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voice alone fend joy to my flying foul. Why
fhould the feeble know where dwells the loft'
beam of Clatho


10 93




In this, as well as the former publication, I have only admitted into the text compleat poems, or indepen dent epifodes: the fragments which remain of the compofitions of Offian, I have chofen to throw, occafionally, into the notes. 1 shall here give a translation of a part of a poem concerning the death of Fillan. It is a dialogue between Clatho the mother, and Bos-mina the fifter, of #107557 that hero. CLATHO. Istri in




Daughter of Fingal, arife: thou light between thy locks. Lift thy fair head from reft, soft-gliding fun beam of Selma! I beheld thy arms, on thy breaft, white toffed amidst thy wandering locks: when the ruffling breeze of the morning came from the defert of ftreams. Haft thou feen thy fathers, Bos-mina, defcending in thy dreams? Arife, daughter of Clathe; dwells there aught of grief, in thy foul ?


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A thin form passed before me, fading as it flew like the darkening wave of a breeze, along a field of grass. Defcend, from thy wall, O harp, and call back the foul of Bos-mina, it has rolled away, like a ftream. I hear thy pleasant found. I hear thee, O harp, and my voice fhall rife. Jumal ein ital How often shall rush to war, ye ye dwellers of my my foul ? Your paths are diftant, kings of men, in Erin of blue Atreams. Lift thy wing, thou fouthern breeze, from Clo'no's darkening heath: spread the fails of Fingal towards the bays of his land,

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- Is thy fpirit on the eddying winds, blue-eyed king of fields? Joy purfue my hero, thro' his folded clouds. The forms of thy fathers; O Fillan, bend to receive their fon. I behold the fpreading of their fire on Mora; the bluerolling of their mifty wreaths.-Joy meet thee my brother. But we are dark and fad. I behold the foe round the aged, and the wafting away of his fame. Thou art left alone in the field, grey-haired king of Selma.



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But who is that, in his ftrength, darkening in the prefence of war? His arm ftretches to the foe, like the beam of the fickly fun; when his fide is crufted with darkness; and he rolls his difmal courfe thro' the fky.-Who is it but the father of, Bos-mina? Shall he return till danger is past 5 st


Fillan, thou art a beam, by his fide; beautiful, but terrible, is thy light. Thy fword is before thee, a blue fire of night. When fhalt thou return to thy roes; to the ftreams of thy rufhy fields? When fhall I behold thee from Mora, while winds ftrew my long locks on mofs!But fhall, a young eagle return from the field where the heroes fall!



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Soft, as the fong of Loda, is the voice of Selma's maid. Pleafint to the ear of Clatho is the name of the breaker of fhields.Behold, the king comes from ocean the fhield of Morven is borné by bards. The foe has fled before him, like the departure of mift-I hear not the founding wings of my eagle; the rushing forth of the fon of: Clatho Thou art dark, O Fingal; fhall he not return **** * 01 city

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I LAID him in the hollow rock, at the roar of the nightly ftream. One red ftar looked in on the hero: winds lift, at times, his locks. I liftened no found was heard: for the warrior flept. As lightning on a cloud, a thought came rushing over my foul.-My eyes rolled in fire my ftride was in the clang of feel.

I WILL find thee, chief of Atha, in the gathering of thy thoufands. Why should that cloud escape, that quenched our early beam? Kindle your meteors, my fathers, to light my daring fteps. I will confume in wrath.

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** Here the fentente is defignedly left unfinished by the poet. The fenfe is, that he was resolved, like a destroying fire, to confume Cathmor, who had killed his brother. In the midst of this refolution, the fituation of Fingal fuggefts itself to him, in a very ftrong light. He refolves to return to afflift the king in profecuting the war.--But then his fhame for not defending his brother, recurs to him. He is determined again to go and find out Cathmor. -We may confider him, as in the act of advancing towards the enemy, when the horn of Fingal founded on Mora, and called back his people to his prefence.This foliloquy is natural: the refolutions which so fuddenly folJow one another, are expreffive of a mind extremely agi. tated with forrow and conscious fhame; yet the behaviour of Offian, in his execution of the commands of Fingal, is fo irreprehenfible, that it is not easy to determine where he failed in his duty. The truth is, that when men fail in designs which they ardently wish to accomplish, they


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Should I not return! the king is without a fon, grey-haired amidst his foes. His arm is not as in the days of old: his fame grows dim in Erin. Let me not behold him from high, laid low in his latter field.-But can I return to the king? Will he not ask about his fon?" Thou oughteft to defend young Fillan."-I will meet the foe.-Green Inisfail, thy founding tread is pleasant to my ear: I rush on thy ridgy hoft, to fhun the eyes of Fingal. I hear the voice of the king, on Mora's mifty top!-He calls his two fons; I come, my father, in my grief.

come like an eagle, which the flame of. night met in the defart, and spoiled of half his wings.


*DISTANT, round the king, on Mora, thé broken ridges of Morven are rolled. They turned their eyes: each darkly bends, on his


naturally blame themfelves, as the chief cause of their dif appointment. The comparison, with which the poet concludes his foliloquy, is very fanciful; and well adapted to the ideas of those, who live in a country, where lightning is extremely common.

This fcene is folemn. The poet always places his chief character amidst objects which favour the sublime. The face of the country, the night, the broken remaine of a defeated army, and, above all, the attitude and filence of Fingal himself, are circumstances calculated to


own afhen fpear.-Silent ftood the king in the midft. Thought on thought rolled over his foul. As waves on a fecret mountain-lake, each with its back of foam. He looked; no fon appeared, with his long-beaming fpear. The fighs rofe, crowding, from his foul; but he concealed his grief.At length I ftood beneath an oak. No voice of mine was heard. What could I fay to Fingal in his hour of woe?His words rofe, at length, in the midft; the people fhrunk backward as he spoke *.

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imprefs an awful idea on the mind. Offian is most fuccessful in bis night-defcriptions. Dark images fuited the melancholy temper of his mind. His poems were all compofed after the active part of his life was over, when he was blind, and had furvived all the companions of his youth we therefore find a veil of melancholy thrown over the whole.

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The abashed behaviour of the army of Fingal proceeds rather from fhame than fear. The king was not of a tyrannical difpofition: He, as he profeffes himself in the fifth book, never was a dreadful form, in their prefence, darkened into wrath. His voice was no thunder to their ears: his eye fent forth no death.-The firft ages of fociety are not the times of arbitrary power. As the wants of mankind are few, they retain their independence. It is an advanced state of civilization that moulds the mind to that fubmiffion to government, of which ambitious magiftrates take advantage, and raise themfelves into abfolute power. It



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