« PreviousContinue »
Let his robe of mist be near; his spear that is formed of a cloud. Place an half-extinguished meteor by his side, in the form of the hero's sword. And, oh! let his countenance be lovely, that his friends
may delight in his presence.
Bend from your clouds,” I said, ghosts of
fathers ! bend !" Such was my song in Selma, to the lightly-trembling harp. But Nathos was on Erin's shore, surrounded by the night. He heard the voice of the foe, amidst the roar of tumbling waves. Silent he heard their voice, and rested on his spear! Morning rose, with its beams. The sons of Erin
gray rocks, with all their trees, they spread along the coast. Cair- . bar stood in the midst. He grimly smiled when he saw the foe. Nathos rushed forward in his strength : nor could Dar-thula stay behind. She came with the hero, lifting her shining spear. .“And who are these, in their armor, in the pride of youth? Who but the sons of Usnoth, Althos and dark-haired Ardan ?”
“Come,” said Nathos, “come, chief of high Temora! Let our battle be on the coast, for the whitebosomed maid. His people are not with Nathos : they are behind these rolling seas. Why dost thou bring thy thousands against the chief of Etha ? Thou didst fly from him in battle, when his friends were around his spear.” “ Youth of the heart of pride, shall Erin's king fight with thee? Thy fathers were not among the renowned, nor of the kings of men. Are the arms of foes in their halls ? or the shields of other times ? Cairbar is renowned in Temora, nor does he fight with feeble men !”
The tear started from car-borne Nathos. He turned his cyes to his brothers. Their spears flew at once. Three heroes lay on earth. Then the light of their swords gleamed on high. The ranks of Erin yield, as a ridge of dark clouds before a blast of wind i Then Cairbar orderd his people, and they drew a thousana bows. A thousand arrows flew. The sons of Usnoth fell in blood. They fell like three young oaks, which stood alone on the hill: the traveller saw the lovely trees, and wondered how they grow so lonely: the blast of the desert came by night, and laid their green heads low. Next day he returned, but they were withered, and the heath was bare !
Dar-thula stood in silent grief, and beheld their fall ! No tear is in her eye. But her look is wildly sad. Pale was her cheek. Her trembling lips broke short an half-formed word. Her dark hair few on wind. The gloomy Cairbar came. “ Where is thy lover now ? the car-borne chief of Etha ? Hast thou beheld the halls of Usnoth? or the dark-brown hills of Fingal ? My battle would have roared on Morven, had not the winds met Dar-thula. Fingal himself would have been low, and sorrow dwelling in Selma !"
Her shield fell from Dar-thula's arm. Her breast of snow appeared. It appeared ; but it was stained with blood. An arrow was fixed in her side. She fell on the fallen Nathos, like a wreath of snow! Her hair spreads wide on his face. Their blood is mixing round!
“Daughter of Colla! thou art 'ɔw !” said Cairbar's hundred bards. “ Silence is at the blue streams of Seláma. Truthil's race have failed. When wilt thou rise in thy beauty, first of Erin's maids? Thy sleep is long in the tomb. The morning distant far. The sun shall not come to thy bed and say, Awake, Dar. thula! awake, thou first of women! the wind of spring is abroad. The flowers shake their heads on the green hills. The woods wave their growing leaves. Retire,
sun! the daughter of Colla is asleep. She will not come forth in her beauty. She will not move in the steps of her loveliness."
Such was the song of the bards, when they raised the tomb. I sung over the grave, when the king of Morven came : when he came to green Erin to fight with car-borne Cairbar!
THE DEATH OF CUTHULLIN.
Cuthullin, after the arms of Fingal had expelled Swaran from Ire.
land, continued to manage the atiairs of that kingdom as the guardian of Cormac the young king. In the third year of Cuthullin's administration, Torlath, the son of Cantela, rebelled in Connaught: and advanced to Temora to dethrone Cormac. Cuthullin marched against him, came up with him at the lake of Lego and totally defeated his forces. Torlath fell in battle by Cuthullin's hand; but as he too eagerly pressed on the enemy, he was mortally wounded. The atlairs of Cormac, though for some time supported by Nathos, as mentioned in the preceding poem, fell into confusion at the death of Cuthullin.' Cormac himself was slain by the rebel Cairbar; and the re-establishment of the royal family of Ireland, by Fingal, furnishes the subject of the epic poem of Temora.
Is the wind on the shield of Fingal ? Or is the voice of past times in my hall ? Sing on, sweet voice ! for thou art. pleasant. Thou carriest away my night with joy. Sing on, O Bragéla, daughter of car-borne Sorglan!
“ It is the white wave of the rock, and not CuthulJin's sails. Often do the mists deceive me for the ship of my love ! when they rise round some ghost, and spread their gray skirts on the wind. Why dost thou delay thy coming, son of the generous Semo? Four times has autumn returned with its winds, and raised the seas of Togorma,* since thou hast been in the roar of battles, and Bragéla distant far! Hills of the isle of mist! when will ye answer to his hounds ? But ye are dark in your clouds. Sad Bragéla calls in vain! Night comes rolling down. The face of ocean falls. The heath-cock's head is beneath his wing. The hind sleeps with the hart of the desert. They shall rise with morning's light, and feed by the mossy stream. But my tears return with the sun. My sighs come on with the night. When wilt thou come in thine arms, O chief of Erin's wars ?”
* Togorma, i. e. " the island of blue waves,” one of the He. brides.
Pleasant is thy voice in Ossian's ear, daughter of car-borne Sorglan! But retire to the hall of shells; to the beam of the burning oak. Attend to the mur. mur of the sea : it rolls at Dunscäi's walls: let sleep descend on thy blue eyes. Let the hero arise in thy dreams!
Cuthullin sits at Lego's lake, at the dark rolling of waters. Night is around the hero. His thousands spread on the leath. A hundred oaks burn in the midst. The feast of ide s is smoking wide. Carril strikes the harp beneath a tree. His gray locks glitter in the beam. The rustling blast of night is near, and lifts his aged hair. His song is of the blue Togorma, and of its chief, Cuthullin's friend ! “ Why art thou absent, Connal, in the days of the gloomy storm ? The chiefs of the south have convened against the car-borne Cormac. The winds detain thy sails. Thy blue waters roll around thee. But Cormac is not alone. The son of Semo fights his wars! Semo's son his battles fights ! the terror of the stranger! He that is like the vapor of death, slowly borne by sultry winds. The sun reddens in its presence; the people fall around." Such was
the song of Carril, when a son of the foe appeared. He threw down his pointless spear. He spoke the words of Torlath ; Torlath, chief of heroes, from Lego's sable surge! He that led his thousands to battle, against car-borne Cormac. Cormac, who was distant far, in Temora's echoing halls : he learned to bend the bow of his fathers; and to lift the spear. Nor long didst thou lift the spear, mildly-shining