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The monarch rose, and eager to his breast,
"My strength hath fail'd," the mournful king began, "And Crothar now can scarce be deem'd a man! "O that this hand could still the sword sustain, "As on the day, when fierce on Strutha's plain, . "Your father fought! He was the first of men, "And him alone I own'd superior then. "My gallant actions his attention drew; "He gave the praise that was to valour due, "And plac'd upon my arm the bossy shield "Of mighty Calthar, whom in war he kill'd. , "Behold where yet it hangs on yonder wall, "Among the spoils that ornament my hall. "Is Ossian strong ?—Approach, and let me feel "If like thy father thou canst lift the steel.
I gave my arm, to please the good old man, Which having felt, he sigh'd, and thus began. "My son, thy arm is strong and form'd for war, "Yet to thy father's is inferior far! "But who of mortal men e'er equall'd him, "In fair proportion, size, and strength of limb? "Ye sons of Croma, be the feast prepar'd, "And let the voice of harmony be heard, . "For great is this descendant of Fingal, "Who honours with his presence Crothar's hall."
He said; and straight the joyous board is crown'd; With choral songs the lofty roofs rebound; Festivity and revel fills the court; But this ill-season'd merriment prov'd short. It was a gleam, as transient as the light The passing moon darts through the clouds of night. Th' impending peril soon renew'd their fears; Old Crothar sat amidst his weeping peers, Nor sooner ceas'd the bards to strike the string, Than pensive spoke the venerable king.
"Ossian! thou seest that latent griefs destroy "Our eager efforts to afford thee joy. "But think not thus in Croma's hall, the shell "Went mournful round before my people fell: "Our pride was to regale the stranger guest, "While fair-hair'd Forvar-gormo graced the feast; "But that regretted youth now slain in fight, "Hath not behind him left one streak of light. "To save the realm he met a stronger foe, "For this his father's and the people's woe! "No sooner Rothmar heard these eyes had fail'd, "And that these arms were fix'd; than he avail'd "Himself of this my state, and led his bands, "By force to seize on our defenceless lands. "The peasantry submit, or seiz'd with dread, "At his approach their habitations fled. "In wrath I took my arms to meet the fight, "But what could Crothar do depriv'd of sight?
• R "Enfeebled, "Enfeebled, and unequal in their gait,
"These trembling limbs could scarce support my weight.
"'Twas then I wish'd the day, when firm I stood
"The shock of war, and drench'd the field in blood.
"When, from the chase return'd, my son beheld
"His feeble sire accouter'd for the field;
"(A miserable object old and blind!)
"The noble youth indignant spoke his mind.
"'Does Crothar stagg'ring, thus in arms appear,
"Because he has no son to lift the spear?
"Know, Forvar-gormo has been taught to throw
"The missile dart, and draw the twanging bow.
"Upon his strength rely, and with the race
"Of Croma, let him this invader face.
"My bosom beats, my heart is all on fire;
"I will repel, or in th' attempt expire."
"Go, meet him, I replied, my gallant son!
This is no time the song of bards to hear,
Again the people to the hall repair,
No cares molesting, and no dangers near,
In Forvar-gormo's praise my voice was heard, What time the youthful warrior they interr'd. Old Crothar follow'd to the grave his son, Without a tear, without a single groan. He search'd the lifeless corpse, and when he felt, That honestly before his wounds were dealt, With joy transported, he exclaim'd—" 'Tis well, "In battle, as a warrior should, he fell! "The scars that seam his breast prove this, and shew "That boldly face to face he met the foe. "Thrice happy they, in youth who press the field, "With all the glory crown'd brave actions yield! "They shall not in the hall, grown old and blind, "Deserted sit, the scorn of base mankind: "With heart-felt grief lament the virgin train, "And in the song their memories remain. "But, ah! how diff'rent far the hapless state, "Of those, decreed a length of years by fate I "They linger on, till men forget the praise "Due to the valour of their former days; "A miserable life, ordain'd to last "Till all their kindred, all their friends have past.