« PreviousContinue »
tie, before he fell by Ossian's spear. Listen, son of the rock, to the tale of other years.
Rathmor was a chief of Clutha. The feeble dwelt in his hall. The gates of Rathmor were never closed: his feast was always spread. The sons of the stranger came, and blest the generous chief of Clutha. Bards raised the song, and touched the harp • and joy brightened on the face of the mournful. Dunthalmo came, in his pride, and rushed into the combat of Rathmor. The chief of Clutha overcame; the rage of Dunthalmo rose. He came, by night, with his warriors; and the mighty Rathmor fell. He fell in his halls, where his feast was often spread for strangers.
Colmar and Calthon were young, the sons of carborne Rathmor. They came, in the joy of youth, into their Other's hall. They behold him in his blood, and their bursting tears descend. The soul of Dunthalmo melted, when he saw the children of youth, he brought them to Alteutha's a walls; they grew in the house of the foe. They bent the bow in his presence; and came forth to his battles. They saw the fallen walls of their fathers; they saw the green thorn in the hall. Their tears descended in secret: and, at times, their faces were mournful. Dunthalmo beheld their grief: his darkening soul designing their death. He closed them -in two caves, on the echoing banks of Teutha. The son did not come there with his beams; nor the moon of heaven by night. The sons of Rathmor remained in darkness, and foresaw their death.
The daughter of Dunthalmo wept in silence, the fair haired, blue-eyed Colmal*. Her eye had rolled in secret on Calthon; his loveliness swelled in her soul. She trembled for her warrioi; but what could Colmal do? Her arm could not lift the spear; nor was the sword formed for her side. Her white breast never rose beneath a mail. Neither was her eye the terror of heroes. What canst thou do, O Colmal! for the falling chief? Her steps are unequal, her hair is loose: her eye looks wildly through her tears. She came, by night, to the halle; and armed her lovely form in steel; the steel of a young warrior, who fell in the first of his battles. She came to the cave of Calthon, and loosed the thongs from his hands.
* At-tcothas or rather Balteothas i the town of Tweeds' Dunthalmo's seat. It is observables that all the names in this poems are derived from the Gaelic langoage i whichs at I have remarked in a preceding notes i i a proof that it waa once the universal language of the whole island.
fr Caul.mhals i a woman with small eve brows ;' smnll eye-brows were a distingoish. lnir part of beaoty in OssUra's time: and he seldom fails to give tlltra to the fine wonfls of his uoeuii. ^^
', Arise, son of Rathmor," she said, " arise, the night is dark. Let us fly to the king of Selma d, chief of fallen Clutha '. I am the son of Lamgal, who dwelt in thy father's hall. I heard of thy dark dwelling in the cave, and my soul arose. Arise, son of Rathmor, for the night is dark." "Blessed voice '." replied the chief, "comest thou from the daikly-rolling clouds? for often the ghost of his fathers descend to Calthon's dreams, since the son has retired from his eyes, and darkness has dwelt around him. Or art thou the son of Lamgal, the chief I often saw in Clutha? But shall I fly to Fingal, and Colmar my brother low? shall I fly to Morven, and the hero closed in night? No: give me that spear, son of Lamgal, Calthon will defend his brother."
"A thousand warriors," replied the maid, " stretch their spears round car-borne Colmar. What can Calthon do against a host so great? Let us fly to the king of Morven, he will come with battle. His arm is stretched forth to the unhappy, the lightning of his sivord is round the weak. Arise, thou son of Rathmor; the shades of night will fly away. Dunthalmo will behold thy steps, on the field, and thou most fall in thy youth."
The sighing hero rose; his tears descended for carborne Colmar. He came with the maid to Selma's ball; but he knew not that it was Colmal.. The helmet covered her lovely face; and her breast rose beneath the steel. Fingal returned from the chase, and found the lovely strangers. They were like two beams of light in the midst of the hall. The king heard the tale of grief; and turned his eyes around. A thousand heroes half-rose before him; claiming the war of Teutha. I came with my spear from- the hill, and the joy of battle rose in my breast: for the king spoke to Ossian in the midst of the people.
c That is. the hall where the arms taken from enemies were hung up as trophies. Ossian is very carefol to make his storks probable ; ferhe makes Comhal pot on the arms of a youth killed in battle, as more proper for a young woman, whu cannot be supposed strong enousn to cairy the armour of a full grown warrior,
"Son of my strength," he said, " take the spear of Fingal; go to Teutha's mighty stream and save the car-borne Colmar. Let thy fame return before thee, like a pleasant gale; that my soul may rejoice over my son, who renews the renown of our fathers. Ossian! be thou a storm in battle; but mild when the foes are low: It was thus my fame arose, O my son; and be thou like Selma's chief. When the haughty come to my halls, my eyes behold them not. But my arm is stretched forth to the unhappy. My sword defends the weak."
I rejoiced in the words of the king: and took my rattling arms. Diaran e rose at my side, and Dargo 'king of spears. Three hundred youths followed our steps; the lovely strangers were at my side. Dunthalmo heard the sound of our approach; he gathered the strength of Teutha. He stood on a hill with his host; they were hke rocks broken with thunder, when their bent trees ire singed and bare, and the streams of their chinks have failed.
r ni-ii-7ins father of that Connal who was nofortnoately killed by Crimens bit mistress.
