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Poems of Ossian

Poems of Ossian

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Published by Pahomi Valentin
The Poems of the poet Ossian.
The Poems of the poet Ossian.

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Published by: Pahomi Valentin on Jul 30, 2013
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01/09/2016

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  • COMALA:
  • OINA-MORUL:
  • COLNA-DONA

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1 .12. ..ilon.ItJcui^an tUi-^ riripnj Hook I..C^Juh. FmOTTTlSFIKrE to VOJ^ .iUm.. Tubit^hai by Lackm. ISOa.i. p.

IN TWO VOLUMES. AND TEMPLE OF THE MUSES. ESQ. LONDON PRINTED BY J. CO. ALLEN. TRANSLATED BY JAMES MACPHERSON. I. FINSBURY-SSU ARE. 1803. . FOR LACKINGTON. DEWICK. VOL. : D.POEMS O S S I A N.

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are a recom- . he ran over whole with attenhe hopes. with which these Poems have been received abroad. in the hands of the Errors in diction might have been committed at twenty-four. has brouglit the work to a state of correctness. that the following Poems have been Public. which the experience of a riper age may re- move. the his language. by a degree of judgment acquired in the progress of time. which will preclude all future improvements. Author may have improved in the eleven years. Without encreasing his genius.FMEFACE. he tion and accuracy. Imj)ressed with this opitlie nion. and some exuberances in imagery may be restrained. The eagerness. with advantage. and.

this was to avoid a part of inconvenience. for mirth in itself. a may measure his success. to treat pence for the coldness with which a few have affected them at home. by the It latitude under which he was born. brought them to in terms that might fame. which defines genius. flatter the vanity of one fond of for In a convenient indifference a literary reputation. as well as the boundaries of countries. and they speak of him. a sub- it is often a serious matter in the sale of a work. When writer rivers define the limits of abilities. is by the points of the compass. and ribaldry without being depressed. ' He has fre- first bestowed too prefaithless and the latter is so it is to its purpose. . the Author hears praise without being elevated. who light.IV PREFACE. that often the only index to merit in the present age. All the polite nations of Europe have transferred them into their respective lan- guages. quently seen the cipitately . Though ject fit the taste.

when Virgil came must into the Tiieatre. as of dress. Though two hundred thousand Romans stood up. . form a majority in every age and nation. the clamours of a multitude. These observations regard only the volous in matters of literature. the Translator should have been born on of the Tweed. by some. The truth is. If this was the case. however. fri- these. through mere fashion and gratify his vanity with the applause . that the " V to Author is said. who have speak without any authority.PREFACE. as as rare great poets. ascribed his own productions to another name. In this country. men of genuine taste abound voice is but their still drowned in. Varius only could correct the iEneid. receive it He that obtains fame . to judge aright almost as much genius as to and good critics are write well. he was but in the art of deception. young When he this side placed the Poet in antiquity. requires who judge by fashion of poetry.

poetry. fessed. doubtful. dignity of expression. It is. This was the opinion of the Writer himself. Tlie following Poems. though he yielded to the judgment of a mode. instead of which cramp the thought. it must be conto please per- are more calculated receive sons of exquisite feelings of heart. of whose judgment he cannot approve. His intention was to publish in ^erse. in which presented freedom and fetters. than those who is all their impressions by in the ear. may be learned by industry he had served his apprenticeship. to the muses. whilst the harmony of language is preserved. common readers supply the absence of the frequent returns of rhime. like any other handi. whether the these harmony which Poems might de- . however.vi PREFACE. otliers. The and making of craft. Avill what though not to not destitute of harmony. though in secret. The novelty of cadence. of men. called a prose version.

The is verse took more time and even the to the writer than the prose he himself doubtful (if he has sucis ceeded in either). from the latter. rive Vll from rhime. and energy. spread o'er Lochlin* his high commands. he ruled the * The Gaelic name of Scandinavia. could atone for simplicity lose. with justice. which they would The determinaThe following tion of this point shall be left to the readers of this preface. is the beginning of a Poem. translated from the Norse to the Gaelic language and. PREFACE. the even in much better hands than those of the Translator. Where Harold. transferred little .. . which of them most literal version. with golden hair. tribes. into English. where. or Scandinia. FRAGMENT NOMTHEMN TALE.

far from men. chief.. or on the waves of the main. wind. in foam. subdued. a lonely pile exalts its head. sunk. where Lulan's warriors rose in terror in blood. : . Darkly sat the grey-haired yet sorrow dwelt not in his soul. the troubled torrents pour down his sides. Whiteissuing from the skirt of his storms. But when Forth flew the warrior thought on the past. Harold the leader of armies. when fate had brightened his spear. they bear the Torno. this fled To from Sigurd. with renown : When he conquered in that rude fell field. Joining. pests roll dark his sides. his proud heart heaved again his side * The mountains of Sevo. Vlll PREFACE. his vast forehead appears. beneath his sword rises who abrupt Gormal* on in snow! The tembut calm. as they roar along. from the long- by ancient pines. shaken by the storms of the north. Grey on the bank and half-covered. fierce in fight. to the main. above.

but bright form and mild of line. when roll the waves renown. . remained to Sigurd of His son. covered the fallen king with Her arm was white like Gormal's snow her bosom whiter than the foam of the main. line ! Nor finished seemed the ancient The splendid beauty of bright-eyed still Fithon. scarce equalled her lofty mind. his IX sword from its place. . Nor Odin Her form forgot. and only in one. as stately they ascend the skies. One daughter. the maid. he wounded Harold in all the winds. in Lulan's battle slain. soul. like that rise on the deep. in aught. Like tM'-o two stars stars were her radiant eyes. Awe moved around her stately steps.PREFACE. the last beam of the setting all his race. when dark Pleasant are tumult embroils the night. beneath the wrath of the winds. beheld not his father's flight from his foes. their beams aloft.

and pouring Hurry the troubled Torno to the main. Grey.X Heroes loved fears. with justice. A homely mansion rose. &c. when doubtful light wan- dered dimly on Lulan's waves. Sevo. Her joy was in the chace. she rouzed the resounding woods. Harold. THE SAME Where And And. Transient darkness arose in her breast. Abrupt and —White-wandering down gleaming thro' the plain his side A thousand torrents. PREFACE. For ages batter'd by the polar storm. tearful She saw the mournful eyes. — in their all her charms. Nor moved the maid alone. appears vast. to Gormal's head of snow. but shrunk away Yet midst the pride of soft. half-shelter'd from the wind. Unite below . in snow. o'er the warfare of his storms. his rugged forehead rears. By aged pines. her heart was and her soul Avith was kind. o'er Scandinia reign'd. as they glide. what his valour gain'd. held. remote from human kind. of antique form. on the bank. . Each morning. fair-hair'd VERSIFIED.

which they lost in arms. Reraain'd of Sigurd's race. witla their majestic light. One daughter only. O'er the dark tumult of a stormy night. which her eyes deny'd. mix'd with softness. Her radiant eyes Like two bright exulting as they rise. "And gladd'ning heav'n.PREFACE. yet undisturb'd with woes. wander o'er the Bothnic main. where tliey dare not love. The last fair beam of the departing line. Wlien heaving to the winds. To this. White was her arm. In nought is Odin to the maid unkind Her form scarce equals her exalted mind. Fell in the shock. When Or fortune settled. And mankind Her worship. than the waves below. In that rude forced to where Suecia's chiefs were slain. fierce XI Sigurd fled. as Sevo's lofty snow. from Norway's lord. field. Awe leads her sacred steps where'er they move. on the warrior's sword. but of form divine. And wounded Harold in the vacant air. stars. arose the memoiy of defeat his side . Dark was But when his life. . heart had feelings. His warlike son which overturn'd the throne. was the virgin's pride. His proud heart struck he graspt the spear. But. Her bosom fairer. ! Nor desolate the house Fionia's charms Sustain'd the glory.

On Sevo's sounding sides. The chace she lov'd beam Came dimly wandering . now resigned them for ever to their That they have been well received that they shall continue to be well by the Public. to which poets lay claim. is on edition. the maid alone. appears from an extensive sale . &c. And rouz'd his forests to his head of snow. transient darkness Her While on her soul arose. received. with doubtful o'er tlie Bothnic stream. so as to tlie form a kind of regular history of relate. their native character of simplicity and energy. bright tears started at another's woes. when morn. in ar- ranging the Poems in the order of time. in foreign languages. age to which they The Writer has fate. he may venture to prophecy without the gift of that inspiration. they re- medium of version upon tain. Nor mov'd One of this the chief improvements. she bent the bow. Ge- . the care taken. Through the version.Xll PREFACE.

1773. like gold. XUi little. nuine poetry. however. A Translator. . when literal but when a compo- cannot bear the it is test of a version.PREFACE. loses properly transfused sition . 15. AUG. a counterfeit which ought not to pass current. who cannot nal. be performed with skilful hands. is incapable equal his origiits of expressing beauties. The operation must. LONDON.

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CONTENTS FIRST VOLUME.... Page. i 21 65 .. 207 Part Second Part Third 2ig 227 233 243 203 281 Comala Carric-Thura Carthon Oina-Morul Colna-Dona Oithona 287 2^3 301 311 Croma Calthon and Colmal ... A Dissertation concerning the ^ra of Ossian A Dissertation concerning the Poems of Ossian A critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian Cath-Loda.. Part First .

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VOL. I. .A BISSEETATIOM CONCERNING THE MRA OF OSSIAN.

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by which alone can be preserved with certainty. babilities and a few but. The ingenious may form facts systems of history on pro. The arts of polished community. and public transactions to be worthy remembrance. facts means of transmitting them life. much of the marvellous the origin of every nation posterity being always . or magnified by uncertain traditions. is The infancy of states and kingdoms as destitute of great events. The actions of former times are left in obscurity. are the producIt is tion of a well-formed then historians begin to write. Hence ill it is that we find so . at a great distance of time.BISSEMTATION CONCERNING THE ^RA OF iNawiRiES OSSIAN. as of the to posterity. their accounts must be vague and uncertain. into the antiquities of nations afford more pleasure than any real advantage to mankind.

fi. the only monument and the traces of it being found in places so widely distant from each other. with great actions to posterity. which.4 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING honour on their ancestors. is are long since Their ancient language remains of them . to posterity. amongst them. however. that which possessed old the most renowned . . ready to believe any thing. but throws very light on their history. to Oby *. Good historians. well as their • Plin. The Celtic nations afford a striking in- stance of this kind. rose very early lustre. however fabulous. though once the masters of Europe from the mouth of the river Russia. that unrivalled It is to their them that they owe fame they now enjoy. They swallowed the most absurd fables concerning the high antiquities of their respective nations. but for their wars with a people who had as historians to transmit the fame of their enemies. serves only to shew the extent of little their ancient pcjwer. while the great actions of other nations are involved in fables. the western point of Gallicia in Spain. not perhaps on account of worth superior to the rest. They trusted their fame to tradition and the songs of their bards. They. own. Of Gaul all is the Celtic nations. in Cape Finisterre. that reflects The Greeks and Romans were remarkable for this weakness. are very little mentioned in history. by the vicissitude of lost. tliat human affairs. and transmitted. l. or lost in obscurity.

THE ^RA OF OSSIAN. 1. when we consider that. is. The present Gerwitli the were not the same The manners and customs of the two similar || were j but their language different. the language and customs of both nations were the same. Gaul makes the opinion probable all but what puts it beyond dispute. 5. Pomp. according to the its testimony of the best authors *j to situation in respect . Mel. as they increased in island. 1. Britain 5 was first peopled by them. f II Caesar. Tacitus was of opinion that the ancient Caledonians were of German extract . manSj properly so ancient Celtse. at of that part of Britain which was next to their own country 5 and spreading northward. Strabo. colony from Gaul possessed themselves. for many ages. were pro- the founders ef the Irish nation : which is a more bable story than cian colonies. Tacitus. nations called. but even the ancient Germans themselves were Gauls. that the inhabitants of were originally Britons. Agric. numbers. Tac. 1. the idle fables of Milesian and Galliit Diodorus Siculas:[ mentions as a thing well Ireland known in his time. are the genuine descendants of the c. and his testimony is unquestionable. in the The first. that the same customs and lan- guage prevailed among the inhabitants of both days of Julius Caesar +. Sic. 7- . 5. . 2. by degrees. The Germans * Caes. peopled the whole Some adventurers passing over from those parts of Britain that are within sight of Ireland. Diod.

who crossed. The esteem of the populace soon increased into a veneration for the order . gained them a mighty reputation among the people. Tac. 0. early sent many colonies into Germany. Whatever in the their origin was. that the ancient Caledonians were descended. which a presumption that they were long before settled in the country. Liv. anciently. that they. in a * Cses. to This order of men seems have been formed on the same principles with the Their pre- Dactyli Idae and Curetes of the ancients. 5. as it was in all the countries Druids bore the chief sway. their magic and divination were the same. But whether the Caledonians were a colony of the Celtic Germans. de mor. a matter of no BQoment at this distance of time. and customs. The form where the of their government was a mixture of aristocracy and monai'chy. the fniit of the experiments of ages. The knowledge of the Druids in natural causes. . language. ancient Scandinavians. 1. 1. in an The Celtae*. in the Roman empire and it is of them. period.6 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING the Baltic. all of whom retained their own laws. which these cunning and ambitious priests took care to improve. Germ. . to such a degree. or the same with the Gauls is that first possessed themselves of Britain. we find them very numerous is time of Julius Agricola. if any colonies came from Germany into Scotland. and the properties of certain things. till they were dissipated. tended intercourse with heaven.

are full of the particulars : of the Druids priests. and were not much attended by a people inured to war. The precepts of their religion were conto fined to a few. civil. it must be owned. but -the legislative power was entirely in the hands of the Druids *. ingrossed the management of generally allowed that they did not abuse this extraordinary power . This temporary king. the to judge. the Druids. as the the better sort from initiating theminto the order of custom formerly was. or Ver- gobretus +. a singular fate. man or chief f Fcr-gubreth. as f well manner. was chosen by them. who had once established their The continual wars of the Caledonians against the Romans hindered selves. the preserv- ing their character of sanctity was so essential to their influence. that they never broke out into violence or oppression. These priests enjoyed long Celtic nations extraordinary privilege lay among the who beyond the pale of the Roman to empire. The chiefs were allowed to execute the laws. . The Vergobretus. matters. 6. ancestors of the fall Fingal. It is OSSIAN. under one head. It was in the beginning of die second cen- tury that their decline. in times of the greatest dan- ger. 1. the tribes It was by their authority that were united. and generally laid down his office at the this end of the war. of superstition.THE iERA OF as religious. power among the Qaledonians begun traditions concerning Trathal to The and Cor- mac. * CffiS.

that Fingal no matter of wonder then. as tradition emphatically calls the Roman emperor. the office he had only received himself by election. came to the grandfather of the celebrated Fingal. as hereditary to his posterity. Garmal. to vindicate the honour of the order. or continued in his office against their will. and enabled him to send down. war commenced. stones. retired to the dark recesses of their groves. A total disregard all for the order. his refusal. who were the declared . who was Upon then Vergobretus.S A DISSERTATION CONCERNING was chosen without the concurrence of power strengthened magistrate. On occasion of a new war against the King of the World. and his son Ossian disliked the Druids. and the caves they had formerly used for their meditations. A that remained. being deputed by them. and commanded him. religion of the fell that had any knowledge of the Druids tipcame extinct. the hierarchy. and the nation gree of ignorance of their It is into the last de- rites and ceremonies. which soon ended few in almost tlie total extinction of the religious order of the Druids. the Druids. began to resume their ancient privilege of chusing the Vergobretus. to lay in the name of the whole order. It is tlien we find them in the circle of and unheeded by the world. the son of Tarno. Under this cloud of public hate. Continual his interest among the tribes. rites and utter abhorrence of the Druidical ensued. a civil down his office.

was thought to derogate from their fame . their compositions. enemies Jt is 9 to their succession in the it supreme magistracy. to sisted of assist his heroes. they never mix with heroes. Those who write in the Galic language seldom mention religion in their profane poetry. his work had not con- eulogiums on men. even though the religion of the Druids had not been previously extinguished. excuse the author's silence concerning the religion of ancient times. that a nation is void of all religion. are no traces of religion in the poems ascribed to Ossian . the actions of their This custom alone. as often as Had the poet brought Homer hath done. but of hymns to superior beings. history of mankind. But gods are not necessary. together with . that there a singular case. and their own obserthat vations on the works of nature. would betray ignorance of the traditions of their fathers. gods. and the bards immediately transferred the glory of the action to him who had down given that aid. To The allege.THE JERA OF OSSIAN. It is when it the poet has genius. in some measure. Any aid given their heroes in battle. and when they professedly write of religion. must be allowed. That race of men honour to carried their notions of martial an extravagant pitch. may. hard to account for to those who are not made acquainted with the manner of the old Scottish bards. as the poetical compositions of other nations are so closely connected with their mythology.

darkest times. Indians. at least. in all raised minds of it human frame. the very populace themselves had some faint of a divinity. must supply the place of proof. believe he would be doing injustice to the author of these poems. or to more weight to the doctrine they advanced. . Some of them. took possession of the cells and groves of the Druids . in the most probable time in the year 303. that notion. to take refuge induced the persecuted Christians under him. The humane and mild character of who commanded then in Britain. and amongst the most barbarous nations. if the religion of the Druids was exploded long before. which ought to fik his opinions. it is certain he has not alluded to Christianity. poems . These give missionai"ies.10 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING which ages. through through fear. and settled among the Caledowho were ready to hearken to their doctrines. in his or any of its rites. first is which the dawning of Christianity in the north of Britain can be fixed. that he had not opened his conceptions to tliat primitive and greatest of all it truths. to think. is superstition inherent in the in the have. Hence is. either through choice. nians . Constantlus Chlorus. or went beyond the pale of the Roman empire. The exists. a zeal to propagate their tenets. But let his religion be what will. The persecution begun by Dioclesian. on this subject. to an sera prior to that religion. at least. Conjectures. It who worship no God. men some that in the idea of a superior being.

in his extreme old age. rank could be unacquainted with a religion that had been known for any time in the The dispute bears the genuine marks of antiquity. the emperor Severus. that duced. are actions of his youth. THE iERA OF and it OSSIAN. obsolete phrases and expressions peculiar to the it The times. they say. his epoch will be the latter end of Tra- the third. . to this subject. The extreme lately intro- ignorance on the part of Ossian of the Christian tenets shews. If Ossian then lived at the introduction of Christianity. which printed in this collection. and beginning of the fourth century.. the son of the hing of the world. which in the language of the country signified sequestered persons. is among first brave relates A complete poem. terrible look. life 11 was from this retired they had the name of Culdees *. The exploits of Fingal against Caracul the +. is religion. terrible eye. Culdich. according to the custom of the times. In the year 210. dition here steps in with a kind of proof. as first tliat religion had only been it is not easy to conceive totally how one of the countr}'. at f Carac'huil. after returning from his expedition against the Caledonians. as by all ap- pearance he did. a sort of upper garment. Ca- lacchallamh. said to have disputed concerning the Christian dispute. This extant. Carac-'healla. prove to be no forgery. It was with one of the is Culdees that Ossian. and is couched in verse.

commanded and his array to march to destroy it ill with fire and sword. was at the head of the army. is The who. Caracalla. on the banks of the winding . might have seen the Christians whom the persecution under Dioclesian had driven beyond the pale of the Roman empire. for his ion. He when news was brought him peace is that Severus was dead. resuming courage from took arms in order to recover lost. the year Severus died. is nol so great. A sudden it patched up with the Caledonians. as the son of Severus. Caracul of Fingal no other than Caracalla. In one of the of Oscar. many lamentations on the Death a battle which he fought against Ca- king of ships. and with schemes to supplant his brother Geta. as appears from Dion Cassius. but Ossian the Son of Fingal. he afterwards The Caledonians and his indisposition.12 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING into the tedious illness of which York fell died. and the beginning of the fourth century. Son whose dominions were extended almost over the known world. Maiatos. and. scarcely had entered the enemy's country. His orders were but executed. ros. the country they had lost to Severus was restored to them. The space of time between 211. and his thoughts were entirely taken up with the hopes of his father's death. the Emperor of Rome. the possessions they had The enraged emperor into their country. was not without reason called the of the King oj the world.

winding river. in several naval engagements. . defeated the 287? and seizing on emperor Maximinian Herculius. Roman history might have been derived from learned men. his ]3 It *. traditions allude to the Several other passages in wars of the Romans. epocha of Fingal to the third century and this account agrees exactly with the Irish gal.THE JERA OF Carun is is OSSIAN. The minds of men. which Carausius repaired to obstruct the incur- sions of the Caledonians. which place the death of Fin- the son of Comhal. histories. in the year 2()Q. more than probable. who in the year assumed the purple Britain. which gives propriety to his being called the King of Ships. still The winding the Carun is that small river retaining name of Carron. mentioned often in the compo- of those times. This must then have happened at as these allusions are sitions least three ages ago. in the year 283. that the allusions to the by tradition. and runs in the neighbourhood of Agricola's wall. addicted to super- contracted a narrowness that destroyec^genios * Car-avon. may imagine. the that the Caros mentioned here. is mentioned among great actions. and that of their Oscar and Some people own celebrated Cairbre. stition. more than from ancient poems. but the fix the two just mentioned clearly . a Every one knows what cloud of ignorance and barbarism overspread the north of Europe three hun- dred years ago. same with the noted usurper Carausius.

Ages of barbarism some will say. could not produce poems abounding with the disinterested and generous senti. They attended him in the camp. was through means only he could hope for immortality to his fame. who were their an inferior order of the Druids. that. power by His great actions were magnified. who had no ability to examine into his . man who tlie The Ossian. Roman We find no fact to favour any designs which lived in the could be entertained by any fifteenth century. strongest objection to antiquity of the poems now given is to the public under the name of the improbability of their being handed down by tradition through so many centuries. as it They were spared by their the victorious king. but they must be lost. a genius might arise. is impossible or altogether corrupted in a long succession of barbarous generations. did not share bad fortune. not easy to de- termine what could induce him to allude to the times. and the populace. The bards.14 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING we find tlie compositions of those times to the last degree. These objections naturally suggest themselves to men unacquainted with the ancient state of the northern parts of Britain. and contributed to establish his their songs. amidst the untoward circumstances it is of the age. ments so conspicuous in the compositions of Ossian it and could these ages produce them. all Accordingly trivial and puerile But let it be allowed.

supplied . he was above them in station. and is becomes ambitious of perpetuating them. In the OSSIAN. happily barity.THE JERA OF rhimes of the bards. and by degrees brought their minds to that generous breathes in flattered all spirit which prince. and rivalled by his own heroes. to which the poets of all ages pretended. who as imitated his character as described in the eulogies of his poets. formed at nation. and their ideas enlarged. to the When they found their their imagina- themes inadequate warmth of tionsj they varnished them over with fables. and ascribe that character inferior to their prince. The by his bards. They could form hero in their own minds. in When resting. men assumed in sentiments that are rarely to be met with an age of barbarism. This emulation continuing. 15 character narrowly. by being initiated in the learning a perfect of that celebrated order. disciples The bards who were originally the of the Druids. war. their actions become inte- and their is fame wortliy of immortality. The chiefs made this ideal character the model of their conduct. were dazzled with his fame in the mean time. virtue in peace. last the general character of the is compounded of what and bravery noble in bar- and virtuous and generous in a polished people. This true source of that divine inspiration. had their minds opened. A the generous spirit warmed with noble actions. endeavoured to excel his people in merit. are the characteristics of a nation. the poetry of the times.

a great number memory. Every chief in process of time had a bard in his family. By the succession of tliese bards. theiri compositions. through they a vanity natural to mankind. however ridiculous. when poetry. had their abettors oi- . and always alluded' to in the new compositions of the bards. They loved to place the founders of their families in the days of fable. or those admired. could give what characters she pleased that of her heroes. bards were employed to repeat the tlieir poems. pretended that did. This custom came down retained by to near our ow n times . posterity either implicitly believed them.16 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING their by own fancy. the ancestors of the family poems concerning the were handed down from . generation to generation they were repeated to the whole clan on solemn occasions. or committed to writing. or furnished by absurd traditions. heard with pleasure the eulogiums of their ancestors . and the office became at last hereditary. The who pretended to be descended from them. and to record the con- nection of patrons with chiefs so renowned. and after the in a clan bards were discontinued. and founded the antiquity of their families on the authority of their poems. without the fear of contradiction. These fables. Their in a countiy poetical merit made their heroes famous where heroism was much esteemed and posterity of those heroes. . preservation of It is to this vanity we owe the what remain of the more ancient poems.

that if line had been remembered in a it was almost impossible were so adapted it to forget the rest. from a similarity of sound. I. after in so natural a gradation. most precious monuments of The ancient laws of the Greeks were couched tradition. The numerous declension. The descendents of the Celtae. to substitute one word for another. The c actions of great men. more ancient poems were handed down by for tliat purpose. became so fond of this custom. Bri- tain were not singular in this method of their preserving the nation. to writing. that they would never allow their laws to be committed VOL. in verse. flections of consonants. and the most perfect harmony was observed. it. and perhaps to be met with in no other language. their own. one Each verse fol- was so connected with those which preceded or lowed stanza. and to the common turn of that it is raised to a certain key. was almost impossible. The Europe use of letters was not till 17 tlie known in north of : long after the institution of the bards the records of the families of their patrons. Their poetical compositions were admirably contrived They were adapted to music . This excellence is is peculiar to the Celtic tongue. Nor does this choice of words clog the sense or weaken the expression. tans. and . and handed down by The Spar- through a long habit. who inhabited and its isles. and variation in make the language very copious. The cadences followed the words the voice.THE iERA OF OSSIAN. and tradition.

It been intro- duced. by * Tacitus de raor. the old monuments of Germans were comprehended in their ancient songs*! which were either hymns to their gods. which thinks every thing that is not committed to writing fabulous. lost all The his Peruvians had tory. Germ. a princess of the blood of the Yncas. If other nations then. . had not learning. were preserved in the same manner. and had and received colonies. other monuments of their his- and it was from ancient poems which mother. and it probably would have remained to this day. could for many ages preserve. that had been sent abroad often overrun by enemies. the uninterrupted custom of repeating them upon certain occasions. that he collected the materials of his history. was from his poetical traditions that G^rcillasso composed account of the Yncas of Peru. •f Able de la Bleterie Remarques sur la Germaine. This species of composition was not committed to writing. and were intended to perpetuate the great events in their nation which carefully were interwoven with them. taught him in his youth. but delivered by oral tradition +. served to preserve them for a long time uncorrupted. or elegies in praise of their heroes.18 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING All the historical the eulogiums of kings and heroes. The care they took to have the poems taught to their children. and the happy measure of the verse. This oral chronicle of the Germans was not forgot in the eighth century.

in these nuity can penetrate. human nature at while Hehogabalus disgraced Rome.THE JERA OF oral tradition. is mere conjecture. therefore. their laws is OSSIAN. which no ingedescribed. a people so free of intermixture with foreigners. is in this short Dissertation. and it matters who were If their cotemporaries in other parts of the world. their bards memory of their ancestors. The manners in history. poems. we have placed Fingal in his proper we do honour to the manners of barbarous He exercised every manly virtue in Caledonia. must be confessed. reach of records. times. Beyond the settled a gloom. 19 it and histories uncorrupted. and so strongly attached to the had the works of purit)'. suit the ancient is Celtic times. and no other period that known We must. period. . much more probable that the ancient Scots. j place the heroes far back in antiquity little. handed down with great it What is advanced.

j^iO-i'li/^ V\ ^M .

A ©ISSEETATION CONCERNING THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. .

a 'sib B }B \lao marfj j&ax>8 ba& 'AssiO »di moit nsansni bdll&xa .

tlie north of Europe. is less who originally posknown tlian their their great manners. and described them found them. as they were matters of committed them great merit to record. otherwise of among ourselves. give into confined ideas on this subject. Having early imbibed their idea of exalted manners from the Greek and Roman writers. they them- had not the means of transmitting posterity. actions to remote Foreign writers saw as they them only them at a distance. Their manners and curiosity. The vanity of the Romans induced their to consider the nations . beyond the pale of empire as barbarians and consequently their historj' unworthy of being singular character investigated.BISSEETATJOM CONCERNING THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. The sessed history of those nations. selves Destitute of the use of letters. Some men. .

and the exertion of great parts. of Europe. and polished man- ners. an agree- able prospect and they alone can have ' real pleasure '' ---'. vulsions which attend is the proper field for an eialted character. The establishment of the Celtic is states. That suits irregular manner of life. lose theij" The times of regular government. are therefore to be wished for by the feeble and weak in mind.'j in tracing nations to their source. no fortuitbus event raise the timid and mean into power. and the powers of the without vigor. this light. are highly in polished favourable to a strength of times. we may consider their antiquity beyond the pale of empire worthy of some attention. wc'iWithout derogating from the fame of Greece and Rome. men are more uniform and lie in ficial The human soul.of the use of letters. it is To those who look upon antiquity in . an opportunity of exerting them. The more nobler passions of the mind never shoot forth free and unrestrained than in the times we its call barbarous. and those conit. An unsettled state.- in (he north annals.24 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING they scarcely ever afterwards have the fortitude to allow any dignity of character to any nation destitute . Merit there can rises always superior. and those manly pur- from which barbarity takes name. heyond the reach of written . mind unknown In advanced society the characters of disguised. passions arti- some degree concealed behind forms. and manners .

and their manners are those of an ancient and unmixed race of •men. they new and mixed people. and the exploits of their forefathers. which were so frequent in and universal. ac- cordingly. or whose natural strength enabled the natives to repel invasions. possess die low and more is fertile part of the king- Their language pure and original. fit long A.<^ country only toil for pasture. and these intirely turned on the antiquity of It their nation. that its no kingdom Europe is now were possessed by original inhabitants. Such are the inhabitants of the mountains of Scotland. ca^- THE POEMS OF and songs lost. that there are more remains . We. that they differ materially from those who dom. as a tiiey lived in a own antiquity. find. which engross the Their amusement attention of a commercial people. UiBO wonder. lost knowledge depended time. consisted in hearing or repeating their songs and traditions. free of their upon. from foreigners. If tradition could be it is only among a people. all from intermixture with for tliese We are to look among : the mountains and inaccessible parts of a country places. mixture of who^ in process of time. on account of their barrenness. Societies a all formed. OSSI AN 25 The traditions to which they trusted their history. Conscious of their despised others. own origin.. uninviting to an enemy. therefore. and kingdoms erected^ from nations. they were free from that and business. were or altogether corrupted in their revolutions and migrations.

than the historians of the Scots nation. remote periods. and a detail of their transactions. Fordun. suppose. they contented themselves with copying from one another. in a new colour and dress. however. with a scrapulous exactness. concerning to in so far as of antiquity people in Europe. they should. they had no authentic annals.26 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING among them. and reduced them into His accounts. and retailing the same fictions. One might naturally when least. deserved credit period. the King of England. or even tradition list itself. at have recourse to the traditions of their country. are only they coincide with cotemporary writers of undoubted credit and veracity. they give a long of ancient kings. which had escaped the brutal policy of order. that. destitute. and have reduced lar system them into a regu- of history. had run up the antiquity of his nation to a very remote aera. John Fordun was the first who collected those fragments of the Scots history. and strangers to the ancient language of their nation. in a letter to the pope. so far as they concerned : recent transactions. With- out records. No writers began their accounts from a more early period. Edward in I. Some time before Fordun wrote. than among any be regarded other Traditions. they beyond a certain were fabulous and unsatisfactory. Of both they seem to have in been equally Born the low country. possessed of .

