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covered her, and confesses his passion; are all wrought up with the most exquisite sensibility and delicacy.
Besides the characters which appeared in Fingal, several new ones are here introduced; and though, as they are all the characters of warriors, bravery is the predominant feature, they are nevertheless diversified in a sensible and striking manner. Foldath, for instance, the general of Cathmor, exhibits the perfect picture of a savage chieftain; bold and daring, but presumptuous, cruel, and overbearing. He is distinguished, on his first appearance, as the friend of the tyrant Cairbar, " His stride is haughty; his red eye rolls in wrath.' In his person and whole deportment he is contrasted with the mild and wise Hidalla, another leader of the same army, on whose humanity and gentleness he looks with great contempt. He professedly delights in strife and blood. He insults over the fallen. He is imperious in his counsels, and factious when they are not followed. He is unrelenting in all his schemes of revenge, even to the length of denying the funeral song to the dead; which, from the injury thereby done to their ghosts, was in those days considered as the greatest barbarity. Fierce to the last, he comforts himself in his dying moments with thinking that his ghost shall often leave its blast to rejoice over the graves of those he had slain. Yet Ossian, ever prone to the pathetic, has contrived to throw into his account of the death, even of this man, some tender circumstances, by the moving description of his daughter Dardulena, the last of his race.
The character of Foldath tends much to exalt that of Cathmor, the chief commander, which is distinguished by the most humane virtues. He abhors all fraud and cruelty, is famous for his hospitality to strangers; open to every generous sentiment, and to every soft and compassionate feeling. He is so amiable as to divide the reader's attachment between him and the hero of the poem; though our author has artfully managed it so as to make Cathmor himself indirectly acknowledge Fingal's superiority, and to appear somewhat apprehensive of the event, after the death of Fillan, which he knew would call forth Fingal in all his might. It is very remarkable, that although Ossian has introduced into his poems three complete heroes, Cuthullin, Cathmor, and Fingal, he has, however, sensibly distinguished each of their characters; Cuthullin is particularly honourable; Cathmor particularly amiable; Fingal wise and great, retaining an ascendant peculiar to himself in whatever light he is viewed. But the favourite figure in Temora, and the one most highly finished, is Fillan. His character is of that sort for which Ossian shows a particular fondness; an eager, fervent, young warrior, fired with all the impatient enthusiasm for military glory peculiar to that time of life. He had sketched this in the description of his own son Oscar; but as he has extended it more fully in Fillan, and as the character is so consonant to the epic strain, though, as far as I remember, not placed in such a conspicuous light by any other epic poet, it may be worth while to attend a little to Ossian's management of it in this instance.
Fillan was the youngest of all the sons of Fingal; younger, it is plain, than his nephew Oscar, by whose fame and great deeds in war we may naturally supposo his ambition to have been highly stimulated. Withal, as he is younger, he is described as more rash and fiery. His first appearance is soon after Oscar's death, when he was employed to watch the motions of the foe by night. In a conversation with his brother Ossian, on that occasion, we learn that it was not long since he began to lift the spear. "Few are the marks of my sword in battle; but my soul is fire.' He is with some difficulty restrained by Ossian from going to attack the enemy; and complains to him, that his father had never allowed him any opportunity of signalizing his valor. "The king hath not remarked my sword; I go forth with the crowd; I return without my fame.' Soon after, when Fingal, according to custom, was to appoint one of his chiefs to command the army, and each was standing forth, and putting in his claim to this honour, Fillan is presented in the following most picturesque and natural attitude : "On his spear stood the Son of Clatho, in the wandering of his locks. Thrice he raised his eyes to Fingal; his voice thrice failed him as he spoke. Fillan could not boast of battles; at once he strode away. Bent over a distant stream he stood; the tear hung in his eye. He struck, at times, the thistle's head with his inverted spear." No less natural and beautiful is the description of Fingal's paternal emotion on this occasion. 'Nor is he unseen of Fingal. Sidelong he beheld his son. He beheld him with bursting joy. He hid the big tear with his locks, and turned amidst his crowded soul.' The command, for that day, being given to Gaul, Fillan rushes amidst the thickest of the foe, saves Gaul's life, who is wounded by a random arrow, and distinguishes himself so in battle, that " the days ofold return on Fingal's mind, as he beholds the renown of his son. As the sun rejoices from the cloud, over the tree his beams have raised, whilst it shakes its lonely head on the heath, so joyful is the king over Fillan.' Sedate, however, and wise, he mixes the praise which he bestows on him with some reprehension of his rashness. 'My son, I saw thy deeds, and my soul was glad. Thou art brave, son of Clatho, but headlong in the strife. So did not Fingal advance, though he never feared a foe. Let thy people be a ridge behind thee; they are thy strength in the field. Then shalt thou be long renowned, and behold the tombs of thy fathers.'
