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“ view then, over their gleaming tribes? Starno, “ king of lakes, is before me, and Swaran, the “ foe of strangers. Their words are not in vain, “ by Loda’s stone of power. Should Duth-ma“ runo not return, his spouse is lonely at home; “ where meet two roaring streams on Crathmv“ craulo's plain. Around are hills, with echoing “ woods, the ocean is rolling near. My son looks “ on screaming sea-fowl, a young wanderer on “ the field. Give the head of boar to Can-do“ na* tell himn of his father's joy, when the brist
* Cean-daona, head of the people, the son of Duth-maruno. He became afterwards famous, in the expeditions of Ossian, after the death of Fingal. The traditional tales concerning him are very numerous, and, from the epithet in them, bestowed on him (Can-dona of boars,) it would appear, that he applied himself to that kind of hunting, which his father, in this paragraph, is so anxious to recommend to him. As I have mentioned the traditional tales of the Highlands, it may not be improper here to give some account of them. After the expulsion of the bards from the houses of the chiefs, they being an indolent race of men owed all their subsistence to the generosity of the vulgar, whom they diverted with repeating the compositions of their predecessors, and running up the genealogies of their entertainers to the family of their chiefs. As this subject was, however, soon exhausted, they were obliged to have recourse to invention, and form stories, having no foundation in fact, which were swallowed with great credulity by an ignorant multitude. By frequent repeating, the fable grew upon their hands, and, as each threw in whatever cir cumstance he thought conducive to raise the admiration of his hearers, the story became at last, so devoid of all probability, that even the vulgar themselves did not believe it. They, however, liked the tales so well, that the bards found their advantage in turning professed tale-makers. They then launched out into the wildest regions of fiction and romance. I firmly believe there are more stories of giants, enchanted castles, dwarfs and palfreys, in the Highlands, than in any country in Europe. These tales, it is certain, like other romantic compositions, bave many things in them unnatural, and,
consequently, disgustful to true taste; but, I know not how it hap· pens, they command attentiou more than any other fictions I ever met with. The extreme length of these pieces is very surprising, some of them required many days to repeat them; but such hold they
e days of though you the
“ ly strength of U-thorno rolled on his lifted “ spear. Tell him of my deeds in war! Tell “ where his father fell!”
“ Not forgetful of my fathers,” said Fingal, “I “ have bounded over the seas. Theirs were the “ times of danger, in the days of old. Nor set.' “ tles darkness on me, before foes, though youth“ful in my locks. Chief of Crathmo-craulo, the “ field of night is mine."
Fingal rushed, in all his arms, wide-bounding over Turthor's stream, that sent its sullen roar, by night, through Gornials misty vale. A moonbeam glittered on a rock; in the midst stood a stately form; a form with floating locks, like Lochlin's white-bosomed maids. Unequal are her steps, and short. She throws a broken song on wind. At times she tosses her white arms: for grief is dwelling in her soul. “Torcul-torno,* of aged locks!" she said, "where
take of the memory, that few circumstances are ever omitted by those who bave received them only from oral tradition: What is still more amazing, the very language of the bards is still preserved. It is curious to see, that the descriptions of magnificence introduced in these tales are even superior to all the pompous oriental fictions of the kind.
* Torcul-torno, according to tradition, was king of Carthlun, a district in Sweden. The river Lulan ran near the residence of Torcultorno. There is a river in Sweden still called Lula, which is probably the same with Lulan. The war between Starno and Torcul-torno, whichterminated in the death of the latter, had its rise at a hunting party. Starno being invited, in a friendly manner, by Torcul-torno, both kings, with their followers, went to the mountains of Stivamore to hunt. A boar rushed from the wood before the kings, and Torcul torno killed it. Starno thought this behaviour a breach upon the privilege of guests, who were always honoured, as tradition expresses
“now are thy steps, by Lulan? Thou hast failed « at thine .own dark streams, father of Conban“ cârgla! But I behold thee, chief of Lulan, sport“ing by Loda's hall, when the dark-skirted night “ is rolled along the sky. Thou sometimes hidest: “ the moon with thy shield. I have seen her dim “ in heaven. Thou kindlest thy hair into ine“ teors, and sailest along the night. Why am I “ forgot, in my cave, king of shaggy boars? Look “ from the hall of Loda on thy lonely daughter."
