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Deserted by our friends, to Tura's bay .
We hasten'd back, resolvd to cross the sea.
'Twas then, that passing by Selama's height,
We made the bloody tyrant take to flight:
Swift he retir’d, like foggy mists which sail
O'er Lano's marshy fens before the gale;
There first, Dar-thula, I thy charms beheld,
Bright as the morning sun, on Etha’s field.
As fix'd in raptures on thy face I gaz’d,
" How lovely is that beam!" I said amazed.
You harken'd to my vows, and blushing gave
Consent, to pass with Usnoth's son the wave.
But adverse to our wish, the winds withstand,
And back impel us on this hostile strand.
Here Althos, just returning, made reply,
The storm detains us, and our foes are nigh.
Along the coast their clanging arms I heard,
And saw in air their dusky standards rear’d:
Like Cromla's falling stream, distinct and loud,
The voice of Cairbar over-awes the crowd;
Who, ere the shades of night succeeded day,
Perceiv'd our sable vessel in the bay,
And must'ring from the country round, a host
Ten thousand strong, he occupies the coast.
When Nathos with a smile; let Cairbar guard The wide extended shores; we are prepared
To meet him and his host: to battle bred,
The sons of Usnoth numbers never fled.
Forbear to roar ye noisy waves around,
And cease tempestuous winds your surly sound.
'Tis not your rage, or rolling of the deeps,
That on the coast of Ullin Nathos keeps.
No—though a calm should hush the sea and sky,
His soul forbids him, and he scorns to fly.
Haste Althos, bring from yonder bark on shore
The scaly mail our great forefathers bore.
Bring too yon spear, dim gleaming to the stars,
Which mighty Semo carried in his wars.
His arms to Nathos brought, the warrior drest
In solid plates of steel his manly breast;
Then lovely treads the beach with martial air,
Nor heeds the tempest whistling in his hair:
He fearless casts around his fiery eyes,
And Cairbar, and his num'rous host defies.
Dar-thula silent at his side appear'd,
Her stedfast soul for life or death prepar'd.
But though a calm serene sat on her brow,
Two crystal tears stood ready to o'erflow.
The chief perceiv'd, and thus to Althos spoke; A cavern lies in yonder neighb’ring rock, With Colla's daughter thither swift repair, And there remain the guardian of the fair ;
While I, with youthful Arden boldly go,
And call to battle Cairbar and the foe.
0! that the tyrant had but heart to stand
In single fight, the fury of this hand!
But hear me Althos—should our valour fail,
Display for Etha's echoing groves thy sail ;
And there arriv’d, let aged Usnoth know,
That crown'd with deathless fame his sons are low;
That death they brav'd amidst surrounding bands,
And died observant of his last commands.
The pleasant tidings will allay the smart,
With which the fatal news will rack his heart.
Nor stay Dar-thula, o'er my fall to weep;
But when in safety landed from the deep,
Then call thy maids at Autumn's dark return,
And in a solemn dirge for Nathos mourn.
O that the voice of Cona, in my praise,
Were heard to utter elegiac lays!
The lasting honour would rejoice my mind,
When a dim vapour roving on the wind.
Thy wish hath sped: amidst the clouds rejoice
Brave son of Usnoth, Ossian tunes his voice,
And if his song can give eternal fame,
To latest ages shall descend thy name.
Why was I not that hour on Lena's plain,
When by the vile assassin basely slain!
My sword had join’d thee in th' unequal strife,
And I had rescu'd, or had lost my life.
That fatal night, in Selma's hall we sat, Conferring o'er the genial bowl till late; And in the neighb'ring forests heard the sound Of storms abroad, and spirits shrieking round. At length, with rushing noise, a louder squall, Tempestuous ent’ring, whistled through the hall. It reach'd my harp, which sounded to the blast As if a dying man had breath'd his last.
All star'd surpris’d, but none the silence broke, Till, with a sigh, the king of Morven spoke. Did none remark that sad prognostic tone, Which echo'd like a chief's expiring groan? Some of our heroes (would my fears were vain !) Are now in danger, or perhaps are slain. Touch Ossian, gently touch the solemn string, And to the sound a song funereal sing; That joyful mounting to ethereal air, They may to Morven's heath-clad hills repair.
“ A robe of mist to clothe his limbs prepare,
66 Of vapours form a pillar for his spear,
66 And for a sword to glitter on his side, .
An half extinguish'd meteor's light provide :
“ Then stamp, of purest elements, a face
“ Endow'd with beauty, majesty, and grace,
66 That when amidst the tempests he descends,
66 Those lineaments divine may charm his friends.
“ Ye spirits of my fathers, bend from high,
" And now transport the hero to the sky.”
In Selma thus I sung before the king,
My fingers sweeping the soft tinkling string;
While Nathos distant lay, on Ullin's coast,
Surrounded by the night and Cairbar's host.
Their noise he heard distinct, on Lena's plain,
Between the gusts of wind and roaring main,
He heard; but firm of soul, and void of fear,
In silence stood reclin'd upon his spear.
Meantime, slow gaining on the clouds of night, Day shew'd the objects round, and brought to light The Irish army rang'd along the flood, Like a low ridge of mountains cloath'd with wood. There stood the tyrant, with malignant leer, Rejoicing to behold his rival near.
Nathos advanc'd, impatient of delay,
Nor would the maid conceal'd behind him stay;