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steel pierced his forehead, and divided his redhair behind. He lay, like a shattered rock, which
heroes, concerning the exchange of spears, which was usually made, between the guests and their host, upon such occasions. In the course of their altercation, Cairbar said, in a boastful manner, that he would hunt on the hills of Albion, and carry the spoils of it into Ireland, in spite of all the efforts of its inhabitants. The original words are :
Briathar buan sin; Briathar buan
A h’Alvin an la'r na mhaireach.
Briathar eile an aghai’ sin
Do dh’Albin an la'r na mhaireach, &c. Oscar, in consequence of his threats, began to lay waste Ireland; but as he returned with the spoil into Ulster, through the
pass of Gabhra (Caoiel ghlen Ghbhra) he was met by Cairbar, and a battle ensued, in which both the heroes fell by mutual wounds. The bard gives a very curious list of the followers of Oscar, as they marched to battle. They appear to have been five hundred in number, commanded, as the poet expresses it, by five heroes of the blood of kings. This poem mentions Fingal, as arriving from Scotland, before Oscar died of his wounds. MACPHERSON.
The Irish ballad on the Death of Oscar, which Macpherson has described and quoted, is the sole foundation for the epic poem of Temora, and the only poem upon the subject that has
Cromla shakes from its shaggy side's, when the green-vallied Erin shakes its mountains, from sea to sea!
ever been discovered in the Highlands of Scotland. Pope, the minister of Reay in Caithness, and Jerom Stone, a schoolmaster at Dunkeld, who had both collected Gaelic poetry many years before Macpherson published, discovered nothing but the Irish ballad, to which the attestations procured by Dr Blair, respecting the authenticity of the Temora, are expressly confined ; and from the recent collections by Gillies, Hill, Young, and the Highland Society, it appears that no other poem has yet been found. But the first book of Temora exhausts the ballad, from which the invitation to the feast at Tara, and the proposed exchange of spears, are adopted; and Cairbar threatens to hunt and carry the spoils next day from Almhuin, Oscar to hunt and carry the spoils next day to Almhuin ; not to Albion, as misquoted by Macpherson, but the hill of Allen in Leinster, the residence of Fingal, within a few miles of Tara, and of the pass of Gabhra where the battle was fought. Oscar made a prodigious slaughter in the battle, which was fought next day; and when pierced through the body with a poisoned, or seven barbed spear, thrown by Cairbar, he fell upon his knee, as in the Temora, pierced Cairbar's forehead with a nine barbed spear, and with another which he hurled, slew young Artho, Cairbar's son. Fingal arrives in his ships, not, as Macpherson asserts, from Scotland, but from a voyage to Rome : Oscar, while still alive, is carried, on the shields of his attendants, to his grandfather's house; evidently to Almhuin, not to Albion; and the Irish ballad, from which these circumstances are taken, was undoubtedly the only original that ever came to the translator's hands.
15 Like a shattered rock, which Cromla shakes from its shaggy sides.] Par. Lost, i. 230.
But never more shall Oscar rise! He leans on his bossy shield. His spear is in his terrible hand. Erin's sons stand distant and dark. Their shouts arise, like crowded streams. Moi-lena echoes wide. Fingal heard the sound. He took the spear of Selma. His steps are before us on the heath. He spoke the words of woe. “I hear the noise of war. Young Oscar is alone. Rise, sons of Morven; join the hero's sword !”
Ossian rushed along the heath. Fillan bounded over Moi-lena. Fingal strode in his strength. The light of his shield is terrible. The sons of Erin saw it far distant. They trembled in their souls. They knew that the wrath of the king arose; and they foresaw their death. We first arrived. We fought. Erin's chiefs withstood our rage. But when the king came, in the sound of his course, what heart of steel could stand! Erin fled over Moi-lena. Death pursued their
As when the force
Of thundering Ætna. “ When the green vallied Erin shakes its mountains from sea to
An additional imitation, first inserted in the improved edition; from below, ii. 10.
flight. We saw Oscar on his shield. . We saw the blood around. Silence darkened
Silence darkened every face. Each turned his back and wept. The king strove to hide his tears. His grey beard whistled in the wind. He bends his head above the chief. His words are mixed with sighs '6.
“Art thou fallen, o Oscar, in the midst of thy course? the heart of the aged beats over thee! He sees thy coming wars! The wars which ought to come he sees ! They are cut off from thy fame! When shall joy dwell at Selma ? When shall grief depart from Morven ? My soņs fall by degrees: Fingal is the last of his race. My fame begins to pass away. Mine age will be without friends. I shall sit a grey cloud
16 His words are mixed with siglıs.] “Words interwove with sighs.” Milton, Par. Lost, 1.620. “Words mired with sighs." Pope's Iliad, ix. 22. Infra, v. 22. But the silent grief of the host, and the tears of Fingal, are transcribed from the grief of the Prussians, and the tears of Frederick, in Macpherson's Verses on the Death of Marshal Keith.
17 The heart of the aged beats over thee.] A pathetic expression from the Irish ballad. “Oscar, my beloved, beloved by my beloved, son of my son, mild and valiant, my heart pants over thee like a blackbird ! Never more shall Oscar rise." Young's Translation. Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, i. 118.
hall. I shall not hear the return of a son, in his sounding arms. Weep, ye heroes of Morven! never more shall Oscar rise 18 !”
And they did weep, O Fingal! Dear was the hero to their souls. He went out to battle, and the foes vanished. He returned, in peace, amidst their joy. No father mourned his son slain in youth : no brother his brother of love. They fell, without tears"); for the chief of the people is low! Bran is howling at his feet: gloomy Luäth is sad, for he had often led them to the chace; to the bounding roe of the desert !
When Oscar saw his friends around, his heaving breast arose. “The groans,” he said, “ of aged chiefs: The howling of my dogs: The sudden bursts of the song of grief, have melted Oscar's soul *. My soul, that never melted before,
18 Never more shall Oscar rise.] Supra, 17.
19 No father mourneth his son slain in youth : no brother his brother of lore: they fell without tears, &c.] Another pathetic passage
from the Irish ballad. “ No mother lamented her son, nor one brother for another ; but each of us that was present wept for Oscar.” Id. 116.
20 The groans, he said, of the aged chiefs : The howling of my dogs: The sudden bursts of the song of grief, have melted Oscar's soul.] From the Ballad. “ The howling of the dogs by our side; the groans of the aged chiefs; the lamentations of all