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from the 1856 American "Ossian"
James MacPherson's
 The Poems of Ossian

A Selection of Poems

Text and pagination from
the 1796 London edition

Lathmon   |   Dar-Thula   |   The Death of Cuthullin   |   The Battle of Lora

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L A T H M O N:


P O E M.



A R G U M E N T.

Lathmon, a British prince, taking advantage of Fingal's absence on expedition in Ireland made a descent on Morven, and advanced within sight of Selma, the royal residence. Fingal arrived in the mean time, and Lathmon retreated to a hill, where his army was surprised by night, and himself taken prisoner by Ossian and Gaul the son of Morni. [[some printings include: "This exploit of Gaul and Ossian bears a near ressemlance to the beautiful episode of Nisus and Euryalus in Virgil's ninth Aeneid."]] The poem opens, with the first appearance of Fingal on the coasts of Morven, and ends, it may be supposed, about noon of the next day.



L A T H M O N:


P O E M.

S ELMA, thy halls are silent. There is no sound in the woods of Morven. The wave tumbles alone on the coast. The silent beam of the sun is on the field. The daughters of Morven come forth, like the bow of the shower; they look towards green Erin for the white sails of the king. He had promised to return, but the winds of the north arose!

Who pours from the eastern hill, like a stream of darkness? It is the host of Lathmon. He was heard of the absence of Fingal. He trusts in the wind of the north. His soul brightens with joy. Why dost thou come, O Lathmon? The mighty are not in Selma. Why comest thou with thy forward spear? Will the daughters of Morven fight? But stop, O mighty stream, in thy course! Does not Lathmon behold these sails? Why dost thou vanish, Lathmon, like the mist of the lake? But the squally storm is behind thee; Fingal pursues thy steps!

The king of Morven started from sleep, as we rolled on the dark-blue wave. He

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stretched his hand to his spear, and his heroes rose around. We knew that he had seen his fathers, for they often descended to his dreams, when the sword of the foe rose over the land; and the battle darkened before us.Whither hast thou fled, O wind, said the king of Morven? Dost thou rustle in the chambers of the south, and pursue the shower in other lands? Why dost thou not come to my sails? to the blue face of my seas? The foe is in the land of Morven, and the king is absent. But let each bind on his mail, and each assume his shield. Stretch every spear over the wave; let every sword be unsheathed. Lathmon * is before us with his host: he that fled † from Fingal on the plains of Lona. But he returns, like a collected stream, and his roar is between our hills.

Such were the words of Fingal. We rushed into Carmona's bay. Ossian ascended the hill; and thrice struck his bossy shield. The rock of Morven replied; and the bounding roes came forth. The foes were troubled in my presence: and collected their darkened host; for I stood, like a cloud on the hill, rejoicing in the arms of my youth.

* It is said, by tradition, that it was the intelligence of Lathmon's invasion, that occasioned Fingal's return from Ireland; though Ossian, more poetically, ascribes the cause of Fingal's knowledge to his dream.
† He alludes to a battle wherein Fingal had defeated Lathmon.


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Morni * sat beneath a tree, at the roaring waters of Strumon; † his locks of age are grey: he leans forward on his staff; young Gaul is near the hero, hearing the battles of his youth. Often did he rise, in the fire of his soul, at the mighty deeds of Morni. The aged heard the sound of Ossian's shield: he knew the sign of battle. He started at once from his place. His gray hair parted on his back. He remembers the actions of other years.

"My son," he said to fair-haired Gaul, "I hear the sound of war. The king of Morven is returned, his signals are spread on the wind. Go to the halls of Strumon; bring his arms to Morni. Bring the shield of my father's latter years, for my arm begins to fail. Take thou thy armour, O Gaul! and rush to the first of thy battles. Let thine arm reach to the renown of thy fathers. Be thy course in the field, like the eagle's wing. Why shouldst thou fear death, my son? the valiant fall with fame; their shields turn the dark stream of danger away; and renown dwells on their aged hairs. Dost thou not see, O Gaul! how the steps of my age are honoured? Morni moves forth,

* Morni was the chief of a numerous tribe, in the days of Fingal and his father Cromhal. The last-mentioned hero was killed in battle against Morni's tribe; but the valour and conduct of Fingal reduced them, at last, to obedience. We find the two heores perfectly reconciled in this poem.
† Stru'-mone, stream of the hill. Here the proper name of a rivulet in the neighbourhood of Selma.


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and the young meet him, with awe, and turn their eyes, with silent joy, on his course. But I never fled from danger, my son! my sword lightened through the darkness of war. The stranger melted before me; the mighty were blasted in my presence."

Gaul brought the arms to Morni: the aged warrior covered himself with steel. He took the spear in his hand, which was stained with the blood of the valiant. He came towards Fingal, his son attended his steps. The son of Comhal arose before him with joy, when he came in his locks of age.

"Chief of the roaring Strumon!" said the rising soul of Fingal; "do I behold thee in arms, after thy strength has failed? Often has Morni shone in fight, like the beam of the ascending sun; when he disperses the storms of the hill, and brings peace to the glittering fields. But why didst thou not rest in thine age? Thy renown is in the song. The people behold thee, and bless the departure of mighty Morni. Why didst thou not rest in thine age? The foe will vanish before Fingal!"

"Son of Comhal," replied the chief, "the strength of Morni's arm has failed. I attempt to draw the sword of my youth, but it remains in its place. I throw the spear, but it falls short of the mark. I feel the weight of my shield. We decay like the grass of the hill: our strength returns no more. I have a son, O Fingal! his soul has delighted in Morni's

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deeds; but his sword has not been lifted against the foe, neither has his fame begun. I come with him to war; to direct his arm in fight. His renown will be a light to my soul, in the dark hour of my departure. O that the name of Morni were forgot among the people! that the heroes would only say, "Behold the father of Gaul!"

"King of Strumon," Fingal replied, "Gaul shall lift the sword in fight. But he shall lift it before Fingal; my arm shall defend his youth. But rest thou in the halls of Selma; and hear of our renown. Bid the harp be strung; and the voice of the bard arise, that those who fall may rejoice in their fame; and the soul of Morni brighten with joy. Ossian! thou hast fought in battles: the blood of strangers is on thy spear: thy course be with Gaul, in the strife; but depart not from the side of Fingal! lest the foe find you alone, and your fame fail in my presence.

I saw * Gaul in his arms; and my soul was mixed with his. The fire of the battle was in his eyes! he looked to the foe with joy. We spoke the words of friendship in secret; the lightning of our swords poured together; for we drew them behind the wood, and tried the strength of our arms on the empty air."

* Ossian speaks. The contrast between the old and young heroes is strongly marked. The circumstances of the latter's drawing their swords is well imagined, and agrees with the impatience of young soldiers, just enrered upon action.

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Night came down on Morven. Fingal sat at the beam of the oak. Morni sat by his side with all his grey waving locks. Their words were of other times, of the mighty deeds of their fathers. Three bards, at times, touched the harp: Ullin was near with his song. He sung of the mighty Comhal; but * darkness gathered on Morni's brow. He rolled his red eye on Ullin: at once ceased the song of the bard. Fingal observed the aged hero, and he mildly spoke. "Chief of Strumon, why that darkness? Let the days of other years be forgot. Our fathers contended in war; but we meet together, at the feast. Our swords are turned on the foes of our land: he melts before us on the field. Let the days of our fathers be forgot, hero of mossy Strumon!"

