Page images
PDF
EPUB

pale, fair wanderer of the clouds ?” She departed on the wind of Lena. She left him in the midst of the night. She mourned the sons of her people, that were to fall by the hand of Fingal.

The hero started from rest. Still he beheld her in his soul. The sound of Oscar's steps approached. The king saw the grey shield on his side : For the faint beam of the morning came over the waters of Ullin. “What do the foes in their fear?" said the rising king of Morven; “ or fly they thro' ocean's foam, or wait they the battle of steel ? But why should Fingal ask? I hear their voice on the early wind ! Fly over Lena's heath: 0 Oscar, awake our friends !"

The king stood by the stone of Lubar. Thrice he reared his terrible voice. The deer started from the fountains of Cromla. The rocks shook on all their hills. Like the noise of a hundred mountain-streams, that burst, and roar, and foam ! like the clouds, that gather to a tempest on the blue face of the sky! so met the sons of the desert, round the terrible voice of Fingal. Pleasant was the voice of the king of Morven to the warriors of his land. Often had he led them to battle ; often returned with the spoils of the foe!

“ Come to battle,” said the king, “ ye children of echoing Selma! Come to the death of thousands. Comhal's son will see the fight. My sword shall wave on the hill the defence of my people in war. But never may you need it, warriors : while the son of Morni fights, the chief of mighty men! He shall

pule, fair wanderer of the clouds ?” She departed on the wind of Lena. She left him in the midst of the night. She mourned the sons of her people, that were to fall by the hand of Fingal.

The hero started from rest. Still he beheld her in his soul. The sound of Oscar's steps approached. The king saw the grey shield on his side: For the faint beam of the morning came over the waters of Ullin. “What do the foes in their fear?" said the rising king of Morven; “or fly they thro' ocean's vam, or wait they the battle of steel? But why should ingal ask? I hear their voice on the early wind ! ly over Lena's heath: 0 Oscar, awake our friends !" - The king stood by the stone of Lubar. Thrice he - zred his terrible voice. The deer started from the nuntains of Cromla. The rocks shook on all their I!s. Like the noise of a hundred mountain-streams, it burst, and roar, and foam! like the clouds, that her to a tempest on the blue face of the sky! so

the sons of the desert, round the terrible voice of al. Pleasant was the voice of the king of Morven he warriors of his land. Often had he led them atte ; often returned with the spoils of the foe! Come to battle,” said the king, ye children of ng Selma! Come to the death of thousands. bal's son will see the fight. My sword shall on the hill the defence of my people in war. ver may you need it, warriors : while the son rni fights, the chief of mighty men! He shall

lead my battle; that his fame may rise in song ! O ye ghosts of heroes dead ! ye riders of the storm of Cromla! receive my falling people with joy, and bear them to your hills. And may the blast of Lena carry them over my seas, that they may come to my silent dreams, and delight my soul in rest! Fillan and Oscar, of the dark-brown hair ! fair Ryno, with the pointed steel! advance with valour to the fight. Behold the son of Morni! Let your swords be like his in strife: behold the deeds of his hands. Protect the friends of your father. Remember the chiefs of old. My children, I will see you yet, though here ye should fall in Erin. Soon shall our cold, pale ghosts meet in a cloud on Cona’s eddying winds !”

Now like a dark and stormy cloud, edged round with the red lightning of heaven; Aying westward from the morning's beam, the king of Selma removed. Terrible is the light of his armour; two spears are in his hand. His grey hair falls on the wind. He often looks back on the war. Three bards attend the son of fame, to bear his words to the chiefs. High on Cromla's side he sat, waving the lightning of his sword, and as he waved we moved.

Joy rises in Oscar's face. His cheek is red. His eye sheds tears. The sword is a beam of fire in his hand. He came, and smiling, spoke to Ossian. “O) ruler of the fight of steel! my father, hear thy son! Retire with Morven’s mighty chief. Give me the fame of Ossian. If here I fall: O chief, remember

that breast of snow, the lonely sun-beam of my love, the white-handed daughter of Toscar ! For, with red cheek from the rock, bending over the stream, her soft hair flies about her bosom, as she pours the sigh for Oscar. Tell her I am on my hills, a lightlybounding son of the wind; tell her, that in a cloud, I may meet the lovely maid of Toscar.” Raise, Oscar, rather raise my tomb. I will not yield the war to thee. The first and bloodiest in the strife, my arm shall teach thee how to fight. But, remember, my son, to place this sword, this bow, the horn of my deer, within that dark and narrow house, whose mark is one grey stone! Oscar, I have no love to leave to the care of my son. Evirallin is no more, the lovely daughter of Branno !

