Page images
PDF

THE BATTLE OF LORA.

ARGUMENT.

Yagal, or his return from Ireland, after he had expelled Swaran ston, that kingdom, made a feast to all his heroes: he forgot to invite Ala-ronman and Aldo, two chiefs, who had not been alon with him in his expedition. They resented his reglect; an vent over to Erragon, king of Sora, a country of Scandinavia the declared enemy of Fingal. The valor of Aldo soon gained him a great reputation in Sora; and Lorma, the beautiful wile of Erragon, fell in love with him. He found means to escape with her, and to come to Fingal, who resided then in Selma, on the western coast. Erragon invaded Scotland, and was slain in battle by Gaul, the son of Morni, after he had rejected terms of peace offered him by Fingal. In this war Aldo fell, in a single combat, by the hands of i. rival Erragon, and the unfortunate

Lorula afterward died et grief.

SoN of the distant land, who dwellest in the secret cell; do I hear the sound of thy grove 3 or is it thy voice of songs The torrent was loud in my ear; but I heard a tuneful voice. Dost thou praise the chiefs of thy land: or the spirits of the wind But, lonely dweller of rocks! look thou on that heathy plain. Thou seest green tombs, with their rank, whistling grass with their stones of mossy heads. Thou seest them, son of the rock, but Ossian's eyes have failed !

A mountain-stream comes roaring down, and sends its waters round a green hill. Four mossy stones, in the midst of withered grass, rear their heads on the top. Two trees which the storms have bent, spread their whistling branches around. This is thy dwelling, Erragon; this thy narrow house; the sound of th shells has been long forgot in Sora. Thy shield is be: come dark in thy hull. Erragon, king of ships, chief of distant Sora! how hast thou fallen on our mount

[ocr errors]

ains? How is the mighty low?' Son of the secret cell! dost thou delight in songs? Hear the battle of Lora The sound of its steel is long since past. So thunder on the darkened hill roars and is no more. The sun returns with his silent beams. The glittering rocks, and the green heads of the mountains, smile. The bay of Cona received our ships from Erin's rolling waves. Our white sheets hung loose to the masts. The boisterous winds roared behind the groves of Morven. The horn of the king is sounded; the deer start from their rocks. Our arrows flew in the woods. The feast of the hill is spread. Our joy was great on our rocks, for the fall of the terrible Swaran. Two heroes were forgot at our feast. The rage of their bosoms burned. They rolled their red eyes in secret. The sigh bursts from their breasts. They were seen to talk together, and to throw their spears on earth. They were two dark clouds in the midst of our joy; like pillars of mist on the settled sea: they glitter to the sun, but the mariners fear a storm. “Raise my white sails,” said Ma-ronnan, “raise them to the winds of the west. Let us rush, O Aldo' through the foam of the northern wave. We are for. ot at the feast: but our arms have been red in blood. #. us leave the hills of Fingal, and serve the king of Sora. His countenance is fierce. War darkens around his spear. Let us be renowned. O Aldo, in the battles of other lands !” They took their swords, their shields of thongs. They rushed to Lumar’s resounding bay. They came to Sora's haughty king, the chief of bounding steeds Erragon had returned from the chase. His spear was red in blood. He bent his dark face to the ground; and whistled as he went. He took the strangers to his feast: they fought and conquered in his wars. Aldo returned with his fame towards Sora's lottv

* ------ *- :- ~~

|

*
wa.ls. From her tower looked the spouse of Erragon,

the humid, rolling eyes of Lorma. Her yellow hair
flies on the wind of ocean. Her white breast heaves,
like snow on heath; when the gentle winds arise, and
slowly move it in the light. She saw young Aldo, like
the beam of Sora's setting sun. Her soft heart sighed.
Tears filled her eyes. Her white arm supported her
head. Three days she sat within the hall, and covered
her grief with joy. On the fourth she fled with the
hero, along the troubled sea. They came to Cona's
mossy towers, to Fingal king of spears.
“Aldo of the heart of pride!” said Fingal, rising in
wrath; “shall I defend thee from the rage of Sora's
injured king Who will now receive my people into
their halls? Who will give the feast of strangers, since
Aldo of the little soul has dishonored my name in Sora !
Go to thy hills, thou feeble hand! Go: hide thee in
thy caves. Mournful is the battle we must fight with
Sora's gloomy king. Spirit of the noble Trenmors
when will Fingal cease to fight ! I was born in the
midst of battles,” and my steps must move in blood to
the tomb. But my hand did not injure the weak, my
steel did not touch the feeble in arms. I behold thy
tempests, O Morven which will overturn my halls
when my children are dead in battle, and none remains
to dwell in Selma. Then will the feeble come, but
they will not know my tomb. My renown is only in
song. My deeds shall be as a dream to future times!”
His people gathered around Erragon, as the storms
round the ghosts of night; when he calls them from
the top of Morven, and prepares to pour them on the
land of the stranger. He came to the shore of Cona.