As they had no new lights. equally with him. part of his The lowed writers that succeeded his system. Even Buchanan Blinded with to himself. predecessors to his misrepresentations. 27 the national prejudice of the age. first habitation of the Scots. except little the elegance and vigour of his style. that little It there- can be collected from their own historians.THE POEMS OF all OSSIAN. Destitute of annals in Scotland. unac- quainted with the traditions of their countrj^. was reckoned the there. that the Irish bards had carried their preten- sions to antiquity as high. according to the vulgar errors of the times. to a people. has very to recommend him. their histories contain little information concerning the ori- gin of the Scots. he seemed more anxious turn the fictions of his own purposes than to detect their or investigate truth amidst the it. he had recourse to Ireland. was unwilling that his country should yield. which. It was from them he took which form the first probable fictions. concerning the first migration of tlie Scots into Britain. history. Fordun implicitly fol- though they sometimes varied from him in their relations of particular transactions. . and were. He found. then its rivals and enemies. if not beyond any nation those im- in Europe. political prejudices. darkness which they had tBrown round fore appears. in point of antiquity. and the order of succession of their kings.

imagined. or Caledonians. Ca'el. Cae/ signifying Ce/^s.-.28 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING That this island was peopled from Gaul admits colonies is of* no doubt. some / . Celts of the hill country. who possessed themselves ginally of Britain. the unconquered nations to the north of the province were distinguished by the nians. so that Cael-don. Caledonians were of point German A discussion of a so intricate. From the double meaning of tlie word as well as Gam/*. or Celts. their language Ca'elic. from circumstances. conexr at cludes. it appears. sufficient to demonstrate. a hill . tliat that they received their opinion. in the third or fourth century. couflt. that they. and not a pretended colony of Scots. they are the . name of Caledo- From their very name. the north of Europe a matter When South Britain yielded to the power of the Ro- nians. that the ancestors of the Caledonians were of and a different race from the rest of the Britons. This. . genuine descendents of the ancient Caledonians. ov Gauls. several supported Tacitus. ori- were of those Gauls. which s'lgmfits strangers. Whether came afterwards from of mere speculation. that the traction. It is compounded of two Celtic words. who settled first in *' the north. or Galic. to day. the this The Highlanders. andDaraor': is Don. who. into which the Romans softened of itself. call tliemselves Cael. name upon is aqt>y' .V^''This say they. have. as much as to say. is Caledonia. and their country Caeldoch.

is sii ScuiTE. Hierom. by neighbours. X St. could neither be satisfactory nor important. of the mountains. and tillage. and feed*-?r.^ was plain and fertile.' .^ THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. As Scots were not heard of before that period.i convenience or inclination.. therefore. the Caledonians. newly come to Britain. as the division of the coun-. most writers supposed them to have been a colony. They were their . Towards the latter end of the third. .^:' employment did not them to one place. or the wandering nation the origin of the which evidently^v^ - Roman name of Scoti. as suited best with not. Theiru' re-«. 29 this distance of time.. we meet tlie with the Scots in the first Porphyrius * makes the mention of them about that time. They moved from one heath their to another. who possessed . ad Ctesiphon. north. intirely different in their nature and soil. This mistake easily removed. and that the Picts were the only genuine descendents of the is ancient Caledonians. The parts Caledonians. a?: roving and uncontrouled race of men. as possessing:". improperly called. what they fix killed in hunting. the east coast of Scotland. natu^^o. tv On try the other hand. became rally divided into two distinct nations. and beginning* of the fourth century. nrtilOE"'^ . applied themselves to agri^j-. lived by ing of cattle. of the country. The western The coast of Scotland is is hilly and fit barren for towards the east the country Inhabitants plain. in process of time..

the wheat or corn eaters. than among the Scots. in the This. according to most of the Scots writers. that they began to manners of the two forget their common origin. lost. was from . who seemed countrymen to think it more for the honour of their to annihilate. Cruithnich. different in its As the Picts lived in a country so nature from that possessed by the Scots. consequently. The end of the Pictish government is that period. their communi* cation with one another ciety. Unobstructed by mountains. en^ed in the sub- version of the PicLish kingdom. established So- became sooner among them. and almost continual quarrels and animosities subsisted between them. that the very name of the Picts was and those tliat remained were so completely incorpoall rated with their conquerors. civil magistrates and laws.30 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING and raising of corn. therefore. at produced so great a difference nations. that they soon lost memory of their ovm origin. than reduce It is certain. or lakes. but not in the total extirpation of the nation. These animosities. in that language. so their national character suffered a material change. i. called. after some ages. a rival people under their obedience. they ^''^ere much sooner governed by last. was free and frequent. It culture. to is placed so near that it which authentic annals reach. and. tliat matter of wonder. that the Galic name of the Picts proceeded for they are e. however. we have no monuments of . this.

be The contrary. a convincing proof that the two nations were. who possessed the east coast of Scotland. who never had that art among them. by the effect which their situation had upon tlie genius of the people. to distinguish them from the Scots. been of a different race vi'ould from the different. domi- and the very names of to us.^*' THE POEMS OF I OSSIAN. dies. affirm Picts. Scots. from the It veryTiature of the country. . proceeded the name of the latter. tlie This favours they originally system have laid dovi^n. The name of Picts is said to have been given by the Romans to the Caledonians. circumstance made some imagine. and only divided into two governments. men from fled north- That more of the Britons. who discontinued after the Roman conquest. is The names of places in the Pictish their kings. the mountains. and a different race of the Scots. are of which are which is handed down Gahc original. who ward from the tyranny of the Romans. of old. Had 31 their language or history remaining. than among the Scots of may be easily imagined. and from it the Britons. one and the same. This But let us revere antiquity in her very follies. nions. settled in the low country of Scotland. their lan- guage of course the case. was they who intro- duced painting among the stance. that the Picts were of British extract. From this circum- some antiquaries. from their painting their bo- Tlie story is silly and the argument absurd.

before the : Cael. settled in the south of Ireland. is. and in one from another. disall likely. witli first. from shall Britain an improbable and remote I easily admit. divided. The in abettors of the it . The poem of Temora throws considerable light on The accounts given in it agree so well what the ancients have delivered. that to the north gerous firths. population and inhabitants of Ireland. most certainly. they. that every. are sufficient proofs. many this subject. . Sic. acquired a consi- The derable knowledge in navigation. even if we had not the testimony of* authors of undoubted veracity to confirm it. The vicinity the exact correspondence of the ancient inhabitants of both. 1. unbiassed person will confess tliem Dio. 5. therefore. many arms of the sea.r . found their land. That Ireland was of the two islands peopled from Britain at length.32 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING Caledonians. by their living on a coast intersected with islands. more probable. in point of manners and language. by wide and danhighly probable. that the colony of the Firbolg. a matter that admits of no doubt. confessedly the Belgce of Britain. it is or Caledonians. concernmg the. covered the north but not at that the migration of the Firbolg to Ireland happened centuries before the Christian aera.. It is. most romantic systems tliey of Irish antiquities allow but place the colony aera. very early. way of Ire- which is within sight of their first own country.

by the unanimous consent of the Caledoniap I. o . and the Cdil. it independent of one'^ probable. until Crothar. or chiefs. they con-^ tlie In this situation. without any material revolution in state of tlie island. who The in- * habited the south. who possessed Ulster. the brother of Crothar Crothar. himself then took arms. is tinued long. the Firbolg or Belgce of Britain. away Conlama. a chief of tlieir tlie affront own nation. VOL. already famous for his great exploits. carried rriin. It appears. in the days of Trathalftwt>'" grandfatlier to Fingal. who passed ovefi two' from Caledonia and nations. they applied for aid to Trathal king of Morven. and either killed or expelled Turloch. the daughter of Cath-^ • a chief of the Cdcl. Lord of Atha. who came to oppose his progress. to their relief. the most potent chief of the Firbolg. as is tlie Hebrides to Ulster. in that country. Turloch resented offered him by Crothar. Conar. In situation. were divided into small dynasties. upon : this. and killed Cormul. who sent his brother Conar. to Conlama had been betrothed some time before Turloch. upon his arrival in Ulster.*- •'the poems of OSSlANf tliat. tlie became general beCael were reduced to tween the two nations the last and tliis extremity. anotlier. usual among an unpolished and lately • settled people. The war. was chosen king. by tradition. made an irruption into Connaught. 33 than the legends handed down. Ireland was possessed by nations . a country in Connaught. sub- ject to pett)' kings.

the chiefs of Atha to the Irish throne. Cairbre . defeated his adherents. rebelled in the minority of Cormac. Cairbar. The war was re- newed with vigour and succeeding reigns. who was the father of that Cormac. but the Firholg appear to have been ratlier repelled than subdued. his son. Temora. lord mounted the his life . chief of Atha. His usurpa- ended with for Fingal made an ex- . that tlie chiefs of Atha made several efforts to become monarchs of Ireland. In his latter days he seems to extremity. In we learn from episodes in the same poem. who appears have reigned long. who then was veiy young. A DISSERTATION CONCERNING who possessed that country. the daughter of Cormac. came to the aid of Cormac. totally defeated Colc-ulla. Cormac was succeeded son. by an insurrec- have been driven to tion of the Firbolg. in whose minority the invasion is of Swaran happened. and re-estaall blished It Cormac in the sole possession of Ireland. and Conar. Ros- crana. in the Irish tlirone by his Cairbre by Ai'tho. which of Fingal. throne. who was the mother of Ossian. and took to wife. upon tion soon in the palace of this. was then he fell in love with. tlie last who supported the pretensions of Fingal. to expel the race of To Conar to succeeded his son Cormac. who had not relin- quished their pretensions to the Irish throne. the subject of the poem The family of Atha. and murdered him of Atha.34 tribes. success .

. It is. and 35 restored. the latter end of the century. This war is tlie subject of Temora the events. settled in Ulster. the bard . supposed. on account It is tlie length. however. the king of Ireland. THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. peditiou into Ireland. after the deatli of Cormac. can form no judgment of the time of the settlement of tlie Firbolg. who successively mounted the Irish throne. or Caledonians. it was some time before the Cael. as are those first family of Conar. notwithstanding. also prefirst set- some important facts. are not marked. century so Conar. the family of Conar to the possession of the kingdom. or Belgee of Britain. As of the generations from Larthon to Cathmor. to- wards the latter end of the seventh book of Temora. had no king before the Fingal lived. first monarch of the who was his grand-uncle. in that kingdom. in the third Irish. . To establish this fact. concerning the tlement of the Firlolg. under tor to Cairbar their leader Larthon. who was ances- and Catlimor. One that first important fact tlie Irish may be gathered from it is this history. of its I forbear to transcribe the passage. though certainly heightened and embellish- ed by poetr}^ seem. after various vicis- situdes of fortune. song of Fonar. probable. cannot be placed farther back than the close of the first. the son of Artho. foundation in true history. to have their Temora serves contains not only the history of the it first migration of the Caledonians into Ireland.. to is whom we the episode tlie addressed.

nion of Ware. to be wished. de antiq. It is from tlie this consideration. that It is some able Irishman. The true history of Ireland begins period. rejects. nothing can be depended upon. prior to the reign of Fergus. they have dis- graced the antiquities they meant to establish. Such being opi- who had all collected with uncommon industry and zeal. concerning the history of his country. . prje. were strangely of late invention.36 c A DISSERTATION CONCERNING to is lay at once aside Irish. reject tlie improbable tales and self- condemned of Keating and O' Flaherty. before the time of St. Sir somewhat later than that James Ware*. that livered tales all that de- down. the real and pretendedly ancient manuscripts. the son of Ere. remarking. who under- stands the language and records of his counti^. i. we may. on his authority. the pretended antiquities of the Scots and list and to get quit of the long of kings which the latter give us for a millenium before. * may War. as mere fiction idle romance. p. Patrick. it is certain. mixed with anatlie chronisms and inconsistencies. and the reign of Leogaire. all tliat is related of the ancient Irish. concerning the times of paganism. who was and indefatigable in his researches after the antiquities of his country. that he begins his history at introis duction of Christianity. Hybcrn. Of the affairs of Scotland. who lived in the fifth century. Credu- lous and puerile to the last degree.

which intervenes between Fingal and the reign of Fergus. whose son was Arcath. tradition contradictory. by foreigners. and upon no authority. by after- wards examining both by the authors. Ossian. redeem. were.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. ought. This Fer- say some traditions. who makes a derable figure in Ossian's poems. ere Ireland. in tlie judgment of sober framed in be preferred to accounts dark and distant periods. tinishes the figure of out-lines. gus. the succession. it test of the is Roman on the is easy to discover which is all the most pro- Probability that can be established authority of tradition. properly it called the first king of Scots. from the hands of these By comparing the history in these poems with the legends of the Scots and Irish writers. The three elder sons of Fingal. and his posterity. it is 37 too late. and Ryno. as was in his time the Gael. the father of Fergus. and. dying with- out issue. is dark and Some trace up the family of Fergus consi- to a son of Fingal of that name. devolved upon Fergus. Concerning the period of more than a century. and. by name . the son of Ere or Arcath. the fourth son. But when it favours the hypothesis laid down by coas it temporary writers of undoubted veracity. was the father of Congal. who to possessed the western coast of Scotland. uith little judgment. the genuine antiquities of idle fabulists. Fillan. to it \\'hich they only drew the reason. bable. the. of course. ever dubious and uncertain. began be distinguished.

barbarity.3S A DISSERTATION CONCERNING From thence-forward. cultivate the so. and to restore with reflection. in the last. it is As have the formed on nature. the most disinteleisuie Men. the Scots and Picts. to mind. natuial affection of the members of a family to another. The second and begins when property is esta- men enter into associations for mutual de- fence against the invasions and injustice of neighbours. and ever must remain. of course. in obscurity and fable. of Scots. racter. the Scots and Picts were advanced into the second stage. to safety of their persons which they trust the first is and property. in the third. The internal state of the two Caledonian kingdoms has always continued. as distinct nations. the The middle and region of complete barbarism ignorance. became objects of attention to the historians of other countries. About the beginning of the fifth centurj'. consequently. society. it. which always distinguish The events which soon after happened did not or at all contribute to enlarge their ideas. which subsisted in the days of Fingal. It is in this epoch we must There fix the beginning of the decay of that species of heroism. Mankind submit. rested and noble. mend their national cha- . to state is a primaeval dignity of sentiment. tJie are three stages in human and one The first is tlie result of consanguinity. into those circumscribed sentiments. and. to certain laws and subordinations of government. blished.

ener- vated by the slavery of several centuries. and those vices. seizing favourable opportunity. The next which contributed strangers. entirely forsook Britain. It is. Instead of roving through un- frequented wilds. OSSIAN. on account of domestic commotions. corn. to be near the common enemy. to it. In the utmost distress. tliis The Picts in- and Scots. though irregular attacks of a barbarous enemy. and raising of life This manner of was the first means of thing changing the national character. which are inseparable from an advanced state of civility. a nation equally barbarous and brave with the enemies of whom tliey afraid. The Britons. by means of hunting. we the must place the Scots. of sudden incursions. and (after tlie unfortunate state of the Empire could not spare were so much aid) to the Saxons. in search of subsistance. towards die south. in this period. men applied to agriculture. Though tlie bravery of the Saxons repelled the Caledonian nations for a time. was their mixture with . made cursions into the deserted province. considerably. 39 the Romans. yet the latter found means to extend themselves. the Romans. were not able to withstand the impetuous. finding it impossible to defend so distant a frontier. they applied to their old masters.THE POEMS OF About die year 426. origin of the arts of civil life among The seat of government was removed from the mountains to the plain and more fertile provinces in case of the soudi.

taught them and other which they themselves had received from the Romans. Being origi- nally descended from the same stock. however. that most of the Saxon inhain possession remained of their lands. the several conquests and revolutions many fled for refuge into Scotland. to the Scots. and transac- with the Saxons. inhabitants remained. it is in the ninth age. retained their lan- guage. conquerors. probable tlie most of the old witli the arts. and. or the tyranny of domestie that the tlie usurpers . the manners of the Picts and Scots were as similar as the different natures of the countries they possessed permitted. in so much. alternately possessed by the two They were ceded. being the most predominant. in During England. These incoq)orating agriculture. union of the two Caledonian kingdoms did afi'ect Even not tlie much the national character. to avoid the op- pression of foreigners. with the nature of the country they possessed.. What brought the Scots nation. The Scots. Several counties in the south of Scotland were nations. bitants probable. the tongue and customs of the ancient Caledonians. perhaps near one half of Scottish The on Saxon manners and language daily gained ground. . Saxon race formed kingdom. tions about a total change in the genius otlier of was their wars.40 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING In the countries which the Scots had conquered it is from the Britons. in number as well still as power. and as as suited many of the customs of their ancestors.

who either was. A divided from one another by extensive heaths and impassable mountains. tlie seat of government was in the removed to the those who remained Highlands were. when he kept considered. tion. residence.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. as the chief The was king. independent of Each society had its own regnlus. into small societies. as well as the presence of their prince. who were unmixed with '"' strangers. prevented those divisions which afterwards sprung forth into so "many separate tribes. Their small number. form the face of the Highlands. 41 at last. till. they were covered from the . in the mountains. the country favoured an institution of this valleys. The tains seats of the Highland chiefs were neither dis- agreeable nor inconvenient. their relations and dependents. upon the retreat of the Britain. The nature of sort. Romans from were his court that the inhabitants of the Highlands divided into clans. the latter were entirely relegated to inhabistill tants of the mountains. of course. When south. They naturally formed themselves one another. neglected. and almost within were the habitations of their dwellings. It was after the accession of territory which the Scots received. or in the succession of a few generations. Surrounded with moun- and hanging woods. In tliese valleys the chiefs fixed their sight of Round them. by the whole na- of their blood. was regarded few as chief of their blood.

His commands. if not all the conveniences. we make allowance for the back- ward tile . strangers. or extensive lake. As he seldom went from home. not into an arm of the sea. and secured by free inaccessible- ness of their country. therefore. partook more of the authority of a father. neither burdensome nor frequent. which. at least life. . tribe Though the whole territory of the was considered as the property of the chief. ran a pretty large river. so he. the su- preme judge and lawgiver of sway was neither severe nor regarded own people As but his unjust. table was supplied by his own herds. he was His his at no expence. for many ages. the As they had little communication with .43 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING Near them generally itself inclemency of the weather. in re- turn. the necessaries of Here the chief his lived. the valleys Avere not unfer- affording. though absolute and decisive. discharging far off. At were a distance from the tlie seat of government. the populace him as the chief of their blood. . they and independent. swarmed with variety of fish. In rural kind of magnificence. considered them as members of his family. state of agriculture. the Highland chiefs lived. and what numerous attendants this killed in hunting. than of the rigour of a judge. yet his vassals made him no other consideration for their lands than services. The woods were stocked with wild-fowl tains and the heaths and moun- behind them were the natural seat of the redIf deer and roe.

fond of military fame. be more noble and universal neither gives he. The bards erected their immediate patrons into heroes.r THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. and the manners they represent. only calculated to . so many of those peculiarities. the works of acted in a to tlie bards in my Ossian more extensive sphere. A succession of As bards was retained in every clan. I presume. A few happy expressions. concerning the especially of their exploits of their nation. language retained its 43 the customs of their ancestors remained among them. that I was have rejected wholly publications. own particular famihes. They became famous among the people. and remarkably attached to the memory and of their ancestors. they delighted in traditions and songs. hand down the memorable actions of Fingal and his chiefs were the most renowned in tradition. to their forefathers. chiefly for this reason. and an object of fiction and poetry to the bards. As the knowledge was narrow. The other bards have their beauties. which are only understood in a certain period or country. Natu- and rally their original purity. the bards took care to place names them in the genealogy of every great family. but not in this species of composition. and his ideas ought . and celebrated circle of their them in their songs. Their rhimes. their ideas were confined in proportion. their obscurity It and inaccuracy would disgiast in a translation. may please those who understand the language .

be admired in another language to those who are acquainted with the manners they represent. expressed with peculiar tenderness and elegance. It was the tliat. local to The ideas. though in- tended to beautify sentiments. they give us tlie genuine language of the heart. is tliat more than a common as they mediocrity of taste deserve. The ideas of an unpolished period are so contrary to the present ad- vanced state of society. and the scenes they describe. has kept them hitherto in the obscurity of an almost lost language. are too . except the heroic. even any knowledge of the language they pierce Successful love is and dissolve tlie heart. kindle a martial spirit little This observation only 5 regards their rior species poems of the heroic kind in every infe- of poetry they are more successful. might be bet- . probably. In all their compositions. required to relish them Those who alone are capable of transferring ancient poetry into a modem language. which was solely calculated to animate the vulgar. witliout any of those affected ornaments of phraseology. that. they must atford pleasme and satisfaction. They express tlie tender melancholy of desponding love. which. sounds of the words to Avitliout tlie So well adapted are the sentiments.44 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING among the vulgar. with simplicity and nature. locality of their description and senti- ment. afford very pleasure to genuine taste. divest them of their natural force. it is confessed.

mean not to give offence to the abettors of the high antiquities of the two nations. Had then met v/ith less my after pursuits I would have been more to be at least. witliout being branded with dulness. as well as some pleasure to the lovers of poetr}'. arising firom few certain facts. con- cerning the veracity and of those who deliver down their ancient history. though I have all along expressed abilities my doubts. mote and obscme No kingdom now esta- . were not for wretched envy and meanness which affects to despise cotemporar)^ genius. 45 it employed tliat in giving originals of their own. are presented several episodes. who originally inhabited that this Dissertation.THE POEMS OF ter OSSIAN. its first its kings. profitable . For my own a part. and the contests between the two British nations. re- to the legendary and uncertain annals of ages of antiquity. In a preceding part of I have shewn is how superior the probability^ of this system to the undigested fictions of the Irish bards. These poems may furnish light to antiquaries. I pre- fer the national fame. and Irish the more recent and regular legends of both 1 and Scottish historians. island. The subject and catastrophe of the facts. My first publication I was merely approbation. might have continued stupid. and seve- ral circumstances which regard connection of old in witli the south and north of Britain. first The population of Ireland. accidental. poem are founded upon which regarded the first peopling of that country.

Since the first publication of these poems. Unless genius were in fashion. I neither know nor care. to He that wishes come with weight. is As prejudice the effect of ignorance. An age tliat produces few marks of genius ought tion. so that altogether needless to tix its origin a fictitious millenium before. and doubts arisen. for my might have atoned it. are suggested Whether tliese suspicions effects by prejudice. I am not sui-prized at its being general. many Homer himself might have written in vain. Were my . 46 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING it Wished in Europe can pretend to equal antiquity with that of the Scots. must skim the surface in their own shallow way. he would have scarce deserved to have centuries. my fault. the bulk of mankind have ever in articles been led by reputation more literature. who admired through so Virgil. come down to us. to be sparing of admira- The truth is. that I should not trans- and late I assure my what I could not imitate. cerning their authenticity. of If all the Romans. Without vanity I say I think I could write tolerable poetry antagonists. inconsiderable as may appear in other respects. my veracity have paid a tlie my self- and. tlian taste. even according to it is my system. or are only the of malice. many con- insinuations have been made. Those who have compliment to doubted genius denial . understood his beauties. were even allegation true. on the superficial..

alv^^ays Laberius himself would sure of more followers than Sophocles. or which the have in another work amply discircumstance that induced mother nation. to the Irish with peculiar acuteness appropriate them Though it is not easy to conceive how these I poems can belong shall to Ireland and to me at once. the authenticity of this work. Of all tlie nations descended from customs. and more abounding with primitives. without further animadver- sion on the blunder. The first me to disregard the vulgarly-received opinion of the Hiber- nian extraction of the Scottish nation. one and the same people. they formed one society. and were. I would write sooner than an heroic poem.THE POEMS OF aim be to gain the OSSIAN. I which the colony. than that spoken. much more now pure. Some who doubt nation. This argues a more intimate connection between them. that at some one period were subject all or other. • in respects. than a remote descent from the great Celtic stock. It is evident. and manners. or even that Avhich has been written for part some centuries back. the ancient Celtae. spoken in the north of Scotland. the Scots and Irish are the most similar in language. my obser- That dialect of is the Celtic tongue. examine the subject. to the same government. was vations on their ancient language. cussed. 4? a madrigal many. in short. amongst the most unmixed . more agreeable to its mother lan- guage. How they became divided.

by the very appellation they give speak. tlie Romans and the latter Hibernia. . i. On the such a slight foundation were romantic fictions probably built concerning the Milesians of Ireland. however backward they may be to allow any thing to the pre- judice of their antiquity. A circumstance of this nature tends more to decide which is the most ancient nation. contrary. con- versant in his understands an Irish it composition. name of Ossian. An Irishman. tolerably own language. e. more tliat learned tlian the rest. The Irish. from that derivative analogy which to the Galic of has North Britain. that the poems published under the of Irish composition.48 of A DISSERTATION CONCERNING the Irish nation. on the Britain. when. A Scotchman. the most ori- and. seem inadvertently to ac- knowledge it. than the united testimonies of a whole legion of ignorant bards and senachies. are not tliat The favoiunte chimaera. discovered. on the other hand. never dreamed of bringing the Scots from Spain to Ireland. it From internal proofs sufficiently appears. Caledonian Irish. they call the dialect of Gaelic. consequently. or the Caledonian tongue. called the first Iberia. is This affords a proof that the Scotch Galic ginal. perhaps. North a emphatically. till some one of them. can never un- derstand a composition in tlie Galic tongue. without the aid of study. who. to tlie dialect they They call their own language Gaelic Eirinach. the language jjf a more ancient and unmixed people.

all I have just now } in my hands that remain of those compositions but. But from when we look to the language. so subversive of their system. antiquities The they fictions concerning the of that country. that would be as ridiculous to think that Milton's Paradise Lost could be wrote tish peasant. Fiona. tlie in that country. they appear to be the work of a very modern period. Every stanza^ . could never be produced by an Hibernian bard. Their information certainly did not the Irish come from poems concerning Fion. on fileas. is not easy for me mine. is 4g totally the mother-country of the Scots. proof poems. brood of modern and ignorant ages. or Mac Comnal. concerning the heroes of Fion Irish annalists. This Fion. The pretensions of Ireland to Ossian proceed from lliere are handed another quarter. subverted and ruined. and growing came down. of is To those who know how that their pretended Iberian descent. at last. traditional poems. in tlie reign of in the third century. which were forming for as ages. down. tenacious the Irish are. this alone sufficient. tlie hands of successive senachies and to be the spurious are found. Where to deter- Keating and O'Flaherty learned that Ireland had an embodied militia so early. as to by a Scot- suppose that the poems ascribed to Ossian were writ in Ireland. it it is so different the Irish dialect.?/*:THE Ireland is POEMS OF OSSIAN. of Ireland. unluckily for the antiquities of Ireland. say Uie militia was general of the Cormac.

inferior to them A chos air Cromleach. Crom-meal dubh. In short Fion. enchanted dwarfs. however. Witches on broomsticks were continually hovering round him like crows 5 and he had freed enchanted virgins in every valley in Ireland. two ages ago. that Fion was not in height. and magicians. Chos eile air druim-ard. With one foot on Cromleach his brow. lamh mhoir Thoga Fion le An d'uisge o Lubhair na fruth. great as he was. his Not only had he to engage all the mischiefs in own country. witches. foreign armies invaded him. nay almost every affords striking proofs tha^ they cannot be three centuries old. passed a disagreeable life. or being entangled in the circles of a magician.50 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING line. It must be owned. that it is matter of wonder to their antiquity. and headed by kings tall the main-mast of a first rate. . without encountering a giant. to the Their allusions fifteenth century manners and customs of the are so many. The otlier on Crommal the dark. circle palfreys. form the whole of the poet's invention. Giants. assisted as as by magicians and witches. scarcely The celebrated Fion covild move from one hillock to another. me how are any one could dream of They entirely writ in that romantic taste which prevailed castles.

51 Fion took up with his large hand The water from Lubar of the streams. of Ruanus. Cromleach and Crommal were two mountains ill the neighbourhood of one another. Ossian himself had tlian many singular and less . valiant Oscar stood unrivalled and alone.! THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. Ton- iosal and for hardness of skull. siol nan laoich ! Fion from Albion. delicate qualifications playing on the harp and . If Fion was so remarkable for his stature. that this enormous Fion was of the race of the Hibernian giants. I should never have disputed with any nation. I leave it to the reader. whose inhabitants. himself. all In weight the sons of strangers yielded to the celebrated . tliis The bard property of such a monster as Fion. I should have given as my opinion. the above quotation taken. are not remarkable As for the poetry. rather tlian a native of Caledonia. perhaps. and. for tlie tliickness too. his heroes had also other extraordinary properties. in is But tlie tlie poem from which him to Scotland. in Ulster. now at least. or some other celebrated name. for their stature. cedes Fion o Albin. and the river Lubar ran tlirough tlie intermediate valley. race of heroes Were bard at it allowable to contradict the authority of a this distance of time.

A translation satis- well executed. forth To draw muses ties. and that before any translation of mine appeared. has wasted . and. who hath been. the translator. A gentleman in Dublin accused me to the public of committing blun- ders and absurdities in translating the language of my own country. faction. But ought to be the work of a native of Ireland. who is a perfect master of the Irish tongue.* How the gentleman came 1st to see my my * In Faulkner's Dublin Journal. might afford to tlie public. in this if Mac Comnal. A to Poem. to wait for his edition. In the preface Originally wrote in the Irish or Erse language. 176). which. by the gigantic Swaran. an uncommon way. most humbly in- treats the public. which will appear in . To illustrate this subject. Speedily will be published.52 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING was of so diminutive a size. employed in translating and writing historical FINGAL. I am too diffident of my own to undertake such a work. from obscurity the poems of all my own abili- country. the time I had allotted for the besides. for some time Notes to past. therefore. concerning Fion of these pieces. I shall here lay before the reader the history of some of the Irish poems. by a gentleman of this kingdom. will give an account of the manners and customs of the ancient Irish or Scotch . appeared the following advertisement: two weeks before first publication appeared in London. of the December. as to the brave CuthuUin be taken for a child of two years of age.

. threw off the austerity of his profession. had a daughter young enough to become connec- wife to the saint. Patrick. is 53 not easy to deas a termine . and shew the igno- rance of the pnglish translator. and in hearing the great actions of his family. to rehis ceive witli becoming enthusiasm. yet his son Ossian made cotemporary Ossian. if he did not conclude that. in the third century. who preached the gospel in Ireland fifth age. blunders before I committed them. not understanding any part of that accidence. I and of course descended of the Milesian might have committed some of those oversights which. The saint sometimes freely. race. about the middle of the that time he must have been two hundred and years of age. which placed. From the whole tenor of the it Irish poems. by tlie universal consent of the senachies. are said to be peculiar to them. took great delight in the company of Ossian. concern- ing the Fiona. They even fix the death of Fingal in the is year 286. appears that Fion Mac Comnal is flourished in the reign of Cormac. drunk and had his soul properly warmed with wine. perhaps very unjustly. in his knowledge of Irish gram- mar. though at fifty with St. as he will set forth ties in the blunders and absurdi- the edition now printing in London. the poems of all a short time. On account of this family tion. for so the apostle of Ire- land is emphatically called in the poems.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. Patrick of the Psalms. Scotsman.

it is evident. After describing the total route of Erragon. air uidh. Ossian discovers the age in which he lived. is often called. thought the time of the croisade so ancient. but a few who were permitted to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Erragon. that none of the foe escaped. O The It san leis bu bhinn a ghloir. Riogh Lochlin an do shloigh. poems begins with this piece of useful information. is title of this poem Teantach mor na Fiona. This circumstance fixes the date of the composition of the piece some centuries after the that the poet famous croisade . in the course of this poem. a circumstance in under Margaret de Waldemar. Gvm Sailm ach a gol. Lo don rabh Padric na mhur. appears to have been founded on the same story with the battle of Lora. that he confounds it with the age of Fingal. for. King of Denmark of two which alludes to the union of the nations. by an un- lucky anachronism. kingdoms of Norwhich happened the close of the way and Denmark. Ghluais e thigh Ossian mhic Fhion. he very gravely concludes with this re- markable anecdote. . strophe in both are The circumstances and catamuch the same but the Irish .54 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING One of the father-in-law.