Such were our words, when Gaul's loud voice came growing on the wind. He waved on high the sword of his father. We rushed to death and wounds. As waves, white-bubbling over the deep, come swelling, roaring on; as rocks of ooze meet roaring waves : so foes attacked and fought. Man met with man, and steel with steel. Shields sound, and warriors fall. As a hundred hammers on the red son of the furnace, so rose, so rung their swords !

Gaul rushed on, like a whirlwind in Ardven. The destruction of heroes is on his sword. Swaran was like the fire of the desert in the echoing heath of Gormal! How can I give to the song the death of many spears? My sword rose high, and flamed in the strife

var

that breast of snow, the lonely sun-beam of my love, the white-handed daughter of Toscar! For, with red cheek from the rock, bending over the stream, her soft hair flies about her bosom, as she pours the sigh for Oscar. Tell her I am on my hills, a lightlybounding son of the wind ; tell her, that in a cloud, I may meet the lovely maid of Toscar.” Raise, Os. car, rather raise my tomb. I will not yield the war o thee. The first and bloodiest in the strife, my arm hall teach thee how to fight. But, remember, my on, to place this sword, this bow, the horn of my (r, within that dark and narrow house, whose mark one grey stone! Oscar, I have no love to leave to - care of my son. Evirallin is no more, the lovely aghter of Branno! Such were our words, when Gaul's loud voice me growing on the wind. He waved on high the od of his father. We rushed to death and wounds. waves, white-bubbling over the deep, come swell

roaring on; as rocks of ooze meet roaring waves : es attacked and fought. Man met with man, sted with steel. Shields sound, and warriors

Is a hundred hammers on the red son of the e, so rose, so rung their swords ! I rushed on, like a whirlwind in Ardven. The

of blood. Oscar, terrible wert thou, my best, my greatest son! I rejoiced in my secret soul, when his sword flamed over the slain. They fled amain thro' Lena's heath. We pursued and slew. As stones that bound from rock to rock; as axes in echoing woods ; as thunder rolls from hill to hill, in dismal broken peals; so blow succeeded to blow, and death to death, from the hand of Oscar and mine.

But Swaran closed round Morni's son, as the strength of the tide of Inistore. The king half-rose from his hill at the sight. He half-assumed the spear. “Go, Ullin, go, my aged bard,” begun the king of Morven. “ Remind the mighty Gaul of war. Remind him of his fathers. Support the yielding fight with song; for song enlivens war.” Tall Ullin went, with step of age, and spoke to the king of swords. “Son * of the chief of generous steeds ! high-bounding king of spears. Strong arm in every perilous toil. Hard heart that never yields. Chief of the pointed arms of death. Cut down the foe; let no white sail bound round dark Inistore. Be thine arm like thunder, thine eyes like fire, thy heart of solid rock. Whirl round thy sword as a meteor at night; lift thy shield like the flame of death. Son of the chief of generous steeds, cut down the foe. De

ction of heroes is on his sword. Swaran was 2 fire of the desert in the echoing heath of GorHow can I give to the song the death of many My sword rose high, and famed in the strife

* The custom of encouraging nien in battle with extempore rhymes has been carried down almost to our own times. Several of these war songs are extant, but the most of them are only a group of epithets, without either beauty or harmony, uiterly destitute of poetical merit.

stroy!” The hero's heart beat high. But Swaran came with battle. He cleft the shield of Gaul in twain. The sons of Selma fled.

Fingal at once arose in arms. Thrice he reared his dreadful voice. Cromla answered around. The sons of the desert stood still. They bent their blushing faces to earth, ashamed at the presence of the king. He came, like a cloud of rain in the day of the sun, when slow it rolls on the hill, and fields expect the shower. Silence attends its slow progress aloft; but the tempest is soon to arise. Swaran beheld the terrible king of Morven. He stopped in the midst of his course. Dark he leaned on his spear, rolling his red eyes around. Silent and tall he seemed as an oak on the banks of Lubar, which had its branches blasted of old by the lightning of heaven. It bends over the stream: the grey moss whistles in the wind : so stood the king. Then slowly he retired to the rising heath of Lena. His thousands pour around the hero. Darkness gathers on the hill !

Fingal, like a beam from heaven, shone in the midst of his people. His heroes gather around him. He sends forth the voice of his power. “ Raise my standards on high; spread them on Lena's wind, like the flames of an hundred hills ! Let them sound on the winds of Erin, and remind us of the fight. Ye sons of the roaring streams, that pour from a thousand hills, be near the king of Morven ! attend to the words of his power! Gaul strongest arm of death!

« PreviousContinue »