« PreviousContinue »
of mine fhall rife, my fon, upon thy foul of fire!
He funk behind his rock, amidst the found of Carril's fong.-Brightening, in my growing foul, I took the fpear of Temora *. I faw, along Moi-lena, the wild tumbling of battle, the ftrife of death, in gleaming rows, disjoined and broken round. Fillan is a beam of fires from wing to wing is his.wafteful courfe. The ridges of war melt before him. They are rolled, in smoak, from the fields.
Now is the coming forth of Cathmor, in the armour of kings! Dark-rolled the eagle's' wing
* The fpear of Temora was that which Ofcar had received, in a prefent, from Cormac, the fon of Artho, king of Ireland. It was of it that Cairbar made the pretext for quarrelling with Oscar, at the feaft, in the first book. After the death of Ofcar we find it always in the hands of Offan. It is faid, in another poem, that it was preserved, as a relique, at Temora, from the days of Conar, the fon of Trenmor, the firft king of Ireland.
+ The appearance of Cathmor is magnificent: his unconcerned gait, and the effect which his very voice has upon his flying army, are circumstances calculated to raise our ideas of his fuperior merit and valour. Offian is very impartial with regard to his enemies: this however, canriot be said of other poets of great eminence and unqueftioned merit. Milton, of the first clafs of poets, is undoubtedly the moft irreprehenfible in this refpect; for we always pity or admire his Devil, but seldom deteft him,
wing above his helmet of fire. Unconcerned are his fteps, as if they were to the chace of Atha. He raised, at times, his dreadful voice; Erin, abafhed, gathered round.Their fouls returned back, like a ftream: they wondered at: the steps of their fear: for he rofe, like the Beam of the morning on a haunted heath: the traveller looks back, with bending eye, on the. field of dreadful forms.
SUDDEN, from the rock of: Moi-lena, are Sul-malla's trembling fteps. An oak took the fpear from her hand; half-bent the loofed the lance but then are her eyes on the king, from amidst her wandering locks.—No friendly strife is before thee: no light contending of bows, as when the youth of Cluba came forth beneath the eye of Conmor.
i tu mw 1
even tho' he is the arch enemy of our fpecies. Mankind generally take fides with the unfortunate and daring. It is from this disposition that many readers, tho' otherwise good chriftians, have almost wished fuccefs to Satan, in his defperate and daring voyage from hell, through the regions of chaos and night.
* Clu-ba, winding bay; an arm of the fea in Inis-huna, or the western coaft of South-Britain. It was in this bay that Cathmor was wind-bound when Sul-malla came, in the difguife of a young warrior, to accompany him in his voyage to Ireland. Conmor, the father of Sul-malla, as we learn from her foliloquy, at the close of the fourth, book, was dead before the departure of his daughter.
As the rock of Runo, which takes the paffing clouds for its robe, feems growing, in gathered darkness, over the ftreamy heath; fo feemed the chief of Atha taller, as gathered his people roundAs different blaffs fly over the fea, each behind its dark-blue wave, fo Cathmor's words, on every fide, poured his warriors forth.-Nor filent on his hitt is Fillan; he mixed his words with his echoing thield. An eagle he feemed, with founding wings, calling the wind to his rock, when he fees the coming forth of the roes, on Lutha's * rushy field."
Now they bent forward in battle: 'death's hundred voices röfe, for the kings, on either fidey were like fires on the fouls of the people.-I bounded along: high rocks and trees rufhed talb between the war and me.But I heard the noise of foel, between my clanging arms. Rifing gleaming, on the hill, I beheld the backward Ateps of hofts: their backward fteps, on either fide, and wildly-looking eyes. The chiefs were metin 'dreadful fight the two blue-fhielded kings. Tall and dark, thro' gleams of steel, are
Lutha was the name of a valley in Morven, in the days of Offian. There dwelt Tofcar the fon of Conloch, the father of Malvina, who, upon that account,, is often called the maid of Lutha. Lutha fignifies swift fream.
feen the ftriving heroes.-I rushed.-My fears for Fillan flew, burning across my foul.
I CAME; nor Cathmor fled; nor yet advanced: he fidelong ftalked along, An icy rock, cold, tall he seemed. I called forth all my steel.
Silent awhile we ftrode, on either fide of a rushing stream: then, fudden turning, all at once, we raised our pointed fpears. We raised our fpears, but night came down. It is dark and filent around; but where the diftant fteps of hofts are founding over the heath.
I CAME to the place where Fillan* fought. Nor voice, nor found is there. A broken helmét lay on earth; a buckler cleft in twain. Where, Fillan, where art thou, young chief of echoing Morven? He heard me leaning against a rock, which bent its grey head over the fream. He heard; but fullen, dark he food. At length I faw the chief.
WHY ftandeft thou, robed in darkness, fon of woody Selma? Bright is thy path, my brother, in this dark-brown field. Long has been
The scenery of the place where Fillan fought, and the fituation of that hero, are picturefque and affecting. The diftrefs, which fucceeds, is heightened by Offian's being ignorant, for fome time, that his brother was wounded. This kind of fufpence is frequent in Offian's poems. The more unexpected a thing is, the greater impreffion it makes on the mind when it comes.
thy ftrife in battle. Now the horn of Fingal is heard. Afcend to the cloud of thy father, to his hill of feafts. In the evening mift he fits, and hears the voice of Carril's harp. Carry joy to the aged, young breaker of the fhields.
CAN the vanquished carry joy? Offian, no fhield is mine. It lies broken on the field. The eagle-wing of my helmet is torn. It is when foes fly before them that fathers delight in their fons. But their fighs burst forth, in fecret, when their young warriors yield.-No Fillan will not behold the king. Why should the hero mourn?
SON of blue-eyed Clatho, why doft thou awake my foul? Wert thou not a burning fire before him; and fhall he not rejoice? Such fame belonged not to Offian; yet was the king fill a fun to me. He looked on my steps, with joy: fhadows, never rose on his face.Afcend, O Fillan, to Morac his feaft is fpread in the folds of mift.
OSSIAN, give me that broken shield: these feathers that are rolled in the wind. Place them near to Fillan, that lefs of his fame may fall. Offian, I begin to fail.-Lay me in that hollow rock. Raife no ftone above: left one should alk about my fame. I am fallen in the first of my fields; fallen without renown. Let thy