Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]

Tills poem is completes and the wMectof its as of most of Ossian's compositionss tragical. In the time of Comhal the son of Trathals and father of the celebrated Fin mls Clessinonor the son of Thaddu and brother of Mornas Fingal's mothers waa driven by a •u rm iiii.ii the river Clydes on the banks of which stood Balcluthas a town belonging to the Britons between the walls. He was hospitably received by Reothamirs the principal man in the places who gave htm Moina his only daughter in marriage. Reoda, the son of Cormos a Briton who was in love with Moinas came to Reothamir'a house and behaved haughtily towards Clessammor. Aqoarrelensoed^nwhichReodawas'killed; the Britons who attended hims pressed so hard on Clessammors that he was obliged to throw himself into the Clydes and swim to his ship. He hoisted sails and the wind being favourables bore him out to sea. He often endeavoured to returns and carry off his beloved Moina by night} but the wind continoing contrary he was forced to desist.

Moinas who had been left with child by her husbands brought forth a sons and died soon after. Reothamir named the child Carthons i. e. i the mormor of wavess' from the sturm which caried off Clessammor his fathers who was sopposed to have been cast away. When Carthon was three years olds Comhal the father of Fingals in one of his expeditions against the Britonss took and burnt Balclutha. Reothamir was killed in the attack; and Carthon was carried away by his norses who fled farther into the coontry of the Britons. Catthon coming to man's estates was resolved to revenge the fall of Balclutha on Comhal's posterity. lie set sails from the Clydes and falling on the coast of Morvens defeated two of Fingal's heroes who came to oppose his prugress. Be was at last unwittingly killed by his father Clessammors in a single combat. This story is the foundation of the present poems which opens on the night preceding the the death of Carthon ; so that what passed before is introduced by way of episode. The poem is addressed to Malvina the daughter of Toscar.

A Tale of the times of old! The deeds of days of other years!

The murmur of thy streams, O Lora, brings back the memory of the past. The sound of thy woods, Garmallar, is lovely in mine ear. Dost thou not behold, Malvina, a rock with its head of heath? Three aged firs bend from its face; green is the narrow plain at its feet; there the flower of the mountain grows, and shakes its white head in the breeze. The thistle is there alone, and sheds its aged beard. Two stones, half sonk in the ground, show their heads of moss. The deer of the mountain avoids the place,

Vol. II. A

for he beholds the grey ghost that guards it ", for the mighty lie, O Malvina, in the narrow plain of the rock.

A tale of the times of old! the deeds of days of other years!

Who comes from the land of strangers, with his thousands around him? the son-beam pours its bright stream before him; and his hair meets the wind of the hills. His face is settled from war. He is calm as the evening beam, that looks from the cloud of the west, on Cona's silent vale. Who is it but Comhal's son ', the king of mighty deeds! He beholds his hills with joy, and hids a thousand voices rise. Ye have fled over your fields, ye sons of the distant land! The king of the world sits in his hall, and hears of his people's flight. He lifts his red eye of pride, and takes his father's sword. "Ye have fled over your fields, sons of the distant land!"

Such were the words of che bards, when they came to Selma's halls. A thousand lights ' from the stranger's land rose in the midst of the people. The feast is spread around; and the night Bassed away in joy. "Where is the noble Clessammor v" said the fair-haired Fingal. Where is the companion of my father, in the days of my joy? Sullen and dark he passes his days in the vale of echoing Lora: but, behold he comes from the hill, like a steed in his strength, who finds his companions in the breeze, and tosses his bright mane in the wind. Blest be the soul of Clessammor; why so long from Selma?"

"Returns the chief," said Clessammor, " in the midst of his fame? Such was the renown of Comhal in the battles of his youth. Often did we pass over Canon to the land of the strangers; our swords returned not nnstained with blood: nor did the kings of the world re

a It wss the opinion of the timess that deer saw the ghotts of the dead. To this days when beasts soddenly starts without any apparent causes the vulgar think the^ ace the spitits of the deceased.

b Fingal retunis heres from an expedition against the Romanss which was celebrate J by Ossian in a particolar poem.

c Probably wax lights: which are often mentioned at carrieds among other bootvs from the Roman province.

U Clessamtiimors ' mighty deeds.'

« PreviousContinue »