The Works of Ossian,
The Son of Fingal. In Two Volumes. Translated from the Galic Language
By James Macpherson.
Fortia factu patrum Virg.
The Third Edition. London:
Printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, at Tully's Head, near Surry Street, in the Strand.
MDCCLXV. [ [π1v] ] View Page Image
Price Two Shillings,
The second edition,
Poems of Ossian,
Son of Fingal.
By Hugh Blair, D. D.
One of the Ministers of the High Church, and Professor
of Rhetorick and Belles-Lettres, in the University
To which is added,
An Appendix, containing a variety of undoubted
Testimonies establishing their Authenticity.
Earl of Bute,
Knight of the most Noble Order of
the Garter, &c. &c. My Lord,
I Presume to present to your lordship a compleat edition of the Works of Ossian. They have already been honored with your approbation, and have been received with applause by men of taste throughout Europe. This address therefor is not an endeavour to secure the continuance of the public favor through the sanction of your name. Little solicitous myself about the reputation of an author, I permit, with no concern, the Old Bard to take his chances with the world: It proceeds, my Lord, from another cause; the ambition of being hereafter known to have met with your favor and protection in the execution of this work; an honor which will be envied me, perhaps, more some time [ [π2v] ] View Page Image hence than at present. I throw no reflexions on this age, but there is a great debt of fame owing to the Earl of Bute, which hereafter will be amply paid: there is also some share of reputation with-held from Ossian, which less prejudiced times may bestow. This familiarity between the Statesman and the Poet, gives propriety to this dedication; though your Lordship's avowed patronage of literature requires no adventitious aid to direct to you the address of authors. It is with pleasure I embrace this opportunity of testifying in public with what perfect attachment,
I am,James Macpherson.
your Lordship's most humble,
and most obedient servant,
|Fingal, an Epic Poem. Book I.Page 1|
|Comala: a Dramatic Poem125|
|The War of Caros: a Poem136|
|The War of Inis-thona: a Poem148|
|The Battle of Lora: a Poem158|
|Conlath and Cuthona: a Poem171|
|Carthon: a Poem179|
|The Death of Cuchullin: a Poem202|
|Darthula: a Poem218|
|Temora: an Epic Poem241|
|Carric-thura: a PoemPage 269|
|The Songs of Selma291|
|Calthon and Colmal: a Poem304|
|Lathmon: a Poem316|
|Oithona: a Poem334|
|Croma: a Poem344|
|Berrathon: a Poem356|
of the Poems of
Ossian the Son of Fingal.
Inquiries into the antiquities of nations afford more pleasure than any real advantage to mankind. The ingenious may form systems of history on probabilities and a few facts; but at a great distance of time, their accounts must be vague and uncertain. The infancy of states and kingdoms is as destitute of great events, as of the means of transmitting them to posterity. The arts of polished life, by which alone facts can be preserved with certainty, are the production of a well-formed community. It is then historians begin to write, and public transactions to be worthy remembrance. The actions of former times are left in obscurity, or magnified by uncertain traditions. Hence it is that we find so [ ii ] View Page Image much of the marvellous in the origin of every nation; posterity being always ready to believe any thing, however fabulous, that reflects honour on their ancestors. The Greeks and Romans were remarkable for this weakness. They swallowed the most absurd fables concerning the high antiquities of their respective nations. Good historians, however, rose very early amongst them, and transmitted, with lustre, their great actions to posterity. It is to them that they owe that unrivalled fame they now enjoy, while the great actions of other nations are involved in fables, or lost in obscurity. The Celtic nations afford a striking instance of this kind. They, though once the masters of Europe from the mouth of the river ObyDisplay note, in Russia, to Cape Finisterre, the western point of Gallicia in Spain, are very little mentioned in history. They trusted their fame to tradition and the songs of their bards, which, by the vicissitude of human affairs, are long since lost. Their ancient language is the only monument that remains of them; and the traces of it being found in places so widely distant of each other, serves only to shew the extent of their ancient power, but throws very little light on their history.[ iii ] View Page Image
Of all the Celtic nations, that which possessed old Gaul is the most renowned; not perhaps on account of worth superior to the rest, but for their wars with a people who had historians to transmit the fame of their enemies, as well as their own, to posterity. Britain was first peopled by them, according to the testimony of the best authors, its situation in respect to Gaul makes the opinion probable; but what puts it beyond all dispute, is that the same customs and language prevailed among the inhabitants of both in the days of Julius Cæsar.Display note
The colony from Gaul possessed themselves, at first, of that part of Britain which was next to their own country; and spreading northward, by degrees, as they increased in numbers, peopled the whole island. Some adventurers passing over from those parts of Britain that are within sight of Ireland, were the founders of the Irish nation: which is a more probable story than the idle fables of Milesian and Gallician colonies. Diodorus SiculusDisplay note mentions it as a thing well known in his time, that the inhabitants of Ireland were originally Britons; and his testimony is unquestionable, when we consider [ iv ] View Page Image that, for many ages, the language and customs of both nations were the same.
Tacitus was of opinion that the ancient Caledonians were of German extract. By the language and customs which always prevailed in the North of Scotland, and which are undoubtedly Celtic, one would be tempted to differ in opinion from that celebrated writer. The Germans, properly so called, were not the same with the ancient Celtæ. The manners and customs of the two nations were similar; but their language different. The GermansDisplay note are the genuine descendants of the ancient Daæ, afterwards well known by the name of Daci, and passed originally into Europe by the way of the northern countries, and settled beyond the Danube, towards the vast regions of Transilvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia; and from thence advanced by degrees into Germany. The CeltæDisplay note, it is certain, sent many colonies into that country, all of whom retained their own laws, language, and customs; and it is of them, if any colonies came from Germany into Scotland, that the ancient Caledonians were descended.
But whether the Caledonians were a colony of the Celtic Germans, or the same with the Gauls [ v ] View Page Image that first possessed themselves of Britain, is a matter of no moment at this distance of time. Whatever their origin was, we find them very numerous in the time of Julius Agricola, which is a presumption that they were long before settled in the country. The form of their government was a mixture of aristocracy and monarchy, as it was in all the countries where the Druids bore the chief sway. This order of men seems to have been formed on the same system with the Dactyli Idæi and Curetes of the ancients. Their pretended intercourse with heaven, their magic and divination were the same. The knowledge of the Druids in natural causes, and the properties of certain things, the fruit of the experiments of ages gained them a mighty reputation among the people. The esteem of the populace soon increased into a veneration for the order; which a cunning and ambitious tribe of men took care to improve, to such a degree, that they, in a manner, ingrossed the management of civil, as well as religious, matters. It is generally allowed that they did not abuse this extraordinary power; the preserving their character of sanctity was so essential to their influence, that they never broke out into violence or oppression. The chiefs were allowed to execute the laws, but the legislative power was entirely [ vi ] View Page Image in the hands of the DruidsDisplay note. It was by their authority that the tribes were united, in times of the greatest danger, under one head. This temporary king, or VergobretusDisplay note, was chosen by them, and generally laid down his office at the end of the war. These priests enjoyed long this extraordinary privilege among the Celtic nations who lay beyond the pale of the Roman empire. It was in the beginning of the second century that their power among the Caledonians begun to decline. The poems that celebrate Trathal and Cormac, ancestors to Fingal, are full of particulars concerning the fall of the Druids, which account for the total silence concerning their religion in the poems that are now given to the public.
The continual wars of the Caledonians against the Romans hindered the nobility from initiating themselves, as the custom formerly was, into the order of the Druids. The precepts of their religion were confined to a few, and were not much attended to by a people inured to war. The Vergobretus, or chief magistrate, was chosen without the concurrence of the hierarchy, or continued in his office against their will. Continual power strengthened his interest among [ vii ] View Page Image the tribes, and enabled him to send down, as hereditary to his posterity, the office he had only received himself by election.
On occasion of a new war against the King of the World, as the poems emphatically call the Roman emperor, the Druids, to vindicate the honour of the order, began to resume their ancient privilege of chusing the Vergobretus. Garmal, the son of Tarno, being deputed by them, came to the grandfather of the celebrated Fingal, who was then Vergobretus, and commanded him, in the name of the whole order, to lay down his office. Upon his refusal, a civil war commenced, which soon ended in almost the total extinction of the religious order of the Druids. A few that remained, retired to the dark recesses of their groves, and the caves they had formerly used for their meditations. It is then we find them in the circle of stones, and unheeded by the world. A total disregard for the order, and utter abhorrence of the Druidical rites ensued. Under this cloud of public hate, all that had any knowledge of the religion of the Druids became extinct, and the nation fell into the last degree of ignorance of their rites and ceremonies.
It is no matter of wonder then, that Fingal and his son Ossian make so little, if any, mention [ viii ] View Page Image of the Druids, who were the declared enemies to their succesion in the supreme magistracy. It is a singular case, it must be allowed, that there are no traces of religion in the poems ascribed to Ossian; as the poetical compositions of other nations are so closely connected with their mythology. It is hard to account for it to those who are not made acquainted with the manner of the old Scottish bards. That race of men carried their notions of martial honour to an extravagant pitch. Any aid given their heroes in battle, was thought to derogate from their fame; and the bards immediately transferred the glory of the action to him who had given that aid.
Had Ossian brought down gods, as often as Homer hath done, to assist his heroes, this poem had not consisted of elogiums on his friends, but of hymns to these superior beings. To this day, those that write in the Galic language seldom mention religion in their profane poetry; and when they professedly write of religion, they never interlard with their compositions, the actions of their heroes. This custom alone, even though the religion of the Druids had not been previously extinguished, may, in some measure, account for Ossian's silence concerning the religion of his own times.[ ix ] View Page Image
To say, that a nation is void of all religion, is the same thing as to say, that it does not consist of people endued with reason. The traditions of their fathers, and their own observations on the works of nature, together with that superstition which is inherent in the human frame, have, in all ages, raised in the minds of men some idea of a superior being.—Hence it is, that in the darkest times, and amongst the most barbarous nations, the very populace themselves had some faint notion, at least, of a divinity. It would be doing injustice to Ossian, who, upon no occasion, shews a narrow mind, to think, that he had not opened his conceptions to that primitive and greatest of all truths. But let Ossian's religion be what it will, it is certain he had no knowledge of Christianity, as there is not the least allusion to it, or any of its rites, in his poems; which absolutely fixes him to an æra prior to the introduction of that religion. The persecution begun by Dioclesian, in the year 303, is the most probable time in which the first dawning of Christianity in the north of Britain can be fixed.—The humane and mild character of Constantius Chlorus, who commanded then in Britain, induced the persecuted Christians to take refuge under him. Some of them, through a zeal to propagate their tenets, or through fear, [ x ] View Page Image went beyond the pale of the Roman empire, and settled among the Caledonians; who were the more ready to hearken to their doctrines, as the religion of the Druids had been exploded so long before.
These missionaries, either through choice, or to give more weight to the doctrine they advanced, took possession of the cells and groves of the Druids; and it was from this retired life they had the name of CuldeesDisplay note, which in the language of the country signified sequestered persons. It was with one of the Culdees that Ossian, in his extreme old age, is said to have disputed concerning the Christian religion. This dispute is still extant, and is couched in verse, according to the custom of the times. The extreme ignorance on the part of Ossian, of the Christian tenets, shews, that that religion had only been lately introduced, as it is not easy to conceive, how one of the first rank could be totally unacquainted with a religion that had been known for any time in the country. The dispute bears the genuine marks of antiquity. The obsolete phrases and expressions peculiar to the times, prove it to be no forgery. If Ossian then lived at the introduction of Christianity, as by all appearance [ xi ] View Page Image he did, his epoch will be the latter end of the third, and beginning of the fourth century. What puts this point beyond dispute, is the allusion in his poems to the history of the times.
The exploits of Fingal against CaraculDisplay note, the son of the King of the World, are among the first brave actions of his youth. A complete poem, which relates to this subject, is printed in this collection.
In the year 210 the emperor Severus, after returning from his expeditions against the Caledonians, at York fell into the tedious illness of which he afterwards died. The Caledonians and Maiatæ, resuming courage from his indisposition, took arms in order to recover the possessions they had lost. The enraged emperor commanded his army to march into their country, and to destroy it with fire and sword. His orders were but ill executed, for his son, Caracalla, was at the head of the army, and his thoughts were entirely taken up with the hopes of his father's death, and with schemes to supplant his brother Geta.—He scarcely had entered the enemy's country, when news was [ xii ] View Page Image brought him that Severus was dead.—A sudden peace is patched up with the Caledonians, and, as it appears from Dion Cassius, the country they had lost to Severus was restored to them.
The Caracul of Fingal is no other than Caracalla, who, as the son of Severus, the Emperor of Rome, whose dominions were extended almost over the known world, was not without reason called in the poems of Ossian, the Son of the King of the World. The space of time between 211, the year Severus died, and the beginning of the fourth century, is not so great, but Ossian the son of Fingal, might have seen the Christians whom the persecution under Dioclesian had driven beyond the pale of the Roman empire.
Ossian, in one of his many lamentations on the death of his beloved son Oscar, mentions among his great actions, a battle which he fought against Caros, king of ships, on the banks of the winding CarunDisplay note. It is more than probable, that the Caros mentioned here, is the same with the noted usurper Carausius, who assumed the purple in the year 287, and seizing on Britain, defeated the emperor Maximian Herculius, in several naval engagements, which gives propriety [ xiii ] View Page Image to his being called in Ossian's poems, the King of Ships. The winding Carun is that small river retaining still the name of Carron, and runs in the neighbourhood of Agricola's wall, which Carausius repaired to obstruct the incursions of the Caledonians. Several other passages in the poems allude to the wars of the Romans; but the two just mentioned clearly fix the epoch of Fingal to the third century; and this account agrees exactly with the Irish histories, which place the death of Fingal, the son of Comhal, in the year 283, and that of Oscar and their own celebrated Cairbre, in the year 296.
Some people may imagine, that the allusions to the Roman history might have been industriously inserted into the poems, to give them the appearance of antiquity. This fraud must then have been committed at least three ages ago, as the passages in which the allusions are made, are alluded to often in the compositions of those times.
Every one knows what a cloud of ignorance and barbarism overspread the north of Europe three hundred years ago. The minds of men, addicted to superstition, contracted a narrowness that destroyed genius. Accordingly we find the compositions of those times trivial and puerile to the last degree. But let it be allowed, that, [ xiv ] View Page Image amidst all the untoward circumstances of the age, a genius might arise, it is not easy to determine what could induce him to give the honour of his compositions to an age so remote. We find no fact that he has advanced, to favour any designs which could be entertained by any man who lived in the fifteenth century. But should we suppose a poet, through humour, or for reasons which cannot be seen at this distance of time, would ascribe his own compositions to Ossian, it is next to impossible, that he could impose upon his countrymen, when all of them were so well acquainted with the traditional poems of their ancestors.
The strongest objection to the authenticity of the poems now given to the public under the name of Ossian, is the improbability of their being handed down by tradition through so many centuries. Ages of barbarism some will say, could not produce poems abounding with the disinterested and generous sentiments sο conspicuous in the compositions of Ossian; and could these ages produce them, it is impossible but they must be lost, or altogether corrupted in a long succession of barbarous generations.
These objections naturally suggest themselves to men unacquainted with the ancient state of the northern parts of Britain. The bards, who [ xv ] View Page Image were an inferior order of the Druids, did not share their bad fortune. They were spared by the victorious king, as it was through their means only he could hope for immortality to his fame. They attended him in the camp, and contributed to establish his power by their songs. His great actions were magnified, and the populace, who had no ability to examine into his character narrowly, were dazzled with his fame in the rhimes of the bards. In the mean time, men affirmed sentiments that are rarely to be met with in an age of barbarism. The bards who were originally the disciples of the Druids, had their minds opened, and their ideas enlarged, by being initiated in the learning of that celebrated order. They could form a perfect hero in their own minds, and ascribe that character to their prince. The inferior chiefs made this ideal character the model of their conduct, and by degrees brought their minds to that generous spirit which breathes in all the poetry of the times. The prince, flattered by his bards, and rivalled by his own heroes, who imitated his character as described in the eulogies of his poets, endeavoured to excel his people in merit, as he was above them in station. This emulation continuing, formed at last the general character of the nation, happily compounded of [ xvi ] View Page Image what is noble in barbarity, and virtuous and generous in a polished people.
When virtue in peace, and bravery in war, are the characteristics of a nation, their actions become interesting, and their fame worthy of immortality. A generous spirit is warmed with noble actions, and becomes ambitious of perpetuating them. This is the true source of that divine inspiration, to which the poets of all ages pretended. When they found their themes inadequate to the warmth of their imaginations, they varnished them over with fables, supplied by their own fancy, or furnished by absurd traditions. These fables, however ridiculous, had their abettors; posterity either implicitly believed them, or through a vanity natural to mankind, pretended that they did. They loved to place the founders of their families in the days of fable, when poetry, without the fear of contradiction, could give what characters she pleased of her heroes. It is to this vanity that we owe the preservation of what remain of the works of Ossian. His poetical merit made his heroes famous in a country where heroism was much esteemed and admired. The posterity of these heroes, or those who pretended to be descended from them, heard with pleasure the eulogiums of their ancestors; bards were employed to repeat [ xvii ] View Page Image the poems, and to record the connection of their patrons with chiefs so renowned. Every chief in process of time had a bard in his family, and the office became at last hereditary. By the succession of these bards, the poems concerning the ancestors of the family were handed down from generation to generation; they were repeated to the whole clan on solemn occasions, and always alluded to in the new compositions of the bards. This custom came down near to our own times; and after the bards were discontinued, a great number in a clan retained by memory, or committed to writing, their compositions, and founded the antiquity of their families on the authority of their poems.
The use of letters was not known in the North of Europe till long after the institution of the bards: the records of the families of their patrons, their own, and more ancient poems were handed down by tradition. Their poetical compositions were admirably contrived for that purpose. They were adapted to music; and the most perfect harmony observed. Each verse was so connected with those which preceded or followed it, that if one line had been remembered in a stanza, it was almost impossible to forget the rest. The cadences followed in so natural a gradation, and the words were sο adapted [ xviii ] View Page Image to the common turn of the voice, after it is raised to a certain key, that it was almost impossible, from a similarity of sound, to substitute one word for another. This excellence is peculiar to the Celtic tongue, and is perhaps to be met with in no other language. Nor does this choice of words clog the sense or weaken the expression. The numerous flections of consonants, and variation in declension, make the language very copious.
The descendants of the Celtæ, who inhabited Britain and its isles, were not singular in this method of preserving the most precious monuments of their nation. The ancient laws of the Greeks were couched in verse, and handed down by tradition. The Spartans, through a long habit, became so fond of this custom, that they would never allow their laws to be committed to writing. The actions of great men, and the elogiums of kings and heroes were preserved in the same manner. All the historical monuments of the old Germans were comprehended in their ancient songsDisplay note; which were either hymns to their gods, or elegies in praise of their heroes, and were intended to perpetuate the great events in their nation which were carefully interwoven with [ xix ] View Page Image them. This species of composition was not committed to writing, but delivered by oral traditionDisplay note. The care they took to have the poems taught to their children, the uninterrupted custom of repeating them upon certain occasions, and the happy measure of the verse, served to preserve them for a long time uncorrupted. This oral chronicle of the Germans was not forgot in the eighth century, and it probably would have remained to this day, had not learning, which thinks every thing, that is not committed to writing, fabulous, been introduced. It was from poetical traditions that Garcillasso composed his account of the Yncas of Peru. The Peruvians had lost all other monuments of their history, and it was from ancient poems which his mother, a princess of the blood of the Yncas, taught him in his youth, that he collected the materials of his history. If other nations then, that had been often overun by enemies, and had sent abroad and received colonies, could, for many ages, preserve, by oral tradition, their laws and histories uncorrupted, it is much more probable that the ancient Scots, a people so free of intermixture with foreigners, and so strongly attached to the [ xx ] View Page Image memory of their ancestors, had the works of their bards handed down with great purity.
It will seem strange to some, that poems admired for many centuries in one part of this kingdom should be hitherto unknown in the other; and that the British, who have carefully traced out the works of genius in other nations, should so long remain strangers to their own. This, in a great measure, is to be imputed to those who understood both languages and never attempted a translation. They, from being acquainted but with detached pieces, or from a modesty, which perhaps the present translator ought, in prudence, to have followed, despaired of making the compositions of their bards agreeable to an English reader. The manner of those compositions is so different from other poems, and the ideas so confined to the most early state of society, that it was thought they had not enough of variety to please a polished age.
This was long the opinion of the translator of the following collection; and though he admired the poems, in the original, very early, and gathered part of them from tradition for his own amusement, yet he never had the smallest hopes of seeing them in an English dress. He was sensible that the strength and manner of both languages were very different, and that it [ xxi ] View Page Image was next to impossible to translate the Galic poetry into any thing of tolerable English verse; a prose translation he could never think of, as it must necessarily fall short of the majesty of an original.
It is therefore highly probable that the compositions of Ossian would have still remained in the obscurity of a lost language, had not a gentleman, who has himself made a figure in the poetical world, insisted with the present editor for a literal prose translation of some detached piece. He approved of the specimen and, through him, copies came to the hands of several people of taste in Scotland.
Frequent transcription and the corrections of those, who thought they mended the poems by modernizing the ideas, corrupted them to such a degree, that the translator was induced to hearken to the solicitations of a gentleman deservedly esteemed in Scotland, for his taste and knowledge in polite literature, and published the genuine copies under the title of Fragments of Ancient Poetry. The fragments, upon their first appearance, were so much approved of, that several people of rank, as well as taste, prevailed with the translator to make a journey to the Highlands and western isles, in order to recover what remained of the works of [ xxii ] View Page Image Ossian the son of Fingal, the best, as well as most ancient of those who are celebrated in tradition for their poetical genius. A detail of this journey would be both tedious and unentertaining; let is suffice therefore that, after a peregrination of six months, the translator collected from tradition, and some manuscripts, all the poems in the following collection, and some more still in his hands, though rendered less complete by the ravages of time.
The action of the poem that stands the first, was not the greatest or most celebrated of the exploits of Fingal. His wars were very numerous, and each of them afforded a theme which employed the genius of his son. But, excepting the present poem, those pieces are in a great measure lost, and there only remain a few fragments of them in the hands of the translator. Tradition has still preserved, in many places, the story of the poems, and many now living have heard them, in their youth, repeated.
The complete work, now printed, would, in a short time, have shared the fate of the rest. The genius of the highlanders has suffered a great change within these few years. The communication with the rest of the island is open, and the introduction of trade and manufactures has destroyed that leisure which was formerly [ xxiii ] View Page Image dedicated to hearing and repeating the poems of ancient times. Many have now learned to leave their mountains, and seek their fortunes in a milder climate; and though a certain amor patriæ may sometimes bring them back, they have, during their absence, imbibed enough of foreign manners to despise the customs of their ancestors. Bards have been long disused, and the spirit of genealogy has greatly subsided. Men begin to be less devoted to their chiefs, and consanguinity is not so much regarded. When property is established, the human mind confines its views to the pleasure it procures. It does not go back to antiquity, or look forward to succeeding ages. The cares of life increase, and the actions of other times no longer amuse. Hence it is, that the taste for their ancient poetry is at a low ebb among the highlanders. They have not, however, thrown off the good qualities of their ancestors. Hospitality still subsists, and an uncommon civility to strangers. Friendship is inviolable, and revenge less blindly followed than formerly.
To speak of the poetical merit of the poems, would be an anticipation on the judgment of the public: And all that can be said of the translation, is, that it is literal, and that simplicity is studied. The arrangement of the words in the [ xxiv ] View Page Image original is imitated, and the inversions of the style observed. As the translator claims no merit from his version, he hopes for the indulgence of the public where he fails. He wishes that the imperfect semblance he draws, may not prejudice the world against an original, which contains what is beautiful in simplicity, and grand in the sublime.
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
Argument to Book I.
Cuchullin, (general of the Irish tribes, in the minority of Cormac, king of Ireland) sitting alone beneath a tree, at the gate of Tura, a castle of Ulster, (the other chiefs having gone on a hunting party to Cromla, a neighbouring hill) is informed of the landing of Swaran, king of Lochlin, by Moran, the son of Fithil, one of his scouts. He convenes the chiefs; a council is held, and disputes run high about giving battle to the enemy. Connal, the petty king of Togorma, and an intimate friend of Cuchullin, was for retreating till Fingal, king of those Caledonians who inhabited the north-west coast of Scotland, whose aid had been previously sollicited, should arrive, but Calmar, the son of Matha, lord of Lara, a country in Connaught, was for engaging the enemy immediately.—Cuchullin, of himself willing to fight, went into the opinion of Calmar. Marching towards the enemy, he missed three of his bravest heroes, Fergus, Duchomar, and Caithbat. Fergus arriving, tells Cuchullin of the death of the two other chiefs; which introduces the affecting episode of Morna, the daughter of Cormac—The army of Cuchullin is descried at a distance by Swaran, who sent the son of Arno to observe the motions of the enemy, while he himself ranged his forces in order of battle.——The son of Arno returning to Swaran, describes to him Cuchullin's chariot, and the terrible appearance of that hero. The armies engage, but night coming on, leaves the victory undecided. Cuchullin, according to the hospitality of the times, sends to Swaran a formal invitation to a feast, by his bard Carril, the son of Kinfena.—Swaran refuses to come. Carril relates to Cuchullin the story of Grudar and Brassolis. A party, by Connal's advice, is sent to observe the enemy; which closes the action of the first day.[ 3 ] View Page Image
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
CuchullinDisplay note sat by Tura's wall; by the tree of the rustling leaf.—His spear leaned against the mossy rock. His shield lay [ 4 ] View Page Image by him on the grass. As he thought of mighty CarbarDisplay note, a hero whom he slew in war; the scoutDisplay note of the ocean came, MoranDisplay note the son of Fithil.
Rise, said the youth, Cuchullin, rise; I see the ships of Swaran. Cuchullin, many are the foe: many the heroes of the dark-rolling sea.
Moran! replied the blue-eyed chief, thou ever tremblest, son of Fithil: Thy fears have much increased the foe. Perhaps it is the kingDisplay note of the lonely hills coming to aid me on green Ullin's plains.[ 5 ] View Page Image
I saw their chief, says Moran, tall as a rock of ice. His spear is like that blasted fir. His shield like the rising moon. He sat on a rock on the shore: his dark host rolled, like clouds around him.——Many, chief of men! I said, many are our hands of war.——Well art thou named, the Mighty Man, but many mighty men are seen from Tura's windy walls.——He answered, like a wave on a rock, who in this land appears like me? Heroes stand not in my presence: they fall to earth beneath my hand. None can meet Swaran in the fight but Fingal, king of stormy hills. Once we wrestled on the heath of MalmorDisplay note, and our heels overturned the wood. Rocks fell from their place; and rivulets, changing their course, fled murmuring from our strife. Three days we renewed our strife, and heroes stood at a distance and trembled. On the fourth, Fingal says, that the king of the ocean fell; but Swaran says, he stood. Let dark Cuchullin yield to him that is strong as the storms of Malmor.
No: replied the blue-eyed chief, I will never yield to man. Dark Cuchullin will be great or dead. Go, Fithil's son, and take my spear: [ 6 ] View Page Imagestrike the sounding shield of CabaitDisplay note. It hangs at Tura's rustling gate; the sound of peace is not its voice. My heroes shall hear on the hill.
He went and struck the bossy shield. The hills and their rocks replied. The sound spread along the wood: deer start by the lake of roes. CurachDisplay note leapt from the sounding rock; and Connal of the bloody spear. Crugal'sDisplay note breast of snow beats high. The son of Favi leaves the dark-brown hind. It is the shield of war, said Ronnar, the spear of Cuchullin, said Lugar.——Son of the sea put on thy arms! Calmar lift thy sounding steel! Puno! horrid hero, rise: Cairbar from thy red tree of Cromla. Bend thy white knee, O Eth; and descend from the streams of Lena.——Ca-olt stretch thy white side as thou movest along the whirling heath of Mora: thy side that is white as the foam of the troubled sea, when the dark winds pour it on the murmuring rocks of CuthonDisplay note.[ 7 ] View Page Image
Now I behold the chiefs in the pride of their former deeds; their souls are kindled at the battles of old, and the actions of other times. Their eyes are like flames of fire, and roll in search of the foes of the land.——Their mighty hands are on their swords; and lightning pours from their sides of steel.——They came like streams from the mountains; each rushed roaring from his hill. Bright are the chiefs of battle in the armour of their fathers.——Gloomy and dark their heroes followed, like the gathering of the rainy clouds behind the red meteors of heaven.——The sounds of crashing arms ascend. The grey dogs howl between.——Unequally bursts the song of battle; and rocking CromlaDisplay note echoes round. On Lena's dusky heath they stood, like mistDisplay note that shades the hills of autumn: when broken and dark it settles high, and lifts its head to heaven.[ 8 ] View Page Image
Hail, said Cuchullin, sons of the narrow vales, hail ye hunters of the deer. Another sport is drawing near: it is like the dark rolling of that wave on the coast. Shall we fight, ye sons of war! or yield green InnisfailDisplay note to Lochlin?——O ConnalDisplay note speak, thou first of men! thou breaker of the shields! thou hast often fought with Lochlin; wilt thou lift up thy father's spear?
Cuchullin! calm the chief replied, the spear of Connal is keen. It delights to shine in battle, and to mix with the blood of thousands. But tho' my hand is bent on war, my heart is for the peace of ErinDisplay note. Behold, thou first in Cormac's war, the sable fleet of Swaran. His masts are as numerous on our coast as reeds in [ 9 ] View Page Imagethe lake of Lego. His ships are like forests cloathed with mist, when the trees yield by turns to the squally wind. Many are his chiefs in battle. Connal is for peace.——Fingal would shun his arm the first of mortal men: Fingal that scatters the mighty, as stormy winds the heath; when the streams roar thro' echoing Cona: and night settles with all her clouds on the hill.
Fly, thou chief of peace, said CalmarDisplay note the son of Matha; fly, Connal, to thy silent hills, where the spear of battle never shone; pursue the dark-brown deer of Cromla: and stop with thine arrows the bounding roes of Lena. But, blue-eyed son of Semo, Cuchullin, ruler of the war, scatter thou the sons of LochlinDisplay note, and roar thro' the ranks of their pride. Let no vessel of the kingdom of Snow bound on the dark-rolling waves of Inis-toreDisplay note.
O ye dark winds of Erin rise! and roar ye whirlwinds of the heath! Amidst the tempest let me die, torn in a cloud by angry ghosts of men; amidst the tempest let Calmar die, if ever chace was sport to him so much as the battle of shields.[ 10 ] View Page Image
Calmar! slow replied the chief, I never fled, O Matha's son. I was swift with my friends in battle, but small is the fame of Connal. The battle was won in my presence, and the valiant overcame. But, son of Semo, hear my voice, regard the ancient throne of Cormac. Give wealth and half the land for peace, till Fingal come with battle. Or, if war be thy choice, I lift the sword and spear. My joy shall be in the midst of thousands, and my soul brighten in the gloom of the fight.
To me, Cuchullin replies, pleasant is the noise of arms: pleasant as the thunder of heaven before the shower of Spring. But gather all the shining tribes that I may view the sons of war. Let them move along the heath, bright as the sun-shine before a storm; when the west wind collects the clouds and the oaks of Morven eccho along the shore.
But where are my friends in battle? The companions of my arm in danger? Where art thou, white-bosom'd Cathbat? Where is that cloud in war, DuchomarDisplay note: and hast thou left me, O FergusDisplay note! in the day of the storm? Fergus, first in our joy at the feast; son of [ 11 ] View Page ImageRossa! arm of death! comest thou like a roeDisplay note from Malmor? Like a hart from the ecchoing hills? ——Hail thou son of Rossa! what shades the soul of war?
Four stonesDisplay note, replied the chief, rise on the grave of Cathbat.——These hands have laid in earth Duchomar, that cloud in war. Cathbat, thou son of Torman, thou wert a sun-beam on the hill.——And thou, O valiant Duchomar, like the mist of marshy Lano; when it sails over the plains of autumn and brings death to the people. Morna! thou fairest of maids! calm is thy sleep in the cave of the rock. Thou hast fallen in darkness like a star, that shoots athwart the desart, when the traveller is alone, and mourns the transient beam.
Say, said Semo's blue-eyed son, say how fell the chiefs of Erin? Fell they by the sons of [ 12 ] View Page Image Lochlin, striving in the battle of heroes? Or what confines the chiefs of Cromla to the dark and narrow houseDisplay note?
Cathbat, replied the hero, fell by the sword of Duchomar at the oak of the noisy streams. Duchomar came to Tura's cave, and spoke to the lovely Morna.
MornaDisplay note, fairest among women, lovely daughter of Cormac-cairbar. Why in the circle of stones; in the cave of the rock alone? The stream murmurs hoarsely. The old tree's groan is in the wind. The lake is troubled before thee, and dark are the clouds of the sky. But thou art like snow on the heath; and thy hair like the mist of Cromla; when it curls on the rocks, and shines to the beam of the west.——Thy breasts are like two smooth rocks seen from Branno of the streams. Thy arms like two white pillars in the halls of the mighty Fingal.
From whence, the white-armed maid replied, from whence, Duchomar the most gloomy of men? Dark are thy brows and terrible. Red are thy rolling eyes. Does Swaran appear on the sea? What of the foe, Duchomar?
From the hill I return, O Morna, from the hill of the dark-brown hinds. Three have I [ 13 ] View Page Image slain with my bended yew. Three with my long bounding dogs of the chace.——Lovely daughter of Cormac, I love thee as my soul.——I have slain one stately deer for thee.——High was his branchy head; and fleet his feet of wind.
Duchomar! calm the maid replied, I love thee not, thou gloomy man.——Hard is thy heart of rock, and dark thy terrible brow. But Cathbat, thou son of TormanDisplay note, thou art the love of Morna. Thou art like a sun-beam on the hill in the day of the gloomy storm. Sawest thou the son of Torman, lovely on the hill of his hinds? Here the daughter of Cormac waits the coming of Cathbat.
And long shall Morna wait, Duchomar said, his blood is on my sword.—Long shall Morna wait for him. He fell at Branno's stream. High on Cromla I will raise his tomb, daughter of Cormac-cairbar; but fix thy love on Duchomar, his arm is strong as a storm.—
And is the son of Torman fallen? said the maid of the tearful eye. Is he fallen on his ecchoing hill; the youth with the breast of snow? he that was first in the chace of the hill; the foe of the strangers of the ocean.——Duchomar [ 14 ] View Page Image thou art darkDisplay note indeed, and cruel is thy arm to Morna. But give me that sword, my foe; I love the blood of Caithbat.
He gave the sword to her tears; but she pierced his manly breast. He fell, like the bank of a mountain-stream; stretched out his arm and said;
Daughter of Cormac-cairbar, thou hast slain Duchomar. The sword is cold in my breast: Morna, I feel it cold. Give me to MoinaDisplay note the maid; Duchomar was the dream of her night. She will raise my tomb; and the hunter shall see it and praise me. But draw the sword from my breast; Morna, the steel is cold.
She came, in all her tears, she came, and drew it from his breast. He pierced her white side with steel; and spread her fair locks on the ground. Her bursting blood sounds from her side: and her white arm is stained with red. Rolling in death she lay and Tura's cave answered to her sighs.——
Peace, said Cuchullin, to the souls of the heroes; their deeds were great in danger. Let them ride aroundDisplay note me on clouds and shew [ 15 ] View Page Image their features of war: that my soul may be strong in danger; my arm like the thunder of heaven.——But be thou on a moon-beam, O Morna, near the window of my rest; when my thoughts are of peace; and the din of arms is over.——Gather the strength of the tribes, and move to the Wars of Erin.——Attend the car of my battles; and rejoice in the noise of my course.——Place three spears by my side; and follow the bounding of my steeds; that my soul may be strong in my friends, when the battle darkens round the beams of my steel.
As rushes a streamDisplay note of foam from the dark shady steep of Cromla; when the thunder is rolling above, and dark-brown night on half the hill. So fierce, so vast, and so terrible rushed on the sons of Erin. The chief like a whale [ 16 ] View Page Image of ocean, whom all his billows follow, poured valour forth as a stream, rolling his might along the shore.
The sons of Lochlin heard the noise as the sound of a winter-stream. Swaran struck his bossy shield, and called the son of Arno. What murmur rolls along the hill like the gathered flies of evening? The sons of Innis-fail descend, or rustling winds roar in the distant wood. Such is the noise of Gormal before the white tops of my waves arise. O son of Arno, ascend the hill and view the dark face of the heath.
He went, and trembling, swift returned. His eyes rolled wildly round. His heart beat high against his side. His words were faultering, broken, slow.
Rise, son of ocean, rise chief of the dark-brown shields. I see the dark, the mountain-stream of the battle: the deep-moving strength of the sons of Erin.——The car, the car of battle comes, like the flame of death; the rapid car of Cuchullin, the noble son of Semo. It bends behind like a wave near a rock; like the golden mist of the heath. Its sides are embossed with stones, and sparkle like the sea round the [ 17 ] View Page Image boat of night. Of polished yew is its beam, and its seat of the smoothest bone. The sides are replenished with spears; and the bottom is the footstool of heroes. Before the right side of the car is seen the snorting horse. The high-maned, broad-breasted, proud, high-leaping strong steed of the hill. Loud and resounding is his hoof; the spreading of his mane above is like that stream of smoke on the heath. Bright are the sides of the steed, and his name is Sulin-Sifadda.
Before the left side of the car is seen the snorting horse. The dark-maned, high-headed, strong-hooffed, fleet, bounding son of the hill: his name is Dusronnal among the stormy sons of the sword.——A thousand thongs bind the car on high. Hard polished bits shine in a wreath of foam. Thin thongs bright-studded with gems, bend on the stately necks of the steeds.——The steeds that like wreaths of mist fly over the streamy vales. The wildness of deer is in their course, the strength of the eagle descending on her prey. Their noise is like the blast of winter on the sides of the snow-headed GormalDisplay note.[ 18 ] View Page Image
Within the car is seen the chief; the strong stormy son of the sword; the hero's name is Cuchullin, son of Semo king of shells. His red cheek is like my polished yew. The look of his blue-rolling eye is wide beneath the dark arch of his brow. His hair flies from his head like a flame, as bending forward he wields the spear. Fly, king of ocean, fly; he comes, like a storm, along the streamy vale.
When did I fly, replied the king, from the battle of many spears? When did I fly, son of Arno, chief of the little soul? I met the storm of Gormal when the foam of my waves was high; I met the storm of the clouds and shall I fly from a hero? Were it Fingal himself my soul should not darken before him.——Rise to the battle, my thousands; pour round me like the ecchoing main. Gather round the bright steel of your king; strong as the rocks of my land; that meet the storm with joy, and stretch their dark woods to the wind.
As autumn'sDisplay note dark storms pour from two ecchoing hills, towards each other approached [ 19 ] View Page Image the heroes.——As two dark streams from high rocks meet, and mix and roar on the plain; loud, rough and dark in battle meet Lochlin and Innis-fail. Chief mixed his strokes with chief, and man with man; steel, clanging, sounded on steel, helmets are cleft on high. Blood bursts and smoaks around.——Strings twang on the polished yews. Darts rush along the sky. Spears fall like the circles of light that gild the stormy face of the night.
As the troubled noise of the ocean when roll the waves on high; as the last peal of the thunder of heaven, such is the noise of battle. Though Cormac's hundred bards were there to give the war to song; feeble were the voices of a hundred bards to send the deaths to future times. For many were the falls of the heroes; and wide poured the blood of the valiant.[ 20 ] View Page Image
Mourn, ye sons of the song, the death of the noble SithallinDisplay note.——Let the sighs of Fiöna rise on the dark heaths of her lovely Ardan.——They fell, like two hinds of the desart, by the hands of the mighty Swaran; when, in the midst of thousands he roared like the shrill spirit of a storm, that sits dim, on the clouds of Gormal, and enjoys the death of the mariner.
Nor slept thy hand by thy side, chief of the isle of mistDisplay note; many were the deaths of thine arm, Cuchullin, thou son of Semo. His sword was like the beam of heaven when it pierces the sons of the vale; when the people are blasted and fall, and all the hills are burning around.——DusronnalDisplay note snorted over the bodies of heroes; and SifaddaDisplay note bathed his hoof in blood. The battle lay behind them as groves overturned on the desart of Cromla; when the blast has passed the heath laden with the spirits of night.[ 21 ] View Page Image
Weep on the rocks of roaring winds, O maid of InistoreDisplay note, bend thy fair head over the waves, thou fairer than the ghost of the hills; when it moves in a sun-beam at noon over the silence of Morven. He is fallen! thy youth is low; pale beneath the sword of Cuchullin. No more shall valour raise the youth to match the blood of kings.——Trenar, lovely Trenar died, thou maid of Inistore. His gray dogs are howling at home, and see his passing ghost. His bow is in the hall unstrung. No sound is in the heath of his hinds.
As roll a thousand waves to the rocks, so Swaran's host came on; as meets a rock a thousand waves, so Inisfail met Swaran. Death raises all his voices around, and mixes with the sound of shields.—Each hero is a pillar of darkness, and the sword a beam of fire in his hand. The field echoes from wing to wing, as [ 22 ] View Page Image a hundred hammers that rise by turns on the red son of the furnace.
Who are these on Lena's heath that are so gloomy and dark? Who are these like two cloudsDisplay note and their swords like lightning above them? The little hills are troubled around, and the rocks tremble with all their moss.——Who is it but Ocean's son and the car-borne chief of Erin? Many are the anxious eyes of their friends, as they see them dim on the heath. Now night conceals the chiefs in her clouds, and ends the terrible fight.
It was on Cromla's shaggy side that Dorglas placed the deerDisplay note; the early fortune of the chace, before the heroes left the hill.——A hundred youths collect the heath; ten heroes blow the fire; three hundred chuse the polish'd stones. The feast is smoaking wide.[ 23 ] View Page Image
Cuchullin, chief of Erin's war, resumed his mighty soul. He stood upon his beamy spear, and spoke to the son of songs; to Carril of other times, the gray-haired son of KinfenaDisplay note. Is this feast spread for me alone and the king of Lochlin on Ullin's shore; far from the deer of his hills, and sounding halls of his feasts? Rise, Carril of other times, and carry my words to Swaran; tell him from the roaring of waters, that Cuchullin gives his feast. Here let him listen to the sound of my groves amidst the clouds of night.——For cold and bleak the blustering winds rush over the foam of his seas. Here let him praise the trembling harp, and hear the songs of heroes.
Old Carril went, with softest voice, and called the king of dark-brown shields. Rise from the skins of thy chace, rise, Swaran king of groves.——Cuchullin gives the joy of shells; partake the feast of Erin's blue-eyed chief.
He answered like the sullen sound of Cromla before a storm. Though all thy daughters, Inisfail! should extend their arms of snow; raise high the heavings of their breasts, and softly roll their eyes of love; yet, fixed as Lochlin's thousand rocks, here Swaran shall remain; [ 24 ] View Page Image till morn, with the young beams of my east, shall light me to the death of Cuchullin. Pleasant to my ear is Lochlin's wind. It rushes over my seas. It speaks aloft in all my shrowds, and brings my green forests to my mind; the green forests of Gormal that often ecchoed to my winds, when my spear was red in the chace of the boar. Let dark Cuchullin yield to me the ancient throne of Cormac, or Erin's torrents shall shew from their hills the red foam of the blood of his pride.
Sad is the sounds of Swaran's voice, said Carril of other times:——
Sad to himself alone, said the blue-eyed son of Semo. But, Carril, raise thy voice on high, and tell the deeds of other times. Send thou the night away in song; and give the joy of grief. For many heroes and maids of love, have moved on Inis-fail. And lovely are the songs of woe that are heard on Albion's rocks; when the noise of the chace is over, and the streams of Cona answer to the voice of OssianDisplay note.[ 25 ] View Page Image
In other daysDisplay note, Carril replies, came the sons of Ocean to Erin. A thousand vessels bounded over the waves to Ullin's lovely plains. The sons of Inisfail arose to meet the race of dark-brown shields. Cairbar, first of men, was there, and Grudar, stately youth. Long had they strove for the spotted bull, that lowed on Golbun'sDisplay note echoing heath. Each claimed him as their own; and death was often at the point of their steel.
Side by side the heroes fought, and the strangers of Ocean fled. Whose name was fairer on the hill than the name of Cairbar and Grudar! ——But ah! why ever lowed the bull on Golbun's ecchoing heath; they saw him leaping like the snow. The wrath of the chiefs returned.
On Lubar'sDisplay note grassy banks they fought, and Grudar like a sun-beam, fell. Fierce Cairbar came to the vale of the echoing Tura, where [ 26 ] View Page Image BrassolisDisplay note, fairest of his sisters, all alone, raised the song of grief. She sung of the actions of Grudar, the youth of her secret soul.——She mourned him in the field of blood; but still she hoped for his return. Her white bosom is seen from her robe, as the moon from the clouds of night. Her voice was softer than the harp to raise the song of grief. Her soul was fixed on Grudar; the secret look of her eye was his.—When shalt thou come in thine arms, thou mighty in the war?——
Take, Brassolis, Cairbar came and said, take, Brassolis, this shield of blood. Fix it on high within my hall, the armour of my foe. Her soft heart beat against her side. Distracted, pale, she flew. She found her youth in all his blood; she died on Cromla's heath. Here rests their dust, Cuchullin; and these two lonely yews sprung from their tombs, and wish to meet on high. Fair was Brassolis on the plain, and Grudar on the hill. The bard shall preserve their names, and repeat them to future times.
Pleasant is thy voice, O Carril, said the blue-eyed chief of Erin; and lovely are the words of other times. They are like the calm [ 27 ] View Page Image showerDisplay note of spring; when the sun looks on the field, and the light cloud flies over the hills. O strike the harp in praise of my love, the lonely sun-beam of Dunscaich. Strike the harp in the praise of BragélaDisplay note, of her that I left in the Isle of Mist, the spouse of Semo's son. Dost thou raise thy fair face from the rock to find the sails of Cuchullin?——The sea is rolling far distant, and its white foam shall deceive thee for my sails. Retire, for it is night, my love, and the dark winds sigh in thy hair. Retire to the halls of my feasts, and think of the times that are past: for I will not return till the storm of war is ceased. O Connal, speak of wars and arms, and send her from my mind, for lovely with her raven-hair is the white-bosomed daughter of Sorglan.[ 28 ] View Page Image
Connal, slow to speak, replied, Guard against the race of Ocean. Send thy troop of night abroad, and watch the strength of Swaran.——Cuchullin! I am for peace till the race of the desart come; till Fingal come, the first of men, and beam, like the sun, on our fields.
The hero struck the shield of his alarms——the warriors of the night moved on. The rest lay in the heath of the deer, and slept amidst the dusky wind.——The ghostsDisplay note of the lately dead were near, and swam on gloomy clouds. And far distant, in the dark silence of Lena, the feeble voices of death were heard.
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. Book II.[ 30 ] View Page Image
ARGUMENT to Book II.
The ghost of Crugal, one of the Irish heroes who was killed in battle, appearing to Connal, foretels the defeat of Cuchullin in the next battle; and earnestly advises him to make peace with Swaran. Connal communicates the vision; but Cuchullin is inflexible; from a principle of honour he would not be the first to sue for peace, and he resolved to continue the war. Morning comes; Swaran proposes dishonourable terms to Cuchullin, which are rejected. The battle begins, and is obstinately fought for some time, until, upon the flight of Grumal, the whole Irish army gave way. Cuchullin and Connal cover their retreat: Carril leads them to a neighbouring hill, whither they are soon followed by Cuchullin himself, who descries the fleet of Fingal making towards the coast; but, night coming on, he lost sight of it again. Cuchullin, dejected after his defeat, attributes his ill success to the death of Ferda his friend, whom he had killed some time before. Carril, to shew that ill success did not always attend those who innocently killed their friends, introduces the episode of Comal and Galvina.[ 31 ] View Page Image
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
ConallDisplay note lay by the sound of the mountain stream, beneath the aged tree. A stone, with its moss, supported his head. Shrill [ 32 ] View Page Imagethro' the heath of Lena, he heard the voice of night. At distance from the heroes he lay, for the son of the sword feared no foe.
My hero saw in his rest a dark-red stream of fire coming down from the hill. Crugal sat upon the beam, a chief that lately fell. He fell by the hand of Swaran, striving in the battle of heroes. His face is like the beam of the setting moon; his robes are of the clouds of the hill: his eyes are like two decaying flames. Dark is the wound of his breast.
Crugal, said the mighty Connal, son of Dedgal famed on the hill of deer. Why so pale and sad, thou breaker of the shields? [ 33 ] View Page ImageThou hast never been pale for fear.——What disturbs the son of the hill?
Dim, and in tears, he stood and stretched his pale hand over the hero.——Faintly he raised his feeble voice, like the gale of the reedy Lego.
My ghost, O Connal, is on my native hills; but my corse is on the sands of Ullin. Thou shalt never talk with Crugal, or find his lone steps in the heath. I am light as the blast of Cromla, and I move like the shadow of mist. Connal, son of Colgar,Display note I see the dark cloud of death: it hovers over the plains of Lena. The sons of green Erin shall fall. Remove from the field of ghosts.——Like the darkened moonDisplay note he retired, in the midst of the whistling blast.
Stay, said the mighty Connal, stay my dark-red friend. Lay by that beam of heaven, son of the windy Cromla. What cave of the hill is thy lonely house? What green-headed [ 34 ] View Page Image hill is the place of thy rest? Shall we not hear thee in the storm? In the noise of the mountain-stream? When the feeble sons of the wind come forth, and ride on the blast of the desart.
The soft-voiced Connal rose in the midst of his sounding arms. He struck his shield above Cuchullin. The son of battle waked.
Why, said the ruler of the car, comes Connal through my night? My spear might turn against the sound; and Cuchullin mourn the death of his friend. Speak, Connal, son of Colgar, speak, thy counsel is like the son of heaven.
Son of Semo, replied the chief, the ghost of Crugal came from the cave of his hill.——The stars dim-twinkled through his form; and his voice was like the sound of a distant stream.——He is a messenger of death.——He speaks of the dark and narrow house. Sue for peace, O chief of Dunscaich; or fly over the heath of Lena.
He spoke to Connal, replied the hero, though stars dim-twinkled through his form. Son of Colgar, it was the wind that murmured in the caves of Lena.——Or if it was the formDisplay note of [ 35 ] View Page Image Crugal, why didst thou not force him to my sight. Hast thou enquired where is his cave? The house of the son of the wind? My sword might find that voice, and force his knowledge from him. And small is his knowledge, Connal, for he was here to day. He could not have gone beyond our hills, and who could tell him there of our death?
Ghosts fly on clouds and ride on winds, said Connal's voice of wisdom. They rest together in their caves, and talk of mortal men.
Then let them talk of mortal men; of every man but Erin's chief. Let me be forgot in their caves; for I will not fly from Swaran.——If I must fall, my tomb shall rise amidst the fame of future times. The hunter shall shed a tear on my stone; and sorrow dwell round the high-bosomed Bragéla. I fear not death, but I fear to fly, for Fingal saw me often victorious. Thou dim phantom of the hill, shew thyself to me! come on thy beam of heaven, and shew me my death in thine hand, yet will I not fly, thou feeble son of the wind. Go, son of Colgar, strike the shield of Caithbat, it hangs between [ 36 ] View Page Image the spears. Let my heroes rise to the sound in the midst of the battles of Erin. Though Fingal delays his coming with the race of the stormy hills; we shall fight, O Colgar's son, and die in the battle of heroes.
The sound spreads wide; the heroes rise, like the breaking of a blue-rolling wave. They stood on the heath, like oaks with all their branches round themDisplay note; when they eccho to the stream of frost, and their withered leaves rustle to the wind.
High Cromla's head of clouds is gray; the morning trembles on the half-enlightened ocean. The blue, gray mist swims slowly by, and hides the sons of Inis-fail.
Rise ye, said the king of the dark-brown shields, ye that came from Lochlin's waves. The sons of Erin have fled from our arms——pursue them over the plains of Lena.——And, Morla, go to Cormac's hall and bid them yield to Swaran; before the people shall fall into the tomb; and the hills of Ullin be silent.——They rose like a flock of sea-fowl when the waves expel them from the shore. Their sound [ 37 ] View Page Image was like a thousand streams that meet in Cona's vale, when after a stormy night, they turn their dark eddies beneath the pale light of the morning.
As the dark shades of autumn fly over the hills of grass; so gloomy, dark, successive came the chiefs of Lochlin's echoing woods. Tall as the stag of Morven moved on the king of groves. His shining shield is on his side like a flame on the heath at night. When the world is silent and dark, and the traveller sees some ghost sporting in the beam.
A blast from the troubled ocean removed the settled mist. The sons of Inisfail appear like a ridge of rocks on the shore.
Go, Morla, go, said Lochlin's king, and offer peace to these. Offer the terms we give to kings when nations bow before us. When the valiant are dead in war, and the virgins weeping on the field.
Great Morla came, the son of Swart, and stately strode the king of shields. He spoke to Erin's blue-eyed son, among the lesser heroes.
Take Swaran's peace, the warrior spoke, the peace he gives to kings when the nations bow before him. Leave Ullin's lovely plains to us, and give thy spouse and day. Thy spouse high-bosom'd, heaving fair. Thy dog that [ 38 ] View Page Image overtakes the wind. Give these to prove the weakness of thine arm, and live beneath our power.
Tell Swaran, tell that heart of pride, that Cuchullin never yields.——I give him the dark-blue rolling of ocean, or I give his people graves in Erin! Never shall a stranger have the lovely sun-beam of Dunscaich; or ever deer fly on Lochlin's hills before the nimble-footed Luäth.
Vain ruler of the car, said Morla, wilt thou fight the king; that king whose ships of many groves could carry off thine Isle? So little is thy green-hilled Ullin to the king of stormy waves.
In words I yield to many, Morla; but this sword shall yield to none. Erin shall own the sway of Cormac, while Connal and Cuchullin live. O Connal, first of mighty men, thou hast heard the words of Morla; shall thy thoughts then be of peace, thou breaker of the shields? Spirit of fallen Crugal! why didst thou threaten us with death? Thy narrow house shall receive me in the midst of the light of renown.——Exalt, ye sons of Inisfail, exalt the spear and bend the bow; rush on the foe in darkness, as the spirits of stormy nights.[ 39 ] View Page Image
Then dismal, roaring, fierce, and deep the gloom of battle rolled along; as mistDisplay note that is poured on the valley, when storms invade the silent sun-shine of heaven. The chief moves before in arms, like an angry ghost before a cloud; when meteors inclose him with fire; and the dark winds are in his hand.——Carril, far on the heath, bids the horn of battle sound. He raises the voice of the song, and pours his soul into the minds of heroes.
Where, said the mouth of the song, where is the fallen Crugal? He lies forgot on earth, and the hall of shellsDisplay note is silent.——Sad is the spouse of Crugal, for she is a strangerDisplay note in the hall of her sorrow. But who is she, that, like a sun-beam, flies before the ranks of the foe? It is DegrenaDisplay note, lovely fair, the spouse of fallen Crugal. Her hair is on the wind behind. Her [ 40 ] View Page Image eye is red; her voice is shrill. Green, empty is thy Crugal now, his form is in the cave of the hill. He comes to the ear of rest, and raises his feeble voice; like the humming of the mountain-bee, or collected flies of evening. But Degrena falls like a cloud of the morn; the sword of Lochlin is in her side. Cairbar, she is fallen, the rising thought of thy youth. She is fallen, O Cairbar, the thought of thy youthful hours.
Fierce Cairbar heard the mournful sound, and rushed on like ocean's whale; he saw the death of his daughter; and roared in the midst of thousandsDisplay note. His spear met a son of Lochlin, and battle spread from wing to wing. As a hundred winds in Lochlin's groves, as fire in the firs of a hundred hills; so loud, so ruinous and vast the ranks of men are hewn down.——Cuchullin cut off heroes like thistles, and Swaran wasted Erin. Curach fell by his hand, and Cairbar of the bossy shield. Morglan lies in lasting rest; and Ca-olt trembles as he dies. His white breast is stained with his blood; and his yellow hair stretched in the dust of his native land. He often had spread the feast where he fell; and often raised the voice of the harp: [ 41 ] View Page Image when his dogs leapt around for joy; and the youths of the chace prepared the bow.
Still Swaran advanced, as a stream that bursts from the desart. The little hills are rolled in its course; and the rocks half-sunk by its side.
But Cuchullin stood before him like a hillDisplay note, that catches the clouds of heaven.——The winds contend on its head of pines; and the hail rattles on its rocks. But, firm in its strength, it stands and shades the silent vale of Cona.
So Cuchullin shaded the sons of Erin, and stood in the midst of thousands. Blood rises like the fount of a rock, from panting heroes around him. But Erin falls on either wing like snow in the day of the sun.[ 42 ] View Page Image
O sons of Inisfail, said Grumal, Lochlin conquers on the field. Why strive we as reeds against the wind? Fly to the hill of dark-brown hinds. He fled like the stag of Morven, and his spear is a trembling beam of light behind him. Few fled with Grumal, the chief of the little soul: they fell in the battle of heroes on Lena's echoing heath.
High on his car, of many gems, the chief of Erin stood; he slew a mighty son of Lochlin, and spoke, in haste, to Connal. O Connal, first of mortal men, thou hast taught this arm of death! Though Erin's sons have fled, shall we not fight the foe? O Carril, son of other times, carry my living friends to that bushy hill.——Here, Connal, let us stand like rocks, and save our flying friends.
Connal mounts the car of light. They stretch their shields like the darkened moon, the daughter of the starry skies, when she moves, a dun circle, through heaven. Sithfadda panted up the hill, and Stronnal haughty steed. Like waves behind a whale behind them rushed the foe.
Now on the rising side of Cromla stood Erin's few sad sons; like a grove through which the flame had rushed hurried on by the winds of the stormy night.——Cuchullin stood beside an [ 43 ] View Page Image oak. He rolled his red eye in silence, and heard the wind in his bushy hair; when the scout of ocean came, Moran the son of Fithil.——The ships, he cried, the ships of the lonely isle! There Fingal comes the first of men, the breaker of the shields. The waves foam before his black prows. His masts with sails are like groves in clouds.
Blow, said Cuchullin, all ye winds that rush over my isle of lovely mist. Come to the death of thousands, O chief of the hills of hinds. Thy sails, my friend, are to me like the clouds of the morning; and thy ships like the light of heaven; and thou thyself like a pillar of fire that giveth light in the night. O Connal, first of men, how pleasant are our friends! But the night is gathering around; where now are the ships of Fingal? Here let us pass the hours of darkness, and wish for the moon of heaven.
The winds came down on the woods. The torrents rushed from the rocks. Rain gathered round the head of Cromla. And the red stars trembled between the flying clouds. Sad, by the side of a stream whose sound was ecchoed by a tree, sad by the side of a stream the chief of Erin sat. Connal son of Colgar was there, and Carril of other times.[ 44 ] View Page Image
Unhappy is the hand of Cuchullin, said the son of Semo, unhappy is the hand of Cuchullin since he slew his friend.——Ferda, thou son of Damman, I loved thee as myself.
How, Cuchullin, son of Semo, fell the breaker of the shields? Well I remember, said Connal, the noble son of Damman. Tall and fair he was like the rain-bow of the hill.
Ferda from Albion came, the chief of a hundred hills. In Muri'sDisplay note hall he learned the sword, and won the friendship of Cuchullin. We moved to the chace together; and one was our bed in the heath.
Deugala was the spouse of Cairbar, chief of the plains of Ullin. She was covered with the light of beauty, but her heart was the house of pride. She loved that sun-beam of youth, the noble son of Damman. Cairbar, said the white-armed woman, give me half of the herd. No more I will remain in your halls. Divide the herd, dark Cairbar.[ 45 ] View Page Image
Let Cuchullin, said Cairbar, divide my herd on the hill. His breast is the seat of justice. Depart, thou light of beauty.——I went and divided the herd. One snow-white bull remained. I gave that bull to Cairbar. The wrath of Deugala rose.
Son of Damman, begun the fair, Cuchullin pains my soul. I must hear of his death, or Lubar's stream shall roll over me. My pale ghost shall wander near thee, and mourn the wound of my pride. Pour out the blood of Cuchullin or pierce this heaving breast.
Deugala, said the fair-haired youth, how shall I slay the son of Semo? He is the friend of my secret thoughts, and shall I lift the sword? She wept three days before him, on the fourth he consented to fight.
I will fight my friend, Deugala! but may I fall by his sword. Could I wander on the hill and behold the grave of Cuchullin? We fought on the hills of Muri. Our swords avoid a wound. They slide on the helmets of steel; and sound on the slippery shields. Deugala was near with a smile, and said to the son of Damman, thine arm is feeble, thou son-beam of youth. Thy years are not strong for steel.——Yield to the son of Semo. He is like the rock of Malmor.[ 46 ] View Page Image
The tear is in the eye of youth. He faultering said to me, Cuchullin, raise thy bossy shield. Defend thee from the hand of thy friend. My soul is laden with grief: for I must slay the chief of men.
I sighed as the wind in the chink of a rock. I lifted high the edge of my steel. The sun-beam of the battle fell; the first of Cuchullin's friends.——
Unhappy is the hand of Cuchullin since the hero fell.
Mournful is thy tale, son of the car, said Carril of other times. It sends my soul back to the ages of old, and to the days of other years.——Often have I heard of Comal who slew the friend he loved; yet victory attended his steel; and the battle was consumed in his presence.
Comal was a son of Albion; the chief of an hundred hills. His deer drunk of a thousand streams. A thousand rocks replied to the voice of his dogs. His face was the mildness of youth. His hand the death of heroes. One was his love, and fair was she! the daughter of mighty Conloch. She appeared like a sun-beam among women. And her hair was like the wing of the raven. Her dogs were taught to the chace. Her bow-string sounded on the winds of the forest. Her soul was fixed on Comal. Often [ 47 ] View Page Image met their eyes of love. Their course in the chace was one, and happy were their words in secret.——But Gormal loved the maid, the dark chief of the gloomy Ardven. He watched her lone steps in the heath; the foe of unhappy Comal.
One day, tired of the chace, when the mist had concealed their friends, Comal and the daughter of Conloch met in the cave of RonanDisplay note. It was the wonted haunt of Comal. Its sides were hung with his arms. A hundred shields of thongs were there; a hundred helms of sounding steel.
Rest here, he said, my love Galvina; thou light of the cave of Ronan. A deer appears on Mora's brow. I go but I will soon return. I fear, she said, dark Grumal my foe; he haunts the cave of Ronan. I will rest among the arms; but soon return, my love.[ 48 ] View Page Image
He went to the deer of Mora. The daughter of Conloch would try his love. She cloathed her white sides with his armour, and strode from the cave of Ronan. He thought it was his foe. His heart beat high. His colour changed, and darkness dimmed his eyes. He drew the bow. The arrow flew. Galvina fell in blood. He run with wildness in his steps and called the daughter of Conloch. No answer in the lonely rock. Where are thou, O my love! He saw, at length, her heaving heart beating around the feathered dart. O Conloch's daughter, is it thou? He sunk upon her breast.
The hunters found the hapless pair; he afterwards walked the hill. But many and silent were his steps round the dark dwelling of his love. The fleet of the ocean came. He fought, the strangers fled. He searched for his death over the field. But who could kill the mighty Comal! He threw away his dark-brown shield. An arrow found his manly breast. He sleeps with his loved Galvina at the noise of the sounding surge. Their green tombs are seen by the mariner, when he bounds on the waves of the north.
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. Book III.[ 50 ] View Page Image
ARGUMENT to Book III.
Cuchullin, pleased with the story of Carril, insists with that bard for more of his songs. He relates the actions of Fingal in Lochlin, and death of Agandecca the beautiful sister of Swaran. He had scarce signified when Calmar the son of Matha, who had advised the first battle, came wounded from the field, and told them of Swaran's design to surprise the remains of the Irish army. He himself proposes to withstand singly the whole force of the enemy, in a narrow pass, till the Irish should make good their retreat. Cuchullin, touched with the gallant proposal of Calmar, resolves to accompany him, and orders Carril to carry off the few that remained of the Irish. Morning comes, Calmar dies of his wounds; and, the ships of the Caledonians appearing, Swaran gives over the pursuit of the Irish, and returns to oppose Fingal's landing. Cuchullin ashamed, after his defeat, to appear before Fingal, retires to the cave of Tura. Fingal engages the enemy, puts them to flight; but the coming on of night makes the victory not decisive. The king, who had observed the gallant behaviour of his grandson Oscar, gives him advices concerning his conduct in peace and war. He recommends to him to place the example of his fathers before his eyes, as the best model for his conduct; which introduces the episode concerning Fainasóllis, the daughter of the king of Craca, whom Fingal had taken under his protection, in his youth. Fillan and Oscar are dispatched to observe the motions of the enemy by night; Gaul the son of Morni desires the command of the army, in the next battle; which Fingal promises to give him. Some general reflections of the poet close the third day.[ 51 ] View Page Image
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
Book III Display note.
Pleasant are the words of the song, said Cuchullin, and lovely are the tales of other times. They are like the calm dew of the morning on the hill of roes, when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale. O Carril, raise again thy voice, and let me hear the song of Tura: which was sung in my halls of joy, when Fingal king of shields was there, and glowed at the deeds of his fathers.[ 52 ] View Page Image
Fingal! thou man of battle, said Carril, early were thy deeds in arms. Lochlin was consumed in thy wrath, when thy youth strove with the beauty of maids. They smiled at the fair-blooming face of the hero; but death was in his hands. He was strong as the waters of Lora. His followers were like the roar of a thousand streams. They took the king of Lochlin in battle, but restored him to his ships. His big heart swelled with pride; and the death of the youth was dark in his soul.——For none ever, but Fingal, overcame the strength of the mighty StarnoDisplay note.
He sat in the hall of his shells in Lochlin's woody land. He called the gray-haired Snivan, that often sung round the circleDisplay note of Loda: when the stone of power heard his cry, and the battle turned in the field of the valiant.
Go; gray-haired Snivan, Starno said, to Ardven's sea-surrounded rocks. Tell to Fingal king of the desart; he that is the fairest among his thousands, tell him I give him my daughter, the loveliest maid that ever heaved a breast of [ 53 ] View Page Image snow. Her arms are white as the foam of my waves. Her soul is generous and mild. Let him come with his bravest heroes to the daughter of the secret hall.
Snivan came to Albion's windy hills: and fair-haired Fingal went. His kindled soul flew before him as he bounded on the waves of the north.
Welcome, said the dark-brown Starno, welcome, king of rocky Morven; and ye his heroes of might; sons of the lonely isle! Three days within my halls shall ye feast; and three days pursue my boars, that your fame may reach the maid that dwells in the secret hall.
The king of snowDisplay note designed their death, and gave the feast of shells. Fingal, who doubted the foe, kept on his arms of steel. The sons of death were afraid, and fled from the eyes of the hero. The voice of sprightly mirth arose. The trembling harps of joy are strung. Bards sing the battle of heroes; or the heaving breast of love.——Ullin, Fingal's bard, was there; the sweet voice of the hill of Cona. He praised the daughter of the snow; and Morven'sDisplay note high-descended [ 54 ] View Page Image chief.——The daughter of the snow overheard, and left the hall of her secret sigh. She came in all her beauty, like the moon from the cloud of the east.——Loveliness was around her as light. Her steps were like the music of songs. She saw the youth and loved him. He was the stolen sigh of her soul. Her blue eye rolled on him in secret: and she blest the chief of Morven.
The third day with all its beams, shone bright on the wood of boars. Forth moved the dark-browed Starno; and Fingal, king of shields. Half the day they spent in the chace; and the spear of Fingal was red in the blood of GormalDisplay note.
It was then the daughter of Starno, with blue eyes rolling in tears, came with her voice of love and spoke to the king of Morven.
Fingal, high-descended chief, trust not Starno's heart of pride. Within that wood he has placed his chiefs; beware of the wood of death. But, remember, son of the hill, remember Agandecca: save me from the wrath of my father, king of the windy Morven![ 55 ] View Page Image
The youth, with unconcern, went on; his heroes by his side. The sons of death fell by his hand; and Gormal echoed around.
Before the halls of Starno the sons of the chace convened. The king's dark brows were like clouds. His eyes like meteors of night. Bring hither, he cries, Agandecca to her lovely king of Morven. His hand is stained with the blood of my people; and her words have not been in vain.——
She came with the red eye of tears. She came with her loose raven locks. Her white breast heaved with sighs, like the foam of the streamy Lubar. Starno pierced her side with steel. She fell like a wreath of snow that slides from the rocks of Ronan; when the woods are still, and the echo deepens in the vale.
Then Fingal eyed his valiant chiefs, his valiant chiefs took arms. The gloom of the battle roared, and Lochlin fled or died.——Pale, in his bounding ship he closed the maid of the raven hair. Her tomb ascends on Ardven, and the sea roars round the dark dwelling of Agandecca.
Blessed be her soul, said Cuchullin, and blessed be the mouth of the song.——Strong was the youth of Fingal, and strong is his arm of age. Lochlin shall fall again before the king of echoing Morven. Shew thy face from a [ 56 ] View Page Image cloud, O moon; light his white sails on the wave of the night. And if any strong spiritDisplay note of heaven sits on that low-hung cloud; turn his dark ships from the rock, thou rider of the storm!
Such were the words of Cuchullin at the sound of the mountain-stream, when Calmar ascended the hill, the wounded son of Matha. From the field he came in his blood. He leaned on his bending spear. Feeble is the arm of battle! but strong the soul of the hero!
Welcome! O son of Matha, said Connal, welcome art thou to thy friends! Why bursts that broken sigh from the breast of him that never feared before?
And never, Connal, will he fear, chief of the pointed steel. My soul brightens in danger, and exults in the noise of battle. I am of the race of steel; my fathers never feared.
Cormar was the first of my race. He sported through the storms of the waves. His black skiff bounded on ocean, and travelled on the wings of [ 57 ] View Page Image the blast. A spirit once embroiled the night. Seas swell and rocks resound. Winds drive along the clouds. The lightning flies on wings of fire. He feared and came to land: then blushed that he feared at all. He rushed again among the waves to find the son of the wind. Three youths guide the bounding bark; he stood with the sword unsheathed. When the low-hung vapour passed, he took it by the curling head, and searched its dark womb with his steel. The son of the wind forsook the air. The moon and stars returned.
Such was the boldness of my race; and Calmar is like his fathers. Danger flies from the uplifted sword. They best succeed who dare.
But now, ye sons of green-vallyed Erin, retire from Lena's bloody heath. Collect the sad remnant of our friends, and join the sword of Fingal. I heard the sound of Lochlin's advancing arms; but Calmar will remain and fight. My voice shall be such, my friends, as if thousands were behind me. But, son of Semo, remember me. Remember Calmar's lifeless corse. After Fingal has wasted the field, place me by some stone of remembrance, that future times may hear my fame; and the motherDisplay note of Calmar rejoice over the stone of my renown.[ 58 ] View Page Image
No: son of Matha, said Cuchullin, I will never leave thee. My joy is in the unequal field: and my soul increases in danger. Connal, and Carril of other times, carry off the sad sons of Erin; and when the battle is over, search for our pale corses in this narrow way. For near this oak we shall stand in the stream of the battle of thousands.——O Fithil's son, with feet of wind, fly over the heath of Lena. Tell to Fingal that Erin is inthralled, and bid the king of Morven hasten. O let him come like the sun in a storm, when he shines on the hills of grass.
Morning is gray on Cromla; the sons of the sea ascend. Calmar stood forth to meet them in the pride of his kindling soul. But pale was the face of the warrior; he leaned on his father's spear. That spear which he brought from Lara's hall, when the soul of his mother was sad.——But slowly now the hero falls like a tree on the plains of Cona. Dark Cuchullin stands alone like a rockDisplay note in a sandy vale. The [ 59 ] View Page Image sea comes with its waves, and roars on its hardened sides. Its head is covered with foam, and the hills are ecchoing around.——Now from the gray mist of the ocean, the white-sailed ships of Fingal appear. High is the grove of their masts as they nod, by turns, on the rolling wave.
Swaran saw them from the hill, and returned from the sons of Erin. As ebbs the resounding sea through the hundred isles of Inistore; so loud, so vast, so immense returned the sons of Lochlin against the king of the desert hill. But bending, weeping, sad, and slow, and dragging his long spear behind, Cuchullin sunk in Cromla's wood, and mourned his fallen friends. He feared the face of Fingal, who was wont to greet him from the fields of renown.
How many lie there of my heroes! the chiefs of Innis-fail! they that were chearful in the hall when the sound of the shells arose. No more shall I find their steps in the heath, or hear their voice in the chace of the hinds. Pale, silent, low on bloody beds are they who were my friends! O spirits of the lately-dead, meet Cuchullin on his heath. Converse with him on the wind, when the rustling tree of Tura's cave resounds. There, far remote, I shall lie unknown. No bard shall hear of me. No gray [ 60 ] View Page Image stone shall rise to my renown. Mourn me with the dead, O Bragela! departed is my fame.
Such were the words of Cuchullin when he sunk in the woods of Cromla.
Fingal, tall in his ship, stretched his bright lance before him. Terrible was the gleam of the steel: it was like the green meteor of death, setting in the heath of Malmor, when the traveller is alone, and the broad moon is darkened in heaven.
The battle is over, said the king, and I behold the blood of my friends. Sad is the heath of Lena; and mournful the oaks of Cromla: the hunters have fallen there in their strength; and the son of Semo is no more.——Ryno and Fillan, my sons, sound the horn of Fingal's war. Ascend that hill on the shore, and call the children of the foe. Call them from the grave of Lamdarg, the Chief of other times.——Be your voice like that of your father, when he enters the battles of his strength. I wait for the dark mighty man; I wait on Lena's shore for Swaran. And let him come with all his race; for strong in battle are the friends of the dead.
Fair Ryno flew like lightning; dark Fillan as the shade of autumn. On Lena's heath their voice is heard; the sons of ocean heard the horn of Fingal's war. As the roaring eddy of [ 61 ] View Page Image ocean returning from the kingdom of snows; so strong, so dark, so sudden came down the sons of Lochlin. The king in their front appears in the dismal pride of his arms. Wrath burns in his dark-brown face: and his eyes roll in the fire of his valour.
Fingal beheld the son of Starno; and he remembered Agandecca.——For Swaran with the tears of youth had mourned his white-bosomed sister. He sent Ullin of the songs to bid him to the feast of shells.. For pleasant on Fingal's soul returned the remembrance of the first of his loves.
Ullin came with aged steps, and spoke to Starno's son. O thou that dwelled afar, surrounded, like a rock, with thy waves, come to the feast of the king, and pass the day in rest. To-morrow let us fight, O Swaran, and break the echoing shields.
To-day, said Starno's wrathful son, we break the echoing shields: to-morrow my feast will be spread; and Fingal lie on earth.
And to-morrow let his feast be spread, said Fingal with a smile; for to-day, O my sons, we shall break the echoing shields.——Ossian, stand thou near my arm. Gaul, lift thy terrible sword. Fergus, bend thy crooked yew. Throw, Fillan, thy lance through heaven.——Lift your [ 62 ] View Page Image shields like the darkened moon. Be your spears the meteors of death. Follow me in the path of my fame; and equal my deeds in battle.
As a hundred winds on Morven; as the streams of a hundred hills; as clouds fly successive over heaven; or, as the dark ocean assaults the shore of the desert: so roaring, so vast, so terrible the armies mixed on Lena's echoing heath.——The groan of the people spread over the hills; it was like the thunder of night, when the cloud bursts on Cona; and a thousand ghosts shriek at once on the hollow wind.
Fingal rushed on in his strength, terrible as the spirit of Trenmor; when, in a whirlwind, he comes to Morven to see the children of his pride——The oaks resound on their hills, and the rocks fall down before him. Bloody was the hand of my father when he whirled the lightning of his sword. He remembers the battles of his youth, and the field is wasted in his course.
Ryno went on like a pillar of fire.——Dark is the brow of Gaul. Fergus rushed forward with feet of wind; and Fillan like the mist of the hill.——MyselfDisplay note, like a rock, came down, I [ 63 ] View Page Image exulted in the strength of the king. Many were the deaths of my arm; and dismal was the gleam of my sword. My locks were not then so gray; nor trembled my hands of age. My eyes were not closed in darkness, nor failed my feet in the race.
Who can relate the deaths of the people; or the deeds of mighty heroes; when Fingal, burning in his wrath, consumed the sons of Lochlin? Groans swelled on groans from hill to hill, till night had covered all. Pale, staring like a herd of deer, the sons of Lochlin convene on Lena.
We sat and heard the sprightly harp at Lubar's gentle stream. Fingal himself was next to the foe; and listened to the tales of bards. His godlike race were in the song, the chiefs of other times. Attentive, leaning on his shield, the king of Morven sat. The wind whistled through his aged locks, and his thoughts are of the days of other years. Near him on his bending spear, my young, my lovely Oscar stood. He admired the king of Morven: and his actions were swelling in his soul.
Son of my son, begun the king, O Oscar, pride of youth, I saw the shining of thy sword and gloried in my race. Pursue the glory of our fathers, and be what they have been; when Trenmor lived, the first of men, and Trathal [ 64 ] View Page Image the father of heroes. They fought the battle in their youth, and are the song of bards.—— O Oscar! bend the strong in arms: but spare the feeble hand. Be thou a stream of many tides against the foes of thy people; but like the gale that moves the grass to those who ask thine aid.——So Trenmor lived; such Trathal was; and such has Fingal been. My arm was the support of the injured; and the weak rested behind the lightning of my steel.
Oscar! I was young like thee, when lovely Fainasóllis came: that sun-beam! that mild light of love! the daughter of Craca'sDisplay note king! I then returned from Cona's heath, and few were in my train. A white-sailed boat appeared far off; we saw it like a mist that rode on ocean's blast. It soon approached; we saw the fair. Her white breast heaved with sighs. The wind was in her loose dark hair: her rosy cheek had tears.——Daughter of beauty, calm I said, what sigh is in that breast? Can I, young as I am, defend thee, daughter of the sea? My sword is not unmatched in war, but dauntless is my heart.[ 65 ] View Page Image
To thee I fly, with sighs she replied, O prince of mighty men! To thee I fly, chief of shells, supporter of the feeble hand! The king of Craca's echoing isle owned me the sun-beam of his race. And often did the hills of Cromala reply to the sighs of love for the unhappy Fainasóllis. Sora's chief beheld me fair; and loved the daughter of Craca. His sword is like a beam of light upon the warrior's side. But dark is his brow; and tempests are in his soul. I shun him on the rolling sea; but Sora's chief pursues.
Rest thou, I said, behind my shield; rest in peace, thou beam of light! The gloomy chief of Sora will fly, if Fingal's arm is like his soul. In some lone cave I might conceal thee, daughter of the sea! But Fingal never flies; for where the danger threatens, I rejoice in the storm of spears.——I saw the tears upon her cheek. I pitied Craca's fair.
Now, like a dreadful wave afar, appeared the ship of stormy Borbar. His masts high-bended over the sea behind their sheets of snow. White roll the waters on either side. The strength of ocean sounds. Come thou, I said, from the roar of ocean, thou rider of the storm. Partake the feast within my hall. It is the house of strangers.——The maid stood trembling by my [ 66 ] View Page Image side; he drew the bow: she fell. Unerring is thy hand, I said, but feeble was the foe.——We fought, nor weak was the strife of death. He sunk beneath my sword. We laid them in two tombs of stones; the hapless lovers of youth.
Such have I been in my youth, O Oscar; be thou like the age of Fingal. Never seek the battle, nor shun it when it comes.——Fillan and Oscar of the dark-brown hair; ye children of the race; fly over the heath of roaring winds; and view the sons of Lochlin. Far off I hear the noise of their fear, like the storms of echoing Cona. Go: that they may not fly my sword along the waves of the north.——For many chiefs of Erin's race lie here on the dark bed of death. The children of the storm are low; the sons of echoing Cromla.
The heroes flew like two dark clouds; two dark clouds that are the chariots of ghosts; when air's dark children come to frighten hapless men.
