Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book First.[ 2 ] View Page Image
Cairbar, the son of Borbar-duthul, lord of Atha in Connaught, the most potent chief of the race of the Firbolg, having murdered, at Temora the royal palace, Cormac the son of Artho, the young king of Ireland, usurped the throne. Cormac was lineally descended from Conar the son of Trenmor, the great grandfather of Fingal, king of those Caledonians who inhabited the western coast of Scotland. Fingal resented the behaviour of Cairbar, and resolved to pass over into Ireland, with an army, to re-establish the royal family on the Irish throne. Early intelligence of his designs coming to Cairbar, he assembled some of his tribes in Ulster, and at the same time ordered his brother Cathmor to follow him speedily with an army, from Temora. Such was the situation of affairs when the Caledonian fleet appeared on the coast of Ulster.
The poem opens in the morning. Cairbar is represented as retired from the rest of the army, when one of his scouts brought him news of the landing of Fingal. He assembles a council of his chiefs. Foldath the chief of Moma haughtily despises the enemy; and is reprimanded warmly by Malthos. Cairbar, after hearing their debate, orders a feast to be prepared, to which, by his bard Olla, he invites Oscar the son of Ossian; resolving to pick a quarrel with that hero, and so have some pretext for killing him. Oscar came to the feast; the quarrel happened; the followers of both fought, and Cairbar and Oscar fell by mutual wounds. The noise of the battle reached Fingal's army. The king came on, to the relief of Oscar, and the Irish fell back to the army of Cathmor, who was advanced to the banks of the river Lubar, on the heath of Moilena. Fingal, after mourning over his grandson, ordered Ullin the chief of his bards to carry his body to Morven, to be there interred. Night coming on, Althan, the son of Conachar, relates to the king the particulars of the murder of Cormac. Fillan, the son of Fingal, is sent to observe the motions of Cathmor by night, which concludes the action of the first day. The scene of this book is a plain, near the hill of Mora, which rose on the borders of the heath of Moilena, in Ulster.[ 3 ] View Page Image
Temora, An Epic PoemDisplay note.
The blue waves of Ullin roll in light. The green hills are covered with day. Trees shake their dusky heads in the breeze. Grey torrents pour their noisy streams.—Two green hills, with aged oaks, surround a narrow plain. The blue course [ 4 ] View Page Image of a stream is there; on its banks stood CairbarDisplay note of Atha. ——His spear supports the king: the red eyes of his fear are sad. Cormac rises in his soul, with all his ghastly wounds. The grey form of the youth appears in darkness; blood pours from his airy sides.—Cairbar thrice threw his spear on earth; and thrice he stroked [ 5 ] View Page Image his beard. His steps are short; he often stops: and tosses his sinewy arms. He is like a cloud in the desart; that varies its form to every blast: the valleys are sad around, and fear, by turns, the shower.
The king, at length, resumed his soul, and took his pointed spear. He turned his eyes to Moi-lena. The scouts of blue ocean came. They came with steps of fear, and often looked behind. Cairbar knew that the mighty were near, and called his gloomy chiefs.
The sounding steps of his warriors came. They drew, at once, their swords. There Morlath Display notestood with darkened face. Hidalla's long hair sighs in wind. Red-haired Cormar bends on his spear, and rolls his side-long-looking eyes. Wild is the look of Malthos from beneath too shaggy brows.—Foldath stands like an oozy rock, that covers its dark sides with foam. His spear is like Slimora's fir, that meets the wind of heaven. His shield is marked with the strokes of battle; and his red eye despises danger. These and a thousand other chiefs surrounded car-borne Cairbar, when the scout of ocean came, Mor-annalDisplay note, from streamy Moi-lena.—His eyes hang forward from his face, his lips are trembling, pale.[ 6 ] View Page Image
Do the chiefs of Erin stand, he said, silent as the grove of evening? Stand they, like a silent wood, and Fingal on the coast? Fingal, who is terrible in battle, the king of streamy Morven.—Hast thou seen the warrior, said Cairbar with a sigh? Are his heroes many on the coast? Lifts he the spear of battle? Or comes the king in peace?
In peace he comes not, Cairbar. I have seen his forward spearDisplay note.It is a meteor of death: the blood of thousands is on its steel.—— He came first to the shore, strong in the grey hair of age. Full rose his sinewy limbs, as he strode in his might. That sword is by his side which gives no secondDisplay notewound. His shield is terrible, like the bloody moon ascending thro' a storm.—Then came Ossian king of songs; and Morni's son, the first of men. Connal leaps forward on his spear: Dermid spreads his dark-brown locks.—— Fillan bends his bow, the young hunter of streamy Moruth.Display note—But who is that before them, like the terrible course of a stream! It is the son of Ossian, bright between his locks. His long hair falls on his back.—His dark brows are half-inclosed in steel. His [ 7 ] View Page Imagesword hangs loose on his side. His spear glitters as he moves. I fled from his terrible eyes, king of high Temora!
Then fly, thou feeble man, said Foldath's gloomy wrath: fly to the grey streams of thy land, son of the little soul! Have not I seen that Oscar? I beheld the chief in war. He is of the mighty in danger: but there are others who lift the spear. —Erin has many sons as brave, king of Temora of Groves! Let Foldath meet him in the strength of his course, and stop this mighty stream.—My spear is covered with the blood of the valiant; my shield is like the wall of Tura.
Shall FoldathDisplay notealone meet the foe? replied the dark-browed Malthos. Are they not numerous on our coast, like the waters of many streams? Are not these the chiefs who vanquished Swaran, when the sons of Erin fled? And shall Foldath meet their bravest hero? Foldath of the heart of pride! take the strength of the people; and let Malthos come. My sword is red with slaughter, but who has heard my words?Display note
Sons of green Erin, said HidallaDisplay note,let not Fingal hear your words. The foe might rejoice, and his arm be strong in the land.—Ye are brave, O warriors, and like the tempests of the desart; [ 8 ] View Page Imagethey meet the rocks without fear, and overturn the woods.—But let us move in our strength, slow as a gathered cloud.——Then shall the mighty tremble; the spear shall fall from the hand of the valiant.—We see the cloud of death, they will say, while shadows fly over their face. Fingal will mourn in his age, and see his flying fame.—The steps of his chiefs will cease in Morven: the moss of years shall grow in Selma.
Cairbar heard their words, in silence, like the cloud of a shower: it stands dark on Cromla, till the lightning bursts its side: the valley gleams with red light; the spirits of the storm rejoice.—So stood the silent king of Temora; at length his words are heard.
Spread the feast on Moi-lena: let my hundred bards attend. Thou, red-hair'd Olla, take the harp of the king. Go to Oscar chief of swords, and bid him to our feast. To-day we feast and hear the song; to-morrow break the spears. Tell him that I have raised the tomb of CatholDisplay note; that bards have sung to his ghost.—Tell him that Cairbar has heard his fame at the stream of resounding CarunDisplay note. Cathmor Display noteis not here, Borbar-duthul's generous race. [ 9 ] View Page ImageHe is not here with his thousands, and our arms are weak. Cathmor is a foe to strife at the feast: his soul is bright as that sun. But Cairbar shall fight with Oscar, chiefs of the woody Temora! His words for Cathol were many; the wrath of Cairbar burns. He shall fall on Moi-lena: my fame shall rise in blood.
Their faces brightened round with joy. They spread over Moi-lena. the feast of shells is prepared. The songs of bards arise. We heardDisplay notethe voice of joy on the coast: we thought that mighty [ 10 ] View Page ImageCathmor came. Cathmor the friend of strangers! the brother of red-haired Cairbair. Their souls were not the same. The light [ 11 ] View Page Imageof heaven was in the bosom of Cathmor. His towers rose on the banks of Atha: seven paths led to his halls. Seven chiefs stood on the paths, and called the stranger to the feast! But Cathmor dwelt in the wood to avoid the voice of praise.
Olla came with his songs. Oscar went to Cairbar's feast. Three hundred warriors strode along Moi-lena of the streams. The grey dogs bounded on the heath, their howling reached afar. Fingal saw the departing hero: the soul of the king was sad. He dreaded Cairbar's gloomy thoughts, amidst the feast of shells.
My son raised high the spear of Cormac: an hundred bards met him with songs. Cairbar concealed with smiles the death that was dark in his soul. The feast is spread, the shells resound: joy brightens the face of the host. But it was like the parting beam of the sun, when he is to hide his red head, in a storm.
Cairbar rose in his arms; darkness gathered on his brow. The hundred harps ceased at once. The clangDisplay note of shields was heard. Far distant on the heath Olla raised his song of woe. My son knew the sign of death; and rising seized his spear.
Oscar! said the dark-red Cairbar, I behold the spearDisplay note of Inisfail. [ 12 ] View Page Image The spear of TemoraDisplay note glitters in thy hand, son of woody Morven! It was the pride of an hundredDisplay note kings, the death of heroes of old. Yield it, son of Ossian, yield it to car-borne Cairbar.
Shall I yield, Oscar replied, the gift of Erin's injured king: the gift of fair-haired Cormac, when Oscar scattered his foes? I came to Cormac's halls of joy, when Swaran fled from Fingal. Gladness rose in the face of youth: he gave the spear of Temora. Nor did he give it to the feeble, Ο Cairbar, neither to the weak in soul. The darkness of thy face is no storm to me; nor are thine eyes the flames of death. Do I fear thy clanging shield? Tremble I at Olla's song? No: Cairbar, frighten the feeble, Oscar is a rock.
And wilt thou not yield the spear? replied the rising pride of Cairbar. Are thy words so mighty because Fingal is near? Fingal with aged locks from Morven's hundred groves! He has fought with little men. But he must vanish before Cairbar, like a thin pillar of mist before the winds of AthaDisplay note.
Were he who fought with little men near Atha's darkening chief: Atha's chief would yield green Erin to avoid his rage. Speak not of the mighty, Ο Cairbar! but turn thy sword on me. Our strength is equal: but Fingal is renowned! the first of mortal men ![ 13 ] View Page Image
Their people saw the darkening chiefs. Their crowding steps are heard around. Their eyes roll in fire. A thousand swords are half unsheathed. Red-haired Olla raised the song of battle: the trembling joy of Oscar's soul arose: the wonted joy of his soul when Fingal's horn was heard.
Dark as the swelling wave of ocean before the rising winds, when it bends its head near the coast, came on the host of Cairbar.——Daughter of Toscar!Display notewhy that tear? He is not fallen yet. Many were the deaths of his arm before my hero fell!—Behold they fall before my son like the groves in the desart, when an angry ghost rushes through night, and takes their green heads in his hand! Morlath falls: Maronnan dies: Conachar trembles in his blood. Cairbar shrinks before Oscar's sword; and creeps in darkness behind his stone. He lifted the spear in secret, and pierced my Oscar's side. He falls forward on his shield: his knee sustains the chief. But still his spear is in his hand.—See gloomy CairbarDisplay note falls![ 14 ] View Page Image
The steel pierced his forehead, and divided his red hair behind. He lay, like a shattered rock, which Cromla shakes from its shaggy side. But never more shall Oscar rise! he leans on his bossy shield. His spear is in his terrible hand: Erin's sons stood distant and dark. Their shouts arose, like crowded streams, and Moi-lena echoed wide.
Fingal heard the sound; and took his father's spear. His steps are before us on the heath. He spoke the words of woe. I hear the noise of war. Young Oscar is alone. Rise, sons of Morven; join the hero's sword.
Ossian rushed along the heath. Fillan bounded over Moi-lena. Fingal strode in his strength, and the light of his shield is terrible. [ 15 ] View Page ImageThe sons of Erin saw it far distant; they trembled in their souls. They knew that the wrath of the king arose: and they foresaw their death. We first arrived; we fought; and Erin's chiefs withstood our rage. But when the king came, in the sound of his course, what heart of steel could stand! Erin fled over Moi-lena. Death pursued their flight.
We saw Oscar on his shield. We saw his blood around. Silence darkened every face. Each turned his back and wept. The king strove to hide his tears. His grey beard whistled in the wind. He bends his head above his son. His words are mixed with sighs.
And art thou fallen, Oscar, in the midst of thy course? the heart of the aged beats over thee! He sees thy coming wars. The wars which ought to come he beholds, but they are cut off from thy fame. When shall joy dwell at Selma? When shall grief depart from Morven? My sons fall by degrees: Fingal shall be the last of his race. The fame which I have received shall pass away: my age will be without friends. I shall sit a grey cloud in my hall: nor shall I hear the return of a son, in the midst of his sounding arms. Weep, ye heroes of Morven! never mere shall Oscar rise!
And they did weep, O Fingal; dear was the hero to their souls. He went out to battle, and the foes vanished; he returned, in peace, amidst their joy. No father mourned his son slain in youth; no brother his brother of love. They fell, without tears, for the chief of the people was low! BranDisplay note is howling at his feet: gloomy Luäth [ 16 ] View Page Imageis sad, for he had often led them to the chace; the bounding roe of the desart.
When Oscar saw his friends around, his white breast rose with sighs.—The groans, he said, of aged chiefs; the howling of my dogs: the sudden bursts of the song of grief, have melted Oscar's soul. My soul, that never melted before; it was like the steel of my sword.—Ossian, carry me to my hills! Raise the stones of my renown. Place the horn of the deer, and my sword within my narrow dwelling.—The torrent hereafter may raise the earth: the hunter may find the steel and say, "This has been Oscar's sword."
And fallest thou, son of my fame! And shall I never see thee, Oscar! When others hear of their sons, I shall not hear of thee. The moss is on thy four grey stones; the mournful wind is there. The battle shall be fought without him: he shall not pursue the dark-brown hinds. When the warrior returns from battles, and tells of other lands; I have seen a tomb, he will say, by the roaring stream, the dark dwelling of a chief. He fell by car-borne Oscar, the first of mortal men.—I, perhaps, shall hear his voice; and a beam of joy will rise in my soul.
The night would have descended in sorrow, and morning returned in the shadow of grief: our chiefs would have stood like cold dropping rocks on Moi-lena, and have forgot the war, did not the king disperse his grief, and raise his mighty voice. The chiefs, as new-wakened from dreams, lift up their heads around.
How long on Moi-lena shall we weep; or pour our tears in Ullin? The mighty will not return. Oscar shall not rise in his strength. [ 17 ] View Page Image
The valiant must fall one day, and be no more known on his hills. —Where are our fathers, O warriors! the chiefs of the times of old? They have set like stars that have shone, we only hear the sound of their praise. But they were renowned in their day, the terror of other times. Thus shall we pass, O warriors, in the day of our fall. Then let us be renowned when we may; and leave our fame behind us, like the last beams of the sun, when he hides his red head in the west.
Ullin, my aged bard! take the ship of the king. Carry Oscar to Selma of harps. Let the daughters of Morven weep. We shall fight in Erin for the race of fallen Cormac. The days of my years begin to fail: I feel the weakness of my arm. My fathers bend from their clouds, to receive their grey-hair'd son. But, before I go hence, one beam of fame shall rise: so shall my days end, as my years begun, in fame: my life shall be one stream of light to bards of other times.
Ullin rais'd his white sails: the wind of the south came forth. He bounded on the waves towards Selma.—Display note I remained in my grief, but my words were not heard.——The feast is spread on Moi-lena: an hundred heroes reared the tomb of Cairbar: but no song is raised over the chief; for his soul had been dark and bloody. The bards remembered the fall of Cormac! what could they say in Cairbar's praise?
The night came rolling down. The light of an hundred oaks arose. Fingal sat beneath a tree. Old AlthanDisplay note stood in the midst. [ 18 ] View Page ImageHe told the tale of fallen Cormac. Althan the son of Conachar, the friend of car-borne Cuchullin: he dwelt with Cormac in windy Temora, when Semo's son fought with generous Torlath.—The tale of Althan was mournful, and the tear was in his eye.
