Page images
[blocks in formation]



P. 6. v. 43. AN lann a thug e o Shrumon suus,

'Nuair cheileadh o chruadal Morni.] Strumon, stream of the hill, the name of the seat of the family of Gaul, in the neighbourhood of Selma. During Gaul's expedition to Tromathon, mentioned in the poem of Oithona, Morni, his father, died. Morni ordered the sword of Strumon, (which had been preserved in the family as a relique, from the days of Colgach, the most renowned of his ancestors) to be laid by his side, in the tomb: at the same time, leaving it in charge to his son, not to take it from thence, till he was reduced to the last extremity. Not long after, two of his brothers being slain in battle, by Coldaronnan, chief of Clutha, Gaul went to his father's tomb to take the sword. His address to the spirit of the deceased hero is the subject of the following short poem:

GAUL. “Breaker of echoing shields, whose head is deep in shades ; bear me from the darkness of Clora; O son of Colgach, hear!

"No rustling, like the eagle's wing, comes over the course of my streams. Deep bosomed in the midst of the desert, O king of Strumon, hear!

"Dwellest thou in the shadowy breeze, that pours its dark wave over the grass? Cease to strew the beard of the thistle; O chief of Clora, hear!

"Or ridest thou on a beam, amidst the dark trouble of clouds? Pourest thou the loud wind on seas, to roll their blue waves over isles? hear me, father of Gaul; amidst thy terrors, hear!

"The rustling of eagles is heard, the murmuring oaks shake their heads on the hills: dreadful and pleasant is thy approach, friend of the dwelling of heroes.

MORNI. "Who awakes me, in the midst of my cloud, where my locks of mist spread on the winds? Mixed with the noise of streams, why rises the voice of Gaul?

GAUL. "My foes are around me, Morni: their dark ships descend

from their waves. Give the sword of Strumon, that beam which thou hidest in thy night.

MORNI. "Take the sword of resounding Strumon; I look on thy war, my son; I look a dim meteor, from my cloud: blue-shielded Gaul, destroy."

P. 6. v. 45. Sheas Fillean o Shelma thall,] Clatho was the daughter of Cathulla, king of Inistore. Fingal, in one of his expeditions to that island, fell in love with Clatho, and took her to wife, after the death of Ros-crana, the daughter of Cormac, king of Ireland.

Clatho was the mother of Ryno, Fillan, and Bosmina, mentioned in the battle of Lora. Fillan is often called the son of Clatho, to distinguish him from those sons which Fingal had by Ros-crana.

P. 10. v. 81. Bi-sa, Oisein, ri laimh d'athar.] Ullin being sent to Morven with the body of Oscar, Ossian attends his father, in quality of chief bard.

P. 12. v. 120. Co ach Morni nan eacha srann?] The expedition of Morni to Clutha, alluded to here, is handed down in tradition.

P. 14. v. 144. Mo shuile claon ri coille Chromla.] The mountain Cromla was in the neighbourhood of the scene of this poem; which was nearly the same with that of Fingal.

P. 16. v. 178. Ghairm e triath Chormuil o'n Dùn

Ratho nan tùr; is chual e.] Corm-uil, blue-eye. Dunratho, a hill, with a plain on its top. Foldath dispatches here, Cormul to lie in ambush behind the army of the Caledonians. This speech suits with the character of Foldath, which is, throughout, haughty and presumptuous. Towards the latter end of this speech, we find the opinion of the times, concerning the unhappiness of the souls of those who were buried without the funeral song. This doctrine was inculcated by the bards, to make their order respectable and necessary.

P. 20. v. 231. Turlath, &c.] Tur-lath or Tur-lathon, broad trunk of a tree. Moruth, great stream. Oichaoma, mild maid. Dun-lora, the hill of the noisy stream. Duth-caron, dark-brown man.

P. 22. v. 269. 'Og Fhillean fo gharbh sgeith Chormuil

'Ga sgaoileadh mor fa chòir an triath.] Fillan had been dispatched by Gaul to oppose Cormul, who had been sent by Foldath to lie in ambush behind the Caledonian army. It appears that Fillan had killed Cormul, otherwise he could not be supposed to have possessed himself of the shield of that chief.

P. 24. v. 275. Mu Lumon nan crann fuaimear.] Lumon, bending hill; a mountain in Inis-huna, or that part of South Britain which is over against the Irish coast.

P. 26. v. 314. C'uim tha Emhir chaoin fo bhron?] Emhir-chaoin, or chaomh, mild, or kind maid, the wife of Gaul. She was the daughter of Casdu-conglass, chief of Idronlo, one of the Hebrides.

P. 28. v. 347. Bha Fionnghal an sin fo a neart,

Sgiath fhior-ian m' a bheart a fuaim,] The kings of Caledonia and Ireland had a plume of eagle's feathers, by way of ornament, in their helmets. It was from this distinguished mark that Ossian knew Cathmor, in the second book.

P. 30. v. 372. Bha d'oìge, a threin, measg m'oige: &c.] After the death of Comhal, and during the usurpation of the tribe of Morni, Fingal was educated in private by Duthcaron. It was then he contracted that intimacy with Connal, the son of Duthcaron, which occasions his regretting so much his fall. When Fingal was grown up, he soon reduced the tribe of Morni; and, as it appears from the subsequent episode, sent Duthcaron and his son Connal to the aid of Cormac, the son of Conar, king of Ireland, who was driven to the last extremity, by the insurrections of the Firbolg. This episode throws farther light on the contests between the Cael and Firbolg.

P. 32. v. 385. Duthula,] A river in Connaught; it signifies, darkrushing water.

P. 32. v. 396.

Colc ullamh ard cheannard nan sluagh

Triath Atha nan stuadh gorma.] Colc-ullamh, firm look in readiness; he was the brother of Borbar-duthul, the father of Cairbar and Cathmor, who, after the death of Cormac, the son of Artho, successively mounted the Irish throne.

P. 32. v. 399. Las Cormac an taobh na stri

Glan mar chruthaibh a shinns're féin.] Cormac, the son of Conar, the second king of Ireland, of the race of the Caledonians. This insurrection of the Firbolg happened towards the latter end of the long reign of Cormac. He never possessed the Irish throne peaceably. The party of the family of Atha had made several attempts to overturn the succession in the race of Cona, before they effected it, in the minority of Cormac, the son of Artho. Ireland, from the most ancient accounts concerning it, seems to have been always so disturbed by domestic commotions, that it is difficult to say whether it ever was, for

« PreviousContinue »