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Let me hear thy sound. Let the light of memory rise on I-thona. Let me behold again my friends! And Ossian does behold his friends, on the dark-blue isle. The cave of Thona appears, with its mossy rocks and bending trees. A stream roars at its mouth. Toscar bends over its course. Fercuth is sad by his side. Cuthona* sits at a distance, and weeps. Does the wind of the waves deceive me? Or do I hear them speak?
The night was stormy. From their hills the groaning oaks came down. The sea darkly-tumbled beneath the blast. The roaring waves climbed against our rocks. The lightning came often and shewed the blasted fern. Fercuth! I saw the ghost who embroiled the night.f Silent he stood, on that bank. His robe of mist flew on the wind. I could behold his tears. An aged man he seemed, and full of thought!
It was thy father, O Toscar. He foresees some death among his race. Such was his appearance on
• Cuthona the daughter of Rumar, whom Toscar had carried away by force.
-f- It was long thought, in the north of Scotland, that storms were raised by the ghosts of the deceased. This notion is still entertained by the vulgar; for they think that whirlwinds, and sudden squalls of wind, are occasioned by spirits, who transport themselves, in that manner, from one place to another.
Cromla, before the great Maronnan* fell. Erin of hills of grass! how pleasant are thy vales? Silence is near thy blue streams. The sun is on thy fields. Soft is the sound of the harp in Selama.f Lovely the cry of the hunter on Cromla. But we are in dark I-thona, surrounded by the storm. The billows lift their white heads above our rocks. We tremble amidst the night.
Whither is the soul of battle fled, Fercuth with locks of age? I have seen thee undaunted in danger: thine eyes burning with joy in the fight. Whither is the soul of battle fled? Our fathers never feared. Go: view the settling sea: the stormy wind is laid. The billows still tremble on the deep. They seem to fear the blast. Go view the settling sea. Morning is grey on our rocks. The sun will look soon from his east; in all his pride of light! I lifted up my sails, with joy, before the halls of generous Conlath. My course was by a desert isle: where Cuthona pursued the deer. I saw her, like that beam of the sun that issues from the cloud. Her hair was on her heaving breast. She, bending forward, drew the bow. Her white arm seemed, behind her, like the snow of Cromla. Come to my
* Ma-ronnan was the brother of Toscar.
f Selamath, beautiful to behold, the name of Toscar's residence, on the coast of Ulster, near the mountain Cromla.
soul, I said, huntress of the desert isle! But she wastes her time in tears. She thinks of the generous Conlath. Where can I find thy peace, Cuthona, lovely maid!
A distant steep bends over the sea, with aged trees and mossy rocks. The billow rolls at its feet. On its side is the dwelling of roes. The people call it Mora. There the towers of my love arise. There Conlath looks over the sea for his only love. The daughters of the chace returned. He beheld their downcast eyes. "Where is the daughter of Rumar?" But they answered not. My peace dwells on Mora, son of the distant land!
Cuthona shall return to her peace: to the towers of generous Conlath. He is the friend of Toscar! I have feasted in his halls! Rise, ye gentle breezes of Erin. Stretch my sails toward Mora's shores. Cuthona shall rest on Mora: but the days of Toscar must be sad. I shall sit in my cave in the field of the sun. The blast will rustle in my trees. I shall think it is Cuthona's voice. But she is distant far, in the halls of the mighty Conlath!
* Cu-thona, the mournful sound of the waves; a poetical name given her on account of her mourning to the sound of the waves; her name in tradition is Gorm-huil, the blue-eyed maid.
Ha! what cloud is that? It carries the ghosts of my fathers. I see the skirts of their robes, like grey and watry mist. When shall I fall, O Rumar? Sad Cuthona foresees her death. Will not Conlath behold me, before I enter the narrow house ?*
He shall behold thee, O maid. He comes along the heaving sea. The death of Toscar is dark on his spear. A wound is in his side! He is pale at the cave of Thona. He shews his ghastly wound. Where art thou with thy tears, Cuthona! The chief of Mora dies. The vision grows dim on my mind. I behold the chiefs no more! But, O ye bards of future times, remember the fall of Conlath with tears. He fell before his day. Sadness darkened in his hall. His mother looked to his shield on the wall, and it was bloody.+ She knew that her hero fell. Her sorrow was heard on Mora. Art thou pale on thy rock, Cuthona, beside the fallen chiefs? Night comes, and day returns, but none appears to raise their tomb. Thou frightenest the screaming fowls away. Thy tears for ever flow. Thou art pale as a watry cloud, that rises from a lake!
* The grave.
-f It was the opinion of the times, that the arms left by the heroes at home, became bloody the Tery instant their owners were killed, though at ever so great a distance.
The sons of green Selma came. They found Cuthona cold. They raised a tomb over the heroes. She rests at the side of Conlath! Come not to my dreams, O Conlath! Thou hast received thy fame. Be thy voice far distant from my hall; that sleep may descend at night. O that I could forget my friends: till my foot-steps should cease to be seen! till I come among them with joy! and lay my aged limbs in the narrow house!