Display noteThe setting sun was yellow on Dora.Display note Grey evening began to descend. Temora's woods shook with the blast of the unconstant wind. A cloud, at length, gathered in the west, and a red star looked from behind its edge.—I stood in the wood alone, and saw a ghost on the darkening air. His stride extended from hill to hill: his shield was dim on his side. It was the son of Semo: I knew the warrior's face. But he passed away in his blast; and all was dark around.—My soul was sad. I went to the hall of shells. A thousand lights arose: the hundred bards had strung the harp. Cormac stood in the midst, like the morning star, when it rejoices on the eastern hill, and its young beams are bathed in showers.— The sword of ArthoDisplay note was in the hand of the king; and he looked with joy on its polished studs: thrice he attempted to draw it, and thrice he failed; his yellow locks are spread on his shoulders: his cheeks of youth are red.—I mourned over the beam of youth, for he was soon to set.
Althan! he said, with a smile, hast thou beheld my father? Heavy is the sword of the king, surely his arm was strong. O that I were like him in battle, when the rage of his wrath arose! then [ 19 ] View Page Image would I have met, like Cuchullin, the car-borne son of Cantéla! But years may come on, O Althan! and my arm be strong.—Hast thou heard of Semo's son, the chief of high Temora? He might have returned with his fame; for he promised to return to-night. My bards wait him with songs; my feast is spread in Temora.
I heard the king in silence. My tears began to flow. I hid them with my aged locks; but he perceived my grief.
Son of Conachar! he said, is the king of TuraDisplay note low? Why bursts thy sigh in secret? And why descends the tear?—Comes the car-borne Torlath? Or the sound of the red-haired Cairbar?-——They come!—for I behold thy grief. Mossy Tura's king is low!—Shall I not rush to battle?—But I cannot lift the spear!—O had mine arm the strength of Cuchullin, soon would Cairbar fly; the fame of my fathers would be renewed; and the deeds of other times!
He took his bow. The tears flow down, from both his sparkling eyes.—Grief saddens sound: the bards bend forward, from their hundred harps. The lone blast touched their trembling strings. The soundDisplay note is sad and low.
A voice is heard at a distance, as of one in grief; it was Carril of other times, who came from dark SlimoraDisplay note.—He told of the [ 20 ] View Page Image death of Cuchuliin, and of his mighty deeds. The people were scattered round his tomb: their arms lay on the ground. They had forgot the war, for he, their sire, was seen no more.
But who, said the soft-voiced Carril, come like the bounding roes? their stature is like the young trees of the plain, growing in a shower:—Soft and ruddy are their cheeks; but fearless souls look forth from their eyes?——Who but the sons of UsnothDisplay note, the car-borne chiefs of Etha? The people rise on every side, like the strength of an half-extinguished fire, when the winds come, sudden, from the desart, on their rustling wings.—The sound of Caithbat'sDisplay note shield was heard. The heroes saw Cuchullin in Nathos.Display note So rolled his sparkling eyes: his steps were such on heath.——Battles are fought at Lego: the sword of Nathos prevails. Soon shalt thou behold him in thy halls, king of Temora of Groves!
And soon may I behold the chief! replied the blue-eyed king. But my soul is sad for Cuchullin; his voice was pleasant in mine [ 21 ] View Page Imageear.——Often have we moved, on Dora, to the chace of the dark-brown hinds: his bow was unerring on the mountains.—He spoke of mighty men. He told of the deeds of my fathers; and I felt my joy.—But sit thou at the feast, O bard, I have often heard thy voice. Sing in the praise of Cuchullin; and of that mighty strangerDisplay note.
Day rose on woody Temora, with all the beams of the east. Trathin came to the hall, the son of old GellámaDisplay note.—I behold, he said, a dark cloud in the desart, king of Innisfail! a cloud it seemed at first, but now a croud of men. One strides before them in his strength; his red hair flies in wind. His shield glitters to the beam of the east. His spear is in his hand.
Call him to the feast of Temora, replied the king of Erin. My hall is the house of strangers, son of the generous Gelláma!— Perhaps it is the chief of Etha, coming in the sound of his renown.—Hail, mightyDisplay note stranger, art thou of the friends of Cormac?—But Carril, he is dark, and unlovely; and he draws his sword. Is that the son of Usnoth, bard of the times of old?
It is not the son of Usnoth, said Carril, but the chief of Atha.— Why comest thou in thy arms to Temora, Cairbar of the gloomy brow? Let not thy sword rise against Cormac! Whither dost; thou turn thy speed?
He passed on in his darkness, and seized the hand of the king. Cormac foresaw his death, and the rage of his eyes arose.—Retire, [ 22 ] View Page Image thou gloomy chief of Atha: Nathos comes with battle.—Thou art bold in Cormac's hall, for his arm is weak.—The sword entered the side of the king: he fell in the halls of his fathers. His fair hair is in the dust. His blood is smoaking round.
And art thou fallen in thy hallsDisplay note, O son of noble Artho? The shield of Cuchullin was not near. Nor the spear of thy father. Mournful are the mountains of Erin, for the chief of the people is low!——Blest be thy soul, O Cormac! thou art darkened in thy youth.
My words came to the ears of Cairbar, and he closed usDisplay note in the midst of darkness. He feared to stretch his sword to the bardsDisplay note though his soul was dark. Long had we pined alone: at length, the noble CathmorDisplay note came.—He heard our voice from the cave; he turned the eye of his wrath on Cairbar.
Chief of Atha! he said, how long wilt thou pain my soul? Thy heart is like the rock of the desart; and thy thoughts are dark.— But thou art the brother of Cathmor, and he will fight thy battles. ——But Cathmor's soul is not like thine, thou feeble hand of war! The light of my bosom is stained with thy deeds: the bards will not sing of my renown. They may say, "Cathmor was brave, but he fought for gloomy Cairbar." They will pass over my tomb in [ 23 ] View Page Imagesilence: my fame shall not be heard.—Cairbar! loose the bards: they are the sons of other times. Their voice shall be heard in other years; after the kings of Temora have failed.——
We came forth at the words of the chief. We saw him in his strength. He was like thy youth, O Fingal, when thou first didst lift the spear.—His face was like the plain of the sun, when it is bright: no darkness travelled over his brow. But he came with his thousands to Ullin; to aid the red-haired Cairbar: and now he comes to revenge his death, O king of woody Morven.——
And let him come, replied the king; I love a foe like Cathmor. His soul is great; his arm is strong, his battles are full of fame.——But the little soul is a vapour that hovers round the marshy lake: it never rises on the green hill, lest the winds should meet it there: its dwelling is in the cave, it sends forth the dart of death.
Our young heroes, O warriors, are like the renown of our fathers.—They fight in youth; they fall: their names are in the song. Fingal is amidst his darkening years. He must not fall, as an aged oak, across a secret stream. Near it are the steps of the hunter, as it lies beneath the wind. "How has that tree fallen?" He, whistling, strides along.
Raise the song of joy, ye bards of Morven, that our souls may forget the past.—The red stars look on us from the clouds, and silently descend. Soon shall the grey beam of the morning rise, and shew us the foes of Cormac.——Fillan! take the spear of the king; go to Mora's dark-brown side. Let thine eyes travel over the heath, like flames of fire, Observe the foes of Fingal, and [ 24 ] View Page Imagethe course of generous Cathmor. I hear a distant sound, like the falling of rocks in the desart.——But strike thou thy shield, at times, that they may not come through night, and the fame of Morven cease.—I begin to be alone, my son, and I dread the fall of my renown.
The voice of the bards arose. The king leaned on the shield of Trenmor.—Sleep descended on his eyes, and his future battles rose in his dreams. The host are sleeping around. Dark-haired Fillan observed the foe. His steps are on a distant hill: we hear, at times, his clanging shield.
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Second.[ 26 ] View Page Image
This book opens, we may suppose, about midnight, with a soliloquy of Ossian, who had retired, from the rest of the army, to mourn for his son Oscar. Upon hearing the noise of Cathmor's army approaching, he went to find out his brother Fillan, who kept the watch, on the hill of Mora, in the front of Fingal's army. In the conversation of the brothers, the episode of Conar, the son of Trenmor, who was the first king of Ireland, is introduced, which lays open the origin of the contests between the Caël and Firbolg, the two nations who first possessed themselves of that island. Ossian kindles a fire on Mora; upon which Cathmor desisted from the design he had formed of surprising the army of the Caledonians. He calls a council of his chiefs; reprimands Foldath for advising a night-attack, as the Irish army were so much superior in number to the enemy. The bard Fonar introduces the story of Crothar, the ancestor of the king, which throws further light on the history of Ireland, and the original pretensions of the family of Atha, to the throne of that kingdom. The Irish chiefs lie down to rest, and Cathmor himself undertakes the watch. In his circuit, round the army, he is met by Ossian. The interview of the two heroes is described. Cathmor obtains a promise from Ossian, to order a funeral elegy to be sung over the grave of Cairbar; it being the opinion of the times, that the souls of the dead could not be happy, till their elegies were sung by a bard. Morning comes. Cathmor and Ossian part; and the latter, casually meeting with Carril the son of Kinsena, sends that bard, with a funeral song, to the tomb of Cairbar.[ 27 ] View Page Image
Temora, An Epic Poem.
Display noteFather of heroes, Trenmor! dweller of eddying winds! where the dark-red course of thunder marks the troubled clouds! Open thou thy stormy halls, and let the bards of old be near: let them draw near, with their songs and their half viewless harps. No dweller of misty valley comes; no hunter unknown [ 28 ] View Page Image known at his streams; but the car-borne Oscar from the folds of war. Sudden is thy change, my son, from what thou wert on dark Moilena! The blast folds thee in its skirt, and rustles through the sky.
Dost thou not behold thy father, at the stream of night? The chiefs of Morven sleep far-distant. They have lost no son. But ye have lost a hero, Chiefs of streamy Morven! Who could equal his strength, when battle rolled against his side, like the darkness of crowded waters?——Why this cloud on Ossian's soul? It ought to burn in danger. Erin is near with her host. The king of Morven is alone.—Alone thou shalt not be, my father, while I can lift the spear.
I rose, in my rattling arms; and listened to the wind of night. The shield of FillanDisplay note is not heard. I shook for the son of Fingal. [ 29 ] View Page ImageWhy should the foe come, by night; and the dark-haired warrior fail? Distant, sullen murmurs rile: like the noise of the lake of Lego, when its waters shrink, in the days of frost, and all its bursting ice resounds. The people of Lara look to heaven, and forsee the storm.—My steps are forward on the heath: the spear of Oscar in my hand. Red stars looked from high. I gleamed, along the night.—I saw Fillan silent before me, bending forward from Mora's rock. He heard the shout of the foe; and the joy of his soul arose. He heard my sounding tread, and turned his lifted spear.
Comest thou, son of night, in peace? Or dost thou meet my wrath? The foes of Fingal are mine. Speak, or fear my steel.— I stand not, in vain, the shield of Morven's race.
Never mayst thou stand in vain, son of blue eyed Clatho. Fingal begins to be alone; darkness gathers on the last of his days. Yet he has twoDisplay note sons who ought to shine in war. Who ought to be two beams of light, near the steps of his departure.[ 30 ] View Page Image
Son of Fingal, replied the youth, it is not long since I could lift the spear. Few are the marks of my sword in battle, but my soul is fire. The chiefs of BolgaDisplay note crowd around the shield of generous Cathmor. Their gathering is on that heath. Shall my steps approach their host? I yielded to Oscar alone, in the strife of the race, on Cona.
Fillan, thou shalt not approach their host; nor fall before thy fame is known. My name is heard in song: when needful I advance.—From the skirts of night I shall view their gleaming tribes.—Why, Fillan, didst thou speak of Oscar, to call forth my sigh? I must forgetDisplay note the warrior, till the storm is rolled away. Sadness ought not to dwell in danger, nor the tear in the eye of war. Our fathers forgot their fallen sons, till the noise of arms was past. Then sorrow returned to the tomb, and the song of bards arose.
ConarDisplay notewas the brother of Trathal, first of mortal men. His battles were on every coast. A thousand streams rolled down [ 31 ] View Page Imagethe blood of his foes. His fame filled green Erin, like a pleasant gale. The nations gathered in Ullin, and they blessed the king; the king of the race of their fathers, from the land of hinds.
The chiefsDisplay noteof the south were gathered, in the darkness of their pride. In the horrid cave of Muma, they mixed their secret words. Thither often, they said, the spirits of their fathers came; shewing their pale forms from the chinky rocks, and reminding them of the honor of Bolga.—Why should Conar reign, the son of streamy Morven?
They came forth, like the streams of the desart, with the roar of their hundred tribes. Conar was a rock before them: broken they rolled on every side. But often they returned, and the sons of Ullin fell. The king stood, among the tombs of his warriors, and darkly bent his mournful face. His soul was rolled into itself; and he had marked the place, where he was to fall; when Trathal [ 32 ] View Page Imagecame, in his strength, the chief of cloudy Morven.—Nor did he come alone; ColgarDisplay note was at his side; Colgar the son of the king and of white-bosomed Solin-corma.
As Trenmor, cloathed with meteors, descends from the halls of thunder, pouring the dark storm before him over the troubled sea: so Colgar descended to battle, and wasted the echoing field. His father rejoiced over the hero: but an arrow came. His tomb was raised, without a tear. The king was to revenge his son.—He lightened forward in battle, till Bolga yielded at her streams.
When peace returned to the land, and his blue waves bore the king to Morven: then he remembered his son, and poured the silent tear. Thrice did the bards, at the cave of Furmono, call the soul of Colgar. They called him to the hills of his land; and he heard them in his mist. Trathal placed his sword in the cave, that the spirit of his son might rejoice.
Display noteColgar, son of Trathal, said Fillan, thou wert renowned in youth! But the king hath not marked my sword, bright-streaming [ 33 ] View Page Imageon the field. I go forth with the crowd: I return, without my fame.——But the foe approaches, Ossian. I hear their murmur on the heath. The sound of their steps is like thunder, in the bosom of the ground, when the rocking hills shake their groves, and not a blast pours from the darkened sky.
Sudden I turned on my spear, and raised the flame of an oak on high. I spread it large, on Mora's wind. Cathmor stopt in his course.—Gleaming he stood, like a rock, on whose sides are the wandering of blasts; which seize its echoing streams and clothe them over with ice. So stood the friendDisplay note of strangers. The winds lift his heavy locks. Thou art the tallest of the race of Erin, king of streamy Atha!
First of bards, said Cathmor, FonarDisplay note, call the chiefs of Erin. Call red-hair'd Cormar, dark-browed Malthos, the side-long-looking gloom of Maronan. Let the pride of Foldath appear: and the red-rolling eye of Turlotho. Nor let Hidalla be forgot; his voice, in danger, is like the sound of a shower, when it falls in the blasted vale, near Atha's failing stream.
They came, in their clanging arms. They bent forward to his voice, as if a spirit of their fathers spoke from a cloud of night.— [ 34 ] View Page ImageDreadful shone they to the light; like the fall of the stream of Brumo,Display notewhen the meteor lights it, before the nightly stranger. Shuddering, he stops in his journey, and looks up for the beam of the morn.
Display noteWhy delights Foldath, said the king, to pour the blood of foes, by night? Fails his arm in battle, in the beams of day? Few are the foes before us, why should we clothe us in mist? The valiant delight to shine, in the battles of their land.——
Thy counsel was in vain, chief of Moma; the eyes of Morven do not sleep. They are watchful, as eagles, on their mossy rocks. —Let each collect, beneath his cloud, the strength of his roaring tribe. To-morrow I move, in light, to meet the foes of Bolga!— MightyDisplay note was he, that is low, the race of Borbar-Duthul!
Not unmarked, said Foldath, were my steps before thy race. In light, I meet the foes of Cairbar; the warrior praised my deeds. [ 35 ] View Page Image—But his stone was raised without a tear? No bard sungDisplay note over Erin's king; and shall his foes rejoice along their mossy hills?—No: they must not rejoice: he was the friend of Foldath. Our words were mixed, in secret, in Moma's silent cave; whilst thou, a boy in the field, pursuedst the thistle's beard.—With Moma's sons I shall rush abroad, and find the foe, on his dusky hills. Fingal shall lie, without his song, the grey-haired king of Selma.
Dost thou think, thou feeble man, replied the chief of Atha; dost thou think that he can fall, without his fame, in Erin? Could the bards be silent, at the tomb of the mighty Fingal? The song would burst in secret; and the spirit of the king rejoice.—It is when thou shalt fall, that the bard shall forget the song. Thou art dark, chief of Moma, tho' thine arm is a tempest in war.—Do I forget the king of Erin, in his narrow house? My soul is not lost to Cairbar, the brother of my love. I marked the bright beams of joy, which travelled over his cloudy mind, when I returned, with fame, to Atha of the streams.