/ Dargos the son of Collaths is celebrated in other poems hy Ossian. He is said to have been killed by allxiar at a hunting party. The lamentation of his mistress. or wifes Mingalaf over his bodys is extant; bot whether it is of !issian's compositions I cannot determine. It is f^-nerallv ascribed to hims and has moch of his manner-„ bat some traditions mention it as an imitation by some later bard. As it has some poetical merits I have sobjoined it.
| il The spouse of Paigo came in tears: for Dargo was no more! The heroes sigh over Lartho's chief: and what shall sad Mingala do" The dark soul vanished like morning mists before the king of spears: but the generous glowed in his piesence like the morniup star.
Who was the fairest and most lovely I Who but Collath's stately son? Who sat in the midst of the wises but Dargo of the mighty deeds i
Thy hand tooched the trembling harp: Thy voice was soft as sommer winds. Ah me t What shall the heroes say? For Dargo fell before a Iwar. Pale is the lovely cheek; the look of which was firm in danger! Why hast thou failed on oor hillss thou fairer than the beams of the son i
The daughter of Adonflon was lovely in the eyes of the Yaliant: she was lovely i" their eyess but she those to be the spouse of Dargo.
But thou art alones Mingata! the night is coming with Its clouds; where is the t*4 of thy repose i Where but in the tomb of Dargo?
Why dost thou lift the stones O bard ! why dost thou shut the narrow house s Mlngala's eycs«re heavys bard! She most sleep with Dargo.
Last night I heard the song of loy in Lartho's lofty hall. But silence now Swells sv' round my bed. Mingala rests witli Dargo.
The stream of Teutha rolled, in its pride, before the gloomy foe. I sent a bard to Dunthalmo to offer the combat on the plain; but he smiled in the darkness of his pride. His unsettled host tnoved on the hill; like the mountain cloud, when the blast has entered its womb, and scatters the corling gloom on every side.
They brought Colmar to Teutha's bank, bound with a thousand thongs. The chief is sad, but lovely, and his eye is on his friends; for we stood, in our arms, on the opposite banks of Teutha. Dunthalmo came with his spear, and pierced the hero's side: he rolled on the bank in his blood, and we heard his broken sighs.
Calthon rushed into the stream : I bounded forward on my spear. Teutha's race fell before us. Night came rolling down. Dunthalmo rested on a rock, amidst an aged wood. The rage of his bosom burned against the 'ar.borne Calthon. But Calthon stood in his grief; he mourned the fallen Colmar; Colmar slain in youth before his fame arose.
I bade the song of woe to rise, to soothe the mournful chief: but he stood beneath a tree, and often threw his spear on earth. The humid eye of ColmaJ tolled near in a secret tear: she foresaw the fall of Dunthalmo, or cf Clutha's battling chief.
Now half the night had passed away. Silence and darkness were on the field: sleep rested on the eyes of the heroes: Calthon's settling soul was still. His eyes "ere half closed ; but the murmur of Teutha had not yet failed in his ear. Pale, and showing his wounds, the ghost of Colmar came: he bended his head over the he'o. and raised his feeble voice.
"Sleeps the son of Rathmor in his might, and his brother low ? Did we not rise to the chase together, and porsoe the dark-brown hinds? Colmar was not forgot till he fell; till death had blasted his youth. I lie pale beneath the rock of Lona. O let Calthon rise! the morning comes with its beams; and Dunthalmo will dishonour the fallen." He passed away in his blast. The rising Calthon saw the steps of his departure. He rushed in the sound of his steel, and unhappy Colmal rose. She followed her hero through night, and dragged her spear behind. But when Calthon came to Lona's rock, he found his fallen brother. The rage of his bosom rose, and he rushed among the foe. The groans of death ascend. They close around the chief. He is bound in the midst, and brought to gloomy Dunthalmo. The shout of joy arose; and the hills of night replied.
I started at the sound: and took my father's spear. Diaran rose at my side; and the youthful strength of Dargo. We missed the chief of Clutha; and our souls were sad. I dreaded the departure of my fame.; the pride of my valour rose. "Sons of Morven," I said, "it is not thus our fathers fought. They rested not on the field of strangers, when the foe did not fall before them. Their strength was like the eagles of heaven: their renown is in the song. But our people fall by degrees, and our fame begins to depart. What shall the king of Morven say, if Ossian conquers not at Tentha? Rise in your steel, ye warriorss and follow the sonnd of Ossian's course. He will not return, but renowned, to the echoing walls of Selma."
Morning rose on the blue waters of Teutha; Colmal stood before me in tears. She told of the chief of Clutha: and thrice the spear fell from her hand. My wrath turned against the stranger; for my soul trembled for Calthon. "Son of the feeble hand," I said, doTeutha's warriors fight with tears? The battle is not won with grief; nor dwells the sigh in the soul of war. Goto the deer of Cartnun, or the lowing herds of Teutha. But leave these arms, thou son of fear; a warrior may lift them in battle."
I tore the mail from her shoulders. Her snowy breast appeared. She bent her red face to the ground. I looked in silence to the chiefs. The spear fell from my hand; and the sigh of mv bosom rose. But when I heard the name of the maid, my crowding tears de