« PreviousContinue »
he sees the gleaming sides of the rocks. The green thorn shakes its head in their face; from their top look forward the roes.
Gray, at his mossy cave, is bent the aged form of Clonmal. The eyes of the bard nad failed. He lean. ed forward on his staff. Bright in her locks, before him, Sul-malla listened to the tale; the tale of the kings of Atha, in the days of old. The noise of battle had ceased in his ear: he stopt and raised the secret sigh.' The spirits of the dead, they said, often lightened along his soul. He saw the king of Atha low, beneath his bending tree.
“ Why art thou dark ?" said the maid. " The strife of arms is past. Soon shall he come to thy cave, over thy winding streams. The sun looks from the rocks of the west. The mists of the lake arise. Gray they spread on that hill, the rushy dwelling of roes. From the mist shall my king appear! Behold, he comes in his arms. Come to the cave of Clonmal, O my best beloved !”
It was the spirit of Cathmor, stalking, large, a gleaming form.
He sunk by the hollow strcam, that roared between the hills. “ It was but the hunter,” she said, who searches for the bed of the roe. His steps are not forth to war; his spouse expects him with night. Fle shall, whistling, return with the spoils of the darkbrown hinds.” Her eyes were turned to the hill; again the stately form came down. She rose in the midst of joy. He retired again in mist. Gradual vanish his limbs of smoke, and mix with the mountain wind. Then she knew that he fell!“ King of Erin, art thou low!” Let Ossian forget her grief ; it wastes the soul of age.
Evening came down on Moi-lena. Gray rolled the streams of the land. Loud came forth the voice of Fingal : the beam of oaks arose. The people gathered
round with gladness, with gladness blended with shades. They sidelong looked to the king, and beheld his un. finished joy. Pleasant from the way of the desert, the voice of music came. It seemed, at first, the noise of a stream, far distant on its rocks. Slow it rolled along the hill, like the ruffled wing of a breeze, when it takes the tufted beard of the rocks, in the still season of night. It was the voice of Condon, mixed with Carril's trembling harp. They came, with blue-eyed Ferad-artho, to Mora of the streams..
Sudden bursts the song from our bards, on Lena: the host struck their shields midst the sound. Gladness rose brightening on the king, like the beam of a cloudy day, when it rises on the green hill, before the roar of winds. He struck the bossy shield of kings; at once they cease around. The people lean forward, from *heir spears, towards the voice of their land.
“Sons of Morven, spread the feast ; send the night away in song. Ye have shone around me, and the dark storm is past. My people are the windy rocks, from which I spread my eagle wings, when I rush forth to renown, and seize it on its field. Ossian, thou hast the spear of Fingal ; it is not the staff of a boy with which he strews the thistles round, young wanderer of the field. No: it is the lance of the mighty, with which they stretched forth their hands to death. Look to thy fathers, my son; they are awful beams. With morning lead Ferad-artho forth to the echoing halls of Temora. Remind him of the kings of Erin: the stately forms of old. Let not the fallen be forgot: they were mighty in the field. Let Carril pour
bis song, that the kings may rejoice in their mist. Tu. morrow I spread my sails to Selma's shaded wolja: where streamy Duth. ula winds through the seats ci roes."
CONLATH AND CUTHONA.
Conlath was the youngest of Morni's sons, and brother to the core.
brated Gaul. He was in love with Cuthona, the daughter of Rumar, when Toscar, the son of Kenfena, accompanied by Fer. cuth his friend, arrived from Ireland, at Mora, where Conlaik dwelt. He was hospitably received, and according to the custom of the times, feasted three days with Conlath. On the fourth he set sail, and coasting the island of waves, one of the Hebrides, he saw Cuthona hunting, fell in love with her, and carried her away, by force, in his ship. He was forced, by stress of weather, into I-thona, a deseri isle. In the mean time Conlath hearing of the rape, sailed after him, and found him on the point of salling for the coast of Ireland. They fought: and they and their followers fell by mutual wounds. Cuthona did not long survive : for she died of grief the third day alter. Fingal hearing of their unfortunate death, sent Stormal the son of Moran to bury them, but forgot to send a bard to sing the funeral song over their tombs. The ghost of Conlath comes long after to Ossian, to entreat him to transmit to posterity, his and Cuthona’s fame. For it was the opinion of the times, that the souls of the deceased were not happy, till their elegies were composed by a bard.
