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maid of Erin; but strong must be that warrio: s hand that conquers Erin's chiefs; matchless his strength in fight.” “Chief,” I replied, “the light of my father's deeds blazes in my soul. Though young, I seek my beam of glory foremost in the ranks of foes. Warrior, I can fall, but I shall fall with renown.” “Happy is thy father, O generous youth ! more happy the maid of thy love. Thy glory shall surround her with praise; thy valor raise her charms. O were my Evir-allen thy spouse, my years would pass away in joy. Pleased I would descend into the grave : contented see the end of my days.” The feast was spread: stately and slow came Evirallen. A snow-white veil covered her blushing face. Her large blue eyes were bent on earth. Dignity flowed round her graceful steps. A shining tear fell glittering on her cheek. She appeared lovely as the mountain flower when the ruddy beams of the rising sun gleam on its dew-covered sides. Decent she sate. High beat my fluttering heart. Swift through my veins flew my thrilling blood. An unusual weight oppressed my breast. I stood, darkened in my place. The image of the maid wandered over my troubled soul. The sprightly harp's melodious voice arose from the string of the bards. My soul melted away in the sounds, for my heart, like a stream, flowed gently away in song. Murmurs soon broke upon our joy. Half-unsheathed daggers gleamed. Many a voice was heard abrupt. “Shall the son of the strangers be preferred Soon shall he be rolled away, like mist by the rushing breath of the tempest.” Sedate I rose, for I aespised the boaster's threats. The fair one's eye followed my departure. I heard a smothered sigh burst from her breast.
The horn's harsh sound summoned us to the doubt. ful strife of spears. Lothmar, fierce hunter of the woody Galmal, first opposed his might. He vainly insulted my youth, but my sword cleft his brazen shield, and cut his ashen lance in twain. Straight I with held my descending blade. Lothmar retired confused
Then rose the red-haired strength of Sulin. Fierce rolled his deep-sunk eye. His shaggy brows stood erect. His face was contracted with scorn. Thrice his spear pierced my yuckler. Thrice his sword struck on my helm. Swift flashes gleamed from our circling blades. The pride of my rage arose. Furious I rushed on the chief, and stretched his bulk on the plain. Groaning he fell to earth. Lego's shores re-echoed from his fall.
Then advanced Cormac, graceful in glittering arms. No fairer youth was seen on Erin's grassy hills. His age was equal to mine; his port majestic; his stature tall and slender, like the young shooting poplar in Lutha's streamy vales; but sorrow sate upon his brow; languor reigned on his cheek. My heart inclined to the youth. My sword of avoided to wound; often sought to save his days: but he rushed eager on death. He fell. Blood gushed from his panting breast. Tears flowed streaming from mine eyes. I stretched forth my hand to the chief. I proffered gentle words of peace. Faintly he seized my hand. “Stranger,” he said, “I willingly die, for my days were oppressed with wo. Evir-allen rejected my love. She slighted my tender suit. Thou alone deservest the maid, for pity reigns in thy soul, and thou art generous and brave. Tell her, I forgive her scorn. Tell her, I descend with joy into the grave; but raise the stone of my praise. Let the maid throw a flower on my tomb, and mingle one tear with my dust; this is my sole re. quest. This sle can grant to mv shade.”
I would have spoken, but broken sighs issuing from my breast, interrupted my faltering words. I threw my spear aside. I clasped the youth in my arms: but, alas! his soul was already departed to the cloudy mansions of his fathers. Then thrice I raised my voice, and called the chiefs fo combat. Thrice I brandished my spear, and wield. ed my glittering sword. No warrior appeared. The dreaded the force of my arm, and yielded the blue. eyed maid. Three days I remained in Branno's halls. On the fourth he led me to the chambers of the fair. She came forth attended by her maids, graceful in lovely majesty, like the moon, when all the stars confess her sway, and retire respectful and abashed. I laid my sword at her feet. Words of love flowed faltering from my tongue. Gently she gave her hand. Joy seized my enraptured soul. Branno was touched at the sight. He closed me in his aged arms. “O wert thou,” said he, “the son of my friend, the son of the mighty Fingal, then were my happiness complete!” “I am, I am the son of thy friend,” I replied, “Os. sian, the son of Fingal;” then sunk upon his aged breast. Our flowing tears mingled together. We remained long clasped in each other's arms. Such was my youth, O Malvina'! but alas! I am now forlorn. Darkness covers my soul. Yet the light of song beams at times on my mind. It solaces awhile my wo. Bards, prepare my tomb. Lay me by the shir Evir-allen. When the revolving years bring back the mild season of spring to our hills, sing the praise of Cona’s bard, of Ossian, the friend of the distressed.
The difference, in many material circumstances, between these two descriptions of, as it would seem, the
same thing, must be very apparent. “I will submit,”
* If Mr. Laing should choose to take the trouble of passing them ‘hrough his alembic, they may easily be disposed of For instance, * Larmel, or the Song of despair i”
ments,” which Baron de Harold assures us furnished him with the ground-work of these poems, we leave it to others to ascertain. Our investigation is confined within far narrower limits. It has, without doubt, been observed that in noticing what has transpired on this subject since our last edi. tion, we have carefully avoided any dogmatism on the question collectedly; and having simply displayed a torch to show the paths which lead to the labyrinth, those who wish to venture more deeply into its intricacies, may, when they please, pursue them. We must acknowledge, before we depart, that we cannot see without indignation, or rather pity, the belief of some persons that these poems are the offspring of Macpherson's genius, so operating on their minds as to turn their admiration of the ancient poet into contempt of the modern. We ourselves love antiquity, not merely however, on account of its antiquity, but because it deserves to be loved. No : we honestly own with Quintilian, in quibusdam antiquorum, vir risum, in quibusdam autem vir somnum tenere.” The songs of other times, when they are, as they frequently are, supremely beautiful, merit every praise, but we must not there fore despise all novelty. In the days of the Theban bard, it would seem to have been otherwise, for he ap
“The dreary night-owl screams in the solitary retreat of his mouldering ivy-covered tower,” p. 163. Taken from the Persian poet quoted by Gibbon : - “The owl hath sung her watch-song in the towers of Afrasiab " “All nature is consonant to the horrors of my mind.” Larnel, p. 163. Evidently from the rhythmas of the Portuguese poet. One in despair, calls the desolation of nature . “— lugar conforme a meu cuidado.” ... Obras de Camoens, t. iii. p. 115 Mr. Laing may pronounce this learned, but it is at any rate as Woolish as it is learned. * Quintilian or Tacitus de Oratoribus.