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on Morven, and the danger of red-haired Cairban Cathmor raised the sail at Cluba; but the winds were in other lands. Three days he remained on the coast, and turned his eyes on Con-mor's halls. He remembered the daughter of strangers, and his sigh arose. Now when the winds awaked the wave; from the hill came a youth in arms, to lift the sword with Cathmor in his echoing field. It was the white-armed Sul-malla: secret she dwelt beneath her helmet. Her steps were in the path of the king; on him her blue eyes rolled with joy, when he lay by his roaring streams. |But Cathmor thought, that on Lumon, she still pursued the roe: or fair on a rock, stretched her white hand to the wind; to feel its course from Inis-fail the green dwelling of her love. He had promised to return, with his white-bosomed sails. The maid is near thee, king of Atha, leaning on her rock.
The tall forms of the chiefs stood around: all but dark-browed Foldath0. He stood beneath a distant tree, rolled into his haughty soul. His bushy hair whistles in wind. At times, bursts the hum of a song. He struck the tree, at length, in wrath; and rushed before the.king. Calm and stately, to the beam of the oak, arose the form of young Hidalla. His hair falls round his blushing cheek, in wreaths of waving light. Soft was his voice in Clon-ra p, in the valley of his fathers; when he touched the harp, in the hall, near his roaring streams.
"King of Erin," said the yonth, " now is the time of feasts. Bid the voice of bards arise, and roll the night away. The soul returns, from song, more terrible to war. Darkness settles on Inis-fail: from hill to hill bend the skirted clouds. Far and grey, on the heath, the dreadful strides of ghosts are seen: the ghosts of those who fell, bend forward to their song. Bid thon the harps to rise, and brighten the dead on their wandering blasts."
which were generally fixed ia valleyss where the torrents of the neighbouring mountains were collected into one bodys and became large streams or rivers. The liiting L? of the shields was the phrase for beginning a war.
9 The sorly attitude of Foldath is a proper preamble to his after behavioor. Cnafird with the disappointment of the victory which he promised himselfs he becomes paMion•te and overbearing. The quarrel which socceeds between him and Matchess wass so doants introduced by the poets to raise the character of Cathmors whose soperior worth shines ferths in his manly manner of ending the difference between tie chiefs.
p Claun-raths < winding field.' The to are seldom prononoced aodibly ia the Gaelic language.
"Be all the dead forgot," said Foldath's bursting wrath. "Did not I fall in the field, and shall I hear the song? Yet was not my course harmless in battle: blood was a stream round my steps. But the feeble were behind me, and the foe has escaped my sword."
In Clon-ra's vale touch thou the harp; let Dura answer to thy voice; while some maid looks, from the wood, on thy Jong yellow locks. Fly from Lubar's echoing plain; it is the field of heroes."
"King of Temorat," Malthos said, "it is thine to lead in war. Thou art a fire to our eyes on the dark. brown field. Like a blast thou hast passed over hosts, and'laid them low in blood; but who has heard thy words returning from the field? The wrathful delight in death; their remembrance rests on the wounds of their spear. Strife is folded in their thoughts: their words are ever heard. Thy course, chief of Moma, was like a troubled stream. The dead were rolled on thy path; but others also lift the spear. We were not feeble behind thee, but the foe was strong."
The king beheld the rising rage, and bending forward of either chief: for half-unsheathed they held their swords, and rolled their silent eyes. Now would they have mixed in horrid fray, had not the wrath of Cathmor burned. He drew his sword: it gleamed through night, to the high flaming oak. " Sons of pride," said the king, " allay your swelling souls. Retire in night. Why should my rage arise? Should I contend with both in arms? It is no time for strife. Retire, ye clouds at my feast. Awake my soul no more." •
They sonk from the king on either side; like ' two
1 This speech of Malthos iss throoghouts a severe reprimand to the blustering be* hivinorof Fnldath.
r 'lite poet couM scarce finds in all natores a comparison so favourable as thiss to tins t'lperiority of Cathmor over his two chiefs. 1 shall illustrate this passage with anotaa from a fragment of an antient poems lust now in my hand*. " As thaeitti is abov the vapours, which his beams have raised; so is the soul of the king above the sons of fear. They roll dark below him, he rejoices in the robe of his beam,. But when fee. bit deeds wander on the sswl of the king, he is a darkened ton rolled along the sky < the valley is sad below: flowers wither beneath the drops of the night."
columns of morning mist, when the son rises, between them, on his glittering rocks. Dark is their rolling on cither side; each towards its reedy pool.
Silent sat the chiefs at the feast. They looked, at times, on Atha's king, where he strode, on his rock, amidst his settling soul. The host lay, at length, on the field: sleep descended on Moi-lena. The voice of Fonar rose alone, beneath his distant tree. It rose in the praise of Cathmor son of Larthon ' of Lumon. But Cathmor did not hear his praise. He lay at the roar of a stream. The rustling breeze of night flew over his whistling locks.
Cairbar came to his dreams, half seen from his lowhung cloud. Joy rose darkly in his face: he had heard the song of Carril'. A blast sustained his darkskirted cloud; which he seized in the bosom of night, as he rose, with his fame towards his airy halls. Halfmixed with the noise of the stream, he poured his feeble words.
