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paffed to my hall of fhells. Joy rofe, like a flame, on my foul: I bleft the echoing rock. Here be my dwelling, in darkness, in my graffy vale. From this I fhall mount the breeze, that purfues my thiftle's beard; or look down, on blue-winding Atha, from its wandering mist. : WHY fpeaks the king of the tomb ?-Offian ! the warrior has failed!-Joy meet thy foul, like a fream, Cathmor, friend of ftrangers! -My fon, I hear the call of years; they take my fpear as they pafs along. Why does not Fingal, they feem to fay, reft within his hall? Doft thou always delight in blood? In the tears of the fad? No: ye darkly-rolling years, Fingal delights not in blood. Tears are wintry ftreams that wafte away my foul. But, when I lie down to reft, then comes the mighty voice of war. It awakes me, in my hall, and calls forth all my fteel.-It fhall call it forth no more; Offian, take thou thy father's fpear. Lift it, in battle, when the proud arise.
My fathers, Offian, trace my fteps; my deeds are pleafant to their eyes. Wherever I
Cathmor. This must be attributed to the revolutions and domeftic confufions which happened in that ifland, and ut terly cut off all the real traditions concerning fo ancient a period. All that we have related of the ftate of Ireland before the fifth century is of late invention, and the work ●f ill informed fenachies and injudicious bards.
come forth to battle, on my field, are their columns of mift.-But mine arm rescued the feeble; the haughty found my rage was fire. Never over the fallen did mine eye rejoice. For this my fathers fhall meet me, at the gates of their airy halls, tall, with robes of light, with mildly-kindled eyes. But, to the proud in arms, they are darkened moons in heaven, which fend the fire of night, red-wandering over their face..
FATHER of heroes, Trenmor, dweller of eddying winds! I give thy fpear to Offian, let thine eye rejoice. Thee have I feen, at times,
* We fee, from this paffage, that, even in the times of Offian, and, confequently, before the introduction of christianity, they had fome idea of rewards and punishments after death.-Thofe who behaved, in life, with bravery and virtue, were received, with joy, to the airy halls of their fathers: but the dark in foul, to use the expreffion of the poet, were fpurned away from the habitation of heroes, to wander on all the winds. Another opinion, which prevailed in thofe times, tended not a little to make individuals emulous to excel one another in martial atchievements. It was thought, that, in the hall of clouds, every one had a feat, raised above others, in proportion as he excelled them, in valour, when he lived.-The fimile in this paragraph is new, and, if I may use the expreffion of a bard, who alludes to it, beautifully terrible.
Mar dhubh-reül, an croma nan fpeur,
A thaomas teina na h'oicha,
Dearg fruthach, air h'aighai' fein.
bright from between thy clouds; fo appear to my fon, when he is to lift the fpear: then fhall he remember thy mighty deeds, though thou art now but a blast.
He gave the fpear to my hand, and raised, at once, a ftone on high, to speak to future times, with its grey head of mofs. Beneath he placed a fword* in earth, and one bright bofs from his shield. Dark in thought, a-while, he bends his words, at length, came forth.
WHEN thou, O ftone, fhall moulder down, and lofe thee, in the mofs of years, then fhall the traveller come, and whiftling pafs away.r Thou know'ft not, feeble wanderer, that fame once fhone on Moi-lena, Here Fingal refigned his fpear, after the laft of his fields.-Pafs away, thou empty fhade; in thy voice there is no renown. Thou dwelleft by fome peaceful ftream; yet a few years, and thou art gone. No one remembers thee, thou dweller of thick mit-But Fingal thall be clothed with fame, a beam of light to other times; for he
* There are fome ftones ftill to be feen in the north, which were erected, ás memorials of fome remarkable tranfactions between the ancient chiefs. There are generally found, beneath them, fome piece of arms, and a bit of half-burnt wood. The caufe of placing the last there is not mentioned in tradition.
went forth, in echoing fteel, to save the weak in arms.
BRIGHTENING in his fame, the king ftrode to Lubar's founding oak, where it bent, from its rock, over the bright tumbling ftream. Beneath it is a narrow plain, and the found of the fount of the rock.-Here the ftandard* of Morven poured its wreaths on the wind, to mark the way of Ferad-artho, from his fecret vale. Bright, from his parted weft, the fun of heaven looked abroad. The hero faw his people, and heard their fhouts of joy. In broken ridges round, they glittered to the beam. The king rejoiced, as a hunter in his own green vale, when, after the ftorm is rolled away, he fees the gleaming fides of the rocks. The green thorn shakes its head in their face; from their top, look forward the roes.
GREY, at his moffy cave, is bent the aged form
* The erecting of his standard on the bank of Lubar, was the fignal, which Fingal, in the beginning of the book, promised to give to the chiefs, who went to conduct Ferad-artho to the army, fhould he himself prevail in battle. This ftandard here (and in every other part of Offian's poems, where it is mentioned) is called, the funbeam. The reafon of this appellation, I gave, more than once, in my notes in the preceding volume.
+ The poet changes the fcene to the valley of Lona, whither Sul-malla had been fent, by Cathmor, before the
form of Clonmal. The eyes of the bard had failed. He leaned forward, on his ftaff. Bright in her locks, before him, Sul-malla liftened to the tale; the tale of the kings of Atha, in the days of old. The noise of battle had ceased in his ear he flopt, and raised the fecret figh. The fpirits of the dead, they faid, often lightened over his foul. He faw the king of Atha low, beneath his bending tree.
WHY art thou dark, faid the maid? The ftrife of arms is paft. Soon fhall he come to thy cave, over thy winding ftreams. The fun looks from the rocks of the weft. The mifts of the lake arife. Grey, they fpread on that hill, the rufhy dwelling of roes. From the mist shall my king appear! Behold, he comes in his arms. Come to the cave of Clonmal, O my best beloved!
Ir was the fpirit of Cathmor, ftalking, large, a gleaming form. He funk by the hollow ftream, that roared between the hills. It was but the hunter, fhe faid, who fearches for the
battle. Clonmal, an aged bard, or rather druid, as he feems here to be endued with a prefcience of events, had long dwelt there, in a cave. This fcene is awful and folemn, and calculated to throw a melancholy gloom over the mind.
Cathmor had promised, in the seventh book, to come to the cave of Clonmal, after the battle was over.