Erragon 'San n' Mac Annir nan lann glas Triath Albin ni Agus ghlaoite an n' Fhiona as. This piece is is The Death of Oscar. founded on the same story which we have in the first book of Temora. that. • Albion where was born and bred. all The poem first contains almost the incidents in tlie book of Temora." The next poem Cath-cabhra. he puts the following expression thrice mouth of the hero Albin an sa d' roina I m' arach. (single combat) no chief should have afterwards been numbered in Albion. tliat falls under our observation. to them- He concludes the poem. in the course of two hundred lines. 55 Modern. it is hved before had dreamed of appropriating Fion.: : THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. selves. In one circumstance the bard . or Fingal. however. fourteenth age. and the heroes of Fion should no more be named. So little thought the author of Cath-cabhra of making Oscar his countrj'^man. of which the poems in the consist. " Had Erragon. certain he as this pretended tlie Irish Ossian was. or. with this reflection Na fagha se comhthrom nan n' abairtair n' arm. avoided the equal contest of arms. son of Annir of gleaming swords.

mo na shean-athair and the hero exclaims with joy. The grandeur of it. probable he flourished a full century before these historians. though he placed two centuries before St. Oscar. was carried by ple to a neighbouring hill. O Albin " n' ioma stuagh. promised twelve years since to the public. Patrick. and propriety of sentiment. which are now over. which commanded a pro- spect of the sea. the idle fictions of Keating and O'Flaherty. images. The author descends sometimes from the region of the sublime to low and indecent descrip- . very devoutly re- commends the soul of his grandson to his Redeemer.56 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING from Ossian. He appears. of seeing in the collection of the Irish Ossian's poems. to have been a tian than chronologerj much better Chrisis for Fion. Duan in a Gharibh Mac-Starn is another Irish its poem its high repute. however. Loingeas at' an 'S iad a tiachd le cabhair chugain. it is though he is far from being antient. A fleet appeared at a distance. It is the fleet of my grandfather. might have induced me to give a translation of had not I it some expectations. from Albion of many waves is The testimony of this bard sufficient to confute for. after he was his peo- differs materially mortaUy wounded by Cairbar. coming with !" aid to our field.

the son of Starno. voice. e. The subject of the poem is the same with that of is the epic poem of Fingal. The chose the last. In this piece CuthuUin for is used with very little cere- mony. proceeded from the poet's ignorance of etymology. afford matter for two hundred Caribh's progress in search of tolerable poetry. Caribh Mac-Starn the same with Ossian's Swaran. and throws it is out some hints against the English nation. This severe of the redoubtable CuthuUin. he is oft called the dog of Tara. excepting the celebrated dog of Tara. shall The property of this enormous lady I vi'ith not dispute him or any other. 5? no doubt the last of which the Irish ti-anslator will choose to leave in the obscurity of the original. title in the county of Meath. and his intrigue with the gigantic Emirbragal. it is true. signifies also a dog. OSSIAN. the most renowned of Irish champions. . This author. enables the poet to extend his piece to four hundred lines. or Cu poet commander. of CuthuUin. the gigan- Emir-bragal he calls the guiding star of the women as of Ireland. But he tlie speaks with great tenderness of the daughters of convent. and his victory over all heroes of Ireland. as the most noble appellation for his hero. lines i. that hero's wife. tic makes CuthuUin a native of Ireland. probable he lived in too modern a period to be intimately acquainted with the gene- alogy of CuthuUin.— THE POEMS OF tion . single His the combats with. CuthuUin.

It is needless to insist upon the it is impropriety of a French invasion of Ireland^ ficient for autlior. and France. or dashing a large stone against his tlie When tlie enemy appeared. without cutting off one of his head. suf- me to be faithful to the language of my Fion. nach gan. possible to awake him.58 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING Another Irish Ossian. Gun Agus thog Caoilte a chlach. Oscar. Oscar was the worst choice of a scout that could be made. the kings of Lochlin. sent Ca-olt. Sweden. fingers. for there were many. Ireland. as appears from their difference in language and senti- ment. was asleep. Ossian and Ca-olt consulted at last. in the days of Fion. very un- fortunately. as tlie less on the dangerous expedient. bad property of nor was it falling very often asleep on his post. for. &:c. speaks very dogmatically of Fion as Mac Comnal of sentiment. Tri mil an tulloch gun chri'. at an Irishman. about fixed method of wakening him. a n' aighai' chiean gun bhuail. Ossian. stone. happened to be threatened with an invasion by three great potentates. and Oscar. . to watch the bay in it was apprehended the enemy brave as he was. upon receiving which intelligence of the in- tended invasion. and they. this poet. he had the was to land. Little less can be said for the judgment for his delicacy of and The as a history of one of his episodes may once stand specimen of his want of both.

that Fion. Neitlier shall I much dispute the matter with him : He has my consent also to appropriate to Ireland the I shall only say. hero happened to be standing ed. Ossian. till The confederate kings advanced." Oscar rose in wratli.THE POEMS OF " Ca-olt took up the hero's head. Ton-iosal. a OSSIAN. when he men sat down. All these extraordinary heroes. This significant name is very of the singular property of the hero who bore it. found to do. notwithstanding. was so heavy and unwieldy. they came to a narrow pass. Fion. tliose celebrated Ton-iosal. and his father gravely desired vi'hich him to so to spend his rage on his enemies. it 59 against heavy stone. as the stone rebounded and rolled away. that force of an hundred again. though brave. upon his arrival. were Siol Erin na gorm lann. says the poet. it took the whole his feet tlie to set him upright on Luckily for the presei-vation of Ireland. but to divide the spoil among his soldiers. he did good purpose. and struck hill The shook for three miles. when little the enemy appear- and he gave so good an account of them. pos- sessed by the celebrated Ton-iosal. Oscar^ and Ca-olt. that he singly routed a whole wing of their army. difterent persons that they are in the from of the same narpe . The sons of Erin of blue steel.

to who lived in St. in their poet. By God. their allusions to . guage not for tlie A person more I sanguine honour of his country than am. they appear to have been the work of a very modem period.do A DISSERTATION CONCERNING . Patrick. seems have understood something of the English. Ossian. might argue. that. somewhat extraordinary that Fion. in the line quoted. a lantlien subsisting. is make them tlieir But the is. worthy of being remarked. though the stupendous first is so remarkable. The The truth rest race of Albion of many firths. who It is shaped eveiy case. from this circumstance. who lived some ages : before St. Siol Albin a n'nioma caoile. From the instances I have given. Patrick's days. Scotch poems valour of die and that. they have not been It is equally lucky with the latter. natives of Ireland. the instances given. Ossian was a native of Scotland for my countrj^men are universally allowed to have an exclusive right to the second-sight. swears like a very good Christian Air an Dia do chum gach case. that this pretendedly Irish . The pious ejaculations they contain. that authority of little consequence on either side. the reader may form a complete idea of the Irish compositions concerning the The greatest part of them make the heroes of Fion. From Fiona.

averse to a foreign yoke. After the English conquest. so each it ing bards and senachies was common no doubt had formed a system of not history. them from the same . either actually were in a state of hostility with the little conquerors. their having to do with the same enemy. The similarity of manners and language. many of tlie natives of Ireland. created a free and friendly intercourse between the Scottish and Irish nations. all OSSIAN. is so coiTupted. the traditions concerning their common origin. or at least paid regard to their government. and above all. bards begun remains now to shew how tlie Irish appropriate the Scottish Ossian and his heroes to their own country. and. them 6l to the fifteenth allusions to their Had even the authors of these pieces avoided own times. it is impossible that the pass for ancient. with the English. in the eyes of any person poems could tolerably conversant witli the Irish tongue. As the custom of retainto both. and so The idiom many words borrowed from the made considertlie English. was the natural policy of the times to reconcile the traditions of both nations together. to reduce original stock. matters how much soever fabulous. concerning their reIt spective origin. and never in cordial friendship. fix century.THE POEMS OF the manners of the times. The Scots in those ages were often in open war. that the language must have able progress in Ireland before It to poems were written. if possible.

that the ancient traditional accounts of the genuine origin of the Scots. at that time. who. The Scots of die tlieir low country. found it no difficult matter to impose their the ignorant Highland senachies. received. from several concuning circumstances. . great progress in the south of Scotland. was universally received. then fallen.62 A DISSERTATION CONCERNING arid The Saxon manners made language had. ideal. assumed to themselves the character of being the Britain. or from from Highland senachies. they. which afterwards. together witli it. by losing the language of cestors. lost. last degree of ignorance and for The Irish who. implicitly. mother nation of the Scots of certainly. into the barbarism. which bear testimony to a fact. became confined entirely to the inhabitants the Highlands. We What many particular incontestible. At for this time. an- their national traditions. These circumstances are have remaining far from being ti'aditions. of itself abundantly probable. makes the matter is. Irish refiigees. without contradiction. and the traditional history of the nation. The of ancient language. persuaded over into the Hibernian system. was established that Hibernian system of the original of tlie Scots. want of any other. the history of their country. own fictions on By flattering the list vanity of the Highlanders with their long of He- remonian kings and heroes. some ages before the conquest. had possessed a competent share of that kind of learning which then prevailed in Europe.

by the smoothness of an Irish tale. perhaps. On other subjects the bards of Ireland It have displayed a genius for poetry.. Ig- norant chronicle writers. These that afterwards much prevailed. was impossible from among the bulk of the people. Though a few ignorant senachies might be persuaded out of their it own opinion. This subject. They become more than an atonement every other species of poetry. If the poems concerning it is the Fiona should appear ridithat culous. that they must appear much to disadvantage in another language. Irish . so than tlie they are at more poems of other nations was alone that period. that tliey were monstrous in their fables. traditions tlieir own so national traditions. abound with simplicity. in matters of antiquity. to eradicate. preserved only from falling to the ground so improbable a story. and their elegies on tlie death of persons worthy or renowned. Their love sonnets. scarcely but justice to observe. strangers to the ancient lan- guage of their countrj'-. is pursued fiardier than it but a discussion of the pretensions of Irein was become some measure necessary.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. species depends so for their errors in But the beauty of these a certain curiosa felicitas much on of expression in the original. have been handed 63 down without interruption. deserves land. and a wild harmony of numbers. . the Highlanders continue totally unacquainted with the pretended Hibernian extract of the Scots nation.

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I. OL. D. . D.A CRITICAL BISSEMTATION ON THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. BY HUGH BLAIR.

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A CRITICAL BISSEIRTATION POEMS OF OSSIAN. is poems when it treats of remote and dark ages. valuable than These present what is much more the history of such transactions as a rude age can afford the history of human imagination and passion. tliey would furnish few events worth recording. every period of society. the notions and feel- They make us acquainted with . seldom very instructive. are involved in fabulous confusion .Khibited in the ancient to vis poems of nations. in every country. and though they were not. Among state the monuments remaining of Histor)^ the ancient of nationSj few are more valuable dian their or songs. The be- ginnings of society. in human manners are a curious and tlie most natural pictures of ancient manners are e. spectacle 5 But.

That state in spirit. where the beauties of nature are their chief entertainment. restrain it. that vehemence and which are the soul of poetry. Besides this merit. They meet with many strange cited . ring in their unsettled state of raised to the utmost. tliey have They promise some Irregular of the highest beauties of poetical writing. which human nature shoots wild and free. which ancient poems have with philosophical observers of another with persons of taste. the productions of un- cultivated ages to be but abounding. and diversify the transactions. and unpolished we may expect . to them new and their wonder and surprise are frequently ex- and by the sudden changes of fortune occurlife. though unfit for otlier improvements. human nature. societies. ings of our fellow-creatures in the discovering what objects they admired.OS A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON most artless ages -. and what plea- sures they pursued. their passions are tlieir passions have nothing to them : their imagination has noticing to check They display themselves to one another without . time. which enlarge indeed. certainly encourages the high exertions of fancy and passion. For many circumstances are favourable of daose times which to the poetical we call barbarous. objects. . but disguise the manners of mankind. with that enthusiasm. In the infancy of men live scattered and dispersed in the midst of solitary niral scenes. at the same fire. before those refinements of society had taken place.

in the Prone to exaggerate. its rise Figurative language . so of nature. devised by orators and poets. as in those rude ages. comparison. the want of proper and precise terms for the ideas they would express. are commonly considered as artificial modes of speech. causes concur in the infancy of society. The contrary of this is the Men never have used so many figures of style. at this day. the genius and manners of men undergo a change more favom-able to accuracy than to sprightliness and sublimity. after the world had ad- vanced to a refined truth. As the world advances. 69 and converse and act in the uncovered simfeelings are strong. besides the power of a warm imagination to suggest lively images. harangues head of his in a more bold metaphorical than a modern European would adventure to use in an Epic poem. metaphor. As their language of itself assumes a poetical turn. the understanding gains ground upon the . and those substi- tuted forms of expression. when. at the style. they describe every thing strongest colours . state. chief. obliged them to have recourse to circumloall cution. which give a poetical air to language. An American tribe.THE POEMS OF disguise plicity tlieir : OSSIAN. owes chiefly to two causes and to the want of proper Both Figures names for objects. which of course renders their speech picturesque and figurative. to the influence of imagina- tion and passion over tliese tlie form of expression. In the progress of society.

cision. child of imagination. another . The respect re- sembles the progress of age in man. and at the same time and preless from fervour and enthusiasm. Language advances from sterility to copiousness. is Hence poetry. in a qualified sense. to correctness . tiU the imagi- nation begin to flag. Fewer objects occur that are new tlie or surprising. it is true. never conversed with one another in regular numbers but even tlieir. The powers of more slowly. Style becomes more chaste progress of the world in but tliis ani- mated. less. however paradoxical such an assertion yet. Poetry has been said to be more ancient than prose and. apply themselves to trace causes of things they correct and refine one . they subdue or disguise their passions they form their exterior manners upon one uniform standard of politeness and civility. Men . Human nature is pruned according to method and rule. Men certainly . may seem.: 70 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION J ON exercised j imagination the understanding is more the imagination. As tlie ideas of our youth are remembered with a peculiar pleasure on account of their liveliness and vivacity ancient . so the most poems have often proved the greatest fa- vourites of nations. is the frequently most glowing and. animated in the first ages of society. ordinary language would. in ancient . which imagination are most vigorous and predominant in youth J those of the understanding ripen and often attain not to their maturity.

which could prompt men. or lamentations over their misfortunes. that an certain degree of extensive search would discover a all resemblance among the most ancient poetical pro- ductions. could take such hold of the imagination and memory. is. their first to utter their tlioughts in compositions of any lengtli.THE POEMS OF poetical style to posterity. in The only nide subjects state. and pronounced with a musical modulation or tone. were. formed into some kind of iiumbei-s. from whatever country they have proceeded. praises of their gods. poems . as to be preserved by oral tradition. and handed down from one race to another. tlie will stamp racter. Music or song has been found coaeval with society among the most barbarous nations. except songs or poems. a literal sense. 71 &• times. that compositions in which imagination' had the chief hand. . similar objects and passions operating upon the imaginations of men. be occasioned by climate and genius. poetry. dieir productions witli same general cha- Some diversity will. Hence we may expect antiquities of all nations. no doubt. for the reasons before assigned. OSSfAN. or of dieir ancestors commemorations of their own warlike exploits . And before writing was invented. But mankind never bear . no other compositions. to find It is poems among tlie probable too. In a similar state of manners. were such as naturally assumed the tone of . approach to and the first compositions transmitted in beyond doubt.

lias given a particular account of the Gothic . What we have been long accustomed to call the oriental vein of poetry. and their songs were termed Vyses.. yet they too. title their poets and Their poets were dis- tinguished by the of Scalders. that current of human genius and manners. because some of the earliest poetical productions have come to us from the it east. which we are about to consider.* Saxo Grammaticus. to all nations at a cer- Of this the works of Ossian seem to fiir- nish a remarkable proof. in the appendix to his Treatise de Litelatura Runica. and divert. to a proverb. as of the northern nations in order to discover whether the Gothic poetry has any resemblance to the Celtic or Galic. is is probably no more oriental than occidental j characteristical of an age rather tlian a country j and belongs. in some measure. subsequent revolutions give rise to the principal distinctions among nations . not so much of the east. for their ignorance liberal arts. tain period. as they do in the beginnings of society.72 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON Its such resembling features. or of j the Greeks and Romans. under all which name we tribes. from the earliest times. of the and noted. Our present subject leads us to investigate the an- cient poetical remains. usually comprehend the Scandinavian fierce were a people altogether and martial. had their songs. which descends originally from one spring. into channels widely separated. Though the Gotlis. a Danish * Olaus Wormius. .

which signifies the Gothic He informs us that there were no fewer than 136 difTerent kinds of measure or verse used in their Vyses and though we are accustomed to he says expressly. was never employed. number of it lines : in every line six In each distich. every stanza was an equal syllables. depending neither upon rhyme nor upon metrical feet. requisite that three words should begin with the same letter two of the corresponding words placed second line. historian 73 of considerable note. formed either of the same consonants. but chiefly upon the In number of the syllables. Glaus gives us two Latin lines constructed exactly according to the above rules of Runic verse Christus caput nostrum Coronet te bonis. ViOTHE POEMS OF OSSIAN. was . afterwards quoted. containing the ancient traditionary stories of the country. or same vowels. all these measures. informs us that very many of these songs. that among call rhyme a Gothic invention. or correspondence of final syllables. three corresponding letters of the distich. syllables of Christus and of nostrum. make the the line. The initial letters of Christus. the third. that in which the poem of Lodbrog. and the disposition of the letters. were found engraven upon rocks in poetry. called Runic. first In the in the first line. if it can be allowed that name. who flourished in the thirteenth century. second . these As an example of this measure. commonly letters. harmony. in the first line of the distich. or quantity of syllables. He analyses the structure of one of these kinds of verse. in the In each line were also required two syllables. rhyme. and Coronet. Caput. which exhibits a very singular species of is written. from Runes. but never the final ones.: .

may be found in the 6th volume of Miscellany Poem-. . who lived in tlie eighth . several of translated into Latin. It was his misfortune to into the hands of one of his the on in coronet and in bonis of syllables. An extract which Dr. Thesaurus Linguarum Septentrionalium chapter of his particularly the 23d Grammadca Anglo-Saxonica & Maeso-Gothica. Hicks's . and forced into such an imitation of the style and the measures of the Roman poets. brog was a king of Denmark. famous for his wars and victories the and at same time an eminent Scalder or fall at last poet. word for word from the original. The curious on this subject may consult likewise Dr. that one can form no judg- ment from them of the native spirit of the original. which he But his versions are plainly so paraphrastical. Frequent inversions and transpositions were per. century. make the requisite correspondence naturally follow from such. published by Mr. A is more curious monument of the true Gothic poetry preserved by Olaus It is Wormius in his book de Lite- ratura Runica. where they will find a full account of the structure of the Anglo Saxon verse. mitted in this poetry which would laborious attention to the collocation of words. Dryden. which nearly resembled the Gothic.. containing an evocation from the dead.74 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION and inserted into ON hashis History. composed by Regner Lodbrog. Hicks has given from the work of one of the Danish Scalders. entitled. They will find also some specimens both of Gothic and Saxon poetry. an Epicedium. and translated by This Lod- Olaus. the old Runic character. Hervarer Saga. or funeral song.

Pugnavimus Ensibus. subjoined the whole below. Pugnavimus Ensibns Haud post in longum tempus immensi necem Cum Ad Gotlandia accessimus serpentis Tunc impetravimus Thoram Ex hoc vocarunt me virum Quod serpentem Cuspide ictum transfodi Hirsutam braccam ob illam cedem intuli in colubrum Fcrio Incidorum btupendiorum. fought with our swords. and this situa- condemned tion to be destroyed by serpents. by OSSIAN.THE POEMS OF enemies. the exploits of his The poem is ! divided into twenty-nine stanzas. exactly as he has publish- ed it . 1*. Multum juvenis fui quando acquisivimus Orientera versus in Oreonico freto Vulnerum amnes avida Et flavipedi avi fcras Accepimus ibidem sonueninr . ']5 whom he was thrown into prison. and shall translate as much spirit as may give the English reader an idea of the and strain of this kind of poetry*. In all he solaced himself with rehearsing life. Olaus' version is We in I have many have places so obscure as to be hardly intelligible. of ten lines each and every stanza begins with these words.

3. the bay of Oreon. to " when. 4. 5.76 " A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON We have fought with our swords. in " made torrents of blood flow. Memini neminem tunc Priusquam in navibus fugisse . Alte tulimus tunc lanceas Quando viginti annos numeravimus Et celebrem laudem comparavimus passim Vicimus octo barones In oriente ante Dimini portum Aquilae impetravimus tunc sufficientem Hospitii sumptum in ilia strage Sudor decidit in vulnerum Oceano perdidit exercitus setatem. Ad sublimes galeas ferra we gorge the ravenous Dura magnam escam oceanus vulnus Omnis erat Vadavit corvus in sanguine Caesorum. towards the east. I was young. PugncE facta copia Cum Helsingianos postulavimus Ad aulam Mucro Omnis Odini in Naves direximus ostium Vistulae potuit turn erat mordere vulnus unda Terra rubefacta Calido Frendebat gladius in loricas Gladius findebat Clypeos.

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. the hard steel upon the lofty helmets of The whole ocean was one wound. ' 6. Alacre in bellum cor. " ^' 17 beast of prey. and the yellow footed bird. Exercitus abjecit clypeos Cum hasta volavit Ardua ad virorum pectora Momordit Scarforum cautes Gladius in pugna Sanguineus erat Clypeus Antequam Rafno rex caderet Fluxit ex virorum capitibus Calidus in loricas sudor. . 7. Heraudus in bello caderet The Non findit navibus Alius baro prsestantior Mare ad portum In navibus longis post ilium Sic attulit princeps passim. Habere potuerunt tum corvi Ante Indirorum insulas Sufficientem praedam dilaniandam Acquisivimus feris carnivoris Plenum prandium unico actu Difficile erat unius facere mentionem Oriente sole Spicula vidi pungere Propulerunt arcus ex se ferra. There " resounded men.

w. Tenuimus Clypeos in sanguine Cum hastam unximus Ante Boring holmum metallum < Telorum nubes disrumpunt clypeum Extrusit arcus ex se Volnir cecidit in conflictu Non erat illo rex major Cassi dispersi late per littora Ferae amplectebantur escam.7S '•' A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON When we in the blood of the slain. 10. Pugna manifeste crescebat Antequam Freyr rex caderet In Flandrorum terra Csepit cseruleus ad incidendum Sanguine illitus in auream . we lifted our spears " on high. " had numbered twenty years.iiiii Loiicam in pugna a)uJ: . 9. and eveiy where spread cm.ai«..renown.. crow waded Ahum mugierunt enses in Antequam Laneo campo Eislinus rex cecidit Processimus auro ditati Ad terram prostratorum dimicandum Gladius secuit Clypeorum Picturas in galearum conventu f'ervicum mustum ex vulneribus DifFusum per cerebrum fissum.u.

THE POEMS OF *' OSSIAN. Tenuimus magica scuta Alte in pugnae ludo Ante Hiadningum sinum ^ . stream of Diuus armorum mucro olim Virgo deploravit raatutinam lanienam Multa praeda dabatur feris. Centies centenos vidi jacere In navibus Uhi ^-Englanes vocatur Navigavimus ad pugnam Per sex dies antequam exercitus caderet Transegimus mucronum missam Id exortu solis Coactus est pro nostris gladiis Valdiofur in bello occambere. The warm Eight barons . 13. " port of Diminum and plentifully we ' eagle in that slaughter. 79 before the feasted the we overcame in the east. 11. Ruit pluvia sanguinis de gladiis Praeceps in Bardafyrde Pallidum corpus pro accipitribus Murmuravit arcus ubi mucro Acriter mordebat Loricas In conflictu Odini Pileus Galea Cucurrit arcus ad vulnus Venenate acutus conspersus sudore sanguineo. 12.

" wounds ran into " us.so A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON the ocean. we sent the Helsingians to the Hall Videre licuit turn viros Qui gladiis lacerarQnt Clypeos In gladiatorio Galeae attritee murmure virorum Erat sicut splendidam virginem In lecto juxta se coUocare. When we "^ The army fell before steered our ships into the mouth of the Vistula. . 14. Herthiofe evasit fortunatus In Australibus Orcadibus ipse VictorJEe in nostris hominibus Cogebatur in armorum nimbo super accipitrcs Rogvaldus occumbere Iste venit summus Luctus in gladiorum ludo Strenue jactabat concussor Galeae sanguinis teli. Dura venit tempestas Clypeis Cadaver cecidit in terram In Nortumbria Erat circa matutinum tempus erat fugere Hominibus necessum Ex praelio ubi acute gladii Cassidis campos mordebant Erat hoc veluti Juvenem viduam In primaria sede osculari. 15.

The 81 waters Then stream.THE POEMS OF " of Odin. G . Quilibet jacebat transvcrsim supra alium Guadcbat pugna laetus Accipiter ob gladiorum ludum -' Non fecit aquilam aut apruni Qui Irlandiam gubernavit Conventus fiebat ferri & Clypei Marstanus rexjejunis Fiebat in vedree sinu Pfceda datacorvis. did the sword bite. all OSSIAN. Verborum tenaces Haut minutim pro vidi dissecarc lupis Endili maris ensibus Erat per Hebdomadae spacium Quasi mulieres vinum apportarent. Griseam loiicam splendebant 18. " were * one wound. Rubefactse erant naves VOL. The earth was dyed red with the coat? the warm The sword rung upon 16. I. 17- Bellatorem mukum vidi cadere Mantc ante macliEeiam Virum Fiiio in mucronum incidit dissidio meo mature Gladius juxta cor Egillus fecit Agnerum spoliatum Impertertitum virum vita Sonuit lancea prope Hamdi vexilla.

and clove the bucklers in twain. 21.82 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON None fell. fled on that day. " " of mail. till among his ships Heraudus " Than him no Valde in braver baron cleaves the sea witli strepim armorum Scissa erat lorica In Scioldungorum prselio. Alte gladius mordebat Clypeos Tunc cum aurei coloris loricas H?sta fricabat . QO. 19. Pulchricomum vidi crepusculascere Virginis amatoreni circa matutinurn Et confabulationis amicum viduarum portaret Erat sicut calidum balneum Vine! vasis nympha Nos in Ilae freto Antiquam Orn rex caderet Sanguineum Clypeum vidi ruptum Hoc invertit virorum vitam. Egimus gladiorum ad caedeni Ludum in Lindis insula Cum regibus tribus laE'ari Pauci potuerunt inde Cecidit multus in rictum fcrarum Accipiter dilaniavit carnem cum luuo oceanuai Ut satur inde discederet in Hybernorum sanguis Copiose decidit per mactationis tcmpus.

83 " ships a cheerful heart did he ever bring to the " combat. Hoc numero sequum ut proceJat In conlactu gladiorum Juvenis unus contra alterum Xon Hoc retrocedat vir a viro. OSSIAN. " when the uplifted spear flew at the bi-easts of heVidere liciiit in Onlugs insula post Per secula Ibi fuit multum ad gladiorum ludos Reges proces'^eriint Rubicundum erat circa insulam Ar volans Draco vulnerum. 22. Then the host threw away their shields. fuit viri fortis r.obilitas diu Semper debet amoris amicus virginum Audax esse in fremitu armorum. Quid est viro forti morte certius Etsi ipse in armorum nimbo sit Adversus collocatus Saepe deplorat Eetatem Qui nunquam premitur Malum ferunt timidum incitare Aqu lam ad gladiorum ludum Meticulosus venit nuspiam Cordi sue Usui. 23. Hoc videtur mihi le Quod fata sequimur vera . 24.THE POEMS OF .

enafai. : Hie Filii vellent nunc omnes gladiis Aslaugs Amarum bellum excitare Si exacte scirent Calamitates nostras Quern non pauci angues Venenati me discerpunt . 26. From the heads of warriors the warm sweat Rarus transgreditur fata Parcarum Non destinavi Ellae De vitae exitu meas Cum ego sanguinem scmimortuus tegerem Et naves in aquas protrusi Passim impetravimus tum feris Escam in Scotls sinubus. 25. bloody " was the shield in battle.fl . Hoc ridere me facit semper Quod Balderi patris scamna Parata scio in aula Bibemus cerevisiam brevi Ex concavis crateribus craniorum Non gemit vir fortis contra mortem Magnifici in Odini domibus Non venio desperabundis Verbis ad Odini aulam. Scarfian rocks . ut corda raleant. . Matrem Filiis ita accepi meis ^^ j ^.84 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON The sword bit the " roes. until Rafno the king was " slain.

Habeo quinquagies Praelia sub signis facta Ex belli invitatione & semel Minime putavi hominum rubefacere Quod me r " futuris esset Juvenis didici mucronem Alius rex prsestantior Nos Asae invitabunt est Non lugenda mors. Fert animus finite Invitant me Dysae Quas ex Othini aula Othinus mihi misit Lsetus cerevisiam cum Asis In summa sede bibam Vitas elapsse sunt horse Ridens moriar. . The crows around " the Indirian islands had an ample prey. It were 27. 29. Valde inclinatur ad haereditatem Crudele stat nocumentum a ad Othini vipera Anguis inhabitat aulam cordis Speramus alterius Virgatn in Ella sanguine Filiis meis livescet rubescet Sua iri Non acres juvenes Sessionem tranquillam facient 28. 85 " streamed down their armour.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN.

and the bows throwing forth " their steel pointed arrows. This I " " " certain to the brave man than death. bewailing the unBut. and the feasting the birds of prey.86 *' A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON difficult to single out one among so many deaths. he stands always ready to op- pose ? . The timorous man allures the de* " vouring eagle to the field of battle. did the breaker of helmets throw the spear of blood." as he adds. is useless to himself. " When Rogvaldus was slain. " At the rising of tlie sun I beheld the spears piercing " the bodies of foes. for boldly." In this strain the poet continues to describe several other military exploits. tlie made for one of them A Grecian or Roman poet would have introduced virgins or nymphs of the wood. The images are not much varied : the noise of arms. fall of a young hero. the him mourned witli prey " " " all hawks of heaven. The coward. often recurring. " wherever he comes. Loud roared the swords " in the plains of Lano. in the strife of swords. He mentions is the death of two of his sons in battle describes as . though amidst the storm of swords. and the lamentation he very singular. says our Gothic for timely poet. the streaming of blood. The virgin long bewailed " the slaughter of that morning." " as lamenting a benefac- tor who had so liberally supplied them ." The poem concludes witli sentiments of deatli. tlie highest is bravery and contempt of " What more it He only regrets this life who hath never " known distress.

In tlie house of " brave man laments death. I " death awaits me from the viper's " dwells in the midst of my heart. foresee that " Ella * was to have my life in his hands. But this makes me always rejoice that I " " " in the halls of our father Balder (or Odin) know tliere are seats prepared where. ought always to be foremost in the roar of arms. A bite. after we had spread " " a repast for the beasts of prey throughout the Scottish bays. A snake hope that the name of his enemy who had condemned him . in Uiat day " when fainting I concealed my blood. that the youth shquld advance to the combat fairly matched one against another nor man retreat from man.. no I " enemies. THE POEMS OF " " " " " " " *' OSSIAN. Long was this the warrior's highest glory. led It appears to of truth. and pushed ** forth my ships into the waves . all How eagerly would the sons of Aslauga now rush to war. come not \\'idi the " " voice of despair to Odin's hall. in a short time. He who me aspires to the love of virgins. I who hath filled tlieir hearts with cruel am fast approaching to my end. that we are by tlie Fates. * This was the to death. ale out we shall be drinking of the hollow skulls of our the mighty Odin. did they " know the distress of their father. whom a multitude " of venomous serpents tear I have given to my ! " " children a mother valour. 87 esteem honourable. Seldom can any overcome the Litde did I appointment of destiny.

greatly predominant over fierceness and barbarity. me me from his ale 1 will upon a lofty seat. full of inversions. my song. &S A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON " sword of some of my sons shall yet be stained witK " the blood of Ella. and even delicacy of sentiment. barous nation. The whom Odin has sit goddesses invite sent to my death. and true heroism. as we learn from some of Olaus's notes. I must not mourn '•'Now end they " away " hall. that no king among men would be : '*' more renowned than me. When . will The goddesses of death " now soon I . We tenderness. but at the same time animated and strong the style. and the same time elevated with the highest ideas of magwe>- nanimity. It is wild. and irregular . generosity. and. a very difitself. The hours of " my life are run out.. in the original. The valiant youths will wax red " with anger. and will not sit in peace. I will smile when I die. It breathes most ferocious harsh. Fifty and " one times have I reared the standard in battle. ai. In " my youth I learned to dye the sword in blood my " hope was then." This is such poetry as we might expect from a j a barspirit. highly metaphorical and figured But when we open the works of Ossian. and drink " joyfully with the goddesses of death. call me . ferent scene presents There we find tlie fire and the enthusiasm of the most early times. combined widi an amazing degree of regularity and find art. Our hearts are melted with the softest feelings.

