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Book vm

ARGUMENT.

The fourth morning, from the opening of the poem, comes on Fingal, still continuing in the place to which he had retired on the preceding night, is seen, at intervals, through the mist which covered the rock of Cormul. The descent of the king is described. He orders Gaul, Dermid, and Carril the bard, to go to the valley of China, and conduct from thence the Caledonian army, Ferad-artho, the son of Cairbar, the only person remaining of the family of Conar, the first king of Ireland. The king takes the command of the army, and prepares for battle. Marching towards the enemy, he comes to the cave of Lubar, where the body of Fillan lay. Upon seeing his dog, Bran, who lay at the entrance of the cave, his grief returns. Cathmor arranges the Irish army in order of battle. The appearance of that hero. The general conflict is described. The actions of Fingal and Cathmor. A storm. The total rout of the Fir-bolg. The two kings engage, in a column of mist, on the banks of Lubar. Their attitude and conference after the combat. The death of Cathmor. Fingal resigns the spear of Trenmor to Ossian. The ceremonies observed on that occasion. The spirit of Cathmor, in the mean time, appears to Sul-malla, in the valley of Lona. Her sorrow. Evening comes on. A feast is prepared. The coming of Ferad-artho is announced by the songs of a hundred bards. The poem closes with a speech of Fingal.

As when the wintry winds have seized the waves of the mountain lake, have seized them in stormy night, and clothed them over with ice; white to the hunter's early eye, the billows still seem to roll. He turns his ear to the sound of each unequal ridge. But each is silent, gleaming, strewn with boughs, and tufts of grass, which shake and whistle to the wind, over their gray seats of frost. So silent shone to the morning the ridges of Morven's host, as each warrior looked up from his helmet towards the hill of the king; the cloud- covered hill of Fingal, where he stro » in the folds of mist. At times is the hero seen, greatly dim in all his arms. From thought to thought rolled the war, along his mighty soul.

Now is the coming forth of the king. First appeared the sword of Luno; the spear half-issuing from a cloud, the shield still dim in mist. But when the stride of the king came abroad, with all his gray dewy locks in the wind; then rose the shouts of his host over every moving tribe. They gathered, gleaming, round, with all their echoing shields. So rise the green seas round a spirit, that comes down from the squally wind. The traveller hears the sound afar, and lifts his bead over the rock. He looks on the troubled bay, and thinks he dimly sees the form. The waves sport, unwieldy, round, with all their backs of foam.

Far distant stood the son of Morni, Duthno's race, and Cona's bard. We stood far distant; each beneath his tree. We shunned the eyes of the king: we had not conquered in the field. A little stream rolled at my feet: I touched its light wave, with my spear. I touched it with my spear: nor there was the soul of Ossian. It darkly rose, from thought to thought, and sent abroad the sigh.

'Son of Morni,' said the king, 'Dermid, hunter of roes! why are ye dark, like two rocks, each with its trickling waters' No wrath gathers on Fingal's soul, against the chiefs of men. Ye are my strength in battle; the kindling of my joy in peace. My early voice has been a pleasant gale to your years, when Fillan prepared the bow. The son of Fingal is not here, nor yet the chase of the bounding roes. But why should the breakers of shields stand, darkened, far away?'

Tall they strode towards the king: they saw him turned to Mora's wind. His tears came down for his blue-eyed son, who slept in the cave of streams. But he brightened before them, and spoke to the broadshielded kinvs.

"Cromnial, with woody rocks, and misty top, the field of winds, pours forth, to the sight, blue Lubar'a streamy roar. Behind it rolls clear-winding Lavath, in the still vale of deer. A cave is dark in a rock; above it strong-winged eagles dwell; broad-headed oaks, before it, sound in Cluna's wind. Within, in his locks of youth, is Ferad-artho, blue-eyed king, the son of broad-shielded Cairbar, from Ullin of the roes. He listens to the voice ofCondan, as gray he bends in feeble light. He listens, for his foes dwell in the echoing halls of Temora. He comes, at times, abroad in the skirts of mist, to pierce the bounding roes. When the sun looks on the field, nor by the rock, nor stream, is he! He shuns the race of Bolga, who dwell in his father's hall. Tell him, that Fingal lifts the spear, and that his foes, perhaps, may fail.

"Lift up, O Gaul, the shield before him. Stretch, Dermicl, 'femora's spear. Be thy voice in his ear, O Carril, with the deeds of his fathers. Lead him to green Moi-lena, to the dusky field of ghosts; for there, I fall forward, in battle, in the folds of war. Before dun night descends, come to high Dunmora's top. Look, from the gray skirts of mist, on Lena of the streams. If there my standard shall float on wind, over Lubar's gleaming stream, then has not Fingal failed in the last of his fields.'

Such were his words; nor aught replied the silent striding kings. They looked sidelong, on Erin's host, and darkened, as they went. Never before had they left the king, in the midst of the stormy field. Behind them, touching at times his harp, the gray-haired Carril moved. He foresaw the fall of the people, and mournful was the sound! It was like a breeze that comes, by fits, over Lego's reedy lake; when sleep half descends on the hunter, within his mossy cave.

'Why bends the bard of Cona,' said Fingal, " over his secret stream? Is this a time for sorrow, father of low-laid Oscar? Be the warriors remembered in peace; when echoing shields are heard no more. Bend, then, in grief, over the flood, where blows the mountain breeze. Let them pass on thy soul, the blue-eyed dwellers of the tomb. But Erin rolls to war; wido tumbling, rough, and dark. Lift, Ossian, lift the shield. I am alone, my son!'

As comes the sudden voice of winds to the becalmed ship of Inis-huna, and drives it large, along the deep, dark rider of the wave; so the voice of Fingal sent Ossian, tall, along the heath. He lifted high his shining shield, in the dusky wing of war; like the broad, blank moon, in the skirt of a cloud, before the storms arise.

Loud, from moss-covered Mora, poured down, at once, the broad-winged war. Fingal led his people forth, king of Morven of streams. On high spreads the eagle's wing. His gray hair is poured on his shoulders broad. In thunder are his mighty strides. He often stood, and saw, behind, the wide-gleaming rolling of armour. A rock he seemed, gray over with ice, whose woods are high in wind. Bright streams leapt from its head, and spread their foam on blasts.

Now he came to Lubar's cave, where Fillan darkly slept. Bran still lay on the broken shield: the eagle-wing is strewed by the winds. Bright, from withered furze, looked forth the hero's spear. Then grief stirred the soul of the king, like whirlwinds blackening on a lake. He turned his sudden step, and leaned on his bending spear.

White-breasted Bran came bounding with joy to the known path of Fingal. He came, and looked towards the cave, where the blue-eyed hunter lay, for he was wont to stride, with morning, to the dewy bed of the roe. It was then the tears of the king came down, and all his soul was dark. But as the rising wind roil i away the storm of rain, and leaves the white streams to the sun, and high hills with their heads of grass; so the returning war brightened the mind of Fingal. He bounded, on his spear, over Lubar, and struck his echoing shield. His ridgy host bend forward, at once, with all their pointed steel.

Nor Erin heard, with fear, the sound: wide they come rolling along. Dark Malthos, in the wing of war, looks forward from shaggy brows. Next rose that beam of light, Hidalla! then the sidelong-looking gloom of Maronnan. Blue-shielded Clonar lifts the spear; Cormar shakes his bushy locks on the wind. Slowly, from behind a rock, rose the bright form of Atha. First appeared his two-pointed spears, then the half of his burnished shield: like the rising of a nightly meteor, over the valley of ghosts. But when he shone all abroad, the hosts plunged, at once, into strife. The gleaming waves of steel are poured on either side.

As meet two troubled seas, with the rolling of all their waves, when they feel the wings of contending winds, in the rock-sided frith of Lumon; along the echoing hills is the dim course of ghosts: from the blast fall the torn groves on the deep, amidst the foamy path of whales. So mixed the hosts! Now Fingal; nowCathmor came abroad. The dark tumbling of death is before them: the gleam of broken steel is rolled on their steps, as, loud, the high-bounding kings hewed down the ridge of shields.

Maronnan fell, by Fingal, laid large across a stream. The waters gathered by his side, and leapt gray over 1 lis bossy shield. Clonar is pierced by Cathmor; nor yet lay the chief on earth. An oak seized his hair in his fall. His helmet rolled on the ground. By its thong, hung his broad shield; over it wandered his streaming blood. Tla-min shall weep, in the hall, and strike her heaving breast.

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