Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

Page: 89

Aude the Fair
Evelyn Paul

“Alas! dear sister and friend,” said Charlemagne, weeping and tearing his long white beard, “thou askest tidings of the dead. But I will replace him: thou shalt have Louis, my son, Count of the Marches.”

“These words are strange,” exclaimed Aude the Fair. “God and all His saints and angels forbid that I should live when Roland my love is dead.” Thereupon she lost her colour and fell at the emperor’s feet; he thought her fainting, but she was dead. God have mercy on her soul!

The Traitor Put to Death

Too long it would be to tell of the trial of Ganelon the traitor. Suffice it that he was torn asunder by wild horses, and his name remains in France a byword for all disloyalty and treachery.


[12] SeeMyths and Legends of the Middle Ages,” by H. Guerber.

[13] Marked out for death.

[14] The poetical quotations are from the “Chanson de Roland.”

[Pg 156]


Celtic Mysticism

IN all Celtic literature there is recognisable a certain spirit which seems to be innate in the very character of the people, a spirit of mysticism and acknowledgment of the supernatural. It carries with it a love of Nature, a delight in beauty, colour and harmony, which is common to all the Celtic races. But with these characteristics we find in Ireland a spiritual beauty, a passion of self-sacrifice, unknown in Wales or Brittany. Hence the early Irish heroes are frequently found renouncing advantages, worldly honour, and life itself, at the bidding of some imperative moral impulse. They are the knights-errant of early European chivalry which was a much deeper and more real inspiration than the carefully cultivated artificial chivalry of centuries later. Cuchulain, Diarmuit, Naesi all pay with their lives for their obedience to the dictates of honour and conscience. And in women, for whom in those early days sacrifice of self was the only way of heroism, the surrender even of eternal bliss was only the sublimation of honour and chivalry; and this was the heroism of the Countess Cathleen.