5 we seldom hear of their Druids and their Bards the insti- tution of which two orders. but seem to have had their most and complete establishment in Gaul. Athcnaeutn. once extended their Teu- dominion over all the west full of Europe .ter' ui5>if Eiraivaf \iyoniq. Twv ^lfJlu:fJ. Wherever the Celtae or Gauls are mentioned fail to by ancient writers. Their conformity with the Celtic namanners.cviy i(W. Baf Jo> -re Kai iuTCif. 89 it turn from the poetry of Lodbrog to thatof Ossian. members of the * T{'3£ <f>u^a from time immemorial. to a full demonstration. The Druids were their philosophers priests the Bards. proves it tions in language.THE POEMS OF is OSSIAN. as chief state. Baf^Hf lib. How is this to be accounted for ? Or by point wliat means to be reconciled with the rernbte antiquity attributed to these . .V)iTU)i li. ovo/ttai^Bo-iy. . was the capital distinc- tion of their manners and and policy. We £. That the ancient Scots were of past all Celtic original is doubt. E'lTi auToT. Af'. aj Stoi St /ix£»'i cul. iv. xai iroitirai /xcXSy.'iJai. 1. BafSoi fxey TTiuf Strabo. 5. Posidonius ap. i^i. Xav^u-i /.* JiatftfoKxwf TTOiiiTal. and religion. a great and mighty people. 1. like passing from a savage desart into a fertile iand cultivated country. The Celtae. their poets : and recorders of heroic actions of And both these orders men seem to have subsisted among them. poems ? This is a curious and requires to be illustrated. altogether distinct from the Goths and tones. 6.

of which the who it is probable were the disciples of the Druids. sodalitiis consortiis. that there flourished . qusestionibus altarum occultarumque rerum erecti sunt tales. 15. asserted the immortality of human it is soul. It deserves re- mark. Marcellinus. & subliad. after the was to sing in heroic verse. prehends that whole college or order bards.90 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON therefore imagine the Celtae to have been must not altogether a gross and rude nation. Druidse ingeniis celsiores. 9. They possessed discipline from very remote ages a formed system of and manners. . to have had a deep and Ammianus Marcellinus gives them this express testimony. whose the Druids. & despectantes humana I. he com. Pythagorean manner. ut auctoritas Pythagorae decrevit. . among them the study of the most laudable arts office it introduced by the Bards. Euhages vero scrutantes serium Inter hos. does not expressly mention the Bards.* Though Julius Caesar. according to his account. and philosophizing upon the highest the subjects. in his ac- count of Gaul.stricti mia naturas pandere conabantur. which appears lasting influence. and by who lived together in colleges or societies. pronuntiarunt anicnas immor- Amra. inchoata per Bardos & Euhages & Et Bardi quidem fortia virorum illustrium facta heroicis composita versibux cum dulcibus lyrse modulis cantitarunt. cap. undoubtedly made a part. yet plain that under the title of Druids. the Druidical * Per haec loca (speaking of Gaul) hominibus paulatim exr cultis viguere studia laudabilium doctrirtarum Druidas. that. the gaUant actions of illustrious men . .

and in the north of Scotland. almost well down bard. in Homer's time.* So strong Avas the attachment of the Celtic nations and their bards. were obliged to a great be- among commit to tlieir memory number of verses. we find them remaining under the same name. even long after the order of the Druids were extinct. 6. but sacredly handed them down by to their poetry tradition from race to race. to our own times. the bards continued to flourish not as a set of strolling songsters. and exercising the same functions as of old.. and sup- ported by a public establishment. . 91 and passed from aspired to be thence into Gaul j so that they who thorough masters of that learning were wont to resort to Britain. in Ireland. like the Greek Aoi^o* or Rhapsodists. considered as an of rank in his coui't and had lands assigned lib. It is known that in both these countries. institution first took rise in Britain. that such as were to the Druids. insomuch in this course it that some employed twenty years 5 of education and that they did not think lawfiil to record these poems in writing. We and find them. initiated He adds too. that amidst all the changes of their government and manners. * Vid. THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. Caesar de bdlo Gall. but as an order of men highly respected in the state. every Regvdus or chief had his officer own who was . according to the testimonies of Strabo and Diodorus. before the age of Augustus Caesar . and the national religion altered.

tlie the kings of Temora Celtic tribes clearly appear to have been addicted have made it in so high a degree to poetry. as may remove our wonder at meeting with a vein of higher poetical refinement among them. g2 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON Of the honour' bccul'' him. To most English readers these songs are well known by. many instances poems. which descended to his family. when " have failed.." From to all this. in Ossian's On all important occasions. senti- however.the elegant trans- . Their voice shall " be heard in other ages. is Barbarity. barba- in its Yet their love songs.* ments and tender What degrees of friendif ' rity SiSI-ely is among most the wild Laplandlers. they chiefs . sword to the bards. any where. " Cairbar feared to " " stretch his though his soul was dark. and their study fi-om the earliest so much times. which SchefFer has given us in his Lapponia. all of them excludes polished manners. I it must observe. in which the bards were held. " Loose the bards. were the ambassadors between contending their persons and were held sacaed. perfect state. than was tions at first sight to have been expected among na- whom we are accustomed to call barbarous. " they are the sons of other times. not inconsistent with generous affections." said his brotlier Cathmor. are a proof that natural tenderness of sentiment may be found in a country into which the least glimmering of science has never penetrated. a very equivocal term admits of many different forms it and degrees j and though in it is.

me valeant ad te. omnes ramos secu- prsesecarem. si suum instituunc versus alis. voluntas venti cogitationes. tot dies tuos optimcs. flc»res in ea eniterer. hos virentes ramos. than the real manners of the country. pedesque. 36G and 400. anserum deferre pedes plantaeve bonae quae . no one can_say. gs to and heroism. clarissimum emitte in lumen in paludem Orra. ship. I subjoin Scheffer's Latin version of one of them. catenaeve ferreae. Schcfferi Lappoaia. Satis expectSsti diu per tot die^. . THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. which has the appearance of being strictly literal Sol. viam rec- reperturum. a via. cap. picearum cacumina scirem viderem inter me visurum Orra palu- dem. it is probable. longse decli- Quos est si audirem omnes. dis- have sometimes appeared : and a few characters tinguished by those high qualities. In particular. alae querquedulae. roruni voluntas. and exalted. juvenum cogitationes. sequerer. tiorem Unum me consilium quod capiam. cornicum Bed mihi desunt alae. with shall lations of them in the Spectator. a via justa ita scio narem. more refined.. Quod longissime velles effugere. mutat cogitationes & scntentias. 25. ut quos arnica. mea esset omnes suscinderem frutices ibi enatos. qux durissime ligant? amor conPue- torquet caput nostrum. . Astonishing instances of them we know. quae iter Cursum nubium essem paludem Orra. might lay a foundation for a set of manners being introduced into the songs of the bards. Si enisus summa . ad te volarc possem alis. corde tuo amisi cissimo. according to the usual poetical license. oculis tuis jucundissimis. No. may possibly be found prevail in a rude state of society. tus. cito tamen te convalidiusve esse potest Quid firmius quam Sic contorti nervi. from history. love.

human mind sentations of human as the easily opens to the native repre- perfection. the praises of heroes. tliey would enter into their panegy- they would afford materials for succeeding bards . each in the celebration of his particular hero . who had all the poems and which were composed by to their predeces. Now when we consider a college who ages. would not probably be the ideas of heroism oc- curring to a barbarous people But no sooner had tlian. moderation. cultivating poetry throughout a long series of had their imaginations continually employed on the ideas of heroism 5 panegyrics. or order of men. work upon and improve they would contribute i . was to delineate the characters.. is it not natui-al to think that at length the character of a hero would appear in their songs with the highest lustre. longum vates diffiinditis aevum phras. 1. 94 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON . belloque peremptos. handed down them with care and endeavoured to outstrip those who rivalled who had gone be- fore them. first : and clemency. humanity. So Lucan : Vos quoque Laudibus in qui fortes animos. . and be adorned witli quahties tmly noble a ? Some of the qualities indeed which distinguish Fingal. sors. respect to heroism tic the great employment of the Celand sing bards. they would be seized and embraced rics to . 1 Plurima securi fudistis carmina bardi. such ideas begun to dawn on the minds of poets.

I Celtic poetry shall next consider the partipossessed. he put to death all the in- Welch This cruel policy plainly shews how great an fluence he imagined the songs of these bards to have over the minds of thepeople . Dot a little 05 For such to exalt the public manners. both war and in peace. their principal entertainment. the chief was Fame. are spoken of as familiarly known. manners nearly approaching forming even svich a to the poetical and hero as Fingal. The Welch bards were i>f the same Celtic race with the Scottish and Irish. Trenmor. and that immortality which they expected to receive from their virtues and exploits. Ancient bards are frequently alluded to. songs as these. a very considerable influence in propareal in must have had gating among them . The exploits of Trathal. In one re- markable passage. cular advantages clearly to which Ossian He appears all have lived in a period which enjoyed the benefit I just now mentioned of ti'aditionary poetry. I. Especially limited objects when we consider that among their of ambition. fomiliar to the Celtic warriors from their childliood. among the few advantages which in a savage state man could obtain over man. Ossian describes himself as Hving * When Edward bards.* Having made these remarks on the and bards in general. and the other ancestors of Fingal. conquered Wales. .THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. and of what nature he judged that influence to be. in the songs of bards. in and throughout tlieir whole life.

but a warrior also tlie . that all ideas of magnificence are comparaof dis- and that the age of Fingal was an tliat tinguished splendor in part of the world. as he shews con- us himself. before the light of the song arose. and the son of his age. in a sort rials enlightened by the memoand of former times. " came only by halves to our " " ears . magnificence in peace. we must aera re- member tive . as poetical art tlien we may easily believe. to all tlie known. which were conveyed in the 5 songs of bards and points at a period of darkness tlie ignorance which lay beyond reach of tradition. and connected. both of heroism in war. in intimate friendship with tlie otlier temporary bards. most renowned hero and prince of This formed a conjunction of circumstances. edu- cated with care. Fingal .96 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON of classical age. nificence of those times For however rude the mag- may seem to us. he had beheld the most which and that age could exhibit. and susceptible equally of strong and of emotions." Ossian himself appears to have been endowed by nature with an ex. He was not only a professed bard. tliey were dark as the tales of other times. quisite sensibility of heart prone to that tender me- lancholy which is so often an attendant on great soft genius . He relates expeditions in battles which he had been engaged > he sings of in which he had fought and overillustrious scenes come. " His words." says he. uncommonly favourable towards exalting the imagination of a poet.

to tlie " winds. or heads of clans. after a more extensive monarchy was established. men were tlieir few. their principal employchief amusements. They lived a roving indolent hunting and war. 97 he was enriched . to The two dispiriting which Longinus imputes the decline of poetry.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. so far as we can fe- gather them from his writings. was deemed so great a misfortune. the music of ments . to 5 " name on by a bard. as to disturb their ghosts in another " They wan. with the spoils of the Roman province he was en. to pursue airy deer." brated in that become worthy of being the songs of bards and " to have is. " " der in thick mists beside the reedy lake shall but never dwelling of they rise. were abundantly vourable to a poetical genius. nobled by all his victories and great actions and was in respects a personage of much higher dignity than ahy of the chieftains. and bards and " the feast of shells. The manners of Ossian's age. the four grey stones. to fly with their friends on clouds." The great object their celetheir pursued by heroic spirits. reigned over a considerable territorj^ . vices. covetousness and effeminacy. without the song." After death they expected to follow emtliose ployments of the same nature with which had amused them on VOL." To die. earth . were as yet unknown. The cares of life . unlamented even state. was " to receive " fame. and to listen to their I. H . the who lived in same countrj'.

one arise . any wonder that among the race and succession of bards. ? of eminence worthy to draw the admiration of more refined ages The compositions of Ossian are so strongly marked with characters of antiquity. next agriculture and commerce. principal method of their pro- Pasturage was not indeed wholly unkno%vn . and the curing subsistence. The first and earliest is the life this. for we j hear of dividing the herd in the case of a divorce cattle are but the allusions to herds and to . with a variety of incidents proper to tion. during which. favoured by peculiar advantages of birth and condition. praise in the in a country where poetry had been so long is it cultivated. should attain a degree in poetry. we find n<v .•»r 9S A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON mouths of bards. we plainly find ourselves in the first of these periods of society . hardly any judgment and to a very taste. fire his imagina- and to touch his heart. could hesitate in refer- them remote sera. and so liigUy honoured. of hunters . hunting was the chief employ- ment of men. not many and of agriculture. lastly. In such times as these. pasturage succeeds to as tlie ideas . that although there were no external proof to support reader of ring that antiquity. and meeting. There are four great in the stages through which men successively pass progress of society. Homer should a man who. in the course of his life. endowed with a natural happy genius. of property begin to take root . Throughout Ossian's poems.

at their first discovery. found to possess the most surprizing lakes skill and dexterity in navigating their immense and rivers. . in the book of Fingal. their feasts. repast they sat round the light of the burning their locks. and were amon^ the first ex- which distinguished them in the v/orld. Among all the northern maritime nations. But this chariot plainly only a horse litter are and the gems mentioned in the description. must have been how to traverse the waters. No arts are mentioned except in iron. first The description of Cuthullin's chariot. so necessary for guiding them by . no other than the shining stones or pebbles. Even the savage Americans were. has been objected to by some.* that of navigation and of working Every thing presents to us the most simple and unimproved manners. in the 7th book of Temora. one of the objects of their attention. At . is consistent with is the supposed poverty of . were the chief means they employed ploits for acquiring booty. night. known to be frequently found along the western coast of Scotland. Living in the VFestern islands.^' THE POEMS OF traces. and whistled through their open Whatever was beyond die necesall * Their skill in navigation need not at surprize us. is along the coast. the heroes prepared their own oak . of which we find several traces in Ossian's works particularly in the beautiful description of Cathmor's shield. or in a country vrhich first every where intersected with arms of the sea. OSSIAN. Hence that knowledge of the stars. from the earliest time.. as representing greater magnificence than that age. the wind lifted halls. navigation Piratical incursions was very early studied. pp No cities appear to have been built in the territories of Fingal.

100 saries A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON of life was known . thinly inhabited. the herds of goats and cows seeking thejj -i shepherd wandering. and the autlior has plainly imi: tated the style and manner of Ossian But he has allowed some images to appear which betray a later period of society." This representation of Ossian's times. consistent no modern the allusion drops from him . when it is MacIt is that pherson has preserved in one of his notes. compared with a poem of later date. " " lights of the stranger the children of the rein. same face of rude nature appears a countiy wholly uncultivated. them sepa- The night scenery is beautiful . and each of rately giving his description of the night. are the chief or- naments of Fingal." ." its says " is enough for me. " The all desert. Whereas all is in Ossian's 5 works. ping. and the wakeful hind rebuilding the shocks of corn which had been overturned by the tempest. with woods and deer. and recently peopled. his landscapes. corn on the plain. must strike us tlie more. the thistle with beard. For we meet with windows clapshelter. The grass of the rock. as genuine and authentic. to them only as the spoil of the Roman province " 5 the gold of the stranger 5 the the steeds of the stranger. which Mr. from beginning to end. but every where . the flower of the its heath. wherein five bards are represented as passing tlie even- ing in the house of a chief.

Of military discipline or skill. In their it is evident drums. kindles a war. than the events of period would natui'ally display. and terminated. is loi of ideas and transactions : no wider than such an age nor any greater diversity introtliat duced into characters. for the most part. rise to avenge the wrong. and the whole Homeric times. past actions with freedom. as is usual among savage nations. the loud and terrible voice of Fingal is often mentioned.xo.: 'n:} THE POEMS OF The suits circle OSSIAN. they appear to have been entirely destitute. which. from the slightest causes. have been numerous ." " ceased along the . and the battle field. but They speak of their battles. as a necessary qualification of a great like the /3. They had no expedient for giving the mili- tary alarms but striking a shield. or bagpipes. Valour and bodily strength Contentions arise. are the admired qualities. or to be omitted in the invitation to a feast. or wrestling of the two chiefs. several occasions. were not known or used. trumpets. are as often carried in the away by force .^» ay&6o? MiniT'. " the bard sung the song of peace. of Homer. The heroes show refinement of sentiment indeed on none of manners. To be affronted at a tournament. Their armies seem not to their battles were disorderly . and sing their that own praise. by a personal comafter bat. or raising a loud cry And hence general . Women tribe. boast of their exploits.

one of the most genuine and decisive characters of antiquity. The ideas of men. The language has all that figurative cast. his sphere.f met with whole collection of Ossian's works. cular. j 102 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON bears all The manner of composition the greatest antiquity. were all parti- They had reflection. as Old Testament.. No artful transitions as nor and extended connection of parts. that very are to be few general terms or in the abstract ideas. found arts of thought and of speech. the universe. partly the sterility of language and the want of proper terms. as I before shewed. have always introduced the early speech of nations it . almost never expresses himself in the abstract. but a style always rapid and vehement in narration concise even to abruptness. were conceptions beyond Even a moun- I . which. a community. and leaving several cir- cumstances to be supplied by the reader's imagination. not words to express general con- ceptions. full the marks of . accordingly. partly a glowing and undisciplined imagination. carries a remarkable resemblance to the style of the It deserves particular notice. such the poets of later times. A public. These were the consequence of more proand longer acquaintance with the Ossian. at first. ideas extended little farther than to the objects His he saw around him. we find known among larity when order and regu- of composition were more studied and . into and in several respects.

of that were unknown to our Celtic These were modes of conception too abstract for his age. All these are marks so undoubted. Terror. which whilst cal characteristi- of ancient ages.THE POEMS OF tain. to 103 a sea. OSSIAN. For the sonification is a poetical figure not very common with Ossian. they can clearly be traced. two or three centuries ago 5 as up to this period. that if there had it been any imposture this case. and by the testimony of a multitude of living witnesses. concerning tradition of these tlie uncontrovertible poems. beauty. trees. Now may this is a period when that country enjoyed no it advantages for a composition of this kind. per- able to descriptive poetry. liar to he sometimes personifies with great personifications But the which are so fami- later poets rest of Fame. Virtue. are for die most part . the storm of or the reeds of the lake of Lego. of the most early times. and flowers. A mode of expression. Inanimate objects. though only in a simile. it is the sea of Malmor. which he has occasion men- tion. particularized it is the hill of Cromla. or a lake. and some of them as too so nice and delicate. Time. both by manuscripts. must have been contrived and executed in the Highlands of Scotland. put the high antiquity of tliese poems out of quesEspecially tion. which not be supposed to have enjoyed in as great. such as winds. when we in consider. is at the same time highly favoursame reasons. class. and the bard. if .

without the imposture being is detected .in A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON a greater degree. given a very probable account. to. ideas from diis . odious to the family of Fingal established. besides. as to divest himself of the ideas his his- and manners of own age. in tlie j The druidi- cal superstition days of Ossian. without the least inconsistency . whom the ideas of Chris- 4 . and who. on the point of its final extinction and for particular rea. sons. To suppose that two or three hundred years ago. there should have arisen in that country a poet. of such exquisite geniuSj and of such deep knowledge of mankind. One work is. on the footing of its being die work of Ossian. when we well know the Highlands to have been in a state of gross ignorance and barbarity. There attended are. to be of greater weight. in his preface. possessed of at the all this genius and art. still two other circumstances if possible. whilst the Christian faitli was not yet to But had it been the work of one. a supposition that transcends bounds of credibility. against this hypodiesis. was. had same time tlie self-denial of concealing himself. and of ascribing his to own works all an antiquated bard. and to give us a just and natural picture of a State of society ancienter by a thousand years one who could siipport this counterfeited antiquity through such a large collection of poems. and of tory. a tliousand years before. the total absence of religious for ^\4lich the translator has.} lOi not.

I pro- ceed to make some remarks upon their general spirit and strain. the most improbable this and the silence on head. tenderness and sublimity. amounts to a demonstration that the author lived before any of the present great clans were formed or known. The two great characteristics of Ossian's It breathes poetry are. nothing of the gay and chearful kind nity an air of solem- and seriousness is diffused over the whole.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. tianity 105 were familiar from his infancy . Assuming the it then. That a Highland bard in forging a work relating to the antiquities of his country. of all suppositions that can . should have inserted no circumstance which pointed out the rise of his own its clan. the great clans or fa- which are now established in the Highlands. that poems now vinder consideration are genuine vene- rable monuments of very remote antiquity. them would have apis. as we well may. and jealousy for its honour. and who had some superadded to them also the bigoted superstition of a dark age and country . Ossian . The other circumstance to all the entire silence which reigns with respect milies. for certain. which ascertained is. that there no passion by which a native Highlander more distin- guished. than by attachment to his clan. or increased glory. it is impossible but in passage or other. is The origin of these several clans : known is to be very is ancient And it is as well known. the traces of peared. be formed. . its antiquity.

torrent i-ushing through a solitary valley the scattered oaks. . and friendships. The Poetry of the Heart. like modern poets. The events recorded are all serious and grave. One key note the end is j is struck at the beginning. with the bulk of readers. in the high region of the grand He moves perpetually and the pathetic. wild and romantic. deserves to be styled. all produce a solemn attention in it the mind. His poetry. It is a heart penetrated with noble sentiments. and kindles the fancy . and with sublime and tender passions glows. Ossian did not write. among whom he had j to recal the aflfecting incidents of his life to dwell till. the scenery throughout. to think of the heroes His delight was flourished . to please readers and critics. heatli The extended by the tlie sea shore . and dresses out gay trifles to please the fancy. and loves. for great and extraordinary We find not in Ossian... an imagination that sports itself. . more perhaps than daat of any other writer. 106 is A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON who light perhaps the only poet never relaxes. and prepare events. the mountain shaded with mist . or lets himself down into the and amusing strain which I readily admit to be no small disadvantage to him. and supported to is nor any ornament introduced. and the tombs of warriors over- grown with moss . and pours itself forth. He sung from the love of poetry and song. but what tlie perfectly concordant with general tone or melody. a heart that is a heart that full. upon his past wars.


THE POEMS OF
as he expresses
it

OSSIAN.
comes

107
a voice to

himself,

"

there
is

" Ossian and awakes

his soul. It
roll

the voice of years

"

that are

gone

;

they

before

me

with

all

their

''deeds 5" and under this true poetic inspiration,
giving vent to his genius, no

wonder we should

so

often hear, and acknowledge in his strains, the powerful

and ever-pleasing voice of nature.
Arte, natura potentior omni.

Est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus
It is

illo.

necessary Jiere to observe, that the beauties of

Ossian's writings cannot be felt

by those who have
His

given them only a single or a hasty perusal.

manner

is

so different

from
;

tliat

of the poets, to whom
is

we
so

are

most accustomed

his style
;

so concise, and

much crowded with imagery
is

the

mind

is

kept at

such a stretch in accompanying the author; that an
ordinary reader
at first apt to

be dazzled and

fati-

gued, rather than pleased.
taken

His poems require to be
be frequently reviewed
;

up

at intervals,
it is

and

to

and then

impossible but his beauties

must open
Those

to eveiy reader

who

is

capable of sensibility.
it,

w^ho have the highest degree of
the most.

will relish

them

As Homer

is,

of

all

the great poets, the one whose

manner, and whose times come the nearest to Ossian's,

we

are naturally led to run a parallel in

some

instances

between the Greek and the Celtic bard.

For though

108

A CRmCAL DISSERTATION ON
not from the age of the world, but from the state

Homer lived more than a thousand years before Ossian^
it is

of society, that

we

are to judge of resembling times.

The Greek
riority.

has, in several points, a manifest supe-

He

introduces a greater variety of incidents j
ideas
;

he possesses a larger compass of
versity in his characters
;

has more di-

and a
It

much

deeper know-

ledge of human nature.

was not

to be expected,

that in any of these particulars, Ossian could equal

Homer. For Homer
was much

lived in a country
j

where

society

farther advanced
J

he had beheld
3

many
insti-

more
tuted

objects
;

cities built

and flourishing

laws

order, discipline,

and

arts

begun.

His

field
3

of observation was
his

much

larger

and more splendid
5

knowledge, of course, more extensive
it

his

mind
But
if

also,

shall

be granted, more penetrating.

Ossian' s ideas and objects be less diversified than those

of Homer, they are
for poetry
:

all,

however, of the kind

fittest

The

bravery and generosity of heroes,

the tenderness of lovers, the attachments of firiends,
parents,

and children.

In a rude age and countrj',
tlie

though the events that happen be few,
pated mind broods oAer them more
imagination, and
fire
5

undissi-

tliey sti'ike

the'

the passions in a higher degree 5
to

and of consequence become happier materials
poetical genius, than the

a

same events when scattered

through the wide
tivated
life.

circle

of more varied action, and cul-

;.

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN.
Homer
Ossian.
is

IO9

a

more cheerful and
discern in

sprightly poet than

You

him

all

the

Greek

vivacity

whereas Ossian uniformly maintains the gravity and
solemnity of a Celtic hero.

This too

is

in a great

measm'e

to

be accounted for from the different situa-

tions in vi^hich they lived, partly personal,

and partly and

national.

Ossian had survived
to

all

his friends,

was disposed
life.

melancholy by the incidents of his
tliis,

But besides

cheerfulness
to

is

one of the many

blessings

which we owe
is

formed

society.

The

soli-

tary wild state

always a serious

one.

Bating

the sudden and violent bursts of mirtli, which some-

times break forth at

tlieir

dances and feasts ; the savage
all travellers

American

tribes ha\'e

been noted by

for

their gravity

and

taciturnity.

Somewhat of this
in Ossian.
;

taci-

turnity

may be
is

also

remarked

On
is

all

oc-

casions he

frugal of his

words

and never gives you
just suffi-

more of an image
cient to place
It
is it

or a description, than

before you in one clear point of view

a blaze of lightning,
is

which

flashes

and vanishes.
;

Homer

more extended

in his descriptions

and

fills

them up with

a greater variety of circumstances.
;

Both

the poets are dramatic

that

is,

they introduce their

personages frequently speaking before us.
is

But Ossian
is

concise and rapid in his speeches, as he

in every

other thing.
also

Homer, with

the

Greek

vivacity,

had

some portion of the Greek loquacity. His speeches
;

indeed are highly characteristical

and

to

them we

no A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON
are

much

indebted for that admirable display he has

given of

human

nature.
J

Yet

if

he be tedious any

where,

it is

in these

someof them trifling; and some
Both poets are emi-

of tliem plainly unseasonable.

nently sublime ; but a difference
the species of their sublimity.

may be remarked
fire

in
is

Homer's sublimity
3

accompanied with more impetuosity and

Ossian's

with more of a solemn and awfiil grandeur.
hurries

Homer

you along

5

Ossian elevates, and fixes you in

astonishment.
battles
;

Homer is most

sublime in actions and

Ossian, in description and sentiment.

In
has

the pathetic.

Homer, when he chuses
;

to exert

it,

great

power

but Ossian exerts that power

much
more

oftener, and has the character of tenderness far

deeply imprinted on his works.
ter

No

poet

how

to seize

and melt the

heart.

knew betWith regard to
must
clearly

dignity of sentiment, the pre-eminence

be given to Ossian,

This

is

indeed a surprising cir-

cumstance, that in point of humanity, magnanimity,
virtuous feelings of every kind, our rude Celtic bard

should be distinguished to such a degree, that not
only the heroes of
polite

1

Homer, but even those of

the

and refined

Virgil, are left far behind

by those

of Ossian.
After these general observations on the genius and
spirit

of our author,

I

now

proceed to a nearer view,
his

and more accurate examination of
Fingal
is

works

:

and as
it

the

first

great

poem

in this collection,

is

;

THE POEMS OF
proper to begin with
it.

OSSIAN.
title

Hi
of an epic
little

To

refuse the

poem

to Fingal, because

it is

not, in every

par-

ticular, exactly

conformable to the practice of Homer

and Virgil, were the mere squeamishness and pedantry

of criticism.
rules,
sites
it

Examined even according
found to have
all
3

to Aristotle's

will be

the essential requito

of a true and regular epic

and

have several

of them in so high a degree, as at

first

view to

raise

our astonishment on finding Ossian's composition so
agreeable to rules of which he

was

entirely ignorant.

But our astonishment

will cease,

when we
rules.

consider

from what source Aristotle drew those

Homer

knew no more
story,

of die laws of criticism than Ossian

but guided by nature, he composed in verse a regular

founded on heroic actions, which
Aristotle, with great sagacity

all

posterity

admired.

and penetra-

tion, traced the causes

of

this general admiration.

He
in

observed what

it

was

in

Homer's composition, and
which gave
it

the conduct of his story,
please
;

such power to

from

this observation

he deduced the rules

which poets ought
please like

to follow,
j

who would

write and

Homer

and to a composition formed ac-

cording to such rules, he gave the

name of an
arose.

epic

poem.

Hence

his

whole system

Aristotle

studied nature in

Homer,

Homer and
wonder
that

Ossian both

wrote from nature.

No

among

all

the three, there should be such agreement
formity.

and con-

1

112

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON
rules delivered
:

The fundamental
which
is

by

Aristotle contlie

cerning an epic poem, are these

That

action

the ground-work of the poem, should be one,
;

complete, and great

that
it

it

should be feigned, not

merely historical 3 that

should be enlivened with

characters and manners, and heightened
vellous.

by the mar-

But before entering on any of
haps be asked, what
cording to
is

tliese,

it
?

may

per-

the mofal of Fingal

For, ac-

M.

Bossu, an epic

poem

is

no

otlier

than

an allegory contrived to

illustrate

some moral

tnith.

The

poet, says this critic,

must begin

witli fixing

on

some maxim,
culcate

or instruction,

which he intends

to in-

on mankind.

He

next forms a fable, like
a

oneof^sop's, wholly with
and having Uius
settled

view to the moral j

and arranged his plan, he then

looks into traditionary history for names and incidents,
to give his fable

some

air

of probabilit}\

Never did a

more
a

frigid, pedantic notion,

enter into the
tliat

mind of
he

critic.

We
lay

may
down

safely pronounce,

should compose an epic should
fore
first

poem

after this

manner,

who who

a moral and contrive a plan, behis personages

he had thought of

and

actors,

might deliver indeed veiy sound

instruction,

but
least

would
which
work,

find

few

readers.

There cannot be the

doubt that the
fires his
is

first

object

which

strikes

an epic poet,
idea

genius, and gives

him any
is

of

his

tlie

action or subject he

to

celebrate.

; ;

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN.
Hardly
is

1

13

there any tale, any subject a poet can chuse

for such a

work, but will afford some general moral

instruction.

An

epic
all

poem

is

by

its

nature one of the

most moral of
moral tendency

poetical compositions.

