eyes. The other maiden had dark brown eyes, very
large, very luminous; her cheeks were rosy, with just
a hint of bronzing by the sunshine, a dimple in her
chin added to the effect of her pouting red lips;
her dark brown hair was unbound and falling loosely
over her deep crimson mantle, which reached from her
waist in five heavy folds. The recumbent warrior
felt a weird spell upon him. Powerless to move
or speak, he saw the two maidens advance and stand
beside him, the sunlight gleaming upon their bare
arms and bosoms. They smiled upon him and uplifted
their arms, and then from their fingers there rained
down upon him blinding lightnings, filaments of flame
that stung like whipcords, a hail of rainbow sparks
that benumbed him, darting flames that pierced him
like javelins; and as he gazed upward through that
storm of fire, writhing in his agony, he saw still
their white arms waving to and from, weaving a network
of lightnings about him, their faces smiling upon
him, serene and kindly; and in the eyes of her with
the crimson mantle he read a tenderness all too human.
Eyes that shone with tenderness; white arms that
wove a rainbow-mesh of torturing fires about him;
his anguish ever increasing, until he saw the arms
stop waving, held for an instant aloft, and then swept
downward with a torrent of flame and a mighty crash
of sound like the spears of ten thousand warriors
meeting in battle, and then—he was alone,
staring with wide-open eyes at the blue, cloud-mirroring
surface of the lakes and the white sand gleaming on
“Trouble me not with questions,” said
Cuchullain to the warriors gathered about him.
“My limbs are benumbed and refuse to obey me.
Bear me to my sick-bed at Tete Brece.”
“Shall we not take you to Dun Imrish, or to
Dun Delca, where you may be with Emer?” said
“No,” he replied, a shudder convulsing
his strong frame; “bear me to Tete Brece.
And when they had done so, he dwelt there for a year,
and on his face was always the look of a slumberer
who is dreaming; not once did he smile, nor did he
speak one word during that year.
When the soul has many lives
Hands that burst its long-worn gyves
seem and pitiless.
Yet they come all tenderly,
companions of the past;
And the sword that sets us free
our pain to peace at last.
What shadows turn his eyes away
fain would scale the heavenly heights;
There shines the beauty of a day,
there the ancient Light of Lights.
And while he broods on visions dim
grows forgetful of his fate,
The chariot of the Sun for him
all the tribal stars await.
The Slumber of Cuchullain, and the Message of Angus