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He saw his grey host on the field, wide-spreading their ridges in light. He rejoiced, like a spirit of heaven, whose steps come forth on the seas, when he beholds them peaceful round, and all the winds are laid. But soon he awakes the waves, and rolls them large to some echoing shore.
On the rushy bank of a stream, slept the daughter of Inis-huna. The helmet bad fallen from her head. Her dreams were in the lands of her fathers. There morning is on the field. Grey streams leap down fron, the rocks. The breezes, in shadowy waves, fly over the rushy fields. There is the sound that
for the chase. There the moving of warriors from the hall. But tall above the rest is seen the hero of streamy Atha. He bends his eye of love on Sulmalla, from his stately steps. She turns, with pride, her face away, and careless bends the bow,
Such were the dreams of the maid, when Cathmor of Atha came. He saw her fair face before him, in the midst of her wandering locks. He knew the maid of Lunion. What shonld Cathnior do? His sighs arise. His tears come down. But straight he turns away.
“ This is no time, 'king of Atha, to awake thy secret soul. The “battle is rolled before thee, like a troubled “ stream."
He struck that warning boss,* wherein dwelt * In order to understand this passage, it is necessary to look to the description of Cathmor's shield in the seventh book. This shield had seven principal bosses, the sound of each of which, when struck with
the voice of war. Erin rose around him, like the sound of eagle-wing. Sulmalla started fronı sleep, in her disordered locks. She seized the helmet from earth. She trembled in her place. “ Why should they know in Erin of the daughter « of Inis-huna?” She remembered the race of
kings. The pride of her soul arose ! Her steps “ are behind a rock, by the blue-winding * stream “ of a vale: where dwelt the dark-brown hind s ere yet the war arose. Thither came the voice
of Cathmor, at times, to Sul-malla's ear. Her “ soul is darkly sad. She pours her words on
66 of war.
• The dreams of Inis-huna departed. They
are dispersed from my soul. I hear not the “ chase in my land. I am concealed in the skirt
I look forth from my cloud. No “ beam appears to light my path. I behold my s warrior low; for the broad-shielded king is “ near, he that overcomes in danger, Fingal from “ Selma of spears! Spirit of departed Conmor! are thy steps on the bosom of winds?
Comest " thou, at times, to other lands, father of sad “ Sul-malla? Thou dost come! I have heard
thy voice at night; while yet I rose on the “ wave to Erin of the streams. The ghost of
a spear, conveyed a particular order from the king to his tribes. The sound of one of them, as here, was the signal for the army to assemble.
* This was not the valley of Lona to which Sul-malla afterwards retired,
" of wo.
“ fathers, they say,* call away the souls of their race, while they behold them lonely in the midst
Call me, my father, away! When “ Cathmor is low on earth; then shall Sul-malla “ be lonely in the midst of wo!"
* Con-mor, the father of Sul-malla, was killed in that war, from which Cathmor delivered Inis-huna. Lormar his son succeeded Conmor. It was the opinion of the times, when a person was reduced to a pitch of misery, which could admit of no alleviation, that the ghost of his ancestors called his soul away. This supernatural kind of death was called the voice of the dead; and is believed by the superstitious vulgar to this day.
There is no people in the world, perhaps, who give more universal credit to apparitions, and the visits of the ghosts of the deceased to their friends, than the ancient Scots. This is to be attributed as much, at least, to the situation of the country they possess, as to that credulous disposition which distinguishes an unenlightened people. As their business was feeding of cattle, in dark and extensive deserts, so their journeys lay over wide and unfrequented heaths, where, often, they were obliged to sleep in the open air, amidst the whistling of winds, and roar of water-falls. The gloominess of the scenes around them was apt to beget that melancholy disposition of mind, which must readily receives impressions of the extraordinary and supernatuval kind. Falling asleep in this gloomy mood, and their dreams being disturbed by the noise of the elements around, it is no matter of wonder, that they thought they heard the voice of the dear. This voice of the dead, however, was, perhaps, no more than a shriller whistle of the winds in an old tree, or in the chinks of a neighbouring rock. It is to this cause I ascribe those many and improbable tales of ghosts which we meet with in the Highlands ; for, in other respects, we do not find that the inhabitants are more credulous than their neighbours. * Lora is often mentioned; it was a small and rapid stream in the neighbourhood of Selma. There is no vestige of this name now remaining; though it appears from a very old song, which the translator bas seen, that one of the small rivers on the north-west coast was called Lora some centuries ago.
ARGUMENT.-The poet, after a short address to the
harp of Cona, describes the arrangement of both armies on either side of the river Lubar. Fingal gives the command to Fillan; but, at the same time, orders Gaul, the son of Morni, who had been wounded in the hand in the preceding battle, to assist him with his council. The army of the Fir-bolg is commanded by Foldath. The general onset is described. The great actions of Fillan. He kills Rothmar and Culmin. But when Fillan conquers in one wing, Foldath presses hard on the other. He wounds Dermid, the son of Duthno, and puts the whole wing to flight. Dermid deliberates with himself, and at last resolves to put a stop to the progress of Foldath, by engaging him in single combat. When the two chiefs were approaching towards one another, Fillan came suddenly to the relief of Dermid; engaged Foldath, and killed him. The behaviour of Malthos towards the fallen Foldath. Fillan puts the whole army of the Fir-bolg to flight. The book closes with an address to Clatho, the mother of that hero.
THOU dweller between the shields, that hang, on high, in 'Ossian's hall! Descend froin thy place, O harp, and let me bear thy voice! Son of Alpin, strike the string. Thou must awake the soul of the bard. The murmur of Lora's* stream has rolled the tale away. I stand in the cloud of years. Few are its openings toward the past;
and when the vision comes, it is but dim and dark. I hear thee, harp of Selma! my soul returns, like a breeze, which the sun brings back to the vale, where dwelt the lazy mist!
Lubar * is bright before me in the windings of its vale. On either side, on their hills, rise the tall forms of the kings. Their people are poured around them, bending forward to their words: as if their fathers spoke descending from the winds. But they themselves are like two rocks in the midst; each with its dark head of pines, when they are seen in the desert, above low-sailing mist. High on their face are streams, which spread their foam on blasts of wind !
Beneath the voice of Cathmor pours Erin, like the sound of fame. Wide they come down to Lubar. Before them is the stride of Foldath. But Cathmor retires to his hill, beneath his bending oak. The tumbling of a stream is near the
* From several passages in the poem we may form a distinct idea of the scene of the action of Temora. At a small distance from one another rose the hills of Mora and Cora; the first possessed by Fingal, the second by the army of Cathmor. Through the intermediate plain ran the small river Lubar, on the banks of which all the battles were fought, excepting that between Cairbar and Oscar, related in the first book. This last mentioned engagement happened to the north of the hill of Mora, of which Fingal took possession, after the army
of Cairbar fell back to that of Cath mor. At some distance, but within sight of Mora, towards the west, Lubar issued from the mountain of Crommal, and, after a short course through the plain of Moi-lena, discharged itself into the sea near the field of battle. Behind the mountain of Crommal ran the small stream of Lavath, on the banks of which Ferad-artho, the son of Cairbre, the only person rtmaining of the race of Cona, lived concenled in a cave, during the usurpation of Cairbar, the son of Borbar-duthul.