It was then that GaulDisplay note, the son of Morni, stood like a rock in the night. His spear is [ 67 ] View Page Image glittering to the stars; his voice like many streams.——Son of battle, cried the chief, O Fingal, king of shells! let the bards of many songs sooth Erin's friends to rest. And, Fingal, sheath thy sword of death; and let thy people fight. We wither away without our fame; for our king is the only breaker of shields. When morning rises on our hills, behold at a distance our deeds. Let Lochlin feel the sword of Morni's son, that bards may sing of me. Such was the custom heretofore of Fingal's noble race. Such was thine own, thou king of swords, in battles of the spear.
O son of Morni, Fingal replied, I glory in thy fame.——Fight; but my spear shall be near to aid thee in the midst of danger. Raise, raise the voice, sons of the song, and lull me into rest. Here will Fingal lie amidst the wind of night.——And if thou, Agandecca, art near, among the children of thy land; if thou sittest on a blast of wind among the high-shrowded masts of Lochlin; come to my dreamsDisplay note, my fair one, and shew thy bright face to my soul.[ 68 ] View Page Image
Many a voice and many a harp in tuneful sounds arose. Of Fingal's noble deeds they sung, and of the noble race of the hero. And sometimes on the lovely sound was heard the name of the now mournful Ossian.
Often have I fought, and often won in battles of the spear. But blind, and tearful, and forlorn I now walk with little men. O Fingal, with thy race of battle I now behold thee not. The wild roes feed upon the green tomb of the mighty king of Morven.——Blest be thy soul, thou king of swords, thou most renowned on the hills of Cona!
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. Book IV.[ 70 ] View Page Image
ARGUMENT to Book IV.
The action of the poem being suspended by night, Ossian takes that opportunity to relate his own actions at the lake of Lego, and his courtship of Evirallin, who was the mother of Oscar, and had died some time before the expedition of Fingal into Ireland. Her ghost appears to him, and tells him that Oscar, who had been sent, the beginning of the night, to observe the enemy, was engaged with an advanced party, and almost overpowered. Ossian relieves his son; and an alarm is given to Fingal of the approach of Swaran. The king rises, calls his army together, and, as he had promised the preceding night, devolves the command on Gaul the son of Morni, while he himself, after charging his sons to behave gallantly and defend his people, retires to a hill, from whence he could have a view of the battle. The battle joins; the poet relates Oscar's great actions. But when Oscar, in conjunction with his father, conquered in one wing, Gaul, who was attacked by Swaran in person, was on the point of retreating in the other. Fingal sends Ullin his bard to encourage him with a war song, but notwithstanding Swaran prevails; and Gaul and his army are obliged to give way. Fingal, descending from the hill, rallies them again: Swaran desists from the pursuit, possesses himself of a rising ground, restores the ranks, and waits the approach of Fingal. The king, having encouraged his men, gives the necessary orders, and renews the battle. Cuchullin, who, with his friend Connal, and Carril his bard, had retired to the cave of Tura, hearing the noise, came to the brow of the hill, which overlooked the field of battle, where he saw Fingal engaged with the enemy. He, being hindered by Connal from joining Fingal, who was himself upon the point of obtaining a complete victory, sends Carril to congratulate that hero on his success.[ 71 ] View Page Image
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
Book IV Display note.
Who comes with her songs from the mountain, like the bow of the showery Lena? It is the maid of the voice of love. The white-armed daughter of Toscar. Often hast thou heard my song, and given the tear of beauty. Dost thou come to the battles of thy people, and to hear the actions of Oscar? When [ 73 ] View Page Image shall I cease to mourn by the streams of the echoing Cona? My years have passed away in battle, and my age is darkened with sorrow.
Daughter of the hand of snow! I was not so mournful and blind; I was not so dark and forlorn when Everallin loved me. Everallin with the dark-brown hair, the white-bosomed love of Cormac. A thousand heroes sought the maid, she denied her love to a thousand; the sons of the sword were despised; for graceful in her eyes was Ossian.
I went in suit of the maid to Lego's sable surge; twelve of my people were there, the sons of the streamy Morven. We came to Branno friend of strangers: Branno of the sounding mail.——From whence, he said, are the arms of steel? Not easy to win is the maid that has denied the blue-eyed sons of Erin. But blest be thou, O son of Fingal, happy is the maid that waits thee. Tho' twelve daughters of beauty were mine, thine were the choice, thou son of fame!——Then he opened the hall of the maid, the dark-haired Everallin. Joy kindled in our breasts of steel and blest the maid of Branno.
Above us on the hill appeared the people of stately Cormac. Eight were the heroes of the chief; and the heath flamed with their arms. There Colla, Durra of the wounds, there mighty [ 73 ] View Page Image Toscar, and Tago, there Frestal the victorious stood; Dairo of the happy deeds, and Dala the battle's bulwark in the narrow way.——The sword flamed in the hand of Cormac, and graceful was the look of the hero.
Eight were the heroes of Ossian; Ullin stormy son of war; Mullo of the generous deeds; the noble, the graceful Scelacha; Oglan, and Cerdal the wrathful, and Duma-riccan's brows of death. And why should Ogar be the last; so wide renowned on the hills of Ardven?
Ogar met Dala the strong, face to face, on the field of heroes. The battle of the chiefs was like the wind on ocean's foamy waves. The dagger is remembered by Ogar; the weapon which he loved; nine times he drowned it in Dala's side. The stormy battle turned. Three times I broke on Cormac's shield: three times he broke his spear. But, unhappy youth of love! I cut his head away.——Five times I shook it by the lock. The friends of Cormac fled.
Whoever would have told me, lovely maid, when then I strove in battle; that blind, forsaken, and forlorn I now should pass the night; firm ought his mail to have been, and unmatched his arm in battle.[ 74 ] View Page Image
NowDisplay note on Lena's gloomy heath the voice of music died away. The unconstant blast blew hard, and the high oak shook its leaves around me; of Everallin were my thoughts, when she, in all the light of beauty, and her blue eyes rolling in tears, stood on a cloud before my sight, and spoke with feeble voice.
O Ossian, rise and save my son; save Oscar prince of men, near the red oak of Lubar's stream, he fights with Lochlin's sons.——She sunk into her cloud again. I clothed me with my steel. My spear supported my steps, and my rattling armour rung. I hummed, as I was wont in danger, the songs of heroes of old. Like distant thunderDisplay note Lochlin heard; they fled; my son pursued.[ 75 ] View Page Image
I called him like a distant stream. My son return over Lena. No further pursue the foe, though Ossian is behind thee.——He came; and lovely in my ear was Oscar's sounding steel. Why didst thou stop my hand, he said, till death had covered all? For dark and dreadful by the stream they met thy son and Fillan. They watched the terrors of the night. Our swords have conquered some. But as the winds of night pour the ocean over the white sands of Mora, so dark advance the sons of Lochlin over Lena's rustling heath. The ghosts of night shriek afar; and I have seen the meteors of death. Let me awake the king of Morven, he that smiles in danger; for he is like the sun of heaven that rises in a storm.
Fingal had started from a dream, and leaned on Trenmor's shield; the dark-brown shield of his fathers; which they had lifted of old in the battles of their race.——The hero had seen in his rest the mournful form of Agandecca; she came from the way of the ocean, and slowly, lonely, moved over Lena. Her face was pale like the mist of Cromla; and dark were the tears of her cheek. She often raised her dim hand from her robe; her robe which was of the clouds of the desart: she raised her dim hand over Fingal, and turned away her silent eyes.[ 76 ] View Page Image
Why weeps the daughter of Starno, said Fingal, with a sigh? Why is thy face so pale, thou daughter of the clouds?——She departed on the wind of Lena; and left him in the midst of the night.——She mourned the sons of her people that were to fall by Fingal's hand.
The hero started from rest, and still beheld her in his soul.——The sound of Oscar's steps approached. The king saw the grey shield on his side. For the faint beam of the morning came over the waters of Ullin.
What do the foes in their fear? said the rising king of Morven. Or fly they through ocean's foam, or wait they the battle of steel? But why should Fingal ask? I hear their voice on the early wind.——Fly over Lena's heath, O Oscar, and awake our friends to battle.
The king stood by the stone of Lubar and thrice reared his terrible voice. The deer started from the fountains of Cromla; and all the rocks shook on their hills. Like the noise of a hundred mountain-streams, that burst, and roar, and foam: like the clouds that gather to a tempest on the blue face of the sky; so met the sons of the desart, round the terrible voice of Fingal. For pleasant was the voice of the king of Morven to the warriors of his land: often had [ 77 ] View Page Image he led them to battle, and returned with the spoils of the foe.
Come to battle, said the king, ye children of the storm. Come to the death of thousands. Comhal's son will see the fight.——My sword shall wave on that hill, and be the shield of my people. But never may you need it, warriors; while the son of Morni fights, the chief of mighty men.——He shall lead my battle; that his fame may rise in the song.——O ye ghosts of heroes dead! ye riders of the storm of Cromla! receive my falling people with joy, and bring them to your hills.——And may the blast of Lena carry them over my seas, that they may come to my silent dreams, and delight my soul in rest.
Fillan and Oscar, of the dark-brown hair! fair Ryno, with the pointed steel! advance with valour to the fight; and behold the son of Morni. Let your swords be like his in the strife: and behold the deeds of his hands. Protect the friends of your father: and remember the chiefs of old. My children, I shall see you yet, though here ye should fall in Erin. Soon shall our cold, pale ghosts meet in a cloud, and fly over the hills of Cona.
Now like a dark and stormy cloud, edged round with the red lightning of heaven, and [ 78 ] View Page Image flying westward from the morning's beam, the king of hills removed. Terrible is the light of his armour, and two spears are in his hand.——His gray hair falls on the wind.——He often looks back on the war. Three bards attend the son of fame, to carry his words to the heroes.—High on Cromla's side he sat, waving the lightning of his sword, and as he waved we moved.
Joy rose in Oscar's face. His cheek is red. His eye sheds tears. The sword is a beam of fire in his hand. He came, and smiling, spoke to Ossian.——O ruler of the fight of steel! my father, hear thy son. Retire with Morven's mighty chief; and give me Ossian's fame. And if here I fall; my king, remember that breast of snow, that lonely sun-beam of my love, the white-handed daughter of Toscar. For with red cheek from the rock, and bending over the stream, her soft hair flies about her bosom as she pours the sigh for Oscar. Tell her I am on my hills a lightly-bounding son of the wind; that hereafter, in a cloud, I may meet the lovely maid of Toscar.
Raise, Oscar, rather raise my tomb. I will not yield the fight to thee. For first and bloodiest in the war my arm shall teach thee how to fight. But, remember, my son, to place this sword, this bow, and the horn of my [ 79 ] View Page Image deer, within that dark and narrow house, whose mark is one gray stone. Oscar, I have no love to leave to the care of my son; for graceful Evirallin is no more, the lovely daughter of Branno.
Such were our words, when Gaul's loud voice came growing on the wind. He waved on high the sword of his father, and rushed to death and wounds.
As waves white-bubbling over the deep come swelling, roaring on; as rocks of ooze meet roaring waves: so foes attacked and fought. Man met with man, and steel with steel. Shields sound, men fall. As a hundred hammers on the son of the furnace, so rose, so rung their swords.
Gaul rushed on like a whirlwind in Ardven. The destruction of heroes is on his sword. Swaran was like the fire of the desart in the echoing heath of Gormal. How can I give to the song the death of many spears? My sword rose high, and flamed in the strife of blood. And, Oscar, terrible wert thou, my best, my greatest son! I rejoiced in my secret soul, when his sword flamed over the slain. They fled amain through Lena's heath: and we pursued and slew. As stones that bound from rock to rock; as axes in echoing woods; as thunder [ 80 ] View Page Image rolls from hill to hill in dismal broken peals; so blow succeeded to blow, and death to death, from the hand of OscarDisplay note and mine.
But Swaran closed round Morni's son, as the strength of the tide of Inistore. The king half-rose from his hill at the sight, and half-assumed the spear. Go, Ullin, go, my aged bard, begun the king of Morven. Remind the mighty Gaul of battle; remind him of his fathers. Support the yielding fight with song; for song enlivens war. Tall Ullin went, with steps of age, and spoke to the king of swords.
SonDisplay note of the chief of generous steeds! high-bounding king of spears. Strong arm in every perilous toil. Hard heart that never yields. Chief of the pointed arms of death. Cut down the foe; let no white sail bound round dark [ 81 ] View Page Image Inistore. Be thine arm like thunder. Thine eyes like fire, thy heart of solid rock. Whirl round thy sword as a meteor at night, and lift thy shield like the flame of death. Son of the chief of generous steeds, cut down the foe; destroy.——The hero's heart beat high. But Swaran came with battle. He cleft the shield of Gaul in twain; and the sons of the desart fled.
Now Fingal arose in his might, and thrice he reared his voice. Cromla answered around, and the sons of the desart stood still.——They bent their red faces to earth, ashamed at the presence of Fingal. He came like a cloud of rain in the days of the sun, when slow it rolls on the hill, and fields expect the shower. Swaran beheld the terrible king of Morven, and stopped in the midst of his course. Dark he leaned on his spear, rolling his red eyes around. Silent and tall he seemed as an oak on the banks of Lubar, which had its branches blasted of old by the lightning of heaven. It bends over the stream, and the gray moss whistles in the wind: so stood the king. Then slowly he retired to the rising heath of Lena. His thousands pour around the hero, and the darkness of battle gathers on the hill.
Fingal, like a beam from heaven, shone in the midst of his people. His heroes gather [ 82 ] View Page Image around him, and he sends forth the voice of his power. Raise my standardsDisplay note on high,—spread them on Lena's wind, like the flames of an hundred hills. Let them sound on the winds of Erin, and remind us of the fight. Ye sons of the roaring streams, that pour from a thousand hills, be near the king of Morven: attend to the words of his power. Gaul strongest arm of death! O Oscar, of the future fights; Connal, son of the blue blades of Sora; Dermid of the dark-brown hair, and Ossian king of many songs, be near your father's arm.
We reared the sun-beamDisplay note of battle; the standard of the king. Each hero's soul exulted with joy, as, waving, it flew on the wind. It was studded with gold above, as the blue wide shell of the nightly sky. Each hero had his standard too; and each his gloomy men.
Behold, said the king of generous shells, how Lochlin divides on Lena.——They stand like broken clouds on the hill, or an half consumed grove of oaks; when we see the sky through [ 83 ] View Page Image its branches, and the meteor passing behind. Let every chief among the friends of Fingal take a dark troop of those that frown so high; nor let a son of the echoing groves bound on the waves of Inistore.
Mine, said Gaul, be the seven chiefs that came from Lano's lake.——Let Inistore's dark king, said Oscar, come to the sword of Ossian's son.——To mine the king of Iniscon, said Connal, heart of steel! Or Mudan's chief or I, said brown-haired Dermid, shall sleep on clay-cold earth. My choice, though now so weak and dark, was Terman's battling king; I promised with my hand to win the hero's dark-brown shield.——Blest and victorious be my chiefs, said Fingal of the mildest look; Swaran, king of roaring waves, thou art the choice of Fingal.
Now, like an hundred different winds that pour through many vales; divided, dark the sons of the hill advanced, and Cromla echoed around.
How can I relate the deaths when we closed in the strife of our steel? O daughter of Toscar! bloody were our hands! The gloomy ranks of Lochlin fell like the banks of the roaring Cona.——Our arms were victorious on Lena: each chief fulfilled his promise. Beside the murmur of Branno thou didst often sit, O [ 84 ] View Page Image maid; when thy white bosom rose frequent, like the down of the swan when slow she sails the lake, and sidelong winds are blowing.——Thou hast seen the sunDisplay note retire red and slow behind his cloud; night gathering round on the mountain, while the unfrequent blastDisplay note roared in narrow vales. At length the rain beats hard; and thunder rolls in peals. Lightning glances on the rocks. Spirits ride on beams of fire. And [ 85 ] View Page Image the strength of the mountain-streamsDisplay note comes roaring down the hills. Such was the noise of battle, maid of the arms of snow. Why, daughter of the hill, that tear? the maids of Lochlin have cause to weep. The people of their country fell, for bloody were the blue blades of the race of my heroes. But I am sad, forlorn, and blind; and no more the companion of heroes. Give, lovely maid, to me thy tears, for I have seen the tombs of all my friends.
It was then by Fingal's hand a hero fell, to his grief.——Gray-haired he rolled in the dust, and lifted his faint eyes to the king. And is it by me thou hast fallen, said the son of Comhal, thou friend of Agandecca! I have seen thy tears for the maid of my love in the halls of the bloody Starno. Thou hast been the foe of the foes of my love, and hast thou fallen by my hand? Raise, Ullin, raise the grave of the son of Mathon; and give his name to the song of Agandecca; for dear to my soul hast thou been, thou darkly-dwelling maid of Ardven.[ 86 ] View Page Image
Cuchullin, from the cave of Cromla, heard the noise of the troubled war. He called to Connal chief of swords, and Carril of other times. The gray-haired heroes heard his voice, and took their aspen spears. They came, and saw the tide of battle, like the crowded waves of the ocean; when the dark wind blows from the deep, and rolls the billows through the sandy vale.
Cuchullin kindled at the sight, and darkness gathered on his brow. His hand is on the sword of his fathers: his red-rolling eyes on the foe. He thrice attempted to rush to battle, and thrice did Connal stop him. Chief of the isle of mist, he said, Fingal subdues the foe. Seek not a part of the fame of the king; himself is like the storm.
Then, Carril, go, replied the chief, and greet the king of Morven. When Lochlin falls away like a stream after rain, and the noise of the battle is over. Then be thy voice sweet in his ear to praise the king of swords. Give him the sword of Caithbat; for Cuchullin is worthy no more to lift the arms of his fathers.
But, O ye ghosts of the lonely Cromla! ye souls of chiefs that are no more! be ye the companions of Cuchullin, and talk to him in the cave of his sorrow. For never more shall I be [ 87 ] View Page Image renowned among the mighty in the land. I am like a beam that has shone, like a mist that fled away; when the blast of the morning came, and brightened the shaggy side of the hill. Connal! talk of arms no more: departed is my fame.—My sighs shall be on Cromla's wind; till my footsteps cease to be seen.——And thou, white-bosom'd Bragela, mourn over the fall of my fame; for, vanquished, I will never return to thee, thou sun-beam of Dunscaich.
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. Book V.[ 90 ] View Page Image
ARGUMENT to Book IV.
Cuchullin and Connal still remain on the hill. Fingal and Swaran meet; the combat is described. Swaran is overcome, bound and delivered over as a prisoner to the care of Ossian and Gaul the son of Morni; Fingal, his younger sons, and Oscar, still pursue the enemy. The episode of Orla a chief of Lochlin, who was mortally wounded in the battle, is introduced. Fingal, touched with the death of Orla, orders the pursuit to be discontinued; and calling his sons together, he is informed that Ryno, the youngest of them, was killed. He laments his death, hears the story of Lamdarg and Gelchoffa, and returns towards the place where he had left Swaran. Carril, who had been sent by Cuchullin to congratulate Fingal on his victory, comes in the mean time to Ossian. Τhe conversation of the two poets closes the action of the fourth day.[ 91 ] View Page Image
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
Book VDisplay note.
Now Connal, on Cromla's windy side, spoke to the chief of the noble car. Why that gloom, son of Semo? Our friends are the mighty in battle. And renowned art thou, O warrior! many were the deaths of thy steel. Often has Bragela met with blue-rolling eyes of [ 92 ] View Page Image joy; often has she met her hero, returning in the midst of the valiant; when his sword was red with slaughter, and his foes silent in the fields of the tomb. Pleasant to her ears were thy bards, when thine actions rose in the song.
But behold the king of Morven; he moves below like a pillar of fire. His strength is like the stream of Lubar, or the wind of the echoing Cromla; when the branchy forests of night are overturned.
Happy are thy people, O Fingal, thine arm shall fight their battles: thou art the first in their dangers; the wisest in the days of their peace. Thou speakest and thy thousands obey; and armies tremble at the sound of thy steel. Happy are thy people, Fingal, chief of the lonely hills.
Who is that so dark and terrible coming in the thunder of his course? who is it but Starno's son to meet the king of Morven? Behold the battle of the chiefs: it is like the storm of the ocean, when two spirits meet far distant, and contend for the rolling of the wave. The hunter hears the noise on his hill; and sees the high billows advancing to Ardven's shore.
Such were the words of Connal, when the heroes met in the midst of their falling people. There was the clang of arms! there every blow, [ 93 ] View Page Image like the hundred hammers of the furnace! Terrible is the battle of the kings, and horrid the look of their eyes. Their dark-brown shields are cleft in twain; and their steel flies, broken, from their helmets. They fling their weapons down. Each rushesDisplay note to his hero's grasp. Their sinewy arms bend round each other: they turn from side to side, and strain and stretch their large spreading limbs below. But when the pride of their strength arose, they shook the hill with their heels; rocks tumble from their places on high; the green-headed bushes are overturned. At length the strength of Swaran fell; and the king of the groves is bound.
Thus have I seen on Cona; (but Cona I behold no more) thus have I seen two dark hills removed from their place by the strength of the bursting stream. They turn from side to side, and their tall oaks meet one another on high. Then they fall together with all their rocks and [ 94 ] View Page Image trees. The streams are turned by their sides, and the red ruin is seen afar.
Sons of the king of Morven, said the noble Fingal, guard the king of Lochlin; for he is strong as his thousand waves. His hand is taught to the battle, and his race of the times of old. Gaul, thou first of my heroes, and Ossian king of songs, attend the friend of Agandecca, and raise to joy his grief.——But, Oscar, Fillan, and Ryno, ye children of the race! pursue the rest of Lochlin over the heath of Lena; that no vessel may hereafter bound on the dark-rolling waves of Inistore.
They flew like lightning over the heath. He slowly moved as a cloud of thunder when the sultry plain of summer is silent. His sword is before him as a sun-beam, terrible as the streaming meteor of night. He came toward a chief of Lochlin, and spoke to the son of the wave.
Who is that like a cloud at the rock of the roaring stream? He cannot bound over its course; yet stately is the chief! his bossy shield is on his side; and his spear like the tree of the desart. Youth of the dark-brown hair, art thou of Fingal's foes?[ 95 ] View Page Image
I am a son of Lochlin, he cries, and strong is my arm in war. My spouse is weeping at home, but OrlaDisplay note will never return.
Or fights or yields the hero, said Fingal of the noble deeds? foes do not conquer in my presence; but my friends are renowned in the hall. Son of the wave, follow me, partake the feast of my shells, and pursue the deer of my desart.
No: said the hero, I assist the feeble: my strength shall remain with the weak in arms. My sword has been always unmatched, O warrior: let the king of Morven yield.
I never yielded, Orla, Fingal never yielded to man. Draw thy sword and chuse thy foe. Many are my heroes.
And does the king refuse the combat, said Orla of the dark-brown hair? Fingal is a match for Orla: and he alone of all his race.—— But, king of Morven, if I shall fall; (as one time the warrior must die;) raise my tomb in the midst, and let it be the greatest on Lena. And send, over the dark-blue wave, the sword of [ 96 ] View Page Image Orla to the spouse of his love; that she may shew it to her son, with tears, to kindle his soul to war.
Son of the mournful tale, said Fingal, why dost thou awaken my tears? One day the warriors must die, and the children see their useless arms in the hall. But, Orla, thy tomb shall rise, and thy white-bosomed spouse weep over thy sword.
They fought on the heath of Lena, but feeble was the arm of Orla. The sword of Fingal descended, and cleft his shield in twain. It fell and glittered on the ground, as the moon on the stream of night.
King of Morven, said the hero, lift thy sword, and pierce my breast. Wounded and faint from battle my friends have left me here. The mournful tale shall come to my love on the banks of the streamy Loda; when she is alone in the wood; and the rustling blast in the leaves.
No; said the king of Morven, I will never wound thee, Orla. On the banks of Loda let her see thee escaped from the hands of war. Let thy gray-haired father, who, perhaps, is blind with age, hear the sound of thy voice in his hall.——With joy let the hero rise, and search for his son with his hands.[ 97 ] View Page Image
But never will he find him, Fingal; said the youth of the streamy Loda.——On Lena's heath I shall die; and foreign bards will talk of me. My broad belt covers my wound of death. And now I give it to the wind.
The dark blood poured from his side, he fell pale on the heath of Lena. Fingal bends over him as he dies, and calls his younger heroes.
Oscar and Fillan, my sons, raise high the memory of Orla. Here let the dark-haired hero rest far from the spouse of his love. Here let him rest in his narrow house far from the sound of Loda. The sons of the feeble will find his bow at home, but will not be able to bend it. His faithful dogs howl on his hills, and his boars, which he used to pursue, rejoice. Fallen is the arm of battle; the mighty among the valiant is low!
Exalt the voice, and blow the horn, ye sons of the king of Morven: let us go back to Swaran, and send the night away on song. Fillan, Oscar, and Ryno, fly over the heath of Lena. Where, Ryno, art thou, young son of fame? Thou art not wont to be the last to answer thy father.
Ryno, said Ullin first of bards, is with the awful forms of his fathers. With Trathal king of shields, and Trenmor of the mighty deeds. [ 98 ] View Page Image The youth is low,—the youth is pale,—he lies on Lena's heath.
And fell the swiftest in the race, said the king, the first to bend the bow? Thou scarce hast been known to me; why did young Ryno fall? But sleep thou softly on Lena, Fingal shall soon behold thee. Soon shall my voice be heard no more, and my footsteps cease to be seen. The bards will tell of Fingal's name; the stones will talk of me. But, Ryno, thou art low indeed,——thou hast not received thy fame. Ullin, strike the harp for Ryno; tell what the chief would have been. Farewel, thou first in every field. No more shall I direct thy dart. Thou that hast been so fair; I behold thee not—Farewel.
The tear is on the cheek of the king; for terrible was his son in war. His son! that was like a beam of fire by night on the hill; when the forests sink down in its course, and the traveller trembles at the sound.
Whose fame is in that dark-green tomb, begun the king of generous shells? four stones with their heads of moss stand there; and mark the narrow house of death. Near it let my Ryno rest, and be the neighbour of the valiant. Perhaps some chief of fame is here to fly with my son on clouds. O Ullin, raise the songs of [ 99 ] View Page Image other times. Bring to memory the dark dwellers of the tomb. If in the field of the valiant they never fled from danger, my son shall rest with them, far from his friends, on the heath of Lena.
Here, said the mouth of the song, here rest the first of heroes. Silent is LamdergDisplay note in this tomb, and Ullin king of swords. And who, soft smiling from her cloud, shews me her face of love? Why, daughter, why so pale art thou, first of the maids of Cromla? Dost thou sleep with the foes in battle, Gelchossa, white-bosomed daughter of Tuathal?——Thou hast been the love of thousands, but Lamderg was thy love. He came to Selma's mossy towers, and, striking his dark buckler, spoke:
Where is Gelchossa, my love, the daughter of the noble Tuathal? I left her in the hall of Selma, when I fought with the gloomy Ulfadda. Return soon, O Lamderg, she said, for here I am in the midst of sorrow. Her white breast rose with sighs. Her cheek was wet with tears. But I see her not coming to meet me; and to sooth my soul after battle. Silent is the hall of my joy; I hear not the voice of the bard.— [ 100 ] View Page ImageBranDisplay note does not shake his chains at the gate, glad at the coming of Lamderg. Where is Gelchossa, my love, the mild daughter of the generous Tuathal?
Lamderg! says Ferchios the son of Aidon, Gelchossa may be on Cromla; she and the maids of the bow pursuing the flying deer.
Ferchios! replied the chief of Cromla, no noise meets the ear of Lamderg. No sound is in the woods of Lena. No deer fly in my sight. No panting dog pursues. I see not Gelchossa my love, fair as the full moon setting on the hills of Cromla. Go, Ferchios, go to AlladDisplay note the gray-haired son of the rock. His dwelling is in the circle of stones. He may know of Gelchossa.
The son of Aidon went; and spoke to the ear of age. Allad! thou that dwellest in the rock: thou that tremblest alone, what saw thine eyes of age?[ 101 ] View Page Image
I saw, answered Allad the old, Ullin the son of Cairbar. He came like a cloud from Cromla; and he hummed a surly song like a blast in a leafless wood. He entered the hall of Selma.——Lamderg, he said, most dreadful of men, fight or yield to Ullin. Lamderg, replied Gelchossa, the son of battle, is not here. He fights Ulfadda mighty chief. He is not here, thou first of men. But Lamderg never yielded. He will fight the son of Cairbar.
Lovely art thou, said terrible Ullin, daughter of the generous Tuathal. I carry thee to Cairbar's halls. The valiant shall have Gelchossa. Three days I remain on Cromla, to wait that son of battle, Lamderg. On the fourth Gelchossa is mine, if the mighty Lamderg flies.
Allad! said the chief of Cromla, peace to thy dreams in the cave. Ferchios, sound the horn of Lamderg that Ullin may hear on Cromla. LamdergDisplay note, like a roaring storm, ascended the hill from Selma. He hummed a surly song as he went, like the noise of a falling stream. He stood like a cloud on the hill, that varies its form to the wind. He rolled a stone, [ 102 ] View Page Image the sign of war. Ullin heard in Cairbar's hall. The hero heard, with joy, his foe, and took his father's spear. A smile brightens his dark-brown cheek, as he places his sword by his side. The dagger glittered in his hand. He whistled as he went.
Gelchossa saw the silent chief, as a wreath of mist ascending the hill.——She struck her white and heaving breast; and silent, tearful, feared for Lamderg.
Cairbar, hoary chief of shells, said the maid of the tender hand; I must bend the bow on Cromla; for I see the dark-brown hinds.
She hasted up the hill. In vain! the gloomy heroes fought.——Why should I tell the king of Morven how wrathful heroes fight!——Fierce Ullin fell. Young Lamderg came all pale to the daughter of generous Tuathal.
What blood, my love, the soft-haired woman said, what blood runs down my warrior's side?——It is Ullin's blood, the chief replied, thou fairer than the snow of Cromla! Gelchossa, let me rest here a little while. The mighty Lamderg died.
And sleepest thou so soon on earth, O chief of shady Cromla? three days she mourned beside her love.——The hunters found her dead. They raised this tomb above the three. Thy [ 103 ] View Page Image son, O king of Morven, may rest here with heroes.
And here my son will rest, said Fingal, the noise of their fame has reached my ears. Fillan and Fergus! bring hither Orla; the pale youth of the stream of Loda. Not unequalled shall Ryno lie in earth when Orla is by his side. Weep, ye daughters of Morven; and ye maids of the streamy Loda. Like a tree they grew on the hills; and they have fallen like the oakDisplay note of the desart; when it lies across a stream, and withers in the wind of the mountain.
Oscar! chief of every youth! thou seest how they have fallen. Be thou, like them, on earth renowned. Like them the song of bards. Terrible were their forms in battle; but calm was Ryno in the days of peace. He was like the bow of the shower seen far distant on the stream; when the sun is setting on Mora, and silence on the hill of deer. Rest, youngest of my sons, rest, O Ryno, on Lena. We too shall be no more; for the warrior one day must fall.[ 104 ] View Page Image
Such was thy grief, thou king of hills, when Ryno lay on earth. What must the grief of Ossian be, for thou thyself art gone. I hear not thy distant voice on Cona. My eyes perceive thee not. Often forlorn and dark I sit at thy tomb; and feel it with my hands. When I think I hear thy voice; it is but the blast of the desart.——Fingal has long since fallen asleep, the ruler of the war.
Then Gaul and Ossian sat with Swaran on the soft green banks of Lubar. I touched the harp to please the king. But gloomy was his brow. He rolled his red eyes towards Lena. The hero mourned his people.
I lifted my eyes to Cromla, and I saw the son of generous Semo.——Sad and slow he retired from his hill towards the lonely cave of Tura. He saw Fingal victorious, and mixed his joy with grief. The sun is bright on his armour, and Connal slowly followed. They sunk behind the hill like two pillars of the fire of night: when winds pursue them over the mountain, and the flaming heath resounds. Beside a stream of roaring foam his cave is in a rock. One tree bends above it; and the rushing winds echo against its sides. Here rests the chief of Dunscaich, the son of generous Semo. His thoughts are on the battles he lost; and the tear [ 105 ] View Page Image is on his cheek. He mourned the departure of his fame that fled like the mist of Cona. O Bragela, thou art too far remote to cheer the soul of the hero. But let him see thy bright form in his soul; that his thoughts may return to the lonely sun-beam of Dunscaich.
Who comes with the locks of age? It is the son of the songs. Hail, Carril of other times, thy voice is like the harp in the halls of Tura. Thy words are pleasant as the shower that falls on the fields of the sun. Carril of the times of old, why comest thou from the son of the generous Semo?
Ossian king of swords, replied the bard, thou best raisest the song. Long hast thou been known to Carril, thou ruler of battles. Often have I touched the harp to lovely Evirallin. Thou too hast often accompanied my voice in Branno's hall of generous shells. And often, amidst our voices, was heard the mildest Evirallin. One day she sung of Cormac's fall, the youth that died for her love. I saw the tears on her cheek, and on thine, thou chief of men. Her soul was touched for the unhappy, though she loved him not. How fair among a thousand maids was the daughter of the generous Branno!
Bring not, Carril, I replied, bring not her memory to my mind. My soul must melt at [ 106 ] View Page Image the remembrance. My eyes must have their tears. Pale in the earth is she the softly-blushing fair of my love. But sit thou on the heath, O Bard, and let us hear thy voice. It is pleasant as the gale of spring that sighs on the hunter's ear; when he wakens from dreams of joy, and has heard the music of the spirits of the hill.
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. Book VI.[ 108 ] View Page Image
ARGUMENT to Book VI.
Night comes on. Fingal gives a feast to his army, at which Swaran is present. The king commands Ullin his bard to give the song of peace; a custom always observed at the end of a war. Ullin relates the actions of Trenmor, great grandfather to Fingal, in Scandinavia, and his marriage with Inibaca, the daughter of a king of Lochlin who was ancestor to Swaran; which consideration, together with his being brother to Agandecca, with whom Fingal was in love in his youth, induced the king to release him, and permit him to return, with the remains of his army, into Lochlin, upon his promise of never returning to Ireland, in a hostile manner. The night is spent in settling Swaran's departure, in songs of bards, and in a conversation in which the story of Grumal is introduced by Fingal. Morning comes. Swaran departs; Fingal goes on a hunting party, and finding Cuchullin in the cave of Tura, comforts him, and sets sail, the next day, for Scotland; which concludes the poem.[ 109 ] View Page Image
Fingal, An Ancient Epic Poem. In Six Books.
Book VIDisplay note.
The clouds of night came rolling down and rest on Cromla's dark-brown steep. The stars of the north arise over the rolling of the waves of Ullin; they shew their heads of fire through the flying mist of heaven. A distant wind roars in the wood; but silent and dark is the plain of death.
Still on the darkening Lena arose in my ears the tuneful voice of Carril. He sung of the companions of our youth, and the days of former years; when we met on the banks of Lego, [ 110 ] View Page Image and sent round the joy of the shell. Cromla, with its cloudy steeps, answered to his voice. The ghosts of those he sung came in their rustling blasts. They were seen to bend with joy towards the sound of their praise.
Be thy soul blest, O Carril, in the midst of thy eddying winds. O that thou would come to my hall when I am alone by night!—And thou dost come, my friend, I hear often thy light hand on my harp; when it hangs on the distant wall, and the feeble sound touches my ear. Why dost thou not speak to me in my grief, and tell when I shall behold my friends? But thou passest away in thy murmuring blast; and thy wind whistles through the gray hair of Ossian.
Now on the side of Mora the heroes gathered to the feast. A thousand aged oaks are burning to the wind.——The strengthDisplay note of the shells [ 111 ] View Page Image goes round. And the souls of warriors brighten with joy. But the king of Lochlin is silent, and sorrow reddens in the eyes of his pride. He often turned toward Lena and remembered that he fell.
Fingal leaned on the shield of his fathers. His gray locks slowly waved on the wind, and glittered to the beam of night. He saw the grief of Swaran, and spoke to the first of Bards.
Raise, Ullin, raise the song of peace, and sooth my soul after battle, that my ear may forget the noise of arms. And let a hundred harps be near to gladden the king of Lochlin. He must depart from us with joy.——None ever went sad from Fingal. Oscar! the lightning of my sword is against the strong in battle; but peaceful it lies by my side when warriors yield in war.
TrenmorDisplay note, said the mouth of the songs, lived in the days of other years. He bounded over the waves of the north: companion of the storm. The high rocks of the land of Lochlin, and its groves of murmuring sounds appeared to the hero through the mist;—he bound his white-bosomed sails.——Trenmor pursued the boar [ 112 ] View Page Image that roared along the woods of Gormal. Many had fled from its presence; but the spear of Trenmor slew it.
Three chiefs that beheld the deed, told of the mighty stranger. They told that he stood like a pillar of fire in the bright arms of his valour. The king of Lochlin prepared the feast, and called the blooming Trenmor. Three days he feasted at Gormal's windy towers; and got his choice in the combat.
The land of Lochlin had no hero that yielded not to Trenmor. The shell of joy went round with songs in praise of the king of Morven; he that came over the waves, the first of mighty men.
Now when the fourth gray morn arose, the hero launched his ship; and walking along the silent shore waited for the milling wind. For loud and distant he heard the blast murmuring in the grove.
Covered over with arms of steel a son of the woody Gormal appeared. Red was his cheek and fair his hair. His skin like the snow of Morven. Mild rolled his blue and smiling eye when he spoke to the king of swords.
Stay, Trenmor, stay thou first of men, thou hast not conquered Lonval's son. My [ 113 ] View Page Image sword has often met the brave. And the wise shun the strength of my bow.
Thou fair-haired youth, Trenmor replied, I will not fight with Lonval's son. Thine arm is feeble, sun-beam of beauty. Retire to Gormal's dark-brown hinds.
But I will retire, replied the youth, with the sword of Trenmor; and exult in the sound of my fame. The virgins shall gather with smiles around him who conquered Trenmor. They shall sigh with the sighs of love, and admire the length of thy spear; when I shall carry it among thousands, and lift the glittering point to the sun.
Thou shalt never carry my spear, said the angry king of Morven.——Thy mother shall find thee pale on the shore of the echoing Gormal; and, looking over the dark-blue deep, see the sails of him that slew her son.
I will not lift the spear, replied the youth, my arm is not strong with years. But with the feathered dart, I have learned to pierce a distant foe. Throw down that heavy mail of steel; for Trenmor is covered all over.——I first will lay my mail on earth.——Throw now thy dart, thou king of Morven.
He saw the heaving of her breast. It was the sister of the king.—She had seen him in the [ 114 ] View Page Image halls of Gormal; and loved his face of youth.——The spear dropt from the hand of Trenmor: he bent his red cheek to the ground, for he had seen her like a beam of light that meets the sons of the cave, when they revisit the fields of the sun, and bend their aching eyes.
Chief of the windy Morven, begun the maid of the arms of snow; let me rest in thy bounding ship, far from the love of Corlo. For he, like the thunder of the desart, is terrible to Inibaca. He loves me in the gloom of his pride, and shakes ten thousand spears.
Rest thou in peace, said the mighty Trenmor, behind the shield of my fathers. I will not fly from the chief, though he shakes ten thousand spears.
Three days he waited on the shore; and sent his horn abroad. He called Corlo to battle from all his echoing hills. But Corlo came not to battle. The king of Lochlin descended. He feasted on the roaring shore; and gave the maid to Trenmor.
King of Lochlin, said Fingal, thy blood flows in the veins of thy foe. Our families met in battle, because they loved the strife of spears. But often did they feast in the hall; and send round the joy of the shell.——Let thy face brighten with gladness, and thine ear delight in [ 115 ] View Page Image the harp. Dreadful as the storm of thine ocean, thou hast poured thy valour forth; thy voice has been like the voice of thousands when they engage in battle. Raise, to-morrow, thy white sails to the wind, thou brother of Agandecca. Bright as the beam of noon she comes on my mournful soul. I have seen thy tears for the fair one, and spared thee in the halls of Starno; when my sword was red with slaughter, and my eye full of tears for the maid.——Or dost thou chuse the fight? The combat which thy fathers gave to Trenmor is thine: that thou mayest depart renowned like the sun setting in the west.
