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To crown my joys, to end my woes,
At evening-time let there be light.
At evening-time let there be light :
Stormy and dark hath been my day;
Yet rose the morn divinely bright,
Dews, birds, and blossoms cheered the way:
Oh for one sweet, one parting ray!
At evening-time let there be light.
At evening-time there shall be light;
For God hath spoken ;-it must be:
Fear, doubt, and anguish take their flight,
His glory now is risen on me;
Mine eyes shall His salvation see:
'Tis evening-time, and there is light !
Cathbat and Morna are lovers-Duchômar, the rival of Cathbat, having slain the
latter in the chase, meets Morna, tells her what he has done, and woos her for himself-In the course of the interview they fall by each other's hands, and die together--The story is supposed to be related to Cuchullin, general of the tribes of Erin, who, at the conclusion, laments the premature loss of the two valiant warriors, and the death of the maiden.
CATHBAT fell by the sword of Duchômar,
At the oak of the loud-rolling stream;
Duchômar came to the cave of the forest,
And spake to the gentle maid.
"Morna ! sairest of women!
Beautiful daughter of high-born Cormac!
Wherefore alone in the circle of stones,
Alone at the cave of the mountain?
The old oak sounds in the wind
That ruffles the distant lake;
Black clouds engirdle the gloomy horizon;
But thou art like snow on the heath;
Thy ringlets resemble the light mist of Cromla,
When it winds round the sides of the hill,
In the beams of the evening sun."
“Whence comest thou, sternest of men?” Said the maid of the graceful locks; “Evermore dark was thy brow; Now red is thine eye, and ferocious; Doth Swaram appear on the sea? What tidings from Lochlin?"
“No tidings from Lochlin, O Morna!
I come from the mountains ;
I come from the chase of the fleet-footed hind:
Three red deer have fallen by my arrows;
One fell for thee, fair daughter of Cormac!
As my soul do I love thee, white-handed maiden!
Queen of the hearts of men!”
“ Duchômar!” the maiden replied, “None of my love is for thee: Dark is thine eyebrow, thy bosom is darker, And hard as the rock is thine heart. But thou, the dear offspring of Armin, Cathbat! art Morna's love. Bright as the sunbeams thy beautiful locks, When the mist of the valley is climbing the mountain Saw'st thou the chief, the young hero, Cathbat the brave, in thy course on the hill? The daughter of Cormac the mighty Tarries to welcome her love from the field.”
“Long shalt thou tarry, O Morna !”
Sullenly, fiercely, Duchômar replied:
“ “ Long shalt thou tarry, O Morna!
To welcome the rude son of Armin.
Lo! on this sharp-edged sword,
Red to the hilt is the life-blood of Cathbat:
Slain is thine hero,
By me he was slain :
His cairn will I build upon Cromla.
--Daughter of blue-shielded Cormac!
Turn on Duchômar thine eye.”
“ Fallen in death is the brave son of Armin?" The maiden exclaimed with the voice of love: “ Fallen in death on the pine-crested hill? The loveliest youth of the host !
Of heroes the first in the chase!
The direst of foes to the sea-roving stranger !
Dark is Duchômar in wrath;
Deadly his arm to me;
Foe unto Morna. But lend me thy weapon ;
Cathbat I loved, and I love his blood.”
He yielded the sword to her tears; She plunged the red blade through his side ; He fell by the stream; He stretched forth his hand, and his voice was heard : “ Daughter of blue-shielded Cormac ! Thou hast cut off my youth from renown; Cold is the sword, the glory of heroes, Cold in my bosom, O Morna! Ah! give me to Móina the maiden, For I am her dream in the darkness of night; My tomb she will build in the midst of the camp, That the hunter may hail the bright mark of my fame. But draw forth the sword from my bosom, For cold is the blade, O Morna!”
Slowly and weeping she came,
And drew forth the sword from his side;
He seized it, and struck the red steel to her heart;
She fell ;-on the earth lay her tresses dishevelled,
The blood gurgled fast from the wound,
And crimsoned her arm of snow.
“Tell me no more of the maiden!” Cuchullin, the war-chief of Erin, replied:
_“ Peace to the souls of the heroes! Their prowess was great in the conflict of swords; Let them glide by my chariot in war! Let their spirits appear in the clouds o'er the valley! So shall my breast be undaunted in danger!
“Be thou like a moonbeam, O Morna!
When my sight is beginning to fail;
When my soul is reposing in peace,
And the tumult of war is no inore."
With one who lived of old, my song
In lowly cadence rose ;
To one who is unborn, belong
The accents of its close:
Ages to come, with courteous ear,
Some youth my warning voice may hear;
And voices from the dead should be
The warnings of eternity.
When these weak lines thy presence greet,
Reader ! if I am blest,
Again, as spirits, may we meet
In glory and in rest;
If not,-and I have lost my way,
Here part we ;--go not thou astray ;
No tomb, no verse my story tell !
Once and for ever, Fare thee well !
Who loves not Spring's voluptuous hours,
The carnival of birds and flowers ?
Yet who would choose, however dear,
That Spring should revel all the year ?
Who loves not Summer's splendid reign,
The bridal of the earth and main ?
Yet who would choose, however bright,
A Dog-day noon without a night?-
Who loves not Autumn's joyous round,
When corn, and wine, and oil aboundi
Yet who would choose, however gay,
A year of unrenewed decay?
Who loves not Winter's awful form ;
The sphere-born music of the storm ?
Yet who would choose, how grand soever,
The shortest day to last for ever ?
'T was in that age renowned, remote, When all was true that Æsop wrote ;
And in that land of fair Ideal,
Where all that poets dream is real ;
Upon a day of annual state,
The Seasons met in high debate.
There blushed young Spring in maiden pride,
Blithe Summer looked a gorgeous bride,
Staid Autumn moved with matron grace,
And beldame Winter pursed her face.
Dispute grew wild ; all talked together;
The four at once made wondrous weather ;
Nor one (whate'er the rest had shown)
Heard any reason but her own,
While each (for nothing else was clear)
Claimed the whole circle of the year.
Spring, in possession of the field,
Compelled her sisters soon to yield ;
They part,-resolved elsewhere to try
A twelvemonth's empire of the sky;
And calling off their airy legions,
Alighted in adjacent regions.
Spring o'er the eastern champaign smiled,
Fell Winter ruled the northern wild ;
Summer pursued the sun's red car,
But Autumn loved the twilight star.
As Spring parades her new domain,
Love, Beauty, Pleasure hold her train ;
Her footsteps wake the flowers beneath,
That start, and blush, and sweetly breathe;
Her gales on nimble pinions rove,
And shake to foliage every grove ;
Her voice, in dell and thicket heard,
Cheers on the nest the mother-bird ;
The ice-locked streams, as if they felt
Her touch, to liquid diamond melt ;
The lambs around her bleat and play;
The serpent flings his slough away,
And shines, in orient colours dight,
A flexile ray of living light.
Nature unbinds her wintry shroud,
(As the soft sunshine melts the cloud,)
With infant gambols sports along,
Bounds into youth, and soars in song.
The morn impearls her locks with dew;
Noon spreads a sky of boundless blue;
The rainbow spans the evening scene,
The night is silent and serene,