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BERRATHON:

A POEM.

ARGUMENT.-FINGAL in his voyage to Lochlin,

whither he had been invited by Starno, the father of Agandecca, touched at Berrathon, an island of Scandinavia, where he was kindly entertained by Larthmor, the petty king of the place, who was a vassal of the supreme kings of Lochlin. The hospitality of Larthmor gained him Fin. gal's friendship,

which that hero manifested, after the imprisonment of Larthmor by his own son, by sending Ossian and Toscar the father of Malvina, so often mentioned, to rescue Larthmor, and to punish the unnatural behaviour of Uthal. Uthal was handsome, and, by the ladies, much admired. Nina-thoma, the beautiful daughter of Torthoma, a neighbouring prince, fell in love and fled with him. He proved inconstant! for another lady, whose name is not mentioned, gaining his affections, he confined Nina-thoma to a desert island near the coast of Berrathon. She was relieved by Ossian, who in company with Toscar, landing on Berrathon, defeated the forces of Uthal, and killed him in a single combat. Nina-thoma, whose love not all the bad behaviour of Uthal could erase, hearing of his death, died of grief. In the mean time Larthmor is restored, and Ossian and Toscar return in triumph to Fingal.

The poem opens with an elegy on the death of Malvina the daughter of Toscar, and closes with presages of Ossian's death.

noon.

BEND thy blue course, O stream! round the narrow plain of Lutha.* Let the

green

woods hang over it, from their hills: the sun look on it at

The thistle is there on its rock, and shakes its beard to the wind. The flower hangs its heavy head, waving, at times, to the gale. “Why dost “thou awake me, O gale ?” it seems to say. “I

* Lutha, swift stream.

Gg

VOL. II.

« come.

am covered with the drops of heaven! The “ time of my fading is near, the blast that shall “ scatter my leaves. To-morrow shall the tra“ veller come; he that saw me in my beauty shall

His
eyes

will search the field, but they “ will not find me.” So shall they search in vain, for the voice of Cona, after it has failed in the field. The hunter shall come forth in the morning, and the voice of my harp shall not be heard, “ Where is the son of car-borne Fingal ?" The tear will be on his cheek! Then come thou, O Malvina; with all thy music come! Lay Ossian in the plain of Lutha: let his tomb rise in the lovely field.

Malvina! where art thou, with thy songs, with the soft sound of thy steps? Son* of Alpin, art thou near? where is the daughter of Toscar? I

passed, O son of Fingal, by Tor-lutha's mossy “ walls. The smoke of the hall was ceased. Si'“ lence was among the trees of the hill. The 6 voice of the chase was over. I saw the daugh“ ters of the bow. I asked about Malvina, but

they answered not. They turned their faces “ away: thin darkness covered their beauty. They

were like stars on a rainy hill, by night, each “ looking faintly through the mist."

Pleasantt be thy rest, O lovely beam! soon

* His father was one of Fingal's principal bards, and he had a poetical genius.

† Ossian speaks. He calls Malvina a beam of light, and continues the metaphor throughout the paragraph.

ness.

hast thou set on our hills! The steps of thy departure were stately, like the moon on the blue, trembling wave. But thou hast left us in darkness, first of the maids of Lutha! We sit, at the

and there is no voice; no light but the meteor of fire! Soon hast thou set, O Malvina, daughter of generous Toscar! But thou risest like the beam of the east, among the spirits of thy friends, where they sit, in their stormy halls, the chambers of the thunder! A cloud hovers over Cona. Its blue curling sides are high. The wind are beneath it, with their wings. Within it is the dwelling* of Fingal. There the hero sits in dark

His airy spear is in his hand. His shield, half-covered with clouds, is like the darkened moon; when one half still remains in the wave, and the other looks sickly on the field !

His friends sit around the king, on mist! They hear the songs of Ullin: he strikes the half-viewless harp. He raises the feeble voice. The lesser heroes with a thousand meteors, light the airy hall. Malvina rises in the midst; a blush is on her cheek. She beholds the unknown faces of her fathers. She turns aside her humid eyes. “ thou come so soon,” said Fingal, “ daughter of It rises yon

generous Toscar ? Sadness dwells in the halls * The description of this ideal palace of Fingal is agreeable to the notiosis of those times, concerning the state of the deceased, who were supposed to pursue, after death, the pleasures and employments of their former life. The situation of the Celtic heroes, in their sepa. rate state, if not entirely bappy, is more agreeable than the notions of the ancient Greeks concerning their departed heroes.;

« Art * Ossian ; who had a great friendship for Malvina, both on account of her love for his son Oscar, and her attention to himself.

" of Lutha. My aged son* is sad! I hear the “ breeze of Cona, that was wont to lift thy heavy “ locks. It comes to the hall, but thou art not “ there. Its voice is mournful among the arms of “thy fathers! Go, with thy rustling wing, O “ breeze! sigh on Malvina's tomb. “ der beneath the rock, at the blue stream of “ Lutha. The maidst are departed to their place. “ Thou alone, O breeze, mournest there!”

But who comes from the dusky west, supported on a cloud? A smile is on his grey, watry face. His locks of mist fly on wind. He bends forward on his airy spear.

It is thy father, Malvina! Why shinest thou, so soon, on our clouds," he says, “O lovely light of Lutha! But thou wert “sad my daughter. Thy friends had passed away.

The sons of little mens were in the “ hall. None remained of the heroes, but Ossian “ king of spears!"

And dost thou remember Ossian, car-borne Toscar,ß son of Conloch? The battles of our youth were many.

Our swords went together to the field. They saw us coming like two falling

+ That is, the young virgins who sung the funeral elegy over her tomb.

Tradition is entirely silent concerning what passed in the north immediately after the death Fingal and all his heroes; by which it would seem that the actions of their successors were not to be compared to those of the renowned Fingalians.

Toscar was the son of that Conloch, who was also father to the la dy whose unfortunate death is related in the last episode of the second book of Fingal.

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