Page images

He retired in his blast with joy, for he had heard the voice of his praise. The faint beam of the morning rose, and the sound of Caithbat's buckler spread. Green Ullin's warriors convened, like the roar of many streams. The horn of war is heard over Lego ; the mighty Torlath came.

"Why dost thou come with thy thousands, Cuthnllin?" said the chief of Lego. "I know the strength of thy arm, and thy soul is an unextingnished fire. Why fight we not on the plain, and let our hosts behold our deeds ? Let them behold us like roaring waves, that tumble round a rock: the mariners hasten away, and look on their strife with fear."

"Thou risest like the son, on my soul," replied the son of Semo. "Thine arm is mighty, O Torlath; and worthy of my wrath. Retire, ye men of Ullin, to Slimora's shady side; behold the chief of Erin, in the day of his fame. Carril'. tell to mighty Connal, if Cuthullin must fall, tell him I accosed the winds which roar on Togorma's waves. Never was he absent in battle, when the strife of my fame arose. Let this sword be before Cormac like the beam of heaven: let his counsel sound in Temora in the day of danger."

He rushed, in the sound of his arms, like the terrible spirit of Lodas, when he comes in the roar of a thousand storms, and scatters battles from his eyes. He sits on a cloud over Lochlin's seas : his mighty hand is on his sword, and the winds lift his flaming 'locks. So terrible was Cuthullin in the day of his fame. Torlath fell by his hand, and Lego's heroes mourned. They gather around the chief like the clouds of the desart. A thousand swords rose at once; a thousand arrows flew; but he stood like a rock in the midst of a roaring sea. They fell around; he strode in blood: dark Slimora echoed wide. The sons of Ullin came; and the battle spread over Lego. The chief of Erin overcame; he returned over the field with his fame. But pale he returned ! The joy of his face was dark. He rolled his eyes in silence. The sword hung, unsheathed, in his hand, and his spear bent at every step.

o Lnd:ts in the third book of Fingals ii mentioned as a place of worship in Scandin. avia '. i v the spirit of lodas the poet probably means Odin, the great deity of the ''drthcrn nations.'

"Carril," said the king in secret, " the strength of Cuthullin fails. My days are with the years that are past: and no morning of mine shall arise. They shall seek me at Temora, but I shall not be found. Cormac will weep hi his hall, and say, " Where is Tura's chief?" But my name is renowned ? my fame in the song of bards. The youth will say in secret, " O let me die as Cuthullin died; renown clothed him like a robe; and the light of his fame is great. Draw the arrow from my side; and lay Cuthullin beneath that oak. Place the shield of Caithbat near, that they may behold me amidst the arms of my fathers."

"And is the son of Semo fallen '." said Carril with a sigh. "Mournful are Tura's walls ; and sorrow dwells at Dunscaich. Thy spouse is left alone in her youth, the son e of thy love is alone. He .shall come to Bragela, and ask her, why she weeps. He shall lift his eyes to the wall, and see his father's sword. " Whose sword is that ?" he will say: and the soul of his mother is sad. Who is that like the hart of the desart, in the mormur of his course? His eyes look wildly round in search of his friend. Connal, son of Colgar, where hast thou been, when the mighty fell? Did the seas of Togorma roll around thee? Was the wind of the south in thy sails? The mighty have fallen in battle, and thou wast not there. Let none tell it in Selma, nor in Morven's woody land; Fingal will be sad, and the sons of the desart mourn,"

By the dark-rolling waves of Lego they raised the hero's tomb. Luaths, at a distance lies, the companion of Cuthullin at the chase.

p Conlnch, who was afterwards very famous for hi, great exploits in Ireland. He was so remarkable for his dexterity in handling, the javelin, that when a guod marksman is described, it has passed into a proverb, ia the north of Scotland, . He is unerring as the arm of Conloch.'

alt was of old the costom to bury the favourite dug near the master. This was not utculiar to the ancient Scots, for we find it practisedbymany other nations in their sizesof heroism- There is a stone shown stil l at Dunscaich, in the Isle of Sicy, t» which Cuthullin bound uis dog Luata. The stone goes by his name to tin* day.

"Blest' be thy soul, son of Serao; thou wert mighty in battle. Thy strength was like the. strength of a stream: thy speed like the eagle's wing. Thy path in the battle was terrible: the steps of death were behind thy sword. Blest be thy soul, son of Serco; car-borne son of Dunscaich: Thou hast not fallen by the sword of the mighty, neither was thy blood on the spear of the valiant. The arrow came, like the sting of death in a blast; nor did the feeble hand which drew the bow perceive it. Peace to thy soul, in thy cave, chief of the isle of mist'.