"King of Morven, replied the chief, I remember thy father with joy. He was terrible in battle; the rage of the chief was deadly. My eyes were full of tears, when the king of heroes fell. The valiant fall, O Fingal! and the feeble remain on the hills! How many heroes have passed away, in the days of Morni! Yet I did not shun the battle; neither did I fly from the strife of the valiant. Now

* Ullin had chosen ill the subject of his song. The darkness which gathered on Morni's brow, did not pprocced from any dislike he had to Comhal's name, though they were foes, but from his fear that the song would awaken Fingal to remembrance of the feuds which had subsisted of old between the families. Fingal's speech on this occasion abounds with generosity and good sense.

                    A  P O E M:                     309

let the friends of Fingal rest; for the night is around; that they may rise, with strength, to battle against car-borne Lathmon. I hear the sound of his host, like thunder moving on the hills. Ossian! and fair-haired Gaul! ye are swift in the race. Observe the foes of Fingal from that woody hill. But approach them not, your fathers are not near to shield you. Let not your fame fall at once. The valour of youth may fail."

We heard the words of the chief with joy. We moved in the clang of our arms. Our steps are on the woody hill. Heaven burns with all its stars. The meteors of death fly over the field. The distant noise of the foe reached our ears. It was then Gaul spoke, in his valour; his hand half unsheathed the sword.

"Son of Fingal!" he said, "why burns the soul of Gaul? My heart beats high. My steps are disordered; my hand trembles on my sword. When I look towards the foe, my soul lightens before me. I see their sleeping host. Tremble thus the souls of the valiant in battles of the spear? How would the soul of Morni rise if we should rush on the foe! Our renown would grow in song; our steps would be stately in the eyes of the brave."

"Son of Morni," I replied, "my soul delights in war. I delight to shine in battle alone, and to give my name to the bards. But what if the foe should prevail; can I behold the eyes of the king? They are terrible in his displeasure, and like the flames of death.

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But I will not behold them in his wrath! Ossian shall prevail or fall. But shall the fame of the vanquished rise? They pass away like a shade away. But the fame of Ossian shall rise! His deeds shall be like his father's. Let us rush in our arms; son of Morni, let us rush to fight. Gaul! if thou shoudest return, go to Selma's lofty hall. Tell to Everallin that I fell with fame; carry this sword to Branno's daughter. Let her give it to Oscar, when the years of his youth shall arise."

"Son of Fingal," Gaul replied with a sigh; "shall I return after Ossian is low? What would my father say, what Fingal king of men? The feeble would turn their eyes and say, "Behold Gaul who left his friend in his blood!" Ye shall not behold me, ye feeble, but in the midst of my renown! Ossian! I have heard from my father the mighty deeds of heroes; their mighty deeds when alone! for the soul increases in danger."

"Son of Morni," I replied, and strode before him on the heath, "our fathers shall praise over valour when they mourn our fall. A beam of gladness shall rise on their souls, when their eyes are full of tears. They will say, "Our sons have not fallen unknown: they spread death around them." But why should we think of the narrow house? The sword defends the brave. But death pursues the flight of the feeble; and their renown is never heard.

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We rushed forward through night; we came to the roar of a stream, which bent its blue course round the foe, through trees that echoed to its sound. We came to the bank of the stream, and saw the sleeping host. Their fires were decayed on the plain; the lonely steps of their scouts were distant far. I stretched my spear before me to support my steps over the stream. But Gaul took my hand, and spoke the words of the brave. "Shall * the son of Fingal rush on the sleeping foe? Shall he come like a blast by night, when it overturns the young trees in secret? Fingal did not thus receive his fame, nor dwells renown on the grey hairs of Morni, for actions like these. Strike, Ossian, strike the shield of battle, and let their thousands rise! Let them meet Gaul in his first battle, that he may try the strength of his arm."

My soul rejoiced over the warrior: my bursting tears came down. "And the foe shall meet thee, Gaul!" I said: "the fame of Morni's son shall arise. But rush not too far, my hero: let the gleam of thy steel be near to Ossian. Let our hands join in slaughter. Gaul! dost thou not behold that rock? Its grey side dimly gleams to the stars. Should the foe prevail, let our back be towards the rock. Then shall they fear to approach our spears; for death is in our hands!"

I struck thrice my echoing shield. The starting foe arose. We rushed on in the sound of our arms. Their crowded steps fly over

[[some printings include the editorial comment:
* This proposal of Gaul is much more noble, and more agreeable to true heroism, than the behaviour of Ulysses and Diomed in the Iliad, or that of Nissus and Euryalus in the Aeneid. What his valour and generosity suggested became the foundation of his success. For the enemy being dismayed with the sound of Ossian's shield, which was the common signal of battle, thought that Fingal's whole army came to attack them; so that they fly in reality from an army, not from two heroes, which reconciles the story to probability.]]


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the heath; for they thought that the mighty Fingal was come. The strength of their arms withered away. The sound of their flight was like that of flame, when it rushes through the blasted groves. It was then the spear of Gaul flew in its strength: it was then his sword arose. Cremor fell; and mighty Leth. Dunthormo struggled in his blood. The steel rushed through Crotho's side, as bent, he rose on his spear; the black stream poured from the wound, and hissed on the half-extinguished oak. Cathmin saw the steps of the hero behind him, and ascended a blasted tree; but the spear pierced him from behind. Shrieking, panting, he fell. Moss and withered branches pursue his fall, and strew the blue arms of Gaul.

Such were thy deeds, son of Morni, in the first of thy battles. Nor slept the sword by thy side, thou last of Fingal's race! Ossian rushed forward in his strength; the people fell before him; as the grass by the staff of the boy, when he whistles along the field, and the grey beard of the thistle falls. But careless the youth moves on; his steps are towards the desert. Grey morning rose around us; the winding streams are bright along the heath. The foe gathered on a hill; and the rage of Lathmon rose. He bent the red eye of his wrath: he is silent in his rising grief. He often struck his bossy shield; and his steps are unequal on the heath. I saw the distant darkness of the hero, and I spoke to Morni's son.

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"Car-borne chief of Strumon, dost thou behold the foe? They gather on the hill in their wrath. Let our steps be towards the king. * He shall rise in his strength, and the host of Lathmon vanish. Our fame is around us, warrior, the eyes of the aged † will rejoice. But let us fly, son of Morni, Lathmon descends the hill." "Then let our steps be slow," replied the fair-haired Gaul; "lest the foe say, with a smile, "Behold the warriors of night. They are, like ghosts, terrible in darkness; but they melt away before the beam of the east." Ossian, take the shield of Gormar who fell beneath thy spear, that the aged heroes will rejoice beholding the deeds of their sons."

Such were our words on the plain, when Sulmath ‡ came to car-borne Lathmon: Sulmath chief of Dutha at the dark-rolling stream of Duvranna § "Why dost thou not rush, son of Nuath, with a thousand of thy heroes? Why dost thou not descend with thy host, before the warriors fly? Their blue arms are beaming to the rising light, and their steps are before us on the heath!"

"Son of the feeble hand," said Lathmon, "shall my host descend! They are but two,

* Fingal.
† Fingal and Morni.
‡ Suil-mhath, a man of good eyesight.
§ Dubh-bhranna, dark mountain-stream. A river in Scotland, which falls into the sea at Banff, still retains the name of Duvran. If that is meant, in this passage, Lathmon must have been a prince of the Pictish nation, or those Caledonians who inhabited of old the eastern coast of Scotland.


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son of Dutha! shall a thousand lift their steel! Nuath would mourn, in his hall, for the departure of his fame. His eyes would turn from Lathmon, when the tread of his feet approached; Go thou to the heroes, chief of Dutha! I behold the stately steps of Ossian. His fame is worthy of my steel! let us contend in fight.