But

its

is

by no means

to be limited to

some

common-place maxim, which may be gathered from
the story.
actions,
It arises

from the admiration of heroic
is

which such a composition
;

peculiarly cal-

culated to produce

from

tlie

virtuous emotions

which
it

the characters and incidents raise, whilst

we

read

from the happy impression which
rately, as

all

the parts sepa-

well as the whole taken together, leave

upon the mind.

However,

if

a general moral be

still

insisted on, Fingal obviously furnishes one,
rior to that of

not infe-

any other poet,

viz.

That Wisdom and
:

Bravery always triumph over brutal force
nobler
still
is
;

or another

That the most complete victoiy over an

enemy

obtained by that moderation and generosity
into a friend.
all

which convert him

The
strictly

unity of the Epic action, which, of
is

Arisis

totle's rules,

the chief and most material,
it

so

preserved in Fingal, that
It
is

must be perceived

by every reader.

a

more complete unity than
censures as imperfect

what

arises

from relating the actions of one man,
critic justly

which the Greek
it is

the unity of one enterprise, the deliverance of

Ireland

from

tlie

invasion of Swaran

:

An

enterprise

which has surely the
VOL.
I.

full heroic dignity.
I

All the in-

114

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON
-,

cidents recorded bear a constant reference to one end

no double

plot

is
:

carried

on

;

but the parts unite into
is

a regular whole

and

as the action

one and great,

so

it is

an entire or complete action.

For

we

find, as

the cntic farther requires, a beginning, a middle, and

an end ; a Nodus, or
ties

inti'igue in tlie

poem

;

difficul-

occurring through CuthuUin's rashness and bad
:

success

those difficulties gradually surmounted

j

and
sion

at last the

work conducted

to that

happy concluUnity
is

which

is

held essential to epic poetry.

indeed observed with greater exactness in Fingal, than
in almost
is

any other epic composition.

For not only

unity of subject maintained, but that of time and

place also.

The autumn
j

is

clearly pointed out as the
to

season of the action

and from beginning

end

tlie

scene
tlie

is

never shifted from the heath of Lena, along

sea shore. The duration of tlie action in Fingal, much shorter than in the Iliad or iEneid, but sure there may be shorter as well as longer heroic poems ;
is

and

if the authority

of Aristotle be also required for
tlie

tills,

he says expressly that

epic composition

is

indefinite as to the time

of its duration.

Accordingly

the action of the Iliad lasts only forty-seven days, whilst that of the .^neid
a year.
is

continued for more than

Throughout the whole of Fingal, there reigns
grandeur of sentiment,
style, this

thai

and imagery, which

i

ought ever to distinguish

high species of poetry,

;

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN.
The
story
is

]

15

conducted with no small

art.

The poet
tlie

goes not back to a tedious recital of the beginning

of the war with Swaran ; but hastening to
action,

main

he

falls

in exactly,

by a most happy coinci-

dence of thought, with the rule of Horace.

Semper ad eventum

festinat,

&

in

medias

res,

Non

secus ac notas, auditorem rapit

Nee gemino bellum Trojanum

auditur ab ovo.

De

Arte Poet.

He invokes

no muse,

for

he acknowledged none

;

but his occasional addresses to Malvina, have a finer
effect than the invocation of

any muse.
his

He
;

sets

out

with no formal proposition of

subject

but the

subject naturally and easily unfolds itself j the

poem
him

opening in an animated manner with the situation of

CuthuUin, and the

arrival

of a scout
is

who

informs

of Swaran's landing.

Mention

presently

made of

Fingal, and of the expected assistance from the ships

of the lonely
subject.

isle,

in order to give fiarther light to the

For the poet often shows his address in grais

dually preparing us for the events he

to introduce

and

in particular the preparation for the

appearance of

Fingal, the previous expectations that are raised,

and

the extreme magnificence fully answering these expectations, with
to us, are all

which the hero

is

at length presented
skilful

worked up with such

conduct

as

would do honour to any poet of the most refined

'

11(5

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON
Homer's
shews no
art in

times.

magnifying the character of
Ossian cer-

Achilles has been universally admired.
tainly
less art in

aggrandizing Fingal.

No-

thing could be

more happily imagined

for this purpose

than the whole management of the

last battle,

wherein

Gaul, the son of Morni, had besought Fingal to retircj

and

to leave to

him and

his other chiefs the

honoui" of the day.

The
}

generosity of the king in

agreeing to this proposal
retreats to the hill,

the majesty with which he

from whence he was to behold the
his bards,

engagement, attended by
lightning of his sword
;

and waving the

his perceiving the chiefs over-

powered by numbers, but from unwillingness
prive

to dein

them of

the glory of the victory
first

by coming

person to their assistance,
to animate their courage
;

sending Ullin, the bard,
last,

and, at

when

tlie

dan-'

ger becomes more pressing, his rising in his might,

and interposing,
ful fate

like a divinity, to decide the doubt-'
;

of the day

are

all

circumstances contrived

with so
to have

much
story

art as plainly discover the Celtic bards in heroic poetry.
is

been not unpractised

The
itself as

which

is

the foundation of the Iliad

in

simple as

tlaat

of Fingal.

A

quarrel arises

between Achilles and

Agamemnon

concerning a fe-

male
to

slave

5

on which Achilles, apprehending himself
withdraws his assistance from the
rest of

be

injui'ed,

the Greeks.

The Greeks
to

fall

into great distress,

and

beseech

him

be reconciled to them.

He

refuses to

than is to be met witli. J The for some time dubij ous but in the end he conquers Swaran and the remembrance of Swaran's being the brother of Agandecca. and desponds. and tliis shewn a compass of invention superior to that of the other poet. who reigned in the opposite coast Fingal's arrival. to encounter Swaran. before the close. in any other . perhaps. for the guardian of young king. so much uniformity in that there are few readers who. and upon his being slain. his incidents. II7 them and in person. however. of martial. makes him dismiss him honourably. has it is true. battle is Fingal arrives in conjuncture. He is feated this he retreats . ried But before he is hurde- by rash counsel . goes forth to revenge kills his death. are less diversified in kind than those of Ossian. there his subjects. who had once much in saved his life. War and bloodshed reign throughall out tlie Iliad 5 and notwithstanding is the fertility of Homer's invention. The subject of Fingal : this : Swaran comes the to invade Ireland CuthuUin. story with a Homer. but sends his friend Patro- clus . has filled up his greater variety of particulars than Ossian . is Hector.THE POEMS OF fight for OSSIAN. scenes. that But it must not be though Homer be more circumstantial. fijrgotten. There a finer mixture of war and heroism. Whereas the mind is is relieved by a more agreeable with diversity. are not tired of perpetual fighting. in Ossian. had applied assistance to Fingal. of Scotland. tender with love and friendship.

which known have in been the great entertairmient of the Celtic heroes war. Accordingly the poet. with as much pro- as if Aristode himself had directed the plan. priety. whilst they vary die scene. except in an episode. which though rest . they preserve a sufficient connection with the main subject. as well as in peace. have great propriety to that . by the fit- ness and propriety of their introduction. if you except the episode of Duin the first chommar and Morna. could be regularly introduced no where. conclusion of the is poem is strictly according to and eveiy^ way noble and pleasing. as natural. A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON The episodes too. more unartful than any of the they have always some particular relation is to the actor who interested.. and proper age and countrj' are : consistto ing of the songs of bards. and the general action. has contrived an episode for this purpose in the song of Carril. particularly the honourable dismission of Swaran at the end . sooth the felicity that crowns the manner. mind in a very agreeable . it was necessary storj'. the consolation of CuthuUin. at the beginning of the third book. influences some circumstances of the poem. or to the events which are going on and. These songs are not intro- duced at random . is book. beautifvd. The rule . The re- conciliation of the contending heroes. As Fingal's love to Agandecca. that we should as it be let into this part of the hero's But it lay without die compass of the present action. lis poet.

beautifiil. and useful explains it.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. would For such exclusion would both and. that it should be feigned. mere annalist of but to embellish truth with fictions . and " like a ridge of Spread the sail." 5 So much for the unit)'- and general conduct of the epic action in Fingal. as he himself like painters. perfect quiet and repose. torical. he must not be understood so all as if he meant to exclude foundation in truth. to who facts is known have founded his Iliad on historical concern- ing the all war of Troy. not hisstrictly. to which critics require as the proper termination of tlie epic work. . which was famous throughout Aristotle Greece. II9 and form that passage from agitation and trouble. Fingal arose on the heath shook first his glittering spear in his hand. subjects which have any more. but exhibit their objects more grand and beautiful P . '• in song. He moved we followed said the " towards the plains of Lena fire. Witli regard to that property of the subject which Aristotle requires. to copy nature. We rose on the wave with songs and " rushed with joy through the foam of the ocean. " Thus they and " passed the night " morning with joy. probable. king 'ofMon'en. be contrary to the practice of Homer. who preserve a likeness. means no more than that it is the business of a poet not to be a facts. and catch the winds that pour from "Lena. what is be unreasonable in itself. and brought back the .

That Ossian has followed and building upon true history. he lived to an trans- extreme old age that he relates what had been acted in another country. yet when we . the foun- dation which those facts and characters had in truth. may at first view appear unreflect that favourable in this respect. At the same time. let imagination be ever so strong. on the mind his far beyond any and no man. It considered as an advantage of the epic subject to be taken from a period so distant. at the distance of years. I believe. Though Ossian's subject may give licence to fable.120 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION in reality. paints which he has been as any scene so naturally one which he has seen . when dition loose. or draws any characters in such strong colours as those is which he has personally known. ON suffi- than they are this course. has it ciently adorned witli poetical fiction for aggrandizing his characters and facts. and accuracy of any kind little at*| . must be considered no small advantage to his work. relates as those in any events so feelingly interested . many men who had been we shall find the In so rude an tra- objection in a great measure obviated. be ques- tioned by most readers. age. as by being involved in the darkness of tradition. pression For truth makes an imfiction . as being taken from his own times. when no was written records were known. will not. and the share which the poet himself had actions in the transas which he records. and after all that race of the actors were gone off the stage .

like Homer's. tlie modest and cumspect Connal. but their bravery. overbearing. rash. The an epic natural representation of human characters in : poem is higlily essential to its merit and in respect of this there can be celling all tlie heroic poets no doubt of Homer's exhave ever wrote. easily ripened into the marvellous in the next. Calmar hurries Cuthullin into action sees the by his and when he bad effect of his counsels. who to But though Ossian be article.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. uniformity of character prevails in Fingal tlie . those of Homer's too. the principal characters are not only clearly distinguished. tended to. attends Cuthullin to his retreat. but sometimes artfully contrastOssian's heroes like ed. all in this if he will be found be equal at not superior. the prudent. and high-spirited Swaran admirably contrasted with the calm. another Ulysses. like Connal. of different kinds. so as to illustrate each other. and comforts him under his misfortune. the sedate. the proud. and generous Fingal. is finely opposed to the presump- tuous. much inferior to Homer least. which the simple occurrences of his times could be expected to furnish. For incir- stance. he will not survive the disgrace. but gallant and generous Calmar. on contrary. 121 what was great and heroic in one genera- tion. is The fierce. are. No dead but. the moderate. all brave is . and has indeed given the dis- play of human nature. to Virgil. counsels. The character of Oscar is a . temerity.

compared with whom. are the strokes of a masterly pencil . the strokes are few 5 but it is the hand of nature. as Cuthullin above die rest. and attracts the heart. j favourite The amiable warmth of the young warrior his eager im- petuosity in the day of action . which we always contemplate is Cuthullin hero of the highest class daring. all in one. his passion for fame his submission to his father . should be only . . in the character and description of : Fingal. work a most respectable and venerable witli pleasure. the hero. Ossian triumphs almost unrivalled for we may boldly defy all antiquity to shew us any hero several equal to Fingal. the old man. and the bard. an inferior personage and who should rises rise as far above him. great and amiable qualities but Hector is a secondary personage in the Iliad. We become raised for attached to his interest. 3 We see him only occasionally we know much les» of him than we do of Fingal . magnanimous.. 122 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON one throughout the whole poems. not the hero of the work. and are deeply distress 5 touched with his and after the admiration him in the first part of the poem. and exquisitely sensible to honour. Homer's Hector possesses . his tenderness for Mal- vina. who not only in this . even the great Cuthullin. Here indeed. presents to us through the whole figure. Ossian's own a character. it is a strong proof of Ossian's masterly genius that he durst adventure to produce to us another hero.

and throughout the rest presented in full all that variety of which give the display of a character. his friends." he means not some have misre- presented him. of Ossian's works. lights. He is merciful to his foes 3 f full of affection to his chil* Iliad xvi. by humanity and generosity. And though Hector faithftdly discharges his duty to is his country. is 123 Epic Poem.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. to " pursue the rest of " that Swaran is taken pri- Lochlin. He He is not only unconquerable in war. no vessel may hereafter bound on the dark assuredly. concur almost that can ermoble the qualities human nature . same savage which prevails among all the Homeric hehim. with a degree of the ferocity. and his family. sons. but he makes his people happy days of peace. that AchiUes . shall be devoured by the Vultmes. over the heath of Lena. that can either tlie make us admire the hero. to order a general slaughter of the foes. 830. as rolling waves " of Inistore . after f When he commands his soner. however. but in Temora. and to # . or love man.* Whereas all in the character of Fingal. and deprived of funeral honours. He is known by 5" the epithet of " Fingal of the mildest look and distinguished. and lies when he in the agony of death. stripped naked. For we find him insulting over the fallen Patelling troclus. II. roes. with the most cruel taents. xvii. 127. on eveiy occasion. he tinc- tured. cannot help him now and that in a short time his body. is by his wisdom in the truly the father of his people.

. So " Trenmor lived such Trathal was and such has . to out any against him or his allies. . # 1 ." to the weak rested behind the lightning of my These were the maxims of true heroism. to those who ask thine aid. Be thou a stream of many tides " against the foes of tliy people but like the gale that " moves the grass. his enemies tremble at name . human wise prevent their saving themselves by flight. is to say. which he formed His fame is repre- sented as every where spread the greatest heroes acknowledge his his superiority . and the highest encomium that can be be- stowed on one whom was the poet would most exalt. than to draw a perfect it character in such a manner.. My arm was the support of the in- " jured " steel. by a iSfiore total rout of enemy. 124 dren . but spare the " feeble hand. what is is not commonly attended that there no part of poeti- cal execution more difficult. . A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON full of concern about his friends first . such a character as I must observe. as to render distinct and affecting to the mind. . fit that they might adventure no fleet for tTie future. " Fingal been. general. without the ut- most tenderness. he like a commands his the chiefs to render the victory complete. his love. his grandson. that his soul like the soul of Fingal To do justice to the poet's merit." in O Oscar bend the strong arms . to. and never mentions Agandecca. distressed *' . He is the universal protector of the " None ! ever went sad from Fingal. in supporting this. Some strokes of but.

such . To this has much as contributed. iEneas. 125 imperfection and frailty. is nevertheless a any of the real common human . His Fingal. as the object We know His how much sonage. though exliibited without failings. realize to itself. us a sort of vague undistinguishable chaof. our astonishment. peculiar which paint him to tlie fancy in a more a gieat to that age. he instructs his . but whom we may pretend to heartily love. . human more vanity and the prospect of at least There is art. has successfully executed. that the poet has represented this him an old man . to whom failed no one can in. He is surrounded with his family. they. are what usually give us the and the most sensible impression of a character as because they present to us a man. he is narrative of he is venerable with the grey locks of age . we have seen they recal known features of human nature. children in the principles of virtue his past exploits .THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. and describe a set before faultless hero. is perfect hero. more felicity. an unanimated. or racter. When poets attempt to go beyond this range. most clear view. for the most part. like an old man. in . man a character which touches and it interests every reader. Virgil has failed in this particular. distinct light. But what Virgil has Ossian. insipid peradmire. such as the imagination cannot lay hold of affection. and by has gained the advantage of throwing around him many circumstances. he is frequently disposed to moralize. on death.

For youth and Ufe. The marvellous. object is And when any it in a situation that admits to be rendered cirfull particular. which most critics it hold to be an essential part. from which probability can make a lasting or deep altogetlier banished. old age. thing is more difficult. and aftbrds room for striking and sublime description. capable of lights. No wonthat notlie der. agents are often introduced into epic poetry forming what is called the machinery of it . impression. and it to be cloathed with a variety of cumstances. It gratifies the imagination.. is No work. Human actions and manners. are always . into a fantastic. visionary region and loses that weight and dignity which should reign in epic poetry. 126 this. he spreads over an appearance of ro- mance and from this childish fiction . must be admitted. therefore. that all poets should have a strong propensity towards it. divine or supernatural . If a poet sacrifice and his work with extravagant superit natural scenes. Besides human personages. and has fewer cumstances peculiar to the idea of it. he transports his readers world. But I must observe. has always a great charm for the bulk of readers. A CRITICAL than DISSEFxTATlON human ON may at first be imagined. tlie fill than to adjust properly marvellous with probability. always stands out more clear and in poetical description. probable. are the two states of being placed in the most picturesque Middle cir- age is more general and vague .

because Uiey gave his poems that solemn and marvellous cast. therefore. as some critics have done. in like full man- found the : tales of his countiy of ghosts and j spirits It is likely he believed tliem himself and he introduced them. He has indeed followed it is same course with Homer. always to have some foundation in popular poet tlie is A by no means at liberty to invent what system of avail marvellous he pleases: faitli. be- cause tliey ner. so as to give an air of probability to events which are most conti'ary to tlie common course of nature. which suited his genius. All machinery. that Homer's in it mythology was invented by him. amused the fancy. In tliese respects. Be- sides being temperately employed. He found the traditionary stories on which he built his Iliad. mingled witli popular legends concerning the . This was the only machinery he could employ with . consequence of profound reflections on the benefit poetry.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. a 127 the most interesting objects which can be presented to human mind. to For perfectly absuid imagine. Ossian appears to me to have tlie been remarkably happy. or ob- them under a cloud of incredible fictions. intervention of the gods and he adopted these. he must himself either of tlie religious or the superstitious cre- dulity of the country wherein he lives . Ossian. would yield to Homer was no such refining genius. machinery ought belief. is faulty which withdraws these too much from view scures .

are represented not as purely immaterial. fields *' The ghosts of departed bards continue to The ghosts of departed heroes frequent the of their former fame. which agreed with belief of the country. independent of subserviency to epic composition. than most other kinds of poetical . which is can be visible or feeble . Their songs to the " are of other worlds. invisible at pleasure is . airy' They . " They rest together in their caves. their voice their arm weak tlian j but they are endowed with knowledge more state. In a separate they retain tlie same dispositions ride which tlie ani. ma- and because it served to diversify tlie scene. which the great design of machiner}\ is As Ossian's mythology peculiar to himself. It common it was happy . They come sometimes C> . because it had less of the incredible. for the spirits. as may be proper to its make some obpart. servations it figure in his other poems. consonantly to the notions of every rude age. but as thin airy forms. and to heighten the is subject by an awful grandeur. It turns. mated them in this life. because did not interfere in the least with the proper display of human chinery characters and actions . on it.128 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON it propriety J because was tlie only intervention of tlie supernatural beings. human. and talk of mortal men. sing. and makes a considerable well as in Fingal. most on the appearances of departed These. on wind they bend their bows and pursue deer formed of clouds.

vanishes precisely like cry." ghost. emitting a like shrill. in Crugal's soul. s But though Homer's and Ossian ghosts were of the ideas concerning same nature. in the beginning of the second book of Fingal. one of Ossian's. form and dress were . Most poets would have contented themselves with telling us. human mind " harrow up the vie ." 129 All us cerning spirits. in particular. mark of the wound by which he VOL. same. described may with any appearance of this by any epic or tragic poet whatever. after appearing to Achilles. and Ossian describes ghosts with all the particularity of one who had upon it. that his in every particular. feeble and melting away smoke. as much Uie same set of ideas. only his face more pale and sad and that he bore the fell. fiiU whose imagination was left of the impression they had awfiil He calls up those and tremendous ideas which the Simulacra modis pallentia miris. But Ossian sets K .: THE POEMS OF " ear of rest. seen and conversed with them. are fitted to raise in the Shakespeare's style. and in the twenty-third book of the the ghost of Patroclus. tlaat he resembled. where Ulysses the regions of the dead Iliad. I. we cannot but obghosts are serve. the tlae living Crugal . conwe find in the eleventh book of the visits Odyssey. feeble voice. and which. kind. tliat Ossian's drawn with much stronger and livelier colours than those of Homer. and raise their this presents to OSSIAN.

which suits the subject. his breast. " Dim. dis- by all those features. My ghost. —^The Dark wound of stars dim-twinkled through his like the " form and his voice was sound of a distant " stream. Faintly he raised his feeble voice. The sons of green Erin shall Remove . upon the beam he that lately fell " the hand of Swaran. . '' the sands of Ullin. and the full speech put into his mouth. " and in tears. The which he is afterwards placed. which a strong to a ghost. The circumstance of the stars being beis " dim-twinkling through his form. O " Cennal is on my native hills but my corse is on — ! . or find his lone steps in the heath. he stood and stretched his pale hand " over the hero. striving in the battle of heroes. astonished imagination would give fire " A by " dark-red stream of " Crugal sat comes down from the . " like the gale of the reedy Lego. . am ''light as the blast of and I move ! like the " shadow of mist. His " robes are of the clouds of the His eyes are the two decaying flames. face is " His " " like like the beam of the setting hill. son of Colgar It I see the " dark cloud of death. hill.130 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON spirit before our eyes a tinguished from the invisible world. are of that solemn and awful sublimity. hovers over the plains of fall. Thou Cromla shalt never talk with I " Crugal." ." held. " Lena. Connal. is moon. wondeiim- fully picturesque and conveys the most lively pression of his thin and attitude in shadowy substance.

supported his airy " limbs. like a " mist that melts on the sunny hill. " Oscar slowly ascends tlie The meteors " " " " " of night set on torrent faintly heath before him. The half-enlightened hill.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. Feeble voices are heard Oscar drew his sword. Like the darkened moon " he retired in the midst of the whistling blast. 131 " from the field of ghosts. His sword is a green meteor. Many were " his words to Oscar. and scenery always suited to the occathe hill. " men. moon sinks dim and red behind her on the heath. Unfrequent rush tlirough aged oaks. among the most sublime passages of Ossian's The . and " dark." for the Nothing can prepare the fancy more happily awful scene that is to follow. '' Trenmor came from " his hill. A cloud " hke the steed of the stranger. " half-extinguished? His face is without form. and which . They bring : to mind that noble de- scription in the book of Job " visions of the night. at the voice of his mighty son. we can find no parallel among the Greek Roman poets. as poetry. fear came upon me. A distant blasts roars. circumstances of them are considerably tlie diversified sion." Several other appearances of spirits might be point- — ed out. " In thoughts from the when deep sleep falleth on trembling. He sighed thrice over the hero And thrice." To appearances : of or this kind. His robe is of the mist of Lano. that brings '' death to the people. He slowly vanished. " tlie winds of the night roared around.

Then of a spirit passed flesh stood up. they come as forerunners of misfortune or death. some- times they inform their friends at a distance.lob. by mourning for the approaching destruction of her kinsmen and people. and that of Agandecca. of their own sion. . — a surprising force of imagination. and faint " light gleams over the heath. In the other to poems. ghosts sometimes appear foretel futurity .132 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON all " made " *' before It my bones to shake. There " was silence and I heai'd a voice Shall mortal " man be more just than God ?"* As Ossian's supernatural beings are described with . which^ ^ just before the last engagement with Swaran. which their son calls him to rise and rescue from danger. The hair still. and sometimes they are introduced to heighten the scenery on some great and solemn occa- " A hundred oaks burn to the wind The . moves Fingal to pity. according to the notions of these times. An image was before mine eyes. . iv. the spouse of Ossian. ghosts of Ardven dis- "pass through the beam * and shew their dim and 13—17. which comes warn the to host of impending destruction. death. my stood but I could not discern the form " thereof. and to advise them Save themselves by retreat. . so they are intro- duced with propriety. that of Evirallin. Fingal : We have only three ghosts to in That of Crugal. my face. to those whom they visit. when invoked frequently.

and full of thought. An aged ! — " man he seemed." whom we had formerly known is introduced. " ghost of the car-borne Calmar ? Wovddst thou " frighten me. Cuthullin reproaches posing that he could be intimidated by such prognostics. " Why dost thou bend thy dark eyes on me." The ghosts of strangers mingle not with those of the natives. This is remarkable in the appearance of Calmar's ghost. U3 Comala is is half unseen on her meteor j " and Hidallan sullen and dim. art not Calmar's ghost " He delighted in battle and his arm was like the " thunder this of heaven. " Crona." Fercuth I saw the ghost of night. I could behold his tears. is is seen 3 but not like the daugh- " " ters of the . How art thou changed. and to beckon him to his cave. nei" ther was thy voice for peace. in the poem entitled The Death of CuthuUin. him for sup- He seems to forebode Cuthullin's death. Her still robes are from the strangers land one When the ghost of alone. the and she is still propriety of the living character preserved.: THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. " tant forms. Si" lent he stood on that bank. his robe of mist flew " on the wind." looked from " The awful the clouds of " faces of other times. O Matha's son from the battles of " Cormac ? Thy hand was not feeble in war. "She hill. to seeming reproach " He retired in his blast . ! " " chief of Lara tire ! if now : thou dost advise to fly ! Re- thou to thy cave Thou ." : Calmar makes no return But.

the mythology of human nature for founded on what has been the popular tries. . that not local and temporary. squabbles poetry. to speak so. Ossian's mythology . in all ages and coun- and under all forms of religion. like that of most other . Ossian's machinery It is dignity upon all indeed a dignity of the dark is and awful kind} but this proper . it is was founded. A light and gay mythology. because coinci- dent with the strain and spirit of the poetiy. would have been perfectly unsuitable to the subjects on which Ossian's his genius was employed. 11. as soon as his son Neoptolemus praised for his gallant behaviour. belief. however. But though machinery be always solemn.* It it is is a great advantage of Ossian's mythologj'. surely do no honour to epic Whereas occasions. strode away with silent joy to rejoin the rest of the shades. The has indecent among his- gods. ancient poets which of course is apt to seem ridicu- lous. it is not. like Homer's.134 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON . I j " with joy This is for he had heard the voice of his praise. always dreary or * Odyss. Lib. concerning the spirits. 5 appearances of departed is Homer's machineiy but far from being always lively and amusing always supported with proper dignity." tlie precisely ghost of Achilles in all Homer whoj notwithstanding he had heard the dissatisfaction he ex- presses with his state in the region of the dead. after the superstitions have passed it away on which is.

over the silence of Morven. Spirits of a superior nature to ghosts are to. The greatest praise that can be given. For sweet shall " my voice be for my friends for pleasant were they " to me. but to tlae all general current of a superstitious countries. " She is " fair as the ghost of the hill when it moves in a " sun-beam at noon. them on the land of the to overturn forests. as much as the subject would permit. and pour stranger . spirits . the strings sound of death heard : on the of Ossian's harp all perfectly con- sonant. and their visits to men propitious. descending on sun. which he sometimes introduces. not only to the peculiar ideas of northern nations. . of the hill. sometimes alluded the deep ." " The hunter shall hear my voice from his booth.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. in the poem called Berrathon. beams fair-moving on the plain their voices their forms white and bright j sweet . imagination in The description of Fin- gal's airy hall. dismal . spirits of the These are gentle . 135 it is enlivened. but love my voice. find in Ossian we ma- some instances of other kinds of chinery. digies too. is to say." to the beauty of a living woman. ter is We have prodisas- a shower of blood. and of . " He shall fear. by those pleasant and beautiful appearances. Besides ghosts. and when some befalling at a distance. and to send death among the people. or the spirits of departed men. . which have power to embroil to call forth winds and storms.

consequently. farther j whose dominion extended no than to the regions where he was worshipped had. gal. I know no passage more sub- lime in the writings of any uninspired author. fiction is The it calculated to aggrandize the hero .136 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION it. cannot be ration. The power spirit . According to the notions of those times. in Carric-thura. " as rolled into himself. title to who threaten him. vulnerable. ON But above the ascent of Malvina into tice. mentioned without admiit I forbear transcribing the passage. he did not worship plainly considered as a local deity. 3 which does to a high degree a fiction. and. of Loda was not acknowledged as a deity by Fingal . the engagement of Fingal with the spirit of Loda. for fictions fully as extra- vagant j and if Homer be forgiven for making Diomed . and the shriek which he sends forth. at the stone of his he him as the God of his enemies only. deserves particular no- remarkably noble and magnificent. supernatural beings were material. therefore. as must have dravra the attention of every one the works of Ossian. who has read The undaunted courage of Fin-' opposed to . he " rose upon the wind j" are full of the most amazing spirit 5 and terrible majesty. all the terrors of the Scandinavian God the appearance and the speech of that awful' the wound which he receives. and no claim there are poetical pre- We know cedents of great authority. no to his submission. as all. as might at nor is it so unnatural or wild first be thought.

