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CALTHON AND COLMAL.
This piece, as many more of Ossian's compositions, is addressed to
one of the first Christian missionaries. The story of the poem is handed down by tradition thus:- In the country of the Britons, between the walls, two chiefs lived in the days of Fingal, Dunthalmo, Lord of Tentha, supposed to be the Tweed; and Rath. mor, who dwelt at Clutha, well known to be the river Clyde. Rathmor was not more renowned for his generosity and hospitality, than Dunthalmo was infamous for his cruelty and ambition. Dunthalmo, through envy, or on account of some private feuds, which subsisted between the families, murdered Rathmor at a feast ; but being afterward touched with remorse, he educated the two sons of Rathmor, Calthon and Colmar, in his own house. They growing up to man's estate, dropped some hints that they intended to revenge the death of their father, upon which Dunthalmo shut them up in two caves, on the banks of Teutha, intending to take them of privately. Colmal, the daughter of Dunthalmo, who was secretly in love with Calthon, helped him to make his escape from prison, and fled with him to Fingal, disguised in the habit of a young warrior, and implored his aid against Dunthalmo. Fingal sent Ossian with three hundred men to Colmar's relief. Dunthalmo, having previously murdered Colmar, came to a battle with Ossian, but he was killed by that hero,
and his army totally defeated, Calthon married Colmal his deliverer; and Ossian returned to Morven.
PLEASANT is the voice of thy song, thou lonely dweller of the rock! It comes on the sound of the stream, along the narrow vale. My soul awakes, O stranger, in the midst of my hall. I stretch my hand to the spear, as in the days of other years. I stretch my hand, but it is feeble: and the sigh of my bosom grows. Wilt thou not listen, son of the rock! to the song of Ossian? My soul is full of other times; the joy of my youth returns. Thus the sun appears in the west, after the steps of his brightness have moved behind a storm: the green hills lift their dewy heads: the blue st eams re
lence in the vale. The aged hero comes forth on his stall; bis gray hair glitters in the beam. Dost thou not behold, son of the rock! a shield in Ossian's hall ? It is marked with the strokes of battle ; and the bright. ness of its bosses has failed. That shield the great Dunthalmo bore, the chief of streamy Teutha. Dunthalmo bore it in hattle before he fell by Ossian's spear. Listen, son of the rock! to the tale of other years.
Rathmor was a chief of Clutha. The feeble dwelt in his ball. The gates of Rathmor were never shut: his feast was always spread. The sons of the stranger
They blessed the generous chief of Clutha. Bards raised the song, and touched the harp: joy brightened on the face of the sad! Dunthalmo came, in his pride, and rushed into the combat of Rathmor. The chief of Clutha overcame: the rage of Dunthalmo
He came, by night, with his warriors; the mighty Rathmor fell. He fell in his halls, where his feast was often spread for strangers.
Colmar and Calthon were young, the sons of car. borne Rathmor. They came, in the joy of youth, into their father's hall. They behold him in his blood; their bursting tears descend. The soul of Dunthalmo melted, when he saw the children of youth. He brought them to Alteutha's walls; they grew in the house of their foe. They bent the bow in his presence: and caine forth to his wars. They saw the fallen walls of their fathers; they saw the green thorn in the hall. Their tears rushed forth in secret. At times their faces were sad. Dunthalmo beheld their grief; his darken. ing soul designed their death. He closed them in two caves, on the echoing banks of Teutha. The sun dià not come there with his beams; nor the inoon of hea. ven by night. The sons of Rathmor remained in dark. aess, and foresaw their death.
The daughter of Dunthalmo wept in silence, the fair.
haired blue-eyed Colmal. Her eye had rolled in secre. on Calthon; his loveliness swelied in her soul. She trenibled for her warrior; but what could Coimial do ? ller arm could not lift the spear; nor was the sword formed for her side. Her wbite breast never rose beneath a mail. Neither was her eye the terror of he.
What canst thou do, O Colmal! for the falling chief ? Her steps are unequal; her hair is loose ; her eye looks wildly through her tears. She came, by night, to the hall. She armed her lovely form in steel; the steel of a young warrior, who fell in the first of his battles. She came to the cave of Calthon, and loosed the thong from his hands.
