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bed of the roe. His fteps are not forth to war; his spouse expects him with night.—He shall, whiftling, return, with the fpoils of the darkbrown hinds."Her eyes are turned to the hill; again the ftately form came down. She rofe, in the midft of joy. He retired in mift. Gradual vanifh his limbs of fmoak, and mix with the mountain-wind.-Then she knew that he fell! " King of Erin art thou low !" -Let Offian forget her grief; it wastes the foul of age*.
* The abrupt manner, in which Offian quits the story of Sul-malla, is judicious. His fubject led him immediately to relate the restoration of the family of Conar to the Irish throne; which we may confider effectually done, by the defeat and death of Cathmor, and the arrival of Feradartho in the Caledonian army. To purfue, here, the ftory of the maid of Inis-huna, which was foreign to the fubject, would be altogether inconfiftent with the rapid manner of Offian, and a breach on unity of time and action, one of the fundamental effentials of the eppaa, the rules of which our Celtic bard gathered from nature, not from the precepts of critics.-Neither did the poet totally defert the beautiful Sul-malla, deprived of her lover, and a ftranger, as fhe was, in a foreign land. Tradition relates, that Offian, the next day after the decifive battle between Fingal and Cathmor, went to find out Sul-malla, in the valley of Lona. His addrefs to her, which is ftill preferved, I here lay before the reader.
"Awake, thou daughter of Conmor, from the fernfkirted cavern of Lona. Awake, thou fun-beam in de
EVENING came down on Moi-lena, Grey rolled the ftreams of the land. Loud came forth the voice of Fingal: the beam of oaks arofe. The people gathered round with gladness; with gladness blended with fhades. They fidelong looked to the king, and beheld his unfinished joy.-Pleafant, from the way of the defart, the voice of mufic came. It feemed, at first, the
farts; warriors one day must fail. They move forth, like terrible lights; but, often, their cloud is near.-Go to the valley of ftreams, to the wandering of herds, on Lumon; there dwells, in his lazy mift, the man of many days. But he is unknown, Sul-malla, like the thiftle of the rocks of roes; it shakes its grey beard, in the wind, and falls, unfeen of our eyes.-Not fuch are the kings of men, their departure is a meteor of fire, which pours its red courfe, from the defart, over the bofom of night.
"He is mixed with the warriors of old, thofe fires that have hid their heads. At times fhall they come forth in fong. Not forgot has the warrior failed.-He has not feen, Sul-malla, the fall of a beam of his own: no fairhaired fon, in his blood, young troubler of the field.I am lonely, young branch of Lumon, I may hear the voice of the feeble, when my ftrength fhall have failed in years, for young Ofcar has ceafed, on his field.—* * *
The rest of the poem is loft; from the ftory of it, which is still preferved, we understand, that Sul-malla returned to her own country. Sul-malla makes a confiderable figure in the poem which immediately follows in this volume; her behaviour in that piece accounts for that partial regard with which the poet fpeaks of her throughout Temora,
noife of a ftream, far-distant on its rocks. Slow it rolled along the hill like the ruffled wing of a breeze, when it takes the tufted beard of the rocks, in the ftill feason of night. It was the voice of Condan, mixed with Carril's trembling harp. They came with blue-eyed Ferad-artho, to Mora of the ftreams.
SUDDEN burfts the fong from our bards, on Lena: the hoft ftruck their fhields midst the found. Gladnefs rofe brightening on the king, like the beam of a cloudy day when it rifes, on the green hill, before the roar of winds. He ftruck the boffy fhield of kings; at once they cease. around. The people lean forward, from their fpears, towards the voice of their land*
Before I finish my notes, it may not be altogether improper to obviate an objection, which may be made to the credibility of the ftory of Temora, as related by Offian. It may be asked, whether it is probable, that Fingal could perform fuch actions as are afcribed to him in this book, at an age when his grandfon, Ofcar had acquired fo much reputation in arms. To this it may be anfwered, that Fingal was but very young [book 4th] when he took to wife Ros-crana, who foon after became the mother of Offian. Offian was alfo extremely young when he married Ever-allin, the mother of Ofcar. Tradition relates, that Fingal was but eighteen years old at the birth of his fon Offian; and that Offian was much about the fame age, when Ofear, his fon, was born. Ofcar, perhaps, might be about twenty, when he was killed, in the
SONS of Morven, fpread the feast; send the night away on fong. Ye have fhone around me, and the dark ftorm is paft. My people are the windy rocks, from which I fpread my eagle wings, when I rush forth to renown, and seize it on its field. Offian, thou haft the fpear of Fingal: it is not the staff of a boy with which he ftrews the thiftle round, young wanderer of the field. No it is the lance of the mighty, with which they ftretched forth their hands to death. Look to thy fathers, my fon; they are awful beams. -With morning lead Ferad-artho forth to the echoing halls of Temora. Remind him of the kings of Erin; the stately forms of old.-Let not the fallen be forgot, they were mighty in the field. Let Carril pour his fong, that the kings may rejoice in their mift.-To-morrow I fpread my fails to Selma's fhaded walls; where ftreamy Duthula winds through the feats of
battle of Gabhra, [book ift] fo the age of Fingal, when the decifive battle was fought between him and Cathmor, was juft fifty-fix years. In thofe times of activity and health, the natural strength and vigour of a man was little abated, at such an age; fo that there is nothing improbable in the actions of Fingal, as related in this book.
END of TEMORA.