The noble Sulmath came. I rejoiced in the words of the king. I raised the shield on my arm; and Gaul placed in my hand the sword of Morni. We returned to the murmuring stream; Lathmon came in his strength. His dark host rolled, like the clouds, behind him: but the son of Nuath was bright in his steel!

"Son of Fingal," said the hero, "thy fame has grown on our fall. How many lie there of my people by thy hand, thou king of men! Lift now thy spear against Lathmon; lay the son of Nuath low! Lay him low among his warriors, or thou thyself must fall! It shall never be told in my halls that my people fell in my presence; that they fell in the presence of Lathmon when his sword rested by his side: the blue eyes of Cutha would roll in tears, her steps be lonely in the vales of Dunlathmon!"

"Neither shall it be told," I replied, "that the son of Fingal fled. Were his steps covered with darkness, yet would not Ossian fly! his soul would meet him and say, "Does the bard of Selma fear the foe?" "No: he does not fear the foe. His joy is in the midst of battle!"

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Lathmon came on with his spear. He pierced the shield of Ossian. I felt the cold steel at my side. I drew the sword of Morni: I cut the spear in twain. The bright point fell glittering on earth. The son of Nuath burnt in his wrath. He lifted high his sounding shield. His dark eyes rolled above it, as bending forward, it shone like a gate of brass! But Ossian's spear pierced the brightness of its bosses, and sunk in a tree that rose behind. The shield hung on the quivering lance! but Lathmon still advanced! Gaul foresaw the fall of the chief. He stretched his buckler before my sword; when it descended, in a stream of light, over the king of Dunlathmon!

Lathmon beheld the son of Morni. The tear started from his eye. He threw the sword of his fathers on earth, and spoke the words of the brave. Why should Lathmon fight against the first of men? Your souls are beams from heaven; your swords the flames of death! Who can equal the renown of the heroes, whose actions are so great in youth? O that ye were in the halls of Nuath, in the green dwelling of Lathmon! then would my father say, that his son did not yield to the weak. But who comes, a mighty stream, along the echoing heath? the little hills are troubled before him; a thousand ghosts are on the beams of his steel; the ghosts of those who are to fall, * by the arm of the king of resounding

* It was thought, in Ossian's time, that each person had his attending spirit. The traditions concerning this opinion are dark and unsatisfactory.

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Morven. Happy art thou, O Fingal! thy sons shall fight thy wars. They go forth before thee; and they return with the steps of their renown!"

Fingal came, in his mildness, rejoicing in secret over the actions of his son. Morni's face brightened with gladness; his aged eyes looked faintly through the tears of joy. We came to the halls of Selma. We sat around the feast of shells. The maids of the song came into our presence, and the mildly blushing Everallin! Her hair spreads on her neck of snow, her eye rolls in secret on Ossian. She touched the harp of music; we blessed the daughter of Branno!

Fingal rose in his place, and spoke to Lathmon, king of spears. The sword of Trenmor shook by his side, as high he raised his mighty arm. "Son of Nuath," he said, "why dost thou search for fame in Morven? We are not of the race of the feeble; our swords gleam not over the weak. When did we rouse thee, O Lathmon! with the sound of war? Fingal does not delight in battle, though his arm is strong! My renown grows on the fall of the haughty. The light of my steel pours on the proud in arms. The battle comes! and the tombs of the valiant rise; the tombs of my people rise, O my fathers! and I at last must remain alone! But I will remain renowned; the departure of my soul shall be a stream of light. Lathmon! retire to thy place! Turn thy battles to other lands! The race of Morven are renowned; their foes the sons of the unhappy!"



D A R - T H U L A:


P O E M.



A R G U M E N T.

It may not be improper to here give the story which is the foundation of this poem, as it is handed down by tradition. Usnoth, lord of Etha, which is properly that part of Argyleshire which is near Loch Eta, an arm of the sea in Lorn, had three sons, Nathos, Althos, and Ardan, by Slissama, the daughter of Semo, and sister to the celebrated Cuthullin. The three brothers, when very young, were sent over to Ireland by their father, to learn the use of arms, under their uncle Cuthullin, who made a great figure in that kingdom. They were just landed in Ulster, when the news of Cuthullin's death arrived. Nathos, though very young, took the command of Cuthullin's army, made head against Cairbar the usurper, and defeated him in several battles. Cairbar at last having found means to murder Cormac, the lawful king, the army of Nathos shifted sides, and he himself was obliged to return into Ulster, in order to pass over into Scotland.

Dar-thulla, the daughter of Colla, with whom Cairbar was in love, resided at that time in Selama, a castle in Ulster: she saw, fell in love, and fled with Nathos; but a storm rising at sea, they were unfortunately driven back on that part of the coast of Ulster, where Cairbar was encamped with his army. The three brothers, after having defended themselves for some time with great bravery, were overpowered and slain, and the unfortunate Dar-thula killed herself upon the body of her beloved Nathos.

The poem opens on the night preceding the death of the sons of Usnoth, and brings in, by way of episode, what passed before. It relates the death of Dar-thula differently from the common tradition; this account is the most profitable, as suicide seems to have been unknown in those early times: for no traces of it are found in the old poetry.



D A R - T H U L A:


P O E M.

D AUGHTER of heaven, fair art thou! the silence of thy face is pleasant. Thou comest forth in loveliness. The stars attend thy blue course in the east. The clouds rejoice in thy presence, O moon! They brighten their dark-brown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, daughter of the night? The stars are ashamed in thy presence. They turn away their sparkling eyes. Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the darkness of thy countenance grows? Hast thou thy hall, like Ossian? Dwellest thou in the shadow of grief! Have thy sisters fallen from heaven? Are they who rejoiced with thee, at night, no more? Yes! they have fallen, fair light! and thou dost often retire to mourn. But thou thyself shalt fail, one night; and leave thy blue path in heaven. The stars will then lift their heads: they, who were ashamed in thy presence, will rejoice. Thou art now clothed with thy brightness. Look from thy gates in the sky. Burst the cloud, O wind! that the daughter of night may look forth! that the shaggy

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mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its blues waves in light.

Nathos * is on the deep, and Althos that beam of youth. Ardan is near his brothers. They move in the gloom of their course. The sons of Usnoth move in darkness, from the wrath of Cairbar † of Erin. Who is that, dim by their side? The night has covered her beauty! Her hair sighs on ocean's wind. Her robe streams in dusky wreaths. She is like the fair spirit of heaven in the midst of his shadowy mist. Who is it but Dar-thula, ‡ the first of Erin's maids? She has fled from the love of Cairbar, with blue-shielded Nathos. But the winds deceive thee, O Dar-thula! They deny the woody Etha, to thy sails. These are not the mountains of Nathos; nor is that the roar of thy climbing waves. The halls of Cairbar are near; the towers of the foe lift their heads! Erin stretches its green head into the sea. Tura's bay receives the ship. Where have ye been, ye southern winds! when the sons of my love were deceived? But ye have been sporting on plains,


footnotes not yet transcribed


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and pursuing the thistle's beard. O that ye had been rustling in the sails of Nathos, till the hills of Etha rose! till they rose in their clouds, and saw their coming chief! Long hast thou been absent, Nathos! and the day of thy return is past!

But the land of strangers saw thee, lovely! thou wast lovely in the eyes of Dar-thula. Thy face was like the light of the morning. Thy hair like the raven's wing. Thy soul was generous and mild, like the hour of the setting sun. Thy words were the gale of the reeds; the gliding stream of Lora. But when the rage of battle rose, thou wast a sea in a storm. The clang of arms was terrible: the host vanished at the sound of thy course. It was then Dar-thula beheld thee, from the top of her mossy tower: from the tower of Selama, * where her fathers dwelt.

