Page images
PDF
[graphic]

ver their gleaming tribes. Starno, of lakes, is before me, and Swaran, the foe of strangers. Their words are not in vain, by Loda's stone of power, If Duth-maruno returns not, his spouse is lonely, at home, where meet two roaring streams, on Crathmo-craulo's plain. Around are hills, with their woods; the ocean is rolling near. My son looks on screaming sea-fowl, young wanderer of the field. Give the head of a boar to Candonas, tell him of his father's joy, when the bristly strength of I-thorno rolled on his lifted spear.”

“ Not forgetting my fathers," said Fingal, “ I have bounded over ridgy seas; theirs were the times of danger in the days of old. Nor gathers darkness on me, before foes, though I am young in my locks. Chief of Crathmo-craulo, the field of night is mine.”

He rushed, in all his arms, wide-bounding over Turthor's stream, that sent its sullen roar, by night, through Gormal's misty vale. A moon-beam glittered on a rock; in the midst stood a stately form ; a form with floating locks, like Lochlin's white bosomed maid. Unequal are her steps, and short: she throws a broken song on wind. At times, she tosses her white arms; for grief is in her soul.

" Torcul-torno of aged locks! where now are thy steps, by Lulan? thou hast failed, at thine own dark streams, faiher of Conban-carglas ! But I behold thee, chief of Lulan, sporting by Loda's hall, when the darkskirted night is poured along the sky.

Cean-dona, 'head of the people,' the son of Duth-maruno. He became afterwards famous, in the expeditions of Ossian, after the death of Fingal. The traditional tales concerning him are numerous, and, from the epithet in them, bestowed on him (Case dona of boars) it would appear, that he applied himself to that kind of hunting, which his father, in this paragraph, is sn anxious to recommend to him. As I have mentioned the traditional tales of the Highlands, it may not be improper here, to give sorte account of them. After the expulsion of the bards from the houses of the chiefs, they being an indolent race of men, owed all their subsistence to the generosity of the vulgat, whom they diverted with repeating the compositions of their predecessors, and Tube ning up the genealogies of their entertainers to the family of their chiefs. As this su ject was, however, soon exhausted, they were obliged to have recourse to inventios, and form stories, having no foundation in fact, which were swallowed, with great op: Aulity, by an ignorant multitude. By frequent repeating, the fable grew upen the bands, and as each threw in whatever circumstance he thought conductive to raise to admiration of his hearers, the story became, at last, so devoid of all probabilits the even the vuar themselves did not believe it. They, however, liked the tales so well, that the bds found their advantage in turning professed tale-makers. They thes launched ou into the wildest regions of fiction and romance. I firmly welieve there

[graphic]
[graphic]

“ He took my hand. He raised the sail. In this cave he placed me, dark. At times, he comes, a gathers ed mist. He lifts, before me, my father's shield. Often passes a beam 8 of youth, far-distant from my cave. He dwells lonely in the soul of the daughter of Torcul. torno."

“ Maid of Lulan,” said Fingal, “ white-handed Conban-carglas; a cloud, marked with streaks of fire, is rolled along thy soul. Look not to that dark-robed inoon; nor yet to those meteors of heaven : my gleam. ing steel is around thee, daughter of Torcul-torno.

* It is not the steel of the feeble, nor of the dark in soul. The maids are not shut in our caves of streams; nor tossing their white arms alone. They bend, fair within their locks, above the harps of Selma. Their voice is not in the desart wild, young light of Torcultorno."

Fingal, again, advanced his steps, wide through the bosom of night, to where the trees of Loda shook amid squally winds. Three stones, with heads of moss, are there: a stream with foaming course; and dreadful, rolled around them, is the dark-red cloud of Loda. From its top looked forward a ghost, half-formed of the shadowy smoke. He potred his voice, at times, a. midst the roaring stream. Near, bending beneath a blasted tree, two heroes received his words : Swaran of lakes, and Starno foe of strangers. On their dun shields, they darkly leaned: their spears are forward in night. Shrill sounds the blast of darkness, in Starno's floating beard.

They heard the tread of Fingal. The warriors rose in arms. Swaran, lay that wanderer low,” said Starno, in his pride. “ Take the shield of thy father; it is a rock in war." Swaran threw his gleaming spear; it stood fixed in Loda's tree. Then came the foes forward, with swords. They mixed their rattling steel. Through the thongs of Swaran's shield rushed the blade of Lunoi. The shield fell rolling on earth. Cleft the helmet * fell down. Fingal stopt the lifted steel. Wrathful stood Swaran unarmed. He rolled his silent eyes, and threw his sword on earth. Then, slowly stalking over the stream, he whistled as he went.

By the beam of youth, it afterwards appears, that Conban-carglas means Swarna the son of Siarno, with whom, Juring her confinement, she had fallen in love.

b From this contrast, which Fingal draws, between his own nation and the inhah. tants of cardinavia, we may learn that the former were much less barbarous than the Batter. This distinction is so mucb observed throughout the poems of Ossian, that there an be no doub., that he followed the real manners of both pations in his or time. At the close of the speech of Fingal there is a great part of the original lost.

Nor unseen of his father is Swaran. Starno turned away in wrath. His shaggy brows waved dark above his gathered rage. He struck Loda's tree, with his spear: he raised the hum of songs. They came to the host of Lochlin, each in his own dark path; like two foam-covered streams, from two rainy vales.

To Tuthor's plain Fingal returned. Fair rose the beam of the east. It shone on the spoils of Lochlin in the hand of the king. From her cave, came forth, in her beauty, the daughter of Torcul-torno. She gathered her hair from wind; and wildly raised her song, The song of Lulan of shells, where once her father dwelt.

She saw Starno's bloody shield, Gladness rose, a light on her face. She saw the cleft helmet of Swaranı; she shrunk, darkened, from the king. “ Art thou fallen, by thy hundred streams, o love of Conban-carglas"!"

* * ' * * * * *

* * * * * * * * U thorno, that risest in waters; on whose side are the meteors of night! I behold the dark moon descenda ing behind thy echoing woods. On thy top dwells the misty Loda, the house of the spirits of men. In the end of his cloudy hall bends forward Cruth-loda of swords. His form is dimly seen amidst his wavy mist. His right-hand is on his shield : in his left is the halfviewless shell. The roof of his dreadful hall is marked with nightly fires.

i The sword of tingal, so called from its maker, Luno of Lochlin.

The helmet of Swaran. The behaviour of Fingal is always consistent with that gencrosity of spirit which belongs to a hero. He takes no advantage of a foe disarmed.

Conban-carglas, from seeing the helmet of zwaran bloody in the hands of Fingai, conje, tured that that hero was killed. A part of the original is lost. It appears, however from the sequel of the poem, that the daughter of Torcul-torno did not long survive her surprise, occasioned by the supposed death of her lover. The description of the airy hail of Loda (which is supposed to be the same with that of Odin, the deity of Scandinavial is more picturesque and descriptive, than any in the Edda, or other works of the northern Scalders,

The race of Cruth-loda advance, a ridge of formless shades. He reaches the sounding shell to those who shone in war; but, between him and the feeble, his shield rises, a crust of darkness. He is a setting meteor to the weak in arms. Bright, as a rain-bow on streams, came white-armed Conban-carglas.

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »