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court, and whistles round thy half-worn shield, t.au let the blast of the desert come! we shall be renowned in our day! The mark of my arm shall be in battle; my name in the song of bards. Raise the song, send round the shell: let joy be heard in my hall. When thou, sun of heaven! shalt fail; if thou shalt fail, thou mighty light! if thy brightness is for a season, like Fingal; our fame shall survive thy beams.
Such was the song of Fingal in the day of his joy. His thousand bards leaned forward from their seats, to hear the voice of the king. It was like the music of harps on the gale of the spring. Lovely were thy thoughts, O Fingal! why had not Ossianthe strength of thy soul? But thou standest alone, my father! who can equal the king of Selma 1
The night passed away in song; morning returned in joy. The mountains showed their gray heads; the blue face of ocean smiled. The white wave is seen tumbling round the distant rock; a mist rose slowly from the lake. It came, in the figure of an aged man, along the silent plain. Its large limbs did not move in steps, for a ghost supported it in mid air. It came towards Selma's hall, and dissolved in a shower of blood.
The king alone beheld the sight; he foresaw the death of the people. He came in silence to his hall, and took his father's spear. The mail rattled on his breast. The heroes rose around. They looked in silence on each other, marking the eyes of Fingal. They saw battle in his face; the death of armies on his spear. A thousand shields at once are placed on their arms; they drew a thousand swords. The hall of Selma brightened around. The clang of arms ascends. The gray dogs howl in their place. No word is among the mighty chiefs. Each marked the eyes of the king and half-assumed his spear.
Sons of Morven, began the king, this is no time to fill the shell; the battle darkens near us, death hovers over the land. Some ghost, the friend of Fingal, has forewarned us of the foe. The sons of the stranger come from the darkly rolling sea; for from the water came the sign of Morven's gloomy danger. Let each assume his heavy spear, each gird on his father's sword. Let the dark helmet rise on every head; the mail pour its lightning from every side. The battle gathers like a storm; soon shall ye hear the roar of death.
The hero moved on before his host, like a cloud before a ridge of green fire, when it pours on the sky of night, and mariners foresee a storm. On Cona's rising heath they stood: the white-bosomed maids beheld them above like a grove; they foresaw the death of the youth, and looked towards the sea with fear. The white wave deceived them for distant sails; the tear is on their cheek! The sun rose on the sea, and we beheld a distant fleet. Like the mist of ocean they came and poured their youth upon the coast. The chief was among them, like the stag in the midst of the herd. His shield is studded with gold; stately strode the king of spears. He moved towards Selma; his thousands moved behind.
Go, with a song of peace, said Fingal: go, Ullin, to the king of swords. Tell him that we are mighty in war; that the ghosts of our foes are many. But renowned are they who have feasted in my halls; they show the arms of my fathers in a foreign land; the sons of the strangers wonder, and bless the friends of Morven's race; for our names have been heard afar: the kings of the world shook in the midst of their host. Ullin went with his song. Fingal rested on his spear: he saw the mighty foe in his armour: he blest the stranger's son. 'How stately art thou, son of the sea!" said the king of wo-xly Morven. "Thy sword is a beam of fire by thy side; thy spear is a pine that defies the storm. The varied face of the moon is not broader than thy shield. Ruddy is thy face of youth! soft the ringlets of thy hair! But this tree may fall, and his memory be forgot! The daughter of the stranger will be sad, looking to the rolling sea: the children will say, 'Wo see a ship; perhaps it is the king of Balelutha.' The tear starts from their mother's eye: her thoughts are of him who sleeps in Morven!'Such were the words of the king, when Ullin came to the mighty Carthon: he threw down the spear before him, he raised the song of peace. 'Come to the feast of Fingal, Carthon, from the rolling sea! partake of the feast of the king, or lift the spear of war! The ghosts of our foes are many: but renowned are the friends of Morven! Behold that field, O Carthon! many a green hill rises there, with mossy stones and rustling grass; these are the tombs of Fingal's foes, the sons of the rolling sea!"
