Page images

the sea. The maids turn their eyes away, lest the king should be lowly-laid; for never had they seen a ship, dark rider of the wave !

“Now he dares to call the winds, and to mix with the mist of ocean. Blue Inis-fail rose, in smoke ; but dark-skirted night came down. The sons of Bolga feared. The fiery haired Ton-théna rose. Culbin's bay received the ship, in the bosom of its echoing woods. There, issued a stream, from Duthuma's horrid cave; where spirits gleamed, at times, with their half-finished forms.

“ Dreams descended on Larthon: he saw seven spirits of his fathers. He heard their half-formed words, and dimly beheld the times to come. He beheld the kings of Atha, the sons of future days. They led their hosts, along the field, like ridges of mist, which winds pour, in autumn, over Atha of the groves.

Larthon raised the hall of Samla,* to the music of the harp. He went forth to the roes of Erin, to their wonted streams. Nor did he forget greenheaded Lumon; he often bounded over his seas, to where white-handed Flathalt looked from the hill of roes. Lumon of the foamy streams, thou risest on Fonar's soul!”

Morning pours from the east. The misty heads of the mountains rise. Valleys shew, on every side,

* Samla, apparitions, so called from the vision of Larthon, concerning his posterity.

of Flathal, heavenly, exquisitely beautiful. She was the wife of Larthon.

the grey-winding of their streams. His host heard the shield of Cathmor: at once they rose around; like a crowded sea, when first it feels the wings of the wind. The waves know not whither to roll; they lift their troubled heads.

Sad and slow retired Sul-malla to Lona of the streams. She went, and often turned; her blue eyes rolled in tears. But when she came to the rock, that darklycovered Lona's vale, she looked, from her bursting soul, on the king; and sunk, at once, behind.

Son of Alpin, strike the string. Is there aught of joy in the harp? Pour it then on the soul of Ossian: It is folded in mist. I hear thee, O bard ! in my night. But cease the lightly-trembling sound. The joy of grief belongs to Ossian, amidst his dark-brown years.

Green thorn of the hill of ghosts, that shakest thy head to nightly winds ! I hear no sound in thee; is there no spirit's windy skirt now rustling in thy leaves ? Often are the steps of the dead, in the darkeddying blasts ; when the moon, a dun shield, from the east, is rolled along the sky.

Ullin, Carril, and Ryno, voices of the days of old ! Let me hear you, while yet it is dark, to please and awake my soul. I hear you not, ye sons of song; in what hall of the clouds is your rest? Do you touch the shadowy harp, robed with morning mist, where the rustling sun comes forth from his green-headed waves ?


ARGUMENT. The fourth morning, from the opening of the poem, comes on.

Fingal, still continuing in the place, to which he had retired on the preceding night, is seen, at intervals, thro' the mist, which covered the rock of Cormul. The descent of the king is described. He orders Gaul, Dermid, and Carril thc bard, to go to the valley of Cluna, and conduct, from thence, to the Caledonian army, Ferad-artho, the son of Cairbre, the only person remaining of the family of Conar, the first king of Ireland. The king takes the command of the army, and prepares for battle. Marching towards the enemy, he comes to the cave of Lubar, where the body of Fillan lay. Upon seeing his dog Bran, who lay at the entrance of the cave, his grief returns. Cathmor arranges the Irish army in order of battle. The appearance of that hero. The general conflict is described. The actions of Fingal and Cathmor. A storm. The total rout of the Firbolg. The two kings engage, in a column of mist, on the banks of Lubar. Their attitude and conference after the combat. The death of Cathmor. Fingal resigns the speur of Trenmor to Ossian. The ceremonies observed on that occasion. The spirit of Cathmor, in the meani time, appears to Sul-malla, in the valley of Luna. Her sorrow. Evening comes on. A feast is prepared. The coming of Ferad-artho is announced by the songs of an hundred bards The poem closes with a speech of Fingal.

Book Eighth. As when the wintry winds have seized the waves of the mountain-lake, have seized them, in stormy night, and cloathed them over with ice; white, to

VOL. 11.


the hunter's early eye, the billows still seem to roll. He turns his ear to the sound of each unequal ridge: But each is silent, gleaming, strewn with boughs and tufts of grass, which shake and whistle to the wind, over their grey seats of frost. So silent shone to the morning the ridges of Morven's host, as each warrior looked up from his helmet towards the hill of the king; the cloud-covered hill of Fingal, where he strode, in the folds of mist. At times is the hero seen, greatly dim in all his arms. From thought to thought rolled the war, along his mighty soul.

Now is the coming forth of the king. First appeared the sword of Luno; the spear half issuing from a cloud, the shield still dim in mist. But when the stride of the king came abroad, with all his grey, dewy locks in the wind; then rose the shouts of his host over every moving tribe. They gathered, gleaming, round, with all their echoing shields. So rise the green seas round a spirit, that comes down from the squally wind. The traveller hears the sound afar, and lifts his head over the rock. He looks on the troubled bay, and thinks he dimly sees the form. The waves sport, unwieldy, round, with all their backs of foam.

Far-distant stood the son of Morni, Duthno's race, and Cona's bard. We stood far-distant; each beneath his tree. We shunned the eyes of the king; we had not conquered in the field. A little stream rolled at my feet: I touched its light wave, with my spear. I touched it with my spear; nor there was the

« PreviousContinue »