Page images

mor in the skir's of war; he rolls ten thousand before him in his distant field.”

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

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

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

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

“ In armor came a stately form : I mixed my strokes with the chief. By turns our shields are pierced : loud rung our steely mail. His helmet fell to the ground. In brightness shone the foe. His eyes, two pleasant flames, rolled between his wandering locks. I knew Cathmor of Atha, and threw my spear on earth. Dark we turned, and silent passed to mix with other foes.

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

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

«« «Come, ye dwellers of Loda !' she said: 'come, Carchar, pale in the midst of clouds ! Sluthmor thai stridest in airy halls ! Corchtur, terrible in winds ! Receive from his daughter's spear, the foes of Suran. dronlo. No shadow at his roaring streams, no mildly ooking form, was he! When he took up his spear, the hawks shook their sounding wings : for blood was poured around the steps of dark-eyed Suran-dronlo. He lighted me no harmless beam to glitter on his streams. Like meteors I was bright, but I blaster the foes of Suran-dronlo.'

Nor unconcerned heard Sul-malla the praise of Cathmor of shields. He was within her soul, like a fire in secret heath, which awakes at the voice of the hlast, and sends its beam abroad. Amidst the song removed the daughter of kings, like the voice of a summer breeze, when it lifts the heads of flowers, and curls the lakes and streams. The rustling sound gently spreads o'er the vale, softly-pleasing as it saddens the soul.

By night came a dream to Ossian; formless stood the shadow of Trenmor. He seemed to strike the dim shield on Selma's streamy rock. I rose in my rattling steel: I knew that war was near; before the winds our sails were spread, when Lumon showed its streams to the morn.

Come from the watching night. Malvina, lonely beam'

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


Reflections on the poet's youth. An apostrophe to Selma. Osca:

obtains leave to go to Inis-thona, an island of Scandinavia. The mournful story of Argon and Ruro, the two sons of the king of Inis-thona. Oscar revenges their death, and returns in triumph to Selma. A soliloquy by the poet himself.

Our youth is like the dream of the hunter on the hill of heath. He sleeps in the mild beams of the sun: he awakes amidst a storm; the red lightning flies around: trees shake their heads to the wind! He looks back with joy on the day of the sun, and the pleasant dreams of his rest! When shall Ossian's youth return? When his ear delight in the sound of arms ? When shall I, like Oscar, travel in the light of my steel ? Come with your streams, ye hills of Cona! listen to the voice of Ossian. The song rises, like the sun, in

I feel the joys of other times. I behold thy towers, 0 Selma! the oaks of thy shaded wall: thy streams sound in my ear; thy heroes gather round. Fingal sits in the midst. He leans on the shield of Trenmor; his spear stands against the wall; he listens to the songs of his bards. The deeds of his arm are heard; the actions of the king in his youth! Oscar had returned from the chase, and heard the he. ro's praise. He took the shield of Branno* from the wall; his eyes were filled with tears. Red was the cheek of youth. His voice was trembling low. My spear shook its bright head in his hand: he spoke to Morven's king.

Fingal! thou king of heroes! Ossian, next to him

my soul.

• The father of Everallin, and grandfather to Oscar

in war! ye have fought in your youth; your names are renowned in song. Oscar is like the mist of Cona; I appear and I vanish away. The bard will not know my name. The hunter will not search in the heath for my tomb. Let me fight, O heroes, in the battles of Inis-thona. Distant is the land of my war! ye shall not hear of Oscar's fall: some bard may find me there; some bard may give my name to song. The daughter of the stranger shall see my tomb, and weep over the youth, that came from afar. The bard shall say, at the feast, Hear the song of Oscar from the distant land !”

“Oscar," replied the king of Morven, “thou shalt fight, son of my fame! Prepare my dark-bosomed ship to carry my hero to Inis-thona. Son of my son, regard our fame; thou art of the race of renown: let not the children of strangers say, Feeble are the sons of Morven! Be thou, in battle, a roaring storm: mild as the evening sun in peace! Tell, Oscar, to Inis-thona's king, that Fingal remembers his youth; when we strove in the combat together, in the days of Agan. decca.”

They lifted up the sounding sail: the wind whistled through the thongs* of their masts. Waves lashed the oozy rocks: the strength of ocean roars. My son be. held, from the wave, the land of groves. He rushed into Runa's sounding bay, and sent his sword to Annir of spears. The gray-headed hero rose, when he saw the sword of Fingal. His eyes were full of tears; he remembered his battles in youth. Twice had they lifted the spear before the lovely Agandecca : heroes stood far distant, as if two spirits were striving in winds.

“ But now," began the king, “ I am old; the sword lies useless in my hall. Thou who art of Morven's

Leather ‘hongs were used among the Celtic nations, instead

of ropes.

« PreviousContinue »