Tall they removed, beneath the words of the king; each to his own dark tribe; where, humming, they rolled on the heath, faint-glittering to the stars: like waves, in the rocky bay, before the nightly wind.——Beneath an oak, lay the chief of Atha: his shield, a dusky round, hung high. Near him, against a rock, leaned the strangerDisplay noteof Inis-huna: that beam of light, with wandering [ 36 ] View Page Imagelocks, from Lumon of the roes.—At distance rose the voice of Fonar, with the deeds of the days of old. The song fails, at times, in Lubar's growing roar.
Display noteCrothar, begun the bard, first dwelt at Atha's mossy stream. A thousandDisplay note oaks, from the mountains, formed his echoing halt. The gathering of the people was there, around the feast of the blue-eyed king.—But who, among his chiefs, was like the stately Crothar? Warriors kindled in his presence. The young sigh of the virgins rose. In AlnecmaDisplay note was the warrior honoured; the first of the race of Bolga.[ 37 ] View Page Image
He pursued the chace in Ullin: on the moss-covered top of Drumardo. From the wood looked the daughter of Cathmin, the blue-rolling eye of Con-lama. Her sigh rose in secret. She bent her head, midst her wandering locks. The moon looked in, at night, and saw the white-tossing of her arms; for she thought of the mighty Crothar, in the season of her dreams.
Three days feasted Crothar with Cathmin. On the fourth they awaked the hinds. Con-lama moved to the chace, with all her lovely steps. She met Crothar in the narrow path. The bow fell, at once, from her hand. She turned her face away, and half-hid it with her locks.——The love of Crothar rose. He brought the white-bosomed maid to Atha.——Bards raised the song in her presence; and joy dwelt round the daugther of Ullin.
The pride of Turloch rose, a youth who loved the white-handed Con-láma. He came, with battle, to Alnecma; to Atha of the roes. Cormul went forth to the strife, the brother of car-borne Crothar. He went forth, but he fell, and the sigh of his people rose.——Silent and tall, across the stream, came the darkening strength of Crothar: he rolled the foe from Alnecma, and returned, midst the joy of Con-láma.
Battle on battle comes. Blood is poured on blood. The tombs of the valiant rise. Erin's clouds are hung round with ghosts. The chiefs of the south gathered round the echoing shield of Crothar. He came, with death, to the paths of the foe. [ 38 ] View Page ImageThe virgins wept, by the streams of Ullin. They looked to the mist of the hill, no hunter descended from its folds. Silence darkened in the land: blasts sighed lonely on grassy tombs.
Descending like the eagle of heaven, with all his rustling wings, when he forsakes the blast, with joy, the son of Trenmor came; Conar, arm of death, from Morven of the groves.—He poured his might along green Erin. Death dimly strode behind his sword. The sons of Bolga fled, from his course, as from a stream, that bursting from the stormy desart, rolls the fields together, with all their echoing woods.——CrotharDisplay note met him in battle: but Alnecma's warriors fled. The king of Atha slowly retired, in the grief of his soul. He, afterwards, shone in the south; but dim as the sun of Autumn; when he visits, in his robes of mist, Lara of dark streams. The withered grass is covered with dew: the field, tho' bright, is sad.
Why wakes the bard before me, said Cathmor, the memory of those who fled? Has some ghost, from his dusky cloud, bent forward to thine ear; to frighten Cathmor from the field with the tales of old? Dwellers of the folds of night, your voice is but a [ 39 ] View Page Imageblast to me; which takes the grey thistle's head, and strews its beard on streams. Within my bosom is a voice; others hear it not. His soul forbids the king of Erin to shrink back from war.
Abashed the bard sinks back in night: retired, he bends above a stream. His thoughts are on the days of Atha, when Cathmor heard his song with joy. His tears come rolling down: the winds are in his beard.
Erin sleeps around. No sleep comes down on Cathmor's eyes. Dark, in his soul, he saw the spirit of low-laid Cairbar. He saw him, without his song, rolled in a blast of night.——He rose. His steps were round the host. He struck, at times, his echoing shield. The sound reached Ossian's ear, on Mora of the hinds.
Fillan, I said, the foes advance. I hear the shield of war. Stand thou in the narrow path. Ossian shall mark their course. If over my fall the host shall pour; then be thy buckler heard. Awake the king on his heath, lest his fame should cease.
I strode, in all my rattling arms; wide-bounding over a stream that darkly-winded, in the field, before the king of Atha. Green Atha's king, with lifted spear, came forward on my course.—Now would we have mixed in horrid fray, like two contending ghosts, that bending forward, from two clouds, send forth the roaring winds; did not Ossian behold, on high, the helmet of Erin's kings. The Eagle's wing spread above it, rustling in the breeze. A red star looked thro' the plumes. I stopt the lifted spear.
The helmet of kings is before me! Who art thou son of night? Shall Ossian's spear be renowned, when thou art lowly-laid?—— [ 40 ] View Page ImageAt once he dropt the gleaming lance. Growing before me seemed the form. He stretched his hand in night; and spoke the words of kings.
Friend of the spirits of heroes, do I meet thee thus in shades? I have wished for thy stately steps in Atha, in the days of feasts.— Why should my spear now arise? The sun must behold us, Ossian; when we bend, gleaming, in the strife. Future warriors shall mark the place: and, shuddering, think of other years. They shall mark it, like the haunt of ghosts, pleasant and dreadful to the soul.
And shall it be forgot, I said, where we meet in peace? Is the remembrance of battles always pleasant to the soul? Do not we behold, with joy, the place where our fathers feasted? But our eyes are full of tears, on the field of their wars.—This stone shall rise, with all its moss, and speak to other years. "Here Cathmor and Ossian met! the warriors met in peace!"—When thou, O stone, shalt fail: and Lubar's stream roll quite away! then shall the traveller come, and bend here, perhaps, in rest. When the darkened moon is rolled over his head, our shadowy forms may come, and, mixing with his dreams, remind him of this place. But why turnest thou so dark away, son of Borbar-duthulDisplay note?
Not forgot, son of Fingal, shall we ascend these winds. Our deeds are streams of light, before the eyes of bards. But darkness is rolled on Atha: the king is low, without his song: still there [ 41 ] View Page Imagewas a beam towards Cathmore from his stormy soul; like the moon, in a cloud, amidst the dark-red course of thunder.
Son of Erin, I replied, my wrath dwells not, in his houseDisplay note. My hatred flies, on eagle-wing, from the foe that is low.—He shall hear the song of bards; Cairbar shall rejoice on his wind.
Cathmor's swelling soul arose: he took the dagger from his side; and placed it gleaming in my hand. He placed it, in my hand, with sighs, and, silent, strode away.——Mine eyes followed his departure. He dimly gleamed, like the form of a ghost, which meets a traveller, by night, on the dark-skirted heath. His words are dark like songs of old: with morning strides the unfinished shade away.
Display noteWho comes from Lubar's vale? From the folds of the morning mist? The drops of heaven are on his head. His steps [ 42 ] View Page Imageare in the paths of the sad. It is Carril of other times. He comes from Tura's silent cave. I behold it dark in the rock, thro' the thin folds of mist. There, perhaps, Cuchullin sits, on the blast which bends its trees. Pleasant is the song of the morning from the bard of Erin!
The waves crowd away for fear: they hear the sound of thy coming forth, O sun !——Terrible is thy beauty, son of heaven, when death is folded in thy locks; when thou rollest thy vapors before thee, over the blasted host. But pleasant is thy beam to the hunter, sitting by the rock in a storm, when thou lookest from thy parted cloud, and brightenest his dewy locks; he looks down on the streamy vale, and beholds the descent of roes.—— How long shalt thou rise on war, and roll, a bloody shield, thro' heaven? I see the deaths of heroes dark-wandering over thy face !——Why wander the words of Carril! does the sun of heaven mourn! he is unstained in his course, ever rejoicing in his fire.——Roll on, thou careless light; thou too, perhaps, must fall. Thy dun robeDisplay note may seize thee, struggling, in thy sky.
Pleasant is the voice of the song, O Carril, to Ossian's soul! It is like the shower of the morning, when it comes through the rustling vale, on which the sun looks thro' mist, just rising from his rocks.——But this is no time, O bard, to sit down, at the strife of song. Fingal is in arms on the vale. [ 43 ] View Page Image Thou seest the flaming shield of the king. His face darkens between his locks. He beholds the wide rolling of Erin. ——
Does not Carril behold that tomb, beside the roaring stream? Three stones lift their grey heads, beneath a bending oak. A king is lowly laid: give thou his soul to the wind. He is the brother of Cathmor! open his airy hall.—Let thy song be a stream of joy to Cairbar's darkened ghost.[ 44 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Third.[ 46 ] View Page Image
Morning coming on, Fingal, after a speech to his people, devolves the command on Gaul, the son of Morni; it being the custom of the times, that the king should not engage, till the necessity of affairs required his superior valour and conduct.—The king and Ossian retire to the rock of Cormul, which overlooked the field of battle. The bards sing the war-song. The general conflict is described. Gaul, the son of Morni, distinguishes himself; kills Tur-lathon, chief of Moruth, and other chiefs of lesser name.——On the other hand, Foldath, who commanded the Irish army (for Cathmor, after the example of Fingal, kept himself from battle) fights gallantly; kills Connal, chief of Dun-lora, and advances to engage Gaul himself. Gaul, in the mean time, being wounded in the hand, by a random arrow, is covered by Fillan, the son of Fingal, who performs prodigies of valour. Night comes on. The horn of Fingal recalls his army. The bards meet them, with a congratulatory song, in which the praises of Gaul and Fillan are particularly celebrated. The chiefs sit down at a feast; Fingal misses Connal. The episode of Connal and Duth-caron is introduced; which throws further light on the ancient history of Ireland. Carril is dispatched to raise the tomb of Connal.——The action of this book takes up the second day, from the opening of the poem.[ 47 ] View Page Image
Temora, An Epic Poem.
Display noteWho is that, at blue-streaming Lubar; by the bending hill of the roes? Tall, he leans on an oak torn from high, by nightly winds.—Who but Comhal's son, brightening in the last of his fields? His grey hair is on the breeze: he half unsheaths the sword of Luno. His eyes are turned to Moi-lena, to [ 48 ] View Page Image the dark rolling of foes.—Dost thou hear the voice of the king? It is like the bursting of a stream, in the desart, when it comes, between its echoing rocks, to the blasted field of the sun.
Wide-skirted comes down the foe! Sons of woody Morven, arise. Be ye like the rocks of my land, on whose brown sides are the rolling of waters. A beam of joy comes on my soul; I see them mighty before me. It is when the foe is feeble, that the sighs of Fingal are heard; lest death should come, without renown, and darkness dwell on his tomb.—Who shall lead the war, against the host of Alnecma? It is, only when danger grows, that my sword shall shine.—Such was the custom, heretofore, of Trenmor the ruler of winds: and thus descended to battle the blue-shielded Trathal.
The chiefs bend towards the king: each darkly seems to claim the war. They tell, by halves, their mighty deeds: and turn their eyes on Erin. But far before the rest the son of Morni stood: silent he stood, for who had not heard of the battles of Gaul? They rose within his soul. His hand, in secret, seized the sword. The sword which he brought from Strumon, when the strength of Morni failedDisplay note.[ 49 ] View Page Image
On his spear stood the son of ClathoDisplay note, in the wandering of his locks. Thrice he raised his eyes to Fingal: his voice thrice failed him, as he spoke.—Fillan could not boast of battles: at once he strode away. Bent over a distant stream he stood: the tear hung in his eye. He struck, at times, the thistle's head, with his inverted spear.[ 50 ] View Page Image
Nor is he unseen of Fingal. Sidelong he beheld his son. He beheld him, with bursting joy; and turned, amidst his crowded soul. In silence turned the king towards Mora of woods. He hid the big tear with his locks.—At length his voice is heard.
Display noteFirst of the sons of Morni; thou rock that defiest the storm! Lead thou my battle, for the race of low-laid Cormac. No boy's staff is thy spear: no harmless beam of light thy sword. Son of Morni of steeds, behold the foe; destroy.——Fillan, observe the chief: he is not calm in strife: nor burns he, heedless, in battle; my son, observe the king. He is strong as Lubar's stream, but never foams and roars.—High on cloudy Mora, Fingal shall behold the war. Stand, OssianDisplay note, near thy father, by the falling stream.—Raise the voice, O bards; Morven, move beneath the sound. It is my latter field; clothe it over with light.
As the sudden rising of winds; or distant rolling of troubled seas, when some dark ghost, in wrath, heaves the billows over an isle, the seat of mist, on the deep, for many dark-brown years: so terrible is the sound of the host, wide-moving over the field. [ 51 ] View Page ImageGaul is tall before them: the streams glitter within his strides. The bards raised the song by his side; he struck his shield between. On the skirts of the blast, the tuneful voices rose.
On Crona, said the bards, there bursts a stream by night. It swells, in its own dark course, till morning's early beam. Then comes it white from the hill, with the rocks and their hundred groves. Far be my steps from Crona: Death is tumbling there. Be ye a stream from Mora, sons of cloudy Morven.
Who rises, from his car, on Clutha? The hills are troubled before the king! The dark woods echo round, and lighten at his steel. See him, amidst the foe, like Colgach's Display note sportful ghost; when he scatters the clouds, and rides the eddying winds! It is Morni Display note of the bounding steeds! Be like thy father, Gaul![ 52 ] View Page Image
Display noteSelma is opened wide. Bards take the trembling harps. Ten youths carry the oak of the feast. A distant sun-beam marks the hill. The dusky waves of the blast fly over the fields of grass.—Why art thou so silent, Morven?—The king returns with all his fame. Did not the battle roar; yet peaceful is his brow? It roared, and Fingal overcame.—Be like thy father, Fillan.
They moved beneath the song.—High waved their arms, as rushy fields, beneath autumnal winds. On Mora stood the king in arms. Mist flies round his buckler broad; as, aloft, it hung on a bough, on Cormul's mossy rock.—In silence I stood by Fingal, and turned my eyes on Cromla'sDisplay note wood: lest I should behold the host, and rush amidst my swelling soul. My foot is forward on the heath. I glittered, tall, in steel: like the falling stream of Tromo, which nightly winds bind over with ice.—The boy sees it, on high, gleaming to the early beam: towards it he turns his ear, and wonders why it is so silent.
Nor bent over a stream is Cathmor, like a youth in a peaceful field: wide he drew forward the war, a dark and troubled wave.—But when he beheld Fingal on Mora; his generous pride arose. "Shall the chief of Atha fight, and no king in the field? Foldath lead my people forth. Thou art a beam of fire."
Forth-issued the chief of Moma, like a cloud, the robe of ghosts. He drew his sword, a flame, from his side; and bade the [ 53 ] View Page Imagebattle move.—The tribes, like ridgy waves, dark pour their strength around. Haughty is his stride before them: his red eye rolls in wrath.—He called the chief of DunrathoDisplay note; and his words were heard.
Cormul, thou beholdest that path. It winds green behind the foe. Place thy people there; lest Morven should escape from my sword.—Bards of green-valleyed Erin, let no voice of yours arise. The sons of Morven must fall without song. They are the foes of Cairbar. Hereafter shall the traveller meet their dark, thick mist on Lena, where it wanders, with their ghosts, beside the reedy lake. Never shall they rise, without song, to the dwelling of winds.
Cormul darkened, as he went: behind him rushed his tribe. They sunk beyond the rock: Gaul spoke to Fillan of Moruth; as his eye pursued the course of the dark-eyed king of Dunratho.
Thou beholdest the steps of Cormul; let thine arm be strong. When he is low, son of Fingal, remember Gaul in war. Here I fall forward into battle, amidst the ridge of shields.
The sign of death arose: the dreadful sound of Morni's shield. Gaul poured his voice between. Fingal rose, high on Mora. He [ 54 ] View Page Imagesaw them, from wing to wing, bending in the strife. Gleaming, on his own dark hill, the strengthDisplay note of Atha stood.—TheyDisplay note were like two spirits of heaven, standing each on his gloomy cloud; when they pour abroad the winds, and lift the roaring seas. The blue-tumbling of waves is before them, marked with the paths of whales. Themselves are calm and bright; and the gale lifts their locks of mist.
