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ARGUMENT.FINGAL, returning from an expedition
which he had made into the Roman province, resolved to visit Cathulla, king of Inistore, and brother to Comala, whose story is related at large in the preceding dramatic poem. Upon his coming in sight of Carric-thura, the pasace of Cathulla, he observed a flame on its top, which, in those days, was a signal of distress. The wind drove him into a bay, at some distance from Carric-thura, and he was obliged to pass the night on the shore. Next day he attacked the army of Frothal, king of Sora, who had besieged Cathulla in his palace of Carric-thura, and took Frothal himself prisoner, after he had engaged him in a sina gle combat. The deliverance of Carric-thura is the subject of the poem; but several other episodes are interwo. ven with it. It appears, from tradition, that this poem was addressed to a Culdee, or one of the first Christian missionaries,, and that the story of the Spirit of Loda, supposed to be the ancient Odin of Seandinavia, was introduced by Ossian in opposition to the Culdee's doctrine. Be this as it will, it lets us into Ossian’s notions of a superior being, and shows that he was not addicted to the superstition, which prevailed all the world over, before the introduction of Christianity.
HAST* thou left thy blue course in heaven, golden-haired son of the sky! The west has opened its gates; the bed of thy repose is there. The waves come to behold thy beauty. They lift their trembling heads. They see thee lovely in thy sleep; they shrink away with fear. Rest, in thy shadowy cave, O sun! let thy return be in joy.
But let a thousand lights arise to the sound of the harps of Selma: let the beam spread in the hall, the king of shells is returned! The strife of Crona is past,† like sounds that are no more. Raise the song, o bards! the king is returned with his fame!
Such were the words of Ullin, when Fingal returned from war: when he returned in the fair blushing of youth, with all bis heavy locks. His blue arms were on the hero; like a light cloud on the sun, when he moves in his robes of mist, and shows but half his beams. His heroes follow
* The song of Ullin, with which the poem opens, is in a lyric measure. It was usual with Fingal, when he returned from his expeditions, to send his bards singing before him. This species of triumph is called by Ossian, the song of victory.
+ Ossian has celebrated the strife of Crona in a particular poem. This poem was connected with it, but it was impossible for the transa lator to procure that part which relates to Crona with any degree of purity
the king: the feast of shells is spread. Fingal turns to his bards, and bids the song to rise.
Voices of echoing Cona! he said, O bards of other times! Ye, on whose souls the blue hosts of our fathers rise! strike the harp in my hall; and let me hear the song. Pleasant is the joy of grief; it is like the shower of spring, when it softens the brauch of the oak, and the young leaf rears its green head. Sing on, o bards! to-morrow we lift the sail. My blue course is through the ocean, to Carric-thura's walls; the mossy walls of Sarno, were Comala, dwelt. There the noble Cathulla spreads the feast of shells. The boars of his woods are many; the sound of the chase shall arise!
Cronnan,* son of the song! said Ullin, Minona, graceful at the harp! raise the tale of Shilric, to please the king of Morven. Let Vinvela come in her beauty, like the showery bow, when it shows its lovely head on the lake, and the setting sun is bright. She comes, O Fingal! her voice is soft but sad.
Vinvela. My love is a son of the hill. He pursues the flying deer. His grey dogs are panting around him; his bow-string sounds in the
* One should think that the parts of Shilric and Vinvela were represented by Cronnan and Minona, whose very, names denote that they were singers, who performed in public. Cronnan signifies a mournful sound; Minona, or Min’ónn, soft air. All the dramatie poems of Ossian appear to have been presented before Fingal upon solemn occasions.