Page images
PDF
EPUB

serve the motions of the enemy by night; Gaul the son of Morni desires the command of the army, in the next battle; which Fingal promises to give him. Some general reflections of the poet close the third day.

300k Third. * PLEASANT are the words of the song,” said Cuthullin ! “ lovely the tales of other times ! They are, like the calm dew of the morning on the hill of roes; when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale. O Carril, raise again thy voice ! let me hear the song of Selma : which was sung in my halls of joy, when Fingal king of shields was there, and glowed at the deeds of his fathers."

“ Fingal! thou dweller of battle,” said Carril, • early were thy deeds in arms. Lochlin was consumed in thy wrath, when thy youth strove with the beauty of maids. They smiled at the fair-blooming face of the hero; but death was in his hands. He was strong as the waters of Lora. His followers weré the roar of a thousand streams. They took the king of Lochlin in war; they restored him to his ships. His big heart swelled with pride; the death of the youth was dark in his soul. For none ever, but Fingal, had overcome the strength of the mighty

* The second night, since the opening of the poem, continues; and Cuthullin, Connal, and Carril still sit in the place described in the preceding book. The story of Agandecca is introduced here with propriety, as great use is made of it in the course of the poem, and as it, in some measure, brings about the catastrophe.

serve the motions of the enemy by night; Gaul the son of Morni desires the command of the army, in the next battle; which Fingal promises to give him. Some general reflections of the poet close the third day.

Hook Third. * " Pleasant are the words of the song,” said Cuthullin! “ lovely the tales of other times! They are, like the calm dew of the morning on the hill of roes ; when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale. O Carril, raise again thy voice ! let me hear the song of Selma : which was sung in my halls of joy, when Fingal king of shields was there, and glowed at the deeds of his fathers.”

" Fingal ! thou dweller of battle,” said Carril, “ early were thy deeds in arms. Lochlin was consumed in thy wrath, when thy youth strove with the beauty of maids. They smiled at the fair-bloomng face of the hero ; but death was in his hands. He kas strong as the waters of Lora. His followers weré le roar of a thousand streams. They took the king

Lochlin in war; they restored him to his ships. s big heart swelled with pride; the death of the th was dark in his soul. For none ever, but zal, had overcome the strength of the mighty

Starno.* He sat in the hall of his shells in Lochlin's woody land. He called the grey-haired Snivan, that often sung round the circle t of Loda : when the stone of power heard his voice, and battle turned in the field of the valiant!"

“Go; grey-haired Snivan,” Starno said, “ go to Ardven's sea-surrounded rocks. Tell to the king of Selma; he the fairest among his thousands, tell him I give him my daughter, the loveliest maid that ever heaved a breast of snow. Her arms are white as the foam of my waves. Her soul is generous and mild. Let him come with his bravest heroes, to the daughter of the secret hall!” Snivan came to Selma's hall : Fair-haired Fingal attended his steps. His kindled soul flew to the maid, as he bounded on the waves of the north. “Welcome,” said the dark-brown Starno, “ welcome, king of rocky Morven: welcome his heroes of might, sons of the distant isle ! Three days within my halls shall ye feast; three days pursue my boars ; that your fame may reach the maid who dwells in the secret hall.”

Starno designed their death. He gave the feast of shells. Fingal, who doubted the foe, kept on his arms of steel. The sons of death were afraid : They

The second night, since the opening of the poem, conS; and Cuthullin, Connal, and Carril still sit in the place bed in the preceding book. The story of Agandecca is uced here with propriety, as great use is made of it in the of the poem, and as it, in some measure, brings about astrophe.

* Starno was the father of Swaran as well as Agandecca. His fierce and cruel character is well-marked in other poems concerning the times.

of This passage most certainly alludes to the religion of Lochlin, and the stone of power here mentioned is the image, one of the deities of Scandinavia.

Aed from the eyes of the king. The voice of sprightly mirth arose. The trembling harps of joy were strung. Bards sung the battle of heroes: They sung the heaving breast of love. Ullin, Fingal's bard, was there : the sweet voice of resounding Cona. He praised the daughter of Lochlin; and Morven's * high-descended chief. The daughter of Lochlin over-heard. She left the hall of her secret sigh! She came in all her beauty, like the moon from the cloud of the east. Loveliness was around her as light. Her steps were the music of songs. She saw the youth and loved him. He was the stolen sigh of her soul. Her blue eye rolled on him in secret : she blest the chief of resounding Morven.