King of the race of Morven, said the chief of the waves of Lochlin; never will Swaran fight with thee, first of a thousand heroes! I have seen thee in the halls of Starno, and few were thy years beyond my own.——When shall I, I said to my soul, lift the spear like the noble Fingal? We have fought heretofore, O warrior, on the side of the shaggy Malmor; after my waves had carried me to thy halls, and the feast of a thousand shells was spread. Let the bards send him who overcame to future years, for noble was the strife of heathy Malmor.
But many of the ships of Lochlin have lost their youths on Lena. Take these, thou king of Morven, and be the friend of Swaran. And [ 116 ] View Page Image when thy sons shall come to the mossy towers of Gormal; the feast of shells shall be spread, and the combat offered on the vale.
Nor ship, replied the king, shall Fingal take, nor land of many hills. The desart is enough to me with all its deer and woods. Rise on thy waves again, thou noble friend of Agandecca. Spread thy white sails to the beam of the morning, and return to the echoing hills of Gormal.
Blest be thy soul, thou king of shells, said Swaran of the dark-brown shield. In peace thou art the gale of spring. In war the mountain-storm. Take now my hand in friendship, thou noble king of Morven. Let thy bards mourn those who fell. Let Erin give the sons of Lochlin to earth; and raise the mossy stones of their fame. That the children of the north hereafter may behold the place where their fathers fought. And some hunter may say, when he leans on a mossy tomb, here Fingal and Swaran fought, the heroes of other years. Thus hereafter shall he say, and our fame shall last for ever.
Swaran, said the king of the hills, to-day our fame is greatest. We shall pass away like a dream. No sound will be in the fields of our battles. Our tombs will be lost in the heath. The hunter shall not know the place of our rest. [ 117 ] View Page Image Our names may be heard in the song, but the strength of our arms will cease. O Ossian, Carril, and Ullin, you know of heroes that are no more. Give us the song of other years. Let the night pass away on the sound, and morning return with joy.
We gave the song to the kings, and a hundred harps accompanied our voice. The face of Swaran brightened like the full moon of heaven, when the clouds vanish away, and leave her calm and broad in the midst of the sky.
It was then that Fingal spoke to Carril the chief of other times. Where is the son of Semo; the king of the isle of mist? has he retired, like the meteor of death, to the dreary cave of Tura?
Cuchullin, said Carril of other times, lies in the dreary cave of Tura. His hand is on the sword of his strength. His thoughts on the battles which he lost. Mournful is the king of spears, for he has often been victorious. He sends the sword of his war to rest on the side of Fingal. For, like the storm of the desart, thou hast scattered all his foes. Take, O Fingal, the sword of the hero; for his fame is departed like mist when it flies before the rustling wind of the vale.
No: replied the king, Fingal shall never take his sword. His arm is mighty in war; and tell [ 118 ] View Page Image him his fame shall never fail. Many have been overcome in battle, that have shone afterwards like the sun of heaven.
O Swaran, king of the resounding woods, give all thy grief away.——The vanquished, if brave, are renowned; they are like the sun in a cloud when he hides his face in the south, but looks again on the hills of grass.
Grumal was a chief of Cona. He sought the battle on every coast. His soul rejoiced in blood; his ear in the din of arms. He poured his warriors on the sounding Craca; and Craca's king met him from his grove; for then within the circle of BrumoDisplay note he spoke to the stone of power.
Fierce was the battle of the heroes, for the maid of the breast of snow. The fame of the daughter of Craca had reached Grumal at the streams of Cona; he vowed to have the white-bosomed maid, or die on the echoing Craca. Three days they strove together, and Grumal on the fourth was bound.
Far from his friends they placed him in the horrid circle of Brumo; where often, they said, the ghosts of the dead howled round the stone of [ 119 ] View Page Image their fear. But afterwards he shone like a pillar of the light of heaven. They fell by his mighty hand, and Grumal had his fame.
Raise, ye bards of other times, raise high the praise of heroes; that my soul may settle on their fame; and the mind of Swaran cease to be sad.
They lay in the heath of Mora; the dark winds rustle over the heroes.——A hundred voices at once arose, a hundred harps were strung; they sung of other times, and the mighty chiefs of former years.
When now shall I hear the bard; or rejoice at the fame of my fathers? The harp is not strung on Morven; nor the voice of music raised on Cona. Dead with the mighty is the bard; and fame is in the desart no more.
Morning trembles with the beam of the east, and glimmers on gray-headed Cromla. Over Lena is heard the horn of Swaran, and the sons of the ocean gather around.——Silent and sad they mount the wave, and the blast of Ullin is behind their sails. White, as the mist of Morven, they float along the sea.
Call, said Fingal, call my dogs, the long-bounding sons of the chace. Call white-breasted Bran; and the surly strength of Luath.——Fillan, and Ryno—but he is not here; my son [ 120 ] View Page Image rests on the bed of death. Fillan and Fergus, blow my horn, that the joy of the chace may arise; that the deer of Cromla may hear and start at the lake of roes.
The shrill sound spreads along the wood. The sons of heathy Cromla arise.——A thousand dogs fly off at once, gray-bounding through the heath. A deer fell by every dog, and three by the white-breasted Bran. He brought them, in their flight, to Fingal, that the joy of the king might be great.
One deer fell at the tomb of Ryno; and the grief of Fingal returned. He saw how peaceful lay the stone of him who was the first at the chace.——No more shalt thou rise, O my son, to partake of the feast of Cromla. Soon will thy tomb be hid, and the grass grow rank on thy grave. The sons of the feeble shall pass over it, and shall not know that the mighty lie there.
Ossian and Fillan, sons of my strength, and Gaul king of the blue swords of war, let us ascend the hill to the cave of Tura, and find the chief of the battles of Erin.——Are these the walls of Tura? gray and lonely they rise on the heath. The king of shells is sad, and the halls are desolate. Come let us find the king of swords, and give him all our joy.——But is that Cuchullin, [ 121 ] View Page Image O Fillan, or a pillar of smoke on the heath? The wind of Cromla is on my eyes, and I distinguish not my friend.
Fingal! replied the youth, it is the son of Semo. Gloomy and sad is the hero; his hand is on his sword. Hail to the son of battle, breaker of the shields!
Hail to thee, replied Cuchullin, hail to all the sons of Morven. Delightful is thy presence, O Fingal, it is like the sun on Cromla; when the hunter mourns his absence for a season, and sees him between the clouds. Thy sons are like stars that attend thy course, and give light in the night. It is not thus thou hast seen me, O Fingal, returning from the wars of the desart; when the kings of the worldDisplay note had fled, and joy returned to the hill of hinds.
Many are thy words, Cuchullin, said ConnanDisplay note of the small renown. Thy words are many, son of Semo, but where are thy deeds in arms? Why did we come, over the ocean, to aid thy [ 122 ] View Page Image feeble sword? Thou flyest to thy cave of sorrow, and Connan fights thy battles; Resign to me these arms of light; yield them, thou son of Erin.
No hero, replied the chief, ever sought the arms of Cuchullin; and had a thousand heroes sought them it were in vain, thou gloomy youth. I fled not to the cave of sorrow, as long as Erin's warriors lived.
Youth of the feeble arm, said Fingal, Connan, say no more. Cuchullin is renowned in battle, and terrible over the desart. Often have I heard thy fame, thou stormy chief of Innisfail. Spread now thy white sails for the isle of mist, and see Bragela leaning on her rock. Her tender eye is in tears, and the winds lift her long hair from her heaving breast. She listens to the winds of night to hear the voice of thy rowersDisplay note; to hear the song of the sea, and the sound of thy distant harp.
And long shall she listen in vain; Cuchullin shall never return. How can I behold Bragela to raise the sigh of her breast? Fingal, I was always victorious in the battles of other spears![ 123 ] View Page Image
And hereafter thou shalt be victorious, said Fingal king of shells. The fame of Cuchullin shall grow like the branchy tree of Cromla. Many battles await thee, O chief, and many shall be the wounds of thy hand. Bring hither, Oscar, the deer, and prepare the feast of shells; that our souls may rejoice after danger, and our friends delight in our presence.
We sat, we feasted, and we sung. The soul of Cuchullin rose. The strength of his arm returned; and gladness brightened on his face. Ullin gave the song, and Carril raised the voice. I, often, joined the bards, and sung of battles of the spear.——Battles! where I often fought; but now I fight no more. The fame of my former actions is ceased; and I sit forlorn at the tombs of my friends.
Thus they passed the night in the song; and brought back the morning with joy. Fingal arose on the heath, and shook his glittering spear in his hand.——He moved first toward the plains of Lena, and we followed like a ridge of fire. Spread the sail, said the king of Morven, and catch the winds that pour from Lena.——We rose on the wave with songs, and rushed, with joy, through the foam of the oceanDisplay note.[ 124 ] View Page Image
Comála: A Dramatic PoemDisplay note.
daughters of Morni.
The chace is over.—No noise on Ardven but the torrent's roar!——Daughter of Morni, come from Crona's banks. Lay down the bow and take the harp. Let the night come on with songs, and our joy be great on Ardven.
[ 126 ] View Page Image MelilcomaDisplay note.
And night comes on, thou blue-eyed maid, gray night grows dim along the plain. I saw a deer at Crona's stream; a mossy bank he seemed through the gloom, but soon he bounded away. A meteor played round his branchy horns; and the awful facesDisplay note of other times looked from the clouds of Crona.
[ 127 ] View Page Image DersagrenaDisplay note.
These are the signs of Fingal's death.—The king of shields is fallen!—and Caracul prevails. Rise, ComalaDisplay note, from thy rocks; daughter of Sarno, rise in tears. The youth of thy love is low, and his ghost is already on our hills.
There Comala sits forlorn! two gray dogs near shake their rough ears, and catch the flying breeze. Her red cheek rests on her arm, and the mountain wind is in her hair. She turns her blue-rolling eyes toward the fields of his promise.——Where art thou, O Fingal, for the night is gathering around?
O CarunDisplay note of the streams! why do I behold thy waters rolling in blood? Has the noise of [ 128 ] View Page Image the battle been heard on thy banks; and sleeps the king of Morven?——Rise, moon, thou daughter of the sky! look from between thy clouds, that I may behold the light of his steel, on the field of his promise.—Or rather let the meteor, that lights our departed fathers through the night, come, with its red light, to shew me the way to my fallen hero. Who will defend me from sorrow? Who from the love of Hidallan? Long shall Comala look before she can behold Fingal in the midst of his host; bright as the beam of the morning in the cloud of an early shower.
Roll, thou mist of gloomy Crona, roll on the path of the hunter. Hide his steps from mine eyes, and let me remember my friend no more. The bands of battle are scattered, and [ 129 ] View Page Image no crowding steps are round the noise of his steel. O Carun, roll thy streams of blood, for the chief of the people fell.
Who fell on Carun's grassy banks, son of the cloudy night? Was he white as the snow of Ardven? Blooming as the bow of the shower? Was his hair like the mist of the hill, soft and curling in the day of the sun? Was he like the thunder of heaven in battle? Fleet as the roe of the desart?
O that I might behold his love, fair-leaning from her rock! Her red eye dim in tears, and her blushing cheek half hid in her locks! Blow, thou gentle breeze, and lift the heavy locks of the maid, that I may behold her white arm, and lovely cheek of her sorrow!
And is the son of Comhal fallen, chief of the mournful tale? The thunder rolls on the hill!——The lightening flies on wings of fire! But they frighten not Comala; for her Fingal fell. Say, chief of the mournful tale, fell the breaker of the shields?
[ 130 ] View Page Image Hidallan.
The nations are scattered on their hills; for they shall hear the voice of the chief no more.
Confusion pursue thee over thy plains; and destruction overtake thee, thou king of the world. Few be thy steps to thy grave; and let one virgin mourn thee. Let her be, like Comala, tearful in the days of her youth.——Why hast thou told me, Hidallan, that my hero fell? I might have hoped a little while his return, and have thought I saw him on the distant rock; a tree might have deceived me with his appearance; and the wind of the hill been the sound of his horn in mine ear. O that I were on the banks of Carun! that my tears might be warm on his cheek!
He lies not on the banks of Carun: on Ardven heroes raise his tomb. Look on them, O moon, from thy clouds; be thy beam bright on his breast, that Comala may behold him in the light of his armour.
Stop, ye sons of the grave, till I behold my love. He left me at the chace alone. I knew [ 131 ] View Page Image not that he went to war. He said he would return with the night; and the king of Morven is returned. Why didst thou not tell me that he would fall, O trembling son of the rockDisplay note! Thou hast seen him in the blood of his youth, but thou didst not tell Comala!
What sound is that on Ardven? Who is that bright in the vale? Who comes like the strength of rivers, when their crowded waters glitter to the moon?
Who is it but the foe of Comala, the son of the king of the world! Ghost of Fingal! do thou, from thy cloud, direct Comala's bow. Let him fall like the hart of the desart.——It is Fingal in the crowd of his ghosts.—Why dost thou come, my love, to frighten and please my soul?
Raise, ye bards of the song, the wars of the streamy Carun. Caracul has fled from my arms [ 132 ] View Page Image along the fields of his pride. He sets far distant like a meteor that incloses a spirit of night, when the winds drive it over the heath, and the dark woods are gleaming around.
I heard a voice like the breeze of my hills. Is it the huntress of Galmal, the white-handed daughter of Sarno? Look from thy rocksDisplay note, my love; and let me hear the voice of Comala.
Take me to the cave of thy rest, O lovely son of death!——
Come to the cave of my rest.——The storm is overDisplay note, and the sun is on our fields. Come to the cave of my rest, huntress of ecchoing Cona.
He is returned with his fame; I feel the right hand of his battles.——But I must rest beside the rock till my soul settle from fear.—Let the harp [ 133 ] View Page Image be near; and raise the song, ye daughters of Morni.
Comala has slain three deer on Ardven, and the fire ascends on the rock; go to the feast of Comala, king of the woody Morven!
Raise, ye sons of the song, the wars of the streamy Carun; that my white-handed maid may rejoice: while I behold the feast of my love.
Roll, streamy Carun, roll in joy, the sons of battle fled. The steed is not seen on our fields; and the wingsDisplay note of their pride spread in other lands. The sun will now rise in peace, and the shadows descend in joy. The voice of the chace will be heard; and the shields hang in the hall. Our delight will be in the war of the ocean, and our hands be red in the blood of Lochlin. Roll, streamy Carun, roll in joy, the sons of battle fled.
Descend, ye light mists from high; ye moon-beams, lift her soul.——Pale lies the maid at the rock! Comala is no more!
[ 134 ] View Page Image Fingal.
Is the daughter of Sarno dead; the white-bosomed maid of my love? Meet me, Comala, on my heaths, when I sit alone at the streams of my hills.
Ceased the voice of the huntress of Galmal? Why did I trouble the soul of the maid? When shall I see thee, with joy, in the chace of the dark-brown hinds?
Youth of the gloomy brow! no more shalt thou feast in my halls. Thou shalt not pursue my chace, and my foes shall not fall by thy swordDisplay note.——Lead me to the place of her rest that I may behold her beauty.——Pale she lies at the rock, and the cold winds lift her hair. Her bow-string sounds in the blast, and her arrow was broken in her fall. Raise the praise of the daughter of Sarno, and give her name to the wind of the hills.
See! meteors roll around the maid; and moon-beams lift her soul! Around her, from [ 135 ] View Page Image their clouds, bend the awful faces of her fathers; SarnoDisplay note of the gloomy brow; and the red-rolling eyes of Fidallan. When shall thy white hand arise, and thy voice be heard on our rocks? The maids shall seek thee on the heath, but they will not find thee. Thou shalt come, at times, to their dreams, and settle peace in their soul. Thy voice shall remain in their earsDisplay note, and they shall think with joy on the dreams of their rest. Meteors roll around the maid, and moon-beams lift her soul!
The War of CarosDisplay note: A Poem.
Bring, daughter of Toscar, bring the harp; the light of the song rises in Ossian's soul. It is like the field, when darkness covers the hills around, and the shadow grows slowly on the plain of the sun.
I behold my son, O Malvina, near the mossy rock of CronaDisplay note; but it is the mistDisplay note of the desart [ 137 ] View Page Image tinged with the beam of the west: Lovely is the mist that assumes the form of Oscar! turn from it, ye winds, when ye roar on the side of Ardven.
Who comes towards my son, with the murmur of a song? His staff is in his hand, his gray hair loose on the wind. Surly joy lightens his face; and he often looks back to Caros. It is RynoDisplay note of the song, he that went to view the foe.
What does Caros king of ships, said the son of the now mournful Ossian? spreads he the wingsDisplay note of his pride, bard of the times of old?
He spreads them, Oscar, replied the bard, but it is behind his gathered heapDisplay note. He looks over his stones with fear, and beholds thee terrible, as the ghost of night that rolls the wave to his ships.
Go, thou first of my bards, says Oscar, and take the spear of Fingal. Fix a flame on its point, and shake it to the winds of heaven. Bid him, in songs, to advance, and leave the rolling of his wave. Tell to Caros that I long for [ 138 ] View Page Image battle; and that my bow is weary of the chace of Cona. Tell him the mighty are not here; and that my arm is young.
He went with the murmur of his song. Oscar reared his voice on high. It reached his heroes on Ardven, like the noise of a caveDisplay note; when the sea of Togorma rolls before it; and its trees meet the roaring winds.——They gather round my son like the streams of the hill; when, after rain, they roll in the pride of their course.
Ryno came to the mighty Caros, and struck his flaming spear. Come to the battle of Oscar, O thou that sittest on the rolling of waters. Fingal is distant far; he hears the songs of his bards in Morven: and the wind of his hall is in his hair. His terrible spear is at his side; and his shield that is like that darkened moon. Come to the battle of Oscar; the hero is alone.
He came not over the streamy CarunDisplay note; the bard returned with his song. Gray night grows dim on Crona. The feast of shells is spread. A hundred oaks burn to the wind, and faint light gleams over the heath. The ghosts of Ardven pass through the beam, and shew their [ 139 ] View Page Image dim and distant forms. ComalaDisplay note is half-unseen on her meteor; and Hidallan is sullen and dim, like the darkened moon behind the mist of night.
Why art thou sad? said Ryno; for he alone beheld the chief. Why art thou sad, Hidallan, hast thou not received thy fame? The songs of Ossian have been heard, and thy ghost has brightened in the wind, when thou didst bend from thy cloud to hear the song of Morven's bard.
And do thine eyes behold the hero, said Oscar, like the dim meteor of night? Say, Ryno, say, how fell the chief that was so renowned in the days of our fathers?——His name remains on the rocks of Cona; and I have often seen the streams of his hills.
Fingal, replied the bard, had driven Hidallan from his wars. The king's soul was sad for Comala, and his eyes could not behold Hidallan.
Lonely, sad along the heath he slowly moved with silent steps. His arms hang disordered on his side. His hair flies loose from his [ 140 ] View Page Image helmet. The tear is in his down-cast eyes; and the sigh half-silent in his breast.
Three days he strayed unseen, alone, before he came to Lamor's halls: the mossy halls of his fathers, at the stream of BalvaDisplay note.——There Lamor sat alone beneath a tree; for he had sent his people with Hidallan to war. The stream ran at his feet, and his gray head rested on his staff. Sightless are his aged eyes. He hums the song of other times.——The noise of Hidallan's feet came to his ear: he knew the tread of his son.
Is the son of Lamor returned; or is it the sound of his ghost? Hast thou fallen on the banks of Carun, son of the aged Lamor? Or, if I hear the sound of Hidallan's feet; where are the mighty in the war? where are my people, Hidallan, that were wont to return with their echoing shields?——Have they fallen on the banks of Carun?
No: replied the sighing youth, the people of Lamor live. They are renowned in battle, my father; but Hidallan is renowned no more. I must sit alone on the banks of Balva, when the roar of the battle grows.[ 141 ] View Page Image
But thy fathers never sat alone, replied the rising pride of Lamor; they never sat alone on the banks of Balva, when the roar of battle rose.——Dost thou not behold that tomb? Mine eyes discern it not; there rests the noble Garmállon who never fled from war.——Come, thou renowned in battle, he says, come to thy father's tomb.——How am I renowned, Garmállon, for my son has fled from war?
King of the streamy Balva! said Hidallan with a sigh, why dost thou torment my soul? Lamor, I never feared.—Fingal was sad for Comala, and denied his wars to Hidallan; go to the gray streams of thy land, he said, and moulder like a leafless oak, which the winds have bent over Balva, never more to grow.
And must I hear, Lamor replied, the lonely tread of Hidallan's feet? When thousands are renowned in battle, shall he bend over my gray streams? Spirit of the noble Garmállon! carry Lamor to his place; his eyes are dark; his soul is sad; and his son has lost his fame.
Where, said the youth, shall I search for fame to gladden the soul of Lamor? From whence shall I return with renown, that the sound of my arms may be pleasant in his ear?——If I go to the chace of hinds, my name will not be heard.—Lamor will not feel my dogs, [ 142 ] View Page Image with his hands, glad at my arrival from the hill. He will not enquire of his mountains, or of the dark-brown deer of his desarts.
I must fall, said Lamor, like a leafless oak: it grew on a rock, but the winds have overturned it.——My ghost will be seen on my hills, mournful for my young Hidallan. Will not ye, ye mists, as ye rise, hide him from my sight?——My son!—go to Lamor's hall: there the arms of our fathers hang.—Bring the sword of Garmállon;—he took it from a foe.
He went and brought the sword with all its studded thongs.——He gave it to his father. The gray-haired hero felt the point with his hand.——
My son!—lead me to Garmállon's tomb: it rises beside that rustling tree. The long grass is withered;—I heard the breeze whistling there.—A little fountain murmurs near, and sends its water to Balva. There let me rest; it is noon: and the sun is on our fields.
He led him to Garmállon's tomb. Lamor pierced the side of his son.——They sleep together: and their ancient halls moulder on Balva's banks.—Ghosts are seen there at noon: the valley is silent, and the people shun the place of Lamor.[ 143 ] View Page Image
Mournful is thy tale, said Oscar, son of the times of old!—My soul sighs for Hidallan; he fell in the days of his youth. He flies on the blast of the desart, and his wandering is in a foreign land.——
Sons of the ecchoing Morven! draw near to the foes of Fingal. Send the night away in songs; and watch the strength of Caros. Oscar goes to the people of other times; to the shades of silent Ardven; where his fathers sit dim in their clouds, and behold the future war.—And art thou there, Hidallan, like a half-extinguished meteor? Come to my sight, in thy sorrow, chief of the roaring Balva!
The heroes move with their songs.—Oscar slowly ascends the hill.—The meteors of night set on the heath before him. A distant torrent faintly roars.—Unfrequent blasts rush through aged oaks. The half-enlightened moon sinks dim and red behind her hill.—Feeble voices are heard on the heath.——Oscar drew his sword.
Come, said the hero, O ye ghosts of my fathers! ye that fought against the kings of the world!—Tell me the deeds of future times; and your converse in your caves; when you talk together and behold your sons in the fields of the valiant.[ 144 ] View Page Image
Trenmor came, from his hill, at the voice of his mighty son.—A cloud, like the steed of the stranger, supported his airy limbs. His robe is of the mist of Lano, that brings death to the people. His sword is a green meteor half-extinguished. His face is without form, and dark. He sighed thrice over the hero: and thrice the winds of the night roared around. Many were his words to Oscar: but they only came by halves to our ears: they were dark as the tales of other times, before the light of the song arose. He slowly vanished, like a mist that melts on the sunny hill.
It was then, O daughter of Toscar, my son begun first to be sad. He foresaw the fall of his race; and, at times, he was thoughtful and dark; like the sunDisplay note when he carries a cloud on his face; but he looks afterwards on the hills of Cona.
Oscar passed the night among his fathers, gray morning met him on the banks of Carun.
A green vale surrounded a tomb which arose in the times of old. Little hills lift their head at a distance; and stretch their old trees to the wind. The warriors of Caros sat there, for [ 145 ] View Page Image they had passed the stream by night. They appeared, like the trunks of aged pines, to the pale light of the morning.
Oscar stood at the tomb, and raised thrice his terrible voice. The rocking hills echoed around: the starting roes bounded away. And the trembling ghosts of the dead fled, shrieking on their clouds. So terrible was the voice of my son, when he called his friends.
A thousand spears rose around; the people of Caros rose.—Why, daughter of Toscar, why that tear? My son, though alone, is brave. Oscar is like a beam of the sky; he turns around and the people fall. His hand is like the arm of a ghost, when he stretches it from a cloud: the rest of his thin form is unseen: but the people die in the vale.
My son beheld the approach of the foe; and he stood in the silent darkness of his strength.——"Am I alone, said Oscar, in the midst of a thousand foes?—Many a spear is there!—many a darkly-rolling eye!—Shall I fly to Ardven?—But did my fathers ever fly! ——The mark of their arm is in a thousand battles.—Oscar too will be renowned.——Come, ye dim ghosts of my fathers, and behold my deeds [ 146 ] View Page Image in war!—I may fall; but I will be renowned like the race of the ecchoing MorvenDisplay note".
He stood dilated in his place, like a flood swelling in a narrow vale. The battle came, but they fell: bloody was the sword of Oscar.——The noise reached his people at Crona; they came like a hundred streams. The warriors of Caros fled, and Oscar remained like a rock left by the ebbing sea.
Now dark and deep, with all his steeds, Caros rolled his might along: the little streams are lost in his course; and the earth is rocking round.——Battle spreads from wing to wing: ten thousand swords gleam at once in the sky.——But why should Ossian sing of battles?—For never more shall my steel shine in war. I remember the days of my youth with sorrow; [ 147 ] View Page Image when I feel the weakness of my arm. Happy are they who fell in their youth, in the midst of their renown!—They have not beheld the tombs of their friends: or failed to bend the bow of their strength.——Happy art thou, O Oscar, in the midst of thy rushing blast. Thou often goest to the fields of thy fame, where Caros fled from thy lifted sword.
Darkness comes on my soul, O fair daughter of Toscar, I behold not the form of my son at Carun; nor the figure of Oscar on Crona. The rustling winds have carried him far away; and the heart of his father is sad.
But lead me, O Malvina, to the sound of my woods, and the roar of my mountain streams. Let the chace be heard on Cona; that I may think on the days of other years.—And bring me the harp, O maid, that I may touch it when the light of my soul shall arise.——Be thou near, to learn the song; and future times shall hear of Ossian.
The sons of the feeble hereafter will lift the voice on Cona; and, looking up to the rocks, say, "Here Ossian dwelt." They shall admire the chiefs of old, and the race that are no more: while we ride on our clouds, Malvina, on the wings of the roaring winds. Our voices shall be heard, at times, in the desart; and we shall sing on the winds of the rock.
The War of Inis-thonaDisplay note: A Poem.
Our youth is like the dream of the hunter on the hill of heath. He sleeps in the mild beams of the sun; but he awakes amidst a storm; the red lightning flies around: and the trees shake their heads to the wind. He looks back with joy, on the day of the sun; and the pleasant dreams of his rest!
When shall Ossian's youth return, or his ear delight in the sound of arms? When shall I, like Oscar, travelDisplay note in the light of my steel?— [ 149 ] View Page ImageCome, with your streams, ye hills of Cona, and listen to the voice of Ossian! The song rises, like the sun, in my soul; and my heart feels the joys of other times.
I behold thy towers, O Selma! and the oaks of thy shaded wall:—thy streams sound in my ear; thy heroes gather round. Fingal sits in the midst; and leans on the shield of Trenmor:—his spear stands against the wall; he listens to the song of his bards.——The deeds of his arm are heard; and the actions of the king in his youth.
Oscar had returned from the chace, and heard the hero's praise.—He took the shield of BrannoDisplay note from the wall; his eyes were filled with tears. Red was the cheek of youth. His voice was trembling, low. My spear shook its bright head in his hand: he spoke to Morven's king.
Fingal! thou king of heroes! Ossian, next to him in war! ye have fought the battle in your youth; your names are renowned in the song.—Oscar is like the mist of Cona; I appear and vanish.—The bard will not know my name.— [ 150 ] View Page ImageThe hunter will not search in the heath for my tomb. Let me fight, O heroes, in the battles of Inis-thona. Distant is the land of my war!—ye shall not hear of Oscar's fall.——Some bard may find me there, and give my name to the song.—The daughter of the stranger shall see my tomb, and weep over the youth that came from afar. The bard shall say, at the feast, hear the song of Oscar from the distant land!
Oscar, replied the king of Morven; thou shalt fight, son of my fame!—Prepare my dark-bosomed ship to carry my hero to Inis-thona. Son of my son, regard our fame;—for thou art of the race of renown. Let not the children of strangers say, feeble are the sons of Morven!——Be thou, in battle, like the roaring storm: mild as the evening sun in peace.—Tell, Oscar, to Inis-thona's king, that Fingal remembers his youth; when we strove in the combat together in the days of Agandecca.
They lifted up the sounding sail; the wind whistled through the thongsDisplay note of their masts. Waves lashed the oozy rocks: the strength of ocean roared.——My son beheld, from the wave, the land of groves. He rushed into the [ 151 ] View Page Image echoing bay of Runa; and sent his sword to Annir king of spears.
The gray-haired hero rose, when he saw the sword of Fingal. His eyes were full of tears, and he remembered the battles of their youth. Twice they lifted the spear before the lovely Agandecca: heroes stood far distant, as if two ghosts contended.
But now, begun the king, I am old; the sword lies useless in my hall. Thou who art of Morven's race! Annir has been in the strife of spears; but he is pale and withered now, like the oak of Lano. I have no son to meet thee with joy, or to carry thee to the halls of his fathers. Argon is pale in the tomb, and Ruro is no more.—My daughter is in the hall of strangers, and longs to behold my tomb.——Her spouse shakes ten thousand spears; and comesDisplay note like cloud of death from Lano.—Come thou, [ 152 ] View Page Image to share the feast of Annir, son of echoing Morven.
Beside the fount of mossy stones, the weary heroes rest. The tear steals in secret from Annir: and he broke the rising sigh.——Here darkly rest, the hero said, the children of my youth.—This stone is the tomb of Ruro: that tree sounds over the grave of Argon. Do ye hear my voice, O my sons, within your narrow house? Or do ye speak in these rustling leaves, when the winds of the desart rise?
King of Inis-thona, said Oscar, how fell the children of youth? The wild boar often rushes over their tombs, but he does not disturb the hunters. They pursue deerDisplay note formed of clouds, [ 153 ] View Page Image and bend their airy bow.—They still love the sport of their youth; and mount the wind with joy.
Cormalo, replied the king, is chief of ten thousand spears; he dwells at the dark-rolling [ 154 ] View Page Image waters of LanoDisplay note; which sent forth the cloud of death. He came to Runa's echoing halls, and sought the honour of the spearDisplay note. The youth was lovely as the first beam of the sun and few were they who could meet him in fight!—My heroes yielded to Cormalo: and my daughter loved the son of Lano.
Argon and Ruro returned from the chace; the tears of their pride descend:—They rolled their silent eyes on Runa's heroes, because they yielded to a stranger: three days they feasted with Cormalo: on the fourth my Argon fought.—But who could fight with Argon!—Lano's chief is overcome. His heart swelled with the grief of pride, and he resolved, in secret, to behold the death of my sons.
They went to the hills of Runa, and pursued the dark-brown hinds. The arrow of Cormalo flew in secret; and my children fell. He came to the maid of his love; to Inis-thona's dark-haired maid.——They fled over the desart—and Annir remained alone.[ 155 ] View Page Image
Night came on and day appeared; nor Argon's voice, nor Ruro's came. At length their much-loved dog is seen; the fleet and bounding Runar. He came into the hall and howled; and seemed to look towards the place of their fall.——We followed him: we found them here: and laid them by this mossy stream. This is the haunt of Annir, when the chace of the hinds is over. I bend like the trunk of an aged oak above them: and my tears for ever flow.
O Ronnan! said the rising Oscar, Ogar king of spears! call my heroes to my side, the sons of streamy Morven. To-day we go to Lano's water, that sends forth the cloud of death. Cormalo will not long rejoice: death is often at the point of our swords.
They came over the desart like stormy clouds, when the winds roll them over the heath: their edges are tinged with lightning: and the echoing groves foresee the storm. The horn of Oscar's battle is heard; and Lano shook over all its waves. The children of the lake convened around the sounding shield of Cormalo.
Oscar fought, as he was wont in battle. Cormalo fell beneath his sword: and the sons of the dismal Lano fled to their secret vales.——Oscar brought the daughter of Inis-thona to Annir's [ 156 ] View Page Image echoing halls. The face of age was bright with joy; he blest the king of swords.
How great was the joy of Ossian, when he beheld the distant sail of his son! it was like a cloud of light that rises in the east, when the traveller is sad in a land unknown; and dismal night, with her ghosts, is sitting around him.
We brought him, with songs, to Selma's halls. Fingal ordered the feast of shells to be spread. A thousand bards raised the name of Oscar: and Morven answered to the noise. The daughter of Toscar was there, and her voice was like the harp; when the distant sound comes, in the evening, on the soft-rustling breeze of the vale.
O lay me, ye that see the light, near some rock of my hills: let the thick hazels be around, let the rustling oak be near. Green be the place of my rest; and let the sound of the distant torrent be heard. Daughter of Toscar, take the harp, and raise the lovely song of Selma; that sleep may overtake my soul in the midst of joy; that the dreams of my youth may return, and the days of the mighty Fingal.
Selma! I behold thy towers, thy trees, and shaded wall. I see the heroes of Morven; and hear the song of bards. Oscar lifts the sword of Cormalo; and a thousand youths admire its [ 157 ] View Page Image studded thongs. They look with wonder on my son; and admire the strength of his arm. They mark the joy of his father's eyes; they long for an equal fame.
And ye shall have your fame, O sons of streamy Morven.—My soul is often brightened with the song; and I remember the companions of my youth.——But sleep descends with the sound of the harp; and pleasant dreams begin to rise. Ye sons of the chace stand far distant, nor disturb my rest. The bard of other times converses now with his fathers, the chiefs of the days of old.—Sons of the chace, stand far distant; disturb not the dreams of Ossian.
The Battle of Lora: A PoemDisplay note.
Son of the distant land, who dwellest in the secret cell! do I hear the sounds of thy grove? or is it thy voice of songs?—The [ 159 ] View Page Image torrent was loud in my ear, but I heard a tuneful voice; dost thou praise the chiefs of thy land; or the spiritsDisplay note of the wind? —But, lonely dweller of the rock! look over that heathy plain: thou seest green tombs, with their rank, whistling grass; with their stones of mossy heads: thou seest them, son of the rock, but Ossian's eyes have failed.
A mountain-stream comes roaring down and sends its waters round a green hill: four mossy stones, in the midst of withered grass, rear their heads on the top: two trees, which the storms have bent, spread their whistling branches around.——This is thy dwelling, ErragonDisplay note; this thy narrow house: the sound of thy shells have been long forgot in Sora: and thy shield is become dark in thy hall.——Erragon, king of ships! chief of distant Sora! how hast thou fallen on our mountainsDisplay note! How is the mighty low![ 160 ] View Page Image
Son of the secret cell! dost thou delight in songs? Hear the battle of Lora; the sound of its steel is long since past. So thunder on the darkened hill roars and is no more. The sun returns with his silent beams: the glittering rocks, and green heads of the mountains smile.
The bay of Cona received our shipsDisplay note, from Ullin's rolling waves: our white sheets hung loose to the masts: and the boisterous winds roared behind the groves of Morven.——The horn of the king is sounded, and the deer start from their rocks. Our arrows flew in the woods; the feast of the hill is spread. Our joy was great on our rocks, for the fall of the terrible Swaran.
Two heroes were forgot at our feast; and the rage of their bosoms burned. They rolled their red eyes in secret: the sigh bursts from their breasts. They were seen to talk together, and to throw their spears on earth. They were two dark clouds, in the midst of our joy; like pillars of mist on the settled sea: it glitters to the sun, but the mariners fear a storm.
Raise my white sails, said Ma-ronnan, raise them to the winds of the west; let us rush, O Aldo, through the foam of the northern wave. [ 161 ] View Page Image We are forgot at the feast: but our arms have been red in blood. Let us leave the hills of Fingal, and serve the king of Sora.——His countenance is fierce, and the war darkens round his spear. Let us be renowned, O Aldo, in the battles of echoing Sora.
They took their swords and shields of thongs; and rushed to Lumar's sounding bay. They came to Sora's haughty king, the chief of bounding steeds.——Erragon had returned from the chace: his spear was red in blood. He bent his dark face to the ground: and whistled as he went.——He took the strangers to his feasts: they fought and conquered in his wars.
Aldo returned with his fame towards Sora's lofty walls.—From her tower looked the spouse of Erragon, the humid, rolling eyes of Lorma.——Her dark-brown hair flies on the wind of ocean: her white breast heaves, like snow on heath; when the gentle winds arise, and slowly move it in the light. She saw young Aldo, like the beam of Sora's setting sun. Her lost heart sighed: tears filled her eyes; and her white arm supported her head.
Three days she sat within the hall, and covered grief with joy.—On the fourth she fled with the hero, along the rolling sea.——They [ 162 ] View Page Image came to Cona's mossy towers, to Fingal king of spears.
Aldo of the heart of pride! said the rising king of Morven, shall I defend thee from the wrath of Sora's injured king? who will now receive my people into their halls, or give the feast of strangers, since Aldo, of the little soul, has carried away the fair of Sora? Go to thy hills, thou feeble hand, and hide thee in thy caves; mournful is the battle we must fight, with Sora's gloomy king.——Spirit of the noble Trenmor! When will Fingal cease to fight? I was born in the midst of battlesDisplay note, and my steps must move in blood to my tomb. But my hand did not injure the weak, my steel did not touch the feeble in arms.—I behold thy tempests, O Morven, which will overturn my halls; when my children are dead in battle, and none remains to dwell in Selma. Then will the feeble come, but they will not know my tomb: my renown is in the song: and my actions shall be as a dream to future times.
His people gathered around Erragon, as the storms round the ghost of night; when he calls [ 163 ] View Page Image them from the top of Morven, and prepares to pour them on the land of the stranger.——He came to the shore of Cona, and sent his bard to the king; to demand the combat of thousands; or the land of many hills.
Fingal sat in his hall with the companions of his youth around him. The young heroes were at the chace, and far distant in the desart. The gray-haired chiefs talked of other times, and of the actions of their youth; when the aged NarthmorDisplay note came, the king of streamy Lora.
This is no time, begun the chief, to hear the songs of other years: Erragon frowns on the coast, and lifts ten thousand swords. Gloomy is the king among his chiefs! he is like the darkened moon, amidst the meteors of night.
Come, said Fingal, from thy hall, thou daughter of my love; come from thy hall, BosminaDisplay note, maid of streamy Morven! Narthmor, take the steedsDisplay note of the strangers, and attend the daughter of Fingal: let her bid the king of Sora [ 164 ] View Page Image to our feast, to Selma's shaded wall.——Offer him, O Bosmina, the peace of heroes, and the wealth of generous Aldo: our youths are far distant, and age is on our trembling hands.
She came to the host of Erragon, like a beam of light to a cloud.——In her right hand shone an arrow of gold: and in her left a sparkling shell, the sign of Morven's peace.——Erragon brightened in her presence as a rock, before the sudden beams of the sun; when they issue from a broken cloud, divided by the roaring wind.
Son of the distant Sora, begun the mildly blushing maid, come to the feast of Morven's king, to Selma's shaded walls. Take the peace of heroes, O warrior, and let the dark sword rest by thy side.—And if thou chusest the wealth of kings, hear the words of the generous Aldo.——He gives to Erragon an hundred steeds, the children of the rein; an hundred maids from distant lands; an hundred hawks with fluttering wing, that fly across the sky. An hundred girdlesDisplay note shall also be thine, to bind high-bosomed [ 165 ] View Page Image women; the friends of the births of heroes, and the cure of the sons of toil.—Ten shells studded with gems shall shine in Sora's towers: the blue water trembles on their stars, and seems to be sparkling wine.——They gladdened once the kings of the worldDisplay note, in the midst of their echoing halls. These, O hero, shall be thine; or thy white-bosomed spouse.——Lorma shall roll her bright eyes in thy halls; though Fingal loves the generous Aldo:—Fingal!—who never injured a hero, though his arm is strong.
Soft voice of Cona! replied the king, tell him, that he spreads his feast in vain.——Let Fingal pour his spoils around me; and bend beneath my power. Let him give me the swords of his fathers, and the shields of other times; that my children may behold them in my halls, and say, "These are the arms of Fingal."
