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P O E
VOL-AMON of troubled ftreams, dark wanderer of diftant vales, I behold thy courfe, between trees, near Car-ul's echoing halls. There dwelt bright Colna-dona, the daughter of the king. Her eyes were rolling ftars; her arms were white as the foam of ftreams. Her breaft rose flowly to fight, like ocean's
* Colna-dona fignifies the love of heroes. Col-amon, marrow river. Car-ul, dark-eyed. Col-amon, the refidence of Car-ul, was in the neighbourhood of Agricola's wall, towards the fouth. Car-ul feems to have been of the race of thofe Britons, who are diftinguished by the name of Maiata, by the writers of Rome. Maiatæ,is derived from two Galic words, Moi, a plain, and AITICH, inhabitants; so that the fignification of Maiatæ is, the inhabitants of the plain country; a name given to the Britons, who were fettled in the Low-lands, in contradiftinction to the Caledonians, (i. e. CAEL-DON, the Gauls of the hills) who were poffeffed of the more mountainous divifion of North-Britain.
heaving wave. Her foul was a ftream of light. -Who, among the maids, was like the love of heroes?
BENEATH the voice of the king, we moved to Crona* of the ftreams, Tofcar of graffy Lutha, and Offian, young in fields. Three bards attended with fongs. Three boffy shields were born before us: for we were to rear the ftone, in memory of the paft. By By Crona's moffy courfe, Fingal had fcattered his foes: he had rolled away the ftrangers, like a troubled fea. We came to the place of renown: from the mountains defcended night. I tore an oak from its hill, and raised a flame on high. I bade my fathers to look down, from the clouds of their hall; for, at the fame of their race, they brighten in the wind.
* Crona, murmuring, was the name of a small stream, which discharged itself in the river Carron. It is often mentioned by Offian, and the scenes of many of his poems are on its banks.-The enemies, whom Fingal defeated here, are not mentioned. They were, probably, the provincial Britons. That tract of country between the Firths of Forth and Clyde has been, thro' all antiquity, famous · for battles and rencounters, between the different nations, who were poffeffed of North and South Britain. Stirling, a town fituated there, derives its name from that very circumftance. It is a corruption of the Galic name, STRILA, i. e. the hill, or rock, of contention.
I TOOK a ftone from the ftream, amidst the fong of bards. The blood of Fingal's foes hung curdled in its ooze. Beneath, I placed, at intervals, three boffes from the fhields of foes, as rofe or fell the found of Ullin's nightly fong. Tofcar laid a dagger in earth, a mail of founding fteel. We raised the mould around the ftone, and bade it speak to other years.
Oozy daughter of ftreams, that now art reared on high, fpeak to the feeble, O ftone, after Selma's race have failed!-Prone, from the ftormy night, the traveller fhall lay him, by thy fide: thy whiftling mofs fhall found in his dreams; the years that were paft fhall return. Battles rife before him, blue-fhielded kings defcend to war: the darkened moon looks from heaven, on the troubled field.-He fhall burst, with morning, from dreams, and see the tombs of warriors round. He fhall ask about the ftone, and the aged will reply, "This grey ftone was raised by Offian, a chief of other years!"
* FROM Col-amon came a bard, from Car-ul, the friend of ftrangers. He bade us to the feaft of
The manners of the Britons and Caledonians were fo fimilar, in the days of Offian, that there can be no doubt, that they were originally the fame people, and defcended from those Gauls who firft poffeffed themselves of South
of kings, to the dwelling of bright Colna-dona. We went to the hall of harps. There Car-ul brightened between his aged locks, when he beheld the fons of his friends, like two young trees with their leaves.
SONS of the mighty, he faid, ye bring back the days of old, when firft I defcended from waves, on Selma's ftreamy vale. I pursued Duth-mocarglos, dweller of ocean's wind. Our fathers had been foes, we met by Clutha's winding waters. He fled, along the fea, and my fails were spread behind him.-Night deceived me, on the deep. I came to the dwelling of kings, to Selma of high-bofomed maids.-Fingal came forth with his bards, and Conloch, arm of death. I feafted three days in the hall,
South-Britain, and gradually migrated to the north. This hypothefis is more rational than the idle fables of ill-informed fenachies, who bring the Caledonians from diftant countries. The bare opinion of Tacitus, (which, by-thebye, was only founded on a fimilarity of the perfonal figure of the Caledonians to the Germans of his own time) tho' it has ftaggered fome learned men, is not fufficient to make us believe, that the antient inhabitants of North-Britain were a German colony. A difcuffion of a point like this might be curious, but could never be fatisfactory. Periods fo diftant are fo involved in obfcurity, that nothing certain can be now advanced concerning them. The light which the Roman writers hold forth is too feeble to guide us to the truth, thro' the darkness which has furrounded it.
and faw the blue-eyes of Erin, Ros-crana, daughter of heroes, light of Cormac's race.Nor forgot did my fteps depart: the kings gave their fhields to Car-ul: they hang,, on high, in Col-amon, in memory of the past.-Sons of the daring kings, ye bring back the days of old.
CAR-UL placed the oak of feafts. He took two boffes from our fhields. He laid them in earth, beneath a stone, to speak to the hero's "When battle, faid the king, fhall roar, and our fons are to meet in wrath; my race fhall look, perhaps, on this ftone, when they prepare the fpear.-Have not our fathers met in peace, they will fay, and lay afide the fhield?"
NIGHT came down. In her long locks moved the daughter of Car-ul. Mixed with the harp arofe the voice of white-armed Colna-dona.Tofcar darkened in his place, before the love of heroes. She came on his troubled foul, like a beam to the dark-heaving ocean: when it bursts from a cloud, and brightens the foamy fide of a wave*.
* Here an episode is intirely loft; or, at least, is handed down fo imperfectly, that it does not deferve a place in the poem.