What beam of light hangs high in air? It is Morni's dreadful sword.—Death is strewed on thy paths, O Gaul; thou soldest them together in thy rage.—Like a young oak falls Tur-lathonDisplay note with his branches round him. His high-bosomed spouse stretches her white arms, in dreams, to the returning king, as she sleeps by gurgling Moruth, in her disordered locks. It is his ghost, Oicho-ma; the chief is lowly laid. Hearken not to the winds for Tur-lathon's echoing shield.—It is pierced, by his streams, and its sound is past away.
Not peaceful is the hand of Foldath: he winds his course in blood. Connal met him in fight; they mixed their clanging steel.—Why should mine eyes behold them! Connal, thy locks are grey. —Thou wert the friend of strangers, at the moss-covered rock of Dun-lora. When the skies were rolled together; then thy feast was spread. The stranger heard the winds without; and rejoiced at thy burning oak.—Why, son of Duth-caron, art thou laid in blood! The blasted tree bends above thee: thy shield lies broken [ 55 ] View Page Imagenear, Thy blood mixes with the stream; thou breaker of the shields!
Display noteI took the spear, in my wrath; but Gaul rushed forward on the foe. The feeble pass by his side; his rage is turned on Moma's chief. Now they had raised their deathful spears: unseen an arrow came. It pierced the hand of Gaul; his steel fell sounding to earth.——Young Fillan cameDisplay note, with Cormul's shield, and stretched it large before the king. Foldath sent his shout abroad, and kindled all the field: as a blast that lifts the broad-winged flame, over Lumon'sDisplay note echoing groves.
Son of blue-eyed Clatho, said Gaul, thou art a beam from heaven; that, coming on the troubled deep, binds up the tempest's wing.—Cormul is fallen before thee. Early art thou in the fame of thy fathers.—Rush not too far, my hero, I cannot lift the spear to aid. I stand harmless in battle: but my voice shall be poured abroad.—The sons of Morven shall hear, and remember my former deeds.
His terrible voice rose on the wind, the host bend forward in the fight. Often had they heard him, at Strumon, when he called them to the chace of the hinds.—Himself stood tall, amidst the war, as an oak in the skirts of a storm, which now is clothed, [ 56 ] View Page Imageon high, in mist: then shews its broad, waving head; the musing hunter lifts his eye from his own rushy field.
My soul pursues thee, O Fillan, thro' the path of thy fame. Thou rolledst the foe before thee.—Now Foldath, perhaps, would fly; but night came down with its clouds; and Cathmor's horn was heard from high. The sons of Morven heard the voice of Fingal, from Mora's gathered mist. The bards poured their song, like dew, on the returning war.
Who comes from Strumon, they said, amidst her wandering locks? She is mournful in her steps, and lifts her blue eyes towards Erin. Why art thou sad, Evir-chomaDisplay note? Who is like thy chief in renown? He descended dreadful to battle; he returns, like a light from a cloud. He lifted the sword in wrath: they shrunk before blue-shielded Gaul!
Joy, like the rustling gale, comes on the soul of the king. He remembers the battles of old; the days, wherein his fathers fought. The days of old return on Fingal's mind, as he beholds the renown of his son. As the sun rejoices, from his cloud, over the tree his beams have raised, as it shakes its lonely head on the heath; sο joyful is the king over Fillan.
As the rolling of thunder on hills, when Lara's fields are still and dark, such are the steps of Morven pleasant and dreadful to the ear. They return with their sound, like eagles to their dark-browed rock, after the prey is torn on the field, the dun sons of [ 57 ] View Page Imagethe bounding hind. Your fathers rejoice from their clouds, sons of streamy Cona.
Such was the nightly voice of bards, on Mora of the hinds. A flame rose, from an hundred oaks, which winds had torn from Cormul's sleep. The feast is spread in the midst: around sat the gleaming chiefs. Fingal is there in his strength; the eagle-wingDisplay noteof his helmet sounds: the rustling blasts of the west, unequal rushed thro' night. Long looked the king in silence round: at length, his words were heard.
My soul feels a want in our joy. I behold a breach among my friends.—The head of one tree is low: the squally wind pours in on Selma.—Where is the chief of Dun-lora? Ought he to be forgot at the feast? When did he forget the stranger, in the midst of his echoing hall?—Ye are silent in my presence!—Connal is then no more.—Joy meet thee, O warrior, like a stream of light. Swift be thy course to thy fathers, in the folds of the mountain-winds.—Ossian, thy soul is fire: kindle the memory of the king· Awake the battles of Connal, when first he shone in war. The locks of Connal were grey; his days of youthDisplay note were [ 58 ] View Page Image mixed with mine. In one day Duthcaron first strung our bows, against the roes of Dun-lora.
Many, I said, are our paths to battle, in green-hilled Inisfail. Often did our sails arise, over the blue-tumbling waves; when we came, in other days, to aid the race of Conar.
The strife roared once in Alnecma, at the foam-covered streams of Duth-úlaDisplay note. With Cormac descended to battle Duth-caron from cloudy Morven. Nor descended Duth-caron alone, his son was by his side, the long-haired youth of Connal lifting the first of his spears. Thou didst command them, O Fingal, to aid the king of Erin.
Like the bursting strength of a stream, the sons of Bolga rushed to war: Colc-ulla Display note was before them, the chief of blue-streaming Atha. The battle was mixed on the plain, like the meeting of two stormy seas. CormacDisplay note shone in his own strife, bright as the [ 59 ] View Page Imageforms of his fathers. But, far before the rest, Duth-caron hewed down the foe. Nor slept the arm of Connal, by his father's side. Atha prevailed on the plain: like scattered mist, fled the people of Ullin Display note.
Then rose the sword of Duth-caron, and the steel of broad-shielded Connal. They shaded their flying friends, like two rocks with their heads of pine.—Night came down on Duth-ula: silent strode the chiefs over the field. A mountain-stream roared across the path, nor could Duth-caron bound over its course.—Why stands my father? said Connal.—I hear the rushing foe.
Fly, Connal, he said; thy father's strength begins to fail.—I come wounded from battle; here let me rest in night.— "But thou shalt not remain alone, said Connal's bursting sigh. My shield is an eagle's wing to cover the king of Dun-lora." He bends dark above the chief; the mighty Duth-caron dies.
Day rose, and night returned. No lonely bard appeared, deep-musing on the heath: and could Connal leave the tomb of his father, [ 60 ] View Page Image till he should receive his fame?—He bent the bow against the roes of Duth-ula; he spread the lonely feast.— Seven nights he laid his head on the tomb, and saw his father in his dreams. He saw him rolled, dark, in a blast, like the vapor of reedy Lego.— At length the steps of ColganDisplay note came, the bard of high Temora. [ 61 ] View Page ImageDuth-caron received his fame, and brightened, as he rose on the wind.
Pleasant to the ear, said Fingal, is the praise of the kings of men; when their bows are strong in battle; when they soften at the sight of the sad.—Thus let my name be renowned, when bards shall lighten my rising soul. Carril, son of Kinfena; take the bards and raise a tomb. To night let Connal dwell, within his narrow house: let not the soul of the valiant wander on the winds. —Faint glimmers the moon on Moi-lena, thro' the broad-headed groves of the hill: raise stones, beneath its beams, to all the fallen in war.—Tho' no chiefs were they, yet their hands were strong in fight. They were my rock in danger: the mountain from which I spread my eagle-wings.—Thence am I renowned: Carril forget not the low.
Loud, at once, fromt he hundred bards, rose the song of the tomb. Carril strode before them, they are the murmur of streams [ 62 ] View Page Imagebehind him. Silence dwells in the vales of Moi-lena, where each, with its own dark stream, is winding between the hills. I heard the voice of the bards, lessening, as they moved along. I leaned forward from my shield; and felt the kindling of my soul. Half-formed the words of my song, burst forth upon the wind. So hears a tree, on the vale, the voice of spring around: it pours its green leaves to the sun, and shakes its lonely head. The hum of the mountain bee is near it; the hunter sees it, with joy, from the blasted heath.
Young Fillan, at a distance stood. His helmet lay glittering on the ground. His dark hair is loose to the blast: a beam of light is Clatho's son. He heard the words of the king, with joy; and leaned forward on his spear.
My son, said car-borne Fingal; I saw thy deeds, and my soul was glad. The fame of our fathers, I said, bursts from its gathered cloud.—Thou art brave, son of Clatho; but headlong in the strife. So did not Fingal advance, tho' he never feared a foe.—Let thy people be a ridge behind; they are thy strength in the field.—Then shalt thou be long renowned, and behold the tombs of thy fathers. The memory of the past returns, my deeds in other years: when first I descended from ocean on the green-valleyed isle.—We bend towards the voice of the king. The moon looks abroad from her cloud. The grey-skirted mist is near, the dwelling of the ghosts.
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Fourth.[ 64 ] View Page Image
The second night continues. Fingal relates, at the feast, his own first expedition into Ireland, and his marriage with Ros-crána, the daughter of Cormac, king of that island.——The Irish chiefs convene in the presence of Cath-mor. The situation of the king described. The story of Sul-malla, the daughter of Conmor, king of Inis-huna, who, in the disguise of a young warrior, had followed Cathmor to the war. The sullen behaviour of Foldath, who had commanded in the battle of the preceding day, renews the difference between him and Malthos; but Cathmor, interposing, ends it. The chiefs feast, and hear the song of Fonar the bard. Cathmor returns to rest, at a distance from the army. The ghost of his brother Cairbar appears to him in a dream; and obscurely foretels the issue of the war.—The soliloquy of the king. He discovers Sul-malla. Morning comes. Her soliloquy closes the book.[ 65 ] View Page Image
Temora, An Epic Poem.
Display noteBeneath an oak, said the king, I sat on Selma's streamy rock, when Connal rose, from the sea, with the broken spear of Duth-caron. Far-distant stood the youth, and turned away his eyes; for he remembered the steps of his father, on his own green hills. I darkened in my place: dusky thoughts rolled over my soul. The kings of Erin rose before me. I half-unsheathed my sword.—Slowly approached the chiefs; they lifted up their silent eyes. Like a ridge of clouds, they wait for the bursting forth of my voice: it was, to them, a wind from heaven to roll the mist away.[ 66 ] View Page Image
I bade my white sails to rise, before the roar of Cona's wind. Three hundred youths looked, from their waves, on Fingal's bossy shield. High on the mast it hung, and marked the dark-blue sea.— But when the night came down, I struck, at times, the warning boss: I struck, and looked on high, for fiery-haired Ul-erinDisplay note.
Nor wanting was the star of heaven: it travelled red between the clouds: I pursued the lovely beam, on the faint-gleaming deep.— With morning, Erin rose in mist. We came into the bay of Moi-lena, where its blue waters tumbled, in the bosom of echoing woods.—Here Cormac, in his secret hall, avoided the strength of Colc-ulla. Nor he alone avoids the foe: the blue eye of Ros-crana is there: Ros-cranaDisplay note, white-handed maid, the daughter of the king.
Grey, on his pointless spear, came forth the aged steps of Cormac. He smiled, from his waving locks, but grief was in his soul. He saw us few before him, and his sigh arose.— I see the arms of Trenmor, he said; and these are the steps of the king! Fingal! thou art a beam of light to Cormac's darkened soul.— Early [ 67 ] View Page Image is thy fame my son: but strong are the foes of Erin. They are like the roar of streams in the land, son of car-borne Comhal.
Yet they may be rolledDisplay noteaway, I said in my rising soul. We are not of the race of the feeble, king of blue-shielded hosts. Why should fear come amongst us, like a ghost of the night? The soul of the valiant grows, as foes increase in the field. Roll no darkness, king of Erin, on the young in war.
The bursting tears of the king came down. He seized my hand in silence.——"Race of the daring Trenmor, I roll no cloud before thee. Thou burnest in the fire of thy fathers. I behold thy fame. It marks thy course in battles, like a stream of light.——But wait the coming of CairbarDisplay note: my son must join thy sword. He calls the sons of Ullin, from all their distant streams."
We came to the hall of the king, where it rose in the midst of rocks: rocks, on whose dark sides, were the marks of streams of old. Broad oaks bend around with their moss: the thick birch waves its green head. Half-hid, in her shady grove, Ros-crana raised the song. Her white hands rose on the harp. I beheld her blue-rolling [ 68 ] View Page Imageeyes. She was like a spiritDisplay note of heaven half-folded in the skirt of a cloud.
Three days we feasted at Moi-lena: she rose bright amidst my troubled soul.—Cormac beheld me dark. He gave the white-bosomed maid.—She came with bending eye, amidst the wandering of her heavy locks.—She came.——Straight the battle roared.—Colc-ulla came: I took my spear. My sword rose, with my people, against the ridgy foe. Alnecma fled. Colc-ulla fell. Fingal returned with fame.[ 69 ] View Page Image
He is renowned, O Fillan, who fights, in the strength of his people. The bard pursues his steps, thro' the land of the foe.—But he who fights alone; few are his deeds to other times. He shines, to-day, a mighty light. To-morrow, he is low. One song contains his fame, his name is on one dark field. He is forgot, but where his tomb sends forth the tufts of grass.
Such were the words of Fingal, on Mora of the roes. Three bards, from the rock of Cormul, poured down the pleasant song. Sleep descended, in the sound, on the broad-skirted host. Carril returned, with the bards, from the tomb of Dun-lora's king. The voice of morning shall not come, to the dusky bed of the hero. No more shalt thou hear the tread of roes, around thy narrow house.
Display noteAs roll the troubled clouds, round a meteor of night, when they brighten their sides, with its light, along the heaving sea: so gathered Erin, around the gleaming form of Atha's king. He, tall in the midst, careless lifts, at times, his spear: as swells or falls the sound of Fonar's distant harp.
Display noteNear him leaned, against a rock, Sul-mallaDisplay noteof blue eyes, the white-bosomed daughter of Conmor king of Inis-huna. To his [ 70 ] View Page Imageaid came blue-shielded Cathmor, and rolled his foes away. Sul-malla beheld him stately in the hall of feasts; nor careless rolled the eyes of Cathmor on the long-haired maid.
The third day arose, and FithilDisplay notecame from Erin of the streams. He told of the lifting up of the shieldDisplay note on Morven, [ 71 ] View Page Imageand the danger of red-haired Cairbar. Cathmor raised the sail at Cluba: but the winds were in other lands. Three days he remained on the coast, and turned his eyes on Conmor's halls.—He remembered the daughter of strangers, and his sigh arose.—Now when the winds awaked the wave: from the hill came a youth in arms; to lift the sword with Cathmor in his echoing fields.——It was the white-armed Sul-malla: secret she dwelt beneath her helmet. Her steps were in the path of the king; on him her blue eyes rolled with joy, when he lay by his roaring streams.—But Cathmor thought, that, on Lumon, she still pursued the roes; or, fair on a rock, stretched her white hand to the wind; to feel its course from Inis-fail, the green dwelling of her love. He had promised to return, with his white-bosomed sails.——The maid is near thee, king of Atha, leaning on her rock.
The tall forms of the chiefs stood around; all but dark-browed FoldathDisplay note. He stood beneath a distant tree, rolled into his haughty [ 72 ] View Page Imagesoul. His bushy hair whistles in wind. At times, bursts the hum of a song.—He struck the tree, at length, in wrath; and rushed before the king.
Calm and stately, to the beam of the oak, arose the form of young Hidalla. His hair falls round his blushing cheek, in wreaths of waving light. Soft was his voice in Clon-raDisplay note, in the valley of his fathers; when he touched the harp, in the hall, near his roaring streams.
King of Erin, said the youth, now is the time of feasts. Bid the voice of bards arise, and roll the night away. The soul returns, from song, more terrible to war—Darkness settles on lnis-fail: from hill to hill bend the skirted clouds. Far and grey, on the heath, the dreadful strides of ghosts are seen: the ghosts of those who fell bend forward to their song.——Bid thou the harps to rise, and brighten the dead, on their wandering blasts.
