18 JANUARY 1873, Page 22

Congal : a Poem, in. Five Books. By Samuel Ferguson.

(Dublin Ponsonby. London : Dell and Daldy.)--Congal is constructed on the Irish herdic romance called "Thu Battle of Moira," this battle, which seems to be a genuine historical event, having taken place on Midsummer Day, A.D. 637. Mr. Ferguson has made considerable modi- fications in the story, but he has preserved the character of the principal personages, and something at least of the general tone of the original. There is something Homeric about it, but there is a certain Celtic extravagance of fancy which is very unlike anything Greek. Mr. Ferguson's verse is sometimes good ; often it would have been better for more care. It is a great error to suppose that ballad verse has a licence to be more slip-shod than any other. We shall quote a passage which gives a fair specimen of his manner, as well as of the material on which he works :— " Triumphant Conga!, just ere then had with his sword achieved

A feat of more than swordsman-skill, yet ilt to be believed, Upon *Neural& 011iolson, a doctor even then Accounted wiser than the most of Erin's learned men.

He, when he saw the Ring that way direct his slaughtering path,

Had in his heart conceived the hope, himself, to quell his wrath, And for a little while withstood his onset; but his heart At the third sword-stroke failed him quite ; and all his warrior art He clean forgot ; and public shame embracing, turned and fled; While- Conga', with a following stroke, out through his lender head, Letting the lower brain exude. Caenfalla there had died

Upon the field, but Erc and Flan, old pupils, drew aside

The fainting master, and on poles conveyed him to the rere,— To Bishop Senach, where he breathed through that good leech's care. And Senach next committed him to the physician-seer,

Mild Brecan, in whose hospital he lay, at cure, a year ;

And at the twelve months' end was found, such virtue Is in store In purging of the hinder brain, twice wiser than before. And now for all Caentalla's books of wit and hopeful aid To learning, Or's and Ever's sons give thanks to Congers blade."

There is a fact for the phrenologists, who locate the animal propensities in the hinder part of the brain.