Page:Historical characteristics of the Celtic race.djvu/15

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To expound in any adequate form the influence of this Idealism in the various relations we have indicated is beyond our present purpose. We can only glance at a few of the more salient features. Thus we are compelled to omit entirely one aspect of the Celtic Idealism—that which we have called their faithfulness or loyalty, whether seen in things political or ecclesiastical, that disposition which has prompted them to look up to chieftains and leaders implicitly, asking no questions, and often suffering accordingly when under unwise leadership. Culloden and the war in La Vendee tell the same tale of devotion to chiefs and leaders, and it has been well avouched on many a battlefield since; yea and the Saxon race has been helped to its present position to-day because of that devotedness of its Celtic troops which leads them to obey implicitly at the cannon's mouth, and makes them at Balaclava as at Tel-el-Kebir the backbone of the British army. In this regard, the glowing picture given by Lord Byron of the Albanian mountaineers suits well the mountaineers of Albyn nearer home, and it is possible that the features he has pourtrayed were originally recognised among the Deeside hills, for, with him, Lochnagar, as well as Ida, rose over all the Orient.

Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack
 Not virtues, were these virtues more mature.
Where is the foe that ever saw their back?
 Who can so well the toil of war endure?
Their native fastnesses not more secure
 Than they in doubtful time of troublous need.
Their wrath, how deadly I but their friendship sure,
 When gratitude or valour bids them bleed,
Unshaken, rushing on where'er their chief may lead.

—(Childe Harold, ii. 65).

With what emotion, therefore, ought we to read in the Gallic war of Cæsar such an entry as this regarding an ancient Lochiel—Litavicus cum suis clientibus, quibus more Gallorum nefas est etiam in extrema fortuna deserere patronos, Gergoviam perfugit—"Litavicus succeeded in escaping to Gergovia along with his clansmen. To desert their chief, even in the extremity of fortune, is, in the moral code of the Gauls, accounted as a crime."

Let me now ask you to accompany me in a short survey of the more notable historic scenes in which the Celtic race has figured,