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sits in the hall of shells. She 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 Tura!"
Fingal, on his return from Ireland, after he hart expelled Swaran from that kingdom, marie a feast to all his heroes; he forgot to invite Ma-ronnan and Aldo, two chiefs, who had not been along with him in his expedition. They resented his neglect, and went over to Erragon, king of Sora, a country of Scandinavia, the declared enemy of Fingal. The valour of Aldo soon gained him a great reputation in Sora: and Lorma, the beautiful wife of Erragon, fell in love with him. He found means to escape with her, and to come to Fingal, who resided then in Selma, on the western coast. Erragon invaded Scotland, and was slain in battle by Gaul, the son of Morni, after he had rejected terms of peace offered him by Fingal. In this war Aldo fell, in a single comba', by the hands of his rival Erragon, and the unfortunate Lorma afterwards died of grief.
Son of the distant land, who dwellest in the secret cell! do I hear the sound of thy grove? or, is it thy voice of songs? The torrent was loud in my ear; but I heard a tuneful voice. Dost thou praise the chiefs of thy land: or the spirits * of the wind? But, lonely dweller of rocks! look thou on that heathy
* Alluding to the religious hymns of the Culdees.
plain. Thou seest green tombs, with their rank, whistling grass: with their stones of mossy heads. Thou seest them, son of the rock, but Ossian's eyes have failed.
A mountain-stream comes roaring down, and sends its waters round a green hill. Four mossy stones, in the midst of withered grass, rear their heads on the top. Two trees, which the storms have bent, spread their whistling branches around. This is thy dwelling, Erragon*; this thy narrow house: the sound of thy shells have been long forgot in Sora. Thy shield is become dark in thy hall. Erragon, king of ships! chief of distant Sora! how hast thou fallen on our mountains? How is the mighty low? Son of the secret cell! dost thou delight in songs? Hear the battle of Lora. The sound of its steel is long since past. So thunder on the darkened hill roars, and is no more. The sun returns with his silent beams. The glittering rocks, and green heads of the mountains smile.
The bay of Cona received our ships f from Erin's rolling waves. Our white sheets hung loose to the masts. The boisterous winds roared behind the groves of Morven. The horn of the king is sounded; the deer start from their rocks. Our arrows flew in the woods. The feast of the hill is spread. Our joy
* Erragon, or Ferg.fhonn, signifies the rage of the waves; probably a poetical name given him by Ossian himself; for he goes by the name of Annir in tradition.
+ This was at Fingal's return from his war against Swaran.
was great on our rocks, for the fall of the terrible Swaran. Two heroes were forgot at our feast. The rage of their bosoms burned. They rolled their red eyes in secret. The sigh bursts from their breasts. They were seen to talk together, and to throw their spears on earth. They were two dark clouds, in the midst of our joy; like pillars of mist on the settled sea. They glitter to the sun, but the mariners fear a storm. ,
"Raise my white sails," said Ma-ronnan, raise them to the winds of the west. Let us rush, O Aldo! through the foam of the northern wave. We are forgot at the feast: but our arms have been red in blood. Let us leave the hills of Fingal, and serve the king of Sora. His countenance is fierce. War darkens around his spear. Let us be renowned, O Aldo, in the battles of other lands!"
They took their swords, their shields of thongs. They rushed to Lumar's resounding bay. They came to Sora's haughty king, the chief of bounding steeds. Erragon had returned from the chace. His spear was red in blood. He bent his dark face to the ground; and whistled as he went. He took the strangers to his feasts: they fought and conquered in his wars.
Aldo returned with his fame towards Sora's lofty walls. From her tower looked the spouse of Erragon, the humid, rolling eyes of Lorma. Her yellow hair flies on the wind of ocean. Her white breast heaves, like snow on heath; when the gentle winds arise, and slowly move it in the light. She saw young Aldo, like the beam of Sora's setting sun. Her soft heart sighed. Tears filled her eyes. Her white arm supported her head. Three days she sat within the hall, and covered her grief with joy. On the fourth, she fled with the hero along the troubled sea. They came to Cona's mossy towers, to Fingal, king of spears.
"Aldo of the heart of pride!" said Fingal, rising in wrath: "shall I defend thee from the rage of Sora's injured king? who will now receive my people into their halls! who will give the feast of strangers, since Aldo, of the little soul, has dishonoured my name in Sora? Go to thy hills, thou feeble hand! Go: hide thee in thy caves. Mournful is the battle we must fight, with Sora's gloomy king. Spirit of the noble Trenmor! when will Fingal cease to fight? I was born in the midst of battles, * and my steps must move in blood to the tomb. But my hand did not injure the weak, my steel did not touch the feeble in arms. I behold thy tempests, O Morven! which will overturn my halls; when my children are dead in battle, and none remains to dwell in Selma. Then will the feeble come, but they will not know my tomb. My renown is only in song. My deeds shall be as a dream to future times!"
* Comhal, the father of Fingal, was slain in battle, against the tribe of Morni, the very day that Fingal was born; so that he may, with propriety, be said to have been torn in the midst of tattles.