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He retired in his blast with joy, for he had heard the voice of his praise. The faint beam of the morning rose, and the sound of Caithbat's buckler spread. Green Ullin'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, and 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 this 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, and the winds lift his flaming locks. So terrible was Cuthullin in the day of his fame. Torlath fell by his hand, and Lego's heroes mourned. They gather around the chief like the clouds of the desart. A thousand swords rose at once ; a thousand arrows few; 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; and 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.
Loda, in the third book of Fingal, is mentioned as a place of worship in Scandin, avia ; by the spirit of Loda, the poet probably means Odin, the great deity of the northern pations,
He rolled his eyes in silence. The sword hung, unsheathed, in his hand, and his spear bent at every
* Carril," said the king in secret, " the strength of Cuthullin fails. My days are with the years that are past: and 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 Tura'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 clothed him like a robe ; and the light of his fame is great. Draw the arrow from my side ; and 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 walls ; and sorrow dwells at Dunscaich. Thy spouse is left alone in her youth, the son e 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: and the soul of his mother is sad. Who is that like the hart of the desart, 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 Togorma roll around 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 desart mourn,"
By the dark-rolling waves of Lego they raised the hero's tomb. Luath, at a distance lies, the companion of Cuthullin at the chase.
Conloch, who was afterwards very famous for his great exploits in Ireland. He was so remarkable for his dexterity in handling the javelin, that when a good marksman is described, it has passed into a proverb, in the north of Scotland, He is unerring as the arm of Conloch.'
It was of old the custom to bury the favourite dog near the master. This was not peculiar to the ancient Scots, for we find it practised by many other nations in their ages of heroism. There is a stone shown still at Dunscaich, in the Isle of Sky, to which Cuthullin bound his dog Luath. The stone goes by his name to this day.
Blest' be thy soul, son of Semo; thou 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 son of Dunscaich: Thou hast not fallen by the sword of the mighty, neither was thy blood on the spear of the valiant. 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, for he does not behold thy coming. 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 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, and 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 Cromla!"
This is the song of the bards over Cuthullin's tomb. Every stanza closes with some remarkable title of the hero, which was always the custom in funeral elegies. The verse of the song is a lyric measure; and it was of old sung to the barp.
It may not be improper here, to give the story, which is the foundation of this poem, as it is handed down by tradition. Usnoth, Lord of Etha, which is probably 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 se, veral 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-thula, 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 sca, they were unfortunately driven back on that part of the coast of Ulster where Cairbar was encamped with his army, waiting for Fingal, who meditated an expedition into Ireland, to re-establish the Scottish race of kings on the throne of that kingdom, 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. Ossian opens the poem, on the night preceding the death of the sons of Usnoth, and
brings in, by way of episode, what passed before. He relates the death of Dar-thula differently from the common tradition; his account is the most probable, as suicide seems to have been unknown in those early times : for no traces of it are found in the old poetry.
DAUGHTER of heaven, fair art thou ! the silence of thy face is pleasant. Thou comest forth in loveliness; the stars attend thy blue steps in the east. The clouds rejoice in thy presence, O moon, and brighten their dark-brown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, daughter of the night? The stars are ashamed in thy presence, and turn aside their green, sparkling eyes. Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the darkness be 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
. The address to the moon is very beautiful in the original. It is a lyric measure and appears to have been sung to the harp.
The poet means the moon in her wane,
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 green 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 mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its blue waves in light.
Nathos is on the deep, and Althos that beam of youth; Arden is near his brothers; they move in the gleam of their course. The sons of Usnoth move in darkness, from the wrath of car-borne Cairbar d. Who is that dim, by their side? the night has covered her beauty. Her hair sighs on the 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 Darthula', the first of Erin's maids ? She has fled from the love of Cairbar, with the car-borne Nathos. But the winds deceive thee, 0 Dar-thula; and deny the woody Etha to thy sails. These are not thy moun. tains, Nathos, nor is that the roar of thy climbing waves ; the halls of Cairbar are near; and the towers of the foe lift their heads. Ullin stretches its green head into the sea; and 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, and pursuing the thistle's beard. Othat 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.
Nathos signifies (youthful ;' Ailthos, exquisite beauty;' Ardan. pride.' d Cairbar, who murdered Cormac king of Ireland, and usurped the throne. He was afterwards killed by Oscar the son of Ossian in a single coinbat. The poet upon other occasions gives him the epithet of red-haired.
e Dar-thula, or Dart 'huile, 'a woman with fine eyes.' She was the most famous beauty of antiquity. To this day, when a woman is praised for her beauty, the common phrase is, that she is lovely as Dar-thula.'