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and silently descend. Soon shall the of the morning rise, and shew us the foes of Cormac. Fillan ! my son, take thou the spear of the king. Go to Mora's dark-brown side. Let thine eyes travel over the heath. Observe the foes of Fingal : Observe the course of generous Cathmor. I hear a distant sound, like falling rocks in the desert. But strike thou thy shield, at times, that they may not come through night, and the fame of Morven cease.

I begin to be alone, my son.

I dread the fall of my renown !”

The voice of bards arose. The king leaned on the shield of Trenmor. Sleep descended on his eyes.

His future battles arose in his dreams. The host are sleeping around. Dark-haired Fillan observes the foe. His steps are on a distant hill. We hear, at times, his clanging shield 38

38 One of the Fragments of Ancient Poetry, lately published, gives a different account of the death of Oscar, the son of Ossian. The translator, though he well knew the more probable tradition concerning that hero, was unwilling to reject a poem, which, if not of Ossian's composition, has much of his manner, and concise turn of expression. A more correct copy of that fragment, which has since come to the translator's hands, has enabled him to correct the mistake, into which a similarity of

names had led those who handed down the poem by tradition. The heroes of the piece are Oscar, the son of Caruth, and Dermid, the son of Diaran. Ossian, or perhaps his imitator, opens the poem with a lamentation for Oscar, and afterwards, by an easy transition, relates the story of Oscar, the son of Caruth, who seems to have borne the same character, as well as name, with Oscar, the son of Ossian. Though the translator thinks he has good reason to reject the fragment as the composition of Ossian; yet as it is, after all, still somewhat doubtful whether it is or not, he has here subjoined it.

Why openest thou afresh the spring of my grief, O son of Alpin, inquiring how Oscar fell? My eyes are blind with tears ; but memory beams on my heart. How can I relate the mournful death of the head of the people! Chief of the warriors, Oscar, my son, shall I see thee no more !

He fell as the moon in a storm; as the sun from the midst of his course, when clouds rise from the waste of the waves, when the blackness of the storm inwraps the rocks of Ardannider. I, like an ancient oak on Morven, I moulder alone in my place. The blast hath lopped my branches away; and I tremble at the wings of the north. Chief of the warriors, Oscar, my son ! shall I see thee no more!

But, son of Alpin, the hero fell not harmless as the grass of the field; the blood of the mighty was on his sword, and he travelled with death through the ranks of their pride. But Oscar, thou son of CARUTH, thou hast fallen low! No enemy fell by thy hand. Thy spear was stained with the blood of thy friend.

Dermid and Oscar were one: They reaped the battle together. Their friendship was strong as their steel; and death walked between them to the field. They came on the foe like two rocks falling from the brows of Ardven. Their swords were stained with the blood of the valiant: warriors fainted at their names. Who was equal to Oscar, but Dermid ? and who to Dermid, but Oscar!

in war.

They killed mighty Dargo in the field; Dargo who never fled

His daughter was fair as the morn; mild as the beam of night. Her eyes, like two stars in a shower: her breath, the gale of spring: her breasts, as the new-fallen snow floating on the moving heath. The warriors saw her, and loved; their souls were fixed on the maid. Each loved her as his fame; each must possess her or die. But her soul was fixed on Oscar; the son of Caruth was the youth of her love. She forgot the blood of her father; and loved the hand that slew him.

Son of Caruth, said Dermid, I love; O Oscar, I love this maid. But her soul cleaveth unto thee ; and nothing can heal Dermid. Here, pierce this bosom, Oscar; relieve me, my friend, with thy sword.

My sword, son of Diaran, shall never be stained with the blood of Dermid.

Who, then, is worthy to slay me, o Oscar, son of Caruth? Let not my life pass away unknown. Let none but Oscar slay me. Send me with honour to the grave, and let my death be renowned.

Dermid, make use of thy sword; son of Diaran, wield thy steel. Would that I fell with thee! that my death came from the hand of Dermid !

They fought by the brook of the mountain, by the streams of Branzo. Blood tinged the running water, and curdled round the mossy stones. The stately Dermid fell; he fell, and smiled in death.

And fallest' thou, son of Diaran, fallest thou by Oscar's hand! Dermid, who never yielded in war, thus do I see thee fall !-He went, and returned to the maid of his love; he returned, but she perceived his grief.

Why that gloom, son of Caruth? what shades thy mighty squl?

Though once renowned for the bow, O maid, I have lost my fame. Fixed on a tree, by the brook of the hill, is the shield of the valiant Gormur, whom I slew in battle. I have wasted the day in vain, nor could my arrow pierce it.

Let me try, son of Caruth, the skill of Dargo's daughter. My hands were taught the bow: my father delighted in my skill.

She went, He stood behind the shield. Her arrow flew, and pierced his breast.

Blessed be that hand of snow; and blessed that bow of yew ! Who but the daughter of Dargo was worthy to slay the son of Caruth? Lay me in the earth, my fair one ; lay me by the side of Dermid.

Oscar ! the maid replied, I have the soul of the mighty Dargo. Well pleased I can meet death. My sorrow I can end. She pierced her white bosom with the steel. She fell; she trembled ; and died.

By the brook of the hill their graves are laid; a birch's unequal shade covers their tomb. Often, on their green earthen tombs, the branchy sons of the mountain feed, when mid-day is all in flames, and silence over all the hills.

MACPHERSON, First Book of Temora annexed to Fingal.

When the Fragments were written at Moffat, and published in 1760, the Irish Ballad concerning the death of Oscar had not come to the translator's hands. He was ignorant even of the historical account of the death of Oscar ; and he endeavours in vain to extenuate the mistake committed in the seventh Fragment, which is, and is not, the composition of Ossian. The more correct copy of that Fragment, which enabled him, by an easy transition, to correct the mistake occasioned by the simi- , larity of names, consists in the interpolation of an additional paragraph, (marked in Italics), by which the hero is transformed into another Oscar, of the same character, as well as of the same name, with the son of Ossian. But, son of Alpin, the hero (Oscar, son of Ossian) fell not harmless as the grass of the

VOL. II.

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field, &c. But Oscar, thou son of Caruth, thou hast fallen low, &c. Dermid the son of Morni, is also changed into Dermid son of Diaran ; and the son of Ossian is altered throughout to the son of Caruth; a new hero, never heard of before or since. By such easy transitions, the story of the Fragment is transferred from Oscar the son of Ossian, to Oscar the son of Caruth, like that of Pope's Dunciad, from Theobald to Cibber; and it is farther observable, that the Fragment on the Death of Oscar, a plain and almost avowed fabrication, was the very first specimen of Celtic poetry, which the translator produced at Moffat, to Mr John Home.

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