"Dost thou speak to the weak in arms!' said Carthon, "bard of the woody Morven? Is my face pale for fear, son of the peaceful song? Why then dost thou think to darken my soul with the tales of those who fell? My arm has fought in battle, my renown is known afar. Go to the feeble in arms, bid them yield to Fingal. Have not I seen the fallen Balclutha? And shall I feast with Comhal's son? Comhal, who threwhis fire inthe midst of my father's hall? I was young, and knew not the cause why the virgins wept. The columns of smoke pleasei mine eye, when they rose above my walls! I often looked back with gladness when my friends flew along the hill. But when the years of my youth came on, I beheld the moss of my fallen walls. My sigh arose with the morning, and my tears descended with night. Shall I not fight, I said to my soul, against the children of my foes 1 And I will fight, O bard! I feel the strength of my soul!"
His people gathered around the hero, and drew at once their shining swords. He stands in the midst, like a pillar of fire, the tear half-starting from his eye, for he thought of the fallen Balclutha. The crowded pride of his soul arose. Sidelong he looked up to the hill, where our heroes shone in arms: the spear trembled in his hand. Bending forward, he seemed to threaten the king.
Shall I, said Fingal to his soul, meet at once the youth? Shall I stop him in the midst of his course before his fame shall arise! But the bard hereafter may say, when he sees the tomb of Carthon, Fingal took his thousands to battle, before the noble Carthon fell. No: bard of the times to come! thou shalt not lessen Fingal's fame! my heroes will fight the youth, and Fingal behold the war. If he overcomes, I rush, in my strength, like the roaring stream of Cona. Who of my chiefs will meet the son of the rolling sea? Many are his warriors on the coast, and strong is his ashen spear!
Cathul rose in his strength, the son of the mighty Lormar: three hundred youths attend the chief, the race of his native streams. Feeble was his arm against Carthon: he fell,and his heroes fled. Connal resumed the battle, but he broke his heavy spear: he lay bound on the field: Carthon pursued his people. •
Clessfimmor, said the king of Morven, where is the spear of thy strength? Wilt thou behold Connal bound: thy friend at the stream of Lora? Rise, in the light of thy steel, companion of valiant Comhal! let the youth of Balclutha feel the strength of Morven's race. He rose in the strength of his steel, shaking his grisly locks. He fitted the steel to his side; he rushed in the pride of valor.
Carthon stood on a rock: he saw the hero rushing on. He loved the dreadful joy of his face: his strength in the locks of age !" Shall I lift that spear,' he said, 'that never strikes but once a foe? Or shall I, with the words of peace, preserve the warrior's life? Stately are his steps of age! lovely the remnant of his years! Perhaps it is the husband of Moina, the father of airborne Carthon. Often have I heard that he dwelt at the echoing stream of Lora." Such were his words when Clessammor came, and lifted high his spear. The youth received it on his shield, and spoke the words of peace. "Warrior of the aged locks! is there no youth to lift the spear? Hast thou no son to raise the shield before his father to meet the arm of youth? Is the spouse of thy love no more? or weeps she over the tombs of thy sons? Art thou of the kings of men? What will be the fame of my sword shouldst thou fall?"
It will be great, thou son of pride! begun the tall Clessammor. I have been renowned in battle, but I never told my name to a foe.* Yield to me, son of the wave, then shalt thou know that the mark of my sword is in many a field. 'I never yielded, king of spears!" replied the noble pride of Carthon: 'I have also fought in war, I behold my future fame. Despise me not, thou chief of men! my arm, my spear is strong. Retire among thy friends; let younger heroes fight." 'Why dost thou wound my soul? replied Clessammor, with a tear. Age does not tremble on my hand. I still can lift the sword. Shall I fly in Fingal's sight, in the
* To tell one's name to an enemy, was reckoned, in those days of heroism, a manifest evasion of righting him; for if it was once known that friendship subsisted of old, between the ancestors of the combatants, the battle immediately ceased, and the ancient amity of their forefathers was renewed. "A man who tells his name to bis enemy," was of old an ignominious term for a coward.