The third day with all its beams, shone bright on the wood of boars. Forth moved the dark-browed Starno; and Fingal, king of shields. Half the day they spent in the chace; the spear of Selma was red in blood. It was then the daughter of Starno, with blue eyes rolling in tears; it was then she came with her voice of love, and spoke to the king of Morven. “ Fingal, high-descended chief, trust not Starno's heart of pride. Within that wood he has placed his chiefs. Beware of the wood of death. But, remember, son of the isle, remember Agandecca : save me from the wrath of my father, king of the windy Morven!”

* All the north-west coast of Scotland probably went of old under the name of Morven, which signifies a ridge of very high

hills.

fled from the eyes of the king. The voice of sprightly mirth arose. The trembling harps of joy were strung, Bards sung the battle of heroes: They sung the heaving breast of love. Ullin, Fingal's bard, was there : the sweet voice of resounding Cona. He praised the daughter of Lochlin; and Morven's * high-descended chief. The daughter of Lochlin over-heard. She left the hall of her secret sigh! She came in all her beauty, like the moon from the cloud of the east. Loveliness was around her as light. Her steps were the music of songs. She saw the youth and loved him. He was the stolen sigh of her soul. Her blue eye rolled on him in secret : she blest the chief of resounding Morven.

The third day with all its beams, shone bright on the wood of boars. Forth moved the dark-browed Starno; and Fingal, king of shields. Half the day hey spent in the chace; the spear of Selma was red - blood. It was then the daughter of Starno, with Fue eyes rolling in tears; it was then she came with er voice of love, and spoke to the king of Morven. Fingal, high-descended chief, trust not Starno's art of pride. Within that wood he has placed his efs. Beware of the wood of death. But, rember, son of the isle, remember Agandecca :

The youth, with unconcern, went on; his heroes by his side. The sons of death fell by his hand; and Gormal echoed around! Before the halls of Starno the sons of the chace convened. The king's dark brows were like clouds. His eyes like meteors of night. “ Bring hither,” he said, “ Agandecca to her lovely king of Morven! His hand is stained with the blood of my people ; her words have not been in vain!” She came with the red eye of tears. She came with loosely flowing locks. Her white breast heaved with broken sighs, like the foam of the streamy Lubar. Starno pierced her side with steel. She fell, like a wreath of snow, which slides from the rocks of Ronan; when the woods are still, and echo deepens in the vale! Then Fingal eyed his valiant chiefs, his valiant chiefs took arms. The gloom of battle roared; Lochlin fled or died. Pale, in his bounding ship he closed the maid of the softest soul. Her tomb ascends on Ardven; the sea roars round her narrow dwelling.

“ Blessed be her soul,” said Cuthullin ; “ blessed be the mouth of the song ! Strong was the youth of Fingal; strong is his arm of age. Lochlin shall fall again before the king of echoing Morven. Shew thy face from a cloud, O moon ! light his white sails on the wave : and if any strong spirit * of heaven sits

me from the wrath of my father, king of the ly Morven !W the north-west coast of Scotland probably went of old the name of Morven, which signifies a ridge of very high

* This is the only passage in the poem that has the appearance of religion. But Cuthullin's apostrophe to this spirit is accompanied with a doubt, so that it is not easy to determine whether the hero meant a superior being, or the ghosts of deceased warriors, who were supposed in those times to rule the storms, and to transport themselves in a gust of wind from one country to another.

on that low-hung cloud ; turn his dark ships from the rock, thou rider of the storm !”

Such were the words of Cuthullin at the sound of the mountainstream; when Calmar ascended the hill, the wounded son of Matha. From the field he came in his blood. He leaned on his bending spear. Feeble is the arm of battle! but strong the soul of the hero! “Welcome! O son of Matha,” said Connal, “ welcome art thou to thy friends! Why bursts that broken sigh, from the breast of him who never feared before? And never, Connal, will he fear chief of the pointed steel! My soul brightens in danger : in the noise of arms. I am of the race of battle. My fathers never feared."

“ Cormar was the first of my race. He sported thro' the storms of waves. His black skiff bounded on ocean; he travelled on the wings of the wind. A spirit once embroiled the night. Seas swell, and rocks resound. Winds drive along the clouds. The lightning flies on wings of fire. He feared, and came to land : then blushed that he feared at all. He rushed again among the waves to find the son of the wind. Three youths guide the bounding bark; he stood with sword unsheathed. When the low-hung vapour passed, he took it by the curling head. He searched its dark womb with his steel. The sun of the wind

« PreviousContinue »