* Comhal, the father of Fingal, was slain in battle, against the trite of Morni, the very day that Fingal was born ; so that he may with propriety, be said to have been “born in the midst of battles.”

[ocr errors]

---------------------- -------------------------~~~~

He sent his bard to the king to demand the combat of
thousands: or the land of many hills' Fingal sat in
his hall with the friends of his youth around him. The
* heroes were at the chase, far distant in the des.
c The gray-haired chiefs talked of other times;
of the actions of their youth; when the aged Nartmor
came, the chief of streamy Lora.
“This is no time,” said Nartmor, “to hear the songs
of other years: Erragon frowns on the coast, and lifts
ten thousand swords. Gloomy is the king among his
chiefs! he is like the darkened moon amidst the meteors
of night; when they sail along her skirts, and give the
light that has failed o'er her orb.” “Come,” said
Fingal, “from thy hall, come, daughter of my love:
come from thy hall, Bosmina, maid of streamy Mor
ven l Nartmor, take the steeds of the strangers. At-
tend the daughter of Fingall Let her bid the king of
Sora to our feast, to Selma's shaded wall. Offer him,
O Bosminal the peace of heroes, and the wealth of
generous Aldo. Our youths are far distant. Age is
on our trembling hands !”
She came to the host of Erragon, like a beam of
light to a cloud. In her right hand was seen a spark-
ling shell. In her left an arrow of gold. The first,
the joyful mark of peace! The latter, the sign of war.
Erragon brightened in her presence, as a rock before
the sudden beams of the sun; when they issue from a
broken cloud divided by the roaring winds
“Son of the distant Sora,” began the mildly-blush-
ing maid, “come to the feast of Morven's king, to
Selma's shaded walls. Take the peace of heroes,
O warrior Let the dark sword rest by thy side.
Choosest thou the wealth of kings Then hear the
words of generous Aldo. He gives to Erragon a hun.
dred steeds, the children of the rein ; a hundred maids
from distant lands; a hundred hawks wish fluttering

wing that fly across the sky. A hundred girdles” shall also be thine, to bind high-bosomed maids. The friends of the births of heroes. The cure of the sons of toil. Ten shells, studded with gems, shall shine in Sora's towers: the bright water trembles on their stars, and seems to be sparkling wine. They gladdened once the kings of the world,t in the midst of their echoing halls. These, O hero ! shall be thine; or thy whitebosoned spouse. Lorma shall roll her bright eyes in thy halls; though Fingal loves the generous Aldo : Fingal, who never injured a hero, though his arm is strong !” “Sost voice of Cona " replied the king, “tell him, he spreads his feast in vain. Let Fingal pour his spoils around me. Let him bend beneath my power. Let him give me the swords of his fathers: the shields of other times; that my children may behold them in my halls, and say, ‘These are the arms of Fingal!’” “Never shall they behold them in thy halls,” said the rising pride of the maid. “They are in the hands of heroes, who never yield in war. King of echoing Sora ! the storm is gathering on our hills. Dost thou not foresee the fall of thy people, son of the distant i:und !” She came to Selma's silent halls. The king beheld her downcast eyes. He rose from his place, in his strength. He shook his aged locks. He took the so mail of Trenmor. The dark-brown shield of his fathers. Darkness filled Selma's hall, when he

* Sanctified girdles, till very lately, were kept in many families m the north of Scotland; they were bound about women in labor, and were supposed to alleviate their pains, and to accelerate the birth. They were impressed with several mystical figures, and the ceremony of binding them about the woman's waist, was accompanied with words and gestures, which showed the custom to have come originally from the Druids.

t The Roman emperors.

« PreviousContinue »