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“ How long will ye roll around me, blue-tumbling waters of ocean? My dwelling was not always in caves, nor beneath the whistling tree. The feast was spread in Torthóma’s hall. My father delighted in my voice. The youths beheld me in the steps of my loveliness. They blessed the dark-haired Nina-thoma. It was then thou didst come, O Uthal! like the sun of heaven! The souls of the virgins are thine, son of generous Larthmor! But why dost thou leave me alone, in the midst of roaring waters ? Was my
soul dark with thy death? Did my white hand lift the sword ? Why then hast thou left me alone, king of high Finthormo !" *
The tear started from my eye, when I heard the voice of the maid. I stood before her in my arms. I spoke the words of peace ! “ Lovely dweller of the cave! what sigh is in thy breast? Shall Ossian lift his sword in thy presence, the destruction of thy foes ? Daughter of Torthóma, rise. I have heard the words of thy grief. The race of Morven are around thee, who never injured the weak. Come to our darkbosomed ship! thou brighter than that setting moon! Our course is to the rocky Berrathon, to the echoing walls of Finthormo.” She came in her beauty ; she came with all her lovely steps. Silent joy brightened in her face; as when the shadows fly from the field
* Finthormo, the palace of Uthal. The names in this episode are not of a Celtic original.
of spring; the blue-stream is rolling in brightness, and the green bush bends over its course!
The morning rose with its beams. We came to Rothma's bay. A boar rushed from the wood: my spear pierced his side, and he fell. I rejoiced over the blood.* 1 foresaw my growing fame. But now the sound of Uthal's train came, from the high Finthormo. They spread over the heath to the chace of the boar. Himself comes slowly on, in the pride of bis strength. He lifts two pointed spears. On his his side is the hero's sword. Three youths carry his polished bows. The bounding of five dogs is before him. His heroes move on, at a distance, admiring the steps of the king. Stately was the son of Larthmor! but his soul was dark! Dark as the troubled face of the moon, when it foretels the storms !
We rose on the heath before the king. He stopt in the midst of his course. His heroes gathered around. A grey-haired bard advanced. " Whence are the sons of the strangers !” began the bard of song. “ The children of the unhappy come to Berrathon ; to the sword of car-borne Uthal. He spreads no feast in his hall. The blood of strangers is on his streams. If from Selma's walls ye come, from the
* Ossian might have thought that his killing a boar on his first landing in Berrathon, was a good omen of his future sucom cess in that island. The present Highlanders look, with a degree of superstition, upon the success of their first action, after they have engaged in any desperate undertaking.
mossy walls of Fingal, chuse three youths to go to your king to tell of the fall of his people. Perhaps the hero may come and pour his blood on Uthal's sword. So shall the fame of Finthormo arise, like the growing tree of the vale !”
" Never will it rise, O bard,” I said in the pride of my wrath.
“ He would shrink from the presence of Fingal, whose eyes are the flames of death. The son of Comhal comes, and kings vanish before him. They are rolled together, like mist, by the breath of his rage. Shall three tell to Fingal, that his people fell? Yes! they may tell it, bard! but his people shall fall with fame !"
I stood in the darkness of my strength. Toscar drew his sword at my side. The foe came on like a stream. The mingled sound of death arose. Man took man, shield met shield; steel mixed its beams with steel. Darts hiss thro' air. Spears ring on mails. Swords on broken bucklers bound. As the noise of an aged grove beneath the roaring wind, when a thousand ghosts break the trees by night, such was the din of arms ! But Uthal fell beneath my sword. The sons of Berrathon fied. It was then I saw him in his beauty, and the tear hung in my eye! “ Thou art fallen,* young tree,” I said, “ with all thy beauty round thee. Thou art fallen on thy plains,
* To mourn over the fall of their enemies, was a practice universal among the Celtic heroes. This is more agreeable to humanity, than the shameful insulting of the dead, so common in Homer, and after him, servilely copied by all his imitators, - Son
and the field is bare. The winds come from the de. sert! there is no sound in thy leaves ! Lovely art thou in death, son of car-borne Larthmor."
Nina- thoma sat on the shore. She heard the sound of battle. She turned her red eyes on Lethmal, the grey-haired bard of Selma. He alone had remained on the coast, with the daughter of Torthóma. of the times of old !” she said, " I hear the noise of death. Thy friends have met with Uthal and the chief is low ! O that I had remained on the rock, inelosed with the tumbling waves ! Then would my soul be sad, but his death would not reach my ear. Art thou fallen on thy heath, O son of high Finthormo! Thou didst leave me on a rock, but my soul was full of thee. Son of high Finthormo ! art thou fallen on thy heath ?"
She rose pale in her tears. She saw the bloody shield of Uthal. She saw it in Ossian's hand. Her steps were distracted on the heath. She flew. She found him. She fell. Her soul came forth in a sigh. Her hair is spread on his face. My bursting tears descend. A tomb arose on the unhappy. My song of woe was heard. “Rest, hapless children of youth! Rest at the noise of that mossy stream ! The virgins will see your tomb, at the chace, and turn away their weeping eyes. Your fame will be in song. The voice
the humane Virgil not excepted, who have been more successful in borrowing the imperfections of that great poet, than in their imitations of his beauties.
of the harp will be heard in your praise. The daughters of Selma shall hear it: your renown shall be in other lands. Rest, children of youth, at the noise of the
Two days we remained on the coast. The heroes of Berrathon convened. We brought Larthmor to his halls. The feast of shells is spread. The joy of the aged was great. He looked to the arms of his fathers. The arms which he left in his hall, when the pride of Uthal rose. We were renowned before Larthmor. He blessed the chiefs of Morven. He knew not that his son was low, the stately strength of Uthal! They had told, that he had retired to the woods, with the tears of grief. They had told it, but he was silent in the tomb of Rothma's heath.
On the fourth day we raised our sails, to the roar of the northern wind. Larthmor came to the coast. His bards exalted the song. The joy of the king was great, he looked to Rothma’s gloomy heath. He saw the tomb of his son. The memory of Uthal rose. “ Who of my heroes,” he said, “lies there? he seems to have been of the kings of men. Was he renowned in my halls, before the pride of Uthal rose ? Ye are silent, sons of Berrathon! is the king of heroes low? My heart melts for thee, O Uthal ! though thy hand was against thy father. O that I had remained in the cave! that my son had dwelt in Finthormo! I might have heard the tread of his feet, when he went to the chace of the boar. I might have heard his