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animated to the end with the same martial and ardent spirit; breathing his last in bitter regret for being so early cut off from the field of glory. "Ossian, lay me in that hollow rock. Raise no stone above me, lest one should ask about my fame. I am fallen in the first of my fields; fallen without renown. Let thy voice alone send joy to my flying soul. Why should the bard know where dwells the early-fallen Fillan V He who, after tracing the circumstances of this story, shall deny that our bard is possessed of high sentiment and high art, must be strangely prejudiced indeed. Let him read the story of Pallas in Virgil, which is of a similar kind ;,and after all the praise he may justly bestow on the elegant and finished description of that amiable author, let him say which of the two poets unfolds most of the human soul. I waive insisting on any more of the particulars in Temora; as my aim is rather to lead the reader into the genius and spirit of Ossian's poetry, than to dwell on all his beauties.
The judgment and art discovered in conducting works of such length as Fingal and Temora, distinguish them from the other poems in this collection. The smaller pieces, however, contain particular beauties, no less eminent. They are historical poems, generally of the elegiac kind ; and plainly discover themselves to be the work of the same author. One consistent face of manners is everywhere presented to us; one spirit of poetry reigns; the masterly hand of Ossian appears throughout; the same rapid and animated style; the same strong colouring of imagination, and the same glowing sensibility of heart. Besides the unity which belongs to the compositions of one man, there is moreover a certain unity of subject, which very happily connects all these poems. They form the poetical history of the age of Fingal.' The same race of heroes whom we had met with in the greater poems, Cuthullin, Oscar, Connar, and Gaul, return again upon the stage; and Fingal himself is always the principal figure, presented on every occasion, with equal magnificence, nay, rising upon us to the last. The circumstances of Ossian's old age and blindness, his surviving all his friends, and his relating their great exploits to Malvina, the spouse or mistress of his beloved son Oscar, furnish the finest poetical situations that fancy could devise for that tender pathetic which reigns in Ossian's poetry.
On each of these poems there might be room for separate observations, with regard to the conduct and dispositions of the incidents, as well as to the beauty of the descriptions and sentiments. Carthon is a regular and highly finished piece. The main story is very properly introduced by Clessamore's relation of the adventure of his youth; and this introduction is finely heightened by Fingal's song of mourning over Moina; in which Ossian, ever fond of doing honour to his father, has contrived to distinguish him for being an eminent poet, as well as warrior. Fingal's song upon this occasion, when "his thousand bards leaned forwards from their seats, to hear the voice of the king,' is inferior to no passage in the whole book; and with great judgment put in his mouth, as the seriousness, no less than the sublimity of the strain, is peculiarly suited to the hero's character. In Darthula are assembled almost all the tender images that can touch the heart of man; friendship, love, the affections of parents, sons, and brothers, the distress of the aged, and the unavailing bravery of the young. The beautiful address to the moon, with which the poem opens, and the transition from thence to the subject, most happily prepare the mind for that train of affecting events that is to follow. The story is regular, dramatic, interesting to the last. He who can read it without emotion may congratulate himself, if he pleases, upon being completely armed against sympathetic sorrow. As Fingal had no occasion of appearing in the action of this poem, Ossian makes a very artful transition from his narration, to what was passing in the halls of Selma. The sound heard there on the strings of his harp, the concern which Fingal shows on hearing it, and the invocation of the ghosts of their fathers, to receive the heroes falling in a distant land, are introduced with great beauty of imagination to increase the solemnity, and to diversify the scenery of the poem.
Camcjjjuxajs full of the most sublime dignity; and has this advantage, of being more cheerful in the subject, and more happy in the catastrophe, than most of the other poems: though tempered at the same time with episodes in that strain of tender melancholy which seems to have been the great delight of Ossian and the bards of his age. Lathmon is peculiarly distinguished by high generosity of sentiment. This is carried so far, particularly in the refusal of Gaul, on one side, to take the advantage of a sleeping foe; and of Lathmon, on the other, to overpower by numbers the two young warriors, as to recall into one's mind the manners of chivalry; some resemblance to which may perhaps be suggested by other incidents in this collection of poems. Chivalry, however, took rise in an age and country too remote from those of Ossian, to admit the suspicion that the one could have borrowed any thing from the other. So far as chivalry had any real existence, the same military enthusiasm which gave birth to it in the feudal times, might, in the days of Ossian, that is, in the infancy of a rising state, through the operation of the same cause, very naturally produce effects of the same kind on the minds and manners of men. So far as chivalry was an ideal system, existing only in roniance, it will not be thought surprising, when we reflect on the account before given of the Celtic bards, that this imaginary refinement of heroic manners should be found among them, as much, at least, as among the Troubadours, or strolling Provencal bards, in the 10th or 11th century; whose songs, it is said, first gave rise to those romantic ideas of heroism, which for so long a time enchanted Europe. Ossian's heroes have all the gallantry and generosity of those fabulous knights, without their extravagance; and his love scenes have native tenderness, without any mixture of those forced and unnatural conceits which abound in the old romances. The adventures related by our poet which resemble the most those of romance, concern women who follow their lovers to war disguised in the armour of men; and these are so managed as to produce, in the discovery, several of the most interesting situations; one beautiful instance of which may be seen in Carric-thura, and another in Calthon and Colmal.
Oithona presents a situation of a different nature. In the absence of her lover Gaul, she had been carried off and ravished by Dunrommath. Gaul discovers the place where she is kept concealed, and comes to revenge her. The meeting of the two lovers, the sentiments and the behaviour of Oithona on that occasion, are described with such tender and exquisite propriety, as does the greatest honour both to the heart and to the delicacy of our author; and would have been admired in any poet of the most refined age. The conduct of Croma must strike every reader as remarkably judicious and beautiful. We are to be prepared for the death of Malvina, which is related in the succeeding poem. She is therefore introduced in person; 'she has heard a voice in her dream; she feels the fluttering of her soul:" and in a most moving lamentation addressed to her beloved Oscar, she sings her own death-song. Nothing could be calculated with more art to sooth and comfort her than the story which Oseian relates. In the young and brave Fovargormo, another Oscar is introduced: his praises are sung; and the happiness is set before her of those who die in their youth "when their renown is around them; before the feeble behold them in the hall, and smile at their trembling hands.'
But nowhere does Ossian's genius appear to greater advantage, than in Berrathon, which is reckoned the conclusion of his songs, 'The last sound of the voice of Cona.'
Qualis olor noto positurus littore vitam,
The whole train of ideas is admirably suited to the subject. Every thing is full of that invisible world, into which the aged bard believes himself now ready to enter. The airy hall of Fingal presents itself to his view; 'he sees the cloud that shall receive his ghost; he beholds the mist that shall form his robe when he appears on his hill;' and all the natural objects around him seem to carry the presages of death. 'The thistle shakes its beard to the wind. The flower hangs its heavy head; it seems to say, I am covered with the drops of heaven; the time of my departure is near, and the blast that shall scatter my leaves." Malvina's death is hinted to him in the most delicate manner by the son of Alpin. His lamentation over her, her apotheosis, or ascent to the habitation of heroes, and the introduction to the story which follows from the mention which Ossian supposes the father of Malvina to make of him in the hall of Fingal, are all in the highest spirit of poetry. 'And dost thou remember Ossian, O Toscar, son of Conloch? The battles of our youth