They have many traditions among them." it I confir- mation of Ossian's topography. as is proper to acquaint the have been well informed. and known by the name of the den . Ossian surely is pardonable for making ritory. of which the natives. islands. the superstitions of the inha- are quite distinct from those of the Highlands isles and western Their ancient songs. reader. would have been much more beautiful and * had the author discovered some knowledge of a SuThe is scene of this encounter of Fingal with the spirit of Loda laid in Inistore. but of the Scandina- The manners and of Scotland. I acknowledge perfect. that in these islands. and vian tongue. said. or the islands of it is Orkney . too. still there are many pillars. are of a different strain and character. the gods whom that himself worshipped. On the of Loda. there sue yet Their ancient language. turning upon magical incanta- tions and evocations from the dead.* his hero superior to the god of a foreign ter- Notwithstanding the poetical advantages which I have ascribed it to Ossian's machinery. . stones and circles of Loda. not of the Celtic. attack and 137 chief wound in battle. which were the favourite subjects of the old Runic poetry. circles remaining. of wais in former times with the inhabitants of the western islands.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. until the year 1468. is some remains among called the Norse. and in the description of Fingal's landing there. made of the Danish dominions. with the mossy stone of power. of stones. bitants is a dialect. or Losuperstitious regard is to which some degree of These annexed a part to this day. " A rock bends the top Iii is " along " circle the coast with all its echoing wood.

that . Many of the same observations. of Temora. as we can easily imagine what an lustrious figure they would have made under the a genius as his. all poets as chief ornaments of their composi- The absence of is all such religious ideas from it . apply to both. yet still it slator in a very probable must be For held a considerable disadvantage to the poetry. who are conceived as presiding over human occa- the solemnities of religious worship. and management of such which occur how finely they would have been adapted to in his many situations works. the other epic poem. Ossian's poetry. however. requires we should not pass it by without some remarks. and assistance implored on with great dignity in critical sions. been accounted on this head has tran- by the learned and ingenious manner. The high merit. the most august and lofty ideas that can embellish poetry are derived from the belief of a divine administration of the universe : And hence the invocation of a Supreme Being. especially with regard to the great characteristics of heroic poetry. were needless to enter into as full a discussion of the conduct of Temora. prayers preferred. it After so particular an examination of Fingal. or at least of some superior powers affairs. a sensible blank in the more il- to be regretted.138 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON Although for his silence preme Being. appear the works of al- most tions.

and to restore the possession of the kingdom to tlie posterity of the lawful prince an undertaking worthy of the justice and heroism of the great Fingal. The sub- is. being antecedent to the epic action. as of Fingal.. and so often more magnificence. introduced with great pro- priety as an episode in the first book. nor could any than the aged more noble conclusion be thought hero. the success . tlie the descent of Fingal on the and the consultation held among the chiefs of enemy. three battles are described. to dethrone and punish a bloody usurper. In the progress rise is of the poem. 139 laid in Ire- scene of Temora. The murder of is the young prince Cor- mac. The action is one. many successful atchievements^ taking . presented to us of " Fingal in the last of his is " fields. poem 5 but in return it has more more ten- derness. assumes the command himself. is and the action is of a posterior date." venerable and affecting . last^ and the issue for some time doubtful till at Fingal brought into distress. The reigning idea. which in their importance above one another . and the death of his son Fil- lan. by the wound of his great general Gaul. and having slain the Irish king in single combat. restores the rightful heir to his throne. THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. The land ject . The poem opens with coast. which was the cause of the war. and complete. an expedition of the hero. Temora has perhaps less fire than the other epic variety. after so of. various.

and her melting remembrance of the . we are of both hosts . last " his soul poured forth in eye. these are introduced as episodes in Temora." and the her when he beheld her fearful interview between them. land of her fathers Cathmor' s emotion when he in the first discovers her. and are happily contrasted with the military operations of the day. disguised and The distress of Sulunknown among strangers. her dream. his struggles to conceal and sup- press his passion. and witli the solemnities of those times resigning his spear to his son. her tender and anxious concern for the safety of Cathmor.140 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON all hi^leave of battles. suited to Ossian's genius. Sulmalla. we have an incident of this nature wrought tlie into body of the piece . the horrors of war are softened ship. he lets her know he had discovered her. malla. in the adventure of Cath- mor and This forms one of the most con- spicuous beauties of that poem. by intermixed scenes of love and friendj In Fingal. Temora than in Fingal actions and characters are more let into the transactions particularly displayed. though ''secret. lest it should unman him midst of war. and informed of the adventm-es of the night as well as of the day. and the romantic scenery of several so remarkably of the night adventures. occasion a fine diversity in the poem. are less crouded in The events . The still patlietic. when overcome by tenderness. In most of our author's poems. .

the general of Cathmor. tinguished. He is in- sults over the fallen. THE POEMS OF and confesses his passion . for in- stance. and daring. as is they are the characters of warriors. considered as the greatest barbarity. He 5 is dis- appearance. Besides the characters which appeared in Fingal. OSSIAN. Yet Ossian. even to the the funeral song to the length of denying dead which. contrasted with the mild and wise Hi- another leader of the same army. on whose humanity and gentleness he looks with great contempt. several new all ones are here introduced j and though. they are nevertheless diversified in a sensible and striking manner. on his first . with thinking that his ghost shall often leave its blast to rejoice over the gi'aves of those he had slain. he comforts himself in his dying moments. He is impei'ious in his counsels. Fierce to the last. exhibits the perfect : picture of a savage chieftain bold. relenting in all He un- his schemes of revenge. in those days.1. from the injury thereby done to their ghosts. but presumptuous. . as the friend of stride is the tyrant Cairbar " His haughty his red eye rolls in wrath." is In his person and whole deport- ment. cruel. and factious when they are not followed. he dalla. He professedly delights in strife and blood. bravery the predominant feature. has contrived to throw into his account of the death. Foldath. and overbearing. 14 are all wTought up with the most exquisite sensibility and delicacy. was. ever prone to the pathetic.

which he gal in all his might. though our author has managed it so. Cathmor particularly amiable 3 Fingal wise. The character of Foldath tends tlie much to exalt that is of Catlimor. however. and Fingal. characters. fired with glorj'. Temora.142 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON . humane is virtues. even of this man. He is so ami- able as to divide the reader's attachment between him and the hero of the poem artfully . He abhors famous for his hospitality to open to every generous sentiment. strangers . which distinall guished by the most fraud and cruelty. of for which Ossian shews a particular fondall ness 3 an eager. that his though Ossian has introduced into poems three complete heroes. sensibly distinguished each of is tlieir Cutliullin particularly honourable. appear somewhat apprehensive of the event. and retaining an ascendant peculiar to himself in what- ever light he is viewed. figure in is But the favourite most highly that sort. and the one His character is Fillan. fervent young warrior. finished. as to make Cathmor himself and to indirectly acknowledge Fingal's superiority. the impatient enthusiasm for military peculiar . he has. Cathmor. the last of his race. It is knew would call forth Final- very remarkable. after the death of Fillan. chief commander. Cuthullin. great. and to every soft and compassionate feeling. some tender circumstances by the moving description of his daughter Dardulena.

He had sketched j de- scription of his own son Oscar but as he has extendas the character is ed it more fully in Fillan.THE POEMS OF to that time of life. OSSIAN. we may is naturally sup- pose his ambition to have been highly stimulated. this in the 142. than his nephew Oscar. so far as I re- member." He is with some difficulty restrained by Ossian from going to attack the enemy. is younger. ter. " Few " " are the is marks of my sword in battle but my soul fire. plain. and so consonant to the epic strain. to watch the mo- tions of the foe In a conversation with his brother Ossian. he first described as is more His appearance soon after Os- when he was employed by night. on that occasion. and complains to him. car's death. a little to Ossian's in it such a conspicuous light by while to attend may be worth all management of it in this instance. Withal. . and putting in his claim to this honour. that his father had never allowed him any opportunity of signalizing his valour. not placed any other epic poet. forth with . Fillan is presented in the following most picturesque . learn diat it was not long since he began to lift the spear. though. by whose fame and great deeds in war. we . Fillan was the youngest of it is the sons of Fingal younger. as he rash and fiery. " The Soon af- " king hath not remarked my sword I go " the croud I return without my fame. and each was standing forth. when Fingal according to custom was to appoint one of his chiefs to command the army." .

" and natural : . As the sun rejoices from the cloud. and my soul was glad. Fillan rushes amidst the thickest of the foe. shakes its " f' whilst joyful it is lonely head on the heath. being given emotion on this occasion. life. so the king over Fillan. Fillan could not boast of battles." Sedate however and wise. He struck. " Let thy people be a ridge behind theejj " they are thy strength in the field. " Clatho. the thistle's head. though he never feared! a foe. as he beholds the renown of his son. and turned amidst his crouded " soul.144 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON " On his spear stood the son of attitude. " Myj Thou| strife. son of Clatho. " •' art brave. for that day. at " times. and distinguishes himself so in battle." The command. in the wandering of his locks. to Gaul. " He beheld him with bursting joy. " son. saves Gaul's who is wounded by a random ar- row. Side-long he beheld his son. Bent over a distant stream " he stood the tear hung in his eye. Then shalt thoul . He hid the big " tear with his locks. " at once he strode away. that " the " " ^' days of old return on Fingal' s mind. but headlong in the So did not Fingal advance. over the tree his beams have raised. with his inverted spear. No less natural and beautiful is the description of Fin- gal's paternal " Nor is he " unseen of Fingal. I saw thy deeds. Thrice he " raised his eyes to Fingal his voice thrice failed " him as he spoke. he mixes the praise which he bestows onj him with some reprehension of his rashness.

Observe the poet. there was no resource tlie left to enemy but to the in great Cathmor himself. " rejoiced over his son. where. . the next day. excels himself. Ossian. the battle begins. I. Fingal rose. tlie 145 long renowned. Bring him back with " joy hereafter he may stand alone. " like his fathers . and strewed the heath with dead. His form is . the *' of Bolga is rolled along. bat he valiant " defend my dark-haired son. and where he recommends ing. he surveyed the battle. extremely touchis " A young beam before you .. few is are his " steps to war. who in this extremity de- scends from the hill. according custom of those princes. Fillan hung forward on their "steps. and behold tombs of thy On life. THE POEMS OF " be " fathers. is tlie greatest and the last of FiUan's to the charge committed him of leading on the host to battle. flight how this critical event is \vrought up by " Wide spreading over echoing Lubar. —Blue-shielded Cathmor L VOL. They are few. tlie poet puts forth his strengtli to describe tlie exploits of the young hero at last encountering and killing with his own of hand Foldath the opposite general. and a general rout bethe gun." OSSIAN. is In what follows. any where. cle attains the pinna- of glory. tliis Fingal's speech to his troops on occasion is full of noble sentiment ." When who. if when tlie fate Fillan drawing near. his son to their care. Foldath being slain. his soul is a flame of their fire.

raise high his praise in my hall. and the passionate apostrophe to his motlier Clatho. while beam of thine " The host is withered in its course." his blast. bring tlie harp Give Fillan's praise " to the wind . could not be rendered too interesting and affecting. and which if it had been found subject Homer. in of poetical order to interest us in Fillan's danger . is heightened by the immediately following one of the most magnificent and sublime that to be met with in in any poet." The sudden . No farther " look it is dark light.! 146 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON ! " Son of Alpin. as he " strides from wave to wave. virgins strike the sound. He his hill the rising of Cathmor. Catli- mor's rising from his the abrupt bursting into the praise of Fillan. that descends from the skirt " " spirit of The troubled ocean feels his steps. are admirable efforts art. blue-eyed Clatlio behold that early — — ! interruption. in Ossian's style.trembling from the harp. But the of this poet's art is not yet exhausted. is Our attention beholds from his naturally diawn towards Fingal. " strike. The fall noble young warrior. the extinction of this beam of heaven. and the danger of . and suspense of the narration on hill. Leave. and the is whole simile. or. "yet he shines " leave thy hall in war. would have been the frequent of admiration to critics j " Fillan is like a of heaven. His path kindles be" hind him j islands shake their heads on the heaving " seas.

We see him animated spirit . upon thy soul " of fire. . " " Raise no stone above me. my son.— THE POEMS OF son. lest one should ask about my fame. and only shews us the dying hero. eyes : But conceal thy from He must not know late." He who after tracing the circumstances of this story. " Ossian. daughter " of Inistore I shall not quf nch thy early beam. his son. '* OSSIAN. defend the Fillan's " " yoving in arms. son of white-bosomed " Clatho ? Turn not thine eyes from Fingal. the poet suppresses all the circum- stances of the combat with Catlimor ." to describe Ossian arrived too But unwilling Fillan vanquished. shall . " 147 But what shall he do ? Shall Fingal rise to ? his aid. and dispatches Ossian and deli- with this affectionate ! cate injunction : " Father of Oscar this " addressing him by a tide which on priety. and take the sword of Luno What then " should become of thy fame. I am fallen in the first of my fields j " fallen without renown. occasion has the highest pro! " Father of Oscar lift the spear steps . ! " No cloud of mine shall rise. lay me in that hollow rock. Let thy voice alone. Why should the bard know " where dwells the early-fallen Fillan. that I doubt his steel. send "joy to my flying soul. to the end with die same martial and ardent last in bitter regret for breathing his being so early cut off from the field of glory." Struggling between concern for the fame. and fear for the safety of he withdraws from the sight of the engagement in haste to the field.

. however. They . style . one spirit of poetry reigns .148 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON is deny that our bard high art. are historical poems. which . than to dwell on his beauties. Cuthullin. and Gaul. let him say which of I tlie two poets on is unfold most of the human soul. of manners is One con- sistent face every where presented to us j . tlie same strong colouring of imaginasensibility of heart. similar kind and after all the praise he may justly bestow on the elegant ayd finished description of that amiable autlior. gene- rally of the elegiac kind and plainly discover them- selves to be the work of the same author. The ties smaller pieces. The in the whom we had met with greater poems. which very happily connects same race of heroes these poems. The judgment and works of such length guish art discovered in conducting as Fingal and Temora. wave insisting any more of the particulars in Temora . Oscar. the masterly hand of Ossian appears throughout the same rapid and ani- mated tion. contain particular beau- no less eminent. They form the poetical history of the age of Fingal. possessed of high sentiment and must be strangely prejudiced indeed. is Let of a him read the story of Pallas in Virgil. tliere moreover a certain unity of all subject. Connal. and the same glowing Be- sides the unity which belongs is to the compositions of one man. rather to lead tlie as my aim reader into the genius and spirit of all Ossian's poetry. in distin- them from the other poems this collection.

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. Fingal's song upon this occasion. The circumstances of Ossian's old age and all blindness. ever fond of doing honour him. there might be room for separate obsei'vations." . his surviving his friends. and his relating their great exploits to Malvina. for be- to his father. On each of these poems. as well as to the beauty of the descriptions and sentiments. has contrived to distinguish ing an eminent poet. in which Ossian. Carthon is a reis The main story very properly introduced by Clessammor's relation of the adventure of his youth finely heightened . return again upon tlie 149 is stage 5 and Fingal himself always the principal figure. with regard to the conduct and disposition of the incidents. furnish the finest poetical situations that fancy could devise for that tender pathetic v^hich reigns in Ossian's poetry. nay rising upon us to the last. strain. are assembled almost all j the tender friendship. witli equal magnificence. the seriousness. gular and highly finished piece. and this introduction is by Fingal's song of mourning over Moina . is no less than the sublimity of the peculiarly suited to the Hero's character. when " his thousand Bards " " leaned forwards from their seats. to hear the voice of the King. images that can touch the heart of man . the spouse or mistress of his beloved son Oscar. as well as warrior. In Darthula. presented on every occasion. is inferior to no passage in the whole as book and with great judgment put in his mouth.

last. love. dramatic. are introduced with great beauty of imagi- nation to increase the solemnity. Carric-thura is full of the most sublime dignity j and has subject. the distress of the aged. The sound heard there concern which Fingal on the strings of his harp. the it. by high generosity of sentiment. and the Bards of Lathmon is peculiarly dis- tinguished. opens.150 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON and brothers. As Fingal had no occasion of appearing in the action of this poem. and the transition from thence for that most happily prepare the mind is train of affecting events that is to follow. The story regular. and to diversify the scenery of the poem. The beautiful address to the moon. he pleases. and the unavailing bravery of the young. particvdarly in the refusal of Gaulj on . to receive the heroes falling tant land. which seems to have been the great delight of Ossian his age. to what was passing in the halls of Selma. sons. upon being completely armed against sympathetic sorrow. This is carried so far. the affections of parents. shows on hearing and the invocation of the ghosts in a dis- of their fathers. Ossian makes a very artful transition from his narration. interesting to the it He who can read if without emotion may congratulate himself. with which the poem to tlie subject. this advantage of being more cheerful in the in the catastrophe than at the and more happy : most of the other poems Though tempered same time with episodes in that strain of tender melancholy.

reflect will not be thought surprising. 151 . So far as chivalry it was an ideal system existing only in romance. as to recall into one's mind the manners of chivalry some resemblance to which may perhaps be suggested by other in this collection of poems. to take the advantage of a sleeping foe to overpower by num- two young warriors. on the other. to admit the suspicion that the one could have borrowed any thing from the other. in the days of Ossian. when we on the acthis count before given of the Celtic Bards. . which for so long all a time enchanted Europe. is. very nat\irally produce effects of the same kind on the minds and manners of men. took rise in an age and country too remote from those of Ossian. first gave rise to those romantic ideas of heroism.* Ossian's heroes have the gallantry and generosity of those fabulous knights. which gave birth to it in the feudal times. in the 10th or 11th century 3 whose songs. it is said. . and his love scenes have native tenderness. incidents Chivalry. might. that of a rising state. however. chivalry had any real existence. Huetius de origine fabularum Romanensium. the So far as same military en- thusiasm. without their extravagance . bers the OSSIAN. one side. at least. or strolling Provencal Bards. that ima- ginary refinement of heroic manners should be found among them. without any mixture of those forced * Vid. as among the Tro- badores. as much.THE POEMS OF and of Lathmon. in the infancy through tlie operation of the same cause.

own Death more song. The meeting of tlie two lovers. In the absence of her lover Gaul. as does tlie greatest honour both : and to the delicacy of our audior and would have been admired in any poet of the most refined age. she had been carried off and ravished by Dunrommath. war disguised in the so managed tlie as to produce.152 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON in the and unnatural conceits which abound mances. Nothing could be and comfort her. We are to be is prepared for the death of Malvina. and another in Calthon and Colmal. i . the sentiments and behaviour of Oithona on that oc- casion. in situain the discovery." and in a most moving lamentation addressed she sings her to her beloved Oscar. which in the succeeding related poem. in person . " she has heard a voice in a dream she "feels the fluttering of her soul. old ro- The adventures to related by our poet which resemble the most those of romance. Gaul disco- vers the place where she is kept concealed. She is therefore introduced . concern women armour who follow tlieir lovers of men and these are . several of tions . The conduct of Croma must strike every reader as remarkably judicious and beautiful. most interesting one beautiful instance of which may be seen Carric-thura. and comes the to revenge her. Oitliona presents a situation of a different nature. are described with such tender and exquisite to the art propriety. In the young calculated with art to sooth than the story which Ossian relates.

." Malvina's death is hinted to him the most delicate manner by the son of Alpin. His . than in Berrathon. which conclusion of his songs. the time of my in " departure is near. before the feeble behold at their in and smile trembling " hands. shakes its beard to the wind. is 153 . The whole subject." Qualis olor noto positurus Ingerait. et maestis littore vitam. mulcens concentibus auras Praesago quasritur venientia funera cantu. and the blast that shall scatter " my leaves. The aiiy hall of Fingal presents itself to his view " he sees the cloud that shall receive his ghost. and brave Fovargormo. another Oscar introduced is sung . . ' to greater is reckoned the " The last sound of the voice of Cona. and the happiiiess set before her of those who die in their youth. " when their re- " nown " them is around them the hall.THE POEMS OF his praises are OSSIAN. " he beholds the mist that shall form his robe when 3 " he appears on " The his hill . Every thing tlie full into which aged Bard believes himself now ready to enter." to and all the natural objects around him seem thistle carry its the presages of death. train of ideas is is admirably suited to the of that invisible world. The I " flower hangs " covered with heavy head it seems to say. am the di"ops of heaven." But no where does Ossian's genius appear advantage.

154

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON

lamentation over her, her apotheosis, or ascent to the
habitation of heroes, and the introduction to the story

which follows from the mention which Ossian supposes the father of Malvina to

make of him

in the hall

of Fingal, are

all

in the

highest spirit of poetry.

" And dost thou remember Ossian, O Toscar son of " Comloch The battles of our youth were many " our swords went together to the field." Nothing
?
;

covild

be more proper than to end his songs with re-

cording an exploit of the father of that Malvina, of

whom
to last,
all his

his heart

was now

so

fiill

;

and who, from

first

had been such a favourite object throughout
scene of most of Ossian's poems

poems.
is

The

laid in Scot-

land, or in the coast of Ireland opposite to the territories of Fingal.

When
For
as

tlie

scene

is

in Ireland,

we

perceive

no change of manners from those of Ossian's
Ireland was

native country.

undoubtedly

peopled with Celtic tribes, the language, customs,

and

religion of

both nations were the same.

They

had been separated from one another by migration,
only a few generations, as
poet's age
;

it

should seem, before our

and they

still

maintained a close and frerelates the ex-

quent intercourse.

But when the poet

peditions of any of his heroes to the
coast, or to the islands of

Scandinavian

Orkney, which were then

part of the Scandinavian territory, as
rie- thvira,

he does

in

Car-

Sulmallaof Lumon, and Catliloda, the case

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN.
i

155

s

quite altered.

Those countries were inhabited by

nations of the Teutonic descent,

who

in their

man-

ners and rehgious rites differed widely
taej

from the Cel-

and

it is

curious and remarkable, to find this dif-

ference clearly pointed out in the

poems of Ossian.

His descriptions bear the native marks of one

who
and
eyes.

was present

in the expeditions

which he

relates,

who

describes

what he had seen with

his

own

No

sooner are

Inistore,

than

we carried to we perceive

Lochlin, or the islands of
that

we

are in a foreign

region.

New

objects begin to appear.

We

meet

every where with the stones and circles of Loda, that
is,

Odin, the great Scandinavian deity.

We
for

meet
it

witli tlie divinations
is

and inchantments,

which

well

known

those northern nations were early fa-

" There, mixed with the murmur of waters, mous. " rose the voice of aged men, who called the forms of " night to aid them in their war;" whilst the Caledonian chiefs

who

assisted

them,

are described as
rites.

standing at a distance, heedless of their
ferocity
also

Tha

t

of manners which disting"uished those nations,
In the combats of their
;

becomes conspicuous.
is

chiefs there

a peculiar savageness

even their wo-

men
I

are bloody and fierce.

The

spirit,

and the very
scalder

ideas of

Regner Lodbrog, that northern

whom

formerly quoted, occur to us again. "

The hawks,"

Ossian makes one of the Scandinavian chiefs say,

" rush from

all

their

winds

5

they are wont to trace

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON " my course. We rejoiced three days above the dead,
156

" and called the hawks of heaven. They came from " all their winds, to feast on the foes of Annir."
Dismissing

now
his

the separate consideration of any

of our audior's works, I proceed to make some observations
ral

on

manner of

writing, under the gene-

heads of Description, Imagery, and Sentiment.
is

A poet of original genius
his talent for description.*

always distinguished by

A second rate writer dismeans
it

cerns nothing
to describe.

new

or peculiar in the object he

His conceptions of
;

are vague and

loose} his expressions feeble
ject
is

and of course the ob-

presented to us indistinctly and as through a

cloud.
it

But

a true poet
:

makes us imagine

that

we

see

before our eyes
;

he catches the distinguishing feathe colours of
life

tures

he gives
it

it

and

reality

;

he

places

in

such a light that a painter could copy after

him.

This happy

t^nt
first

is

chiefly

owing

to

a lively

imagination, which

receives a strong impression

of the object
tal
it,

;

and then, by a proper selection of capi-

picturesque circumstances employed in describing
transmits
tliat

impression in

its

full force to the
tliis

imaginations of others.
descriptive

That Ossian possesses
high degree,

power

in a

we have

a clear

proof from the effect which his descriptions produce
* See the rules of poetical description excellently illustrated

by Lord Kaims,

in his

Elements of Criticism, vol.

iii.

chap. 21.

Of narration and

description.

:

THE POEMS OF
any degree of attention and

OSSIAN.

15/

upon the imaginations of those who read him with
taste.

Few

poets are

more

interesting.

We contract an

intimate acquaintchai'acters, the

ance with his principal heroes.

The

manners, the face of the country become familiar

we

even think

in a

word, whilst reading him

we could draw the figure of his ghosts we are transported as
and dwell among
his objects as if

into a

new

region,
all real.

they were
It

were easy

to point out several instances

of exqv\iSuch, for

site painting in the works of our author.

instance, as the scenery with

which Temora opens,
is

and the attitude in which Cairbar
to us
;

tliere

presented

the description of

tlie

young prince Cormac,
in

in tlie
tlio.

same book ; and the ruins of Balclutha

Car-

"

I

have seen the walls of Balclutha, but they

" were " halls

desolate.
3

The

fire

had resounded
is

in

tlie

and the voice of the people

heard no more.
its

" The stream of Clutha was removed from " by the fall of the walls. The tliistle shook
" lonely head
:

place
its

there

The moss

whistled to the wind.
;

The

" fox looked out from the window's the rank grass " of tlie wall waved round his head. Desolate is the " dwelling of Moina silence is in the house of her
j

"

fathers."

Nothing

also

can be more natural and

lively

than the manner in which Carthon afterwards

describes

how

the conflagration of his city affected
:

him when

a child

" Have

I

not seen the fallen Bal-

158
''

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON
?

clutha

And
!

shall

I

feast

with

Comhal's son

>

" Comhal who threw his fire in the midst of my " father's hall I was young, and knew not the cause " why the virgins wept. The columns of smoke " pleased mine eye, when they rose above my walls " I often looked back with gladness, when my friends " fled above the hill. But when the years of my
! :

''
"^

youth came on,
walls.
tears

I

beheld the moss of

my

fallen

My
my

sigh arose with the

morning j and

my

"
*'

descended with night.

Shall I not fight, I

said to

soul, against the children
!

of

my foes ?

" And I will fight, O Bard I feel the strength of " my soul." In the same poem, the assembhng of
the chiefs round Fingal,who had been warned of some

impending danger by the appearance of a prodigy,
described with so
that

is

many

picturesque circumstances,

one imagines himself present in the assembly.
alone beheld the terrible sight, and he

" The king

" foresaw the death of his people. He came in silence " to his hall, and took his father's spear; the mail " rattled on his breast. The heroes rose around. " They looked in silence on each other, marking the " eyes of Fingal. They saw the battle in his face. " A thousand shields are placed at once on their " arms and they drew a thousand swords. The hall " of Selma brightened around. The clang of " arms ascends. The grey dogs howl in their place. " No word is among the mighty chiefs. Each
J

THE POEMS OF
' marked the " his spear."
It has

OSSIAN.
j

15Q

eyes of the king

and half assumed

been objected

to Ossian, that his descriptions

of military actions are imperfect, and
sified
is

much less

diver-

by circumstances than those of Homer.

This

in

some measure

true.
is

Homer's invention

The amazing fertiUty of no where so much displayed as
and in the
little

in tlie incidents of his battles^

history

pieces he gives of the persons slain.

Nor

indeed, with

regard to the talent of description, can too
said in praise of

much be

Homer.

Every thing

is

alive in his

writings.

The

colours with

which he

paints are those
a different

of nature.

But Ossian's genius was of
It led

kind from Homer's.

him

to

huny

towards

grand objects,

ratlier

than to amuse himself with

particulars of less importance.

He

could dwell on

the death of a favourite hero

j

but that of a private

man seldom
nius

stopped his rapid course.

Homer's geIt in-

was more comprehensive than
;

Ossian's,

cluded a wider circle of objects

and could work up
Ossian's
it

any incident
limited
;

into description.

was more
chiefly ex-

but the region within which

erted itself

was the highest of

all,

the region of the

pathetic and sublime.

We must not imagine, however,
tles

that Ossian's bat-

consist only

of general indistinct description.

Such beautiful incidents are sometimes introduced,
and the circumstances of the persons
slain

so

much

;

160

A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON
show
that

diversified, as

he could have embellished
abundant variety of
to dwell
parti-

his military scenes with an
culars, if his genius

had led him

upon them.

" One man is stretched in the dust of his native land " he fell, where often he had spread the feast, and " often raised the voice of the harp." The maid of
Inistore
is

introduced, in a
;

moving apostrophe,
third,

as

weeping

for another

and a

"

as

rolled in the
is

"

dust he lifted his faint eyes to the king,"

remem-

bered and mourned by Fingal as the friend of Agandecca.

The blood pouring from the wound of one who is slain by night, is heard " hissing on the half" extinguished oak," which had been kindled for
giving light
his foe,
is
:

Anotlier, climbing a tree to escape from

pierced by his spear from behind ;

"

shriek-

"

ing, panting,

he

fell

;

whilst moss and witliered

" branches pursue

his fall,

and strew the blue arms

"

of Gaul."

Never was a

finer picture

drawn of the
:

ardour of two youthful warriors than the following

" I saw Gaul in his armour, and my soul was mixed " with his for the fire of the battle was in his eyes " he looked to the foe with joy. We spoke the " words of friendship in secret and the lightning of " our swords poured togetlier. We drew tliem be" hind the wood, and tried the strength of our arms
:

;

5

" on
adds

the

empty
is

air."

Ossian

always concise in his descriptions, which

much

to their beauty

and force.

For

it is

a great

THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. thou broUier " of Agandecca " He conveys. at the long upon trivial same time. no sti'ong imagination dwells j any one particular ones." as Quintilian " quicquid non adjuvat. To be concise in descripis one thing j and to be general. shows us more at one glance. " Obstat. M . I. is of advantage to de- scription. On is the contrary. or heaps together a mass of By the happy choice of some one. such a diffuse it." tion. another. : proposes to dismiss him with honour " " morrow thy white sails to the wind. He has even a de: gree of abruptness resembling our author writer is Yet no more eminent for lively description. for it is of particulars only that we have a distinct conception. is says with regard to style. it presents the image more complete.. after having conquered the haughty Swaran. Any one redundant loads- circumstance It encumbers and the fancy. and renders the main image indistinct. by thus addressing ! his enemy. or of a few that are the most striking. than a feeble imagination is able to do. very full lf)l mistake to imagine. But. by turning lights. a stronger impression of the emotions then if passing within his mind. No description that rests in generals can possibly be it good can convey no lively idea . or a and extended style. its object round is and round into a variety of Tacitus of all prose writers the most concise. that a crowd of particulars. When Raise to- Fingal. manner for the most part weakens a nuisance. than whole paragraphs had VOL.

Descriptions of gay and smiling scenes may. by daring intrepidity in the midst of danger. concerning the circum- stances of domestic sorrow occasioned by a young poured upon his warrior's first going forth to battle. sudden rising of tlie like the torrent hemmed in by the valley.162 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON in describing the conflict been spent between resent- ment against Swaran and the tender remembrance of his ancient love. after the few shield is following words " His . like " the flood of the narrow valej" a happy representation of one. and becomes more formidable every moment. No : amplification is needed to give us the most full idea of a hardy veteran. with re- spect to grand." foes." it is said. When Oscar. : is the mind by " Calmar leaned on " " father's spear that spear which he brought from Lara's hall. marked with the " strokes of battle his red eye despises danger. left alone. who. solemn and pathetic subjects. are Ossian's chief field. may be weakened by being may be beautiful still. Force is not the descrip- predominant quality expected in these. And a whole crowd of ideas. be amplified and prolonged. yet. these words . was surrounded by " he stood. notwith- "Whereas. the case is which In very different. . witliout any disadvantage. when the soul of his mother was sad. diffuse. seems to increase in his appearance. " growing in his place. tion The standing." is The conciseness of Ossian's descriptions the more proper on account of his subjects.

energy is 1 63 above all things required. daughter of the snow overheard. and indeed to whole poetry." Several other instances might be produced of the feelings of love and friendship painted by our author with a most natural and happy delicacy. The imaall . Her " steps were like the music of songs. But Ossian's genius. gination far must be seized at once. Her blue eyes rolled on him in secret " And she blest the chief of Morven. though the sublime and pathetic. wherein the tenderness of Virgil. simplicity of Ossian's The manner adds great beauty his 5 to his descriptions. than by the anxious minuteness of laboured illustration. and . no forced re- We meet with no affected ornaments finement . subjects also of grace chiefly turned towards was not confined for an to it : In and delicacy. no marks either in style or thought of a studied endeavour to shine and sparkle. She saw the " youth and loved him. He was the stolen sigh of *' her soul. Loveliness was around her as light. pears every Ossian aphis feehngs . TibuUus seems united with the majesty of " The . or not at and is more deeply impressed by one strong and ardent image. Take example the following elegant description of Agandecca. " left the hall of her secret sigh like the She came in all " her beauty moon from the cloud of the " East. these.: THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. where to be prompted by . he discovers the hand of a master.

" think that it is one of Ossian's remarkable If any one shall expressions. several times repeated.164 A- CRITICAL DISSERTATION from the abundance of ON I re- and to speak his heai t." mutual embrace. . melted it with tenderness. shades. defence from authority expression tion. 98. member no more works. when Ulysses meets his mother in On to both these occasions." the lovers. lament their not having in tlieir power throw their arms round ihe ghost. two lonely yews are men" whose branches wished to " meet on high. the heroes. needs to be justified by a precedent. . " that in a we " might. conceit j This sympathy of the trees with may be it is reckoned to border on an Italian to find this single and somewhat curious instance of that sort of wit in our Celtic poetry. where from the tombs of two lovers tioned to have sprung. than one instance of what can be called quaint thought in this It is in the first whole collection of his book of Fingal. . The "joy of grief." say they. for it is a natural and just and conveys a clear idea of tliat gratificafeels in the indul- which a virtuous heart often * Oflyss. " " the delight of grief. enjoy But in truth the expression stands in need of no . 11. 2n. Iliad 23. he may find Achilles it is twice used by visited Homer j in the Iliad. when in tlie by the ghost of Patroclus and the Odyssey.

preferably to and trifling of poetry and music. " Strike the harp hall. In those days. " " " Strike the harp in my hall. proper distinction between tliis l65 Ossian makes a very gratification. we find in Ossian several which . " There " a joy in grief. gallant actions. and finely charac- the taste of Ossian's age and country. and the is destructive effect of overpowering grief." said tlie great Fingal. when the songs of bards were the great delight of heroes. in is my and let ! Fingal hear the song. not general and unmeaning. gence of a tender melancholy. . and their days are few. It is Pleasant the joy of grief like the shower of spring." Personal epitliets have been poets of tlie and the O bards all much used by the most ancient ages . in tlie midst of youth and victory. " when it softens the branch of the oak " young leaf lifts its green head. when peace dwells in tiie breasts of " the sad. they contribute not a little to render tlie style descriptive and animated. and when well chosen.! THE POEMS OF OSSIAN." To " give the joy of grief. a-kin to many of Homer's. Besides epithets founded on bodily distinctions." generally signifies to raise the strain of soft terises and grave music . " To-morrow we lift the sail. and serves to emasculate the mind. Sing on. were the chosen strain theme . But sorrow wastes the mournful. the tragic muse was held tliat light in chief honour . which promotes light and trifling manners. O " daughter of Toscar. and virtuous sufferings.