Never shall they behold them in thy halls, said the rising pride of the maid; they are in the mighty hands of heroes who never yielded in war.—King of the echoing Sora! the storm is gathering on our hills. Dost thou not foresee the fall of thy people, son of the distant land?[ 166 ] View Page Image
She came to Selma's silent halls; the king beheld her down-cast eyes. He rose from his place, in his strength, and shook his aged locks.—He took the sounding mail of Trenmor, and the dark-brown shield of his fathers. Darkness filled Selma's hall, when he stretched his hand to his spear:—the ghosts of thousands were near, and foresaw the death of the people. Terrible joy rose in the face of the aged heroes: they rushed to meet the foe; their thoughts are on the actions of other years: and on the fame of the tomb.
Now the dogs of the chace appeared at Trathal's tomb: Fingal knew that his young heroes followed them, and he stopt in the midst of his course.——Oscar appeared the first;—then Morni's son, and Nemi's race:—FercuthDisplay note shewed his gloomy form: Dermid spread his dark hair on the wind. Ossian came the last, O son of the rockDisplay note, I hummed the song of other times: my spear supported my steps over the little streams, and my thoughts were of mighty men. Fingal struck his bossy shield; and gave the dismal sign of war; a thousand [ 167 ] View Page Image swordsDisplay note, at once unsheathed, gleam on the waving heath. Three gray-haired sons of the song raise the tuneful, mournful voice.——Deep and dark with sounding steps, we rush, a gloomy ridge, along: like the shower of a storm when it pours on the narrow vale.
The king of Morven sat on his hill: the sun-beamDisplay note of battle flew on the wind: the companions of his youth are near, with all their waving locks of age.——Joy rose in the hero's eyes when he beheld his sons in war; when he saw them amidst the lightning of swords, and mindful of the deeds of their fathers.——Erragon came on, in his strength, like the roar of a winter stream: the battle falls in his course, and death is at his side.
Who comes, said Fingal, like the bounding roe, like the hart of echoing Cona? His shield glitters on his side; and the clang of his armour is mournful.——He meets with Erragon in the strife!—Behold the battle of the chiefs!—it is like the contending of ghosts in a gloomy storm. [ 168 ] View Page Image——But fallest thou, son of the hill, and is thy white bosom stained with blood? Weep, unhappy Lorma, Aldo is no more.
The king took the spear of his strength; for he was sad for the fall of Aldo: he bent his deathful eyes on the foe; but Gaul met the king of Sora.——Who can relate the fight of the chiefs?—The mighty stranger fell.
Sons of Cona! Fingal cried aloud, stop the hand of death.—Mighty was he that is now so low! and much is he mourned in Sora! The stranger will come towards his hall, and wonder why it is silent. The king is fallen, O stranger, and the joy of his house is ceased.——Listen to the sound of his woods: perhaps his ghost is there; but he is far distant, on Morven, beneath the sword of a foreign foe.
Such were the words of Fingal, when the bard raised the song of peace; we stopped our uplifted swords, and spared the feeble foe. We laid Erragon in that tomb; and I raised the voice of grief: the clouds of night came rolling down, and the ghost of Erragon appeared to some.—His face was cloudy and dark; and an half-formed sigh is in his breast.——Blest be thy soul, O king of Sora! thine arm was terrible in war![ 169 ] View Page Image
Lorma sat, in Aldo's hall, at the light of a flaming oak: the night came, but he did not return; and the soul of Lorma is sad.—What detains thee, hunter of Cona? for thou didst promise to return.——Has the deer been distant far; and do the dark winds sigh, round thee, on the heath? I am in the land of strangers, where is my friend, but Aldo? Come from thy echoing hills, O my best beloved!
Her eyes are turned toward the gate, and she listens to the rustling blast. She thinks it is Aldo's tread, and joy rises in her face:—but sorrow returns again, like a thin cloud on the moon.——And thou wilt not return, my love? Let me behold the face of the hill. The moon is in the east. Calm and bright is the breast of the lake! When shall I behold his dogs returning from the chace? When shall I hear his voice, loud and distant on the wind? Come from thy ecchoing hills, hunter of woody Cona!
His thin ghost appeared, on a rock, like the watry beam of the moon, when it rushes from between two clouds, and the midnight shower is on the field.——She followed the empty form over the heath, for she knew that her hero fell.—I heard her approaching cries on the wind, like the mournful voice of the breeze, when it sighs on the grass of the cave.[ 170 ] View Page Image
She came, she found her hero: her voice was heard no more: silent she rolled her sad eyes; she was pale as a watry cloud, that rises from the lake, to the beam of the moon.
Few were her days on Cona: she sunk into the tomb: Fingal commanded his bards; and they sung over the death of Lorma. The daughtersDisplay note of Morven mourned her for one day in the year, when the dark winds of autumn returned.
Son of the distant landDisplay note, thou dwellest in the field of fame: O let thy song rise, at times, in the praise of those that fell: that their thin ghosts may rejoice around thee; and the soul of Lorma come on a moon-beamDisplay note, when thou liest down to rest, and the moon looks into thy cave. Then shalt thou see her lovely; but the tear is still on her cheek.
Conlath and Cuthóna: A PoemDisplay note.
Did not Ossian hear a voice? or is it the sound of days that are no more? Often does the memory of former times come, like the evening sun, on my soul. The noise of the [ 172 ] View Page Image chace is renewed; and, in thought, I lift the spear.——But Ossian did hear a voice: Who art thou, son of the night? The sons of little men are asleep, and the midnight wind is in my hall. Perhaps it is the shield of Fingal that echoes to the blast, it hangs in Ossian's hall, and he feels it sometimes with his hands.——Yes!—I hear thee, my friend; long has thy voice been absent from mine ear! What brings thee, on thy cloud, to Ossian, son of the generous Morni? Are the friends of the aged near thee? Where is Oscar, son of fame?—He was often near thee, O Conlath, when the din of battle rose.Ghost of Conlath.
Sleeps the sweet voice of Cona, in the midst of his rustling hall? Sleeps Ossian in his hall, and his friends without their fame? The sea rolls round the dark I-thonaDisplay note, and our tombs are not seen by the stranger. How long shall our fame be unheard, son of the echoing Morven?
O that mine eyes could behold thee, as thou sittest, dim, on thy cloud! Art thou like the mist of Lano; or an half extinguished meteor? [ 173 ] View Page Image Of what are the skirts of thy robe? Of what is thine airy bow?——But he is gone on his blast like the shadow of mist.—Come from thy wall, my harp, and let me hear thy sound. Let the light of memory rise on I-thona; that I may behold my friends. And Ossian does behold his friends, on the dark-blue isle.—The cave of Thona appears, with its mossy rocks and bending trees. A stream roars at its mouth, and Toscar bends over its course. Fercuth is sad by his side: and the maidDisplay note of his love sits at a distance, and weeps. Does the wind of the waves deceive me? Or do I hear them speak?
The night was stormy. From their hills the groaning oaks came down. The sea darkly-tumbled beneath the blast, and the roaring; waves were climbing against our rocks.—The lightning came often and shewed the blasted fern.—Fercuth! I saw the ghost of nightDisplay note. Silent he stood, on that bank, his robe of mist [ 174 ] View Page Image flew on the wind.——I could behold his tears: an aged man he seemed, and full of thought.
It was thy father, O Toscar; and he foresees some death among his race. Such was his appearance on Cromla, before the great Ma-ronnanDisplay note fell.——UllinDisplay note! with thy hills of grass, how pleasant are thy vales! Silence is near thy blue streams. and the sun is on thy fields. Soft is the sound of the harp in SelámaDisplay note, and pleasant the cry of the hunter on Crómla. But we are in the dark I-thona, surrounded by the storm. The billows lift their white heads above our rocks: and we tremble amidst the night.
Whither is the soul of battle fled, Fercuth with the locks of age? I have seen thee undaunted in danger, and thine eyes burning with joy in the fight. Whither is the soul of battle fled? Our fathers never feared.—Go: view the [ 175 ] View Page Image settling sea: the stormy wind is laid. The billows still trembleDisplay note on the deep, and seem to fear the blast. But view the settling sea: morning is gray on our rocks. The sun will look soon from his east; in all his pride of light.
I lifted up my sails, with joy, before the halls of generous Conlath. My course was by the isle of waves, where his love pursued the deer. I saw her, like that beam of the sun that issues from the cloud. Her hair was on her heaving breast; she, bending forward, drew the bow: her white arm seemed, behind her, like the snow of Cromla:——Come to my soul, I said, thou huntress of the isle of waves! But she spends her time in tears, and thinks of the generous Conlath. Where can I find thy peace, Cuthona, lovely maid!
A distant steep bends over the sea, with aged trees and mossy rocks: the billows roll at its feet: on its side is the dwelling of roes. The [ 176 ] View Page Image people call it Ardven. There the towers of Mora rise. There Conlath looks over the sea for his only love. The daughters of the chace returned, and he beheld their downcast eyes. Where is the daughter of Rumar? But they answered not.—My peace dwells on Ardven, son of the distant land!
And Cuthona shall return to her peace; to the halls of generous Conlath. He is the friend of Toscar: I have feasted in his halls.—Rise, ye gentle breezes of Ullin, and stretch my sails towards Ardven's shores. Cuthona shall rest on Ardven: but the days of Toscar will be sad.—I shall sit in my cave in the field of the sun. The blast will rustle in my trees, and I shall think it is Cuthona's voice. But she is distant far, in the halls of the mighty Conlath.
Oh! what cloud is that? It carries the ghosts of my fathers. I see the skirts of their robes, like gray and watry mist. When shall I fall, O Rumar?—Sad Cuthona sees her death. Will not Conlath behold me, before I enter the narrow houseDisplay note?
[ 177 ] View Page Image Ossian.
And he will behold thee, O maid: he comes along the rolling sea. The death of Toscar is dark on his spear; and a wound is in his side. He is pale at the cave of Thona, and shews his ghastly woundDisplay note. Where art thou with thy tears, Cuthona? the chief of Mora dies.——The vision grows dim on my mind:—I behold the chiefs no more. But, O ye bards of future times, remember the fall of Conlath with tears: he fell before his dayDisplay note; and sadness darkened in his hall. His mother looked to his shield on the wall, and it was bloodyDisplay note. She knew that her hero died, and her sorrow was heard on Mora.
Art thou pale on thy rock, Cuthona, beside the fallen chiefs? The night comes, and the [ 178 ] View Page Image day returns, but none appears to raise their tomb. Thou frightnest the screaming fowls Display note away, and thy tears for ever flow. Thou art pale as a watry cloud, that rises from a lake.
The sons of the desart came, and they found her dead. They raise a tomb over the heroes; and she rests at the side of Conlath.—Come not to my dreams, O Conlath; for thou hast received thy fame. Be thy voice far distant from my hall; that sleep may descend at night. O that I could forget my friends: till my footsteps cease to be seen! till I come among them with joy! and lay my aged limbs in the narrow house!
CarthonDisplay note: A Poem
A tale of the times of old! The deeds of days of other years!—The murmur of thy streams, O Lora, brings back the memory of the past. The sound of thy woods, [ 180 ] View Page Image Garmallar, is lovely in mine ear. Dost thou not behold, Malvina, a rock with its head of heath? Three aged firs bend from its face; green is the narrow plain at its feet; there the flower of the mountain grows, and shakes its white head in the breeze. The thistle is there alone, and shades its aged beard. Two stones, half sunk in the ground, shew their heads of moss. The deer of the mountain avoids the place, for he beholds the gray ghost that guards itDisplay note: for the mighty lie, O Malvina, in the narrow plain of the rock. A tale of the times of old! the deeds of days of other years![ 181 ] View Page Image
Who comes from the land of strangers, with his thousands around him? the sun-beam pours its bright stream before him; and his hair meets the wind of his hills. His face is settled from war. He is calm as the evening beam that looks, from the cloud of the west, on Cona's silent vale. Who is it but Comhal's sonDisplay note, the king of mighty deeds! He beholds his hills with joy, and bids a thousand voices rise.——Ye have fled over your fields, ye sons of the distant land! The king of the world sits in his hall, and hears of his people's flight. He lifts his red eye of pride, and takes his father's sword. Ye have fled over your fields, sons of the distant land!
Such were the words of the bards, when they came to Selma's halls.—A thousand lightsDisplay note from the stranger's land rose, in the midst of the people. The feast is spread around; and the night passed away in joy.—Where is the noble ClessámmorDisplay note said the fair-haired Fingal? Where is the companion of my father, in the days of my joy? Sullen and dark he passes his days in [ 182 ] View Page Image the vale of echoing Lora: but, behold, he comes from the hill, like a steedDisplay note in his strength, who finds his companions in the breeze; and tosses his bright mane in the wind.——Blest be the soul of Clessámmor, why so long from Selma?
Returns the chief, said Clessámmor, in the midst of his fame? Such was the renown of Comhal in the battles of his youth. Often did we pass over Carun to the land of the strangers: [ 183 ] View Page Image our swords returned, not unstained with blood: nor did the kings of the world rejoice.——Why do I remember the battles of my youth? My hair is mixed with gray. My hand forgets to bend the bow: and I lift a lighter spear. O that my joy would return, as when I first beheld the maid; the white bosomed daughter of strangers, MoinaDisplay note with the dark-blue eyes!
Tell, said the mighty Fingal, the tale of thy youthful days. Sorrow, like a cloud on the sun, shades the soul of Clessámmor. Mournful are thy thoughts, alone, on the banks of the roaring Lora. Let us hear the sorrow of thy youth, and the darkness of thy days.
It was in the days of peace, replied the great Clessámmor, I came, in my bounding ship, to Balclutha'sDisplay note walls of towers. The winds had roared behind my sails, and Clutha'sDisplay note streams received my dark-bosomed vessel. Three days I remained in Reuthámir's halls, and saw that [ 184 ] View Page Image beam of light, his daughter. The joy of the shell went round, and the aged hero gave the fair. Her breasts were like foam on the wave, and her eyes like stars of light: her hair was dark as the raven's wing: her soul was generous and mild. My love for Moina was great: and my heart poured forth in joy.
The son of a stranger came; a chief who loved the white-bosomed Moina. His words were mighty in the hall, and he often half-unsheathed his sword.—Where, he said, is the mighty Comhal, the restless wandererDisplay note of the heath? Comes he, with his host, to Balclutha, since Clessámmor is so bold?
My soul, I replied, O warrior! burns in a light of its own. I stand without fear in the midst of thousands, though the valiant are distant far.—Stranger! thy words are mighty, for Clessámmor is alone. But my sword trembles by my side, and longs to glitter in my hand.—Speak no more of Comhal, son of the winding Clutha!
The strength of his pride arose. We fought; he fell beneath my sword. The banks of Clutha [ 185 ] View Page Image heard his fall, and a thousand spears glittered around. I fought: the strangers prevailed: I plunged into the stream of Clutha. My white sails rose over the waves, and I bounded on the dark-blue sea.—Moina came to the shore, and rolled the red eye of her tears: her dark hair flew on the wind; and I heard her cries.—Often did I turn my ship! but the winds of the East prevailed. Nor Clutha ever since have I seen: nor Moina of the dark brown hair.—She fell in Balclutha: for I have seen her ghost. I knew her as she came through the dusky night, along the murmur of Lora: she was like the new moonDisplay note seen through the gathered mist: when the sky pours down its flaky snow, and the world is silent and dark.[ 186 ] View Page Image
RaiseDisplay note, ye bards, said the mighty Fingal, the praise of unhappy Moina. Call her ghost, with your songs, to our hills; that she may rest with the fair of Morven, the sun-beams of other days and the delight of heroes of old.—I have seen the wallsDisplay note of Balclutha, but they were desolate. The fire had resounded in the halls: and the voice of the people is heard no more. The stream of Clutha was removed from its place, by the fall of the walls.—The thistle shook, there, its lonely head: the moss whistled to the wind. The fox looked out, from the windows, the rank grass of the wall waved round his head.—Desolate is the dwelling of Moina, silence is in the house of her fathers.—Raise the song of mourning, O bards, over the land of strangers. They have but fallen before us: for, one day, we must fall.—Why dost thou build the hall, son of the winged days? [ 187 ] View Page Image Thou lookest from thy towers to-day; yet a few years, and the blast of the desart comes; it howls in thy empty court, and whistles round thy half-worn shield.—And let the blast of the desart come! we shall be renowned in our day. The mark of my arm shall be in the battle, and my name in the song of bards.—Raise the song; send round the shell: and let joy be heard in my hall.—When thou, sun of heaven, shalt fail! if thou shalt fail, thou mighty light! if thy brightness is for a season, like Fingal; our fame shall survive thy beams.
Such was the song of Fingal, in the day of his joy. His thousand bards leaned forward from their seats, to hear the voice of the king. It was like the music of the harp on the gale of the spring.—Lovely were thy thoughts, O Fingal! why had not Ossian the strength of thy soul?—But thou standest alone, my father; and who can equal the king of Morven?
The night passed away in the song, and morning returned in joy;—the mountains shewed their gray heads; and the blue face of ocean smiled.—The white wave is seen tumbling round the distant rock; the gray mist rises, slowly, from the lake. It came, in the figure of an aged man, along the silent plain. Its large limbs did not move in steps; for a ghost supported it in mid [ 188 ] View Page Image air. It came towards Selma's hall, and dissolved in a shower of blood.
The king alone beheld the terrible sight, and he foresaw the death of the people. He came, in silence, to his hall; and took his father's spear.—The mail rattled on his breast. The heroes rose around. They looked, in silence, on each other, marking the eyes of Fingal.—They saw the battle in his face: the death of armies on his spear.—A thousand shields, at once, are placed on their arms; and they drew a thousand swords. The hall of Selma brightened around. The clang of arms ascends.—The gray dogs howl in their place. No word is among the mighty chiefs.—Each marked the eyes of the King; and half assumed his spear.
Sons of Morven, begun the king, this is no time to fill the shell. The battle darkens near us; and death hovers over the land. Some ghost, the friend of Fingal, has forewarned us of the foe.——The sons of the stranger come from the darkly-rolling sea. For, from the water, came the sign of Morven's gloomy danger.—Let eachDisplay note assume his heavy spear, and gird [ 189 ] View Page Image on his father's sword.—Let the dark helmet rise on every head; and the mail pour its lightening from every side.—The battle gathers like a tempest, and soon shall ye hear the roar of death.
The hero moved on before his host, like a cloud before a ridge of heaven's fire; when it pours on the sky of night, and mariners foresee a storm. On Cona's rising heath they stood: the white-bosomed maids beheld them above like a grove; they foresaw the death of their youths, and looked towards the sea with fear.—The white wave deceived them for distant sails, and the tear is on their cheek.
The sun rose on the sea, and we beheld a distant fleet.—Like the mist of ocean they came: and poured their youth upon the coast.—The chief was among them, like the stag in the midst of the herd.—His shield is studded with gold, and stately strode the king of spears.—He moved towards Selma; his thousands moved behind.[ 190 ] View Page Image
Go, with thy song of peace, said Fingal; go, Ullin, to the king of swords. Tell him that we are mighty in battle; and that the ghosts of our foes are many.—But renowned are they who have feasted in my halls! they shew the armsDisplay note of my fathers in a foreign land: the sons of the strangers wonder, and bless the friends of Morven's race; for our names have been heard afar; the kings of the world shook in the midst of their people.
Ullin went with his song. Fingal rested on his spear: he saw the mighty foe in his armour: and he blest the stranger's son.
How stately art thou, son of the sea! said the king of woody Morven. Thy sword is a beam of might by thy side: thy spear is a fir that defies the storm. The varied face of the moon is not broader than thy shield.—Ruddy is thy face of youth! soft the ringlets of thy hair!—But this tree may fall; and his memory be forgot!—The daughter of the stranger will be sad, and look to the rolling sea:—the children will say, "We see a ship; perhaps it is the king "of Balclutha." The tear starts from their mother's [ 191 ] View Page Image eye. Her thoughts are of him that sleeps in Morven.
Such were the words of the king, when Ullin came to the mighty Carthon: he threw down the spear before him; and raised the song of peace.
Come to the feast of Fingal, Carthon, from the rolling sea! partake the feast of the king, or lift the spear of war. The ghosts of our foes are many: but renowned are the friends of Morven!
Behold that field, O Carthon; many a green hill rises there, with mossy stones and rustling grass: these are the tombs of Fingal's foes, the sons of the rolling sea.
Dost thou speak to the feeble in arms, said Carthon, bard of the woody Morven? Is my face pale for fear, son of the peaceful song? Why, then, dost thou think to darken my soul with the tales of those who fell?—My arm has fought in the battle; my renown is known afar. Go to the feeble in arms, and bid them yield to Fingal.—Have not I seen the fallen Balclutha? And shall I feast with Comhal's son? Comhal! who threw his fire in the midst of my father's hall! I was young, and knew not the cause why the virgins wept. The columns of smoke pleased mine eye, when they rose above my [ 192 ] View Page Image walls; I often looked back, with gladness, when my friends fled along the hill.——But when the years of my youth came on, I beheld the moss of my fallen walls: my sigh arose with the morning, and my tears descended with night.—Shall I not fight, I said to my soul, against the children of my foes? And I will fight, O bard; I feel the strength of my soul.
His people gathered around the hero, and drew, at once, their shining swords. He stands, in the midst, like a pillar of fire; the tear half-starting from his eye; for he thought of the fallen Balclutha, and the crowded pride of his soul arose. Sidelong he looked up to the hill, where our heroes shone in arms; the spear trembled in his hand: and, bending foreward, he seemed to threaten the king.
Shall I, said Fingal to his soul, meet, at once, the king? Shall I stop him, in the midst of his course, before his fame shall arise? But the bard, hereafter, may say, when he sees the tomb of Carthon; Fingal took his thousands, along with him, to battle, before the noble Carthon fell.——No:—bard of the times to come! thou shalt not lessen Fingal's fame. My heroes will fight the youth, and Fingal behold the battle. If he overcomes, I rush, in my strength, like the roaring stream of Cona.[ 193 ] View Page Image
Who, of my heroes, will meet the son of the rolling sea? Many are his warriors on the coast: and strong is his ashen spear!
CathulDisplay note rose, in his strength, the son of the mighty Lormar: three hundred youths attend the chief, the raceDisplay note of his native streams. Feeble was his arm against Carthon, he fell; and his heroes fled.
ConnalDisplay note resumed the battle, but he broke his heavy spear: he lay bound on the field: and Carthon pursued his people.
Clessámmor! said the kingDisplay note of Morven, where is the spear of thy strength? Wilt thou behold Connal bound; thy friend, at the stream of Lora? Rise, in the light of thy steel, thou friend of Comhal. Let the youth of Balclutha feel the strength of Morven's race.
He rose in the strength of his steel, shaking his grizly locks, He fitted the shield to his side; and rushed, in the pride of valour.[ 194 ] View Page Image
Carthon stood, on that heathy rock, and saw the heroes approach. He loved the terrible joy of his face: and his strength, in the locks of age.——Shall I lift that spear, he said, that never strikes, but once, a foe? Or shall I, with the words of peace, preserve the warrior's life? Stately are his steps of age!—lovely the remnant of his years. Perhaps it is the love of Moina; the father of car-borne Carthon. Often have I heard, that he dwelt at the echoing stream of Lora.
Such were his words, when Clessámmor came, and lifted high his spear. The youth received it on his shield, and spoke the words of peace.——Warrior of the aged locks! Is there no youth to lift the spear? Hast thou no son, to raise the shield before his father, and to meet the arm of youth? Is the spouse of thy love no more? or weeps she over the tombs of thy sons? Art thou of the kings of men? What will be the fame of my sword if thou shalt fall?
It will be great, thou son of pride! begun the tall Clessámmor. I have been renowned in battle; but I never told my nameDisplay note to a foe. [ 195 ] View Page Image Yield to me, son of the wave, and then thou shalt know, that the mark of my sword is in many a field.
I never yielded, king of spears! replied the noble pride of Carthon: I have also fought in battles; and I behold my future fame. Despise me not, thou chief of men; my arm, my spear is strong. Retire among thy friends, and let young heroes fight.
Why dost thou wound my soul, replied Clessámmor with a tear? Age does not tremble on my hand; I still can lift the sword. Shall I fly in Fingal's fight; in the fight of him I loved? Son of the sea! I never fled: exalt thy pointed spear.
They fought, like two contending winds, that strive to roll the wave. Carthon bade his spear to err; for he still thought that the foe was the spouse of Moina.——He broke Clessámmor's beamy spear in twain: and seized his shining sword. But as Carthon was binding the chief; the chief drew the dagger of his fathers. He saw the foe's uncovered side; and opened, there, a wound.[ 196 ] View Page Image
Fingal saw Clessámmor low: he moved in the sound of his steel. The host stood silent, in his presence; they turned their eyes towards the hero.—He came, like the sullen noise of a storm, before the winds arise: the hunter hears it in the vale, and retires to the cave of the rock.
Carthon stood in his place: the blood is rushing down his side: he saw the coming down of the king; and his hopes of fame aroseDisplay note; but pale was his cheek: his hair flew loose, his helmet shook on high: the force of Carthon failed; but his soul was strong.
Fingal beheld the heroes blood; he stopt the uplifted spear. Yield, king of swords! said Comhal's son; I behold thy blood. Thou hast been mighty in battle; and thy fame shall never fade.
Art thou the king so far renowned, replied the car-borne Carthon? Art thou that light of death, that frightens the kings of the world?—But why should Carthon ask? for he is like the stream of his desart; strong as a river, in his course: swift as the eagle of the sky.—O that I had fought with the king; that my fame might [ 197 ] View Page Image be great in the song! that the hunter, beholding my tomb, might say, he fought with the mighty Fingal. But Carthon dies unknown; he has poured out his force on the feeble.
But thou shalt not die unknown, replied the king of woody Morven: my bards are many, O Carthon, and their songs descend to future times. The children of the years to come shall hear the fame of Carthon; when they sit round the burning oakDisplay note, and the night is spent in the songs of old. The hunter, sitting in the heath, shall hear the rustling blast; and, raising his eyes, behold the rock where Carthon fell. He shall turn to his son, and shew the place where the mighty fought; "There the king of Balclutha fought, like the strength of a thousand streams."
Joy rose in Carthon's face: he lifted his heavy eyes.——He gave his sword to Fingal, to lie within his hall, that the memory of Balclutha's king might remain on Morven.—The battle ceased along the field, for the bard had sung the song of peace. The chiefs gathered round the falling Carthon, and heard his words, with [ 198 ] View Page Image sighs. Silent they leaned on their spears, while Balclutha's hero spoke. His hair sighed in the wind, and his words were feeble.
King of Morven, Carthon said, I fall in the midst of my course. A foreign tomb receives, in youth, the last of Reuthámir's race. Darkness dwells in Balclutha: and the shadows of grief in Crathmo.—But raise my remembrance on the banks of Lora: where my fathers dwelt. Perhaps the husband of Moina will mourn over his fallen Carthon.
His words reached the heart of Clessámmor: he fell, in silence, on his son. The host stood darkened around: no voice is on the plains of Lora. Night came, and the moon, from the east, looked on the mournful field: but still they stood, like a silent grove that lifts its head on Gormal, when the loud winds are laid, and dark autumn is on the plain.
Three days they mourned above Carthon; on the fourth his father died. In the narrow plain of the rock they lie; and a dim ghost defends their tomb. There lovely Moina is often seen; when the sun-beam darts on the rock, and all around is dark. There she is seen, Malvina, but not like the daughters of the hill. Her robes are from the stranger's land; and she is still alone.[ 199 ] View Page Image
Fingal was sad for Carthon; he desired his bards to mark the day, when shadowy autumn returned. And often did they mark the day and sing the hero's praise. Who comes so dark from ocean's roar, like autumn's shadowy cloud? Death is trembling in his hand! his eyes are flames of fire!——Who roars along dark Lora's heath? Who but Carthon, king of swords? The people fall! see! how he strides, like the sullen ghost of Morven!—But there he lies a goodly oak, which sudden blasts overturned! When shalt thou rise, Balclutha's joy! lovely car-borne Carthon?——Who comes so dark from ocean's roar, like autumn's shadowy cloud?
Such were the words of the bards, in the day of their mourning; I have accompanied their voice; and added to their song. My soul has been mournful for Carthon; he fell in the days of his valour: and thou, O Clessámmor! where is thy dwelling in the air?—Has the youth forgot his wound? And flies he, on the clouds, with thee?——I feel the sun, O Malvina, leave me to my rest. Perhaps they may come to my dreams; I think I hear a feeble voice.—The beam of heaven delights to shine on the grave of Carthon: I feel it warm around.[ 200 ] View Page Image
O thou that rollest aboveDisplay note, round as the shield of my fathers! Whence are thy beams, O sun! thy everlasting light? Thou comest forth, in thy awful beauty, and the stars hide themselves in the sky; the moon, cold and pale, sinks in the western wave. But thou thyself movest alone: who can be a companion of thy course! The oaks of the mountains fall: the mountains themselves decay with years; the ocean shrinks and grows again: the moon herself is lost in heaven; but thou art for ever the same; rejoicing in the brightness of thy course. When the world is dark with tempests; when thunder rolls, and lightning flies; thou lookest in thy beauty, from the clouds, and laughest at the storm. But to Ossian, thou lookest in vain; for he beholds thy beams no more; whether thy yellow hair flows on the eastern clouds, or thou tremblest at the gates of the west. But thou art perhaps, like me, for a season, and thy years will have an end. Thou shalt sleep in thy [ 201 ] View Page Image clouds, careless of the voice of the morning.——Exult then, O sun, in the strength of thy youth! Age is dark and unlovely; it is like the glimmering light of the moon, when it shines through broken clouds, and the mist is on the hills; the blast of north is on the plain, the traveller shrinks in the midst of his journey.
The Death of Cuchullin: A PoemDisplay note.
Is the wind on Fingal's shield? Or is the voice of past times in my hall? Sing on, sweet voice, for thou art pleasant, and carriest away my night with joy. Sing on, O Bragela, daughter of Car-borne Songlan![ 203 ] View Page Image
It is the white wave of the rock, and not Cuchullin's sails. Often do the mists deceive me for the ship of my love! when they rise round [ 204 ] View Page Image some ghost, and spread their gray skirts on the wind. Why dost thou delay thy coming, son of the generous Semo?—Four times has autumn returned with its winds, and raised the seas of TogormaDisplay note, since thou hast been in the roar of battles, and Bragéla distant far.—Hills of the isle of mist! when will ye answer to his hounds?——But ye are dark in your clouds, and sad Bragéla calls in vain. Night comes rolling down: the face of ocean fails. The heath-cock's head is beneath his wing: the hind sleeps with the hart of the desart. They shall rise with the morning's light, and feed on the mossy stream. But my tears return with the sun, my [ 205 ] View Page Image sighs come on with the night. When wilt thou come in thine arms, O chief of mossy Tura?
Pleasant is thy voice in Ossian's ear, daughter of car-borne Sorglan! But retire to the hall of shells; to the beam of the burning oak.——Attend to the murmur of the sea: it rolls at Dunscaich's walls: let sleep descend on thy blue eyes, and the hero come to thy dreams.
Cuchullin sits at Lego's lake, at the dark rolling of waters. Night is around the hero; and his thousands spread on the heath: a hundred oaks burn in the midst, the feast of shells is smoaking wide.—Carril strikes the harp, beneath a tree; his gray locks glitter in the beam; the rustling blast of night is near, and lifts his aged hair.—His song is of the blue Togorma, and of its chief, Cuchullin's friend.
Why art thou absent, Connal, in the day of the gloomy storm? The chiefs of the south have convened against the car-borne Cormac: the winds detain thy sails, and thy blue waters roll around thee. But Cormac is not alone: the son of Semo fights his battles. Semo's son his battles fights! the terror of the stranger! he that [ 206 ] View Page Image is like the vapour of deathDisplay note, slowly borne by sultry winds. The sun reddens in its presence, the people fall around.
Such was the song of Carril, when a son of the foe appeared; he threw down his pointless spear, and spoke the words of Torlath: Torlath the chief of heroes, from Lego's sable surge: he that led his thousands to battle, against car-borne Cormac. Cormac who was distant far, in Temora'sDisplay note echoing halls: he learned to bend the bow of his fathers; and to lift the spear. Nor long didst thou lift the spear, mildly-shining beam of youth! death stands dim behind thee, like the darkened half of the moon behind its growing light.
Cuchullin rose before the bardDisplay note, that came from generous Torlath; he offered him [ 207 ] View Page Image the shell of joy, and honoured the son of songs. Sweet voice of Lego! he said, what are the words of Torlath? Comes he to our feast or battle, the car-borne son of CantélaDisplay note?
He comes to thy battle, replied the bard, to the sounding strife of spears.——When morning is gray on Lego, Torlath will fight on the plain: and wilt thou meet him, in thine arms, king of the isle of mist? Terrible is the spear of Torlath! it is a meteor of night. He lifts it, and the people fall: death sits in the lightning of his sword.
Do I fear, replied Cuchullin, the spear of car-borne Torlath? He is brave as a thousand heroes; but my soul delights in war. The sword rests not by the side of Cuchullin, bard of the times of old! Morning shall meet me on the plain, and gleam on the blue arms of Semo's son.—But sit thou, on the heath, O bard! and let us hear thy voice: partake of the joyful shell; and hear the songs of Temora.
This is no time, replied the bard, to hear the song of joy; when the mighty are to meet [ 208 ] View Page Image in battle like the strength of the waves of Lego. Why art thou so dark, SlimoraDisplay note! with all thy silent woods? No green star trembles on thy top; no moon-beam on thy side. But the meteors of death are there, and the gray watry forms of ghosts. Why art thou dark, Slimora! with thy silent woods?
He retired, in the sound of his song; Carril accompanied his voice. The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul. The ghosts of departed bards heard it from Slimora's side. Soft sounds spread along the wood, and the silent valleys of night rejoice.——So, when he sits in the silence of noon, in the valley of his breeze, the humming of the mountain bee comes to Ossian's ear: the gale drowns it often in its course; but the pleasant sound returns again.
Raise, said Cuchullin, to his hundred bards, the song of the noble Fingal: that song which he hears at night, when the dreams of his rest descend: when the bards strike the distant harp, and the faint light gleams on Selma's walls. Or let the grief of Lara rise, and the sighs of the mother of CalmarDisplay note, when he was fought, in [ 209 ] View Page Image vain, on his hills; and she beheld his bow in the hall.——Carril, place the shield of Caithbat on that branch; and let the spear of Cuchullin be near; that the sound of my battle may rise with the gray beam of the east.
The hero leaned on his father's shield: the song of Lara rose, The hundred bards were distant far: Carril alone is near the chief. The words of the song were his; and the sound of his harp was mournful.
AlclethaDisplay note with the aged locks! mother of car-borne Calmar! why dost thou look towards the desart, to behold the return of thy son? These are not his heroes, dark on the heath: nor is that the voice of Calmar: it is but the distant grove, Alcletha! but the roar of the mountain wind!
WhoDisplay note bounds over Lara's stream, sister of the noble Calmar? Does not Alclétha behold his [ 210 ] View Page Image spear? But her eyes are dim! Is it not the son of Matha, daughter of my love?
It is but an aged oak, Alclétha! replied the lovely weeping AlonaDisplay note; it is but an oak, Alclétha, bent over Lara's stream. But who comes along the plain? sorrow is in his speed. He lifts high the spear of Calmar. Alclétha, it is covered with blood!
But it is covered with the blood of foesDisplay note, sister of car-borne Calmar! his spear never returned unstained with bloodDisplay note, nor his bow from the strife of the mighty. The battle is consumed in his presence: he is a flame of death, Alona!——YouthDisplay note of the mournful speed! where is the son of Alclétha? Does he return with his fame? in the midst of his echoing shields?——Thou art dark and silent!—Calmar is then no more. Tell me not, warrior, how he fell, for I cannot hear of his wound.——
Why dost thou look towards the desart, mother of car-borne Calmar?——[ 211 ] View Page Image
Such was the song of Carril, when Cuchullin lay on his shield: the bards rested on their harps, and sleep fell softly around.——The son of Semo was awake alone; his soul was fixed on the war.——The burning oaks began to decay; faint red light is spread around.—A feeble voice is heard: the ghost of Calmar came. He stalked in the beam. Dark is the wound in his side. His hair is disordered and loose. Joy sits darkly on his face; and he seems to invite Cuchullin to his cave.
Son of the cloudy night! said the rising chief of Erin; Why dost thou bend thy dark eyes on me, ghost of the car-borne Calmar? Wouldest thou frighten me, O Matha's son! from the battles of Cormac? Thy hand was not feeble in war; neither was thy voiceDisplay note for peace. How art thou changed, chief of Lara! if thou now dost advise to fly!——But, Calmar, I never fled. I never fearedDisplay note the ghosts of the desart. Small is their knowledge, and weak their hands; their dwelling is in the wind.——But my soul grows in danger, and rejoices in the noise of steel. Retire thou to thy cave; thou art not [ 212 ] View Page Image Calmar's ghost; he delighted in battle, and his arm was like the thunder of heaven.
He retired in his blast with joy, for he had heard the voice of his praise. The faint beam of the morning rose, and the sound of Caithbat's buckler spread. Green Ullin's warriors convened, like the roar of many streams.—The horn of war is heard over Lego; the mighty Torlath came.
Why dost thou come with thy thousands, Cuchullin, said the chief of Lego. I know the strength of thy arm, and thy soul is an unextinguished fire.—Why fight we not on the plain, and let our hosts behold our deeds? Let them behold us like roaring waves, that tumble round a rock: the mariners hasten away, and look on their strife with fear.
Thou risest, like the sun, on my soul, replied the son of Semo. Thine arm is mighty, O Torlath! and worthy of my wrath. Retire, ye men of Ullin, to Slimora's shady side; behold the chief of Erin, in the day of his fame.——Carril! tell to mighty Connal, if Cuchullin must fall, tell him I accused the winds which roar on Togorma's waves.—Never was he absent in battle, when the strife of my fame arose.—Let this sword be before Cormac, like the beam of [ 213 ] View Page Image heaven: let his counsel sound in Temora in the day of danger.—
He rushed, in the sound of his arms, like the terrible spirit of LodaDisplay note, when he comes in the roar of a thousand storms, and scatters battles from his eyes.—He sits on a cloud over Lochlin's seas: his mighty hand is on his sword, and the winds lift his flaming locks.—So terrible was Cuchullin in the day of his fame.—Torlath fell by his hand, and Lego's heroes mourned.—They gather around the chief like the clouds of the desart.—A thousand swords rose at once; a thousand arrows flew; but he stood like a rock in the midst of a roaring sea.——They fell around; he strode in blood: dark Slimora echoed wide.—The sons of Ullin came, and the battle spread over Lego.—The chief of Erin overcame; he returned over the field with his fame.——[ 214 ] View Page Image
But pale he returned! The joy of his face was dark. He rolled his eyes in silence.—The sword hung, unsheathed, in his hand, and his spear bent at every step.
Carril, said the king in secret, the strength of Cuchullin fails. My days are with the years that are past: and no morning of mine shall arise.—They shall seek me at Temora, but I shall not be found. Cormac will weep in his hall, and say, "Where is Tura's chief?" —But my name is renowned! my fame in the song of bards.——The youth will say in secret, O let me die as Cuchullin died; renown cloathed him like a robe; and the light of his fame is great. Draw the arrow from my side; and lay Cuchullin beneath that oak. Place the shield of Caithbat near, that they may behold me amidst the arms of my fathers.—
And is the son of Semo fallenDisplay note, said Carril with a sigh?——Mournful are Tura's walls; and sorrow dwells at Dunscaich.—Thy spouse [ 215 ] View Page Image is left alone in her youth, the sonDisplay note of thy love is alone.—He shall come to Bragela, and ask her why she weeps.—He shall lift his eyes to the wall, and see his father's sword.—Whose sword is that? he will say: and the soul of his mother is sad. Who is that, like the hart of the desart, in the murmur of his course?—His eyes look wildly round in search of his friend.——Connal, son of Colgar, where hast thou been, when the mighty fell? Did the seas of Togorma roll round thee? Was the wind of the south in thy sails? The mighty have fallen in battle, and thou wast not there.—Let none tell it in Selma, nor in Morven's woody land; Fingal will be sad, and the sons of the desart mourn.