"Lovely art thou, O stranger!" she said, for her trembling soul arose. "Fair art thou in thy battles, friend of the fallen Cormac! † Why dost thou rush on, in thy valour, youth of the ruddy look? Few are thy hands in fight, against the dark-brown Cairbar! O that I


footnotes not yet transcribed


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might be freed of his love! * that I might rejoice in the presence of Nathos! Blest are the rocks of Etha! they will behold his steps at the chase! they will see his white bosom, when the winds lift his flowing hair!" Such were thy words,Dar-thula, in Selama's mossy towers. But, now, the night is round thee. The winds have deceived thy sails. The winds have deceived thy sails, Dar-thula! Their blustering sound is high. Cease a little while, O north wind! Let me hear the voice of the lovely. Thy voice is lovely, Dar-thula, between the rustling blasts!

"Are these the rocks of Nathos?" she said, "this the roar of his mountain-streams? Comes that beam of light from Usnoth's nightly hall? The mist rolls around; the beam is feeble and distant far. But the light of Dar-thula's soul dwells in the chief of Etha! Son of the generous Usnoth, why that broken sigh? Are we in the land of strangers, chief of echoing Etha!"

"These are not the rocks of Nathos," he replied, "nor the roar of his streams. No light comes from Etha's halls, for they are distant far. We are in the land of strangers, in the land of cruel Cairbar. The winds have deceived us, Dar-thula. Erin lifts here her hills. Go towards the north, Althos; be thy steps, Ardan, along the coast; that the foe may not come in darkness, and our hopes of Etha fail." "I will go towards that mossy

* That is, of the love of Cairbar.

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tower, and see who dwells about the beam. Rest, Dar-thula, on the shore! rest in peace, thou lovely light! the sword of Nathos is around thee, like the lightning of heaven!"

He went. She sat alone; and heard the rolling of the wave. The big tear is in her eye. She looks for returning Nathos. Her soul trembles at the blast. And she turns her ear towards the tread of his feet. The tread of his feet is not heard. "Where art thou, son of my love! The roar of the blast is around me. Dark is the cloudy night. But Nathos does not return. What detains thee, chief of Etha? Have the foes met the hero in the strife of the night?"

He returned, but his face was dark. He had seen his departed friend! It was the wall of Tura, and the ghost of Cuthullin stalked there alone: the sighing of his breast was frequent. The decayed flame of his eyes was terrible! His spear was a column of mist. The stars looked dim through his form. His voice was like hollow wind in a cave: his eye a light seen afar. He told the tale of grief. The soul of Nathos was sad, like the sun in the day of mist, when his face is watry and dim.

"Why art thou sad, O Nathos?" said the lovely daughter of Colla. "Thou art a pillar of light to Dar-thula. The joy of her eyes is in Etha's chief. Where is my friend, but Nathos? My father, my brother is fallen! Silence dwells in Selama. Sadness spreads on the blue streams of my land. My friends

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have fallen, with Cormac. The mighty were slain in the battle of Erin. Hear, son of Esnoth! hear, O Nathos! my tale of grief.

"Evening darkened on the plain. The blue streams failed before mine eyes. The unfrequent blast came rustling, in the tops of Selama's groves. My seat was beneath a tree, on the walls of my fathers. Truthil past before my soul; the brother of my love: he that was absent in battle against the haughty Cairbar! Bending on his spear, the grey-haired Colla came. His downcast face is dark, and sorrow dwells in his soul. His sword is on the side of the hero: the helmet of his fathers on his head. The battle grows in his breast. He strives to hide the tear."

"Dar-thula, my daughter," he said, "thou art the last of Colla's race! Truthil is fallen in battle. The chief of Selama is no more! Cairbar comes, with his thousands, towards Selama's walls. Colla will meet his pride, and revenge his son. But where shall I find thy safety, Dar-thula with the dark-brown hair! thou art lovely as the sun-beam of heaven, and thy friends are low!" "Is the son of battle fallen? I said with a bursting sigh. "Ceased the generous soul of Truthil to lighten through the field? My safety, Colla, is in that bow; I have learned to pierce the deer. Is not Cairbar, like the hart of the desart, father of fallen Truthil?"

"The face of age brightened with joy. The crowded tears of his eyes poured down.

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The lips of Colla trembled. His grey beard whistled in the blast. "Thou art the sister of Truthil," he said, "thou burnest in the fire of his soul. Take, Dar-thula, take that spear, that brazen shield, that burnished helm: they are the spoils of a warrior, a son of early youth! When the light rises on Selama, we go to meet the car-borne Cairbar. But keep thou near the arm of Colla, beneath the shadow of my shield. Thy father, Dar-thula, could once defend thee; but age is trembling on his hand. The strength of his arm has failed. His soul is darkened with grief."

We passed the night in sorrow. The light of morning rose. I shone in the arms of battle. The grey-haired hero moved before. The sons of Selama convened, around the sounding shield of Colla. But few were they in the plain, and their locks were grey. The youths had fallen with Truthil, in the battle of car-borne Cormac. "Friends of my youth!" said Colla, "it was not thus you have seen me in arms. It was not thus I strode to battle, when the great Confadan fell. But ye are laden with grief. The darkness of age comes like the mist of the desert. My shield is worn with years! my sword is fixed * in its place!

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I said to my soul, thy evening shall be calm: and thy departure like a fading light. But the storm has returned. I bend like an aged oak. My boughs are fallen on Selama. I tremble in my place. Where art thou, with thy fallen heroes, O my beloved Truthil! Thou answerest not from thy rushing blast. The soul of thy father is sad. But I will be sad no more, Cairbar or Colla must fall! I feel the returning strength of my arm. My heart leaps at the sound of war."

"The hero drew his sword. The gleaming blades of his people rose. They moved along the plain. Their grey hair streamed in the wind. Cairbar sat at the feast, in the silent plain of Lona. * He saw the coming of the heroes, and he called his chiefs to war. Why † should I tell to Nathos, how the strife of battle grew! I have seen thee in the midst of thousands, like the beam of heaven's fire; it is beautiful, but terrible; the people fall 'in its dreadful course. The spear of Colla slew. He remembered the battles of his youth. An arrow


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came with its sound. It pierced the hero's side. He fell on his echoing shield. My soul started with fear; I stretched my buckler over him; but my heaving breast was seen! Cairbar came, with his spear, and he beheld Selama's maid. Joy rose on his dark-brown face. He stayed the lifted steel. He raised the tomb of Colla. He brought me weeping to Selama. He spoke the words of love, but my soul was sad. I saw the shields of my fathers; and the sword of car-borne Truthil. I saw the arms of the dead; the tear was on my cheek! Then thou didst come, O Nathos! and gloomy Cairbar fled. He fled like the ghost of the desert before the morning's beam. His hosts were not near: and feeble was his arm against thy steel.

Why art thou sad, O Nathos? said the lovely daughter of Colla?"

"I have met," replied the hero, "the battle in my youth. My arm could not lift the spear, when danger first arose. My soul brightened in the presence of war, as the green narrow vale, when the sun pours his streamy beams, before he hides his head in a storm. The lonely traveller feels a mournful joy. He sees the darkness, that slowly comes. My soul brightened in danger before I saw Selama's fair; before I saw thee, like a star, that shines on the hill, at night; the cloud advances, and threatens the lovely light! We are in the land of foes. The winds have deceived us, Dar-thula! The strength of our friends is not near, nor the mountains of Etha. Where shall I

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find thy peace, daughter of mighty Colla! The brothers of Nathos are brave! and his own sword has shone in fight. But what are the sons of Usnoth to the host of dark=browed Cairbar! O that the winds had brought thy sails, Oscar * king of men! thou didst promise to come to the battles of fallen Cormac! Then would my hand be strong as the flaming arm of death. Cairbar would tremble in his halls, and peace dwell round the lovely Dar-thula. But why dost thou fall, my soul? The sons of Usnoth may prevail!"

