« PreviousContinue »
not return. The soul of Lorma is sad! “ What detains thee, hunter of Cona? Thou didst promise to return. Has the deer been distant far? do the dark winds sigh, round thee, on the heath? I am in the land of strangers, who is my friend, but Aldo? Come from thy sounding hills, O my best beloved !"
Her eyes are turned toward the gate. She listens to the rustling blast. She thinks it is Aldo's tread. Joy rises in her face! But sorrow returns again, like a thin cloud on the moon. “ Wilt thou not return, my love ? Let me behold the face of the bill. The moon is in the east. Calm and bright is the breast of the lake ! When shall I behold his dogs, returning from the chace? When shall I hear his voice, loud and distant on the wind? Come from thy sounding hills, hunter of woody Cona!” His thin ghost appeared, on a rock, like a watry beam of feeble light: When the moon rushes sudden from between two clouds, and the midnight shower is on the field! She followed the empty form over the heath. She knew that her hero fell. I heard her approaching cries on the wind, like the mournful voice of the breeze, when it sighs on the grass of the cave !
She came. She found her hero! Her voice was heard no more. Silent she rolled her eyes. She was pale, and wildly sad ! Few were her day's on Cona. She sunk into the tomb. Fingal commanded his bards; they sung over the death of Lorma. The daughters of Morven mourned her,
for one day in the year, when the dark winds of autumn returned !
Son of the distant land !* Thou dwellest in the field of fame! O let thy song arise, at times, in praise of those who fell. Let their thin ghosts rejoice around thee; and the soul of Lorina come on a feeble beam :t when thou liest down to rest, and the moon looks into thy cave. Then shalt thou see her lovely; but the tear is still on her cheek!
* The poet addresses himself to the Culdee.
t Be thou on a moon-beam, O Morna, near the window of my rest; when my thoughts are of peace; and the din of arms is past.
FINGAL, B. I.
AN EPIC POEM.
ARGUMENT. CAIRBAR, the son of Borbar-duthul, lord of Atha in Connaught,
the most potent chief of the race of the Firbolg, having murdered, at Temora the royal palace, Cormac the son of Artho, the young king of Ireland, usurped the throne. Cormac was lineally descended from Conar the son of Trenmor, the great grandfather of Fingal, king of those Caledonians who inhabited the western coast of Scotland. Fingal resented the behaviour of Cairbar, and resolved to pass over into Ireland, with an army, to re-establish the royal family on the Irish throne. Early intelligence of his designs coming to Cairbar, he assembled sume of his tribes in Ulster, and at the same time ordered his brother Cachmor to follow him speedily with an army. from Temora. Such was the situation of affairs when the Caledonian invaders appeared on the coast of Ulster.
The poem opens in the morning. Cairbar is represented as retired from the rest of the army, when one of his scouts brought him news of the landing of Fingal. He assembles a council of his chiefs. Foldath the chief of Moma haughtily despises the enemy; and is reprimanded warmly by Malthos. Cairbar, after hearing their debate, orders a feast to be pre. pared, to which, by his bard Olla, he invites Oscar the son of Ossian ; resolving to pick a quarrel with that hero, and so have some pretext for killing him. Oscar came to the feast; the quarrel happened ; the followers of both fought, and Cairbar and Oscar fell by mutual wounds. The noise of the battle reached Fingal's army. The king came on, to the relief of Oscar, and the Irish fell back to the army of Cathmor, who was advanced to the banks of the river Lubar, on the heath of Moi-lena. Fingal, after mourning over his grandson, ordered Ullin the chief of his bards to carry his body to Morven, to be there interred. Night coming on, Althan, the son of Conachar, relates to the king the particulars of the * murder of Cormac. Fillan, the son of Fingal, is sent to observe the motions of Cathmar by night, which concludes the action of the first day. The scene of this book is a plain, near the hill of Mora, which rose on the borders of the heath of Moi-lena, in Ulster.
Book First. The blue waves of Erin roll in light. The mountains are covered with day. Trees shake their dusky heads, in the breeze. Grey torrents pour their noisy streams. Two green hills, with aged oaks, surround a narrow plain. The blue course of a stream is there. On its banks stood Cairbar * of Atha. His spear supports the king : the red eye of his fear is sad. Cormac rises in his soul, with all his ghastly wounds. The grey form of the youth appears in darkness. Blood pours from his airy side. Cairbar thrice threw his spear on earth. Thrice he stroaked his beard. His steps are short. He often stops. He tosses his sinewy arms. He is like a cloud in the desert, varying its form to every blast. The valleys are sad around, and fear, by turns, the shower! The king, at length, resumed his soul. He took his pointed spear. He turned his eye to Moi-lena. The scouts of blue
: * Cairbar, the son of Borbar.duthul, was descended lineally from Lathon the chief of the Firbolg, the first colony who settled in the south of Ireland. The Cael were in possession of the northern coast of that kingdom, and the first monarchs of Ireland were of their race. Hence arose those differences between the two nations, which terminated, at last, in the murder of Cormac, and the usurpation of Cairbar, lord of Atha, who is mentioned in this place.