By the dark rolling waves of Lego they raised the hero's tomb.——LuäthDisplay note, at a distance, lies, the companion of Cuchullin, at the chace. [ 216 ] View Page Image——BlestDisplay note be thy soul, son of Semo; thou wert mighty in battle.—Thy strength was like the strength of a stream: thy speed like the eagle'sDisplay note wing.——Thy path in the battle was terrible: the steps of death were behind thy sword.——Blest be thy soul, son of Semo; car-borne chief of Dunscaich!
Thou hast not fallen by the sword of the mighty, neither was thy blood on the spear of the valiant.—The arrow came, like the sting of death in a blast: nor did the feeble hand, which drew the bow, perceive it. Peace to thy soul, in thy cave, chief of the isle of Mist!
The mighty are dispersed at Temora: there is none in Cormac's hall. The king mourns in his youth, for he does not behold thy coming. The sound of thy shield is ceased: his foes are gathering round. Soft be thy rest in thy cave, chief of Erin's wars!
Bragela will not hope thy return, or see thy sails in ocean's foam.——Her steps are not on the shore: nor her ear open to the voice of thy [ 217 ] View Page Image rowers.—She sits in the hall of shells, and sees the arms of him that is no more.—Thine eyes are full of tears, daughter of car-borne Sorglan!——Blest be thy soul in death, O chief of shady Cromla!
Dar-thula: A PoemDisplay note.
Daughter of heavenDisplay note, fair art thou! the silence of thy face is pleasant. Thou comest forth in loveliness: the stars attend thy blue steps in the east. The clouds rejoice in thy [ 219 ] View Page Image presence, O moon, and brighten their dark-brown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, daughter of the night? The stars are ashamed in thy presence, and turn aside their green, sparkling eyes.—Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the darknessDisplay note of thy countenance grows? Hast thou thy hall like Ossian? Dwellest thou in the shadow of grief? Have thy sisters fallen from heaven? Are they who rejoiced with thee, at night, no more?—Yes!—they have fallen, fair light! and thou dost often retire to mourn.——But thou thyself shalt fail, one night; and leave thy blue path in heaven. The stars will then lift their green heads: they who were ashamed in thy presence, will rejoice.[ 220 ] View Page Image
Thou art now clothed with thy brightness: look from thy gates in the sky. Burst the cloud, O wind, that the daughter of night may look forth, that the shaggy mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its blue waves, in light.
NathosDisplay note is on the deep, and Althos that beam of youth, Ardan is near his brothers; they move in the gloom of their course. The sons of Usnoth move in darkness, from the wrath of car-borne CairbarDisplay note.
Who is that dim, by their side? the night has covered her beauty. Her hair sighs on ocean's wind; her robe streams in dusky wreaths. She is like the fair ghost of heaven, in the midst of his shadowy mist. Who is it but Dar-thulaDisplay note, the first of Erin's maids? She has fled from the love of Cairbar, with the car-borne Nathos. But the winds deceive thee, O Dar-thula; and deny the woody Etha to thy sails. These are not thy [ 221 ] View Page Image mountains, Nathos, nor is that the roar of thy climbing waves. The halls of Cairbar are near; and the towers of the foe lift their heads. Ullin stretches its green head into the sea; and Tura's bay receives the ship. Where have ye been, ye southern winds! when the sons of my love were deceived? But ye have been sporting on plains, and pursuing the thistle's beard. O that ye had been rustling in the sails of Nathos, till the hills of Etha rose! till they rose in their clouds, and saw their coming chief! Long hast thou been absent, Nathos! and the day of thy return is pastDisplay note.
But the land of strangers saw thee, lovely: thou wast lovely in the eyes of Dar-thula. Thy face was like the light of the morning, thy hair like the raven's wing. Thy soul was generous and mild, like the hour of the setting sun. Thy words were the gale of the reeds, or the gliding stream of Lora.
But when the rage of battle rose, thou wast like a sea in a storm; the clang of thy arms was terrible: the host vanished at the sound of thy course.——It was then Dar-thula beheld thee, [ 222 ] View Page Image from the top of her mossy tower: from the tower of SelámaDisplay note, where her fathers dwelt.
Lovely art thou, O stranger! she said, for her trembling soul arose. Fair art thou in thy battles, friend of the fallen CormacDisplay note! Why dost thou rush on, in thy valour, youth of the ruddy look? Few are thy hands, in battle, against the car-borne Cairbar!—O that I might be freed of his loveDisplay note! that I might rejoice in the presence of Nathos!——Blest are the rocks of Etha; they will behold his steps at the chace! they will see his white bosom, when the winds lift his raven hair!
Such were thy words, Dar-thula, in Seláma's mossy towers. But, now, the night is round thee: and the winds have deceived thy sails. The winds have deceived thy sails, Dar-thula: their blustering sound is high. Cease a little while, O north wind, and let me hear the voice [ 223 ] View Page Image of the lovely. Thy voice is lovely, Dar-thula, between the rustling blasts.
Are these the rocks of Nathos, and the roar of his mountain-streams? Comes that beam of light from Usnoth's nightly hall? The mist rolls around, and the beam is feeble: but the light of Dar-thula's soul is the car-borne chief of Etha! Son of the generous Usnoth, why that broken sigh? Are we not in the land of strangers, chief of echoing Etha?
These are not the rocks of Nathos, he replied, nor the roar of his streams. No light comes from Etha's halls, for they are distant far. We are in the land of strangers, in the land of car-borne Cairbar. The winds have deceived us, Dar-thula. Ullin lifts here her green hills.—Go towards the north, Althos; be thy steps, Ardan, along the coast; that the foe may not come in darkness, and our hopes of Etha fail.——
I will go towards that mossy tower, and see who dwells about the beam.—Rest, Dar-thula, on the shore! rest in peace, thou beam of light! the sword of Nathos is around thee, like the lightning of heaven.
He went. She sat alone, and heard the rolling of the wave. The big tear is in her eye; and she looks for the car-borne Nathos.—Her [ 224 ] View Page Imagesoul trembles at the blast. And she turns her ear towards the tread of his feet.——The tread of his feet is not heard. Where art thou, son of my love! The roar of the blast is around me. Dark is the cloudy night.——But Nathos does not return. What detains thee, chief of Etha?—Have the foes met the hero in the strife of the night?—
He returned, but his face was dark: he had seen his departed friend.—It was the wall of Tura, and the ghost of Cuchullin stalked there. The sighing of his breast was frequent; and the decayed flame of his eyes terrible. His spear was a column of mist: the stars looked dim through his form. His voice was like hollow wind in a cave: and he told the tale of grief. The soul of Nathos was sad, like the sunDisplay note in the day of mist, when his face is watry and dim.
Why art thou sad, O Nathos, said the lovely daughter of Colla? Thou art a pillar of light to Dar-thula: the joy of her eyes is in Etha's [ 225 ] View Page Image chief. Where is my friendDisplay note, but Nathos? My father rests in the tomb. Silence dwells on Seláma: sadness spreads on the blue streams of my land. My friends have fallen, with Cormac. The mighty were slain in the battle of Ullin.
Evening darkened on the plain. The blue streams failed before mine eyes. The unfrequent blast came rustling in the tops of Seláma's groves. My seat was beneath a tree on the walls of my fathers. Truthil past before my soul; the brother of my love; he that was absentDisplay note in battle against the car-borne Cairbar.
Bending on his spear, the gray-haired Colla came: his downcast face is dark, and sorrow dwells in his soul. His sword is on the side of the hero: the helmet of his fathers on his head.—The battle grows in his breast. He strives to hide the tear.
Dar-thula, he sighing said, thou art the last of Colla's race. Truthil is fallen in battle. The kingDisplay note of Seláma is no more.——Cairbar [ 226 ] View Page Image comes, with his thousands, towards Seláma's walls.—Colla will meet his pride, and revenge his son. But where shall I find thy safety, Dar-thula with the dark-brown hair! thou art lovely as the sun-beam of heaven, and thy friends are low!
And is the son of battle fallen, I said with a bursting sigh? Ceased the generous soul of Truthil to lighten through the field?—My safety, Colla, is in that bow; I have learned to pierce the deer. Is not Cairbar like the hart of the desart, father of fallen Truthil?
The face of age brightened with joy: and the crouded tears of his eyes poured down. The lips of Colla trembled. His gray beard whistled in the blast. Thou art the sister of Truthil, he said, and thou burnest in the fire of his soul. Take, Dar-thula, take that spear, that brazen shield, that burnished helmet: they are the spoils of a warrior: a sonDisplay note of early youth.——When the light rises on Seláma, we go to meet the car-borne Cairbar.—But keep thou near the arm of Colla; beneath the shadow of my shield. Thy father, Darthula, could once defend [ 227 ] View Page Image thee; but age is trembling on his hand.——The strength of his arm has failed, and his soul is darkened with grief.
We passed the night in sorrow. The light of morning rose. I shone in the arms of battle. The gray-haired hero moved before. The sons of Seláma convened around the sounding shield of Colla. But few were they in the plain, and their locks were gray. The youths had fallen with Truthil, in the battle of car-borne Cormac.
Companions of my youth! said Colla, it was not thus you have seen me in arms. It was not thus I strode to battle, when the great Confadan fell. But ye are laden with grief. The darkness of age comes like the mist of the desart. My shield is worn with years; my sword is fixedDisplay note in its place. I said to my soul, thy evening shall be calm, and thy departure like a fading light. But the storm has returned; I bend like an aged oak. My boughs are fallen on Seláma, and I tremble in my place.——Where art thou, with thy fallen heroes, O my car-borne Truthil! Thou answerest not from thy rushing blast; and the soul of thy father is sad. [ 228 ] View Page Image But I will be sad no more, Cairbar or Colla must fall. I feel the returning strength of my arm. My heart leaps at the sound of battle.
The hero drew his sword. The gleaming blades of his people rose. They moved along the plain. Their gray hair streamed in the wind.—Cairbar sat, at the feast, in the silent plain of LonaDisplay note. He saw the coming of the heroes, and he called his chiefs to battle.
WhyDisplay note should I tell to Nathos, how the strife of battle grew! I have seen thee, in the midst of thousands, like the beam of heaven's fire; it is beautiful, but terrible; the people fall in its red course.——The spear of Colla flew, for he remembered the battles of his youth. An arrow came with its sound, and pierced the hero's side. He fell on his echoing shield. My soul started with fear; I stretched my buckler over him; but my heaving breast was seen. [ 229 ] View Page Image Cairbar came, with his spear, and he beheld Seláma's maid: joy rose on his dark-brown face; he stayed the lifted steel. He raised the tomb of Colla; and brought me weeping to Seláma. He spoke the words of love, but my soul was sad. I saw the shields of my fathers, and the sword of car-borne Truthil. I saw the arms of the dead, and the tear was on my cheek.
Then thou didst come, O Nathos: and gloomy Cairbar fled. He fled like the ghost of the desart before the morning's beam. His hosts were not near: and feeble was his arm against thy steel.
WhyDisplay note art thou sad, O Nathos? said the lovely maid of Colla?
I have met, replied the hero, the battle in my youth. My arm could not lift the spear, when first the danger rose; but my soul brightened before the war, as the green narrow vale, when the sun pours his streamy beams, before he hides his head in a storm. My soul brightened in danger before I saw Seláma's fair; before I saw thee, like a star, that shines on the hill, at night; the cloud slowly comes, and threatens the lovely light.[ 230 ] View Page Image
We are in the land of the foe, and the winds have deceived us, Dar-thula! the strength of our friends is not near, nor the mountains of Etha. Where shall I find thy peace, daughter of mighty Colla! The brothers of Nathos are brave: and his own sword has shone in war. But what are the sons of Usnoth to the host of car-borne Cairbar! O that the winds had brought thy sails, OscarDisplay note king of men! thou didst promise to come to the battles of fallen Cormac. Then would my hand be strong as the flaming arm of death. Cairbar would tremble in his halls, and peace dwell round the lovely Dar-thula. But why dost thou fall, my soul? The sons of Usnoth may prevail.
And they will prevail, O Nathos, said the rising soul of the maid: never shall Dar-thula behold the halls of gloomy Cairbar. Give me those arms of brass, that glitter to that passing meteor; I see them in the dark-bosomed ship. Dar-thula will enter the battle of steel.—Ghost of the noble Colla! do I behold thee on that cloud? Who is that dim beside thee? It is the car-borne Truthil. Shall I behold the halls of [ 231 ] View Page Image him that slew Seláma's chief! No: I will not behold them, spirits of my love!
Joy rose in the face of Nathos, when he heard the white bosomed maid. Daughter of Seláma! thou shinest on my soul. Come, with thy thousands, Cairbar! the strength of Nathos is returned. And thou, O aged Usnoth, shalt not hear that thy son has fled. I remember thy words on Etha; when my sails begun to rise: when I spread them towards Ullin, towards the mossy walls of Tura. Thou goest, he said, O Nathos, to the king of shields; to Cuchullin chief of men who never fled from danger. Let not thine arm be feeble: neither be thy thoughts of flight; lest the son of Semo say that Etha's race are weak. His words may come to Usnoth, and sadden his soul in the hall.——The tear is on his cheek. He gave this shining sword.
I came to Tura's bay: but the halls of Tura were silent; I looked around, and there was none to tell of the chief of Dunscaich. I went to the hall of his shells, where the arms of his fathers hung. But the arms were gone, and aged LamhorDisplay note sat in tears.
Whence are the arms of steel, said the rising Lamhor? The light of the spear has long been [ 232 ] View Page Image absent from Tura's dusky walls.—Come ye from the rolling sea? Or from the mournful halls of TemoraDisplay note.
We come from the sea, I said, from Usnoth's rising towers. We are the sons of Slis-sámaDisplay note, the daughter of car-borne Semo. Where is Tura's chief, son of the silent hall? But why should Nathos ask? for I behold thy tears. How did the mighty fall, son of the lonely Tura?
He fell not, Lamhor replied, like the silent star of night, when it shoots through darkness and is no more. But he was like a meteor that falls in a distant land; death attends its red course, and itself is the sign of wars.——Mournful are the banks of Lego, and the roar of streamy Lara! There the hero fell, son of the noble Usnoth.
And the hero fell in the midst of slaughter, I said with a bursting sigh. His hand was strong in battle; and death was behind his sword.—We came to Lego's mournful banks. We found his [ 233 ] View Page Image rising tomb. His companions in battle are there; his bards of many songs. Three days we mourned over the hero: on the fourth, I struck the shield of Caithbat. The heroes gathered around with joy, and shook their beamy spears.
Corlath was near with his host, the friend of car-borne Cairbar. We came like a stream by night, and his heroes fell. When the people of the valley rose, they saw their blood with morning's light. But we rolled away, like wreaths of mist, to Cormac's echoing hall. Our swords rose to defend the king. But Temora's halls were empty. Cormac had fallen in his youth. The king of Erin was no more.
Sadness seized the sons of Ullin, they slowly, gloomily retired; like clouds that, long having threatened rain, retire behind the hills. The sons of Usnoth moved, in their grief, towards Tura's sounding bay. We passed by Seláma, and Cairbar retired like Lano's mist, when it is driven by the winds of the desart.
It was then I beheld thee, O maid, like the light of Etha's sun. Lovely is that beam, I said, and the crowded sigh of my bosom rose. Thou camest in thy beauty, Dar-thula, to Etha's mournful chief.——But the winds have deceived us, daughter of Colla, and the foe is near.[ 234 ] View Page Image
Yes!—the foe is near, said the rustling strength of AlthosDisplay note. I heard their clanging arms on the coast, and saw the dark wreaths of Erin's standard. Distinct is the voice of CairbarDisplay note, and loud as Cromla's falling stream. He had seen the dark ship on the sea, before the dusky night came down. His people watch on Lena'sDisplay note plain, and lift ten thousand swords.
And let them lift ten thousand swords, said Nathos with a smile. The sons of car-borne Usnoth will never tremble in danger. Why dost thou roll with all thy foam, thou roaring sea of Ullin? Why do ye rustle, on your dark wings, ye whistling tempests of the sky?—Do ye think, ye storms, that ye keep Nathos on the coast? No: his soul detains him, children of the night!——Althos! bring my father's arms: thou seest them beaming to the stars. Bring the [ 235 ] View Page Image spear of SemoDisplay note, it stands in the dark-bosomed ship.
He brought the arms. Nathos clothed his limbs in all their shining steel. The stride of the chief is lovely: the joy of his eyes terrible. He looks towards the coming of Cairbar. The wind is rustling in his hair. Dar-thula is silent at his side: her look is fixed on the chief. She strives to hide the rising sigh, and two tears swell in her eyes.
Althos! said the chief of Etha, I see a cave in that rock. Place Dar-thula there: and let thy arm be strong. Ardan! we meet the foe, and call to battle gloomy Cairbar. O that he came in his sounding steel, to meet the son of Usnoth!——Dar-thula! if thou shalt escape, look not on the fallen Nathos. Lift thy sails, O Althos, towards the echoing groves of Etha.
Tell to the chiefDisplay note, that his son fell with fame; that my sword did not shun the battle. Tell him I fell in the midst of thousands, and let the joy of his grief be great. Daughter of Colla! call the maids to Etha's echoing hall. [ 236 ] View Page Image Let their songs arise for Nathos, when shadowy autumn returns.—O that the voice of ConaDisplay note might be heard in my praise! then would my spirit rejoice in the midst of my mountain winds.
And my voice shall praise thee, Nathos chief of the woody Etha! The voice of Ossian shall rise in thy praise, son of the generous Usnoth! Why was I not on Lena, when the battle rose? Then would the sword of Ossian defend thee; or himself have fallen low.
We sat, that night, in Selma round the strength of the shell. The wind was abroad, in the oaks; the spirit of the mountainDisplay note shrieked. The blast came rustling through the hall, and gently touched my harp. The sound was mournful and low, like the song of the tomb. Fingal heard it first, and the crowded sighs of his bosom rose.——Some of my heroes are low, said the gray-haired king of Morven. I hear the sound of death on the harp of my son. Ossian, touch the sounding string; bid the sorrow rise; that their spirits may fly with joy to Morven's woody hills.[ 237 ] View Page Image
I touched the harp before the king, the sound was mournful and low. Bend forward from your clouds, I said, ghosts of my fathers! bend; lay by the red terror of your course, and receive the falling chief; whether he comes from a distant land, or rises from the rolling sea. Let his robe of mist be near; his spear that is formed of a cloud. Place an half-extinguished meteor by his side, in the form of the hero's sword. And, oh! let his countenance be lovely, that his friends may delight in his presence. Bend from your clouds, I said, ghosts of my fathers! bend.
Such was my song, in Selma, to the lightly-trembling harp. But Nathos was on Ullin's shore, surrounded by the night; he heard the voice of the foe amidst the roar of tumbling waves. Silent he heard their voice, and rested on his spear.
Morning rose, with its beams; the sons of Erin appear; like gray rocks, with all their trees, they spread along the coast. Cairbar stood, in the midst, and grimly smiled when he saw the foe.
Nathos rushed forward, in his strength; nor could Dar-thula stay behind. She came with the hero, lifting her shining spear. And who are these, in their armour, in the pride of [ 238 ] View Page Image youth? Who but the sons of Usnoth, Althos and dark-haired Ardan?
Come, said Nathos, come! chief of the high Temora! Let our battle be on the coast for the white-bosomed maid. His people are not with Nathos; they are behind that rolling sea. Why dost thou bring thy thousands against the chief of Etha? Thou didst flyDisplay note from him, in battle, when his friends were around him.
Youth of the heart of pride, shall Erin's king fight with thee? Thy fathers were not among the renowned, nor of the kings of men. Are the arms of foes in their halls? Or the shields of other times? Cairbar is renowned in Temora, nor does he fight with little men.
The tear starts from car-borne Nathos; he turned his eyes to his brothers. Their spears flew, at once, and three heroes lay on earth. Then the light of their swords gleamed on high; the ranks of Erin yield; as a ridge of dark clouds before a blast of wind.
Then Cairbar ordered his people, and they drew a thousand bows. A thousand arrows flew; the sons of Usnoth fell. They fell like three young oaks which stood alone on the hill; the traveller saw the lovely trees and wondered how [ 239 ] View Page Image they grew so lonely; the blast of the desart came, by night, and laid their green heads low; next day he returned but they were withered, and the heath was bare.
Dar-thula stood in silent grief, and beheld their fall; no tear is in her eye: but her look is wildly sad. Pale was her cheek; her trembling lips broke short an half-formed word. Her dark hair flew on the wind.——But gloomy Cairbar came. Where is thy lover now? the car-borne chief of Etha? Hast thou beheld the halls of Usnoth? Or the dark-brown hills of Fingal? My battle had roared on Morven, did not the winds meet Dar-thula. Fingal himself would have been low and sorrow dwelling in Selma.
Her shield fell from Dar-thula's arm, her breast of snow appeared. It appeared, but it was stained with blood for an arrow was fixed in her side. She fell on the fallen Nathos, like a wreath of snow. Her dark hair spreads on his face, and their blood is mixing round.
Daughter of Colla! thou art low! said Cairbar's hundred bards; silence is at the blue streams of Seláma, for Truthil'sDisplay note race have failed. When wilt thou rise in thy beauty, first of Erin's [ 240 ] View Page Image maids? Thy sleep is long in the tomb, and the morning distant far. The sun shall not come to thy bed and say, AwakeDisplay note Dar-thula! awake, thou first of women! the wind of spring is abroad. The flowers shake their heads on the green hills, the woods wave their growing leaves. Retire, O sun, the daughter of Colla is asleep. She will not come forth in her beauty: she will not move, in the steps of her loveliness.
Such was the song of the bards, when they raised the tomb. I sung, afterwards, over the grave, when the king of Morven came; when he came to green Ullin to fight with car-borne Cairbar.
Temora: An Epic PoemDisplay note.
Τhe blue waves of Ullin roll in light. The green hills are covered with day. Trees shake their dusky heads in the breeze; and gray torrents pour their noisy streams.—Two [ 242 ] View Page Image green hills, with their aged oaks, surround a narrow plain. The blue course of the mountain-stream is there; Cairbar stands on its banks.——His spear supports the king: the red eyes of his fear are sad. Cormac rises in his soul, with all his ghastly wounds. The gray form of [ 243 ] View Page Image the youth appears in the midst of darkness, and the blood pours from his airy sides.—Cairbar thrice threw his spear on earth; and thrice he stroked his beard. His steps are short; he often stopt: and tossed 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 towards LenaDisplay note. The scouts of ocean appear. They appeared 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 heroes came. They drew, at once, their swords. There MorlathDisplay note stood with darkened face. Hidalla's bushy hair sighs in the wind. Red-haired Cormar bends on his spear, and rolls his side-long-looking eyes. Wild is the look of Malthos from beneath two shaggy brows.—Foldath stands like an oozy rock, that covers its dark sides with foam; his [ 244 ] View Page Image 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 Lena.—His eyes hang forward from his face, his lips are trembling, pale.
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.
And 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?
He comes not in peace, O Cairbar: for 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 [ 245 ] View Page Image gray hair of age. Full rose his sinewy limbs, as he strode in his might. That sword is by his side which gives no secondDisplay note wound. His shield is terrible, like the bloody moon, when it rises in 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: Fergus strides in the pride of youth. Who is that with aged locks? A dark shield is on his side. His spear trembles at every step; and age is on his limbs. He bends his dark face to the ground; the king of spears is sad!——It is Usnoth, O Cairbar, coming to revenge his sons. He sees green Ullin with tears, and he remembers the tombs of his children. But far before the rest, the son of Ossian comes, bright in the smiles of youth, fair as the first beams of the sun. His long hair falls on his back.—His dark brows are half hid beneath his helmet of steel. His sword hangs loose on the hero's side. His spear glitters as he moves. I fled from his terrible eyes, king of high Temora![ 246 ] View Page Image
Then fly, thou feeble man, said the gloomy wrath of Foldath; fly to the gray streams of thy land, son of the little soul! Have not I seen that Oscar? I beheld the chief in battle. He is of the mighty in danger: but there are others who lift the spear.—Erin has many sons as brave: yes—more brave, O car-borne Cairbar?—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 Tura's wall.
Shall Foldath alone meet the foe, replied the dark-browed Malthos? Are not they numerous on our coast, like the waters of a thousand 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 by thy side; and let Malthos come. My sword is red with slaughter, but who has heard my words?Display note
Sons of green Erin, begun the mild Hidalla, let not Fingal hear your words: lest the foe rejoice, and his arm be strong in the land.—Ye are brave, O warriors, and like the tempests of the desart; they meet the rocks without fear, and [ 247 ] View Page Image overturn the woods in their course.—But let us move in our strength, and flow as a gathered cloud, when the winds drive it from behind.——Then shall the mighty tremble, and the spear drop from the hand of the valiant.—We see the cloud of death, they will say; and their faces will turn pale. Fingal will mourn in his age; and say that his fame is ceased.—Morven will behold his chiefs no more: 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 Lena: and let my hundred bards attend. And thou, red-hair'd Olla, take the harp of the king. Go to Oscar king 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; and that my bards have sung to his [ 248 ] View Page Image ghost.—Tell him that Cairbar has heard his fame at the stream of distant CarunDisplay note.
CathmorDisplay note is not here; the generous brother of Cairbar; he 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 the sun. But Cairbar shall fight with Oscar, chiefs of the high Temora! His words for Cathol were many; and the wrath of Cairbar burns. He shall fall on Lena: and my fame shall rise in blood.
The faces of the heroes brightened. They spread over Lena's heath. The feast of shells is prepared. The songs of the bards arose.
We heardDisplay note the voice of joy on the coast, and we thought that the mighty Cathmor came. [ 249 ] View Page Image Cathmor the friend of strangers! the brother of red-haired Cairbar. But their souls were not the same: for the light of 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 those 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 heroes attended the chief, and the clang of their arms is terrible. The gray dogs bounded on the heath, and their [ 250 ] View Page Image howling is frequent. Fingal saw the departure of the hero: the soul of the king was sad. He dreads the gloomy Cairbar: but who of the race of Trenmor feared the foe?
My son lifted 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 gathers on his brow. The hundred harps ceased at once. The clangDisplay note of shields is 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 Erin's kings. The spear of TemoraDisplay note [ 251 ] View Page Image glitters in thy hand, son of the woody Morven! It was the pride of an hundred 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 his 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, O Cairbar, neither to the weak in soul. The darkness of thy face is not a storm to me; nor are thine eyes the flames of death. Do I fear thy clanging shield? Does my soul tremble at Olla's song? No: Cairbar, frighten thou the feeble; Oscar is like a rock.
And wilt thou not yield the spear, replied the rising pride of Cairbar? Are thy words mighty because Fingal is near, the gray-haired warrior of Morven. 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 the chief of Atha: Atha's chief would yield green [ 252 ] View Page Image Erin to avoid his rage. Speak not of the mighty, O Cairbar! but turn thy sword on me. Our strength is equal: but Fingal is renowned! the first of mortal men!
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 ToscarDisplay note! why 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 [ 253 ] View Page Image chief: but his spear is in his hand. See gloomy CairbarDisplay note falls. The steel pierced his forehead, and divided his red hair behind. He lay, like a shattered rock, which Cromla shakes from its 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 the crowded noise of streams, and Lena echoed around.
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 battle: and Oscar is alone. Rise, ye sons of Morven, and join the hero's sword.
Ossian rushed along the heath. Fillan bounded over Lena. Fergus flew with feet of wind. Fingal strode in his strength, and the light of his shield is terrible. The 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. [ 254 ] View Page Image But when the king came, in the sound of his course, what heart of steel could stand! Erin fled over Lena. Death pursued their flight.
We saw Oscar leaning on his shield. We saw his blood around. Silence darkened on every hero's face. Each turned his back and wept. The king strove to hide his tears. His gray beard whistled in the wind. He bends his head over his son: and 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 battles. He beholds the battles which ought to come, but they are cut off from thy fame. When shall joy dwell at Selma? When shall the song of grief cease on 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 like a gray cloud in my hall: nor shall I expect the return of a son, in the midst of his sounding arms. Weep, ye heroes of Morven! never more 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 [ 255 ] View Page Image fell, without tears, for the chief of the people was low! BranDisplay note is howling at his feet: gloomy Luäth is sad, for he had often led them to the chace; to the bounding roes of the desart.
When Oscar beheld his friends around, his white breast rose with a sigh.—The groans, he said, of my aged heroes, 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 fame. Place the horn of the deer, and my sword within my narrow dwelling.—The torrent hereafter may raise the earth of my tomb: 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 the stones of his tomb, and 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, he will say, I have seen [ 256 ] View Page Image a tomb, by the roaring stream, where a warrior darkly dwells: he was slain by car-borne Oscar, the first of mortal men.—I, perhaps, shall hear him, 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 Lena, and have forgot the war, had not the king dispersed his grief, and raised his mighty voice. The chiefs, as new-wakened from dreams, lift their heads around.
How long shall we weep on Lena; or pour our tears in Ullin? The mighty will not return. Oscar shall not rise in his strength. The valiant must fall one day, and be no more known on his hills.—Where are our fathers, Ο 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, and the terror of other times. Thus shall we pass, Ο 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, and let the daughters of Morven weep. We shall fight in Erin [ 257 ] View Page Image 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 gray-hair'd son. But, Trenmor! before I go hence, one beam of my fame shall rise: so shall my days end, as my years begun, in fame: my life shall be one stream of light to other times.
Ullin rais'd his white sails: the wind of the south came forth. He bounded on the waves towards Selma's walls.—I remained in my grief, but my words were not heard.——The feast is spread on 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. We remembered the fall of Cormac! and what could we say in Cairbar's praise?
The night came rolling down. The light of an hundred oaks arose. Fingal sat beneath a tree. The chief of Etha sat near the king, the gray-hair'd strength of Usnoth.
Old AlthanDisplay note stood in the midst, and told the tale of fallen Cormac. Althan the son of Conachar, [ 258 ] View Page Image 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 DoraDisplay note. Gray 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 sadness of his 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 starDisplay note when it rejoices on the eastern hill, and [ 259 ] View Page Image 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 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 their songs, and my feast is spread.—
I heard the king in silence. My tears began to flow. I hid I them with my gray locks; but he perceived my grief.[ 260 ] View Page Image
Son of Conachar! he said, is the king of Tura 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 see thy grief; and Tura's king is low!—Shall I not rush to battle?—But I cannot lift the arms of my fathers!—O had mine arm the strength of Cuchullin, soon would Cairbar fly; the fame of my fathers would be renewed; and the actions of other times!
He took his bow of yew. Tears flow from his sparkling eyes.—Grief saddens around: the bards bend forward from their harps. The blast touches their strings, and the sound of woe ascends.
A voice is heard at a distance, as of one in grief; it was Carril of other times, who came from the dark SlimoraDisplay note.—He told of the death of Cuchullin, and of his mighty deeds. The people were scattered around his tomb: their arms lay on the ground. They had forgot the battle, for the sound of his shield had ceased.
But who, said the soft-voiced Carril, come like the bounding roes? their stature is like the [ 261 ] View Page Image 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 Usnoth, the car-borne chiefs of Etha? The people rise on every side, like the strength of an half-extinguished fire, when the winds come suddenly from the desart, on their rustling wings.—The sound of Caithbat's shield was heard. The heroes saw CuchullinDisplay note, in the form of lovely Nathos. So rolled his sparkling eyes, and such was his steps on his heath.——Battles are fought at Lego: the sword of Nathos prevails. Soon shalt thou behold him in thy halls, king of woody Temora!——
And soon may I behold him, O Carril! replied the returning joy of Cormac. But my soul is sad for Cuchullin; his voice was pleasant in mine ear.—Often have we moved on Dora, at 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 the joy of my breast.——But sit thou, at the feast, O Carril; I have often heard thy voice. Sing in the praise of Cuchullin; and of that mighty stranger.[ 262 ] View Page Image
Day rose on 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 crowd of men. One strides before them in his strength; and his red hair flies in the 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, mighty 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, thou gloomy chief of Atha: Nathos comes with battle.——Thou art bold in Cormac's hall, for his [ 263 ] View Page Image arm is weak.—The sword entered Cormac's side: 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 halls, I saidDisplay 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 snatched from the midst of thy course.
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. Three days we pined alone: on the fourth, the noble Cathmor 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 [ 264 ] View Page Image 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 thy tomb in silence, and my fame shall not be heard.—Cairbar! loose the bards: they are the sons of other times. Their voice shall be heard in other ages, when 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 sunny field 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, and his battles are full of fame.——But the little soul is like a vapour that hovers round the marshy lake: it never rises on the green hill, lest the winds meet it there: its dwelling is in the cave, and it sends forth the dart of death.
Usnoth! thou hast heard the fame of Etha's car-borne chiefs.—Our young heroes, O warrior, [ 265 ] View Page Image are like the renown of our fathers.—They fight in youth, and they fall: their names are in the song.—But we are old, O Usnoth, let us not fall like aged oaks; which the blast overturns in secret. The hunter came past, and saw them lying gray across a stream. How have these fallen, he said, and whistling passed 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 gray 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 the 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 [ 266 ] View Page Image are on a distant hill: we hear, at times, his clanging shield.Display note [ 267 ] View Page Image [ 268 ] View Page Image
Carric-Thura: A PoemDisplay note.
HastDisplay note thou left thy blue course in heaven, golden-haired son of the sky! The west has opened its gates; the bed of thy [ 270 ] View Page Image repose is there. The waves come to behold thy beauty: they lift their trembling heads: they see thee lovely in thy sleep; but they shrink away with fear. Rest, in thy shadowy cave, O sun! and let thy return be in joy.——But let a thousand lights arise to the sound of the harps of Selma: let the beam spread in the hall, the king of shells is returned! The strife of CronaDisplay note is past, like sounds that are no more: raise the song, O bards, the king is returned, with his fame!
Such was the song of Ullin, when Fingal returned from battle: when he returned in the fair blushing of youth; with all his heavy locks. His blue arms were on the hero; like a gray cloud on the sun, when he moves in his robes of mist, and shews but half his beams. His heroes follow the king: the feast of shells is spread. Fingal turns to his bards, and bids the song to rise.
Voices of echoing Cona! he said, O bards of other times! Ye, on whose souls the blue hosts of our fathers rise! strike the harp in my hall; and let Fingal hear the song. Pleasant is the joy [ 271 ] View Page Image of grief! it is like the shower of spring, when it softens the branch of the oak, and the young leaf lifts its green head. Sing on, O bards, tomorrow we lift the sail. My blue course is through the ocean, to Carric-thura's walls; the mossy walls of Sarno, where Comála dwelt. There the noble Cathulla, spreads the feast of shells. The boars of his woods are many, and the sound of the chace shall arise.
CronnanDisplay note, son of song! said Ullin, Minona, graceful at the harp! raise the song of Shilric, to please the king of Morven. Let Vinvela come in her beauty, like the showery bow, when it shews its lovely head on the lake, and the setting sun is bright. And she comes, O Fingal! her voice is soft but sad.Vinvela.
My love is a son of the hill. He pursues the flying deer. His gray dogs are panting around him; his bow-string sounds in the wind. Dost thou rest by the fount of the rock, or by the noise of the mountain-stream? the rushes are [ 272 ] View Page Image nodding with the wind, the mist is flying over the hill. I will approach my love unperceived, and see him from the rock. Lovely I saw thee first by the aged oak of BrannoDisplay note; thou wert returning tall from the chace; the fairest among thy friends.
What voice is that I hear? that voice like the summer-wind.—I sit not by the nodding rushes; I hear not the fount of the rock. Afar, VinvelaDisplay note, afar I go to the wars of Fingal. My dogs attend me no more. No more I tread the hill. No more from on high I see thee, fair-moving by the stream of the plain; bright as the bow of heaven; as the moon on the western wave.
Then thou art gone, O Shilric! and I am alone on the hill. The deer are seen on the brow; void of fear they graze along. No more [ 273 ] View Page Image they dread the wind; no more the rustling tree. The hunter is far removed; he is in the field of graves. Strangers! sons of the waves! spare my lovely Shilric.
If fall I must in the field, raise high my grave, Vinvela. Gray stones and heaped-up earth, shall mark me to future times. When the hunter shall sit by the mound, and produce his food at noon, "Some warrior rests here," he will say; and my fame shall live in his praise. Remember me, Vinvela, when low on earth I lie!
Yes!—I will remember thee—Indeed my Shilric will fall. What shall I do, my love! when thou art gone for ever? Through these hills I will go at noon: I will go through the silent heath. There I will see the place of thy rest, returning from the chace. Indeed, my Shilric will fall; but I will remember him.
And I remember the chief, said the king of woody Morven; he consumed the battle in his rage. But now my eyes behold him not. I met him, one day, on the hill; his cheek was pale; his brow was dark. The sigh was frequent in his breast: his steps were towards the [ 274 ] View Page Image desart. But now he is not in the crowd of my chiefs, when the sounds of my shields arise: Dwells he in the narrow houseDisplay note, the chief of high CarmoraDisplay note?
Cronnan! said Ullin of other times, raise the song of Shilric; when he returned to his hills, and Vinvela was no more. He leaned on her gray mossy stone; he thought Vinvela lived. He saw her fair-movingDisplay note on the plain; but the bright form lasted not: the sun-beam fled from the field, and she was seen no more. Hear the song of Shilric, it is soft but sad.
I sit by the mossy fountain; on the top of the hill of winds. One tree is rustling above me. Dark waves roll over the heath. The lake is troubled below. The deer descend from the hill. No hunter at a distance is seen; no whistling cow-herd is nigh. It is midday: but all is silent. Sad are my thoughts alone. Didst thou but appear, O my love, a wanderer on the heath! thy hair floating on the wind behind thee; thy bosom heaving on the fight; thine [ 275 ] View Page Image eyes full of tears for thy friends, whom the mist of the hill had concealed! Thee I would comfort, my love, and bring thee to thy father's house.
But is it she that there appears, like a beam of light on the heath? bright as the moon in autumn, as the sun in a summer-storm, comest thou, lovely maid, over rocks, over mountains to me?——She speaks: but how weak her voice! like the breeze in the reeds of the pool.
Returnest thou safe from the war? Where are thy friends, my love? I heard of thy death on the hill; I heard and mourned thee, Shilric!
Yes, my fair, I return; but I alone of my race. Thou shalt see them no more: their graves I raised on the plain. But why art thou on the desert hill? Why on the heath, alone?
Alone I am, O Shilric! alone in the winter-house. With grief for thee I expired. Shilric, I am pale in the tomb.
She fleets, she sails away; as gray mist before the wind!—and, wilt thou not stay, my love? Stay and behold my tears? fair thou appearest, Vinvela! fair thou wast, when alive!
By the mossy fountain I will sit; on the top of the hill of winds. When mid-day is silent around, converse, O my love, with me! come [ 276 ] View Page Image on the wings of the gale! on the blast of the mountain, come! Let me hear thy voice, as thou passest, when mid-day is silent around.
Such was the song of Cronnan, on the night of Selma's joy. But morning rose in the east; the blue waters rolled in light. Fingal bade his sails to rise, and the winds come rustling, from their hills. Inis-tore rose to sight, and Carric-thura's mossy towers. But the sign of distress was on their top: the green flame edged with smoke. The king of Morven struck his breast: he assumed, at once, his spear. His darkened brow bends forward to the coast: he looks back to the lagging winds. His hair is disordered on his back. The silence of the king is terrible.
Night came down on the sea; Rotha's bay received the ship. A rock bends along the coast with all its echoing wood. On the top is the circleDisplay note of Loda, and the mossy stone of power. A narrow plain spreads beneath, covered with grass and aged trees, which the midnight winds, in their wrath, had torn from the shaggy rock. The blue course of a stream is there; and the lonely blast of ocean pursues the thistle's beard.[ 277 ] View Page Image
The flame of three oaks arose: the feast is spread around: but the soul of the king is sad, for Carric-thura's battling chief. The wan, cold moon rose, in the east. Sleep descended on the youths! Their blue helmets glitter to the beam; the fading fire decays. But sleep did not rest on the king: he rose in the midst of his arms, and slowly ascended the hill to behold the flame of Sarno's tower.
The flame was dim and distant; the moon hid her red face in the east. A blast came from the mountain, and bore, on its wings, the spirit of Loda. He came to his place in his terrorsDisplay note, and he shook his dusky spear.—His eyes appear like flames in his dark face; and his voice is like distant thunder. Fingal advanced with the spear of his strength, and raised his voice on high.