"And they will prevail, O Nathos!" said the rising soul of the maid. "Never shall Dar-thula behold the halls of gloomy Cairbar. Give me those arms of brass, that glitter to that passing meteor; I see them dimly in the dark-bosomed ship. Dar-thula will enter the battle of steel. Ghost of the noble Colla! do I behold thee on that cloud? Who is that dim beside thee? It is the car-borne Truthil? Shall I behold the halls of him that slew Selama's chief? No: I will not behold them, spirits of my love!"

Joy rose in the face of Nathos, when he heard the white-bosomed maid. "Daughter of Selama! thou shinest along my soul. Come, with thy thousands, Cairbar! the strength of

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Nathos is returned! And thou, O aged Usnoth! shalt not hear that thy son has fled. I remember thy words on Etha; when my sails begun to rise: when I spread them towards Erin towards the mossy walls of Tura! "Thou goest," he said, "O Nathos, to the king of shields! Thou goest to Cuchullin, chief of men, who never fled from danger. Let not thine arm be feeble: neither be thy thoughts of flight; lest the son of Semo say, that Etha's race are weak. His words may come to Usnoth, and sadden his soul in the hall." The tear was on his cheek. He gave this shining sword!

"I came to Tura's bay: but the halls of Tura were silent. I looked around, and there was none to tell of the chief of the son of generous Semo. I went to the hall of his shells, where the arms of his fathers hung. But the arms were gone, and aged Lamhor * sat in tears. "Whence are the arms of steel?" said the rising Lamhor. "The light of the spear has long been absent from Tura's dusky walls. Come ye from the rolling sea? Or fromTemora's † mournful halls?"

"We come from the sea," I said, from, "Usnoth's rising towers. We are the sons of


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Slis-fama, * the daughter of car-borne Semo. Where is Tura's chief, son of the silent hall? But why should Nathos ask? for I behold thy tears. How did the mighty fall, son of the lonely Tura?" "He fell not," Lamhor replied, "like the silent star of night, when it flies through darkness and is no more. But he was like a meteor that shoots into a distant land. Death attends its dreary course. Itself is the sign of wars. Mournful are the banks of Lego; and the roar of streamy Lara! There the hero fell, son of the noble Usnoth!" "The hero fell in the midst of slaughter," I said with a bursting sigh. "His hand was strong in war. Death dimly sat behind his sword."

We came to Lego's sounding banks. We found his rising tomb. His friends in battle are there; his bards of many songs. Three days we mourned over the hero: on the fourth, I struck the shield of Caithbat. The heroes gathered around with joy, and shook their beamy spears. Corlath was near with his host, the friend of car-borne Cairbar. We came like a stream by night. His heroes fell before us. When the people of the valley rose, they saw their blood with morning's light. But we rolled away, like wreaths of mist, to Cormac's echoing hall. Our swords rose to defend the king. But Temora's halls

* Slis-feamha, soft bosom. She was the wife of Usnoth, and daughter of Semo the chief of the isle of mist.

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were empty. Cormac had fallen in his youth. The king of Erin was no more!

Sadness seized the sons of Ullin. They slowly, gloomily retired: like clouds that, long having threatened rain, vanish behind the hills. The sons of Usnoth moved, in their grief, towards Tura's sounding bay. We passed by Selama. Cairbar retired like Lano's mist, when it is driven before the winds.It was then I beheld thee, O Dar-thula! like the light of Etha's sun. "Lovely is that beam!" I said. The crowded sigh of my bosom rose. "Thou camest in thy beauty, Dar-thula, to Etha's mournful chief. But the winds have deceived us, daughter of Colla, and the foe is near!"

"Yes! the foe is near," said the rustling strength of Althos. * I heard their clanging arms on the coast. I saw the dark wreaths of Erin's standard. Distinct is the voice of Cairbar, † and loud as Cromla's falling stream. He had seen the dark ship on the sea, before the dusky night came down. His people watch on Lena's plain. They lift ten thousand swords." "And let them lift ten thousand


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swords," said Nathos with a smile. "The sons of car-borne Usnoth will never tremble in danger! Why dost thou roll with all thy foam, thou roaring sea of Erin? Why do ye rustle, on your dark wings, ye whistling storms of the sky? Do ye think, ye storms, that ye keep Nathos on the coast? No: his soul detains him, children of the night! Althos! bring my father's arms: thou seest them beaming to the stars. Bring the spear of Semo. * it stands in the dark-bosomed ship!"

He brought the arms. Nathos covered his limbs, in all their shining steei. The stride of the chief is lovely. The joy of his eyes was terrible. He looks towards the coming of Cairbar. The wind is rustling in his hair. Dar-thula is silent at his side. Her look is fixed on the chief. She strives to hide the rising sigh, and two tears swell in her eyes!

"Althos!" said the chief of Etha, "I see a cave in that rock. Place Dar-thula there. Let thy arm, my brother, be strong. Ardan! we meet the foe; call to battle gloomy Cairbar. O that he came in his sounding steel, to meet the son of Usnoth! Dar-thula! if thou shalt escape, look not on the fallen Nathos. Lift thy sails, O Althos! towards the echoing groves of my land.

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"Tell the chief * that his son fell with fame; that my sword did not shun the fight. Tell him I fell in the midst of thousands. Let the joy of his grief be great. Daughter of Colla! call the maids to Etha's echoing hall! Let their songs arise from Nathos, when shadowy autumn returns. O that the voice of Cona, that Ossian, might be heard in my praise! then would my spirit rejoice in the midst of the rushing winds." "And my voice shall praise thee, Nathos, chief of the woody Etha! The voice of Ossian shall rise in thy praise, son of the generous Usnoth! Why was I not on Lena, when the battle rose? Then would the sword of Ossian defend thee; or himself fall low!"

We sat, that night, in Selma round the strength of the shell. The wind was abroad, in the oaks. The spirit of the mountain †: roared. The blast came rustling through the hall, and gently touched my harp. The sound was mournful and low, like the song of the tomb. Fingal heard it first. The crowded sighs of his bosom rose. "Some of my heroes are low," said the grey-haired king of Morven. "I hear the sound of death on the harp. Ossian, touch the trembling string. Bid the sorrow rise; that their spirits may fly with joy to Morven's woody hills." I touched


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the harp before the king; the sound was mournful and low. "Bend forward from your clouds," I said, "ghosts of my fathers! bend. Lay by the red terror of your course. Receive the falling chief; whether he comes from a distant land, or rises from the rolling sea. 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 couritenance be Iovely, that his friends may delight in his presence. Bend from your clouds," I said, "ghosts of my 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 appear; like grey rocks, with all their trees, they spread along the coast. Cairbar 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 armour, in the pride of youth? Who but the sons of Usnoth, Aithos and dark-haired Ardan?"

"Come," said Nathos, "come! chief of high Temora! Let our battle be on the coast, for the white-bosomed maid. His people are not with Nathos; they are behind these rolling

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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 frght 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 eyes 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! Then Cairbar ordered his people, and they drew a thousand 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 grew 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 flew on the wind. But gloomy Cairbar came. "Where is thy lover now?

* He alludes to the flight of Caibar from Selama.

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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 low!" said Cairbar's hundred bards. "Silence is at the blue streams of Selama. 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, O 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!

* Truthil was the founder of Dar-thula's family.






P O E M.



A R G U M E N T.

Cuthullin, after the arms of Fingal had expelled Swaran from Ireland, continued to manage the affairs 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 ebemy, he was mortally wounded. The affairs 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.






P O E M.

"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 Bragela, daughter of car-borne Sorglan!

"It is the white wave of the rock, and not Cuchullin's sails. Often do the mists deceive me for the ship of my love! when they rise round some ghost, and spread their grey 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


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the roar of battles, and Bragela distant far! Hills of the isle of mist! when will ye answer to his hounds? But ye are dark in your clouds, and sad Bragela calls in vain! Night comes rolling down. The face of ocean fails. The heath-cock's head is beneath his wing. The hind sleeps with the hart of the desert. They shall rise with the morning's light, and feed on 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?"

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 murmur of the sea: it rolls at Dunscai's walls: let sleep descend on thy blue eyes. Let the hero come to thy dreams!

Cuchullin sits at Lego's lake, at the dark rolling of waters. Night is around the hero. His thousands spread on the heath. A hundred oaks burn in the midst. The feast of shells is smoaking wide. Carril strikes the harp, beneath a tree. His grey 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 day 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!

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Semo's son his battles fights! the terror of the stranger! He that is like the vapour 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 beam of youth! death stands dim behind thee, like the darkened half of the moon behind its growing light! Cuthullin rose before the bard, † that came from generous Torlath. He offered him the shell of joy, He honoured the son of songs. "Sweet voice of Lego!" he said, "what are the words of Torlath? Comes he to our feast or battle, the car-borne son of Cantela?" ‡

"He comes to thy battle," replied the bard, "to the sounding strife of spears. When


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morning is grey on Lego, Torlath will fight on the plain. Wilt thou meet him, in thine arms, king of the isle of mist? Terrible is the spear of Torlath! it is a meteor of night. He lifts it, and the people fall! death sits in the lightning of his sword!" "Do I fear," replied "Cuthullin, the spear of car-borne Torlath? He is brave as a thousand heroes; but my soul delights in war! The sword rests not by the side of Cuthullin, bard of the times of old! Morning shall meet me on the plain, and gleam on the blue arms of Semo's son. But sit thou on the heath, O bard! and let us hear thy voice. Partake of the joyful shell; and hear the songs of Temora!"

"This is no time," replied the bard, "to hear the song of joy; when the mighty are to meet in battle, like the strength of the waves of Lego. Why art thou so dark, Slimora! * with all thy silent woods? No star trembles on thy top. No moon-beam on thy side. But the meteors of death are there: and the grey watry forms of ghosts. Why art thou dark, Slimora! with thy silent woods?"

He retired, in the sound of his song; Carril jpined his voice. The music was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul. The ghosts of departed bards heard it from Slimora's side. Soft sounds spread along the wood. The silent valleys of night rejoice. So, when

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he sits in the silence of the day, in the valley of his breeze, the humming of the mountain bee comes to Ossian's ear: the gale drowns it often in its course; but the pleasant sound returns again! Slant looks the sun on the field! gradual grows the shade of the hill!

"Raise," said Cuchullin, to his hundred bards, "the song of the noble Fingal: that song which he hears at night, when the dreams of his rest descend: when the bards strike the distant harp, and the faint light gleams on Selma's walls. Or let the grief of Lara rise: and the sighs of the mother of Calmar, * when he was sought, in vain, on his hills; and she beheld his bow in the hall. Carril, place the shield of Caithbat on that branch. Let the spear of Cuthullin be near; that the sound of my battle may rise, with the grey beam of the east." The hero leaned on his father's shield; the song of Lara rose! The hundred bards were distant far: Carril alone is near the chief. The words of the song were his; the sound of his harp was mournful.

"Alcletha † with the aged locks! mother of car-borne Calmar! why dost thou look


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towards the desert, to behold the return of thy son? These are not his heroes, dark on the heath: nor is that the voice of Calmar. It is but the distant grove, Alcletha! but the roar of the mountain wind! Who * bounds over Lara's stream, sister of the noble Calmar? Does not Alcletha behold his spear? But her eyes are dim! Is it not the son of Matha, daughter of my love?"

"It is but an aged oak, Alcletha!" replied the lovely weeping Alona † it is but an oak, Alcletha, bent over Lara's stream. But who comes along the plain? sorrow is in his speed. He lifts high the spear of Calmar. Alcletha, it is covered with blood!" "But it is covered with the blood of foes, ‡ sister of car-borne Calnnar! His spear never returned unstained with blood: nor his bow from the strife of the mighty. The battle is consumed in his presence: he is a flame of death, Alona! Youth § of the mournful speed! where is the son of Alcletha? Does he return with his fame, in the midst of his echoing shields? Thou art dark and silent! Calmar is then no more! Tell me not, warrior, how he fell. I


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must not hear of his wound!" Why dost thou look towards the desert, mother of low-laid Calmar?

Such was the song of Carril, when Cuthullin lay on his shield. The bards rested on their harps. Sleep fell softly around. The son of Semo was awake alone. His soul was fixed on war. The burning oaks began to decay. Faint red light is spread around. A feeble voice is heard! The ghost of Calmar came! He stalked dimly along the beam. Dark is the wound in his side. His hair is disordered and loose. Joy sits pale on his face. He seems to invite Cuthullin to his cave.

"Son of the cloudy night!" said the rising chief of Erin. "Why dost thou bend thy dark eyes on me, ghost of the noble Calmar? Wouldest thou frighten me, O Matha's son! from the battles of Cormac? Thy hand was not feeble in war; neither was thy voice for peace. How art thou changed, chief of Lara! if thou now dost advise to fly! But, Calmar, I never fled. I never feared the ghosts of night. Small is their knowledge, weak their hands; their dwelling is in the wind. But my soul grows in danger, and rejoices in the noise of steel. Retire thou to thy cave. thou art not Calmar's ghost. He delighted in battle. His arm was like the thunder of heaven!" He retired in his blast with joy, for he had heard the voice of his praise.

The faint beam of the morning rose. The sound of Caithbat's buckler spread. Green

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Erin's warriors convened, like the roar of many streams. The horn of war is heard over Lego. The mighty Torlath came! "Why dost thou come with thy thousands, Cuthullin?" said the chief of Lego. "I know the strength of thy arm. Thy soul is an unextinguished fire. Why fight we not on the plain, and let our hosts behold our deeds? Let them behold us like roaring waves, that tumble round a rock: the mariners hasten away, and look on their strife with fear."

"Thou risest, like the sun, on my soul," replied the son of Semo. "Thine arm is mighty, O Torlath! and worthy of my wrath. Retire, ye men of Ullin, to Slimora's shady side. Behold the chief of Erin, in the day of his fame. Carril! tell to mighty Connal, if Cuthullin must fall, tell him I accused the winds, which roar on Togorma's waves. Never was he absent in battle, when the strife of my fame arose. Let his sword be before Cormac, like the beam of heaven: let his counsel sound in Temora, in the day of danger!"

He rushed, in the sound of his arms, like the terrible spirit of Loda, * when he comes, in the roar of a thousand storms, and scatters battles from his eyes. He sits on a cloud over Lochlin's seas. His mighty hand is on his sword. Winds lift his flaming locks! The

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waning moon half-lights his dreadful face. His features blended in darkness arise to view. So terrible was Cuthullin in the day of his fame. Torlath fell by his hand. Lego's heroes mourned. They gather around the chief, like the clouds of the desert. A thousand swords rose at once; a thousand arrows flew; but he stood like a rock in the midst of a roaring sea. They fell around; he strode in blood. Dark Slimora echoed wide. The sons of Ullin came. The battle spread over Lego. The chief of Erin overcame. He returned over the field with his fame. But pale he returned! The joy of his face was dark. He rolled his eyes in silence. The sword hung, unsheathed, in his hand. His spear bent at every step!

