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CROTHAR, losing through age his sight, Rothmar, a neighbouring Prince, resolved to avail himself of the opportunity of annexing the old man's territory to his own. The design coming to the knowledge of Fingal, he sent Ossian to the assistance of Crothar. But before he arrived, his son, Fovar-gormo, a youth of great promise, venturing to engage the enemy, is slain, and his army routed. Ossian, however, renews the war, kills Rothmar, and totally defeats his forces.
The poem opens with the lamentations of Malvina for
Oscar. It is to console her, that Ossian relates this story of Crothar ; who, with uncommon fortitude, bore the death of his son.
It was my Oscar spoke!—his voice I knew,
O son of Ossian! my afflicted mind Has long continued to thy mem'ry kind, My sighs still heave, when dawning day appears, With dewy night descend my gushing tears. A lovely tree, beneath thy fost'ring care, With branches crown'd, I throve in foreign air ; Till thy death, coming like a tempest, laid My head on earth, and wither'd all my shade. Returning spring hath oft the woods renew'd, But no green leaf of mine hath since been view'd. Worn down with grief, and blighted in the bloom, The virgins saw me drooping to the tomb; And to assuage the violence of my woes, Would to their harps a sprightly tune compose. Sometimes they said—“ Malvina! why complain! “ Wilt thou forever weep the warrior slain ? “ Did birth and dignity the youth adorn, 66 Or was he lovely as the beaming morn? “ However dear, forbear to weep the chief, “ Or death must follow such excess of grief."
O Toscar's daughter!* why this doleful strain? :: You wring your heart with ecstasy of pain! While laid at Morruth's gentle gliding streams, The ghosts of ancient bards inspir'd your dreams; Less sweet th' enchanting notes our youth essay..? When from the hills return'd, at eve of day
* Ossian speaks.
They sing the chase.—But cease those plaintive airs,
The king commanding, to the northern gales,
On landing I a herald sent before, And follow'd with my people from the shore. In Croma's hall the sightless king we found Sat on a throne, his father's arms around; His hoary locks, all white and loosely spread, Wav'd round the staff on which reclin'd his head: He then was humming to himself a song, When ent’ring at the gate our armour rung.