Be all the dead forgot, said Foldath's bursting wrath. Did not I fail in the field, and shall I hear the song? Yet was not my course harmless in battle: blood was a stream around my steps. But the feeble were behind me, and the foe has escaped my sword.—In Clon-ra's vale touch thou the harp; let Dura answer to thy voice; while some maid looks, from the wood, on thy long, yellow locks.——Fly from Lubar's echoing plain: it is the field of heroes.
King of TemoraDisplay note, Malthos said, it is thine to lead in war. Thou art a fire to our eyes, on the dark-brown field. Like a blast [ 73 ] View Page Image thou hast past over hosts, and laid them low in blood; but who has heard thy words returning from the field?——The wrathful delight in death: their remembrance rests on the wounds of their spear. Strife is folded in their thoughts: their words are ever heard.——Thy course, chief of Moma, was like a troubled stream. The dead were rolled on thy path: but others also lift the spear. We were not feeble behind thee; but the foe was strong.
The king beheld the rising rage, and bending forward of either chief: for, half-unsheathed, they held their swords, and rolled their silent eyes.—Now would they have mixed in horrid fray, had not the wrath of Cathmor burned. He drew his sword: it gleamed thro' night, to the high-flaming oak.
Sons of pride, said the king, allay your swelling souls. Retire in night.—Why should my rage arise? Should I contend with both in arms——It is no time for strife. Retire, ye clouds, at my feast. Awake my soul no more.—They sunk from the king on either side; likeDisplay note two columns of morning mist, when the sun rises, between them, on his glittering rocks. Dark is their rolling on either side; each towards its reedy pool. [ 74 ] View Page Image
Silent sat the chiefs at the feast. They looked, at times, on Atha's king, where he strode, on his rock, amidst his settling soul.— The host lay, at length, on the field; sleep descended on Moi-lena.—The voice of Fonar rose alone, beneath his distant tree. It rose in the praise of Cathmor son of LarthonDisplay note of Lumon. But Cathmor did not hear his praise. He lay at the roar of a stream. The rustling breeze of night flew over his whistling locks.
Cairbar came to his dreams, half-seen from his low-hung cloud. Joy rose darkly in his face: he had heard the song of CarrilDisplay note.——A blast sustained his dark-skirted cloud; which he seized [ 75 ] View Page Imagein the bosom of night, as he rose, with his fame, towards his airy hall. Half-mixed with the noise of the stream, he poured his feeble words.
Joy meet the soul of Cathmor: his voice was heard on Moi-lena. The bard gave his song to Cairbar: he travels on the wind. My form is in my father's hall, like the gliding of a terrible light, which winds thro' the desart, in a stormy night.—No bard shall be wanting at thy tomb, when thou art lowly laid. The sons of song love the valiant.—Cathmor, thy name is a pleasant gale.—The mournful sounds arise! On Lubar's field there is a voice!—Louder still ye shadowy ghosts! the dead were full of fame.—Shrilly swells the feeble sound.—The rougher blast alone is heard!—Ah, soon is Cathmor low!
Rolled into himself he flew, wide on the bosom of his blast. The old oak felt his departure, and shook its whistling head. The king started from rest, and took his deathful spear. He lifts his eyes around. He sees but dark-skirted night.
Display noteIt was the voice of the king; but now his form is gone. Unmarked is your path in the air, ye children of the night. Often, [ 76 ] View Page Imagelike a reflected beam, are ye seen in the desart wild; but ye retire in your blasts before our steps approach.—Go then, ye feeble race! knowledge with you there is none. Your joys are weak, and like the dreams of our rest, or the light-winged thought that flies across the soul.——Shall Cathmor soon be low? Darkly laid in his narrow house? where no morning comes with her half-opened eyes.—Away, thou shade! to fight is mine, all further thought away! I rush forth, on eagle wings, to seize my beam of fame.——In the lonely vale of streams, abides the littleDisplay note soul.—Years roll on, seasons return, but he is still unknown.—In a blast comes cloudy death, and lays his grey head low. His ghost is rolled on the vapour of the fenny field. Its course is never on hills, or mossy vales of wind.——So shall not Cathmor depart, no boy in the field was he, who only marks the bed of roes, upon the echoing hills. [ 77 ] View Page ImageMy issuing forth was with kings, and my joy in dreadful plains; where broken hosts are rolled away, like seas before the wind.
So spoke the king of Alnecma, brightening in his rising soul: valour, like a pleasant flame, is gleaming within his breast. Stately is his stride on the heath: the beam of east is poured around. He saw his grey host on the field, wide-spreading their ridges in light. He rejoiced, like a spirit of heaven, whose steps come forth on his seas, when he beholds them peaceful round, and all the winds are laid. But soon he awakes the waves, and rolls them large to some echoing coast.
On the rushy bank of a stream, slept the daughter of Inis-huna. The helmetDisplay note had fallen from her head. Her dreams were in the lands of her fathers. There morning was on the field: grey streams leapt down from the rocks, and the breezes, in shadowy waves, fly over the rushy fields. There is the sound that prepares for the chace; and the moving of warriors from the hall.——But tall above the rest is the hero of streamy Atha: he bends his eye of love on Sul-malla, from his stately steps. She turns, with pride, her face away, and careless bends the bow.
Such were the dreams of the maid when Atha's warrior came. He saw her fair face before him, in the midst of her wandering locks. He knew the maid of Lumon. What should Cathmor do?——His sigh arose: his tears came down. But straight he [ 78 ] View Page Imageturned away.—This is no time, king of Atha, to wake thy secret soul. The battle is rolled before thee, like a troubled stream.
He struck that warning bossDisplay note, wherein dwelt the voice of war. Erin rose around him like the sound of eagle-wings.—Sul-malla started from deep, in her disordered locks. She seized the helmet from earth, and trembled in her place. Why should they know in Erin of the daughter of Inis-huna? for she remembered the race of kings, and the pride of her soul arose.
Her steps are behind a rock, by the blue-winding streamDisplay note of a vale: where dwelt the dark-brown hind ere yet the war arose. Thither came the voice of Cathmor, at times, to Sul-malla's ear. Her soul is darkly sad; she pours her words on wind.
Display noteThe dreams of Inis-huna departed: they are rolled away from my soul. I hear not the chace in my land. I am concealed in the skirt of war. I look forth from my cloud, but no beam appears to light my path. I behold my warrior low; for the broad-shielded [ 79 ] View Page Imageking is near; he that overcomes in danger; Fingal of the spears.—Spirit of departed Conmor, are thy steps on the bosom of winds? Comest thou, at times, to other lands, father of sad Sul-malla? Thou dost come, for I have heard thy voice at night; while yet I rose on the wave to streamy Inis-fail. The ghost of fathers, they sayDisplay note, can seize the souls of their race, while they behold them lonely in the midst of woe. Call me, my father, when the king is low on earth; for then I shall be lonely in the midst of woe.[ 80 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Fifth.[ 82 ] View Page Image
Ossian, after a short address to the harp of Cona, describes the arrangement of both armies on either side of the river Lubar. Fingal gives the command to Fillan; but, at the same time, orders Gaul, the son of Morni, who had been wounded in the hand in the preceding battle, to assist him with his counsel. The army of the Fir-bolg is commanded by Foldath. The general onset is described. The great actions of Fillan. He kills Rothmar and Culmin. But when Fillan conquers, in one wing, Foldath presses hard on the other. He wounds Dermid, the son of Duthno, and puts the whole wing to flight. Dermid deliberates with himself, and, at last, resolves to put a stop to the progress of Foldath, by engaging him in single combat.—When the two chiefs were approaching towards one another, Fillan came suddenly to the relief of Dermid; engaged Foldath, and killed him. The behaviour of Malthos towards the fallen Foldath. Fillan puts the whole army of the Fir-bolg to flight. The book closes with an address to Clatho, the mother of that hero.[ 83 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Display noteThou dweller between the shields that hang, on high, in Ossian's hall, descend from thy place, O harp, and let me hear thy voice.—Son of Alpin, strike the string; thou must [ 84 ] View Page Imageawake the soul of the bard. The murmur of Lora's Display notestream has rolled the tale away.—I stand in the cloud of years: few are its openings towards the past, and when the vision comes it is but dim and dark.—I hear thee, harp of Cona, my soul returns, like a breeze, which the sun brings back to the vale, where dwelt the lazy mist.
Display noteLubar is bright before me, in the windings of its vale. On either side, on their hills, rise the tall forms of the kings; their people are poured around them, bending forward to their words; as if their fathers spoke, descending from their winds.—But the [ 85 ] View Page Imagekings were like two rocks in the midst, each with its dark head of pines, when they are seen in the desart, above low-sailing mist. High on their face are streams, which spread their foam on blasts.
Beneath the voice of Cathmor poured Erin, like the sound of flame. Wide they came down to Lubar; before them is the stride of Foldath. But Cathmor retired to his hill, beneath his bending oaks. The tumbling of a stream is near the king: he lifts, at times, his gleaming spear. It was a flame to his people, in the midst of war. Near him stood the daughter of Con-mor, leaning on her rock. She did not rejoice over the strife: her soul delighted not in blood. A valleyDisplay note spreads green behind the hill, with its three blue streams. The sun is there in silence; and the dun mountain-roes come down. On these are turned the eyes of Inis-huna's white-bosomed maid.
Fingal beheld, on high, the son of Borbar-duthul: he saw the deep-rolling of Erin, on the darkened plain. He struck that warning boss, which bids the people obey; when he sends his chiefs before them, to the field of renown. Wide rose their spears to the sun; their echoing shields reply around.—Fear, like a vapor, did not wind among the host: for he, the king, was near, the strength of streamy Morven.—Gladness brightened the hero, we heard his words of joy.
Like the coming forth of winds, is the sound of Morven's sons! They are mountain waters, determined in their course. Hence is Fingal renowned, and his name in other lands. He was not a [ 86 ] View Page Imagelonely beam in danger; for your steps were always near.—But never was I a dreadful form, in your presence, darkened into wrath. My voice was no thunder to your ears: mine eyes sent forth no death.—When the haughty appeared, I beheld them not. They were forgot at my feasts: like mist they melted away.——A young beam is before you: few are his paths to war. They are few, but he is valiant; defend my dark-haired son. Bring him back with joy: hereafter he may stand alone. His form is like his fathers: his soul is a flame of their fire.——Son of car-borne Morni, move behind the son of Clatho: let thy voice reach his ear, from the skirts of war. Not unobserved rolls battle, before thee, breaker of the shields.
The king strode, at once, away to Cormul'sDisplay notelofty rock. As, slow, I lifted my steps behind; came forward the strength of Gaul. His shield hung loose on its thong; he spoke, in haste, to Ossian.—BindDisplay note, son of Fingal, this shield, bind it high to the side of Gaul. The foe may behold it, and think I lift the spear. If I shall fall, let my tomb be hid in the field; for fall I must without my fame: mine arm cannot lift the steel. Let not Evir-choma hear it, to blush between her locks.——Fillan, the mighty behold us; let us not forget the strife. Why should they come, from their hills, to aid our flying field?[ 87 ] View Page Image
He strode onward, with the sound of his shield. My voice pursued him, as he went. Can the son of Morni fall without his fame in Erin? But the deeds of the mighty forsake their souls of fire. They rush careless over the fields of renown: their words are never heard—I rejoiced over the steps of the chief: I strode to the rock of the king, where he sat in his wandering locks, amidst the mountain-wind.
In two dark ridges bend the hosts, towards each other, at Lubar. Here Foldath rose a pillar of darkness: there brightened the youth of Fillan. Each, with his spear in the stream, sent forth the voice of war.—Gaul struck the shield of Morven; at once they plunge in battle.—Steel poured its gleam on steel: like the fall of streams shone the field, when they mix their foam together, from two dark-browed rocks.—Behold he comes the son of fame: he lays the people low! Deaths sit on blasts around him!—Warriors strew thy paths, O Fillan!
Display noteRothmar, the shield of warriors, stood between two chinky rocks. Two oaks, which winds had bent from high, spread their branches on either side. He rolls his darkening eyes on Fillan, and, silent, shades his friends. Fingal saw the approaching fight; and all his soul arose.—But as the stone of LodaDisplay note falls, [ 88 ] View Page Imageshook, at once, from rocking Druman-ard, when spirits heave the earth in their wrath; so fell blue-shielded Rothmar.
Near are the steps of Culmin; the youth came, bursting into tears. Wrathful he cut the wind, ere yet he mixed his strokes with Fillan. He had first bent the bow with Rothmar, at the rock of his own blue streams. There they had marked the place of the roe, as the sun-beam flew over the fern.—Why, son of Cul-allin, dost thou rush on that beamDisplay note of light: it is a fire that consumes.—Youth of Strutha retire. Your fathers were not equal, in the glittering strife of the field.
The mother of Culmin remains in the hall; she looks forth on blue-rolling Strutha. A whirlwind rises, on the stream, dark-eddying round the ghost of her son. His dogs are howlingDisplay note in their [ 89 ] View Page Imageplace: his shield is bloody in the hall.—"Art thou fallen, my fair-haired son, in Erin's dismal war?"
As a roe, pierced in secret, lies panting, by her wonted streams, the hunter looks over her feet of wind, and remembers her stately bounding before; so lay the son of Cul-allin, beneath the eye of Fillan. His hair is rolled in a little stream: his blood wandered on his shield. Still his hand held the sword, that failed him in the midst of danger.—Thou art fallen, said Fillan, ere yet thy fame was heard.—Thy father sent thee to war: he expects to hear thy deeds. He is grey, perhaps, at his streams, and his eyes are towards Moi-lena. But thou shalt not return, with the spoil of the fallen foe.
Fillan poured the flight of Erin before him, over the echoing heath.—But, man on man, fell Morven before the dark-red rage of Foldath; for, far on the field, he poured the roar of half his tribes. DermidDisplay note stood before him in wrath: the sons of Cona gather round. But his shield is cleft by Foldath, and his people poured over the heath.
Then said the foe, in his pride, They have fled, and my fame begins. Go, Malthos, and bid the kingDisplay noteto guard the dark-rolling of [ 90 ] View Page Image ocean; that Fingal may not escape from my sword. He must lie on earth. Beside some fen shall his tomb be seen. It shall rise without a song. His ghost shall hover in mist over the reedy pool.
Malthos heard, with darkening doubt; he rolled his silent eyes.—He knew the pride of Foldath, and looked up to the king on his hill; then, darkly turning, he plunged his sword in war.
In Clono'sDisplay notenarrow vale, where bent two trees above the stream, dark in his grief stood Duthno's silent son. The blood [ 91 ] View Page Imagepoured from his thigh: his shield lay broken near. His spear leaned against a stone; why, Dermid, why so sad?
I hear the roar of battle. My people are alone. My steps are slow on the heath; and no shield is mine.—Shall he then prevail?—It is then after Dermid is low! I will call thee forth, O Foldath, and meet thee yet in fight.
He took his spear, with dreadful joy. The son of Morni came.—"Stay, son of Duthno, stay thy speed; thy steps are marked with blood. No bossy shield is thine. Why shouldst thou fall unarmed?"—King of Strumon, give thou thy shield. It has often rolled back the war. I shall stop the chief, in his course.—Son of Morni, dost thou behold that stone? It lifts its grey head thro' rass. There dwells a chief of the race of Dermid.—Place me there in night.Display note .[ 92 ] View Page Image
He slowly rose against the hill, and saw the troubled field. The gleaming ridges of the fight, disjoined and broken round.—As distant fires, on heath by night, now seem as lost in smoak, then rearing their red streams on the hill, as blow or cease the winds: so met the intermitting war the eye of broad-shielded Dermid. —Thro' the host are the strides of Foldath, like some dark ship on wintry waves, when it issues from between two isles, to sport on echoing seas.
Dermid, with rage, beheld his course. He strove to rush along. But he failed in the midst of his steps; and the big tear came down.—He sounded his father's horn; and thrice struck his bossy shield. He called thrice the name of Foldath, from his roaring tribes.—Foldath, with joy, beheld the chief: he lifted high his bloody spear.—As a rock is marked with streams, that fell troubled down its side in a storm; so, streaked with wandering blood, is the dark form of Moma.
The host, on either side, withdrew from the contending of kings.—They raised, at once, their gleaming points.—Rushing came Fillan of MoruthDisplay note. Three paces back Foldath withdrew; [ 93 ] View Page Imagedazzled with that beam of light, which came, as issuing from a cloud, to save the wounded hero.—Growing in his pride he stood, and called forth all his steel.