"Carril," said the chief in secret, "the strength of Cuthullin fails. My days are with the years that are past. No morning of mine shall arise. They shall seek me at Temora, but I shall not be found. Cormac will weep in his hall, and say, "Where is Erin's chief?" But my name is renowned! my fame in the song of bards. The youth will say in secret, O let me die as Cuthullin died! Renown cloathed him like a robe. The light of his fame is great. Draw the arrow from my side. Lay Cuthullin beneath that oak. Place the shield of Caithbat near, that they may behold me amidst the arms of my fathers!"

"And is the son of Semo fallen?" said Carril with a sigh. "Mournful are Tura's

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walls. Sorrow dwells at Dunscai. Thy spouse is left alone in her youth. The son * of thy love is alone! He shall come to Bragela, and ask her why she weeps. He shall lift his eyes to the wall, and see his father's sword. "Whose sword is that?" he will say. The soul of his mother is sad. Who is that, like the hart of the desert, in the murmur of his course? His eyes look wildly round in search of his friend. Connal, son of Colgar, where hast thou been, when the mighty fell? Did the seas of Cogorma roll round thee? Was the wind of the south in thy sails? The mighty have fallen in battle, and thou wast not there. Let none tell it in Selma, nor in Morven's woody land. Fingal will be sad, and the sons of the desert mourn!"

By the dark rolling waves of Lego they raised the hero's tomb. Luath, † at a distance, lies. The song of bards rose over the dead.

"Blest ‡ by thy soul, son of Semo! Thou


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wert mighty in battle. Thy strength was like the strength of a stream! thy speed like the eagle's" wing. Thy path in the battle was terrible: the steps of death were behind thy sword. Blest be thy soul, son of Semo; car-borne chief of Dunscai! Thou hast not fallen by the sword of the mighty, neither was thy blood on the spear of the brave. The arrow came, like the sting of death in a blast: nor did the feeble hand, which drew the bow, perceive it. Peace to thy soul, in thy cave, chief of the isle of mist!

"The mighty are dispersed at Temora: there is none in Cormac's hall. The king mourns in his youth. He does not behold thy return. The sound of thy shield is ceased: his foes are gathering round. Soft be thy rest in thy cave, chief of Erin's wars! Bragela will not hope for thy return, or see thy sails in ocean's foam. Her steps are not on the shore: nor her ear open to the voice of thy rowers. She sits in the hall of shells. She sees the arms of him that is no more. Thine eyes are full of tears, daughter of car-borne Sorglan! Blest be thy soul in death, O chief of shady Tura!








P O E M.



A R G U M E N T.

Fingal, on his return from Ireland, after he had expeled Swaran from that kingdom, made a feast to all his heroes: he forgot to invite Ma-ronnan and Aido, two chiefs, who had not been along with him in his expedition. They resented his neglect; and went over to Erragon, king of Sora, a country in Scandinavia, the dreaded enemy of Fingal. The valour of Aldo soon gained him a great reputation in Sora; and Lorma, the beautiful wife of Erragon, fell in love with him. He found means to escape with her and come to Fingal, who resided then in Selma, on the western coast. Erragon invaded Scotland, and was slain in the battle by Gaul, the son of Morni, after he had rejected terms of peace offered him by Fingal. In this way Aldo fell, in a single combat, by the hands of his rival Erragon, and the unfortunate Lorma afterward died of grief.






P O E M.

SON of the distant land, who dwellest in the secret cell! do I hear the sounds of thy grove? or is it the voice of thy songs? The torrent was loud in my ear, but I heard a tuneful voice. Dost thou praise the chiefs of thy land; or the spirits * of the wind? But, lonely dweller of the rocks! look over that heathy plain. Thou seest green tombs, with their rank, whistling grass; with their stones of mossy heads. Thou seest them, son of the rock, but Ossian's eyes have failed.

A mountain-stream comes roaring down and sends its waters round a green hill. Four mossy stones, in the midst of withered grass, rear their heads on the top. Two trees, which the storms have bent, spread their whistling branches around. This is thy dwelling, Erragon; † this thy narrow house: the sound

354             The BATTLE of LORA:            

of thy shells have been long forgot in Sora. Thy shield is become dark in thy hall. Erragon, king of ships! chief of distant Sora! how hast thou fallen on our mountains? How is the mighty low? Son of the secret cell! dost thou delight in songs? Hear the battle of Lora. The sound of its steel is long since past. So thunder on the darkened hill roars and is no more. The sun returns with his silent beams. The glittering rocks, and green heads of the mountains smile.

The bay of Cona received our ships * from Erin's rolling waves. Our white sheets hung loose to the masts. The boisterous winds roared behind the groves of Morven. The horn of the king is sounded; the deer start from their rocks. Our arrows flew in the woods. The feast of the hill was spread. Our joy was great on our rocks, for the fall of the terrible Swaran. Two heroes were forgot at our feast. The rage of their bosoms burned. They rolled their red eyes in secret. The sigh burst from their breasts. They were seen to talk together, and to throw their spears on earth. They were two dark clouds, in the midst of our joy; like pillars of mist on the settled sea. They glitter to the sun, but the mariners fear a storm.

"Raise my white sails," said Ma-ronnan, "raise them to the winds of the west. Let us rush, O ldo! through the foam of the

* This was at Fingal's return from his war against Swaran.

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northern wave. We are forgot at the feast: but our arms have been red in blood. Let us leave the hills of Fingal, and serve the king of Sora. His countenance is fierce. War darkens around his spear. Let us be renowned, O Aldo, in the battles of other lands!"

They took their swords, their shields of thongs. They rushed to Lumar's resounding bay. They came to Sora's haughty king, the chief of bounding steeds. Erragon had returned from the chase. His spear was red in blood. He bent his dark face to the ground; and whistled as he went. He took the strangers to his feasts: they fought and conquered in his wars.

Aldo returned with his fame towards Sera's lofty walls. From her tower looked the spouse of Erragon, the humid, rolling eyes of Lorma. Her yellow hair flies on the wind of ocean. Her white breast heaves, like snow on the heath; when the gentle winds arise, and slowly move it in the light. She saw young Aldo, like the beam of Sora's setting sun. Her soft heart sighed. Tears filled her eyes. Her white arm supported her head. Three days she sat within the hall, and covered grief with joy. On the fourth she fled with the hero, along the troubled sea. They came to Cona's mossy towers, to Fingal king of spears.

"Aldo of the heart of pride!" said Fingal rising in wrath: " shall I defend thee from

356             The BATTLE of LORA:            

the rage of Sora's injured king? who will now receive my people into their halls? Who will give the feast of strangers, since Aldo, of the little soul, has dishonoured my name in Sora? Go to thy hills, thou feeble hand! Go: hide thee in thy caves. Mournful is the battle we must fight, with Sora's gloomy king. Spirit of the noble Trenmor! when will Fingal cease to fight? I was born in the midst of battles, * and my steps must move in blood to my tomb. But my hand did not injure the weak, my steel did not touch the feeble in arms. I behold thy tempests, O Morven! which will overturn my halls! when my children are dead in battle, and none remains to dwell in Selma. Then will the feeble come, but they will not know my tomb. My renown is in the song. My deeds shall be as a dream to future times!"

