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a ftorm.Then came Offian king of fongs; and Morni's fon, the firft of men. Connal leaps forward on his fpear: Dermid fpreads his dark-brown locks. Fillan bends his bow, the young hunter of ftreamy Moruth*.---But who is that before them, like the dreadful course of a stream! It is the fon of Offian, bright between his locks. His long hair falls on his back.---His dark brows are half-inclofed in fteel. His fword hangs loose on his fide. His fpear glitters as he moves. I fled from his terrible eyes, king of high Temora.
THEN fly, thou feeble man, said Foldath in gloomy wrath: fly to the grey freams of thy land, fon of the little foul! Have not I feen that Ofcar? I beheld the chief in war, He is of the mighty in danger; but there are others who lift the fpear.---Erin has many fons as brave, king of Temora of Groves! Let Foldath meet him in the strength of his course, and ftop this mighty ftream.---My fpear is covered with
of Lune: it is faid of this fword, that it killed a man at every stroke; and that Fingal never ufed it but in times of the greatest danger.
* In fome traditions Fergus the son of Fingal, and Ufnoth chief of Etha, immediately follow Fillan in the lift of the chiefs of Morven; but as they are not afterwards mentioned at all in the poem, I look upon the whole fentence to be an interpolation, and have therefore rejected it.
the blood of the valiant; my shield is like the wall of Tura.
SHALL Foldath* alone meet the foe? replied the dark-browed Malthos. Are they not numerous on our coaft, like the waters of many ftreams? Are not these the chiefs who vanquished Swaran, when the fons of Erin fled? And fhall Foldath meet their braveft heroes? Foldath of the heart of pride! take the strength of the people; and let Malthos come. My fword is red with flaughter, but who has heard my words?
SONS of green Erin, faid Hidalla, let not Fingal hear your words. The foe might rejoice, and his arm be ftrong in the land.---Ye are brave, O warriors, and like the ftorms of the defert; they meet the rocks without fear, and overturn the woods---But let us move in our ftrength, flow as a gathered cloud. Then
The oppofite characters of Foldath and Malthos are Arongly marked in subsequent parts of the poem. They appear always in oppofition. The feuds between their families, which were the fource of their hatred to one an other, are mentioned in other poems.
That is, who has heard my vaunting? He intended the expreffion as a rebuke to the felf-praife of Foldath.
Hidalla was the chief of Clonra, a fmall diftrict on the banks of the lake of Lego. The beauty of his perfon, his cloquence and genius for poetry are afterwards mentioned.
fhall the mighty tremble; the spear fhall fall from the hand of the valiant.---We fee the cloud of death, they will fay, while fhadows fly over their face. Fingal will mourn in his age, and fee his flying fame.---The fteps of his chiefs will cease in Morven : the mofs of years fhall grow
CAIRBAR heard their words, in filence, like the cloud of a fhower: it ftands dark on Cromla, till the lightning burfts its fides: the valley gleams with red light; the fpirits of the ftorm. rejoice.So stood the filent king of Temora ; at length his words are heard.
SPREAD the feast on Moi-lena: let my hundred bards attend. Thou, red-hair'd Olla, take the harp of the king. Go to Ofcar chief of fwords, and bid him to our feaft. To-day we feaft and hear the fong; to-morrow break the fpears. Tell him that I have raifed the tomb of Cathol*; that bards have fung to his
Cathol the fon of Maronnan, or Moran, was mur dered by Cairbar, for his attachment to the family of Cormac. He had attended Ofcar to the war of Inis-th.na, where they contracted a great friendship for one another. Ofcar immediately after the death of Cathol, had fent a formal challenge to Cairbar, which he prudently declined, but conceived a fecret hatred against Ofcar, and had beforehand contrived to kill him at the feaft, to which he here invites him.
ghoft.---Tell him that Cairbar has heard his fame at the ftream of refounding Carun. Cathmor is not here, Borbar-duthul's generous race. He is not here with his thousands, and our arms are weak. Cathmor is a foe to ftrife at the feaft: his foul is bright as that fun. But Cairbar fhall fight with Oscar, chiefs of the woody Temora! His words for Cathol were many; the wrath of Cairbar burns. He fhall fall on Moi-lena: my fame fhall rife in blood.
*He alludes to the battle of Ofcar against Caros, king of ships; who is supposed to be the fame with Caraufius the ufurper.
+ Cathmor, great in battle, the fon of Borbar-duthul, and brother of Cairbar king of Ireland, had, before the infurrection of the Firbolg, paffed over into Inis-huna, fuppofed to be a part of South-Britain, to affift Conmor king of that place against his enemies. Cathmor was fuccessful in the war, but, in the course of it, Conmor was either killed, or died a natural death. Cairbar, upon intelligence of the designs of Fingal to dethrone him, had difpatched a meffenger for Cathmor, who returned into Ireland a few days before the opening of the poem.
Cairbar here takes advantage of his brother's absence, to perpetrate his ungenerous defigns against Ofcar; for the noble spirit of Cathmor, had he been prefent, would not have permitted the laws of that hofpitality, for which he was fo renowned himself, to be violated. The brothers form a contraft: we do not deteft the mean foul of Cairbar more, than we admire the difinterested and generous mind of Cathmor.
THEIR faces brightened round with joy. They fpread over Moi-lea. The feast of thells is prepared. The fongs of bards arife. We >heard the voice of joy on the coaft: we thought
*Fingal's army heard the joy that was in Cairbar's camp. The character given of Cathmor is agreeable to the times. Some, through oftentation, were hofpitable; and others fell naturally into a custom handed down from their ancestors. But what marks ftrongly the character of Cathmor, is his averfion to praife; for he is represented to dwell in a wood to avoid the thanks of his guests; which is ftill a higher degree of generosity than that of Axylus in Homer for the poet does not fay, but the good man might, at the head of his own table, have heard with pleasure the praise bestowed on him by the people he entertained...
No nation in the world carried hofpitality to a greater length than the antient Scots. It was even infamous, for many ages, in a man of condition, to have the door of his houfe fhut at all, LEST, as the bards express it, THE
STRANGER SHOULD COME AND BEHOLD HIS CONTRACT
ED SOUL. Some of the chiefs were poffeffed of this hofpitable difpofition to an extravagant degree; and the bards, perhaps upon a selfish account, never failed to recommend it, in their eulogiums. Cean-uia' na dai', or the point to which all the roads of the frangers lead, was an invariable epithet given by them to the chiefs; on the contrary, they diftinguished the inhofpitable by the title of the cloud which the frangers fhun. This laft however was fo uncommon, that in all the old poems I have ever met with, I found but one man branded with this ignominious appellation; and that, perhaps, only founded upon a private quarrel,