"The mighty are dispersed at Temora: there is none in Cormac's hall. The king moorns in his youth, for he does not behold thy coming. The sound of thy shield is ceased: his foes are gathering round. Soft be thy rest in thy cave, chief of Erin's wars! Bragela will not hope thy return, or see thy sails in ocean's foam. Her steps are not on the shore; nor her ear open to the voice of thy rowers. She sits in the hall of shells, and sees the arms of him that is no more. Thine eyes are full of tears, daughter of car borne Sorglan! Blest be thy soul in death, O chief of shady Cromla '."

r This is the sonir of the bards over Cuthullin's tomb. Every stanza clnses with some remarkable title of the hero, which was always the costom in foneral elegies. The verse of the sang is a lyric measore; audit was of old song to the harp.



'SEfce argument,

it may not be improper heres to give the storys which Is the foondation of this poem, Kit is handed down by tradition. Usnoths Lord of Emas which is probably thiit part of Argyleahire which is near Loch Etas an arm of the sea in Lorns had three sonss Nathos, Althoss and Ardans by Slissamas the daughter of Semos and sister to the celebrated Cuthullin. The three brotherss when very youngs were sent over to Ireland by their fathers to learn the use of arms onder their uncle Cuthullins who made a great figore in that kingdom. They were lust landed in Ulster, when the news of Cuthollin's death arrived. Nathoss though very youngs took the command of Cuthullin's armys made head against Cairbar the usorpers and defeated him in several battles. Cairbar at last having found menos to morder Cormac the lawful kings the army of Nathos shifted sidess and he himself was obliged to return into Ulsters in order to past over into Scotland.

Dar-thulas the daughter of Collas with whom Cairbar was in loves resideds at that times in Selamas a castle in Ulster; she saws fell in loves and fled with Nathos; but a storm rising at seas they were uofortunately driven back on that part of the coast of Ulster where CairSar was encamped with his armys waiting for Fingals who meditated an expedition into Irelands to re-establish the Scottish race of kings on the throne of that kingdom. The three brotherss after having defended themselvess for sometimes with great braverys were overpowered and slains and the uofortunate Tiar-thula killed herself opon the body of her beloved Nathiu.'

Ossian opens the poems on the night preceding the death of the sons of Usnoths and brings ins by way of episodes what passed before. He relates the death of Dar-thula differently from the common tradition ; his account is the most probables as soicide seems to nave been noknown in those early times : for no traces of it are found in the old poetry.

Daughter of heaven fl, fair art thou! the silence of thy face is pleasant. Thou comest forth in loveliness; the stars attend thy blue steps in the east. The clouds rejoice in thy presence, O moon, and brighten their dark-brown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, daughter of the night? The stars are ashamed in thy presence, and turn aside their green, sparkling eyes. Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the darkness* of thy countenance grows ? Hast thou thy hall like Ossian? Dwellest thou in the shadow of grief? Have thy sisters fallen from heaven? Are they who rejoiced with thee Et night, no more? Yes I they have fallen, fair light! and thou dost often retire to mourn. But thou thyself shalt fail, one night; and lrave thy blue path in heaven. The stars will then lift their green heads: they who were ashamed in thy presence will rejoice. Thou art now clothed with thy brightness: look from thy gates in the sky. Burst the cloud, O wind, that the daughter of night may look forth, that the shaggy mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its blue waves in light.

o The address to the moon Is very beautifol in the original. It is a lyric measore i.nd appears t o have been song to the harp. y The poet means the moon in her wape.

Nathos c is on the deep, and Althos that beam of youth; Arden is near his brothers; they move in the gleam of their course. The sons of Usnoth move in darkness, from the wrath of car-borne Cairbar *. Who is that dim, by their side? the night has covered her beauty. Her hair sighs on the ocean's wind; her robe streams in dnsky wreaths. She is like the fair spirit of heaven, in the midst of his shadowy mist. Who is it but Darthula', the first of Erin's muds? She has fled from the love of Cairbar, with the car-borne Nathos. But the winds deceive thee, O Dar-thula; and deny, the woody Etha to thy sails. These are not thy mountains, Nathos, nor is that the roar of thy climbing waves; the halls of Cairbar are near; and the towers of the foe lift their heads. Ullin stretches its green head into the sea; and Tura's bay receives the ship. Where have ye been, ye southern winds! when the sons of my love were deceived! But ye have been sporting on plains, and porsoing the thistle's beard. O that ye had been rustling in the sails of Nathos, till the hills of Etha rose '. till they rose in their clouds, and saw their coming chief! Long hast thou been absent, Nathos! and the day of thy return is past.

But the land of strangers saw thee lovely : thou wast lovely in the eyes of Dar-thula. Thy face was like the light of the morning, thy hair like the raven's wing.

c Nathos signifies syouthful;' Aitthos, e exquisite beauty;' Ardan. . pride.' d Cairbar who morderedCormac king of Ireland, and usorped the throne. He was

afterwards killed by Oscar the son of Ossian in a single combat. The poet upon nther

nccasions gives him the epithet of red-haired.

, Dar-thuta, or Dart 'huile, ' a woman with fine eyes.' She was the moat famous

beauty of antiquity. To this day, when a woman is prai&ed for her beauty, toe common

phrase Is, that 'She is lovely as Dar-thula.'

« PreviousContinue »