Son of night, retire: call thy winds and fly! Why dost thou come to my presence, with thy shadowy arms? Do I fear thy gloomy form, dismal spirit of Loda? Weak is thy shield of clouds: feeble is that meteor, thy sword. The blast rolls them together; and thou thyself dost vanish. Fly from my presence son of night! call thy winds and fly![ 278 ] View Page Image
Dost thou force me from my place, replied the hollow voice? The people bend before me. I turn the battle in the field of the valiant. I look on the nations and they vanish: my nostrils pour the blast of death. I comeDisplay note abroad on the winds: the tempests are before my face. But my dwelling is calm, above the clouds, the fields of my rest are pleasant.
Dwell then in thy calm fields, said Fingal, and let Comhal's son be forgot. Do my steps ascend, from my hills, into thy peaceful plains? Do I meet thee, with a spear, on thy cloud, spirit of dismal Loda? Why then dost thou frown on Fingal? or shake thine airy spear? But thou frownest in vain: I never fled from mighty men. And shall the sons of the wind frighten the king of Morven? No: he knows the weakness of their arms.
Fly to thy land, replied the form: receive the wind and fly. The blasts are in the hollow of my hand: the course of the storm is mine. The king of Sora is my son, he bends at the stone of my power. His battle is around Carric-thura; and he will prevail. Fly to thy land, son of Comhal, or feel my flaming wrath.[ 279 ] View Page Image
He lifted high his shadowy spear; and bent forward his terrible height. But the king, advancing, drew his sword; the blade of dark-brown LunoDisplay note. The gleaming path of the steel winds thro' the gloomy ghost. The form fell shapeless into air, like a column of smoke, which the staff of the boy disturbs, as it rises from the half-extinguished furnace.
The spirit of Loda shrieked, as, rolled into himself, he rose on the wind. Inistore shook at the sound. The waves heard it on the deep: they stopped, in their course, with fear: the companions of Fingal started, at once; and took their heavy spears. They missed the king: they rose with rage; all their arms resound.
The moon came forth in the east. The king returned in the gleam of his arms. The joy of his youths was great, their souls settled, as a sea from a storm. Ullin raised the song of gladness. The hills of Inistore rejoiced. The flame of the oak arose; and the tales of heroes are told.
But Frothal, Sora's battling king, sits in sadness beneath a tree. The host spreads around Carric-thura. He looks towards the walls with [ 280 ] View Page Image rage. He longs for the blood of Cathulla, who, once, overcame the king in war.——When Annir reignedDisplay note in Sora, the father of car-borne Frothal, a blast rose on the sea, and carried Frothal to Inistore. Three days he feasted in Sarno's halls, and saw the slow rolling eyes of Comála. He loved her, in the rage of youth, and rushed to seize the white-armed maid. Cathulla met the chief. The gloomy battle rose. Frothal is bound in the hall: three days he pined alone. On the fourth, Sarno sent him to his ship, and he returned to his land. But wrath darkened in his soul against the noble Cathulla. When Annir's stoneDisplay note of fame arose, Frothal came in his strength. The battle burned round Carric-thura, and Sarno's mossy walls.
Who comes like the stag of the mountain, with all his herd behind him? Frothal, it is a [ 281 ] View Page Image foe; I see his forward spear. Perhaps it is the king of Morven, Fingal the first of men. His actions are well known on Gormal; the blood of his foes is in Starno's halls. Shall I ask the peaceDisplay note of kings? He is like the thunder of heaven.
Son of the feeble hand, said Frothal, shall my days begin in darkness? Shall I yield before I have conquered in battle, chief of streamy Tora? The people would say in Sora, Frothal flew forth like a meteor; but the dark cloud met it, and it is no more. No: Thubar, I will never yield; my fame shall surround me like light. No: I will never yield, king of streamy Tora.
He went forth with the stream of his people, but they met a rock: Fingal stood unmoved, broken they rolled back from his side. Nor did they roll in safety; the spear of the king pursued their flight. The field is covered with heroes. A rising hill preserved the flying host.
Frothal saw their flight. The rage of his bosom rose. He bent his eyes to the ground, and called the noble Thubar.——Thubar! my people fled. My fame has ceased to rise. I will fight the king; I feel my burning soul. [ 282 ] View Page Image Send a bard to demand the combat. Speak not against Frothal's words.—But, Thubar! I love a maid; she dwells by Thano's stream, the white-bosomed daughter of Herman, Utha with the softly-rolling eyes. She feared the daughterDisplay note of Inistore, and her soft sighs rose, at my departure. Tell to Utha that I am low; but that my soul delighted in her.
Such were his words, resolved to fight. But the soft sigh of Utha was near. She had followed her hero over the sea, in the armour of a man. She rolled her eye on the youth, in secret, from beneath a glittering helmet. But now she saw the bard as he went, and the spear fell thrice from her hand. Her loose hair flew on the wind. Her white breast rose, with sighs. She lifted up her eyes to the king; she would speak, but thrice she failed.
Fingal heard the words of the bard; he came in the strength of steel. They mixed their deathful spears, and raised the gleam of their swords. But the steel of Fingal descended and cut Frothal's shield in twain. His fair side is exposed; half bent he foresees his death.[ 283 ] View Page Image
Darkness gathered on Utha's soul. The tear rolled down her cheek. She rushed to cover the chief with her shield; but a fallen oak met her steps. She fell on her arm of snow; her shield, her helmet flew wide. Her white bosom heaved to the sight; her dark-brown hair is spread on earth.
Fingal pitied the white-armed maid: he stayed the uplifted sword. The tear was in the eye of the king, as, bending forward, he spoke. King of streamy Sora! fear not the sword of Fingal. It was never stained with the blood of the vanquished; it never pierced a fallen foe. Let thy people rejoice along the blue waters of Tora: let the maids of thy love be glad. Why shouldest thou fall in thy youth, king of streamy Sora?
Frothal heard the words of Fingal, and saw the rising maid: theyDisplay note stood in silence, in their beauty: like two young trees of the plain, when the shower of spring is on their leaves, and the loud winds are laid.
Daughter of Herman, said Frothal, didst thou come from Tora's streams; didst thou come, in thy beauty, to behold thy warrior low? But he was low before the mighty, maid [ 284 ] View Page Image of the slow-rolling eye! The feeble did not overcome the son of car-borne Annir. Terrible art thou, O king of Morven! in battles of the spear. But, in peace, thou art like the sun, when he looks thro' a silent shower: the flowers lift their fair heads before him; and the gales shake their rustling wings. O that thou wert in Sora! that my feast were spread!—The future kings of Sora would see thy arms and rejoice. They would rejoice at the fame of their fathers, who beheld the mighty Fingal.
Son of Annir, replied the king; the fame of Sora's race shall be heard.—When chiefs are strong in battle, then does the song arise! But if their swords are stretched over the feeble: if the blood of the weak has stained their arms; the bard shall forget them in the song, and their tombs shall not be known. The stranger shall come and build there, and remove the heaped-up earth. An half-worn sword shall rise before him; and bending above it, he will say, "These are the arms of chiefs of old, but their names "are not in the song."——Come thou, O Frothal, to the feast of Inistore; let the maid of thy love be there; and our faces will brighten with joy.
Fingal took his spear, moving in the steps of his might. The gates of Carric-thura are [ 285 ] View Page Image opened. The feast of shells is spread.—The voice of music arose. Gladness brightened in the hall.——The voice of Ullin was heard; the harp of Selma was strung.—Utha rejoiced in his presence, and demanded the song of grief; the big tear hung in her eye, when the softDisplay note Crimora spoke. Crimora the daughter of Rinval, who dwelt at Lotha'sDisplay note mighty stream. The tale was long, but lovely; and pleased the blushing maid of Tora.CrimoraDisplay note.
Who cometh from the hill, like a cloud tinged with the beam of the west? Whose voice is that, loud as the wind, but pleasant as the harp of CarrilDisplay note? It is my love in the light of steel; but sad is his darkened brow. Live the [ 286 ] View Page Image mighty race of Fingal? or what disturbs my ConnalDisplay note?
They live. I saw them return from the chace, like a stream of light. The sun was on their shields. Like a ridge of fire they descended the hill. Loud is the voice of the youth; the war, my love, is near. To-morrow the terrible Dargo comes to try the force of our race. The race of Fingal he defies; the race of battle and wounds.
Connal, I saw his sails like gray mist on the sable wave. They slowly came to land. Connal, many are the warriors of Dargo!
Bring me thy father's shield; the bossy, iron shield of Rinval; that shield like the full moon when it moves darkened through heaven.
[ 287 ] View Page Image Crimora.
That shield I bring, O Connal; but it did not defend my father. By the spear of Gormar he fell. Thou may'st fall, O Connal!
Fall indeed I may: But raise my tomb, Crimora. Gray stones, a mound of earth, shall keep my memory. Bend thy red eye over my tomb, and beat thy mournful heaving breast. Though fair thou art, my love, as the light; more pleasant than the gale of the hill; yet I will not stay. Raise my tomb, Crimora.
Then give me those arms of light; that sword, and that spear of steel. I shall meet Dargo with thee, and aid my lovely Connal. Farewel, ye rocks of Ardven! ye deer! and ye streams of the hill!—We shall return no more. Our tombs are distant far.
And did they return no more? said Utha's bursting sigh. Fell the mighty in battle, and did Crimora live?—Her steps were lonely, and her soul was sad for Connal. Was he not young and lovely; like the beam of the setting sun? Ullin saw the virgin's tear, and took the softly-trembling [ 288 ] View Page Image harp: the song was lovely, but sad, and silence was in Carric-thura.
Autumn is dark on the mountains; gray mist rests on the hills. The whirlwind is heard on the heath. Dark rolls the river through the narrow plain. A tree stands alone on the hill, and marks the slumbering Connal. The leaves whirl round with the wind, and strew the grave of the dead. At times are seen here the ghosts of the deceased, when the musing hunter alone stalks slowly over the heath.
Who can reach the source of thy race, O Connal? and who recount thy fathers? Thy family grew like an oak on the mountain, which meeteth the wind with its lofty head. But now it is torn from the earth. Who shall supply the place of Connal?
Here was the din of arms; and here the groans of the dying. Bloody are the wars of Fingal! O Connal! it was here thou didst fall. Thine arm was like a storm; thy sword a beam of the sky; thy height, a rock on the plain; thine eyes, a furnace of fire. Louder than a storm was thy voice, in the battles of thy steel. Warriors fell by thy sword, as the thistle by the staff of a boy.
Dargo the mighty came on, like a cloud of thunder. His brows were contracted and dark. [ 289 ] View Page Image His eyes like two caves in a rock. Bright rose their swords on each side; dire was the clang of their steel.
The daughter of Rinval was near; Crimora bright in the armour of man; her yellow hair is loose behind, her bow is in her hand. She followed the youth to the war, Connal her much-beloved. She drew the string on Dargo; but erring pierced her Connal. He falls like an oak on the plain; like a rock from the shaggy hill. What shall she do, hapless maid!—He bleeds; her Connal dies. All the night long she cries, and all the day, O Connal, my love, and my friend! With grief the sad mourner dies.
Earth here incloses the loveliest pair on the hill. The grass grows between the stones of the tomb; I often sit in the mournful shade. The wind sighs through the grass; their memory rushes on my mind. Undisturbed you now sleep together; in the tomb of the mountain you rest alone.
And soft be your rest, said Utha, children of streamy Lotha. I will remember you with tears, and my secret song shall rise; when the wind is in the groves of Tora, and the stream is roaring near. Then shall ye come on my soul, with all your lovely grief.[ 290 ] View Page Image
Three days feasted the kings: on the fourth their white sails arose. The winds of the north carry the ship of Fingal to Morven's woody land.——But the spirit of Loda sat, in his cloud, behind the ships of Frothal. He hung forward with all his blasts, and spread the white-bosomed sails.——The wounds of his form were not forgot; he still fearedDisplay note the hand of the king.
The Songs of SelmaDisplay note.
Star of the descending night! fair is thy light in the west! thou liftest thy unshorn head from thy cloud: thy steps are stately on thy hill. What dost thou behold in the plain? The stormy winds are laid. The murmur of the torrent comes from afar. Roaring waves climb the distant rock. The flies of evening are on [ 292 ] View Page Image their feeble wings, and the hum of their course is on the field. What dost thou behold, fair light? But thou dost smile and depart. The waves come with joy around thee, and bathe thy lovely hair. Farewel, thou silent beam!—Let the light of Ossian's soul arise.
And it does arise in its strength! I behold my departed friends. Their gathering is on Lora, as in the days that are past.——Fingal comes like a watry column of mist; his heroes are around. And see the bards of the song, gray-haired Ullin; stately Ryno; AlpinDisplay note, with the tuneful voice, and the soft complaint of Minona!——How are ye changed, my friends, since the days of Selma's feast! when we contended, like the gales of the spring, that, flying over the hill, by turns bend the feebly-whistling grass.
Minona came forth in her beauty; with down-cast look and tearful eye; her hair flew slowly on the blast that rushed unfrequent [ 293 ] View Page Image from the hill.——The souls of the heroes were sad when she raised the tuneful voices; for often had they seen the grave of SalgarDisplay note, and the dark dwelling of white-bosomed ColmaDisplay note. Colma left alone on the hill, with all her voice of music! Salgar promised to come: but the night descended round.—Hear the voice of Colma, when she sat alone on the hill!Colma
It is night;—I am alone, forlorn on the hill of storms. The wind is heard in the mountain. The torrent shrieks down the rock. No hut receives me from the rain; forlorn on the hill of winds.
Rise, moon! from behind thy clouds; stars of the night appear! Lead me, some light, to the place where my love rests from the toil of the chace! his bow near him, unstrung; his dogs panting around him. But here I must sit alone, by the rock of the mossy stream. The stream and the wind roar; nor can I hear the voice of my love.
Why delays my Salgar, why the son of the hill, his promise? Here is the rock, and the tree; and here the roaring stream. Thou didst [ 294 ] View Page Image promise with night to be here. Ah! whither is my Salgar gone? With thee I would fly, my father; with thee, my brother of pride. Our race have long been foes; but we are not foes, O Salgar!
Cease a little while, O wind! stream, be thou silent a while! let my voice be heard over the heath; let my wanderer hear me. Salgar! it is I who call. Here is the tree, and the rock. Salgar, my love! I am here. Why delayest thou thy coming?
Lo! the moon appeareth. The flood is bright in the vale. The rocks are grey on the face of the hill. But I see him not on the brow; his dogs before him tell not that he is coming. Here I must sit alone.
But who are these that lie beyond me on the heath? Are they my love and my brother?—Speak to me, O my friends! they answer not. My soul is tormented with fears.——Ah! they are dead. Their swords are red from the fight. O my brother! my brother! why hast thou slain my Salgar? why, O Salgar! hast thou slain my brother? Dear were ye both to me! what shall I say in your praise? Thou wert fair on the hill among thousands; he was terrible in fight. Speak to me; hear my voice, sons of my love! [ 295 ] View Page Image But alas! they are silent; silent for ever! Cold are their breasts of clay!
Oh! from the rock of the hill; from the top of the windy mountain, speak ye ghosts of the dead! speak, I will not be afraid.—Whither are ye gone to rest? In what cave of the hill shall I find you? No feeble voice is on the wind: no answer half-drowned in the storms of the hill.
I sit in my grief. I wait for morning in my tears. Rear the tomb, ye friends of the dead; but close it not till Colma come. My life flies away like a dream: why should I stay behind? Here shall I rest with my friends, by the stream of the sounding rock. When night comes on the hill; when the wind is on the heath; my ghost shall stand in the wind, and mourn the death of my friends. The hunter shall hear from his booth. He shall fear but love my voice. For sweet shall my voice be for my friends; for pleasant were they both to me.
Such was thy song, Minona softly-blushing maid of Torman. Our tears descended for Colma, and our souls were sad.—Ullin came with the harp, and gave the song of Alpin.—The voice of Alpin was pleasant: the soul of Ryno was a beam of fire. But they had rested in the narrow house: and their voice was not [ 296 ] View Page Image heard in Selma.——Ullin had returned one day from the chace, before the heroes fell. He heard their strife on the hill; their song was soft but sad. They mourned the fall of Morar, first of mortal men. His soul was like the soul of Fingal; his sword like the sword of Oscar.—But he fell, and his father mourned: his sister's eyes were full of tears.——Minona's eyes were full of tears, the sister of car-borne Morar. She retired from the song of Ullin, like the moon in the west, when she foresees the shower, and hides her fair head in a cloud.—I touched the harp, with Ullin; the song of mourning rose.Ryno.
The wind and the rain are over: calm is the noon of day. The clouds are divided in heaven. Over the green hills flies the inconstant sun. Red through the stony vale comes down the stream of the hill. Sweet are thy murmurs, O stream! but more sweet is the voice I hear. It is the voice of Alpin, the son of the song, mourning for the dead. Bent is his head of age, and red his tearful eye. Alpin, thou son of the song, why alone on the silent hill? why complainest thou, as a blast in the wood; as a wave on the lonely shore?
[ 297 ] View Page Image Alpin.
My tears, O Ryno! are for the dead; my voice, for the inhabitants of the grave. Tall thou art on the hill; fair among the sons of the plain. But thou shalt fall like MorarDisplay note; and the mourner shall sit on thy tomb. The hills shall know thee no more; thy bow shall lie in the hall, unstrung.
Thou wert swift, O Morar! as a roe on the hill; terrible as a meteor of fire. Thy wrath was as the storm. Thy sword in battle, as lightning in the field. Thy voice was like a stream after rain; like thunder on distant hills. Many fell by thy arm; they were consumed in the flames of thy wrath.
But when thou didst return from war, how peaceful was thy brow! Thy face was like the sun after rain; like the moon in the silence of night; calm as the breast of the lake when the loud wind is laid.
Narrow is thy dwelling now; dark the place of thine abode. With three steps I compass thy grave, O thou who wast so great before! Four stones, with their heads of moss, are the only memorial of thee. A tree with scarce a leaf, [ 298 ] View Page Image long grass which whistles in the wind, mark to the hunter's eye the grave of the mighty Morar. Morar! thou art low indeed. Thou hast no mother to mourn thee; no maid with her tears of love. Dead is she that brought thee forth. Fallen is the daughter of Morglan.
Who on his staff is this? who is this, whose head is white with age, whose eyes are red with tears, who quakes at every step.—It is thy fatherDisplay note, O Morar! the father of no son but thee. He heard of thy fame in battle; he heard of foes dispersed. He heard of Morar's fame; why did he not hear of his wound? Weep, thou father of Morar! weep; but thy son heareth thee not. Deep is the sleep of the dead; low their pillow of dust. No more shall he hear thy voice; no more shall he awake at thy call. When shall it be morn in the grave, to bid the slumberer awake?
Farewell, thou bravest of men! thou conqueror in the field! but the field shall see thee no more; nor the dark wood be lightened with the splendor of thy steel. Thou hast left no son. But the song shall preserve thy name. Future times shall hear of thee; they shall hear of the fallen Morar.
[ 299 ] View Page Image
The grief of all arose, but most the bursting sigh of ArminDisplay note. He remembers the death of his son, who fell in the days of his youth. CarmorDisplay note was near the hero, the chief of the echoing Galmal. Why bursts the sigh of Armin, he said? Is there a cause to mourn? The song comes, with its music, to melt and please the soul. It is like soft mist, that, rising from a lake, pours on the silent vale; the green flowers are filled with dew, but the sun returns in his strength, and the mist is gone. Why art thou sad, O Armin, chief of sea-surrounded Gorma?
Sad! I am indeed: nor small my cause of woe!—Carmor, thou hast lost no son; thou hast lost no daughter of beauty. Colgar the valiant lives; and Annira fairest maid. The boughs of thy family flourish, O Carmor! but Armin is the last of his race. Dark is thy bed, O Daura! and deep thy sleep in the tomb.—When shalt thou awake with thy songs? with all thy voice of music?
Rise, winds of autumn, rise; blow upon the dark heath! streams of the mountains, roar! howl, ye tempests, in the top of the oak! walk through broken clouds, O moon! show by intervals [ 300 ] View Page Image thy pale face! bring to my mind that sad night, when all my children fell; when Arindal the mighty fell; when Daura the lovely failed.
Daura, my daughter! thou wert fair; fair as the moon on the hills of FuraDisplay note; white as the driven snow; sweet as the breathing gale. Arindal, thy bow was strong, thy spear was swift in the field: thy look was like mist on the wave; thy shield, a red cloud in a storm. Armar, renowned in war, came, and fought Daura's love; he was not long denied; fair was the hope of their friends.
Erath, son of Odgal, repined; for his brother was slain by Armar. He came disguised like a son of the sea: fair was his skiff on the wave; white his locks of age; calm his serious brow. Fairest of women, he said, lovely daughter of Armin! a rock not distant in the sea, bears a tree on its side; red shines the fruit afar. There Armar waits for Daura. I came to carry his love along the rolling sea.
She went; and she called on Armar. Nought answered, but the sonDisplay note of the rock. Armar, [ 301 ] View Page Image my love! my love! why tormentest thou me with fear? hear, son of Ardnart, hear: it is Daura who calleth thee! Erath the traitor fled laughing to the land. She lifted up her voice, and cried for her brother and her father. Arindal! Armin! none to relieve your Daura.
Her voice came over the sea. Arindal my son descended from the hill; rough in the spoils of the chace. His arrows rattled by his side; his bow was in his hand: five dark gray dogs attended his steps. He saw fierce Erath on the shore: he seized and bound him to an oak. Thick bend the thongsDisplay note of the hide around his limbs; he loads the wind with his groans.
Arindal ascends the wave in his boat, to bring Daura to land. Armar came in his wrath, and let fly the gray-feathered shaft. It sung; it sunk in thy heart, O Arindal my son! for Erath the traitor thou diedst. The oar is stopped at once; he panted on the rock and expired. What is thy grief, O Daura, when round thy feet is poured thy brother's blood.
The boat is broken in twain by the waves. Armar plunges into the sea, to rescue his Daura or die. Sudden a blast from the hill comes over the waves. He sunk, and he rose no more.[ 302 ] View Page Image
Alone, on the sea-beat rock, my daughter was heard to complain. Frequent and loud were her cries; nor could her father relieve her. All night I stood on the shore. I saw her by the faint beam of the moon. All night I heard her cries. Loud was the wind; and the rain beat hard on the side of the mountain. Before morning appeared, her voice was weak. It died away, like the evening-breeze among the grass of the rocks. Spent with grief she expired. And left thee Armin alone: gone is my strength in the war, and fallen my pride among women.
When the storms of the mountain come; when the north lifts the waves on high; I sit by the sounding shore, and look on the fatal rock. Often by the setting moon I see the ghosts of my children. Half-viewless, they walk in mournful conference together. Will none of you speak in pity? They do not regard their father. I am sad, O Carmor, nor small my cause of woe!
Such were the words of the bards in the days of the song; when the king heard the music of harps, and the tales of other times. The chiefs gathered from all their hills, and heard the lovely sound. They praised the voiceDisplay note of Cona! the first among a thousand bards. But age is now [ 303 ] View Page Image on my tongue; and my soul has failed. I hear, sometimes, the ghosts of bards, and learn their pleasant song. But memory fails on my mind; I hear the call of years. They say, as they pass along, why does Ossian sing? Soon shall he lie in the narrow house, and no bard shall raise his fame.
Roll on, ye dark-brown years, for ye bring no joy on your course. Let the tomb open to Ossian, for his strength has failed. The sons of the song are gone to rest; my voice remains, like a blast, that roars, lonely, on a sea-surrounded rock, after the winds are laid. The dark moss whistles there, and the distant mariner sees the waving trees.
Calthon and Colmal: A PoemDisplay note.
Pleasant is the voice of thy song, thou lonely dweller of the rock. It comes on the sound of the stream, along the narrow [ 305 ] View Page Image vale. My soul awakes, O stranger! in the midst of my hall. I stretch my hand to the spear, as in the days of other years.—I stretch my hand, but it is feeble, and the sigh of my bosom grows.—Wilt thou not listen, son of the rock, to the song of Ossian? My soul is full of other times; the joy of my youth returns. Thus the sunDisplay note appears in the west, after the steps of his brightness have moved behind a storm; the green hills lift their dewy heads: the blue streams rejoice in the vale. The aged hero comes forth on his staff, and his grey hair glitters in the beam.
Dost thou not behold, son of the rock, a shield in Ossian's hall? It is marked with the strokes of battle; and the brightness of its bosses has failed. That shield the great Dunthalmo bore, the chief of streamy Teutha.——Dunthalmo [ 306 ] View Page Image bore it in battle, before he fell by Ossian's spear. Listen, son of the rock, to the tale of other years.—
Rathmor was a chief of Clutha. The feeble dwelt in his hall. The gates of Rathmor were never closed; his feast was always spread. The sons of the stranger came, and blessed the generous chief of Clutha. Bards raised the song, and touched the harp: and joy brightened on the face of the mournful.—Dunthalmo came, in his pride, and rushed into the combat of Rathmor. The chief of Clutha overcame: the rage of Dunthalmo rose—He came, by night, with his warriors; and the mighty Rathmor fell. He fell in his halls, where his feast was often spread for strangers.——
Colmar and Calthon were young, the sons of car-borne Rathmor. They came, in the joy of youth, into their father's hall. They behold him in his blood, and their bursting tears descend.—The soul of Dunthalmo melted, when he saw the children of youth; he brought them to Alteutha's Display notewalls; they grew in the house of [ 307 ] View Page Image their foe.—They bent the bow in his presence; and came forth to his battles.
They saw the fallen walls of their fathers; they saw the green thorn in the hall. Their tears descended in secret; and, at times, their faces were mournful. Dunthalmo beheld their grief: his darkening soul designed their death. He closed them in two caves, on the echoing banks of Teutha. The sun did not come there with his beams; nor the moon of heaven by night. The sons of Rathmor remained in darkness, and foresaw their death.
The daughter of Dunthalmo wept in silence, the fair-haired, blue-eyed ColmalDisplay note. Her eye had rolled in secret on Calthon; his loveliness swelled in her soul. She trembled for her warrior; but what could Colmal do? Her arm could not lift the spear; nor was the sword formed for her side. Her white breast never rose beneath a mail. Neither was her eye the terror of heroes. What canst thou do, O Colmal! for the falling chief?—Her steps are unequal; her hair is loose: her eye looked wildly through her [ 308 ] View Page Image tears.—She came, by night, to the hallDisplay note; and armed her lovely form in steel; the steel of a young warrior, who fell in the first of his battles.—She came to the cave of Calthon, and loosed the thong from his hands.
Arise, son of Rathmor, she said, arise, the night is dark. Let us fly to the king of SelmaDisplay note, chief of fallen Clutha! I am the son of Lamgal, who dwelt in thy father's hall. I heard of thy dark dwelling in the cave, and my soul arose. Arise, son of Rathmor, for the night is dark.——
Blest voice! replied the chief, comest thou from the darkly-rolling clouds? for often the ghosts of his fathers descend to Calthon's dreams, since the sun has retired from his eyes, and darkness has dwelt around him. Or art thou the son of Lamgal, the chief I often saw in Clutha? But shall I fly to Fingal, and Colmar my brother low? Shall I fly to Morven, and the hero closed in night? No: give me that spear, son of Lamgal, Calthon will defend his brother.[ 309 ] View Page Image
A thousand warriors, replied the maid, stretch their spears round car-borne Colmar. What can Calthon do against a host so great? Let us fly to the king of Morven, he will come with battle. His arm is stretched forth to the unhappy; the lightning of his sword is round the weak.—Arise, thou son of Rathmor; the shades of night will fly away. Dunthalmo will behold thy steps on the field, and thou must fall in thy youth.
The fighting hero rose; his tears descend for car-borne Colmar. He came with the maid to Selma's hall; but he knew not that it was Colmal. The helmet cover'd her lovely face; and her breast rose beneath the steel. Fingal returned from the chace, and found the lovely strangers. They were like two beams of light, in the midst of the hall.
The king heard the tale of grief; and turned his eyes around. A thousand heroes half-rose before him; claiming the war of Teutha.—I came with my spear from the hill, and the joy of battle rose in my breast: for the king spoke to Ossian in the midst of the people.
Son of my strength, he said, take the spear of Fingal; go to Teutha's mighty stream, and save the car-borne Colmar.—Let thy fame return before thee like a pleasant gale; that my [ 310 ] View Page Image soul may rejoice over my son, who renews the renown of our fathers.—Ossian! be thou a storm in battle; but mild when the foes are low!—It was thus my fame arose, O my son; and be thou like Selma's chief.—When the haughty come to my halls, my eyes behold them not. But my arm is stretched forth to the unhappy. My sword defends the weak.
I rejoiced in the words of the king: and took my rattling arms.—DiaranDisplay note rose at my side, and DargoDisplay note king of spears.—Three hundred [ 311 ] View Page Image youths followed our steps: the lovely strangers were at my side. Dunthalmo heard the sound of our approach; he gathered the strength of Teutha.—He stood on a hill with his host; they were like rocks broken with thunder, when their bent trees are singed and bare, and the streams of their chinks have failed.
The stream of Teutha rolled, in its pride, before the gloomy foe. I sent a bard to Dunthalmo, to offer the combat on the plain; but he smiled in the darkness of his pride.—His unsettled host moved on the hill; like the mountain-cloud, when the blast has entered its womb, and scatters the curling gloom on every side.
They brought Colmar to Teutha's bank, bound with a thousand thongs. The chief is [ 312 ] View Page Image sad, but lovely, and his eye is on his friends; for we stood, in our arms, on the opposite bank of Teutha. Dunthalmo came with his spear, and pierced the hero's side : he rolled on the bank in his blood, and we heard his broken sighs.
Calthon rushed into the stream: I bounded forward on my spear. Teutha's race fell before us. Night came rolling down. Dunthalmo rested on a rock, amidst an aged wood. The rage of his bosom burned against the car-borne Calthon.—But Calthon stood in his grief; he mourned the fallen Colmar; Colmar slain in youth, before his fame arose.
I bade the song of woe to rise, to sooth the mournful chief; but he stood beneath a tree, and often threw his spear on earth.—The humid eye of Colmal rolled near in a secret tear: she foresaw the fall of Dunthalmo, or of Clutha's battling chief.
Now half the night had passed away. Silence and darkness were on the field; sleep rested on the eyes of the heroes: Calthon's settling soul was still. His eyes were half-closed; but the murmur of Teutha had not yet failed in his ear.——Pale, and shewing his wounds, the ghost of Colmar came: he bended his head over the hero, and raised his feeble voice.[ 313 ] View Page Image
Sleeps the son of Rathmor in his might, and his brother low? Did we not rise to the chace together, and pursue the dark-brown hinds? Colmar was not forgot till he fell; till death had blasted his youth. I lie pale beneath the rock of Lona. O let Calthon rise! the morning comes with its beams; and Dunthalmo will dishonour the fallen.
He passed away in his blast. The rising Calthon saw the steps of his departure.—He rushed in the sound of his steel; and unhappy Colmal rose. She followed her hero through night, and dragged her spear behind.—But when Calthon came to Lona's rock, he found his fallen brother—The rage of his bosom rose, and he rushed among the foe. The groans of death ascend. They close around the chief.—He is bound in the midst, and brought to gloomy Dunthalmo.—The shout of joy arose; and the hills of night replied.—
I started at the sound: and took my father's spear. Diaran rose at my side; and the youthful strength of Dargo. We missed the chief of Clutha, and our souls were sad.—I dreaded the departure of my fame; the pride of my valour rose.
Sons of Morven, I said, it is not thus our fathers fought. They rested not on the field of [ 314 ] View Page Image strangers, when the foe did not fall before them.——Their strength was like the eagles of heaven; their renown is in the song. But our people fall by degrees, and our fame begins to depart.——What shall the king of Morven say, if Ossian conquers not at Teutha? Rise in your steel, ye warriors, and follow the sound of Ossian's course. He will not return, but renowned, to the echoing walls of Selma.
Morning rose on the blue waters of Teutha; Colmal stood before me in tears. She told of the chief of Clutha: and thrice the spear fell from her hand. My wrath turned against the stranger, for my soul trembled for Calthon.
Son of the feeble hand, I said, do Teutha's warriors fight with tears? The battle is not won with grief; nor dwells the sigh in the soul of war.——Go to the deer of Carmun, or the lowing herds of Teutha.—But leave these arms, thou son of fear; a warrior may lift them in battle.——
I tore the mail from her shoulders. Her snowy breast appeared. She bent her red face to the ground.—I looked in silence to the chiefs. The spear fell from my hand; and the sigh of my bosom rose.——But when I heard the name of the maid, my crowding tears descended. [ 315 ] View Page Image I blessed the lovely beam of youth, and bade the battle move.—
Why, son of the rock, should Ossian tell how Teutha's warriors died? They are now forgot in their land; and their tombs are not found on the heath.—Years came on with their tempests; and the green mounds mouldered away.—Scarce is the grave of Dunthalmo seen, or the place where he fell by the spear of Ossian.—Some gray warrior, half blind with age, sitting by night at the flaming oak of the hall, tells now my actions to his sons, and the fall of the dark Dunthalmo. The faces of youth bend sidelong towards his voice; surprize and joy burn in their eyes.—
I found the sonDisplay note of Rathmor bound to an oak; my sword cut the thongs from his hands. And I gave him the white-bosomed Colmal.—They dwelt in the halls of Teutha; and Ossian returned to Selma.
Lathmon: A PoemDisplay note.
Selma, thy halls are silent. There is no sound in the woods of Morven. The wave tumbles alone on the coast. The silent beam of the sun is on the field. The daughters of Morven come forth, like the bow of the shower; they look towards green Ullin for the white sails of the king. He had promised to return, but the winds of the north arose.
Who pours from the eastern hill, like a stream of darkness? It is the host of Lathmon. He [ 317 ] View Page Image has heard of the absence of Fingal. He trusts in the wind of the north. His soul brightens with joy. Why dost thou come, Lathmon? The mighty are not in Selma. Why comest thou with thy forward spear? Will the daughters of Morven fight? But stop, O mighty stream, in thy course! Does not Lathmon behold these sails? Why dost thou vanish, Lathmon, like the mist of the lake? But the squally storm is behind thee; Fingal pursues thy steps!
The king of Morven started from sleep, as we rolled on the dark-blue wave. He stretched his hand to his spear, and his heroes rose around. We knew that he had seen his fathers, for they often descended to his dreams, when the sword of the foe rose over the land; and the battle darkened before us.
Whither hast thou fled, O wind, said the king of Morven? Dost thou rustle in the chambers of the south, and pursue the shower in other lands? Why dost thou not come to my sails? to the blue face of my seas? The foe is in the land of Morven, and the king is absent. But let each bind on his mail, and each assume his shield. Stretch every spear over the wave; let every sword be unsheathed. LathmonDisplay note is [ 318 ] View Page Image before us with his host: he that fledDisplay note from Fingal on the plains of Lona. But he returns, like a collected stream, and his roar is between our hills.
Such were the words of Fingal. We rushed into Carmona's bay. Ossian ascended the hill; and thrice struck his bossy shield. The rock of Morven replied; and the bounding roes came forth. The foes were troubled in my presence: and collected their darkened host; for I stood, like a cloud on the hill, rejoicing in the arms of my youth.
MorniDisplay note sat beneath a tree, at the roaring waters of StrumonDisplay note: his locks of age are gray: he leans forward on his staff; young Gaul is near the hero, hearing the battles of his youth. Often did he rise, in the fire of his soul, at the mighty deeds of Morni.
The aged heard the sound of Ossian's shield: he knew the sign of battle. He started at once [ 319 ] View Page Image from his place. His gray hair parted on his back. He remembers the actions of other years. My son, he said to fair-haired Gaul, I hear the sound of battle. The king of Morven is returned, the sign of war is heard. Go to the halls of Strumon, and bring his arms to Morni. Bring the arms which my father wore in his age, for my arm begins to fail. Take thou thy armour, Ο Gaul; and rush to the first of thy battles. Let thine arm reach to the renown of thy fathers. Be thy course in the field, like the eagle's wing. Why shouldst thou fear death, my son! the valiant fall with fame; their shields turn the dark stream of danger away, and renown dwells on their gray hairs. Dost thou not see, Ο Gaul, how the steps of my age are honoured? Morni moves forth, and the young meet him, with reverence, and turn their eyes, with silent joy, on his course. But I never fled from danger, my son! my sword lightened through the darkness of battle. The stranger melted before me; the mighty were blasted in my presence.
Gaul brought the arms to Morni: the aged warrior covered himself with steel. He took the spear in his hand, which was often stained with the blood of the valiant. He came towards Fingal, his son attended his steps. The [ 320 ] View Page Image son of Comhal rejoiced over the warrior, when he came in the locks of his age.
King of the roaring Strumon! said the rising joy of Fingal; do I behold thee in arms, after thy strength has failed? Often has Morni shone in battles, like the beam of the rising sun; when he disperses the storms of the hill, and brings peace to the glittering fields. But why didst thou not rest in thine age? Thy renown is in the song. The people behold thee, and bless the departure of mighty Morni. Why didst thou not rest in thine age? For the foe will vanish before Fingal.
Son of Comhal, replied the chief, the strength of Morni's arm has failed. I attempt to draw the sword of my youth, but it remains in its place. I throw the spear, but it falls short of the mark; and I feel the weight of my shield. We decay, like the grass of the mountain, and our strength returns no more. I have a son, O Fingal, his soul has delighted in the actions of Morni's youth; but his sword has not been lifted against the foe, neither has his fame begun. I come with him to battle; to direct his arm. His renown will be a sun to my soul, in the dark hour of my departure. O that the name of Morni were forgot among the people! [ 321 ] View Page Image that the heroes would only say, "Behold the father of Gaul!"
King of Strumon, Fingal replied, Gaul shall lift the sword in battle. But he shall lift it before Fingal; my arm shall defend his youth. But rest thou in the halls of Selma; and hear of our renown. Bid the harp be strung; and the voice of the bard arise, that those who fall may rejoice in their fame; and the soul of Morni brighten with gladness.——Ossian! thou hast fought in battles: the blood of strangers is on thy spear: let thy course be with Gaul in the strife; but depart not from the side of Fingal; lest the foe find you alone, and your fame fail at once.
I sawDisplay note Gaul in his arms, and my soul was mixed with his: for the fire of the battle was in his eyes! he looked to the foe with joy. We spoke the words of friendship in secret; and the lightning of our swords poured together; for we drew them behind the wood, and tried the strength of our arms on the empty air.
Night came down on Morven. Fingal sat at the beam of the oak. Morni sat by his side with all his gray waving locks. Their discourse [ 322 ] View Page Image is of other times, and the actions of their fathers. Three bards, at times, touched the harp; and Ullin was near with his song. He sung of the mighty Comhal; but darkness gatheredDisplay note on Morni's brow. He rolled his red eye on Ullin; and the song of the bard ceased. Fingal observed the aged hero, and he mildly spoke.
Chief of Strumon, why that darkness? Let the days of other years be forgot. Our fathers contended in battle; but we meet together, at the feast. Our swords are turned on the foes, and they melt before us on the field. Let the days of our fathers be forgot, king of mossy Strumon.
King of Morven, replied the chief, I remember thy father with joy. He was terrible in battle; the rageDisplay note of the chief was deadly. My eyes were full of tears, when the king of heroes fell. The valiant fall, O Fingal, and the feeble [ 323 ] View Page Image remain on the hills. How many heroes have passed away, in the days of Morni! And I did not shun the battle; neither did I fly from the strife of the valiant.
Now let the friends of Fingal rest; for the night is around; that they may rise, with strength, to battle against car-borne Lathmon. I hear the sound of his host, like thunder heard on a distant heath. Ossian! and fair-haired Gaul! ye are swift in the race. Observe the foes of Fingal from that woody hill. But approach them not, your fathers are not near to shield you. Let not your fame fall at once. The valour of youth may fail.
We heard the words of the chief with joy, and moved in the clang of our arms. Our steps are on the woody hill. Heaven burns with all its stars. The meteors of death fly over the field. The distant noise of the foe reached our ears. It was then Gaul spoke, in his valour; his hand half-unsheathed the sword.