Did not Ossian hear a voice ? or is it the sound of days that are no more ? Often do the memory of former times come, like the evening sun, on my soul. The noise of the chase is renewed. In thought, I lift the
spear. But Ossian did hear a voice ! Who art thou, son of night? The children of the feeble are asleep. The midnight wind is in my hall. Perhaps it is the shield of Fingal that echoes to the blast. It hangs in Ossian's hall. He feels it sometimes with his hands. Yes, I hear thee, my friend! Long has thy voice been absent from mine ear! What brings tnee, on thy cloud, to Ossian, son of generous Morni ? Are the friends of the aged near thee? Where is Oscar, son of fame? He was often near thee, O Conlath, when the sound of battle arose.
Ghost of Conlath. Sleeps the sweet voice of Cona, in the midst of his rustling hall ? Sleeps Ossian in his hall, and his friends without their fame? The sea rolls round dark I-thona. Our tombs are not seen in our isle. How long shall our fame be unheard, son of resounding Selma ?
Ossian. Othat mine eyes could behold thee! Thou sittest, dim on thy cloud! Art thou like the mist of Lano ? An half-extinguished meteor of fire ? Of what are the skirts of thy robe ? Of what is thine airy bow? He is gone on his blast like the shade of a wandering cloud. Come from thy wall, O harp! Let me hear thy sound. Let the lig
of memory rise on I-thona!
Let me behold again my friends! And Ossian does behold his friends, on the dark-blue isle. The cave of Thona appears, with its mossy rocks and bending trees. A stream roars at its mouth. Toscar bends over its course. Fercuth is sad by his side. Cuthona sits at a distance and weeps. Does the wind of the waves deceive me? Or do I hear them speak?
Toscar. The night was stormy. From their hills the groaning oaks came down. The sea darkly tumbled beneath the blast. The roaring waves climbed against our rocks. The lightning came often and showed the blasted fern. Fercuth ! I saw the ghost who embroiled the night. Silent he stood, on that bank. His robe of mist flew on the wind. I could behold his tears.
An aged man he seemed, and full of thought!
Fercuth. It was thy father, O Toscar. He fore. sees some death among his race. Such was his appearance on Cromla before the great Maronnan fell. Erin of hills of grass ! how pleasant are thy vales ! Silence is near thy blue streams. The sun is on thy fields. Soft is the sound of the harp in Seláma. Love. ly the cry of the hunter on Cromla. But we are in dark I-thona, surrounded by the storm. The bil. lows lift their white heads above our rocks.
We semble amidst the night.
Toscar. Whither is the soul of battle fled, Fer. cuth, with locks of age ? I have seen thee undaunted in danger: thine eyes burning with joy in the fight. Whither is the soul of battle fed ? Our fathers never feared. Go; view the settling sea : the stormy wind is laid. The billows still tremble on the deep. They seem to fear the blast. Go; view the settling sea. Morning is gray on our rocks. The sun will look soon from his east; in all his pride of light! I listed up my sails with joy, before the halls of generous Conlath. My course was by a desert isle: where Cuthona pursued the deer. I saw her, like that beam of the sun that issues from the cloud. Her hair was on her heaving breast. She, bending forward, drew the bow. Her white arm seemed, behind her, like the snow of Cromla. Come to my soul, I said, huntress of the desert isle ! But she wastes her time in tears. She thinks of the generous Conlath.
Where can I find thy peace, Cuthona, lovely maid ?
Cuthona. A distant steep bends over the sea, with aged trees and mossy rocks. The billow rolls at its feet. On its side is the dwelling of roes.
The people call it Mora. There the towers of my love arise, There Conlath looks over the sea for his only love. 'The daughters of the chase returned. He beheld their downcast eyes.
“Where is the daughter of Rumar ?.' But they answered not. My peace dwells on Mora, son of the distant land !
Toscar.. Cuthona shall return to her peace : to the towers of generous Conlath. He is the friend of Toscar! I have feasted in his halls ! Rise, ye gentle breezes of Erin. Stretch my sails towards Mora's