Very often tw^o objects are brought together in a simile. or likeness of appearance. chiefly : form what as is called the imagery of a poem And they abound so much in the works of Ossian. Such Oscar of the future ril fights. by a sprightly imagination. it may be expected that I should be somewhat particular in my remarks upon them. Sometimes a resemblance objects. For various. the lonely sun-beam of Dunscaich a Cul- dee. But of These all the ornaments employed in descriptive poetry. A poetical simile always supposes two is objects brought together. only because they raise in the mind a train of similar.. The re- lation of actual similitude. tion some near that rela- What ought to be. of other times. between which there relation or connection in the fancy. Carblushing Evirallin . though they resemble one another. is in the effect pro- duced by two ciple : made the connecting prin- Sometimes a resemblance in one distinguishing property or circumstance. the son of the secret cell. and . comparisons or similies are the most splendid. the mildly Bragela. strictly speaking. 166 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON as. in nothing. are remarkably beautiful and poetical. cannot be precisely defined. is from being the only foundation of poetical com- parison. almost nvimberless. and are commonly among the favourite passages of all poets. Fingal of the mildest look. are the analogies formed among far objects.

and the still animated by the circumstance of the aged staft' hero. placid joy. OSSIAN. " and his grey hair glitters in the a finer beam. to give an instance from our poet. The blue streams rejoice in forlli " the vale. life finely the cheerful face of all nature ." It raises a Never strong was there group of objects. . Thus " sun appears " in the west. has certainly no direct re- semblance to the beauty of a fine evening j farther than that both agree in producing a certain calm. " ness have moved behind lift The green on hills their dewy heads. \^'hich produces in every spectrain a corresponding of pleasing emotions the declining sun looking fordi in his brightness after a storm. a scene. after the steps of his brighta storm. Thus.. THE POEMS OF what may be called. The aged hero comes his staff. a circum- stance both extremely picturesque in liarly itself. the pleasure with which an old man looks back on the exploits of his youth. and pecu- suited to the main object of the comparison. conception of the old man's joy and elation of heart. to the " Wilt thou ? not listen. son of the rock. one of most beautiful comparisons that to be met with in any poet. serves to quicken and heighten the impression made by the other. " '" song of Ossian . 167 so that the concordant ideas remembrance of the one. tlie Yet Ossian has founded upon is this. when recalled. by displaying tator. with his and his grey locks . My soul is full of other the times the joy of my youth returns. .

19. and to render the . * See Elements of Criticism. principal rules which respect poetical compa- risons are. they keep the imagination awake and sprightly. those which seem like the imagination is so the highest amusement of to trace likenesses different. the imageiy of a good poet will exhibit copies after nature. so as to difficulty .168 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON associations of ideas as these. at least. as the judgment is principally exercised in distinguish- I ing objects. his For as he allusions will of course be taken from those objects which he sees around him. and that they be not in the midst of some severe and agitating passion. III. conception of to heighten it more clear and distinct or. which cannot admit founded on vious. that they be introduced on proper occa- when the mind is disposed to relish them . . resemblance neither too near and ob- so as to give little it. and remarking the differences among . They For diversify the scene. they aggrandize the subject. are Such analogies and highly pleasing to the fancy. and agreements among those which seem The sions. a this play of fancy .* Every country has a scenery peculiar to itself. and it. _ and embellish it. be apprehended with that they seiTe either to illustrate the principal object. amusement to the imagina- tion in tracing nor too faint and remote. for introducing They give opportunity many a fine poetical picture. vol. ch. by a suitable association of images.

and storms of a northern tainous region. than to were more by to the purpose to describe lions or tygers. am indeed works of both poets are . but they are absurdly used for illustration by us. similes taken compare men to lions. it who know them only at second To most readers of modern from men. and tygers. we ought to be. at least. which he saw before expected to be his eyes . We meet moun- with no Grecian or Italian scenery but witli the mists. and clouds. we meet with in the had ac- modern poets . which similes of many lions.THE POEMS OF and which have often struck OSSIAN. but from other writers. or by description. known in their country . copied from that fece of nature. son. poetry. in this collection as There are many. because employed by ancient authors. and serpents. hand. Ossian is. in some measure. in order to judge of the propriety of poetical imagery. as if these animals quired some right to a place in poetical comparisons for ever. acquaint- ed with the natural history of the country where the scene of the poem is laid. His imagery without exception. Hence and eagles. and by consequence may be lively. They as objects generally employed them with propriety. that the Homer. The so introduction of foreign images betrays a poet. For 169 this rea- his fancy. . is very correct in this particular. I as in the whole Iliad and Odyssey of inclined to diink. copying not from nature. No poet abounds more in similes than Ossian.

is life. these form the circle. the deer. they have this advantage of being commonly shorter than less . serpents. stars. and smoke. heath and grass and flowers. taken from objects of dignity. winds. to lions. herds of cattle. rain. within which Ossian's comparisons generally run. . and meteors. bvdls. lightrivers. rocks light and mountains. the horse. sea fowl. uncultivated state of his country. not many. which suggested to him few images beyond natural inanimate objects. and forests. seas and whales. the moon. spirits and darkness. Similes are sparkling ornaments to dazzle and tire like all things tliat sparkle. they inter- rupt his narration he just glances aside to some resembling object. as eagles. plainly owing to tlie desert. and instantly returns to his former track. without excep- tion. goats. Homer's . mist. and mountain bee. more Homer has diversified his imagery by many allusions to the animal world . CRITICAL DISSERTATION with them. are taken from birds and beasts tlie . Some. are apt and us by their lustre. The sun. Homer's similes include a wider range of ob- But in return. dews. fire ning and tliunder. ON much crowded . and ghosts . music and songs. jects. torrents. trees ice. snow. which cannot be said for all those which Homer employs.170 too A. and a very few from such operations of art as were then known. insects and to the Ossian's various occupations of rural and pastoral defect in this article. But if Ossian's similes be too frequent. and the clouds. Ossian's are. in .

similes. or cloud. however. moon. and the same moon. the it is same der. upon a mistake. the immediate impulse of poetical enthusiasm. by inattentive readers. stance the same but the image is new it is for the ap- pearance of the object changed . presented to the fancy in another attitude and clothed with new circumstances. sometimes in the very same words The objection made to Ossian is. is The object. their rudest form.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. who does not know how often his lions and bulls and flocks of sheep. are taken. or thuna which they had met with similes few pages before. country were probably not numerous and his aclittle quaintance with them was slender. who wrote from or labour. It in a great measure. founded. and the too frequent repetition of the same comparisons. witli little or no ? nay. is . ijl The birds and animals of the . has been sup- posed. to make it suit the different illusti-a- . In a work so thick sown with one could not but expect to find images of to the poet the same kind sometimes suggested 3 by re- sembling objects especially to a poet like Ossian. Whereas veiy often the are widely different. is uniformity. indeed in sub. or the thunder. and without Fertile as much preparation of study is Homer's imagination acknow- ledged to be. that wherever the the cloud. returns in a simile. as they were subjected to the uses of man. recur variation . The its great objection made to Ossian's imagery. simile. whence they .

still. cli- mate of Homer has diversified rior is like and let us view how much our poet its appearance. to a great make them correspond for many different objects." Hope. like the moon from " is the East. is like " the new moon seen *' through tlie gathered mist. is very frequently introduced into his comparisons in northern climates. The shield of a war- moon when it moves a " dun circle through the heavens.172 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION which . moon is a greater object of attention. which . and the midnight-shower on A very opposite use is : moon in the " in all her description of Agandecca made of the " She came the cloud of beauty. when the sky pours " down its flaky snow. again." or in a different form of the moon." And a different appearance of a ghost. ON tion for it is employed. is like " the beam of die set" ting moon. cheered by Fingal's gene- . wan and pale. and sorrow returning ''joy rising on her face. it is like " the " watery beam when rushes from beis " tween two " the field. as tlie where tlie nights are long. Let us take one instance the moon. than in the . and tlie world is silent and the darkened *' " dark . after his defeat." is But when Swaran. In this lies Ossian's great art in so happily varying the form of the few natural appearances with as to which he was acquainted. thin and indistinct." The face of a ghost. succeeded by disappointment." clouds. like a thip cloud " on the moon.

"* It is a remarkable propriety comparison." Another instance of the same nature may be taken from mist. Sometimes. " when it curls on the rock. rosity. and the mist in this gone." but the soul of the guilty Uthal is *' dark as the troubled face of the moon. he applies to a variety of purposes. Carmor . silent vale. as being a very familiar appearance in the country of Ossian. and leave " her calm and broad in the midst of the sky." " The song comes with its music " " to melt and please the ear. intended to explain the effect of soft and mournful music. Ar- min appears di^turbe(l at a performance of this kind. and pursues through a great many forms. mildly stands said of Cormac. that rising from a lake pours on the " The green " returns in * There i-^ flowers are filled with dew. which. to die in his early years. and shines to the beam " of the west. it to heighten the appearance of a beautiful ob- The hair of Morna is " like the mist of Cromla. 173 " His face brightened like the foil moon of " heaven. he employs ject. who was " Nor long shalt thou lift shining beam of youth! Death tliee. its The sun is strength. the spear. when the clouds vanish away. foretels the storm. dim behind hke tlae darkened half of the moon behind its growjng light.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. which one would hardly expect." Venvela is " bright as the moon when it trembles o'er the " western wave . It is like soft mist." when it " And it is by a very fancifol and uncommon " " " allasion.

" . *' compared a pestilential^ " I love a foe like is Cathmor." is when storms Fame sudflies denly departing. But the little is vapour rises Its " that hovers round the hill. is his soul full great . mist employed as a simili- tude of some disagreeable or terrible object." that songs have a happy effect to soften the heart. his arm strong soul lake. &c. " on the green •' lest the winds meet . as the moisture of the mist refreshes and is nourishes the flowers. fog. like soft mist. and to improve by tender emotions." says Fingal. marshy never there. when " darkness of watery and dim. " Why is bursts the sigh of its Armin music Is there a cause " " to mourn? The song comes with It to is. treacherous slowly vanishing." The face of a ghost " pale is as the mist of Cromla. melt and please such mournful it the ear. to *' " mist that melts by degrees onj after his to the sunny hill. like the is sun in the " mist. his battles are like a It it " of fame. ." A ghost. whilst the sadness they occasion transient. only and soon life dispelled : by the succeeding occupations and returns in its amusements of " The sun strength." like the mist is " The old age comes of the de- " '' sert. *"' "The day of soul of Nathos was his face sad." Cairbar. likened to " mist that away before the rustling wind of the vale.174 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON is But^ for the most part. is assassination of Oscar. and the " mist is gone. dwelling is in the cave and it sends forth the dart ? says to him. rolled along " " invade *' the silent sun-shine of heaven." as mist that is " The gloom of battle poured on the valley.

This might be shewn in many instances. on his glittering " " rocks. Two fac- tious chiefs are contending Cathmor them. each suf- towards reedy pool. As of is usual to judge of poets from a comparison their similes more than of other tlie passages. the king inter- poses. with what propriety of judgment they are employed. to see how Homer For and Ossian have conducted some images of the same kind. " when the sun rises between them. Pope's translation of only a few of the most considerable from both poets. it must be admitted its to have been as well cultivated as it extent would allow. and at the same time. the ground-work of their comparisons the same. as the great objects of nature are common to the poets of all all nations. and make the general store-house of imagery.THE POEMS OF *' OSSIAN. and silences The poet intends to give us the highest idea of Cathmor's superiority} and most effectually accomplishes his intention by the following happy image." is This is a simile highly finished. founded on mistj in the 4th book of Temora. is still But there aiso another which more striking. like two columns of morning mist. it will perhaps be agreeable to reader. . rebukes. 175 of death. Dark its is their rolling on either side . If his field was narrow. " They sunk froni the king " on either side." These instances may ficiently shew with what richness of imagination Ossian's comparisons abound. I shall select must of course be frequently Mr. Homer can be of no use to .

The eartli streamed witli As when winter torrents. we find it twice repeated in the same words. The following for description a favourite one. heaps simde on simile. the poet. Homer in the simplicity of a that we can form any comparison encountering armies. and swords. rushing from the blood. The shock of two noise and the tumult of battle. It is altogether unfair betvveen and the imposing harmony of flowing numbers. " manner of Ossian. viii. " mountains. Such " was tlie terror and the shout of the engaging " armies. aftbrd tlie between the two bards. prose. . The bossy The " universal tumult rose. their roar from afar. and the stiength of armed men. and Iliad. iv. one of the most grand . their violent " waters. and awful subjects of description on which Let us is all first epic poets have exerted their strength.* " When now the conflicting hosts joined in the field " " " of battle. only by viewing prose translation. pour into a narrow valley. They issue from a thousand springs. There were mingled the " triumphant shouts and the dying groans of the vic" tors and the vanquished. and " mix in the hollowed channel.176 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION The parallel is ON us here. then were mutually opposed shields." In another passage. Co. The distant shepherd " hears on tlie mountain. to exwhich his imagin440. much in the press the vastness of the idea. hear I Homer. bucklers were dashed against each other. with * Iliad.

As two dark streams from " high rocks meet and mix. " As autumn's dark storms pour hills. when. ation seems to labour. ocean. VOL. sounded on " steel. when " driven against the shore by the whole force of tliebois- " " ' terous nortli J not so loud in the tain. when roll waves on high is as the last " " " peal of the tliunder of heaven. we may oppose to the following from Ossian. 177 " With a mighty shout tlie hosts " engage. " and man witli man. meet Lochlin " and Inisfail. *' —As tlie the troubled noise of the . when fury ' to consume the lofty oaks. tlie noise woods of the mounrising in its of the flame."* To tliese descriptions and similes. He will find less images of extended j tlie same kind employed . N . and roar on the plain . and dark in battle. so Swaran's host came on * as meets a rock a thou- Iliad. not so loud the wind among .THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. such battle. Chief mixed his strokes with chief. and leave the reader judge between them. roaring terrible. I. forest . they rushed against each other. rough." —" As the noise of roll a thousand waves to the rock. " " " tlie when the wratli of the storm rages as was the clamour of the Greeks and Trojans. Helmets are cleft on high blood bursts and 3 " smoaks around. . xiv. Steel clanging. commonly but thrown forth with a glowing rapidity which characterises our poet. 393. " loud. ap- " proached the heroes. "" from two echoing towards each other. Not so loud roars the wave of ocean.

so all met Swaran. fol- lows superior to any comparison tliat Homer uses on this subject. as a hundred hammers that son of the furnace." says " As Homer. the thickened phalanx to the war." Never to was an image of more awful sublimity employed heighten the terror of battle. . mixed on Lena's but what " is echoing heatli. Both poets compare the appearance of an army approaching. " " ocean assaults the shore of the desert so vast. moved dark. the armies so roaring. wing Death raises his voices around.178 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON Inisfail " " " " •' sand waves. " The it groan of the people spread like tlie " over the *' was thunder of night. —" They on." —" As rise by turns on the red a hundred winds on as "Morvenj *' as the streams of a hundred hiUsj . under the Ajaces. " beholds from " the rock a cloud borne along the sea by the western " wind black as pitch it appears from afar sailing " over the ocean. " He shrinks at the sight. — and mixes with the sound of to ^The field echoes from wing." In several of these images. *' when a shepherd. so terrible. shields. and carrying the dreadful storm. clouds fly successive over heaven or as the dark . the 275. hills . a thousand when the cloud bursts on Conaj and " ghosts shriek at once on the hollow wind. there a remarkable similarity to is Homer's . and drives his flock into the J " " cave : Such. to the gathering of dark clouds."* • Iliad. iv.

but the shepherd and his flock."* when the strength of the " north wind army. " tlieir edges are tinged with lightning. with full as much propriety. tliat having long " threatened retire slowly behind the hills." action." Ossian's clouds assume a greaj: many forms and. sleeps. to Homer compares the regular appearance of an army. when the winds roll them over the heath. " over the desert like stormy " clouds. compares the appearance of a disordered tlie mountain cloud. when the blast hath " entered its womb and scatters the curling gloom " on every side. in tlie " day of calmness." says Ossian." The picture of Oithona. a sublime idea. . coming to to " clouds. behind the red meteors of retreating without ''heaven. and the " echoing groves foresee the storm. ' 1/9 " came. is An army likened rain. " The " warriors followed their chiefs. after she * Iliad. had determined to 522. to " Ossian.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. V. are a fertile source of Imagery to him. between the two the This poets. like the gathering " of the rainy clouds. which amuse the fancy by enlivening the scenery. " clouds that are settled on the mountain top. mate. . as we might expect from his cli. strong and Homer adds cir- cumstances and appendages. is frequently the difference Ossian gives no more than full : main image. render Homer's simile more picturesque." is The edges of the cloud tinged with lightning.

A CRITICAL DISSERTATIQN ON " Her soul was resolved. stretched his bright lance before " him. " bursts its stands dark on Cromla. ex- tremely noble. the Dog Star." * Iliad."* is. is lively and delicate. like the cloud of a it " shower. meditating. " betokening to miserable men. when the traveller is alone. " bioad moon is darkened in heaven. setting in tlie heath " of Malmor. splendour is splendour . the destroying heat. the assassination of Oscar.. The . like of " autumn bright are its beams. valley gleams with red light " the spirits of the storm rejoice. and complete in " Cairbar heard their words in silence. . " Fingal. to a star or meteor. also of the gloomy Cairbar. Terrible was the gleam of his steel it was " like the green meteor of death. 180 die. The hero's 20. . at length his So stood the silent " king of Temora is words are heard. " tall in his ship. " A troubled joy rose on her mind. " the multitude of stars in the " It rises in its distinguished amidst dark hour of night. xxii. all its parts. in like manner. like the red path " of the lightning on a stormy cloud. till the lightning side. and the . tlie plain. The first appearance of Fingal. " and the tear was dried from her wildly-looking eye. compared by Ossian. but its fatal. until the moment came is when '' his designs were ripe for execution." to Homer's comparison of Achilles very sublime. " Priam beheld him rushing along tlie star " shining in his armour." The image in silence.

that I cannot forbear giving a place also. appearance in Homer." Malvina's allusion to the same object. roots . is ISl in Ossian. . The blast of the desert came by night. is a among poets for describing the of a warrior in battle. it is so exquisitely tender. similitude frequent fall or overthrown by a storm. more terrible. elegant as we may oppose the following simile of Ossian's. and stretches it is. that on the death of Euolive. Next day he re" turned but they were withered. A tree cut down. like three young oaks " which stood alone on the hiU. . relating to the death of the three sons of Usnoth."* To this. phorbus. it often. in her lamentation over Oscar. and wondered how tliey grew so " lonely. and the heath " was bare. ! " 1 all was " a lovely tree in thy presence. But the most beautiful. Homer employs far. xvii. and loaded with white blossoms when ' tlie sudden blast of a whirlwind descending. this object. " and laid their green heads low. by founded on tiful in of his comparisons. " it out from its bed. more magnificent . it is " and flourishing it is fanned by the breath of all " the winds. ^\'ith my . it on tlie dust. " As the young and verdant which where fair " " a man hath reared with care in a lonely it tlie springs of water bubble around . Oscar * Iliad. field.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. 53. " They fell. The traveller saw " tlie lovely trees. indeed one of the most beauis the whole Iliad.

" in his strength 3 In such images. Swaran " roared in " battle. storms around the ghost of " when he calls them from tlie top of Morven." As Homer gods. But " blast from the desert." " They fell before my son. and diversified 3 with well chosen circumstances the death of such as that upon fallen like Ryno and Orla in the : " They have it lies " the oak of the desert. like " " " ancient oak in Morven." Several of Ossian's similes taken trees. and " takes their green heads in his hand. . Ossian appears for very selso as dom have supernatural beings been painted with much sublimity. :" " and withers that wind of the mountains Or an 3 which Ossian applies to himself 3 " I. are remarkably beautiful. wheil across a stream. like the shrill spirit of a storm that sits dim clouds of Gormal." like " His people gathered around Ernight. showers but no leaf " of mine from arose. like groves in tlie desert. like a laid its " branches round me. " when an angry ghost rushes tln'ough night. and " prepares to pour them on the land of tlie stranger. moulder alone in the blast hath lopped my place 3 my branches away and I tremble at the wings of the north. and such force of imagination. .J 82 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON thy death came. Ossian exalts his heroes by comparing them to makes the same use of comparisons taken from spirits and ghosts. " on the " ragon. and " The spring returned with my green head low. and enjoys the death of " the mariner.

. in must Take. His mighty hand on So " The winds lift his flaming locks. women. . the beauty of * Iliad. particularly. the dif- 298. and with what sublimely has heightened it. armed against the Ephyrians and " Phlegyans nor do they regard the prayers of " either but dispose of success at dieir will. Terror. of other subjects illustrated by similes the songs of bards. the in- engagement and death of heroes. tlie following. idea here. his be" loved son. great as he these. was relate chiefly to martial sub- to the appearances and motions of armies. and the various cidents of war. when he rushes to war. refol- yield to him similes formed upon for instance." Homer's comparisons jects. Even Homer. In Ossian. is undoubtedly noble : but observe what a figure Ossian sets before the astonished imagination.THE POEMS OF by this OSSIAN. " Cuthullin in the day of his fame. xiii. when he comes in the roar of a thousand storms. like Mars the destroyer " of men. is the most markable of this kind in the " Meriones " lowed Idomeneus to battle. like the dreadful of Loda. strong and fierce. terrible circumstances he " He rushed spirit in the sound of his " *' arms. and scat- " ters battles from his eyes. He sits on is a cloud over his sword. terrible " Lochlin's seas. we find a greater variety . is^ 183 poet. They come " from Thrace. attends him 3 who " fills with dismay the most valiant hero."* The . which Iliad.

but exquisitely tender image.184 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON and private beautiful delicate 3 ferent circumstances of old age. " why didst thou come over the dark blue ? " wave to Nuath's mournful daughter Why did its " " not I pass away in secret. . that lifts its fair head unseen. The *' ghosts of departed bards heard it from Slimora's . illustrated by a variety of the most beautiful appearances that are to nature. 1 be found in It is compared the to the calm shower of spring hill to the dews of morning on the still of roes . Two similes on subject. I shall quote. because they would do honour to any of the most celebrated classics. in her lamentation over the dishonour she had suf- fered ? " Chief of Strumon. like the flower of the rock. pleasant and mournful to tlie soul. " music of Carril was like the memory of joys that " are past. . *' The one and let is J " Sit thou on the heath. O bard tlie ! us hear thy voice it is pleasant as " gale of die spring that sighs on the hunter's joy. and has hill. and strews blast ?" " withered leaves on the The music of bards. to the face of the blue and this lake. is a favourite object with' Ossian. when he wakens from dreams of tlie " heard music of the spirits of the The " The other contains a short. for instance. than the following simile of Oithona's. sorrow." replied the sighing maid. What. accompanied with tlie finest poetical painting. can be more and moving.'' " ear. distress which give occasion to much imagery.

indeed. the Roman stateliness which he every where maintains. mity. admit no parallel with the abrupt boldness and enthusiastic warmth of the Celtic bard. Virgil more tender than Homer . those of the other more strong the tenderness of Virgil softens. J 85 Soft sounds spread along the silent and a the valleys of night rejoice. may be sometimes observed between Ossian's comparisons. wood . Both wrote in an early period of society nals 5 .THE POEMS OF " " side. A resemblance cred writers. and The of correct elegance of Virgil. adorned made. and they use it with the utmost propriety. Lowth de Sacra Poesi Hebri'orum. both are origi- both are distinguished by simplicity. OSSIAN. diat of Ossian dissolves and overcomes the heart. and those employed by the sa- They abound much in this figure. and polished. and thereby agrees more with Ossian with this dif- ference." What figure would such imagery and such scenery have to us. had they been presented the sweetness and I with ! harmony of all the VLrgilian numbers have chosen along to compare Ossian with reason. .* soil The ima- gery of Scripture exhibits a * and climate altoge- See Dr. his artful imitation Homer. there is a 5 resemblance. for an obvious a much nearer correspondence between the times and manners of the two former poets. sublifire. There is rather than Virgil. that the feelings of the one are more gentle . Homer. In one is article.

In the following example may be perceived what in- expressible grandeur poetry receives from the inter- vention of the Deity. generally short.. " Thou art to me the beam of * Isaiah. a great enlivener of style. the poetry of Ossian is 1 embellished with many beautiful metaphors : Such as that remarkably fine one applied light of to Deugala . a more smiling face of nature. a warmer country. like Ossian's. rather than spread out into episodes. and the threshing are often presented to us. paints ject at tlie obtli« one stroke. which suppresses the mark of comparison. the It and substitutes a figured description in is object described. The similes are. denotes that glow and rapidity of fancy. which. the arts of agriculture and of rural life much farther advanced. and the beds of lilies. the fragrance of perfumes. 186 ther A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON different from tliose of Ossian . and they shall fly far off". xvii. the cedar and the palm-tree. and " like tlie down of the thistle before the whirlwind. The wine press. " She was covered witli tlie beauty but her ex- " heart was the house of pride. " the rushings of many waters but God shall rebuke " them. and shall be chased " as the chaff" of the mountains before the wind. " The nations shall rush like . . floor."* Besides formal comparisons. touching on one point of resemlittle blance. 13. with- out pausing to form a regular simile." This mode of room of pression. the voice of the turtle.

O lovely beam. either so first have been looked an advantage owing no doubt to the more cul- ." This correct.. the metaphor. ! left us in dark- " " " —Soon hast thou the Malvina ! but thou like beam of where the east. becomes imperfect before it closes." . me. OSSIAN. the chambers of the 3 " thunder. by being improperly mixed with the literal sense. Trathal went forth with the stream " of his people . THE POEMS OF . though very beautiful at the beginning. to Yet Ossian's hyperboles appear not frequent or so harsh as might at for . bvit they met a rock Fingal stood " vinmoved broken they rolled back from his side. " thou art the gale of spring in war. like the moon on the blue ! " ti-embling wave. and farther progress arts of life. first of the set.'' " In peace. " Nor did they roll in safety " pursued their flight. and finely supported but. to find often employed by Ossian as the iindisci- imagination of early ages generally prompts exaggeration. 187 " cast. chasten men's ideas and expressions. among in their the spirits of thy friends. and carries its objects to excess in the whereas longer experience. " soon hast thou set on our hills The steps of thy " departure were stately. ness. in the following instance. : " . " they sit stormy is halls. rising in a land unknown. But thou hast maids of Lutha risest. the spear of the king The plined hyperbole is a figure which we might expect . the mountain " storm." " Pleasant be thy rest.

as being. and so were we in their sight. which the affrighted Jewish spies land of Canaan. 33. it his report to Cuthullin of the landing of But this is so far from deserving censure that merits praise. as subsisted among the ancient Celtae. than 'poetry tivated state. among what most other barbarous One of the most exis aggerated descriptions in the whole work. which come of tlic " giants and we were in our own sight as gras*j : 3 " hoppers. The it scout arrives. of fears poses . not unlike the report. and magnifies every object which they view tlirough the medium of a troubled imagination. where the scout tlie makes foe. meets us at the beginning of Fingal. in which occur Moran's description of Swaran's aptlie pearance. that no passion dis- men to hyperbolize in more than their terror. nations. natural and proper. xiii. * Numbers. Hence all those indistinct images of formidable greatness. made to their leader of the " The land through which we have " gone to search it. tremblmg and full is and well known. and in his relation of conference which they held together ."* 32. is a land that eateth up tlie in" habitants thereof and all the people that we saw *• and there saw in it. the natural marks of a disturbed and confused mind. . on that occasion. in which. are men of a great stature " we giants.188 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON was before shewn. the sons of Anak. It both annihilates themselves own apprehension.

tlie language of passion. " Dost thou raise thy fair face from tlie rocks. as much out of place. or addresses to persons absent or dead. For the intermixture of those shadowy beings. human fiction actors. as in tragedy serving only unseasonably to amuse tlie fancy. Allegorical personages he has none is and their absence not to be regretted. and accounted for being so. im- mediately suggesting to him a crowd of tender ideas ." he The sea exclaims. THE POEMS OF With his OSSIAN. seldom produces a good visible The becomes too and phanreality. first and they are among tlie Witness apostrophe. . formerly ob- served that Ossian was sparing. to the maid of . at the conclusion of the same book. \\'ith effect.. weakened Witli apostrophes. In the serious and pathetic scenes of Ossian especially. tastic . He commands the harp to be struck in and the mention of Bragela's name. her praise . our poet abounds his highest beauties. in Inistore. whilst they stopped the current and the force of passion. " to find the sails of Cuthullin ? . which have been. I I IS9 regard to personifications. allegorical characters would have been . is and overthrows that impression of recital which the probable culated to of hvmian actions cal- make upon the mind. in all ages. whose lover had fallen in battle and tliat inimitably fine one of Cuthullin to Bragela. which have not the support even of mythological or legendary belief. tlie book of Fingal.

" " is and its white foam shall dehis imagina- ceive thee for my sails. .ntion of every reader of taste. of wars and arms. " Whither dost tliou retire " from thy course. and." And now tion being wrought up tliis to conceive her as. hair. " retire. happy and afstrain of though beyc^d the cautious modern poetry. addresses to star. The to beauties of each are too great. witli an entliusiasm. need any particular comment. tlie The sun. Are they who ? * joiced with thee no more Yes. and to the evening must draw the att:. my feasts.190 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON rolling far distant. my speak . really in he becomes afraid of the harm she may receive from the inclemency of the night fecting. and tliink " " " *' of the times that are past till tlie for I will not return storm of war has ceased. my and the dark winds sigh in tliy Retire to the hall of .' " Dwellest tliou in the shadow of ? Have thy retliey " sisters fallen from Heaven at night. when " tenance grov/s Hast ? the darkness of thy coun- thou thy hall like Ossian grief ? . as among the most splendid ornaments of this collection. at that situation. and send her from for lovely mind with her raven hair is the white-bosomed This breathes all " daughter of Sorglan." he proceeds. . " Retire." the native spirit of passion and tenderness. for it i» " " night. O Connal. moment. In one passage only of the address to the moon. to the moon. love. there appears some obscurity. and too obvious.

or of stars. like himself. " to mourn. 191 retire and thou dost often at a loss to We may be comprehend. now from heaven. Darkness sug- gested the idea of mourning. Her waning and arises. and fancies fallen to have once rejoiced with her at night. The old man on the point of distraction. the ground of these speculations of . and mourning suggested nothing so naturally to Ossian as the death of beloved friends. sees through the dis- inhumanity of his daughters. that. Didst thou give art all And thou corns to this . dark- ness presents to his melancholy imagination the image is of sorrow . tinc- its own disposition every object which beholds. with his heart bleeding for his friends. she retires to the loss of otlier moons. to thy daughters ? ? Lear. fair light ! OSSIAN. but when all the cir- cumstances are attended naturally they will appear to flow from the present situation of his mind. tlie loss The of all old bard. An instance precisely simil ar of Uiis influ- ence of passion. A it mind under tures with the dominion of any strong passion. and presently the idea and in- dulged. concerning the moon to. mourn over he calls whom her sisters. may be seen in a passage which has always been admired of Shakespeare's King Lear.THE POEMS OF " have fallen. Edgar appear guised like a beggar and a madman. is meditating on tlie dif- ferent phases of the moon. Ossian." at first view.

