Page images

Derm Id, make use of thy sword.; son of Moray, wield thy steel. Would that I fell with thee! that my death came from the hand of Dermid!

They fought by the brook of the mountain; by the streams of Branno. 13lood tinged the silvery stream, and crudled round the mossy stones. Dermid the graceful fell; fell, and smiled in death.

And fallest thou, son of Morny; fallest thou by Oscur's hand! Dermid invincible in war, thus do I see thee fall! —He went, and returned to the maid whom he loved; returned, but she perceived his grief.

Why that gloom, son of Oscian? what shades thy mighty foul?

Though once renowned for the bow,

O Omaid, I have lost my fame. Fixed on a tree by the brook of the bill, is the shield of Gormur the brave, whom in battle^ I flew. I have wasted the day in vain, nor could my arrow pierce it.

Let me try, son of Oscian, the skill of Dargo's daughter. My hands were taught the bow: my father delighted in my skill.

She went. He stood behind the shield. Her arrow slew and pierced his breast *.

* Nothing was held by the ancient Highlanders more essential to their glory, than to die by the hand of some person worthy or renowned. This was the occasion of Oscur's contriving to be slain by his mistress, now that he was weary of life. In those early times suicide was utterly unknown among that people, and no traces of it are found in the old poetry. Whence the translator suspects the account that follows of the daughter of Dargo killing herself, to be the interpolation of some later Bard.

E % Blesseo

Blessed be that hand of snow; and blessed thy bow of yew! I fall resolved on death : and who but the daughter of Dargo was worthy to flay me? Lay me in the earth, my fair-one; lay me by the fide of Dermid.

Oscur! I have the blood, the foul of the mighty Dargo. Well pleased I can meet death. My sorrow I can end

thus. She pierced her white bosom

with steel. She fell; she trembled $ and died.

By the brook of the hill their graves are laid; a birch's unequal shade covers their tomb. Often on their green earthen tombs the branchy sons of the mountain feed, when mid-day is all in flames, and silence is over all the hills.


[ocr errors]


Y the side of a rock on the hill, beneath the aged trees, old Oscian sat on the moss; the last of the race of Fingal. Sightless are his aged eyes; his beard is waving in the wind. Dull through the leafless trees he heard the voice of the north. Sorrow revived in his foul: he began and lamented the dead.

How hast thou fallen like an oak, with all thy branches round thee! Where is Fingal the King? where is Ofcur my son? where are all my race? Alas/ in the earth they lie. I feel their tombs with my hands. I hear the river below murmuring hoarsely over the stones. What dost thou, O river, to me? Thou bringest back the memory of the past.


The race of Fingal stood on thy banks, like a wood in a fertile foil. Keen were their spears of steel. Hardy. was he who dared to encounter theif rage. Fillan the great was there. Thou. Ostur wert there, my son! Fingal himself was there, strong in the grey locks of years. Full rose his sinewy limbs;. and wide his shoulders spread. The unhappy met with his arm, when the pride of his wrath arose.

The son of Morny came; Gaul, the tallest of men. He stood on the hill like an oak; his voice was like the streams of the hill. Why reigneth alone, he cries,, the son of the mighty Corval? Fingal is not strong to save: he is no support for the people. lam strong as a storm in: the ocean; as a whirlwind on the hill. Yield, son of Corval; Fingal, yield to^ me.


« PreviousContinue »