,* Joy met the soul of Cathmor: his voice was heard on Moi-lena. The bard gave his song to Cairbar? he travels on the wind. My form is in my father's hall, like the gliding of a terrible light, which winds through the desart, in a stormy night. No bard shall be wanting at thy tomb, when thou art lowly laid. The sons of song love the valiant. Carhmor, thy name is a pleasant gale. The mournful sounds arise! On Lubar's field there is a voice ! Louder still, ye shadowy ghosts! the dead were full of fame. Shrilly swells the feeble sound. The rougher blast alone is heard! Ah, soon is Cathmor low '." Rolled into himself he flew, wide on the bosom of his blast. The old oak felt his departure, and shook its whistling head. The king started from rest, and took his deathful spear. He lifts his eyes around. He sees but dark-skirted.night.
i Lear-thon, ' sea wave.. The name of the chief of that colony of the Firbole, which hrst migrated into Ireland. Larthon-9 8nt settlement in that country, is related in the seventh book. He was the ancestor of Cathmor; and is here called i.art hen of Lumon, from a high hill el' that name in Inis-huna, the ancient seat of the Firbolg. The poet preserves the character of Cathmor throughout. Ue had mentioned, in the first bouk, the aversion of that chief to praise, and we find him here lying at the side of a stream, that tin.- noise of it inight drown the voice of Fonar, who, accordang to tnp costom of the times, song his colupiom in his eveningaong. Though other chiefs, as well as Cathmor, might be aveiae to hear their own praise, we find it to be the universal policy of the times, to allow the bards to be as extravagant as they pleased in their encomioms on the leaders of armies, in the presence of their peuple. The vulsjnr, who had no pjeat ahility to judge for themselves, received the character m( theit prince, entirely upon the faith nt the bards.
I Carrit, the son of Kinfena, by the order of Ossian, song the funeral elegy at the tomb of Cairbar. See the second book, towards tho end. In all the poems of Ossian, the visits of ghosts to their living friends, are short, and their language obscure; both which circomstances tend to throw a solemn gloom on those sopernatural scenes. Towards the latterend of the speech of the ghost of Cairbar, he foretels the death of Catnfner, by enumerating those signals which, according to the opinion of the times, or.. ceded the death of a person renowned. It was thought that the ghosts of decease.! bards sirng, for three mghts prowling the death (near the place where his tomb w*s w be raisedI, round a" unaubstantial figure which iYPre<emted the body of the person wb,c was tt die.
"It " was the voice of the king; but now his form is gone- Unmarked is your path in the air, ye children of the night. Often, like a reflected beams are ye seen in the desart wild; but ye retire in your blasts before our steps approach. Go then, ye feeble race! knowledge with you there is none. Your joys are weak, and like the dreams of our rest, or the lightwinged thought that flies across the soul. Shall Cathmor soon be low? Darkly laid in his narrow house? Where no morning comes with her half-opened eyes? Away, thou shade! To fight is mine! All further thought away! I rush forth, on eagle's wings, to seize my beam of fame. In the lonely vale of streams, abides the little "soul. Years roll on, seasons return, but he is still unknown. In a blast comes cloudy death, and lays his grey head low. His ghost is rolled on the vapour of the fenny field. Its course is never on hills, or mossy vales of wind. So shall not Carhmor depast. No boy in the field was he, who OBly marks the bed of roes upon the echoing hills. My issoing forth was with kings, and my joy in dreadful plains ; where broken hosts are rolled away, like seas beiore the wind."
So spoke the king of Alnecma, brightning in his rising soul: valour, like a pleasant flame, is gleaming within his breast. Stately is his stride on the heath: the beam of the east is poured around. He saw his grey host on the field, wide-spreading their ridges in light. He rejoiced like a spirit of heaven, whose steps come forth on his seas, when he beholds them peaceful round, and all the winds are laid. But soon he awakes the waves, and rolls them large .to some echoing coast.
On the rushy bank of a stream, slept the daughter of Inis-huna. The helmet had fallen from her head. Her dreams were in the land of her fathers. There morning was on the field: grey streams leapt down from the rocks; the breezes, in shadowy waves, fly over the rushy fields. There is the sound that prepares for the chase; and the moving of warriors from the hall. But tall above the rest is the hero of streamy Atha: he bends his eye of love on Sul-malla. From his stately steps, she turns, with pride, her face away, and careless bends the bow.
Such were the dreams of the maid when Atha's warrior came. He saw her fair face before him, in the midst of her wandering locks. He knew the maid of Lumon. What should Cathmor do? His sigh arose: his tears came down. But straight he turned away. '.' This is no time, king of Atha, to wake thy secret soul. The battle is rolled before thee, like a troubled stream."
He struck that warning boss '.", wherein dwelt the voice of war. Erin rose around him, like the sound
v.- In order to understand this passage, it is necessary to look to the descripriat^ Cathmor's shield which the poet has given us in the seventh bouk. Thi, shield toi seven principal bosses, the sound of each of which, conveyed a particolar order froa the kmg to in, tllpw. The sound of one or' Ilmm, as hete, was the signal for the wol