Son of Fingal, he said, why burns the soul of Gaul? My heart beats high. My steps are disordered; and my hand trembles on my sword. When I look towards the foe, my soul lightens before me, and I see their sleeping host. Tremble thus the souls of the valiant in battles of the spear?——How would the soul of Morni [ 324 ] View Page Image rise if we should rush on the foe! Our renown would grow in the song; and our steps be stately in the eyes of the brave.
Son of Morni, I replied, my soul delights in battle. I delight to shine in battle alone, and to give my name to the bards. But what if the foe should prevail; shall I behold the eyes of the king? They are terrible in his displeasure, and like the flames of death.—But I will not behold them in his wrath. Ossian shall prevail or fall. But shall the fame of the vanquished rise?—They pass away like a shadow. But the fame of Ossian shall rise. His deeds shall be like his fathers. Let us rush in our arms; son of Morni, let us rush to battle. Gaul! if thou shalt return, go to Selma's lofty wall. Tell to EvirallinDisplay note that I fell with fame; carry this sword to Branno's daughter. Let her give it to Oscar, when the years of his youth shall arise.
Son of Fingal, Gaul replied with a sigh; shall I return after Ossian is low!—What would my father say, and Fingal king of men? The feeble would turn their eyes and say, "Behold the mighty Gaul who left his friend in his blood!" [ 325 ] View Page Image Ye shall not behold me, ye feeble, but in the midst of my renown. Ossian! I have heard from my father the mighty deeds of heroes; their mighty deeds when alone; for the soul increases in danger.
Son of Morni, I replied and strode before him on the heath, our fathers shall praise our valour, when they mourn our fall. A beam of gladness shall rise on their souls, when their eyes are full of tears. They will say, "Our sons have not fallen like the grass of the field, for they spread death around them."——But why should we think of the narrow house? The sword defends the valiant. But death pursues the flight of the feeble; and their renown is not heard.
We rushed forward through night; and came to the roar of a stream which bent its blue course round the foe, through trees that echoed to its noise; we came to the bank of the stream, and saw the sleeping host. Their fires were decayed on the plain; and the lonely steps of their scouts were distant far. I stretched my spear before me to support my steps over the stream. But Gaul took my hand, and spoke the words of the valiant.[ 326 ] View Page Image
ShallDisplay note the son of Fingal rush on a sleeping foe? Shall he come like a blast by night when it overturns the young trees in secret? Fingal did not thus receive his fame, nor dwells renown on the gray hairs of Morni, for actions like these. Strike, Ossian, strike the shield of battle, and let their thousands rise. Let them meet Gaul in his first battle, that he may try the strength of his arm.
My soul rejoiced over the warrior, and my bursting tears descended. And the foe shall meet Gaul, I said: the fame of Morni's son shall arise. But rush not too far, my hero: let the gleam of thy steel be near to Ossian. Let our hands join in slaughter.——Gaul! dost thou not behold that rock? Its gray side dimly gleams to the stars. If the foe shall prevail, let our back be towards the rock. Then shall they fear to approach our spears; for death is in our hands.
I struck thrice my echoing shield. The starting foe arose. We rushed on in the sound [ 327 ] View Page Image of our arms. Their crowded steps fly over the heath; for they thought that the mighty Fingal came; and the strength of their arms withered away. The sound of their flight was like that of flame, when it rushes through the blasted groves.
It was then the spear of Gaul flew in its strength; it was then his sword arose. Cremor fell; and mighty Leth. Dunthormo struggled in his blood. The steel rushed through Crotha's side, as bent, he rose on his spear; the black stream poured from the wound, and hissed on the half-extinguished oak. Cathmin saw the steps of the hero behind him, and ascended a blasted tree; but the spear pierced him from behind. Shrieking, panting, he fell; moss and withered branches pursue his fall, and strew the blue arms of Gaul.
Such were thy deeds, son of Morni, in the first of thy battles. Nor slept the sword by thy side, thou last of Fingal's race! Ossian rushed forward in his strength, and the people fell before him; as the grass by the staff of the boy, when he whistles along the field, and the gray beard of the thistle falls. But careless the youth moves on; his steps are towards the desart.
Gray morning rose around us, the winding streams are bright along the heath. The foe gathered [ 328 ] View Page Image on a hill; and the rage of Lathmon rose. He bent the red eye of his wrath: he is silent in his rising grief. He often struck his bossy shield; and his steps are unequal on the heath. I saw the distant darkness of the hero, and I spoke to Morni's son.
Car-borneDisplay note chief of Strumon, dost thou behold the foe? They gather on the hill in their wrath. Let our steps be towards the kingDisplay note. He shall rise in his strength, and the host of Lathmon vanish. Our fame is around us, warrior, the eyes of the agedDisplay note will rejoice. But let us fly, son of Morni, Lathmon descends the hill.
Then let our stepsDisplay note be slow, replied the fair-haired Gaul; lest the foe say, with a smile, "Behold the warriors of night, they are, like [ 329 ] View Page Image ghosts, terrible in darkness, but they melt away before the beam of the east." Ossian, take the shield of Gormar who fell beneath thy spear, that the aged heroes may rejoice, when they shall behold the actions of their sons.
Such were our words on the plain, when SulmathDisplay note came to car-borne Lathmon: Sulmath chief of Dutha at the dark-rolling stream of DuvrannaDisplay note. Why dost thou not rush, son of Nuäth, with a thousand of thy heroes? Why dost thou not descend with thy host, before the warriors fly? Their blue arms are beaming to the rising light, and their steps are before us on the heath.
Son of the feeble hand, said Lathmon, shall my host descend! TheyDisplay note are but two, son of [ 330 ] View Page Image Dutha, and shall a thousand lift their steel! Nuäth would mourn, in his hall, for the departure of his fame. His eyes would turn from Lathmon, when the tread of his feet approached.——Go thou to the heroes, chief of Dutha, for I behold the stately steps of Ossian. His fame is worthy of my steel; let him fight with Lathmon.
The noble Sulmath came. I rejoiced in the words of the king. I raised the shield on my arm, and Gaul placed in my hand the sword of Morni. We returned to the murmuring stream; Lathmon came in his strength. His dark host rolled, like the clouds, behind him: but the son of Nuäth was bright in his steel.
Son of Fingal, said the hero, thy fame has grown on our fall. How many lie there of my people by thy hand, thou king of men! Lift now thy spear against Lathmon; and lay the son of Nuäth low. Lay him low among his people, or thou thyself must fall. It shall never be told in my halls that my warriors fell in my presence; that they fell in the presence of Lathmon when [ 331 ] View Page Image his sword rested by his side: the blue eyes of CuthaDisplay note would roll in tears, and her steps be lonely in the vales of Dunlathmon.
Neither shall it be told, I replied, that the son of Fingal fled. Were his steps covered with darkness, yet would not Ossian fly; his soul would meet him and say, "Does the bard of Selma fear the foe?" No: he does not fear the foe. His joy is in the midst of battle.
Lathmon came on with his spear, and pierced the shield of Ossian. I felt the cold steel at my side; and drew the sword of Morni; I cut the spear in twain; the bright point fell glittering on the ground. The son of Nuäth burnt in his wrath, and lifted high his sounding shield. His dark eyes rolled above it, as bending forward, it shone like a gate of brass. But Ossian's spear pierced the brightness of its bosses, and sunk in a tree that rose behind. The shield hung on the quivering lance! but Lathmon still advanced. Gaul foresaw the fall of the chief, and stretched his buckler before my sword; when it descended, in a stream of light over the king of Dunlathmon.
Lathmon beheld the son of Morni, and the tear started from his eye. He threw the sword [ 332 ] View Page Image of his fathers on the ground, and spoke the words of the valiant. Why should Lathmon fight against the first of mortal men? Your souls are beams from heaven; your swords the flames of death. Who can equal the renown of the heroes, whose actions are so great in youth! O that ye were in the halls of Nuäth, in the green dwelling of Lathmon! then would my father say, that his son did not yield to the feeble.—But who comes, a mighty stream, along the echoing heath? the little hills are troubled before him, and a thousand spirits are on the beams of his steel; the spiritsDisplay note of those who are to fall by the arm of the king of resounding Morven.—Happy art thou, O Fingal, thy sons shall fight thy battles; they go forth before thee; and they return with the steps of renown.
Fingal came, in his mildness, rejoicing in secret over the actions of his son. Morni's face brightened with gladness, and his aged eyes look faintly through the tears of joy. We came to the halls of Selma, and sat round the feast of shells. The maids of the song came into our presence, and the mildly blushing Evirallin. Her dark hair spreads on her neck of snow, her [ 333 ] View Page Image eye rolled in secret on Ossian; she touched the harp of music, and we blessed the daughter of Branno.
Fingal rose in his place, and spoke to Dunlathmon's battling king. The sword of Trenmor trembled by his side, as he lifted up his mighty arm. Son of Nuäth, he said, why dost thou search for fame in Morven? We are not of the race of the feeble; nor do our swords gleam over the weak. When did we come to Dunlathmon, with the sound of war? Fingal does not delight in battle, though his arm is strong. My renown grows on the fall of the haughty. The lightning of my steel pours on the proud in arms. The battle comes; and the tombs of the valiant rise; the tombs of my people rise, O my fathers! and I at last must remain alone. But I will remain renowned, and the departure of my soul shall be one stream of light. Lathmon! retire to thy place. Turn thy battles to other lands. The race of Morven are renowned, and their foes are the sons of the unhappy.
Oithóna: A PoemDisplay note.
Darkness dwells around Dunlathmon, though the moon shews half her face on the hill. The daughter of night turns her eyes away; for she beholds the grief that is coming.— [ 335 ] View Page ImageThe son of Morni is on the plain; but there is no sound in the hall. No long-streamingDisplay note beam of light comes trembling through the gloom. The voice of OithónaDisplay note is not heard amidst the noise of the streams of Duvranna.——
Whither art thou gone in thy beauty, dark-haired daughter of Nuäth? Lathmon is in the field of the valiant, but thou didst promise to remain in the hall; thou didst promise to remain in the hall till the son of Morni returned. Till he returned from Strumon, to the maid of his love. The tear was on thy cheek at his departure: the sigh rose in secret in thy breast. But thou dost not come to meet him, with songs, with the lightly-trembling sound of the harp.——[ 336 ] View Page Image
Such were the words of Gaul, when he came to Dunlathmon's towers. The gates were open and dark. The winds were blustering in the hall. The trees strowed the threshold with leaves; and the murmur of night was abroad.—Sad and silent, at a rock, the son of Morni sat: his soul trembled for the maid; but he knew not whither to turn his course. The sonDisplay note of Leth stood at a distance, and heard the winds in his bushy hair. But he did not raise his voice, for he saw the sorrow of Gaul.
Sleep descended on the heroes. The visions of night arose. Oithóna stood in a dream, before the eyes of Morni's son. Her dark hair was loose and disordered: her lovely eye rolled in tears. Blood stained her snowy arm. The robe half hid the wound of her breast. She stood over the chief, and her voice was heard.
Sleeps the son of Morni, he that was lovely in the eyes of Oithóna? Sleeps Gaul at the distant rock, and the daughter of Nuäth low? The sea rolls round the dark isle of Tromáthon; I sit in my tears in the cave. Nor do I sit alone, O Gaul, the dark chief of Cuthal is there. He is [ 337 ] View Page Image there in the rage of his love.—And what can Oithóna do?
A rougher blast rushed through the oak. The dream of night departed. Gaul took his aspen spear; he stood in the rage of wrath. Often did his eyes turn to the east, and accuse the lagging light.—At length the morning came forth. The hero lifted up the sail. The winds came rustling from the hill; and he bounded on the waves of the deep.—On the third day arose TromáthonDisplay note, like a blue shield in the midst of the sea. The white wave roared against its rocks; sad Oithóna sat on the coast. She looked on the rolling waters, and her tears descend.——But when she saw Gaul in his arms, she started and turned her eyes away. Her lovely cheek is bent and red; her white arm trembles by her side.—Thrice she strove to fly from his presence; but her steps failed her as she went.[ 338 ] View Page Image
Daughter of Nuäth, said the hero, why dost thou fly from Gaul? Do my eyes send forth the flame of death? Or darkens hatred in my soul? Thou art to me the beam of the east rising in a land unknown. But thou coverest thy face with sadness, daughter of high Dunlathmon! Is the foe of Oithóna near? My soul burns to meet him in battle. The sword trembles on the side of Gaul, and longs to glitter in his hand.——Speak, daughter of Nuäth, dost thou not behold my tears?
Car-borne chief of Strumon, replied the sighing maid, why comest thou over the dark-blue wave to Nuäth's mournful daughter? Why did I not pass away in secret, like the flower of the rock, that lifts its fair head unseen, and strows its withered leaves on the blast? Why didst thou come, O Gaul, to hear my departing sigh? I pass away in my youth; and my name shall not be heard. Or it will be heard with sorrow, and the tears of Nuäth will fall. Thou wilt be sad, son of Morni, for the fallen fame of Oithóna. But she shall sleep in the narrow tomb, far from the voice of the mourner.——Why didst thou come, chief of Strumon, to the sea-beat rocks of Tromathon.
I came to meet thy foes, daughter of car-borne Nuäth! the death of Cuthal's chief darkens [ 339 ] View Page Image before me; or Morni's son shall fall.—Oithóna! when Gaul is low, raise my tomb on that oozy rock; and when the dark-bounding ship shall pass, call the sons of the sea; call them, and give this sword, that they may carry it to Morni's hall; that the grey-haired hero may cease to look towards the desart for the return of his son.
And shall the daughter of Nuäth live, she replied with a bursting sigh? Shall I live in Tromáthon, and the son of Morni low? My heart is not of that rock; nor my soul careless as that sea, which lifts its blue waves to every wind, and rolls beneath the storm. The blast which shall lay thee low, shall spread the branches of Oithóna on earth. We shall wither together, son of car-borne Morni!——The narrow house is pleasant to me, and the gray stone of the dead: for never more will I leave thy rocks, sea-surrounded Tromáthon!—NightDisplay note came on with her clouds, after the departure of Lathmon, when he went to the wars of his fathers, to the moss-covered rock of Duthórmoth; night came on, and I sat in the hall, at the beam of the oak. The wind was abroad in the trees. I heard the sound of arms. Joy rose in my face; [ 340 ] View Page Image for I thought of thy return. It was the chief of Cuthal, the red-haired strength of Dunrommath. His eyes rolled in fire: the blood of my people was on his sword. They who defended Oithóna fell by the gloomy chief.——What could I do? My arm was weak; it could not lift the spear. He took me in my grief, amidst my tears he raised the sail. He feared the returning strength of Lathmon, the brother of unhappy Oithóna.——But behold, he comes with his people! the dark wave is divided before him!—Whither wilt thou turn thy steps, son of Morni? Many are the warriors of Dunrommath!
My steps never turned from battle, replied the hero, as he unsheathed his sword; and shall I begin to fear, Oithóna, when thy foes are near? Go to thy cave, daughter of Nuäth, till our battle cease. Son of Leth, bring the bows of our fathers; and the sounding quiver of Morni. Let our three warriors bend the yew. Ourselves will lift the spear. They are an host on the rock; but our souls are strong.
The daughter of Nuäth went to the cave: a troubled joy rose on her mind, like the red path of the lightning on a stormy cloud.—Her soul was resolved, and the tear was dried from her wildly-looking eye.—Dunrommath slowly approached; for he saw the son of Morni. Contempt [ 341 ] View Page Image contracted his face, a smile is on his dark-brown cheek; his red eye rolled, half-conceal'd, beneath his shaggy brows.
Whence are the sons of the sea, begun the gloomy chief? Have the winds driven you to the rocks of Tromáthon? Or come you in search of the white-handed daughter of Nuäth? The sons of the unhappy, ye feeble men, come to the hand of Dunrommath. His eyes spares not the weak; and he delights in the blood of strangers. Oithóna is a beam of light, and the chief of Cuthal enjoys it in secret; would thou come on its loveliness like a cloud, son of the feeble hand!—Thou mayst come, but shalt thou return to the halls of thy fathers?
Dost thou not know me, said Gaul, red-haired chief of Cuthal? Thy feet were swift on the heath, in the battle of car-borne Lathmon; when the sword of Morni's son pursued his host, in Morven's woody land. Dunrommath! thy words are mighty, for thy warriors gather behind thee. But do I fear them, son of pride? I am not of the race of the feeble.
Gaul advanced in his arms; Dunrommath shrunk behind his people. But the spear of Gaul pierced the gloomy chief, and his sword lopped off his head, as it bended in death.——The son of Morni shook it thrice by the lock; [ 342 ] View Page Image the warriors of Dunrommath fled. The arrows of Morven pursued them: ten fell on the mossy rocks. The rest lift the sounding sail, and bound on the echoing deep.
Gaul advanced towards the cave of Oithóna. He beheld a youth leaning against a rock. An arrow had pierced his side; and his eye rolled faintly beneath his helmet.—The soul of Morni's son is sad, he came and spoke the words of peace.
Can the hand of Gaul heal thee, youth of the mournful brow? I have searched for the herbs of the mountains; I have gathered them on the secret banks of their streams. My hand has closed the wound of the valiant, and their eyes have blessed the son of Morni. Where dwelt thy fathers, warrior? Were they of the sons of the mighty? Sadness shall come, like night, on thy native streams; for thou art fallen in thy youth.——
My fathers, replied the stranger, were of the sons of the mighty; but they shall not be sad; for my fame is departed like morning mist. High walls rise on the banks of Duvranna; and see their mossy towers in the stream; a rock ascends behind them with its bending firs. Thou mayst behold it far distant. There my brother [ 343 ] View Page Image dwells. He is renowned in battle: give him this glittering helmet.
The helmet fell from the hand of Gaul; for it was the wounded Oithóna. She had armed herself in the cave, and came in search of death. Her heavy eyes are half closed; the blood pours from her side.——
Son of Morni, she said, prepare the narrow tomb. Sleep comes, like a cloud, on my soul. The eyes of Oithóna are dim. O had I dwelt at Duvranna, in the bright beam of my fame! then had my years come on with joy; and the virgins would bless my steps. But I fall in youth, son of Morni, and my father shall blush in his hall.——
She fell pale on the rock of Tromáthon. The mournful hero raised her tomb.——He came to Morven; but we saw the darkness of his soul. Ossian took the harp in the praise of Oithóna. The brightness of the face of Gaul returned. But his sigh rose, at times, in the midst of his friends, like blasts that shake their unfrequent wings, after the stormy winds are laid.
Croma: A PoemDisplay note.
It was the voice of my love! few are his visits to the dreams of Malvina! Open your airy halls, ye fathers of mighty Toscar. Unfold the gates of your clouds; the steps of Malvina's [ 345 ] View Page Image departure are near. I have heard a voice in my dream. I feel the fluttering of my soul. Why didst thou come, O blast, from the dark-rolling of the lake? Thy rustling wing was in the trees, the dream of Malvina departed. But she beheld her love, when his robe of mist flew on the wind; the beam of the sun was on his skirts, they glittered like the gold of the stranger. It was the voice of my love! few are his visits to my dreams!
But thou dwellest in the soul of Malvina, son of mighty Ossian. My sighs arise with the beam of the east; my tears descend with the drops of night. I was a lovely tree, in thy presence, Oscar, with all my branches round me; but thy death came like a blast from the desart, and laid my green head low; the spring returned with its showers, but no leaf of mine arose. The virgins saw me silent in the hall, and they touched the harp of joy. The tear was on the cheek of Malvina: the virgins beheld me in my grief. Why art thou sad, they said; thou first of the maids of Lutha? Was he lovely as the beam of the morning, and stately in thy sight?
Pleasant is thy song in Ossian's ear, daughter of streamy Lutha! Thou hast heard the music of departed bards in the dream of thy rest, [ 346 ] View Page Image when sleep fell on thine eyes, at the murmur of MoruthDisplay note. When thou didst return from the chace, in the day of the sun, thou hast heard the music of the bards, and thy song is lovely. It is lovely, O Malvina, but it melts the soul. There is a joy in grief when peace dwells in the breast of the sad. But sorrow wastes the mournful, O daughter of Toscar, and their days are few. They fall away, like the flower on which the sun looks in his strength after the mildew has passed over it, and its head is heavy with the drops of night. Attend to the tale of Ossian, O maid; he remembers the days of his youth.
The king commanded; I raised my sails, and rushed into the bay of Croma; into Croma's sounding bay in lovely InisfailDisplay note High on the coast arose the towers of Crothar king of spears; Crothar renowned in the battles of his youth; but age dwelt then around the chief. Rothmar raised the sword against the hero; and the wrath of Fingal burned. He sent Ossian to meet Rothmar in battle, for the chief of Croma was the companion of his youth.
I sent the bard before me with songs; I came into the hall of Crothar. There sat the hero [ 347 ] View Page Image amidst the arms of his fathers, but his eyes had failed. His gray locks waved around a staff, on which the warrior leaned. He hummed the song of other times, when the sound of our arms reached his ears. Crothar rose, stretched his aged hand and blessed the son of Fingal.
Ossian! said the hero, the strength of Crothar's arm has failed. O could I lift the sword, as on the day that Fingal fought at Strutha! He was the first of mortal men; but Crothar had also his fame. The king of Morven praised me, and he placed on my arm the bossy shield of Calthar, whom the hero had slain in war. Dost thou not behold it on the wall, for Crothar's eyes have failed? Is thy strength, like thy fathers, Ossian? let the aged feel thine arm.
I gave my arm to the king; he feels it with his aged hands. The sigh rose in his breast, and his tears descended. Thou art strong, my son, he said, but not like the king of Morven. But who is like that hero among the mighty in war! Let the feast of my halls be spread; and let my bards raise the song. Great is he that is within my walls, sons of echoing Croma!
The feast is spread. The harp is heard; and joy is in the hall. But it was joy covering a sigh, that darkly dwelt in every breast. It was like the faint beam of the moon spread on a [ 348 ] View Page Image cloud in heaven. At length the music ceased, and the aged king of Croma spoke; he spoke without a tear, but the sigh swelled in the midst of his voice.
Son of Fingal! dost thou not behold the darkness of Crothar's hall of shells? My soul was not dark at the feast, when my people lived. I rejoiced in the presence of strangers, when my son shone in the hall. But, Ossian, he is a beam that is departed, and left no streak of light behind. He is fallen, son of Fingal, in the battles of his father.——Rothmar the chief of grassy Tromlo heard that my eyes had failed; he heard that my arms were fixed in the hall, and the pride of his soul arose. He came towards Croma; my people fell before him. I took my arms in the hall, but what could fightless Crothar do? My steps were unequal; my grief was great. I wished for the days that were past. Days! wherein I fought; and conquered in the field of blood. My son returned from the chace; the fair-haired Fovar-gormoDisplay note. He had not lifted his sword in battle, for his arm was young. But the soul of the youth was great; the fire of valour burnt in his eyes. He saw the disordered steps of his father, and his sigh arose. [ 349 ] View Page Image King of Croma, he said, is it because thou hast no son; is it for the weakness of Fovar-gorma's arm that thy sighs arise? I begin, my father, to feel the strength of my arm; I have drawn the sword of my youth; and I have bent the bow. Let me meet this Rothmar, with the youths of Croma: let me meet him, O my father; for I feel my burning soul.
And thou shalt meet him, I said, son of the fightless Crothar! But let others advance before thee, that I may hear the tread of thy feet at thy return; for my eyes behold thee not, fair-haired Fovar-gormo!——He went, he met the foe; he fell. The foe advances towards Croma. He who slew my son is near, with all his pointed spears.
It is not time to fill the shell, I replied, and took my spear. My people saw the fire of my eyes, and they rose around. All night we strode along the heath. Gray morning rose in the east. A green narrow vale appeared before us; nor did it want its blue stream. The dark host of Rothmar are on its banks, with all their glittering arms. We fought along the vale; they fled; Rothmar sunk beneath my sword. Day had not descended in the west when I brought his arms to Crothar. The aged hero felt them with his hands; and joy brightened in his soul.[ 350 ] View Page Image
The people gather to the hall; the sound of the shells is heard. Ten harps are strung; five bards advance, and sing, by turnsDisplay note, the praise [ 351 ] View Page Imageof Ossian; they poured forth their burning souls, and the harp answered to their voice. The joy of Croma was great: for peace returned to the land. The night came on with [ 352 ] View Page Image silence, and the morning returned with joy. No foe came in darkness, with his glittering spear. The joy of Croma was great; for the gloomy Rothmar was fallen.[ 353 ] View Page Image
I raised my voice for Fovar-gormo, when they laid the chief in earth. The aged Crothar was there, but his sigh was not heard. He [ 354 ] View Page Image searched for the wound of his son, and found it in his breast. Joy rose in the face of the aged. He came and spoke to Ossian.
King of spears! he said, my son has not fallen without his fame. The young warrior did not fly; but met death, as he went forward in his strength. Happy are they who die in youth, when their renown is heard! The feeble will not behold them in the hall; or smile at their trembling hands. Their memory shall be honoured in the song; the young tear of the virgin falls. But the aged wither away, by degrees, and the fame of their youth begins to be forgot. They fall in secret; the sigh of their [ 355 ] View Page Image son is not heard. Joy is around their tomb; and the stone of their fame is placed without a tear. Happy are they who die in youth, when their renown is around them!
Berrathon: A Poem.Display note
Bend thy blue course, O stream, round the narrow plain of LuthaDisplay note. Let the green woods hang over it from their mountains: and the sun look on it at noon. The thistle is [ 357 ] View Page Image there on its rock, and shakes its beard to the wind. The flower hangs its heavy head, waving, at times, to the gale. Why dost thou awake me, O gale, it seems to say, I am covered with the drops of heaven? The time of my fading is near, and the blast that shall scatter my leaves. To-morrow shall the traveller come, he that saw me in my beauty shall come; his eyes will search the field, but they will not find me?—So shall they search in vain, for the voice of [ 358 ] View Page Image Cona, after it has failed in the field. The hunter shall come forth in the morning, and the voice of my harp shall not be heard. "Where is the son of car-borne Fingal?" The tear will be on his cheek.
Then come thou, O MalvinaDisplay note, with all thy music, come; lay Ossian in the plain of Lutha: let his tomb rise in the lovely field.—Malvina! where art thou, with thy songs: with the soft sound of thy steps?—SonDisplay note of Alpin art thou near? where is the daughter of Toscar?
I passed, O son of Fingal, by Tar-lutha's mossy walls. The smoke of the hall was ceased: silence was among the trees of the hill. The voice of the chace was over. I saw the daughters of the bow. I asked about Malvina, but they answered not. They turned their faces away: thin darkness covered their beauty. They were like stars, on a rainy hill, by night, each looking faintly through her mist.
PleasantDisplay note be thy rest, O lovely beam! soon hast thou set on our hills! The steps of thy [ 359 ] View Page Image departure were stately, like the moon on the blue, trembling wave. But thou hast left us in darkness, first of the maids of Lutha! We sit, at the rock, and there is no voice; no light but the meteor of fire! Soon hast thou let, Malvina, daughter of generous Toscar!
But thou risest like the beam of the east, among the spirits of thy friends, where they sit in their stormy halls, the chambers of the thunder.——A cloud hovers over Cona: its blue curling sides are high. The winds are beneath it, with their wings; within it is the dwellingDisplay note of Fingal. There the hero sits in darkness; his airy spear is in his hand. His shield half covered with clouds, is like the darkened moon; when one half still remains in the wave, and the other looks sickly on the field.
His friends sit around the king, on mist; and hear the songs of Ullin: he strikes the half-viewless harp; and raises the feeble voice. The lesser heroes, with a thousand meteors, light the airy hall. Malvina rises, in the midst; a blush [ 360 ] View Page Image is on her cheek. She beholds the unknown faces of her fathers, and turns aside her humid eyes.
Art thou come so soon, said Fingal, daughter of generous Toscar? Sadness dwells in the halls of Lutha. My aged sonDisplay note is sad. I hear the breeze of Cona, that was wont to lift thy heavy locks. It comes to the hall, but thou art not there; its voice is mournful among the arms of thy fathers. Go with thy rustling wing, O breeze! and sigh on Malvina's tomb. It rises yonder beneath the rock, at the blue stream of Lutha. The maidsDisplay note are departed to their place; and thou alone, O breeze, mournest there.
But who comes from the dusky west, supported on a cloud? A smile is on his gray, watry face; his locks of mist fly on the wind: he bends forward on his airy spear: it is thy father, Malvina! Why shinest thou, so soon, on our clouds, he says, O lovely light of Lutha!—But thou wert sad, my daughter, for thy friends were passed away. The sons of little [ 361 ] View Page Image menDisplay note were in the hall; and none remained of the heroes, but Ossian king of spears.
And dost thou remember Ossian, car-borne ToscarDisplay note son of Conloch? The battles of our youth were many; our swords went together to the field. They saw us coming like two falling rocks; and the sons of the stranger fled. There come the warriors of Cona, they said ; their steps are in the paths of the vanquished.
Draw near, son of Alpin, to the song of the aged. The actions of other times are in my soul: my memory beams on the days that are past. On the days of the mighty Toscar, when our path was in the deep. Draw near, son of Alpin, to the last soundDisplay note of the voice of Cona.
The king of Morven commanded, and I raised my sails to the wind. Toscar chief [ 362 ] View Page Image of Lutha stood at my side, as I rose on the dark-blue wave. Our course was to sea-surrounded BerrathonDisplay note, the isle of many storms. There dwelt, with his locks of age, the stately strength of Larthmor. Larthmor who spread the feast of shells to Comhal's mighty son, when he went to Starno's halls, in the days of Agandecca. But when the chief was old, the pride of his son arose, the pride of fair-haired Uthal, the love of a thousand maids. He bound the aged Larthmor, and dwelt in his sounding halls.
Long pined the king in his cave, beside his rolling sea. Morning did not come to his dwelling; nor the burning oak by night. But the wind of ocean was there, and the parting beam of the moon. The red star looked on the king, when it trembled on the western wave. Snitho came to Selma's hall: Snitho companion of Larthmor's youth. He told of the king of Berrathon: the wrath of Fingal rose. Thrice he assumed the spear, resolved to stretch his hand to Uthal. But the memoryDisplay note of his actions [ 363 ] View Page Image rose before the king, and he sent his son and Toscar. Our joy was great on the rolling sea; and we often half unsheathed our swordsDisplay note. For never before had we fought alone, in the battles of the spear. Night came down on the ocean; the winds departed on their wings. Cold and pale is the moon. The red stars lift their heads. Our course is slow along the coast of Berrathon; the white waves tumble on the rocks.
What voice is that, said Toscar, which comes between the sounds of the waves? It is soft but mournful, like the voice of departed bards. But I behold the maidDisplay note, she sits on the rock alone. Her head bends on her arm of snow: her dark hair is in the wind. Hear, son of Fingal, her song, it is smooth as the gliding waters of Lavath.—We came to the silent bay, and heard the maid of night.[ 364 ] View Page Image
How long will ye roll around me, blue-tumbling waters of ocean? My dwelling was not always in caves, nor beneath the whistling tree. The feast was spread in Torthóma's hall; my father delighted in my voice. The youths beheld me in the steps of my loveliness, and they blessed the dark-haired Nina-thoma. It was then thou didst come, O Uthal! like the sun of heaven. The souls of the virgins are thine, son of generous Larthmor! But why dost thou leave me alone in the midst of roaring waters. Was my soul dark with thy death? Did my white hand lift the sword? Why then hast thou left me alone, king of high FinthormoDisplay note!
The tear started from my eye, when I heard the voice of the maid. I stood before her in my arms, and spoke the words of peace.——Lovely dweller of the cave, what sigh is in that breast? Shall Ossian lift his sword in thy presence, the destruction of thy foes?—Daughter of Torthóma, rise, I have heard the words of thy grief. The race of Morven are around thee, who never injured the weak. Come to our dark-bosomed ship, thou brighter than that setting moon. Our course is to the rocky Berrathon, [ 365 ] View Page Image to the echoing walls of Finthormo.——She came in her beauty, she came with all her lovely steps. Silent joy brightened in her face, as when the shadows fly from the field of spring; the blue-stream is rolling in brightness, and the green bush bends over its course.
The morning rose with its beams. We came to Rothma's bay. A boar rushed from the wood, my spear pierced his side. I rejoiced over the bloodDisplay note, and foresaw my growing fame.——But now the sound of Uthal's train came from the high Finthormo; they spread over the heath to the chace of the boar. Himself comes slowly on, in the pride of his strength. He lifts two pointed spears. On his side is the hero's sword. Three youths carry his polished bows: the bounding of five dogs is before him. His warriors move on, at a distance, admiring the steps of the king. Stately was the son of Larthmor! but his soul was dark. Dark as the troubled face of the moon, when it foretels the storms.
We rose on the heath before the king; he stopt in the midst of his course. His warriors [ 366 ] View Page Image gathered around, and a gray-haired bard advanced. Whence are the sons of the strangers? begun the bard. The children of the unhappy come to Berrathon; to the sword of car-borne Uthal. He spreads no feast in his hall: the blood of strangers is on his streams. If from Selma's walls ye come, from the mossy walls of Fingal, chuse three youths to go to your king to tell of the fall of his people. Perhaps the hero may come and pour his blood on Uthal's sword; so shall the fame of Finthormo arise, like the growing tree of the vale.
Never will it rise, O bard, I said in the pride of my wrath. He would shrink in the presence of Fingal, whose eyes are the flames of death. The son of Comhal comes, and the kings vanish in his presence; they are rolled together, like mist, by the breath of his rage. Shall three tell to Fingal, that his people fell? Yes!—they may tell it, bard! but his people shall fall with fame.
I stood in the darkness of my strength; Toscar drew his sword at my side. The foe came on like a stream: the mingled sound of death arose. Man took man, shield met shield; steel mixed its beams with steel.—Darts hiss through air; spears ring on mails; and swords on broken bucklers bound. As the noise of an [ 367 ] View Page Image aged grove beneath the roaring wind, when a thousand ghosts break the trees by night, such was the din of arms.——But Uthal fell beneath my sword; and the sons of Berrathon fled.—It was then I saw him in his beauty, and the tear hung in my eye. Thou art fallenDisplay note, young tree, I said, with all thy beauty round thee. Thou art fallen on thy plains, and the field is bare. The winds come from the desart, and there is no sound in thy leaves! Lovely art thou in death, son of car-borne Larthmor.
Nina-thoma sat on the shore, and heard the sound of battle. She turned her red eyes on Lethmal the gray-haired bard of Selma, for he had remained on the coast, with the daughter of Torthóma. Son of the times of old! she said, I hear the noise of death. Thy friends have met with Uthal and the chief is low! O that I had [ 368 ] View Page Image remained on the rock, inclosed with the tumbling waves! Then would my soul be sad, but his death would not reach my ear. Art thou fallen on thy heath, O son of high Finthormo! thou didst leave me on a rock, but my soul was full of thee. Son of high Finthormo! art thou fallen on thy heath?
She rose pale in her tears, and saw the bloody shield of Uthal; she saw it in Ossian's hand; her steps were distracted on the heath. She flew; she found him; she fell. Her soul came forth in a sigh. Her hair is spread on his face. My bursting tears descend. A tomb arose on the unhappy; and my song was heard.
Rest, hapless children of youth! and the noise of that mossy stream. The virgins will see your tomb, at the chace, and turn away their weeping eyes. Your fame will be in the song; the voice of the harp will be heard in your praise. The daughters of Selma shall hear it; and your renown shall be in other lands.—Rest, children of youth, at the noise of the mossy stream.
Two days we remained on the coast. The heroes of Berrathon convened. We brought Larthmor to his halls; the feast of shells is spread.—The joy of the aged was great; he looked to the arms of his fathers; the arms [ 369 ] View Page Image which he left in his hall, when the pride of Uthal arose.——We were renowned before Larthmor, and he blessed the chiefs of Morven; but he knew not that his son was low, the stately strength of Uthal. They had told, that he had retired to the woods, with the tears of grief; they had told it, but he was silent in the tomb of Rothma's heath.
On the fourth day we raised our sails to the roar of the northern wind. Larthmor came to the coast, and his bards raised the song. The joy of the king was great, he looked to Rothma's gloomy heath; he saw the tomb of his son; and the memory of Uthal rose.——Who of my heroes, he said, lies there: he seems to have been of the kings of spears? Was he renowned in my halls, before the pride of Uthal rose?
Ye are silent, ye sons of Berrathon, is the king of heroes low?—My heart melts for thee, O Uthal; though thy hand was against thy father.——O that I had remained in the cave! that my son had dwelt in Finthormo!——I might have heard the tread of his feet, when he went to the chace of the boar.—I might have heard his voice on the blast of my cave. Then would my soul be glad: but now darkness dwells in my halls.[ 370 ] View Page Image
Such were my deeds, son of Alpin, when the arm of my youth was strong; such wereDisplay note the actions of Toscar, the car-borne son of Conloch. But Toscar is on his flying cloud; and I am alone at Lutha: my voice is like the last sound of the wind, when it forsakes the woods. But Ossian shall not be long alone, he sees the mist that shall receive his ghost. He beholds the mist that shall form his robe, when he appears on his hills. The sons of little men shall behold me, and admire the stature of the chiefs of old. They shall creep to their caves, and look to the sky with fear; for my steps shall be in the clouds, and darkness shall roll on my side.
Lead, son of Alpin, lead the aged to his woods. The winds begin to rise. The dark wave of the lake resounds. Bends there not a tree from Mora with its branches bare? It bends, son of Alpin, in the rustling blast. My harp hangs on a blasted branch. The sound of its firings is mournful.——Does the wind touch thee, O harp, or is it some passing ghost!——It is the hand of Malvina! but bring me the harp, son of Alpin; another song shall rise. My soul shall depart in the sound; my fathers [ 371 ] View Page Image shall hear it in their airy hall.—Their dim faces shall hang, with joy, from their clouds; and their hands receive their son.
Display noteThe aged oak bends over the stream. It sighs with all its moss. The withered fern whistles near, and mixes, as it waves, with Ossian's hair.——Strike the harp and raise the song: be near, with all your wings, ye winds. Bear the mournful sound away to Fingal's airy hall. Bear it to Fingal's hall, that he may hear the voice of his son; the voice of him that praised the mighty.—The blast of the north opens thy gates, O king, and I behold thee sitting on mist, dimly gleaming in all thine arms. Thy form now is not the terror of the valiant: but like a watery cloud; when we see the stars behind it with their weeping eyes. Thy shield is like the aged moon: thy sword a vapour half-kindled with fire. Dim and feeble is the chief, who travelled in brightness before.—
But thy stepsDisplay note are on the winds of the desart, and the storms darken in thy hand. Thou [ 372 ] View Page Image takest the sun in thy wrath, and hidest him in thy clouds. The sons of little men are afraid; and a thousand showers descend.—
But when thou comest forth in thy mildness; the gale of the morning is near thy course. The sun laughs in his blue fields; and the gray stream winds in its valley.——The bushes shake their green heads in the wind. The roes bound towards the desart.
But there is a murmur in the heath! the stormy winds abate! I hear the voice of Fingal. Long has it been absent from mine ear!——Come, Ossian, come away, he says: Fingal has received his fame. We passed away, like flames that had shone for a season, our departure was in renown. Though the plains of our battles [ 373 ] View Page Image are dark and silent; our fame is in the four gray stones. The voice of Ossian has been heard; and the harp was strung in Selma.—Come Ossian, come away, he says, and fly with thy fathers on clouds.
And come I will, thou king of men! the life of Ossian fails. I begin to vanish on Cona; and my steps are not seen in Selma. Beside the stone of Mora I shall fall asleep. The winds whistling in my grey hair, shall not waken me.——Depart on thy wings, O wind: thou canst not disturb the rest of the bard. The night is long, but his eyes are heavy; depart, thou rustling blast.
But why art thou sad, son of Fingal? Why grows the cloud of thy soul? The chiefs of other times are departed; they have gone without their fame. The sons of future years shall pass away; and another race arise. The people are like the waves of ocean: like the leavesDisplay note of woody [ 374 ] View Page Image Morven, they pass away in the rustling blast, and other leaves lift their green heads.—
Did thy beauty last, O RynoDisplay note? Stood the strength of car-borne Oscar? Fingal himself [ 375 ] View Page Image passed away; and the halls of his fathers forgot his steps.——And shalt thou remain, aged bard! when the mighty have failed?——But my fame shall remain, and grow like the oak of Morven; which lifts its broad head to the storm, and rejoices in the course of the wind.