His people gathered around Erragon, as the storms round the ghosts of night; when he calls them from the top of Morven, and prepares to pour them on the land of the stranger. He came to the shore of Cona. He sent his bard to the king; to demand the combat of thousands; or the land of many hills! Fingal sat in his hall with the friends of

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his youth around him. The young heroes were at the chase, far distant in the desert. The grey-haired chiefs talked of other times; of the actions of their youth; when the aged Narthmor * came, the king of streamy Lora.

"This is no time," said Nartmore," to hear the songs of other years: Erragon frowns on the coast, and lifts ten thousand swords. Gloomy is the king among his chiefs! he is like the darkened moon, amidst the meteors of night; when they sail along her skirts, and give the light that has sailed o'er her orb." "Come," said Fingal, "from thy hall, come, daughter of my love; come from thy hall, Bosmina, { maid of streamy Morven! Narthmor, take the steeds of the strangers. Attend the daughter of Fingal! Let her bid the king of Sora to our feast, to Selma's shaded wall. Offer him, O Bosmina! the peace of heroes, and the wealth of generous Aldo. Our youths are far distant. Age is on our trembling hands!"

She came to the host of Erragon, like a beam of light to a cloud In her right hand was seen a sparkling shell. In her left an arrow of gold; The first, the joyful mark of peace! The latter, the sign of war. Erragon brightened in her presence as a rock, before the sudden beams of the sun; when they


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issue from a broken cloud, divided by the roaring wind!

"Son of the distant Sora," begun the mildly blushing maid, "come to the feast of Morven's king, to Selma's shaded walls. Take the peace of heroes, O warrior! Let the dark sword rest by thy side. Chusest thou the wealth of kings? Then hear the words of the generous Aldo. He gives to Erragon an hundred steeds, the children of the rein; an hundred maids from distant lands; an hundred hawks with fluttering wing, that fly across the sky. An hundred * girdles shall also be thine, to bind high-bosomed maids. The friends of the births of heroes. The cure of the sons of toil. Ten shells studded with gems shall shine in Sora's towers: the bright water trembles on their stars, and seems to be sparkling wine. They gladdened once the kings of the world, † the midst of their echoing halls. These, O hero! shall be thine; or thy white-bosomed spouse. Lorma shall roll her bright eyes in thy halls; though Fingal loves the generous Aldo: Fingal, who never injured an hero, though his arm is strong!"

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"Soft voice of Cona!" replied the king, "tell him, that he spreads his feast in vain. Let Fingal pour his spoils around me. Let him bend beneath my power. Let him give me the swords of his fathers; the shields of other times: that my children may behold them in my halls, and say, "These are the arms of Fingal." "Never shall they behold them in thy halls!" said the rising pride of the maid. "They are in the hands of heroes, who never yielded in war. King of the echoing Sora! the storm is gathering on our hills. Dost thou not foresee the fall of thy people, son of the distant land?

She came to Selma's silent halls. The king beheld her down-cast eyes. He rose from his place, in his strength. He shook his aged locks. He took the sounding mail of Trenmor, and the dark-brown shield of his fathers. Darkness filled Selma's hall, when he stretched his hand to his spear: the ghosts of thousands were near, and foresaw the death of the people. Terrible joy rose in the face of the aged heroes. They rushed to meet the foe. Their thoughts are on the deeds of other years: and on the fame that rises from death!

Now at Trathal's ancient tomb the dogs of the chase appeared. Fingal knew that his young heroes followed. He stopt in the midst of his course. Oscar appeared the first; then Morni's son, and Nemi's race: Fercuth *

* Fear-cuth, the fame with Fergus, the man of the word, or a commander of an army.

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shewed his gloomy form. Dermid spread his dark hair on the wind. Ossian came the last. I hummed the song of other times. My spear supported my steps over the little streams. My thoughts were of mighty men. Fingal struck his bossy shield; and gave the dismal sign of war. A thousand swords at once unsheathed, gleam on the waving heath. Three grey-haired sons of song raise the tuneful, mournful voice. Deep and dark with sounding steps, we rush, a gloomy ridge, along: like the shower of a storm when it pours on the narrow vale.

The king of Morven sat on his hill. The sun-beam of battle flew on the wind: the friends of his youth are near, with all their waving locks of age. Joy rose in the hero's eyes when he beheld his sons in war; when he saw them amidst the lightning of swords, and miridful of the deeds of their fathers. Erragon came on, in his strength, like the roar of a winter stream. The battle falls around his steps" death stalks by his side!

"Who comes," said Fingal, "like the bounding roe! like the hart of echoing Cona? His shield glitters on his side. The clang of his armour is mournful. He meets with Erragon in the strife! Behold the battle of the chiefs! It is like the contending of ghosts in a gloomy storm. But fallest thou, son of the hill, and is thy white bosom stained with blood? Weep, unhappy Lorma, Aldo is no more. The king took the spear of his

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strength. He was sad for the fall of Aldo. He bent his deathful eyes on the foe; but Gaul met the king of Sora. Who can relate the fight of the chiefs? The mighty stranger fell!

"Sons of Cona!" Fingal cried aloud, "stop the hand of death. Mighty was he that is low! Much is he mourned in Sora! The stranger will come towards his hall, and wonder why it is so silent. The king is fallen, O stranger. The joy of his house is ceased. Listen to the sound of his woods. Perhaps his ghost is murmuring there! But he is far distant, on Morven, beneath the sword ofa foreign foe." Such were the words of Fingal, when the bard raised the song of peace. We stopped our uplifted swords. We spared the feeble foe. We laid Erragon in a tomb. I raised the voice of grief. The clouds of night came rolling down. The ghost of Erragon appeared to some. His face was cloudy and dark; an half-formed sigh is in his breast. "Blest be thy soul, O king of Sora! thine arm was terrible in war!"

Lorma sat, in Aldo's hall. She sat the light of a flaming oak. The night came down, but he did not return. The soul of Lorma is sad! "What detains thee, hunter of Cona? Thou didst promise to return. Has the deer been distant far? Do the dark winds sigh, round thee, on the heath? I am in the land of strangers, who is my friend, but Aldo? Come from thy sounding hills, O my best beloved!"

362             The BATTLE of LORA:            

Her eyes are turned toward the gate. She listens to the rustling blast. She thinks it is Aldo's tread. Joy rises in her face! But sorrow returns again, like a thin cloud on the moon. "Wilt thou not return, my love? Let me behold the face of the hill. The moon is in the east. Calm and bright is the breast of the lake! When shall I behold his dogs, returning from the chace? When shall I hear his voice, loud and distant on the wind? Come from thy sounding hills, hunter of woody Cona!" His thin ghost appeared, on a rock, like a watry beam of feeble light: when the moon rushes sudden from between two clouds, and the midnight shower is on the field! She followed the empty form over the heath. She knew that her hero fell. I heard her approaching cries on the wind, like the mournful voice of the breeze, when it sighs on the grass of the cave!

She came. She found her hero! Her voice was heard no more Silent she rolled her eyes. She was pale and wildly sad! Few were her days on Cona. She sunk into the tomb: Fingal commanded his bards; they sung over the death of Lorma. The daughters of Morven mourned her, for one day in the year, when the dark winds of autumn returned!

Son of the distant land! * Thou dwellest in the field of fame! O let thy song rise, at

* The poet addresses himself to the Culdee.

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times, in the praise of those that fell. Let their thin ghosts rejoice around thee; and the soul of Lorma come on a feeble beam: * when thou liest down to rest, and the moon looks into thy cave. Then shalt thou see her lovely; but the tear is still on her cheek!

* Be thou on a moon-beam, O Morna, near the window of my rest; when my thoughts are of peace; and the din of arms is past.


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