[ 169 ] View Page Image

Sul-malla of Lumon: A Poem.

[ 170 ] View Page Image


This poem, which, properly speaking, is a continuation of the last, opens with an address to Sul-malla, the daughter of the king of Inis-huna, whom Ossian met, at the chace, as he returned from the battle of Rath-col. Sul-malla invites Ossian and Oscar to a feast, at the residence of her father, who was then absent in the wars.——Upon hearing their name and family, she relates an expedition of Fingal into Inis-huna. She casually mentioning Cathmor, chief of Atha, (who then assisted her father against his enemies) Ossian introduces the episode of Culgorm and Surandronlo, two Scandinavian kings, in whose wars Ossan himself and Cathmor were engaged on opposite sides.——The story is imperfect, a part of the original being lost.—Ossian, warned, in a dream, by the ghost of Trenmor, sets sail from Inis-huna.

[ 171 ] View Page Image

Sul-malla of Lumon: A Poem.

Display noteWho moves so stately, on Lumon, at the roar of the foamy waters? Her hair falls upon her heaving breast. White is her arm behind, as slow she bends the bow. Why dost thou wander in desarts, like a light thro’ a cloudy field? The [ 172 ] View Page Image young roes are panting, by their secret rocks.——Return, thou daughter of kings; the cloudy night is near.

It was the young branch of Lumon, Sul-malla of blue eyes. She sent the bard from her rock, to bid us to her feast. Amidst the song we sat down, in Conmor’s echoing hall. White moved the hands of Sul-malla, on the trembling strings. Half-heard, amidst the found, was the name of Atha’s king: he that was absent in battle for her own green land.—Nor absent from her soul was he: he came midst her thoughts by night: Ton-thena looked in, from the sky, and saw her tossing arms.

The sound of the shells had ceased. Amidst long locks, Sul-malla rose. She spoke with bended eyes, and asked of our course thro' seas; “for of the kings of men are ye, tall riders of the waveDisplay note.——Not unknown, I said, at his streams is he, the father of our race. Fingal has been heard of at Cluba, blue-eyed daughter [ 173 ] View Page Image of kings.—Nor only, at Cona’s stream, is Ossian and Oscar known. Foes trembled at our voice, and shrunk in other lands.

Not unmarked, said the maid, by Sul-malla, is the shield of Morven’s king. It hangs high, in Conmor’s hall, in memory of the past; when Fingal came to Cluba, in the days of other years. Loud roared the boar of Culdarnu, in the midst of his rocks and woods. Inis-huna sent her youths, but they failed; and virgins wept over tombs,—Careless went the king to Culdarnu. On his spear rolled the strength of the woods.—He was bright, they said, in his looks, the first of mortal men.—Nor at the feast were heard his words. His deeds passed from his soul of fire, like the rolling of vapours from the face of the wandering sun.—Not careless looked the blue eyes of Cluba on his stately steps. In white bosoms rose the king of Selma, in midst of their thoughts by night. But the winds bore the stranger to the echoing vales of his roes.——Nor lost to other lands was he, like a meteor that sinks in a cloud. He came forth, at times, in his brightness, to the distant dwelling of foes. His fame came, like the sound of winds, to Cluba’s woody valeDisplay note

[ 174 ] View Page Image

Darkness dwells in Cluba of harps: the race of kings is distant far; in battle is Conmor of spears; and LormarDisplay note king of streams. Nor darkening alone are they; a beam, from other lands, is nigh: the friend of strangersDisplay note in Atha, the troubler of the field. High, from their misty hills, look forth the blue eyes of Erin; for he is far away, young dweller of their souls.—Nor, harmless, white hands of Erin! is he in the skirts of war; he rolls ten thousand before him, in his distant field.

Not unseen by Ossian, I said, rushed Cathmor from his streams, when he poured his strength on I-thornoDisplay note isle of many waves. In strife met two kings in I-thorno, Culgorm and Suran-dronlo: each from his echoing isle, stern hunters of the boar!

[ 175 ] View Page Image

They met a boar, at a foamy stream: each pierced it with his spear. They strove for the fame of the deed: and gloomy battle rose. From isle to isle they sent a spear, broken and stained with blood, to call the friends of their fathers, in their sounding arms. Cathmor came, from Bolga, to Culgorm, red-eyed king: I aided Suran-dronlo, in his land of boars.

We rushed on either side of a stream, which roared thro’ a blasted heath. High broken rocks were round, with all their bending trees. Near are two circles of Loda, with the stone of power; where spirits descended, by night, in dark-red streams of fire.——There, mixed with the murmur of waters, rose the voice of aged men, they called the forms of night, to aid them in their war.

Display noteHeedless I stood, with my people, where fell the foamy stream from rocks. The moon moved red from the mountain. My song, at times, arose. Dark, on the other side, young Cathmor heard my voice; for he lay, beneath the oak, in all his gleaming arms.——Morning came; we rushed to fight: from wing to wing is the rolling of strife. They fell, like the thistle’s head, beneath autumnal winds.

In armour came a stately form: I mixed my strokes with the king. By turns our shields are pierced: loud rung our steely mails. His helmet fell to the ground. In brightness shone the foe. His [ 176 ] View Page Image eyes, two pleasant flames, rolled between his wandering locks.—I knew the king of Atha, and threw my spear on earth.—Dark, we turned, and silent passed to mix with other foes.

Not so passed the striving kingsDisplay note. They mixed in echoing fray; like the meeting of ghosts, in the dark wing of winds. Thro’ either breast rushed the spears; nor yet lay the foes on earth. A rock received their fall; and half-reclined they lay in death. Each held the lock of his foe; and grimly seemed to roll his eyes. The stream of the rock leapt on their shields, and mixed below with blood.

The battle ceased in I-thorno. The strangers met in peace: Cathmor from Atha of streams, and Ossian, king of harps. We placed the dead in earth. Our steps were by Runar’s bay. With the bounding boat, afar, advanced a ridgy wave. Dark was the rider of seas, but a beam of light was there, like the ray of the sun, in Stromlo’s rolling smoak. It was the daughterDisplay note of Suran-dronlo, [ 177 ] View Page Image wild in brightened looks. Her eyes were wandering flames, amidst disordered locks. Forward is her white arm, with the spear; her high-heaving breast is seen, white as foamy waves that rise, by turns, amidst rocks. They are beautiful, but they are terrible, and mariners call the winds.

Come, ye dwellers of Loda! Carchar, pale in the midst of clouds! Sluthmor, that stridest in airy halls! Corchtur, terrible in winds! Receive, from his daughter’s spear, the foes of Suran-dronlo.

No shadow, at his roaring streams; no mildly-looking form was he! When he took up his spear, the hawks shook their sounding wings: for blood was poured around the steps of dark-eyed Surandronlo.

He lighted me, no harmless beam, to glitter on his streams. Like meteors, I was bright, but I blasted the foes of Suran-dronlo——

[ 178 ] View Page Image

Nor unconcerned heard Sul-malla, the praise of Cathmor of shields. He was within her soul, like a fire in secret heath, which awakes at the voice of the blast, and sends its beam abroad. Amidst the song removed the daughter of kings, like the soft sound of a summer-breeze; when it lifts the heads of flowers, and curls the lakes and streams.

By night came a dream to Ossian; without form stood the shadow of Trenmor. He seemed to strike the dim shield, on Selma’s streamy rock. I rose, in my rattling steel; I knew that war was near. Before the winds our sails were spread; when Lumon shewed its streams to the morn.

Come from the watching of night, Malvina, lonely beam!