On the next day, the greatest and the last of Fillan's life, the charge is committed to him of leading on the host to battle. Fingal's speech to his troops on this occasion is full of noble sentiment; and, where he recommends his son to their care, extremely touching. 'A young beam is before you: few are his steps to war. They are few, but he is valiant; defend my darkhaired son. Bring him back with joy; hereafter he may stand alone. His form is like his fathers; his soul is a flame of their fire." When the battle begins, the poet puts forth his strength to describe the exploits of the young hero ; who, at last encountering and killing with his own hand Foldath, the opposite general, attains the pinnacle of glory. In what follows, when the fate of Fillan is drawn near, Ossian, if anywhere, excels himself. Foldath being slain, and a general rout begun, there was no resource left to the enemy but in the great Cathmore himself, who in this extremity descends from the hill, where, according to the custom of those princes, he surveyed the battle. Observe how this critical event is wrought up by the poet. "Wide-spreading over echoing Lubar, the flight of Bolga is rolled along. Fillan hung forward on their steps, and strewed the heath with dead. Fingal rejoiced over his son.—Blue-shielded Cathmor rose.— Son of Alpin, bring the harp! Give Fillan's praise to the wind: raise high his praise in my hall, while yet he shines in war. Leave, blue-eyed Clatho ! leave thy null; behold that early beam of thine! The host is withered in its course. No farther look—it is dark —light trembling from the harp, strike, virgins! strike the sound." The sudden interruption and suspense of the narration on Cathmor's rising from his hill, the abrupt bursting into the praise of Fillan, and the passionate apostrophe to his mother Clatho, are admirable efforts of poetical art, in order to interest us in Fillan's danger; and the whole is heightened by the immediate following simile, one of the most magnificent and sublime that is to be met with in any poet, and which, if it had been found in Homer, would have been the frequent subject of admiration to crities: "Fillan is like a spirit of heaven, that descends from the skirt of his blast. The troubled ocean feels his steps as he strides from wave to wave. His path kindles behind him; islands shake their heads on the heaving seas."
But the poet's art is not yet exhausted. The fall of this noble young warrior, or, in Ossian's style, the extinction of this beam of heaven, could not be ren. dered too interesting and affecting. Our attention is naturally drawn towards Fingal. He beholds from his hill the rising of Cathmor, and the danger of his son. But what shall he do ?" Shall Fingal rise to his aid, and take the sword of Luno? What then shall become of thy fame, son of white-bosomed Clatho? Turn not thine eyes from Fingal, daughter of Inistore! I shall not quench thy early beam. No cloud of mine shall rise, my son, upon thy soul of fire." Struggling between concern for the fame, and fear for the safety of his son, he withdraws from the sight of the engage, ment, and despatches Ossian in haste to the field, with this affectionate and delicate injunction : " Father of Oscar!" addressing him by a title which on this occasion has the highest propriety : " Father of Oscar! lift the spear, defend the young in arms. Butconceal thy steps from Fillan's eyes. He must not know that I doubt his steel." Ossian arrived too late. But unwilling to describe Fillan vanquished, the poet suppresses all the circumstances of the combat with Cathmor; and only shows us the dying hero. We sec him