Page images

voice on the blast of my cave. Then would


soul be glad : but now darkness dwells in


halls." Such were my deeds, son of Alpin, when the arm of my youth was strong. Such the * actions of Toscar, the car-borne son of Conloch. But Toscar is on his flying cloud. I am alone at Lutha. My voice is like the last sound of the wind, when it forsakes the woods. But Ossian shall not be long alone. He sees the mist that shall receive his ghost. He beholds the mist that shall form his robe, when he appears on his hills. The sons of feeble men shall behold me, and admire the stature of the chiefs of old. They shall creep to their caves. They shall look to the sky with fear : for my steps shall be in the clouds. Darkness shall roll on my side.

Lead, son of Alpin, lead the aged to his woods. The winds begin to rise. The dark wave of the lake resounds. Bends there not a tree from Mora with its branches bare? It bends, son of Alpin, in the rustling blast. My harp hangs on a blasted branch. The sound of its strings is mournful. Does the wind touch thee, O harp, or is it some passing ghost! It is the hand of Malvina! Bring me the harp, son of Alpin. Another song shall rise. My soul shall depart in the sound. My fathers shall hear it in their airy hall. Their dim faces shall hang, with joy, from their clouds; and their hands receive their son, The aged oak bends over the

* Ossian speaks.

stream. It sighs with all its moss. The withered fern whistles near, and mixes, as it waves, with Ossian's hair.

“ Strike the harp, and raise the song : be near, with all your wings, ye winds. Bear the mournful sound away to Fingal's airy hall. Bear it to Fingal's hall, that he may hear the voice of his son. The voice of him that praised the mighty !

“« The blast of north opens thy gates, O King! I behold thee sitting on mist, dimly gleaming in all thine arms. Thy form now is not the terror of the valiant. It is like a watery cloud; when we see the stars behind it, with their weeping eyes. Thy shield is the aged moon : thy sword a vapour half-kindled with fire. Dim and feeble is the chief, who travelled in brightness before! But thy steps* are on the winds of the desert. The storms are darkening in thy hand. Thou takest the sun in thy wrath, and hidest him in thy clouds. The sons of little men are afraid. A thousand showers descend. But when thou comest forth in thy mildness; the gale of the morning is near thy course. The sun laughs in his blue fields. The grey stream winds in its vale. The bushes shake their green heads in the wind. The roes bound towards the desert.

This description of the power of Fingal over the winds and storms, and the image of his taking the sun, and hiding him in the clouds, do not correspond with the preceding paragraph, where he is represented as a feeble ghost, and no more the TERROR OF THE VALIANT ; but it agrees with the notion of the times concerning the souls of the deceased, who, it was supposed, had the command of the winds and storms, but took no concern in the affairs of men.

" he says,

“ There is a murmur in the heath! the stormy winds abate! I hear the voice of Fingal. Long has it been absent from mine ear! “ Come, Ossian, come away,” he says. Fingal has received his fame. We passed away, like flames that had shone for a season. Our departure was in renown. Though the plains of our battles are dark and silent; our fame is in the four grey stones. The voice of Ossian has been heard. The harp has been strung in Selma. “Come, Ossian, come away,

come, fly with thy fathers on clouds.” I come, I come, thou king of men ! The life of Ossian fails. I begin to vanish on Cona. My steps are not seen in Selma. Beside the stone of Mora I shall fall asleep. The winds whistling in my grey hair, shall not awaken me. Depart on thy wings ( wind ! thou canst not disturb the rest of the bard. The night is long, but his eyes are heavy. Depart, thou rustling blast.”

“ But why art thou sad, son of Fingal ? Why grow the cloud of thy soul ? The chiefs of other times are departed. They have gone without their fame. The sons of future years shall pass away. Another race shall arise. The people are like the waves of ocean : like the leaves of woody Morven, they pass away in the rustling blast, and other leaves lift their green heads on high.”

“Did thy beauty last, O Ryno ?* Stood the strength

* Ryno, the son of Fingal, who was killed in Ireland, in the war against Swaran, was remarkable for the beauty of his person, his swiftness, and great exploits. Minvâne, the daugh

of car-borne Oscar? Fingal himself departed. The halls of his fathers forgot his steps. Shalt thou then remain, thou aged bard! when the mighty have failed ? But my fame shall remain, and grow like the oak of Morven ; which lifts its broad head to the storm, and rejoices in the course of the wind ! ter of Morni, and sister to Gaul, was in love with Ryno. Her lamentation over her lover follows:

She blushing sad, from Morven's rocks, bends over the darkly-rolling sea She sees the youth in all their arms. Where, Ryno, where art thou ?

Our dark looks told thai he was low! That pale the hero flew on clouds! That in the grass of Morven's hills, his feeble voice was heard in wind!

And is the son of Fingal fallen on Ullin's mossy plains ? Strong was the arm that vanquished him! Ah me! I am alone!

Alone I shall not be, ye winds! that lift my dark-brown hair. My sighs shall not long mix with your stream; for I must sleep with Ryno.

I see thee not, with beauty's steps, returning from the chace. The night is round Minvâne's love. Dark silence dwells with Ryno.

Where are thy dogs, and where thy bow? Thy shield that was so strong ? Thy sword like heaven's descending fire? The bloody spear of Ryno ?

I see then mixed in thy deep ship; I see them stained with blood. No arms are in thy narrow hall, O darkly-dwelling Ryno!

When will the morning come, and say, 66 arise, thou king of spears! arise, the hunters are abroad. The hinds are near thee, Ryno!"

Away, thou fair-haired morning, away! the slumbering king hears thee not! The hinds bound over his narrow tomb; für death dwells round young Ryno.

But I will tread softly, my king! and steal to the bed of thy repose. Minvâne will lie in silence, nor disturb the slumbering Ryno.

The maids shall seek me; but they shall not find me: they shall follow my departure with songs. But I shall not hear you, () maids ! I sleep with fair-haired Ryno.


Printed by I. D. Dewick,


[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »