« PreviousContinue »
We heard the words of the chief with joy, and inoved in the clang of our arms. Que steps are on the woody hill. Heaven burns with all its stars. The meteors of death fly over the field.
The distant noise of the foe reached our ears. It was then Gaul spoke, in his valour; his hand half-unsheathed the sword.
Son of Fingal, he said, why burns the soul of Gaul? My heart beats high. My steps are disordered; and my hand trembles on my (word. When look towards the foe, my
Toul lightens before me, and I see their sleeping host. Treible thus the souls of the valiant in battles of the spear? How would the soul of Mornị rise; if we should rush on the foe! Our renoin would grow in the fong; and our steps be stately in the eyes of the bráve.
Son of Morni, I replied, my foal delights in battle. I delight to shine in battle alone, and to give my name to the bards. But what, if the foe should prevail; shall I behold the eyes of the king? They are terrible in his dis. pleasure, and like the flames of death. But I will not behold them in his wrath.
Ollian fhall prevail or fall. But shall the fame of
the vanquished rise ? They pass away li.
Gaul! if thou shalt return; go to Selma's lofty wall. Tell to Evirallin; *) that I fell with fame; carry this sword to Branno's daughter. Let her give it to Oscar, when the years of his youth shall arise.
Son of Fingal, Gaul replied with a figh; Thall I return after Ossian is low? What would my father fay, and Fingal king of men ? The feeble would turn their eyes and say, "Behold the mighty Gaul, who left his friend "in his blood!” Ye shall not behold me, ye feeble, but in the midst of
Offio an! I have heard from my father the mighty deeds of heroes; their mighty deeds, when alohe; for the soul increases in danger.
Son of Morni, I replied, and strode before hiin on the heath; our fathers shall praise our valour, when they mourn our fall. A beam of
glad*) Ossian had married her a little time before. The story of his courtship of this lady is intro
an episode, in the fourth book of Fingal.
gladness shall rise on their fouls, when their
We rushed forward through night; and came to the roar of a stream, whichi bent its blue course round the foe, through trees that écchoed to its noise; we came to the bank of the streain, and saw the fleeping host. Their fires were decayed on the plain; and the lonely steps of their scouts were distant far. I ftretch. ed my spear before me, to support my steps over the stream. But Gaul took my hand, and, spoke the words of the valiant.
Then f for dea
Shall *) the son of Fingal rush on a sleeping foe? Shall he come like a blast by night,
*) This proposal of Gaul is much more noble, and
inore agreeable to true heroisın, than the beha-
f the fil
ivhen it overturns the young trees in secret?
My foul rejoiced over the warrior, and my bursting tears descended. And the foe Thail, ineet Gaul, I said: the fame of Morni's son_shall arise. But rush, not too far, iny hero: let the gleam of thy steel be near to Ollian. Let our hands join in flaughter, - Gaul! dost thou not behold that rock? Its gray fide dimly gleams to the stars. If the foe Thall prevail, let our back be towards the rock: Then shall they fear to approach our fpears; for death is in our hands.
foundation of his success. For the enemy being
Then let our steps *) be Now, replied the fair haired Gaul; left the foe say, with a smile, "Behold the warriors of night, they are, like "ghosts, terrible in darkness, but they melt "away before the beam of the east.” Olian, take the shield of Gormar who fell beneath thy spear; that the aged heroes may rejoice, when they shall behold the actions of their fons.
Such were our words on the plain, wheni Sulmath **
*) came to car-borne Lathion: Sul math chief of Dutha at the dark-rolling stream of Duyranna ***). Why dost thou not rush,
fon * The behaviour of Gaul, throughout this poem,
is that of a hero in the moit exalted sense. The modesty of Oflian, concerning his ownt actions; is not less remarkable than his impartiality with regard to Gaul's for it is well known, that Gaul afterwards rebelled against Fingal, which mnight be supposed to have bred prejudices against him in the breast of Ofian. But as Gaul, from an eneity, became Fingal's firmest friend and greateft hero, the poet pafies over one slip in his
conduct, on accouiit of his inany virtues: **) Suil - mhath, a man of good eye - Jight: ***) Duibh - bhranna, dark mountain - Itream. What
river went by this name, in the days of Ollian ,