“ Arise, son of Rathmor,” she said, “ arise, the night is dark! Let us fly to the king of Selma, chief of fallen Clutha! I am the son of Lamgal, who dwelt in thy fa. ther's hall. I heard of thy dark dwelling in the cave, and my soul arose. Arise, son of Rathmor! arise, the night is dark !”—“Blest voice !" replied the chief, “comest thou from the clouds to Calthon? The ghosts of his fathers have often descended in his dreams, since the sun has retired from his eyes, and darkness has dwelt around him. Or art thou the son of Lamgal, the chief I often saw in Clutha ? But shall I fly to Fingal, and Colmar my brother low? Will I fly to Morven, and the hero closed in night ? No; give me that spear, son of Lamgal; Calthon will defend his bro. ther!”
“A thousand warriors,” replied the maid, "stretch their spears round car-borne Colmar. What can Cal. thon do against a host so great ? Let us fly to the king of Morven, he will come with war. His arm is stretched forth to the unhappy; the lightning of his sword is round the weak. Arise, thou son of Rathmor; tho shadows will fly away. Arise, or thy steps may be seen, and thou must fall in youth.”
The sighing hero rose; his tears descend for car. borne Colmar. He came with the maid to Selma's hall : but he knew not that it was Colmal. The helmet covered her lovely face. Her bosom heaved beneath the steel. Fingal returned from the chase, and found the lovely strangers. They were like two beams of liglit, in the midst of the hall of shells. The king heard the tale of grief, and turned his eyes around. A thousand heroes half rose before him; claiming the war of Teutha. I came with my spear from the bill; the joy of battle rose in my breast : for the king spoke to Os. sian in the midst of a thousand chiefs.
“Son of my strength,” began the king, “take thou the spear of Fingal. Go to Teutha’s rushing stream, and save the car-borne Colmar. Let thy fame return before thee like a pleasant gale; that my soul may rejoice over my son, who renews the renown of our fathers. Ossian! be thou a storm in war; but mild when the foe is low! it was thus my fame arose, O my son ! be thou like Selma's chief. When the haughty come to my halls, my eyes behold them not. But my arm is stretched forth to the unhappy. My sword de. fends the weak.”
I rejoiced in the words of the king. I took my rattling arms. Diaran rose at my side, and Dargo, king of spears. Three hundred youths followed our steps; the lovely strangers were at my side. Dun. thalmo heard the sound of our approach. He gathered the strength of Teutha. He stood on a hill with his host. They were like rocks broken with thunder, when their bent trees are singed and bare, and the streams of their chinks have failed. The stream of Teutha rolled in its pride, before the gloomy foe. I sent a bard to Dunthalmo, to offer the combat on the plain; but he sniiled in the darkness of his pride. His unsettled host moved on the hill; like the mountain
cloud, when the blast has entered its womb, and scat\ters the curling gloom on every side.
They brought Colmar to Teutha's bank, bound wiib a thousand thongs. The chief is sad, but stately. His cye is on his friends; for we stood in our arms, whils! Teutha's waters rolled between. Dunthalmo came with his spear, and pierced the hero's side: he rolled on the bank in his blood. We heard his broken sighs. Calthon rushed into the stream: 1 bounded forward on mx spear. Teutha’s race fell before us. Night came rolling down. Dunthalmo rested on a rock, amidst an ayed wood. The rage of his bosom burned against the car-borne Calthon. But Calthon stood in grief; he mourned the fallen Colmar; Colmar slain in youth be. fore his fame arose !
1 bade the song of wo to rise, to soothe the mourn. ful chief; but he stood beneath a tree, and often threw his spear on the earth. The humid eye of Colma! rolled near in a secret tear: she foresaw the fall of Dunthalmo, or of Clutha's warlike chief. Now half the night had passed away. Silence and darkness were on the field. Sleep rested on the eyes of the heroes : Calthon's settling soul was still. His eyes were half closed; but the murmur of Teutha had not yet failed in his ear.
Pale, and showing his wounds, the ghost of Colmar came : he bent his head over the hero, anc raised his fecble voice !
Sleeps the son of Rathmor in his night, and liis brother low? Did we not rise to the chase together? Pursued we not the dark-brown hinds ? Colmar was not forgot till he fell, till death had blasted his youth I lie pale beneath the rock of Lona. O let Calthon "rise! the morning comes with its beams; Dunthalmo will dishonor the fallen.” He passed away in bis blast The rising Calthon saw the steps of his departure. He rushed in the sound of his steel. Unhappy Colmal rose.