* Who art thou," said Fingal, “ voice of night?”. · She, trembling, turned away.
• Who art thou, in thy darkness ?”. - She shrunk into the cave.
The king loosed the thong from her hands. He asked about her fathers.
“6 Torcul-torno," she said, “ once dwelt at Lu“ lan's foamy stream: he dwelt-bat now, in Lo“ da’s hall, he shakes the sounding shell. He met “ Starno of Lochlin in war; long fought the dark“ eyed kings. My father fell, in his blood, blues “ shielded Torcul-torno! By a rock, at Lulan's it, with the danger of the chase. A quarrel arose, the kings came to battle, with all their attendants, and the party of Torcul-torno were totally defeated, and he himself slain.. Starno pursued his victory, laid waste the district of Carthlun, and, coming to the residence of Torcul-torno, carried off by force Conban-carglas, the beautiful daughter of his enemy. Her he confined in a cave, near the palace of Gor. mal, where, on account of her cruel treatment, she became distracted.
The paragraph, just now before us, is the song of Conban-carglas, at the time she was discovered by Fingal. It is in lyric measure, and set to music, which is wild and simple, and so inimitably suited to the situation of the unhappy lady, that few can hear it without tears
s stream, I had pierced the bounding roe. My “ white hand gathered my hair from off the rush“ing winds. I heard a noise. Mine eyes were up. “ My soft breast rose on high. My step was for“ ward, at Lulan, to meet thee, Torcul-torno! It “ was Starno, dreadful king! His red eyes rolled Kon me in love. Dark waved his shaggy brow u above his gathered smile. Where is my father, “ I said, he that was mighty in war? Thou art * left alone among foes, o daughter of Torcul“ torno! He took my hand. He raised the sail. “ In this cave he placed me dark. At times he " comes a gathered mist. He lifts before me my “ father's shield. But often passes a beam* of “ youth, far distant from my cave. The son of " Starno moves in my sight. He dwells lonely in “my.soul.”
“ Maid of Lulan,” said Fingal, “ white-handed “ daughter of grief! a cloud, marked with streaks “ of fire, is rolled along thy soul. Look not to “ that dark-robed moon; look not to those me“ teors of heaven. My gleaming steel is around “ thee, the terror of thy foes! It is not the steel of “ the feeble, nor of the dark in soul! The maids “ are not shut in ourt caves of streams. They “ toss not their white arms alone. They bend “ fair within their locks above the harps of Selma. “ Their voice is not in the desert wild. We melt “ along the pleasing sound!"
* By the beam of youth, it afterwards appears, that Conban-carglas means Swaran, the son of Starno, with whom, during her confinement, she had fallen in love.
+ From this contrast which Fingal draws between his own nation and the inhabitants of Scandinavia, we may learn that the former were much less barbarous than the latter. This distinction is so mach observed throughout the poems of Ossian, that there can be no
Fingal again advanced his steps, wide through the bosom of night, to where the trees of Loda shook amid squally winds. Three stones, with heads of moss, are there; a stream with foaming course: and dreadful, rolled around them, is the dark-red cloud of Loda. High from its top looked forward a ghost, half-formed of the shadowy smoke. He poured his voice, at times, amidst the roaring stream. Near, bending beneath a blasted tree, two heroes received his words: Swaran of lakes, and Starno foe of strangers. On their dun shields they darkly leaned: their spears are forward through night. Shrill sounds the blast of darkness in Starno's floating beard.
They heard the tread of Fingal. The warriors rose in arms. “Swaran, lay that wanderer low,” said Starno, in his pride. “ Take the shield of “ thy father. It is a rock in war.” Swaran threw his gleaming spear. It stood fixed in Loda's tree. Then came the foes forward with swords. They mixed their rattling steel. Through the thongs doubt that he followed the real manners of both nations in his own time. At the close of the speech of Fingal there is a great part of the original lost.