As meet two broad-winged eagles, in their sounding strife, on the winds: so rushed the two chiefs, on Moi-lena, into gloomy fight.——By turns are the steps of the kingsDisplay note forward on their rocks; for now the dusky war seemed to descend on their swords.—Cathmor feels the joy of warriors, on his mossy hill: their joy in secret when dangers rise equal to their souls. His eye is not turned on Lubar, but on Morven's dreadful king; for he beheld him, on Mora, rising in his arms.
FoldathDisplay notefell on his shield; the spear of Fillan pierced the king. Nor looked the youth on the fallen, but onward rolled the [ 94 ] View Page Imagewar. The hundred voices of death arose.—"Stay, son of Fingal, stay thy speed. Beholdest thou not that gleaming form, a dreadful sign of death? Awaken not the king of Alnecma. Return, son of blue-eyed Clatho."
MalthosDisplay notesaw Foldath low. He darkly stood above the king. Hatred was rolled from his soul. He seemed a rock in the desart, on whose dark side are the trickling of waters, when the slow-sailing mist has left it, and its trees are blasted with winds. He spoke to the dying hero, about the narrow house. Whether shall thy grey stone rise in Ullin? or in Moma'sDisplay note woody land, where the sun looks, in secret, on the blue streams of DalruthoDisplay note? There are the steps of thy daughter, blue-eyed Dardu-lena.[ 95 ] View Page Image
Rememberest thou her, said Foldath, because no son is mine; no youth to roll the battle before him, in revenge of me? Malthos, I am revenged. I was not peaceful in the field. Raise the tombs of those I have slain, around my narrow house. Often shall I forsake the blast, to rejoice above their graves; when I behold them spread around, with their long-whistling grass.
His soul rushed to the vales of Moma, and came to Dardu-lena's dreams, where she slept, by Dalrutho's stream, returning from the chace of the hinds. Her bow is near the maid, unstrung; the breezes fold her long hair on her breasts. Cloathed in the beauty of youth, the love of heroes lay. Dark-bending, from the skirts of the wood, her wounded father came. He appeared, at times, then seemed as hid in mist.——Bursting into tears she rose: she knew that the chief was low. To her came a beam from his soul when folded in its storms. Thou wert the last of his race, blue-eyed Dardu-lena!
Wide-spreading over echoing Lubar, the flight of Bolga is rolled along. Fillan hung forward on their steps; and strewed, with dead, the heath. Fingal rejoiced over his son.—Blue-shielded Cathmor rose.—— Display note Son of Alpin, bring the harp: give Fillan's praise [ 96 ] View Page Imageto the wind: raise high his praise, in my hall, while yet he shines in war.
Leave, blue-eyed Clatho, leave thy hall. Behold that early beam of thine. The host is withered in its course. No further look—it is dark.——Light-trembling from the harp, strike, virgins, strike the sound.—No hunter he descends, from the dewy haunt of the bounding roe. He bends not his bow on the wind; or sends his grey arrow abroad.
Deep-folded in red war, the battle rolls against his side. Or, striding midst the ridgy strife, he pours the deaths of thousands forth. Fillan is like a spirit of heaven, that descends from the skirt of his blast. The troubled ocean feels his steps, as he strides from wave to wave. His path kindles behind him; islands shake their heads on the heaving seas.
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Sixth.[ 98 ] View Page Image
This book opens with a speech of Fingal, who sees Cathmor descending to the assistance of his flying army. The king dispatches Ossian to the relief of Fillan. He himself retires behind the rock of Cormul, to avoid the sight of the engagement between his son and Cathmor. Ossian advances. The descent of Cathmor described. He rallies the army, renews the battle, and, before Ossian could arrive, engages Fillan himself. Upon the approach of Ossian, the combat between the two heroes ceases. Ossian and Cathmor prepare to fight, but night coming on prevents them. Ossian returns to the place where Cathmor and Fillan fought. He finds Fillan mortally wounded, and leaning against a rock. Their discourse. Fillan dies: his body is laid, by Ossian, in a neighbouring cave.—The Caledonian army return to Fingal. He questions them about his son, and, understanding that he was killed, retires, in silence, to the rock of Cormul.—Upon the retreat of the army of Fingal, the Fir-bolg advance. Cathmor finds Bran, one of the dogs of Fingal, lying on the shield of Fillan, before the entrance of the cave, where the body of that hero lay. His reflexions thereupon. He returns, in a melancholy mood, to his army. Malthos endeavours to comfort him, by the example of his father Borbar-duthul. Cathmor retires to rest. The song of Sul-malla concludes the book, which ends about the middle of the third night, from the opening of the poem.[ 99 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Display noteCathmor rises on echoing hill! Shall Fingal take the sword of Luno? But what should become of thy fame, son of white-bosomed Clatho? Turn not thine eyes from Fingal, daughter of Inistore. I shall not quench thy early beam; it shines [ 100 ] View Page Imagealong my soul.—Rise, wood-skirted Mora, rise between the war and me! Why should Fingal behold the strife, lest his darkhaired warrior should fall!—Amidst the song, O Carril, pour the sound of the trembling harp: here are the voices of rocks, and bright tumbling of waters. Father of Oscar lift the spear; defend the young in arms. Conceal thy steps from Fillan's eyes.—He must not know that I doubt his steel.—No cloud of mine shall rise, my son, upon thy soul of fire!
He sunk behind his rock, amidst the sound of Carril's song.—Brightening, in my growing soul, I took the spear of TemoraDisplay note. I saw, along Moi-lena, the wild tumbling of battle, the strife of death, in gleaming rows, disjoined and broken round. Fillan is a beam of fire; from wing to wing is his wasteful course. The ridges of war melt before him. They are rolled, in smoak, from the fields.[ 101 ] View Page Image
Display noteNow is the coming forth of Cathmor, in the armour of kings! Dark-rolled the eagle's wing, above his helmet of fire. Unconcerned are his steps, as if they were to the chace of Atha. He raised, at times, his terrible voice; Erin, abashed, gathered round.—Their souls returned back, like a stream: they wondered at the steps of their fear: for he rose, like the beam of the morning on a haunted heath: the traveller looks back, with bending eye, on the field of dreadful forms.
Sudden, from the rock of Moi-lena, are Sul-malla's trembling steps. An oak took the spear from her hand; half-bent she loosed the lance: but then are her eyes on the king, from amidst her wandering locks.—No friendly strife is before thee; no light contending of bows, as when the youth of ClubaDisplay note came forth beneath the eye of Conmor.[ 102 ] View Page Image
As the rock of Runo, which takes the passing clouds for its robe, seems growing, in gathered darkness, over the streamy heath; so seemed the chief of Atha taller, as gathered his people round.—As different blasts fly over the sea, each behind its dark-blue wave, so Cathmor's words, on every side, poured his warriors forth.—Nor silent on his hill is Fillan; he mixed his words with his echoing shield. An eagle he seemed, with sounding wings, calling the wind to his rock, when he sees the coming forth of the roes, on Lutha'sDisplay note rushy field.
Now they bent forward in battle: death's hundred voices rose; for the kings, on either side, were like fires on the souls of the people.—I bounded along; high rocks and trees rushed tall between the war and me.—But I heard the noise of steel, between my clanging arms. Rising, gleaming, on the hill, I beheld the backward steps of hosts: their backward steps, on either side, and wildly-looking eyes. The chiefs were met in dreadful fight; the two blue-shielded kings. Tall and dark, thro' gleams of steel, are seen the striving heroes.—I rushed.—My fears for Fillan flew, burning across my soul.
I came; nor Cathmor fled; nor yet advanced: he sidelong stalked along. An icy rock, cold, tall he seemed. I called forth all my steel.—Silent awhile we strode, on either side of a rushing stream: then, sudden turning, all at once, we raised our pointed spears.—We raised our spears, but night came down. It is dark [ 103 ] View Page Imageand silent round; but where the distant steps of hosts are sounding over the heath.
I came to the place where FillanDisplay notefought. Nor voice, nor sound is there. A broken helmet lay on earth: a buckler cleft in twain. Where, Fillan, where art thou, young chief of echoing Morven? He heard me leaning against a rock, which bent its grey head over the stream. He heard; but sullen, dark he stood. At length I saw the hero.
Why standest thou, robed in darkness, son of woody Selma? Bright is thy path, my brother, in this dark-brown field. Long has been thy strife in battle. Now the horn of Fingal is heard. Ascend to the cloud of thy father, to his hill of feasts. In the evening mist he sits, and hears the voice of Carril's harp. Carry joy to the aged, young breaker of the shields.
Can the vanquished carry joy? Ossian, no shield is mine. It lies broken on the field. The eagle-wing of my helmet is torn. It is when foes fly before them that fathers delight in their sons. But their sighs burst forth, in secret, when their young warriors yield.—No: Fillan will not behold the king. Why should the hero mourn?
Son of blue-eyed Clatho, why dost thou awake my soul? Wert thou not a burning fire before him; and shall he not rejoice?—— [ 104 ] View Page ImageSuch fame belonged not to Ossian; yet was the king still a sun to me. He looked on my steps, with joy: shadows never rose on his face.—Ascend, O Fillan, to Mora: his feast is spread in the folds of mist.
Ossian, give me that broken shield: these feathers that are rolled in the wind. Place them near to Fillan, that less of his fame may fall. Ossian, I begin to fail.—Lay me in that hollow rock. Raise no stone above: lest one should ask about my fame. I am fallen in the first of my fields; fallen without renown. Let thy voice alone send joy to my flying soul. Why should the bard know where dwells the early-fallen FillanDisplay note?[ 105 ] View Page Image
Is thy spirit on the eddying winds, blue-eyed king of shields? Joy pursue my hero, thro' his folded clouds. The forms of thy fathers, O Fillan, bend to receive their son. I behold the spreading of their fire on Mora; the blue-rolling of their misty wreaths.—Joy meet thee my brother.——But we are dark and sad. I behold the foe round the aged, and the wasting away of his fame. Thou art left alone in the field, grey-haired king of Selma.
I laid him in the hollow rock, at the roar of the nightly stream. One red star looked in on the hero: winds lift, at times, his locks. I listened: no sound is heard: for the warrior slept.——As lightning on a cloud, a thought came rushing over my soul.—My eyes rolled in fire: my stride was in the clang of steel.
I will find thee, chief of Atha, in the gathering of thy thousands. Why should that cloud escape, that quenched our early beam? Kindle your meteors on your hills, my fathers, to light [ 106 ] View Page Imagemy daring steps. I will consume in wrathDisplay note——Should I not return! the king is without a son, grey-haired amidst his foes. His arm is not as in the days of old: his fame grows dim in Erin. Let me not behold him from high, laid low in his latter field.—But can I return to the king? Will he not ask about his son? "Thou oughtest to defend young Fillan."—I will meet the foe.—Green Inisfail, thy sounding tread is pleasant to my ear: I rush on thy ridgy host, to shun the eyes of Fingal.——I hear the voice of the king, on Mora's misty top!—He calls his two sons; I come, my father,—in my grief.—I come like an eagle, which the flame of night met in the desart, and spoiled of half his wings.
Display noteDistant, round the king, on Mora, the broken ridges of Morven are rolled. They turned their eyes: each darkly bends, [ 107 ] View Page Imageon his own ashen spear.—Silent stood the king in the midst. Thought on thought rolled over his soul. As waves on a secret mountain-lake, each with its back of foam.—He looked; no son appeared, with his long-beaming spear. The sighs rose, crowding, from his soul; but he concealed his grief.——At length I stood beneath an oak. No voice of mine was heard. What could I say to Fingal in his hour of woe?——His words rose, at length, in the midst: the people shrunk backward as he spokeDisplay note.[ 108 ] View Page Image
Where is the son of Selma, he who led in war? I behold not his steps, among my people, returning from the field. Fell the young bounding roe, who was so stately on my hills?—He fell;— for ye are silent. The shield of war is broke.——Let his armour be near to Fingal; and the sword of dark-brown Luno. I am waked on my hills; with morning I descend to war.
Display noteHigh on Cormul's rock, an oak flamed to the wind. The grey skirts of mist are rolled around; thither strode the king in his [ 109 ] View Page Imagewrath. Distant from the host he always lay, when battle burnt within his soul. On two spears hung his shield on high; the gleaming sign of death; that shield, which he was wont to strike, by night, before he rushed to war.—It was then his warriors knew, when the king was to lead in strife; for never was this buckler heard, till Fingal's wrath arose.—Unequal were his steps on high, as he shone in the beam of the oak; he was dreadful as the form of the spirit of night, when he cloaths, on hills, his wild gestures with mist, and, issuing forth, on the troubled ocean, mounts the car of winds.
Nor settled, from the storm, is Erin's sea of war; they glittered, beneath the moon, and, low-humming, still rolled on the field.—Alone are the steps of Cathmor, before them on the heath; he hung forward, with all his arms, on Morven's flying host. Now had he come to the mossy cave, where Fillan lay in night. One tree was bent above the stream, which glittered over the rock.—— There shone to the moon the broken shield of Clatho's son; and near it, on grass, lay hairy-footed BranDisplay note. He had missed the chief [ 110 ] View Page Imageon Mora, and searched him along the wind. He thought that the blue-eyed hunter slept; he lay upon his shield. No blast came over the heath, unknown to bounding Bran.
Cathmor saw the white-breasted dog; he saw the broken shield. Darkness is blown back on his soul; he remembers the falling away of the people. They come, a stream; are rolled away; another race succeeds.—"But some mark the fields, as they pass, with their own mighty names. The heath, thro' dark-brown years, is theirs; some blue stream winds to their fame.— Of these be the chief of Atha, when he lays him down on earth. Often may the voice of future times meet Cathmor in the air: when he strides from wind to wind, or folds himself in the wing of a storm."
Green Erin gathered round the king, to hear the voice of his power. Their joyful faces bend, unequal, forward, in the light of the oak. They who were terrible were removed: LubarDisplay notewinds [ 111 ] View Page Imageagain in their host. Cathmor was that beam from heaven which shone when his people were dark. He was honoured in the midst. Their souls rose trembling around. The king alone no gladness shewed; no stranger he to war!
Why is the king so sad, said Malthos eagle-eyed?— Remains there a foe at Lubar? Lives there among them, who can lift the spear? Not so peaceful was thy father, Borbar-duthulDisplay note, king of spears. His rage was a fire that always burned: his joy over fallen foes was great.—Three days feasted the grey-haired hero, when he heared that Calmar fell: Calmar, who aided the race of Ullin, from Lara of the streams.—Often did he feel, with his hands, the steel which, they said, had pierced his foe. He felt it [ 112 ] View Page Imagewith his hands, for Borbar-duthul's eyes had failed.— Yet was the king a sun to his friends; a gale to lift their branches round. Joy was around him in his halls: he loved the sons of Bolga. His name remains in Atha, like the awful memory of ghosts, whose presence was terrible, but they blew the storm away.—Now let the voicesDisplay noteof Erin raise the soul of the king; he that shone when war was dark, and laid the mighty low.—Fonar, from that grey-browed rock, pour the tale of other times: pour it on wide-skirted Erin, as it settles round.
To me, said Cathmor, no song shall rise; nor Fonar sit on the rock of Lubar. The mighty there are laid low. Disturb not their rushing ghosts. Far, Malthos, far remove the sound of Erin's song. I rejoice not over the foe, when he ceases to lift the spear. With morning we pour our strength abroad. Fingal is wakened on his echoing hill.
Like waves, blown back by sudden winds, Erin retired, at the voice of the king. Deep-rolled into the field of night, they spread their humming tribes. Beneath his own tree, at intervals, eachDisplay note bard sat down with his harp. They raised the song, and touched [ 113 ] View Page Imagethe string: each to the chief he loved.—Before a burning oak Sul-malla touched, at times, the harp. She touched the harp, and heard, between, the breezes in her hair.—In darkness near, lay the king of Atha, beneath an aged tree. The beam of the oak was turned from him; he saw the maid, but was not seen. His soul poured forth, in secret, when he beheld her fearful eye.—But battle is before thee, son of Borbar-duthul.
