to his brother, into Scotland, where it was kept, and high veneration paid it in the abby of Scone, till Edward the First brought it into England, and placed it under the coronation-chair, in Westminster abby, where it now remains.

This monarch is faid, by Keating, to have been the first of the Scythian or Gadelian racej who reigned in Scotland^ and was the first absolute and sole king of that country, who was subject, from his coronation, to no foreign power, nor acknowledged any superior to himself.

If it be asked, who were the people he found in Scotland, whom he subdued, to acknowledge him as their sole

Z 2 monach

s

« AnteriorContinuar »