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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 ofCrothar. 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.
J.T was my Oscar spoke!—his voice I knew,
Though now his visits to my dreams are few!
Ye worthies of my race, unfold on high
Your halls of mist! Malvina's steps are nigh. '.
I heard a voice, that bids me hence depart;
A pulse unusual flutters at my heart!
Why would your murmurs restless winds forsake,
The rolling waters of the distant lake?
Your ill-tim'd rustle in the neighbouring oak,
The pleasing slumbers of Malvina broke,
Just as the form of Oscar, on a beam,
From heav'n descended to delight my dream;
His golden garments, edg'd with rays of light,
Sky tinctur'd, flash'd intolerably bright.
I heard his lovely voice!—The sound I knew,
Although his friendly visits now are few.
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, "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
They They sing the chase.—But cease those plaintive airs,
* Ossian speaks.
They but excite afresh incessant tears.
Light vernal show'rs refresh the flow'ry plains,
While havock follows long continu'd rains;
To minds at rest past troubles are a joy,
But griefs internp'rate inward peace destroy.
Then lend an ear to Ossian's artless lays,
They will instruct and set thy mind at ease.
The king commanding, to the northern gales,
On landing I a herald sent before,