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