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“ lift the spear. His face was like the plain of “the sun, when it is bright. No darkness travel“ led over his brow. But he came with his thou“ sands to aid the red-haired Cairbar. Now he
comes to revenge his death, o king of woody Morven.”
“Let Cathmor come,” replied the king, “I “ love a foe so great. His soul is bright. His
arm is strong. His battles are full of fame. “ But the little soul is a vapour that hovers round “ the marshy lake. It never rises on the green
hill, lest the winds should meet it there. Its
dwelling is in the cave, it sends forth the dart “ of death! Our young heroes, 0 warriors! are “ like the renown of our fathers. They fight
They fall. Their names are in song. “Fingal is amid his darkening years. He must “not fall, as an aged vak, across a secret stream. “ Near it are the steps of the hunter, as it lies be“ neath the wind. How is that tree fallen?' he
says, and, whistling, strides along. Raise the song of joy, ye bards of Morven!
Let our “ souls forget the past. The red stars look on
us from clouds, and silently descend. Soon “shall the grey beam of the morning rise, and “ shew us the foes of Cormac. Fillan! my son, “ take thou the spear of the king. Go to Mo“ ra's dark-brown side. Let thine eyes travel “ over the heath. Observe the foes of Fingal: * observe the course of generous Cathmor. 1
“ in youth.
“ 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 “ faine 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.
ARGUMENT.-This book opens, we may suppose about
midnight, with a soliloquy of Ossian, who had retired from the rest of the army, to mourn for his son Oscar. Upon hearing the noise of Cathmor's army approaching, he went to find out his brother Fillan, who kept the watch on the hill of Mora, in the front of Fingal's army. In the conversation of the brothers, the episode of Conar, the son of Trenmor, who was the first king of Ireland, is introduced, which lays open the origin of the contests between the Cael and the Firbolg, the two nations who first possessed themselves of that island. Ossian kindles a fire on Mora ; upon which Cathmor desisted from the de. sign he had formed of surprising the army of the Caledonians. He calls a council of his chiefs; reprimands Foldath for advising a night attack, as the Irish army were so much superior in number to the enemy. The bard Fonar introduces the story of Crothar, the ancestor of the king, which throws further light on the history of Ireland, and the original pretensions of the family of Atha, to the throne of that kingdom. The Irish chiefs lie down to rest, and Cathmor himself undertakes the watch. In his circuit, round the army, he is met by Ossian. The interview of the two heroes is described. Cathmor obtains a promise from Ossian, to order a funeral elegy to be sung over the grave of Cairbar ; it being the opinion of the times, that the souls of the dead could not be happy, till theirelegies were sung by a bard. Morning comes. Cathmor and Ossian part; and the latter, casually meet. ing with Carril the son of Kinfena, sends that bard, with
a funeral song, to the tomb of Cairbar. FATHER of heroes! O Trenmor! High dweller of eddying winds! where the dark-red thunder marks the troubled clouds! Open thou thy stormy halls. Let the bards of old be near. Let them draw near with songs and their half-viewless harps. No dweller of misty valley comes! No hunter unknown at bis streams! It is the carborne Oscar, from the fields of war. Sudden is thy change, my son, from what thou wert on dark Moi-lena! The blast folds thee in its skirt, and rustles through the sky! Dost thou not behold thy father, at the stream of night? The chiefs of Morven sleep far distant. They have lost no son! But
* Though this book has little action, it is not the least important part of Temora. The poet, in several episodes, l'uns up the cause of the war to the very source. The first population of Ireland, the wars between the two nations who originally possessed that island, its first race of kings, and revolutions of its government, are important facts, and are delivered by the poet, with so little mixture of the fabulous, that one cannot help preferring his accounts to the improbable fictions of the Scotch and Irish historians. The Milesian fables bear about them the marks of a late invention. To trace their legends to their source would be no difficult task; but a disquisition of this sort woald extend this note too far.
ye have lost a hero, chiefs of resounding Morven! Who could equal his strength when battle rolled against his side, like the darkness of crowded waters! Why this cloud on Ossian's soul? It ought to burn in danger.
Erin is near with her host. The king of Selma is alone. Alone thou shalt not be, my father, while I can lift the spear!
I rose, in all my arms. I rose and listened to the wind. The shield of Fillan* is not heard. I
* We understand, from the preceding book, that Cathmor was near with an arıny. When Cairbar was killed, the tribes who attended him fell back to Cathmor; who, as it afterwards appears, had taken a resolution to surprise Fingal by night. Fillan was dispatched to the hill of Mora, which was in the front of the Caledonians, to observe the motions of Cathmor. In this situation were affairs when Ossian, upon bearing the noise of the approaching enemy, went to find out his brother. Their conversation naturally introduces the episode, concern. ing Conar the son of Trenmor, the first Irish monarch, which is se necessary to the understanding the foundation of the rebellion and usurpation of Cairbar and Cathmor. Fillan was the youngest of the sons of Fingal, then living. He and Bosmina, mentioned in the battle of Lora, were the only children of the king, by Clatho the daughter of Cathulla king of Inis-tore, whom he had taken to wife after the death of Ros-crana, the daughter of Cormac Mac-Conar king of Ireland.
tremble for the son of Fingal. “Why should “ the foe come by night? Why should the dark“ haired warrior fail ?" Distant, sullen murmurs rise: like the noise of the lake of Lego, when its waters shrink, in the days of frost, and all its bursting ice resounds. The people of Lara look to heaven, and foresee the storm! My steps are forward on the heath. The spear of Oscar in my hand! Red stars looked from high. I gleamed along the night.
I saw Fillan silent before me, bending forward from Mora's rock. He heard the shout of the foe. The joy of his soul arose. He heard my sounding tread, and turned his lifted spear. “ Comest thou, son of night, in peace? Or dost “ thou meet my wrath? The foes of Fingal are “ mine. Speak, or fear my steel. I stand not, “ in vain, the shield of Morven's race.” “ Never “ mayst thou stand in vain, son of blue-eyed Cla" tho! Fingal begins to be alone. Darkness "gathers on the last of his days. Yet he has two
* That is, two sons in Ireland. Fergus, the second son of Fingal was, at that time, on an expedition, which is mentioned in one of the lesser poems. He, according to some traditions, was the ancestor of Fergus, the son of Erc or Arcath, commonly called Fergus the second iu the Scotch histories. The beginning of the reign of Fergus over