ST. BRENDAIN'S VOYAGE

From Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy

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The story-tellers of kings and chiefs among the Gael had their repertory very exactly arranged, the chief subjects, as before mentioned, being huntings, adventures in caverns, stormings of forts, pitched battles, enchantments, love stories, voyages, &c. A modification of the principal will be discovered in the saintly legends that were invented or tampered with by the successors of the pagan and the early Christian bards. Of the voyage division we have a good specimen in the celebrated course undertaken by St. Brendain for the discovery of the Blessed Isle of Breasil. This legend appears to have been translated from a Celtic original for the entertainment of Adelais, wife of Henry I. of England. It was admitted into the Legenda Aurea of John Capgrave, and copied over and over. In the University Magazine for May, 1852, maybe read an English translation by our national bard, Denis Florence M'Carthy, and in his collected poems a charming metrical version.

We need not quote at any length from the incidents of the voyage, which, though exhibiting fancy and invention, are generally vague and purposeless. One of the most poetic of the passages is that respecting...The Island of the Birds »

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