Amidst the harp, at intervals, she listened whether the warrior slept. Her soul was up; she longed, in secret, to pour her own sad song. The field is silent. On their wings, the blasts of night retire. The bards had ceased; and meteors came, red-winding with their ghosts.—The sky grew dark: the forms of the dead were blended with the clouds. But heedless bends the daughter of Conmor, over the decaying flame. Thou wert alone in her soul, car-borne chief of Atha. She raised the voice of the song, and touched the harp between.[ 114 ] View Page Image
Display noteClun-galo came; she missed the maid.—Where art thou, beam of light? Hunters, from the mossy rock, saw you the blue-eyed fair?—Are her steps on grassy Lumon; near the bed of roes?—Ah me! I behold her bow in the hall. Where art thou, beam of light?
Display noteCease, love of Conmor, cease; I hear thee not on the ridgy heath. My eye is turned to the king, whose path is terrible in war. He for whom my soul is up, in the season of my rest.— Deep-bosomed in war he stands, he beholds me not from his cloud.—Why, sun of Sul-malla, dost thou not look forth?—I dwell in darkness here; wide over me flies the shadowy mill. Filled with dew are my locks: look thou from thy cloud, O sun of Sul-malla's soul.
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Seventh.[ 116 ] View Page Image
This book begins, about the middle of the third night from the opening of the poem. The poet describes a kind of mist, which rose, by night, from the lake of Lego, and was the usual residence of the souls of the dead, during the interval between their decease and the funeral song. The appearance of the ghost of Fillan above the cave where his body lay. His voice comes to Fingal, on the rock of Cormul. The king strikes the shield of Trenmor, which was an infallible sign of his appearing in arms himself. The extraordinary effect of the sound of the shield. Sul-malla, starting from sleep, awakes Cathmor. Their affecting discourse. She insists with him, to sue for peace; he resolves to continue the war. He directs her to retire to the neighbouring valley of Lona, which was the residence of an old Druid, until the battle of the next day should be over. He awakes his army with the sound of his shield. The shield described. Fonar, the bard, at the desire of Cathmor, relates the first settlement of the Firbolg in Ireland, under their leader Larthon. Morning comes. Sul-malla retires to the valley of Lona. A Lyric song concludes the book.[ 117 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Display noteFrom the wood-skirted waters of Lego, ascend, at times, grey-bosomed mists; when the gates of the west are closed, on the sun's eagle-eye. Wide, over Lara's stream, is poured the vapour dark and deep: the moon, like a dim shield, is swimming thro' its folds. With this, clothe the spirits of old their sudden gestures [ 118 ] View Page Imageon the wind, when they stride, from blast to blast, along the dusky night. Often, blended with the gale, to some warrior's [ 119 ] View Page Imagegrave, they roll the mist, a grey dwelling to his ghost, until the songs arise.
A sound came from the desart; it was Conar, king of Inis-fail. He poured his mist on the grave of Fillan, at blue-winding Lubar.——Dark and mournful sat the ghost, in his grey ridge of smoak. The blast, at times, rolled him together: but the form returned again. It returned with bending eyes: and dark winding of locks of mist.
It isDisplay notedark. The sleeping host were still, in the skirts of the night. The flame decayed, on the hill of Fingal; the king lay lonely on [ 120 ] View Page Imagehis shield. His eyes were half-closed in sleep; the voice of Fillan came. "Sleeps the husband of Clatho? Dwells the father of the fallen in rest? Am I forgot in the folds of darkness; lonely in the season of night?"
Why dost thou mix, said the king, with the dreams of thy father? Can I forget thee, my son, or thy path of fire in the field? Not such come the deeds of the valiant on the soul of Fingal. They are not there a beam of lightning, which is seen, and is then no more.—I remember thee, O Fillan, and my wrath begins to rise.
The king took his deathful spear, and struck the deeply-sounding shield: his shieldDisplay note that hung high in night, the dismal sign [ 121 ] View Page Imageof war!—Ghosts fled on every side, and rolled their gathered forms on the wind.—Thrice from the winding vale arose the voice of deaths. The harps Display note of the bards, untouched, sound mournful over the hill.
He struck again the shield; battles rose in the dreams of his people. The wide-tumbling strife is gleaming over their souls. Blue-shielded kings descend to war. Backward-looking armies fly; and mighty deeds are half-hid, in the bright gleams of steel.
But when the third sound arose: deer started from the clefts of their rocks. The screams of fowl are heard, in the desart, as each flew, frighted, on his blast.—The sons of Morven half-rose, and half-assumed their spears.—But silence rolled back on the host: they knew the shield of the king. Sleep returned to their eyes; the field was dark and still.
Display noteNo sleep was thine in darkness, blue-eyed daughter of Con-mor! Sul-malla heard the dreadful shield, and rose, amidst the [ 122 ] View Page Imagenight.—Her steps are towards the king of Atha.—Can danger shake his daring soul!—In doubt, she stands, with bending eyes. Heaven burns with all its stars.[ 123 ] View Page Image
Again the shield resounds!—She rushed.—She stopt.—Her voice half-rose. It failed.—She saw him, amidst his arms, that gleamed to heaven's fire. She saw him dim in his locks, that rose to nightly wind.—Away, for fear, she turned her steps.——"Why should the king of Erin awake? Thou art not the dream of his rest, daughter of Inis-huna."
More dreadful rung the shield. Sul-malla starts. Her helmet falls. Loud-echoed Lubar's rock, as over it rolled the steel.—Bursting from the dreams of night, Cathmor half-rose, beneath his tree. He saw the form of the maid, above him, on the rock. A red star, with twinkling beam, looked thro' her floating hair.
Display noteWho comes thro' night to Cathmor, in the season of his dreams? Bring'st thou ought of war? Who art thou, son of night? —Stand'st thou before me, a form of the times of old? A voice from the fold of a cloud, to warn me of Erin's danger?
Nor lonely scout am I, nor voice from folded cloud: but I warn thee of the danger of Erin. Dost thou hear that sound? It is not the feeble, king of Atha, that rolls his signs on night.[ 124 ] View Page Image
Let the warrior roll his signs; to Cathmor they are the sounds of harps. My joy is great, voice of night, and burns over all my thoughts. This is the music of kings, on lonely hills, by night; when they light their daring souls, the sons of mighty deeds! The feeble dwell alone, in the valley of the breeze; where mists lift, their morning skirts, from the blue-winding streams.
Not feeble, king of men, were they, the fathers of my race. They dwelt in the folds of battle; in their distant lands. Yet delights not my soul, in the signs of death!—HeDisplay note, who never yields, comes forth: O send the bard of peace!
Like a dropping rock, in the desart, stood Cathmor in his tears. Her voice came, a breeze, on his soul, and waked the memory of her land; where she dwelt by her peaceful streams, before he came to the war of Conmor.
Daughter of strangers, he said; (she trembling turned away) long have I marked thee in thy steel, young pine of Inis-huna.—But my soul, I said, is folded in a storm. Why should that beam arise, till my steps return in peace?—Have I been pale in thy presence, when thou bidst me to fear the king?——The time of danger, O maid, is the season of my soul; for then it swells, a mighty stream, and rolls me on the foe.[ 125 ] View Page Image
Beneath the moss-covered rock of Lona, near his own blue stream; grey in his locks of age, dwells ClonmalDisplay note king of harps. Above him is his echoing tree, and the dun bounding of roes. The noiseDisplay note of our strife reaches his ear, as he bends in the thoughts of years. There let thy rest be, Sul-malla, until our battle cease. Until I return, in my arms, from the skirts of the evening mist, that rises, on Lona, round the dwelling of my love.
A light fell on the soul of the maid; it rose kindled before the king. She turned her face to Cathmor, from amidst her waving locks. SoonerDisplay noteshall the eagle of heaven be torn, from [ 126 ] View Page Imagethe stream of his roaring wind, when he sees the dun prey, before him, the young sons of the bounding roe, than thou, O Cathmor, be turned from the strife of renown.——Soon may I see thee, warrior, from the skirts of the evening mist, when it is rolled around me, on Lona of the streams. While yet thou art distant far, strike, Cathmor, strike the shield, that joy may return to my darkened soul, as I lean on the mossy rock. But if thou should fall——I am in the land of strangers;—O send thy voice, from thy cloud, to the maid of Inis-huna.[ 127 ] View Page Image
Young branch of green-headed Lumon, why dost thou shake in the storm? Often has Cathmor returned, from darkly-rolling wars. The darts of death are but hail to me; they have often bounded from my shield. I have risen brightened from battle, like a meteor from a stormy cloud. Return not, fair beam, from thy vale, when the roar of battle grows. Then might the foe escape, as from my fathers of old.
They told to Son-morDisplay note, of ClunarDisplay note, who was slain by Cormac in fight. Three days darkened Son-mor, over his brother's fall.— His spouse beheld the silent king, and foresaw his steps to war. She prepared the bow, in secret, to attend her blue-shielded hero. To her dwelt darkness, at Atha, when he was not there.— From their hundred streams, by night, poured down the sons of Alnecma. They had heard the shield of the king, and their rage arose. In clanging arms, they moved along, towards Ullin of the groves. Son-mor struck his shield, at times, the leader of the war.
Far behind followed Sul-allinDisplay note, over the streamy hills. She was a light on the mountain, when they crossed the vale below. Her steps were stately on the vale, when they rose on the mossy hill.— She feared to approach the king, who left her in echoing [ 128 ] View Page ImageAtha. But when the roar of battle rose; when host was rolled on host; when Son-mor burnt, like the fire of heaven in clouds, with her spreading hair came Sul-allin; for she trembled for her king.—He stopt the rushing strife to save the love of heroes.—The foe fled by night; Clunar slept without his blood; the blood which ought to be poured upon the warrior's tomb.
Nor rose the rage of Son-mor, but his days were silent and dark. Sul-allin wandered, by her grey streams, with her tearful eyes. Often did she look, on the hero, when he was folded in his thoughts. But she shrunk from his eyes, and turned her lone steps away.—Battles rose, like a tempest, and drove the mist from his soul. He beheld, with joy, her steps in the hall, and the white rising of her hands on the harp.
Display noteIn his arms strode the chief of Atha, to where his shiield hung, high, in night: high on a mossy bough, over Lubar's streamy roar. Seven bosses rose on the shield; the seven voices of the king, [ 129 ] View Page Imagewhich his warrior received, from the wind, and marked over all their tribes.
On each boss is placed a star of night; Can-mathon with beams unshorn; Col-derna rising from a cloud: Uloicho robed in mist; and the soft beam of Cathlin glittering on a rock. Laughing, on its own blue wave, Reldurath half-sinks its western light. The red eye of Berthin looks, thro' a grove, on the hunter, as he returns, by night, with the spoils of the bounding roe.—Wide, in the midst, arose the cloudless beams of Ton-thena, that star which looked, by night, on the course of the sea-tossed Larthon: Larthon, the first of Bolga's race, who travelled on the windsDisplay note.—— White-bosomed spread the sails of the king, towards streamy Inisfail; dun night was rolled before him, with its skirts of mist. Unconstant blew the winds, and rolled him from wave to wave.—Then rose the fiery-haired Ton-théna, and laughed from her parted cloud. LarthonDisplay note blessed the well-known beam, as it faint-gleamed on the deep.[ 130 ] View Page Image
Beneath the spear of Cathmor, rose that voice which awakes the bards. They came, dark-winding, from every side; each, with the sound of his harp. Before them rejoiced the king, as the traveller, in the day of the sun; when he hears, far-rolling around, the murmur of mossy streams; streams that burst, in the desart, from the rock of roes.
Why, said Fonar, hear we the voice of the king, in the season of his rest? Were the dim forms of thy fathers bending in thy dreams? Perhaps they stand on that cloud, and wait for Fonar's song; often they come to the fields where their sons are to lift the spear.—Or shall our voice arise for him who lifts the spear no more; he that consumed the field, from Moma of the groves?
Not forgot is that cloud in war, bard of other times. High shall his tomb rise, on Moi-lena, the dwelling of renown. But, now, roll back my soul to the times of my fathers: to the years when first they rose, on Inis-huna's waves. Nor alone pleasant to Cathmor is the remembrance of wood-covered Lumon.— Lumon of the streams, the dwelling of white-bosomed maids.
Display noteLumon of the streams, thou risest on Fonar's soul! Thy sun is on thy side, on the rocks of thy bending trees. The dun roe is [ 131 ] View Page Imageseen from thy furze; the deer lifts his branchy head; for he sees, at times, the hound, on the half-covered heath. Slow, on the vale, are the steps of maids; the white-armed daughters of the bow: they lift their blue eyes to the hill, from amidst their wandering locks.—Not there is the stride of Larthon, chief of Inis-huna. He mounts the wave on his own dark oak, in Cluba's ridgy bay. That oak which he cut from Lumon, to bound along the sea. The maids turn their eyes away, lest the king should be lowly-laid; for never had they feen a ship, dark rider of the wave!
Now he dares to call the winds, and to mix with the mist of ocean. Blue Inis—fail rose, in smoak; but dark-skirted night came down. The sons of Bolga feared. The fiery haired Ton-théna rose. Culbin's bay received the ship, in the bosom of its echoing woods. There, issued a stream, from Duthuma's horrid cave; where spirits gleamed, at times, with their half-finished forms.
Dreams descended on Larthon: he saw seven spirits of his fathers. He heard their half-formed words, and dimly beheld the times to come. He beheld the kings of Atha, the sons of future days. They led their hosts, along the field, like ridges of mist, which winds pour, in autumn, over Atha of the groves.
Larthon raised the hall of SamlaDisplay note, to the music of the harp. He went forth to the roes of Erin, to their wonted streams. Nor [ 132 ] View Page Image did he forget green-headed Lumon; he often bounded over his seas, to where white-handed FlathalDisplay note looked from the hill of roes. Lumon of the foamy streams, thou risest on Fonar's soul.
Morning pours from the east. The misty heads of the mountains rise. Valleys shew, on every side, the grey-winding of their streams. His host heard the shield of Cathmor: at once they rose around, like a crowded sea, when first it feels the wings of the wind. The waves know not whither to roll; they lift their troubled heads.
Sad and slow retired Sul-malla to Lona of the streams. She went—and often turned; her blue eyes rolled in tears. But when she came to the rock, that darkly-covered Lona's vale: she looked, from her bursting soul, on the king; and sunk, at once, behind.
Display noteSon of Alpin, strike the string. Is there aught of joy in the harp? Pour it then, on the soul of Ossian: it is folded in mist.—I hear thee, O bard, in my night. But cease the lightly-trembling sound. The joy of grief belongs to Ossian, amidst his dark-brown years.
Green thorn of the hill of ghosts, that shakest thy head to nightly winds! I hear no sound in thee; is there no spirit's windy [ 133 ] View Page Imageskirt now rustling in thy leaves? Often are the steps of the dead, in the dark-eddying blasts; when the moon, a dun shield, from the east, is rolled along the sky.
Ullin, Carril and Ryno, voices of the days of old! Let me hear you, while yet it is dark, to please and awake my soul.——I hear you not, ye sons of song; in what hall of the clouds is your rest? Do you touch the shadowy harp, robed with morning mist, where the rustling sun comes forth from his green-headed waves?[ 134 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Eighth.[ 136 ] View Page Image
The fourth morning, from the opening of the poem, comes on. Fingal, still continuing in the place, to which he had retired on the preceding night, is seen, at intervals, thro' the mist, which covered the rock of Cormul. The descent of the king is described. He orders Gaul, Dermid, and Carril the bard, to go to the valey of Cluna, and conduct, from thence, to the Caledonian army, Ferad artho, the son of Cairbre, the only person remaining of the family of Conar, the first king of Ireland—The king takes the command of the army, and prepares for battle. Marching towards the enemy, he comes to the cave of Lubar, where the body of Fillan lay. Upon seeing his dog Bran, who lay at the entrance of the cave, his grief returns.—Cathmor arranges the Irish army in order of battle. The appearance of that hero. The general conflict is described. The actions of Fingal and Cathmor. A storm. The total rout of the Fir-bolg. The two kings engage, in a column of mist, on the banks of Lubar. Their attitude and conference after the combat. The death of Cathmor.—Fingal resigns the spear of Trenmor to Ossian. The ceremonies observed on that occasion.——The spirit of Cathmor, in the mean time, appears to Sul-malla, in the valley of Lona. Her sorrow.—Evening comes on. A feast is prepared.—The coming of Ferad-artho is announced by the songs of a hundred bards.—The poem closes, with a speech of Fingal.[ 137 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Display noteAs when the wintry winds have seized the waves of the mountain-lake, have seized them, in stormy night, and cloathed them over with ice; white, to the hunter’s early eye, the billows still seem to roll. He turns his ear to the sound of each unequal ridge. But each is silent, gleaming, strewn with [ 138 ] View Page Image boughs and tufts of grass, which shake and whistle to the wind, over their grey seats of frost.—So silent shone to the morning the ridges of Morven’s host, as each warrior looked up from his helmet towards [ 139 ] View Page Image the hill of the king; the cloud-covered hill of Fingal, where he strode, in the folds of mist. At times is the hero seen, greatly dim in all his arms. From thought to thought rolled the war, along his mighty soul.
