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Fillan is like a spirit of heaven, that defcends from the skirt of his blaft. The troubled ocean feels his steps, as he ftrides from wave to wave. His path kindles behind him; islands shake their heads on the heaving feas.
ARGUMENT to Book VI.
THIS book opens with a speech of Fingal, who fees Cathmor defcending to the affiftance of his flying army. The king difpatches Offian to the relief of Fillan. He himself retires behind the rock of Cormul, to avoid the fight of the engagement between his fon and Cathmor. Offian advances. The defcent of Cathmor described, He rallies the army, renews the battle, and, before Offi an could arrive, engages Fillan himself. Upon the approach of Offian, the combat between the two heroes ceafes. Offian and Cathmor prepare to fight, but night coming on prevents them. Offian returns to the place. where Cathmor and Fillan fought. He finds Fillan mortally wounded, and leaning against a rock. Their difcourfe. Filla dies; his body is laid, by Offian, in a neighbouring cave.-The Caledonian army return to Fingal. He queftions them about his fon, and understanding that he was killed, retires, in filence, to the rock of Cormul. Upon the retreat of the army of Fingal, the Fir-bolg advance. Cathmor finds Bran, one of the dogs of Fingal, lying on the fhield of Fillan, before the entrance of the cave, where the body of that hero lay. His reflexions thereupon. He returns, in a melancholy mood, to his army. Malthos endeavours to comfort him, by the example of his father Borbar-duthul, Cathmor retires to rest. The fong of Sul-malla concludes the book, which ends about the middle of the third night, from the opening of the poem,
TEM OR A:
ATHMOR rifes on his echoing hill ! Shall Fingal take the fword of Luno? But what should become of thy fame, fon of white-bofomed Clatho? Turn not thine eyes from
* I have, in a preceding note, observed that the abrupt manner of Offian partakes much of the nature of the Drama. The opening of this book is a confirmation of the juftness of this obfervation. Inftead of a long detail of circumstances delivered by the poet himself, about the descent of Cathmor from the hill, whereon he fat to behold the battle, he puts the narration in the mouth of Fingal. The relation acquires importance from the character of the speaker. The concern which Fingal fhews, when he beholds the rifing of Cathmor, raises our ideas of the valour of that hero to the highest pitch. The apoftrophes which
from Fingal, daughter of Inistore. I shall not quench thy early beam; it shines along my foul. -But rife, O wood-kirted Mora, rise, between the war and me! Why should Fingal behold the ftrife, left his dark-haired warrior fhould fall!-Amidft the fong, O Carril, pour the found of the trembling harp: here are the voices of rocks, and bright tumbling of waters. Father of Ofcar lift the fpear; defend the young in arms. Conceal thy fteps from Fillan's eyes.-He muft not know that I doubt his fteel.-No cloud
are crowded on one another, are expreffive of the perturbation of Fingal's foul,, and of his fear for his fon, who was not a match for the king of Ireland. The conduct of the poet in removing Fingal from the fight of the engagement, is very judicious; for the king might be induced, from feeing the inequality of the combat between Fillan and Cathmor, to come to battle himself, and fo bring about the catastrophe of the poem prematurely. The removal of Fingal affords room to the poet for introducing those affecting fcenes which immediately fucceed, and are among the chief beauties of the poem.-They who can deny art to Offian, in conducting the catastrophe of Temòra, are certainly more prejudiced against the age he lived in, than is confiftent with good fenfe. I cannot finish this note, without obferving the delicacy and propriety of Fingal's addrefs to Offian. By the appellation of the father of Ofear, he raises at once, in the mind of the hero, all that tendernefs for the fafety of Fillan, which a fituation fo fimilar to that of his own fon, when he fell, was capable to fuggeft.