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For fame, not hatred, your forefathers fought;
My words had weight; the lovers' cause prevail'd;
COLLA, an Irish Chief, being killed in battle, Dar-thula, his daughter, becomes the prisoner of Cairbar, who falls violently in love with her. But while lie preferred his suit, the sons of Usnoth, JVathos, Althos, and Arden, who were enemies to Cairbar, pass that way. At their approach he flies to avoid them. Dar-thula becomes enamoured of JVathos, and takes shipping with the three brothers for Scotland, their native country. But a storm rising, they are driven back on that part of the coast where Cairbar was encamped with his army. The three brothers, after a brave defence, overpowered, are slain; and the unfortunate Dar-thula, wounded in the conflict, expires on the body of her beloved JVathos.
The poem opens with an apostrophe to the moon. In the course of the narration, are introduced, by way of episodes, various circumstances explanatory of the story; which makes it one, if not the most diversified and interesting of Ossian's lesser compositions.
HOW fair art thou, bright daughter of the spheres!
Serene and full thy lovely face appears;
Thy glory fills the vast ethereal space,
Innumerable stars thy presence grace,
Red twinkling round.—The dark brown clouds of night
Forbear to frown, and brighten in thy sight:
O'er all the spangled vault no orb is seen
Like thine superior, large, unrival'd queen!
The stars behold thy progress thro' thy skies,
And envious turn aside their sparkling eyes.
To what far region, or sequester'd place
Dost thou resort, when shadows veil thy face?
Like aged Ossian, when thy darkness grows,
Hast thou some secret hall to vent thy woes?
Perhaps the sisters of thy youthful years
Have fail'd in heav'n, and light no more the spheres.
Yes, they have fail'd, fair orb! and to thy hall
Thou oft retir'st, to mourn their hapless fall.