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SUL-MALLA of LUMON:
HO moves fo ftately, on Lumon, at the roar of the foamy waters? Her hair falls upon her heaving breaft. White is her arm behind, as flow fhe bends the bow. Why doft thou wander in defarts, like a light
The expedition of Offian to Inis-huna happened a short time before Fingal paffed over into Ireland, to dethrone Cairbar the fon of Borbar-duthul. Cathmor, the brother of Cairbar, was aiding Conmor, king of Inishuna, in his wars, at the time that Offian defeated Duthcarmor, in the valley of Rath-col. The poem is more interesting, that it contains fo many particulars concern ing those perfonages, who make fo great a figure in Temora.
The exact correfpondence in the manners and customs of Inis-huna, as here defcribed, to thofe of Caledonia, leaves no room to doubt, that the inhabitants of both were originally the fame people. Some may alledge, that
thro' a cloudy field? The young roes are panting, by their fecret rocks.Return, thou daughter of kings; the cloudy night is near.
It was the young branch of Lumon, Sulmalla of blue eyes. She fent the bard from her rock, to bid us to her feaft. Amidst the fong we fat down, in Conmor's echoing hall. White moved the hands of Sul-malla, on the trembling ftrings. Half-heard, amidft the found, was the name of Atha's king: he that was abfent in battle for her own green land.-Nor abfent from her foul was he: he came midft her thoughts by night: Ton-thena looked in, from the sky, and faw her toffing arms.
THE found of the fhells had ceafed. Amidst long locks, Sul-malla rofe. She spoke with bended eyes, and afked of our courfe thro' feas; for of the kings of men are ye, tall
Offian might transfer, in his poetical descriptions, the manners of his own nation to foreigners. The objection is eafily answered: for had Offian ufed that freedom in this paffage, there is no reason why he should paint the manners of the Scandinavians fo different from those of the Caledonians. We find however, the former very different in their cuftoms and fuperftitions from the nations of Britain and Ireland. The Scandinavian manners are remarkably barbarous and fierce, and feem to mark out a nation much lefs advanced in civil fociety, than the inhabitants of Britain were in the times of Offian.
riders of the wave *."Not unknown, I faid, at his ftreams is he, the father of our race. Fingal has been heard of at Cluba, blue-eyed daughter of kings.-Nor only, at Cona's ftream, is Offian and Ofcar known. Foes trembled at our voice, and fhrunk in other lands.
Nor unmarked, faid the maid, by Sul-malla, is the fhield of Morven's king. It hangs high, in Conmor's hall, in memory of the paft; when Fingal came to Cluba, in the days of other years. Loud roared the boar of Culdarnu, in
* Sul-mulla here difcovers the quality of Offian and Ofcar, from their ftature and ftately gait. Among nations, not far advanced in civilization, a fuperior beauty and ftatelinefs of perfon were infeparable from nobility of blood. It was from thefe qualities, that thofe of family were known by frangers, not from tawdry trappings of ftate injudiciously thrown round them. The cause of this diftinguishing property, muft, in fome measure, be afcribed to their unmixed blood. They had no inducement to intermarry with the vulgar: and no low notions of intereft made them deviate from their choice, in their own sphere. In ftates, where luxury has been long established, I am told, that beauty of perfon is, by no means, the characteristic of antiquity of family. This must be attributed to those enervating vices, which are infeparable from luxury and wealth. A great family, (to alter a little the words of the hiftorian) it is true, like a river, becomes confiderable from the length of its courfe, but, as it rolls on, hereditary diftempers, as well as property, flow fuc. ceffively into it.
the midst of his rocks and woods. Inis-huna fent her youths, but they failed; and virgins wept over tombs.-Careless went the king to Culdarnu. On his fpear rolled the ftrength of the woods. He was bright, they faid, in his locks, the first of mortal men.-Nor at the feaft were heard his words. His deeds paffed from his foul of fire, like the rolling of vapours from the face of the wandering fun.-Not carelefs looked the blue eyes of Cluba on his stately fteps. In white bofoms rofe the king of Selma, in midst of their thoughts by night. But the winds bore the ftranger to the echoing vales of his roes.Nor loft to other lands was he, like a meteor that finks in a cloud. He came forth, at times, in his brightnefs, to the diftant dwelling of foes. His fame came, like the found of winds, to Cluba's woody vale *.
* Too partial to our own times, we are ready to mark out remote antiquity, as the region of ignorance and barbarifm. This, perhaps, is extending our prejudices too far. It has been long remarked, that knowledge, in a great measure, is founded on a free intercourfe between mankind; and that the mind is enlarged in proportion to the obfervations it has made upon the manners of different men and nations.-If we look, with attention, into the hiftory of Fingal, as delivered by Offian, we fhall find that he was not altogether a poor ignorant hunter, confined to the narrow corner of an ifland. His expeditions
DARKNESS dwells in Cluba of harps: the race of kings is diftant far; in battle is Conmor of fpears; and Lormar * king of ftreams. Nor darkening alone are they; a beam, from other lands, is nigh: the friend of frangers in Atha, the troubler of the field. High, from their misty hills, look forth the blue eyes of Erin, for he is far away, young dweller of their fouls.-Nor, harmless, white hands of
to all parts of Scandinavia, to the north of Germany, and the different ftates of Great Britain and Ireland, were very numerous, and performed under fuch a character, and at fuch times, as gave him an opportunity to mark the undisguised manners of mankind.-War and an active life, as they call forth, by turns, all the powers of the foul, present to us the different characters of men: in times of peace and quiet, for want of objects to exert them, the powers of the mind lie concealed, in a great measure, and we fee only artificial paffions and manners.-It is from this confideration I conclude, that a traveller of penetration could gather more genuine knowledge from a tour of ancient Gaul, than from the minuteft obfervation of all the artificial manners, and elegant refinements of modern France.
* Lormar was the fon of Conmor, and the brother of Sul-malla. After the death of Conmor, Lormar fucceeded him in the throne.
Cathmor, the fon of Borbar-duthal. It would ap. pear, from the partiality with which Sul-malla speaks of that hero, that fhe had feen him, previous to his joining her father's army; tho' tradition pofitively afferts, that it was, after his return, that he fell in love with him.