Now is the coming forth of the king.—First appeared the sword of Luno; the spear half issuing from a cloud, the shield still dim in mist. But when the stride of the king came abroad, with all his grey, dewy locks in the wind; then rose the shouts of his host over every moving tribe. They gathered, gleaming, round, with all their echoing shields. So rise the green seas round a spirit, that comes down from the squally wind. The traveller hears the sound afar, and lifts his head over the rock. He looks on the troubled bay, and thinks he dimly sees the form. The waves sport, unwieldy, round, with all their backs of foam.
Far-distant stood the son of Morni, Duthno’s race, and Cona’s bard. We stood far-distant; each beneath his tree. We shuned the eyes of the king; we had not conquered in the field.—A little stream rolled at my feet: I touched its light wave, with my spear. I touched it with my spear; nor there was the soul of Ossian. It darkly rose, from thought to thought, and sent abroad the sigh.
Son of Morni, said the king, Dermid, hunter of roes! why are ye dark, like two rocks, each with its trickling waters? No [ 140 ] View Page Imagewrath gathers on Fingal’s soul, against the chiefs of men. Ye are my strength in battle; the kindling of my joy in peace. My early voice has been a pleasant gale to your ears, when Fillan prepared the bow. The son of Fingal is not here, nor yet the chace of the bounding roes. But why should the breakers of shields stand, darkened, faraway?
Tall they strode towards the king; they saw him turned to Mora’s wind. His tears came down, for his blue-eyed son, who slept in the cave of streams. But he brightened before them, and spoke to the broad-shielded kings.
Crommal, with woody rocks, and misty top, the field of winds, pours forth, to the fight, blue Lubar’s streamy roar. Behind it rolls clear-winding Lavath, in the still vale of deer. A cave is dark in a rock; above it strong-winged eagles dwell; broad-headed oaks, before it, sound in Cluna’s wind.—Within, in his locks of youth, is Ferad-arthoDisplay note, blue-eyed king, the son of [ 141 ] View Page Image broad-shielded Cairbar, from Ullin of the roes. He listens to the voice of Condan, as, grey, he bends in feeble light. He listens, for his foes dwell in the echoing halls of Temora. He comes, at times, abroad, in the skirts of mist, to pierce the bounding roes. When the sun looks on the field, nor by the rock, nor stream, is he! He shuns the race of Bolga, who dwell in his father’s hall. Tell him, that Fingal lifts the spear, and that his foes, perhaps, may fail.
Lift up, O Gaul, the shield before him. Stretch, Dermid, Temora’s spear. Be thy voice in his ear, O Carril, with the deeds of his fathers. Lead him to green Moilena, to the dusky field of [ 142 ] View Page Imageghosts; for there, I fall forward, in battle, in the folds of war. Before dun night descends, come to high Dunmora’s top. Look, from the grey folds of mist, on Lena of the streams. If there my standard shall float on wind, over Lubar’s gleaming stream, then has not Fingal failed in the last of his fields.
Such were his words; nor aught replied the silent, striding kings. They looked side-long, on Erin’s host, and darkened, as they went. —Never before had they left the king, in the midst of the stormy field.—Behind them, touching at times his harp, the grey-haired Carril moved. He foresaw the fall of the people, and mournful was the found!—It was like a breeze that comes, by fits, over Lego’s reedy lake; when sleep half-descends on the hunter, within his mossy cave.
Why bends the bard of Cona, said Fingal, over his secret stream?—Is this a time for sorrow, father of low-laid Oscar? Be the warriorsDisplay note remembered in peace; when echoing shields are heard no [ 143 ] View Page Image more. Bend, then, in grief, over the flood, where blows the mountain breeze. Let them pass on thy soul, the blue-eyed dwellers of the tomb.—But Erin rolls to war; wide-tumbling, rough, and dark. Lift, Ossian, lift the shield.—I am alone, my son!
As comes the sudden voice of winds to the becalmed ship of Inis-huna, and drives it large, along the deep, dark rider of the wave; so the voice of Fingal sent Ossian, tall, along the heath. He lifted high his shining shield, in the dusky wing of war: like the broad, blank moon, in the skirt of a cloud, before the storms arise.
Loud, from moss-covered Mora, poured down, at once, the broad-winged war. Fingal led his people forth, king of Morven of streams.—On high spreads the eagle’s wing. His grey hair is poured on his shoulders broad. In thunder are his mighty strides. He often flood, and saw behind, the wide-gleaming rolling of armour.—A rock he seemed, grey over with ice, whose woods are high in wind. Bright streams leap from its head, and spread their foam on blasts.[ 144 ] View Page Image
Now he came to Lubar’s cave, where Fillan darkly slept: Bran still lay on the broken shield: the eagle-wing is strewed on winds. Bright, from withered furze, looked forth the hero’s spear.—Then grief stirred the soul of the king, like whirlwinds blackening on a lake. He turned his sudden step, and leaned on his bending spear.
White-breasted Bran came bounding with joy to the known path of Fingal. He came, and looked towards the cave, where the blue-eyed hunter lay, for he was wont to stride, with morning, to the dewy bed of the roe.—It was then the tears of the king came down, and all his soul was dark.—But as the rising wind rolls away the storm of rain, and leaves the white streams to the sun, and high hills with their heads of grass: so the returning war brightened the mind of Fingal. He boundedDisplay note, on his spear, over [ 145 ] View Page Image Lubar, and struck his ecchoing shield. His ridgy host bend forward, at once, with all their pointed steel.
Nor Erin heard, with fear, the sound: wide they came rolling along. Dark Malthos, in the wing of war, looks forward from shaggy brows. Next rose that beam of light Hidalla; then the side-long-looking gloom of Maronnan. Blue-shielded Clonar lifts the spear; Cormar shakes his bushy locks on the wind.—Slowly, from behind a rock, rose the bright form of Atha. First appeared his two pointed spears, then the half of his burnished shield: like the rising of a nightly meteor, over the vale of ghosts. But when he shone all abroad: the hosts· plunged, at once, into strife. The gleaming waves of steel are poured on either side.
As meet two troubled seas, with the rolling of all their waves, when they feel the wings of contending winds, in the rock-sided sirth of Lumon; along the echoing hills is the dim course of ghosts: from the blast fall the torn groves on the deep, amidst the foamy path of whales.—So mixed the hosts!—Now Fingal; now Cathmor came abroad.—The dark tumbling of death is before them: the gleam of broken steel is rolled on their steps, as, loud, the high-bounding kings hewed down the ridge of shields.[ 146 ] View Page Image
Maronnan fell, by Fingal, laid large across a stream. The waters gathered by his side, and leapt grey over his bossy shield.—Clonar is pierced by Cathmor: nor yet lay the chief on earth. An oak seized his hair in his fall. His helmet rolled on the ground. By its thong, hung his broad shield; over it wandered his streaming blood. Tla-minDisplay note shall weep, in the hall, and strike her heaving breast.
Nor did Ossian forget the spear, in the wing of his war. He strewed the field with dead.—Young Hidalla came. Soft voice of [ 147 ] View Page Image streamy Clonra! Why dost thou lift the steel?—O that we met, in the strife of song, in thy own rushy vale!—Malthos beheld him low, and darkened as he rushed along. On either side of a stream, we bend in the echoing strife.—Heaven comes rolling down: around burst the voices of squally winds.—Hills are clothed, at times, in fire. Thunder rolls in wreaths of mist.—In darkness shrunk the foe: Morven’s warriors stood aghast.—Still I bent over the stream, amidst my whistling locks.
Then rose the voice of Fingal, and the sound of the flying foe, I saw the king, at times, in lightning, darkly-striding in his might. I struck my echoing shield, and hung forward on the steps of Alnecma: the foe is rolled before me, like a wreath of smoak.
The sun looked forth from his cloud. The hundred streams of Moi-lena shone. Slow rose the blue columns of mist, against the glittering hill.—Where are the mighty kings?Display note—Nor by that stream, nor wood, are they!—I hear the clang of arms!—Their strife is in the bosom of that mist.—Such is the contending of spirits in a nightly cloud, when they strive for the wintry wings of winds, and the rolling of the foam-covered waves.[ 148 ] View Page Image
I rushed along. The grey mist rose.—Tall, gleaming, they flood at Lubar.—Cathmor leaned against a rock. His half-fallen shield received the stream, that leapt from the moss above.—Towards him is the stride of Fingal: he saw the hero’s blood. His sword fell slowly to his side.—He spoke, midst his darkening joy.
Yields the race of Borbar-duthul? Or still does he lift the spear? Not unheard is thy name, at Atha, in the green dwelling of strangers. It has come, like the breeze of his desart, to the ear of Fingal.—Come to my hill of feasts: the mighty fail, at times. No fire am I to low-laid foes: I rejoice not over the fall of the brave.—To closeDisplay note the wound is mine: I have known the herbs of the hills. I seized their fair heads, on high, as they waved by their secret streams.—Thou art dark and silent, king of Atha of strangers.
By Atha of the stream, he said, there rises a mossy rock. On its head is the wandering of boughs, within the course of winds. Dark, in its face, is a cave, with its own loud rill.—There have I heard the tread of strangersDisplay note, when they passed to my hall of shells. [ 149 ] View Page Image Joy rose, like a flame, on my soul: I blest the echoing rock. Here be my dwelling, in darkness; in my grassy vale. From this I shall mount the breeze, that pursues my thistle's beard; or look down, on blue-winding Atha, from its wandering mist.
Why speaks the king of the tomb?—Ossian! the warrior has failed!—Joy meet thy soul, like a stream, Cathmor, friend of strangers!—My son, I hear the call of years; they take my spear as they pass along. Why does not Fingal, they seem to say, rest within his hall? Dost thou always delight in blood? In the tears of the sad?—No: ye darkly-rolling years, Fingal delights not in blood. Tears are wintry streams that waste away my soul. But, when I lie down to rest, then comes the mighty voice of war. It awakes me, in my hall, and calls forth all my steel.—It shall call it forth no more; Ossian, take thou thy father’s spear. Lift it, in battle, when the proud arise.
My fathers, Ossian, trace my steps; my deeds are pleasant to their eyes. Wherever I come forth to battle, on my field, are their columns of mist.—But mine arm rescued the feeble; the haughty sound my rage was fire. Never over the fallen did mine eye rejoice. For thisDisplay note, my fathers shall meet me, at the gates of [ 150 ] View Page Image their airy halls, tall, with robes of light, with mildly-kindled eyes. But, to the proud in arms, they are darkened moons in heaven, which send the fire of night, red-wandering over their face.
Father of heroes, Trenmor, dweller of eddying winds! I give thy spear to Ossian, let thine eye rejoice. Thee have I seen, at times, bright from between thy clouds; so appear to my son, when he is to lift the spear: then shall he remember thy mighty deeds, though thou art now but a blast.
He gave the spear to my hand, and raised, at once, a stone on high, to speak to future times, with its grey head of moss. Beneath he placed a swordDisplay note in earth, and one bright boss from his shield. Dark in thought, a-while, he bends: his word, at length, come forth.
When thou, O stone, shall moulder down, and lose thee, in the moss of years, then shall the traveller come, and whistling pass away.—Thou know'st not, feeble man, that fame once shone on [ 151 ] View Page Image Μoi-lena. Here Fingal resigned his spear, after the last of his fields.—Pass away, thou empty shade; in thy voice there is no renown. Thou dwellest by some peaceful stream; yet a few years, and thou art gone. No one remembers thee, thou dweller of thick mist!—But Fingal shall be clothed with fame, a beam of light to other times; for he went forth, in echoing steel, to save the weak in arms.
Brightening in his fame, the king strode to Lubar’s founding oak, where it bent, from its rock, over the bright-tumbling stream. Beneath it is a narrow plain, and the sound of the fount of the rock.—Here the standardDisplay note of Morven poured its wreaths on the wind, to mark the way of Ferad-artho, from his secret vale.——Bright, from his parted west, the sun of heaven looked abroad. The hero saw his people, and heard their shouts of joy. In broken ridges round, they glittered to the beam. The king rejoiced, as a hunter in his own green vale, when, after the storm is rolled away, he sees the gleaming sides of the rocks. The green thorn shakes, its head in their face; from their top, look forward the roes.
Display noteGrey, at his mossy cave, is bent the aged form of Clonmal. The eyes of the bard had failed. He leaned forward, on his staff. [ 152 ] View Page Image Bright, in her locks, before him, Sul-malla listened to the tale; the tale of the kings of Atha, in the days of old. The noise of battle had ceased in his ear: he stopt, and raised the secret sigh. The spirits of the dead, they said, often lightened over his soul. He saw the king of Atha low, beneath his bending tree.
Why art thou dark, said the maid? The strife of arms is past. SoonDisplay note shall he come to thy cave, over thy winding streams. The sun looks from the rocks of the west. The mists of the lake arise. Grey, they spread on that hill, the rushy dwelling of roes. From the mist shall my king appear!—Behold, he comes in his arms. Come to the cave of Clonmal, O my best beloved!
It was the spirit of Cathmor, stalking, large, a gleaming form. He sunk by the hollow stream, that roared between the hills.—"It was but the hunter, she said, who searches for the bed of the roe. His steps are not forth to war; his spouse expects him with night.—He shall, whistling, return, with the spoils of the dark-brown hinds."——Her eyes are turned to the hill; again the stately form came down. She rose, in the midst of joy. He retired in mist. Gradual vanish his limbs of smoak, and mix with the mountain-wind.—Then she knew that he fell! "King of Erin art thou low!"—Let Ossian forget her grief; it wastes the soul of ageDisplay note[ 153 ] View Page Image
Evening came down on Moi-lena. Grey rolled the streams of the land. Loud came forth the voice of Fingal: the beam of oaks arose. The people gathered round with gladness; with gladness blended with shades. They sidelong looked to the king, and beheld his unfinished joy.—Pleasant, from the way of the desart, the voice of music came. It seemed, at first, the noise of a stream, far-distant on its rocks. Slow it rolled along the hill, like the ruffled wing of a breeze, when it takes the tufted beard of the rocks, in the [ 154 ] View Page Image still season of night.—It was the voice of Condan, mixed with Carril’s trembling harp. They came, with blue-eyed Ferad-artho, to Mora of the streams.
Sudden bursts the song from our bards, on Lena: the host struck their shields midst the sound. Gladness rose brightening on the king, like the beam of a cloudy day, when it rises, on the green hill, before the roar of winds.—He struck the bossy shield of kings; at once they cease around. The people lean forward, from their spears, towards the voice of their landDisplay note.
Sons of Morven, spread the feast, send the night away on song. Ye have shone around me, and the dark storm is past. My people are the windy rocks, from which I spread my eagle-wings, when I rush forth to renown, and seize it on its field.—Οssian, thou hast the spear of Fingal: it is not the staff of a boy with which he strews the thistle round, young wanderer of the field.—No: it is the lance of the mighty, with which they stretched [ 155 ] View Page Image forth their hands to death. Look to thy fathers, my son; they are awful beams.—With morning lead Ferad-artho forth to the echoing halls of Temora. Remind him of the kings of Erin; the stately forms of old.—Let not the fallen be forgot, they were mighty in the field. Let Carril pour his song, that the kings may rejoice in their mist.—To-morrow I spread my sails to Selma's shaded walls; where streamy Duthula winds through the seats of roes.—FINIS.