Virgil has copied from Theocritus. He hath no daughters. ! Sir. ye southern winds. These " mountains. ACT III. O till that tlie ye had been rustling hills in the sails ! of Nathos.192 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON ? Couldest thou leave nothing all? Didst thou give them Kent. is and saw coming chief. Death. on which." it This pasbears to an their ab- sage remarkable for the resemblance expostulation with the wood nymphs. sence at a critical time . The halls of Cairbar are near. nymphs ! when the remorseless deep ? Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas . Nathos. when the sons " of my love were deceived ? But ye have been " "^ sporting on plains. but his unkind daughters. " and the towers of the foe lift their head. traitor nothing could have sub- dued nature^ To such a lowness. " " of Etha rose their till they rose in their clouds. and Milton has veiy happily imitated from both. Lear. in the opening of Darthula. as a favourite poetical idea. Where " have ye been. nor is that the and deny are not thy roar of tliy " climbing waves. KING LEAR. SCEXE V. The apostrophe to is tlie winds. O Darthula " tlie woody Etha to thy sails. : " But " the winds deceive tliee. in tlie highest spirit of poetry. and pursuing the thistle's beard. Where were ye.

See Thecciit. must also be sublime and * Milton's Lycidas. . Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream. ice.. suited to the character and situation of those who utter them. But it is not enough that sentiments be natural In order to acquire any high tliey and proper.* . above observed. degree of poetical merit. Idyll. A variety of personages of different his and conditions. Eclog. and they speak and act with it is a propriety of sentiment and behaviour. which find in so rude surprising to an age. saltus habuere. No sentiments can be beautiful without being proper that is. Ossian as is as correct most writers. he Nor on the shaggy top of Mona. pathetic. are introduced into poems . ages. throughout. puellse. Having now treated fully of Ossian's talents. be taken as an example. VOL. 10. are in general well supported which could not have been the case. THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. as In this respect. sexes. had the sentiments been unnatural or out of place. I. His characters. to only remains make some observations on his sentiments. with it respect to description and imageiy. aut qui vos Virg. I. the famous Druids. Let the poem of Darthula. For neither were ye playing on the steep 193 Where your old bards. And Quae nemora. O . high.

correctness . All the circumstances.194 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION is ON in de- The sublime It not confined to sentiment alone. will apthe pear to more advantage midst of smiling . were superfluous. polished times. we may look for in The gay and in the beautifiil. more perhaps Accuracy and . may.thura . are favourable to the sublime. if the similes all for- founded upon ghosts and spirits of the night. spirit of Loda. To pro- duce more instances. be not admitted as examples. If the en- gagement of Fingal with the rie. requires or poetry and to produce a genius glowing with the strongest and warmest conception of some object awful. and illustrious ones too. Carthon . sufficiently appear from many of the pas- sages I have already had occasion to quote. in Car- if the encounters of the armies. I confess myself entirely ignorant of this quality in writing. . as raise fill it it to an uncommon elevation. or magnificent. imports to the such ideas presented degree of mind. than to any other species of beauty. merly mentioned. belongs to description also and whether scription or in sentiment. I think. of Ossian's com- position. of the true poetical sublime. indeed. This : the highest effect either of eloquence this effect. in Fingal j in if the address to the sun. and is with admiration and astonish- ment. That this character of genius belongs to Ossian. great. artfully connected narration exact me- thod and proportion of parts.

ous emotion trouble. and in plain words : for every superfluous decoration degrades a sublime idea. For the sublime. Simplicity and conciseness are never-failing characteristics of the style of a sublime writer. is on the pomp of sublime. and It is whirlwinds and battles. aut alta Ceraunia telo VIRG. flagranti Aut Atho. a lofty description or sentiment presented to in its native form. OSSIAN. GEORG. But no sooner does the poet attempt . and perfectly consistent with a It certain noble disorder.THE POEMS OF scenes of nature. offspring all It is the of nature. Dejicit. quo maxima motu . in nocte. not He rests on the majesty of his expressions. aut Rhodopen. . I. But amidst the rude amidst rocks and torrents. dwells the sublime. Ipse pater. Per gentes. The mind rises is and swells. It is negligent of the lesser graces. the thunder and the lightning of genius. coruscS Fulmina molitur dextra Terra tremit . humilis pavor ille. when it. not of art. 195 scenery and pleasurable themes. that grave associates natvurally with and solemn spirit. his sentiments. and darkness. which is distinguishes seri- our author. media nimborum . an awful and all and is heightened by the images of and terror. The main secret of being to say great things in few. fugere ferae stravit & mortalia corda .

V.196- A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON it to spread out this sentiment or description. Italiam. Coeli iste fretique. Hence the concise and simple of Ossian. it departs farther from the sub- at last. Sperne minas. conceptions and assists tliem in seizing the imagi- nation with full power. quern nuniina nunquam de quo male tunc fortuna meretur. inquit. Cum Non post vota venit medias perrumpe procellas Tutela secure mea. till. over j the beautiful may remain. and to deck round and round with fall glittering ornaments. not satisfied magnanimous and subre- with this simple concisenei^s. times? Cjesarem vehis Lucan. . as belonging to sentiment. Quaerit pelagi coelique tumultu Quid praestet fortuna mihi. labor Hanc Cassare prcssam A fluctu defendit onus. coincides in a great measure with magnanimity. gives great advantage to his sublime . * heroism. hxc est jusia timoris Vectorem non nosse tuum Destituunt . but the sublime style is gone. est.. fiiARSAi. generosity of sentiment. Pelagi. puppis nostrae. 57s. pete. . Quid Ignoras ? tanta strage paratur. ventoque furenti Trade sinum. it ends in tumid declamation. its than the mind begins to the transport is from high elevation . iVIe. Sola causa ." is " Quid lime.* Sublimity. how every time he twists lime. solved to amplify and improve the thought. . it round. Observe. and Whatever discovers human The noted saying of Julius Caesar to the pilot in a storm. tibi si coelo auctore. recusas.

forms what may this. Fingal's warriors no spirit of avarice or of insult but a perpetual con- tention for fame . be called the moral or sentimental sublime. We behold no debasing passions among . mind 197 e in its greatest elevation . Particularly in is all the senloftiness timents of Fingal. not by hatred. there a grandeur and proper to swell the mind with the highest ideas of appears.T<es all the other heroes. Wherever he we behold the hero. Such the strain of sentiment in the works of Ossian. but it is a generous valour. of the same lour reigns cruelty. objects which he pursues. human perfection. truly great The . THE POEMS OF nalvii OSSIAN. to dangers. No poet main- higher tone of virtuous and noble sentiment. if they wanted the softening of the tender. Admiration is a cold feeling. . all throughout his works.. j whatever bespeaks a superior to high effort of soul or shews a pleasures. would be zard of giving a hard and stiff air to poetry. A portion Vavoid of spirit actu. animated by honour. to defend his friends to overcome his ene- mies by generosity more than by force. a desire of being distinguished . For Ossian tains a is eminently distinguished. . are always 3 to bend the proud j to protect the in- jured . But the sublimity of moral sentiments. and 3 remembered and a zealous for gallant actions a love of justice attachment to their friends and their is countr}'. and to death. in haIt is not enough to admire.

who has the least sensibility. Ever fond of giving. by a mysterious attachment to the objects of compassion. we are pleased and delighted. it is he expresses " the joy of grief. simple and natural emotions of heart. the heroic mixed with the elegiac strain tion admiraas tempered with it. he delights to exert his ge- nius and accordingly. His great art in managing them lies in giving vent to the tlie . and his With scenes of this kind Ossian abounds is high merit in these. the heart fails. . when by powerful sympathy. for instance. will is The general character of his poetry. to find A We need only open tlie them every where. that on all . than what his works present. pity. even whilst we . than the after ? lamentations of the son Oithona. mourn. in comparison of that deep interest heart takes in tender and pathetic scenes where.198 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON which the . We meet with no exaggerated declamation no subtile refine- ments on sorrow place of passion. her misfortune What. her lover. no substitvition felt its of description in Ossian uttering strongly himself 5 and native language never to affect the heart. never were there finer pa- thetic situations. believe no question. I man. book great variety of examples might be produced. can be more moving. ignorant of . . blamed for drawing tears too often from our eyes but that he has the power of commanding them. He may be . of Morni. moving subjects. incontestable." visible. Gaul.

the son of .THE POEMS OF what she had meeting is OSSIAN. sea. is to do. years come on with joy and the virgins " would bless my steps. in Cuthullin's ex- pressions of grief after his defeat. O Gaul to hear " my departing sigh ? O had I dwelt at Duvranna. son of " Morni. " Shall I live in Tro? " mathon and Morni low My heart is " not of that rock nor my soul careless as that sea. " me . and strews its withered leaves on the " blast ? Why didst tlion come. tender in the highest degree. with a bursting sigh. why earnest thou " over the waves to Nuath's mournful daugh" ter ? Why did not I pass away in secret. The blast. shall spread the branches of Oithona on " earth. comes to her rescue.surrounded Tro- Chief of Strumon. and rolls " beneath the storm. " which lifts its blue waves to every wind. if he himself should live ?" she " And shall the daughter of Nuath replied. " in tlie bright beams of my fame Then had " my. We shall wither together. and my father shall blush in his hall " ! — ! . in single combat. and the grey stone of the dead I for never " more will " mathon ! leave thy rocks. IQQ Their suffered. He pro- poses to engage her foe. " borne Morni The narrow house ! son of caris pleasant to . Oithona mourns like a woman . and gives her in charge what she fall. which shall lay " thee low. that lifts its fair head " unseen. Bat I fall in youth. we behold the . like " the flower of the rock.

and " the noise of the battle is over. disgrace. by the noise of battle. that Fingal the foe and that he ought not. for CutliuUin " is worthy no more to lift the arms of his fathers. and talk to him in the cave of his sor" row. I am like a beam that " has shone Like a mist that has fled away when ! ! : . to praise the king of swords." replied tlie own chief. sees Fingal victorious in the field. When " Lochlin falls away like a stream after rain.200 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON The is sentiments of a hero. alone. He is is described as kindling his fa- " His hand on the sword of on the . situation remarkably fine. at the sight. Cuthullin yields to this generous sentiment see it but we stinging him *' to the heart with the sense of his go. Then. Cuthullin. then be thy voice " sweet in his ear. generous but desponding. " Give him the sword of Caithbat . Carril. " But. He vi^as thrice attempted to rush to battle stop and thrice did Connal routing him . " and greet the king of Morven. }" suggesting. " " " thers J his red-rolling eyes foe. tlie " shaggy side of the Connal ! talk of arms no . For never more shall I be renowned among " the mighty in the land. which was owing to him . to deprive the king of any part of honour of a victory. rouzed from his cave. O ye ghosts of the lonely Cromla Ye souls " of chiefs that are no more Be ye the companions " of Cutliullin. by the show of sutlie perfluous aid. " the blast of the morning came. and brightened hill.

has often been re- marked. " Whose sword his moLlier is that ? he will say and the soul of had shewn sad. thou sun-beam of Dunscaich iEstuat ingens for vanquished. Besides such extended pathetic scenes. and ask her why she weeps. and sorrow dwells at " Dunscaich. THE POEMS OF : OSSIAN.. in the sixth Iliad." Soon after Fingal . Thy spouse is left alone in her youth " the son of thy love is alone. . white-bosomed Bragela mourn . his brother of love they fell without In tears. He shall come to "Bragela. we find a circumstance that still the imagination with greater force. And thou. as adding much to the tenderness of the In the following passage relating to the death of Cuthullin. My sighs shall be " on Cromla's wind till my footsteps cease to be " seen. When " " *' Oscar fell in battle. " never return to thee. He shall " " lift his eyes to the wall. I will !" Uno in corde pudor. Ossian fre- quently pierces the heart by a single unexpected stroke. 201 " more departed is my fame. is and see his father's sword. " No father mourned his son slain in youth j no brother. " Mournfal are Tura's walls. scene. the circumstance of the child in his nurse's arms. ! ** over the fall of my fame . luctusque." tlie admirable interview of Hector with Andromache.. said Carril must " And strike is the " son of Semo fallen ?" with a sigh. for the chief of the people was low. et conscia virtus.

" says " Fillan rests and Ryno " But he is " son start on the bed of death. she'll sure my wife I My wife Oh —my wife—What wife — ! have no wife insupportable Oh heavy hour V. his sons to tlie chase. diffuses over whole poetry. The similar contrivance of the incident in both poets j is but the circumstances are varied witli judg- ment." is — not here —My ^This unexpected of anguish worthy of the highest speak to ? tragic poet. with the dignity rising of a hero. fallen in battle. The tween his contrast which Ossian frequently makes beand a his his present former state. fail solemn pathetic which can- not to make impression on every heart. he. ACT SCENE VII. Fingal. after his accus- sons. corrects himself. " Call.— ! — — 202 all A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON is the grief of a father's heart for Ryno. If she come ! in. when fallen had from him. . one of his calling. OTHELLO. is The conclusion of the songs of Sehna. and suppresses his grief. air. or can leave upon tlie mind a stronger and more affecting idea of venerable aged bard. witli tlie confusion and horror of one tortured with guilt. it OtheUo dwells upon the name of wife. " song " Such were the words of tlie bards in the days of the when the king heard the music of harps. . culated for this purpose. he tomed manner. cal particularly cal- Notliing can be more poetitlie and tender.

that roars lonely ! *' on a sea-surrounded rock. after examination. The sons of the song are gone to rest. " They say. the their pleasant song. Roll on. as they pass along Why does Ossian . I hear the call of years. and by some waiter of happier times ? A tliousand such cold and frivolous criticisms. Ossian two chief ingredients fair must. " The dark moss whistles there. like a blast. " My voice remains.* the is first among " a thousand bards. Upon tlie whole if to and to dein poeti- scribe naturally. has Ossian himself is poetically called the voice of Cona. But " memory fails on my mind. whether a . ye dark" brown years for ye bring no joy in your course. and the distant trees. be held to possess that genius in a high degi'ee. qviestion is The pas- not. But age I now on my tongue. and learn hear. . and " no bard shall raise his fame. " and *' *' 203 the tales of other times. * But. be the cal genius. art or tliat might not have been worked up with more skill. sometimes. ma- " riner sees the waving . are alto- gether indecisive as to his genuine merit. few improprieties may be whether this. They praised the voice of Cona . " sing ? Soon shall he lie in the narrow house.THE POEMS OF OSSIAN. pointed out in his works sage. " ghosts of bards. after die winds are laid. " and my soul has failed. for his strength has " failed. and heard the lovely sound. all tlieir The chiefs gathered from hills. " Let the tomb open to Ossian." feel strongly.

yet in strength of imagination. the fulness and accuracy of description. yet he always moral. he the the lire. Though than it is. Ossian may sometimes . and weep poetry. the inspiration of a poet ? > Does he by utter the voice of nature ? Does he by elevate his sentiments ? Does he to interest his descrip- tions Does he paint the heart as well as to the fancy ? Does he make his readers glow. that his writings are remarkably favourable to virtue. If he flows not always like a clear a stream. transcend whole volumes of faultless mediocrity. Where these are foiind. he is is far from being destitute} and his imagination strength. his merit tliis were in otlier re- spects much less alone ought to entitle him to high regard. A few beauties of high kind. in an eminent degree. he must who can dwell upon slight this be a minute defects. the regular dignity of narration. in gran- deur of sentiment.204 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON spirit. in native majesty of passion. pathies. and tremble. he fully their equal. They awake the tenderest sym- and inspire the most generous emotions. by reason of his conis ciseness but he is sublime. If he has not the extensive know- ledge. No . yet he breaks forth often like torrent of fire. remarkable for delicacy as well as is Seldom or never and if he either trifling or tedious is j he be thought too melancholy. ? These are the great characteristics of true critic indeed. appear. Uncouth and abrupt. which we find in Homer is and Virgil. Of art too. he pathetic.

Whilst pleases and the ear with a variet)' of harmonious cadences. For. Though unacquainted with there is the original language. We knovv . and is support so difficult much works dignity throughout. To transfuse such spirited into another 3 and fervid ideas from one language translate literally. from their youtli. that we are putting the merit of the original to a severe test. have been assured by persons skilled in the Galic tongue. on account of beauty and I elegance. and masis. translation to deits no one but must judge the serve the highest praise. and proves the translator to have been ani- mated with no small portion of Ossian's spirit.THE POEMS OF OSSIAX. and honour. Elegant however. force. it allows the spirit of the original to be exhibited with more justness. Of its faithfulness and accuracy. at the same time. and simplicity. freer from constraint in the choice and arrangement of words. one of the mobt of genius. being. whilst we read it. terly as Mr Macphei'son's translation we must we are divest- never forget. The measured sification fills prose which he has employed. without being warmed with the sentiments of humanity. : examining a poet stripped of his native dress ed of the harmony of his own numbers. who. were acquainted with many of these poems of Ossian. to and yet with svich a glow of poetry j to keep alive so much passion. reader can rise 205 from him. pos- sesses considerable advantages above any sort of verit he could have chosen. virtue.

we may very safely infer. . If then. whose works are to last for ages. but often to command.. to melt the heart . that his produc- tions are the offspring of true and unconamon genius place and we may boldly assign him a among those. to transport. destitute of this advantage. 5 Ossian has power to please as a poet and not to please only. exhibited in a still literal version. 206 A CRITICAL DISSERTATION ON grace and energy the works of the Greek versifica- how much and Latin poets receive from the charm of tion in their original languages.

I 2Duan Sixsu b .CATH-LODA A POEM.

concerning the issue of the war. feast. FiNGAL. into a bay of Scan- dinavia. the captive daughter of a neighbouring chief. accidentally. by stress of weather. Advancing towards the enemy. Swaran.— The rencounter Odin of Fingal and Swaran. a voyage to the Orkney was driven. Starno invites Fingal to a Fingal. — Fingal comes to where Starno and his son. refuses to go. near the residence of Starno.— ARGUMENT. The king himself undertakes the watch. a part a place of worspirit of the original being ship. Dathmaruno proposes to Fingal. doubting the faith of the king. . comes to the cave of Turthor. where Starno had confined Conbancarglas.— Night coming on. lost. when very young. and mindful of a former breach of hospitality. king of Lochlin. — Her story is imperfect. supposed to be the of Scandinavia. to observe the motions of the enemy. — Starno gathers together his tribes : Fingal re- solves to defend himself. he. — Duan nrst concludes with a descrip- tion of the airy hall of Cruth-loda. consulted the of Loda. making islands.

Malvina. to the dark. where Fingal de- scends from Ocean.! CATH-LODA. Duan* JFirSt. thistle of the times of old ! thou wanderer unseen . hast of Lora why. are the heroes of Few ! Morven. in a land unknown * The bards distinguished those compositions. Since the extinction of the order of the bards. ! Thou bender of the valley. generally prefixed lo it. billowy bay of U-thorno. the daughter of Cormac. by the name of Duan. begins. in which the narration is often interrupted. be improiier. king of Ireland. Fingal undertook an expedition into Orkney. call back his soul to the bard. king of Inistore. thou huntress of Lutha. Two years after he took to wife Ros-crana. to visit his friend Cathalla. The abrupt manner in which may render obscure to some it the story of this readers . it poem may not. from the rock Come. I look forward to Lochlin of lakes. to give here the traditional preface. it has been a general name for all ancient compositions in verse. from the roar of •winds. A TALE Why. is which . Alter staying a few days at Carietlif^refore. thou breeze of the I thou left mine ear ? tlie hear no distant roar of streams ! No sound of harp. by episodes and apostrophes.

Struthmor. nor like Starno. . It is sitions. son of Loda that. shadows. CATH-LODA: . Duth-marnno.210 . drives tlie thistle. a violent storm arising.•sirfrtm . thura. in a hostile manner. Fingal to a feast. Upon discovering who the strangers were. and are mentioned. it is supposed. The sequel of the story may be learned from the poem itself. It is something like those trivial compowhich the Irish bards forged. at which he intended to assassinate him. in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Cormar. Starno sent a dweller of Loda. Cormar. lejidirig a?id sicarlhy . which is over against Orkney. " Nor Gormal's mossy towers. the phraseology betrays it to be a modern composition. and fearing the valour of Fingal. summoned together the neighbouring tribes. . Deatlis wander. Duth-maruno signifies. not the work of Ossian . Struthroan'Hg' . He invited. upon the appear- ance of strangers on his coast. his avowed enemy. in a poem. Cromma-glas. therefore. the king set sail. what he was afraid he should fail in by open force. he resolved to accomplish by treachery. but the poems. The king prudently declined to go. Her story is related at large. of light. which is still preserved. his words are wind to Fingal : and fro. f Duth-maruno is a name very famous in tradition. over his fiery soul ! Do I forget that beam wind. Agandecca. Many of his great actions are handed down.! arm of death! Cromma-glas. his ships were driven into a bay of Scandinavia. more than once. in autumn's dusky Dudi-maruno. experienced before. to bid Fingal to the feast but the king remembered the past. shall Fingal behold. which contained the detail of them. He lived. in the third book * killed. the seat of Starno. near Gormal. towards the bay of U-thorno. and Starno betook himself to arms. the white-handed daughter* of kings? Go. in his last battle against the tribe of Morni. mor. are long since lost. which he had. king of Lochlin. black mid steady. whom her father on account of her discovering to Fingal a plot laid against his life. in that part of the north of Scotland. Starno. to vale. expert at sea. Cromma-glas. where Fingal had taken shelter. as attending Comhal. and all his rage arose. but. to return to Scotland. the residence of CathuUa. of Fingal. the daughter of Starno. and advanced. under the name of Ossian.

his spouse * lonely. Unequal I bursts the hum of songs. is Should Duth-maruno not return. thou tliis dweller between the harps Thou shalt roll stream away. on dark-rolling clouds Arise. they darkly stand. " Come down. hill. is before me. when Crumtliormo * chase he shone. shall my steps be forward through night From this shield shall I view them. in a land unknown Let each look on his shield. . ! around me. dweller of battle's wing! seas. the ruler of wars. The name Crumthormoth. who is mentioned in one of Ossian's [joeras. fear ? No was over their gleaming tribes ? Starno. or waste with me in earth. and Swaran. came tall Duth-maruno . islands. : No is words soul is come on forth they seize their spears. stern hunter of the boar In his dark boat he rose on waves. careless as the ! Cormar. the foe of strangers. Their words are not in vain. by Loda's stone of power. one of the Orkney or Shetland It was subject to is not of Galic original.— DUAN of iron shields ! FIRST. children of heroes. Each takes his by night at intervals. its woods. among ! Duth-maruno " Son of daring Comhal. its own petty king. between the roaring wind ! Broad over them rose the moon In his arms. like Trenmor." Around the king they rise in wrath. whose ships bound on course of a meteor. he from ! Croma of awaked foes : rocks. their echoing shields. Each rolled into itself. In the thine. all J At length the sudden clang waked. 2U Struthmor. thus ! Trenmor said. king of lakes.

and palfreys. enchanted castles. consequently. in These tales. IS even superior to all the pompous oriental fictions of the kindr . so devoid of all probability. the son of Duth-maruno. dwarfs. and form stories. disgustful but. they. the ocean rolling near. hio-craulo's plain. after the death of Fingal. 1 know not how it happens. By frequent repeating. however. they were obliged to have rehaving no foundation in course to invention. and. in this paragraph. they command attention more than any other fictions I ever met with. whom they diverted with repeating the compositions of iheir predecessors. that he applied epithet. from the houses of the chiefs. but such hold they take of tlie memory. bestowed would appear.* tell him of Me became are very of the people. and running up the genealogies of As this subject their entertainers to the family of their chiefs. 111 them unnatural. liked the tales so well. was. a young wanderer on Give the head of a boar * Cean-daona. the fable grew upon their hands. on Crathare hills. which his father. some of them requiring many stories days to repeat them. After the expulsion of the bards. It is curious to the very language of the bards is still preserved. with echoing looks on tlie lield. in the expeditions of Ossian. They. is certain. afterwards famous. The extreme length of these pieces is very surprising.212 at CATH-LODA: Around is home. the story became. however. As I have mentioned the traditional tales of the Highlands. that the bards found their advantage in turning professed tale-makers. that few circumstances are ever omitted by those who have received them only fiom oral tradition: what is still more amazing. head to Can-dona. as each threw in whatever circumstance be thought conducive to raise the admiration of his hearers. have many things to true taste. from the on him fCaiidona ofloarsj them. soon exhausted. They then launched out into the wildest I firmly believe there are more regions of fiction and romance. see. with great credulity. My son screaming sea-fowl. The it traditional tales concerning him numerous. by an ignorant multitude. that even the vulgar themselves did not believe it. than in any country in Europe. woods. and. introduced in these tales. that t he dcscriptionsof magnificence. fact. being an indolent race of men. of giants. at last. it the Highlands. it may not be improper here. in himself to that kind of hunting. is so anxious to recommend to him. owed all their subsistence to the generosity of the vulgar. where meet two roaring streams. to give some account of them. which were swallowed. and. like other romantic compositions.

party. by Torcul-torno. by night. in the days of old. and TorculStarno thought this behaviour a breach upon torno killed it. and he himself slain. " I " have bounded over tlie seas. Tell !" 213 when the bristly strength of I-thorno on Tell his lifted spear. moon-beam in the midst. by Lulan ? Thou hast failed." arms. tween Starno and Torcul-torno. and. before foes. the expresses it. bosomed maids. Starno pursued his victory. who were always honoured. the Fingal rushed. A . At times she dwelling in white-arms : for grief is her "Torcul-torno. The war beprobably vvhich is Lula. at * Torcul-torno. that sent sullen roar. boar rushed from the wood before the kings. Unequal are her and short. in all his of night mine. laid waste the district of Crathlun. with all their attendants. according to tradition. had its rise at a hunting. both kings. in a friendly manner. dence of Torcul-torno. with their followers. on me. tered on a rock a . him of my deeds in war ! where his father fell " Not forgetful of my fathers/' said Fingal. Theirs were the times of danger. stood a stately form like form with floating locks. as tradition quarrel arose.* of aged locks " she ! said. though youthful in my is Chief of Crathmo-craulo. DUAN his father's joy. "where now are thy steps. vited. to hunt. rolled FIRST. tosses her soul. went to the mountains of Stivamore. 'J'here is a river in Sv^'eden still called the same with Lulan. Nor field settles darkness locks. A. which terminated in the death Srarno being inof the latter. a district in Sweden. Lochlin's whitesteps. kings came to battle.. A the privilege of guests. wide-bounding over its Turthor's stream. She throws a broken song on wind. was king of CrathTiie river Lulan ran near the resilun. and the party of Torcul-torno were totally defeated. icith the danger oj the choce. glit- ' through Gornial's misty vale.

is the song of ConbanJt is in carglas. where. in Loda's hall. " once dwelt at Lulan's : foamy stream he dwelt —but. and sailest along night. turned away. and so inimitably suited to the situation of the unhappy lady. carried off. in war. I had pierc'd the bounding roe. long fought the dark-eyed kings. father of Conban-cirgla ! But hall. trembling. coming to the residence of Torcul-torno." she said. sporting by Loda's the dark. which is wild and simple. Her he confined in a cave. art tliou. I from off the iiishing winds. in thy darkness ?" She shrunk into tlie cave. sometimes. at the time she was discovered by Fingal. in my cave. chief of Lulan.'' " " Who Who art thou. My father ! fell. Conban-carglas. from the hall of Loda. Why am I ? forgot. moon with thy Thou tlie kindlest thy hair into meteors. heard a noise. in his blood. by Mine force.— 214 thine CATH-LODA: own when I dark streams. on account of her cruel treatment. the beautiful daughter of his enemy. he shakes the sounding He met Starno of Lochlin. . and set to music. she became distracted. The paragraph. just now before us. now. Lyric measure. My white hand gatliered my hair. He asked about her Torcul-torno. hidest the have seen her dim. fatliers. blue-shielded Torcul- torno By a rock. king of shaggy boars Look. in heaven." said Fingal. near the palace of Gormal. I behold thee. on thy lonely daughter. " voice of night?" She.skirted night is rolled along the sky. ^Thou. at Lulan's stream. shield. that few can hear it without tears. shell. The king " loosed the thong from her hands.

in my soul. that Conbancarglas means Swaran. which Fingal draws. " white-handed daughter of grief! a cloud. he comes. The maids are not shut in our f caves of They toss not their white arms alone. He dwells lonely son of Starno moves in my sight. that these can be no doubt. is rolled along thy soul. marked with streaks of fire. . gathered smile. ftther. He raised die sail. before me. that This disthe foinier were much less barbarous than the latter. to 215 My soft breast rose My was forward. in he that was mighty Where is my war Thou art ? ! alone among He took foes. iliere is a great part of the original lost. on high. meet ! thee. we may learn." said Fingal. she had fallen in love. Look not to that dark- robed moon It is ! look not to those meteors of heaven. above the harps of Sel- bend. In this cave he placed me dark. . f From this contrast. the terror of thy tlie not the steel of Uie feeble. fair * By the beam ofijoulh. nor of dark in soul streams. He But often passes lifts. tinction is so much observed throiighoui the poems of Ossian. a gathered mist. during her confiliemenl. it after^vards appears. The a beam * of youth." " Maid of Lulan. step FIRST. ! at Lilian. and the inhabitants of Scandinavia. my father's shield. His red eyes shaggy brow. FiUijal. steel is My foes gleaming ! around thee.DUAN eyes were up. between his own nation. that he followed the real manners At the close of the speech of of both nations in his own time. left I on his me Dark waved his above said. with whom. At times. dreadful king in love. Torcial- torno rolled It was Starno. the son of Starno. far distant from my cave. O daughter of Torcul-torno my hand. They within thek locks.

his voice. its maker. helmet f The fell on eartli. He poured Near. Through the thongs of Swaran 's shield rushed the blade rolling * of Luno. so called from Lochlin." in his pride. moss. They mixed shield fell their rattling steel. " Take the shield of thy is a rock in war. advanced his steps. stones. to where the Three trees of Loda shook amid squally winds.: 2ia ma." — Swaran threw his gleaming spear. two heroes received and Starno foe of I words : Swaran of lakes. amidst the roaring stream. Luno of f The helmet of Swaran. in Stamo's floating beard. The warriors " Swaran. It the tread of Fingal. with heads of : a stream. The behaviour of Fingal is always consistent with that generosity of spirit which belongs to a hero. * along the pleasing sound !" * * * * « Fingal. bsnding beneath a blasted his tree. It stood fixed in Loda's tree. Cleft. wide thro' the bosom of night. they darkly leaned Shrill their spears are forward through night. again. half formed of the shadowy smoke. They heard rose in arms. Then came the foes forward. said Starno. sounds ihe blast of darkness. father. lay that wanderer low. cloud of Loda. rolled around tliem. with swords. He takes no advantage of a foe disarmed. On their dun shields. * CATH-LODA: Their voice is not in the desert wild. its is the dark-red High from top looked forward a ghost. . the down. strangers. at times. We melt'. Fin- * Tlie sword of Fingal. are there . with foaming course and dreadful.

tlie Fair rose the beam of It shone on the spoils of Lochlin forth. on her face. She saw the helmet of Swaran. raised her The song of Lulan of where once her shield. Then. from fallen. They come to own dark path . each in his like ! two foam-covered streams. The description of the airy hall of Loda (which is suppo-L-d to be the same with that of Odin. His shaggy brows wave dark. !'' O love of the mournful maid U-thorno. i/r other works of the northern Scalders. part ot the original is lost. he whistled as he went.DUAN gal stopt the lifted steel. He raises the He strikes Loda's tree. father dwelt. however. hand of king. the host of Lochlin. She wildly shells. in his father is Swaran. She saw Starno's bloody Gladcleft ness rose. above his gathered rage. Nor unseen of away spear. . that the daughter of Torcul-torno did not long survive her surprize.* Fingal. from two rainy vales To in the Turthor's plain Fingal returned. a light. in the A . darkened. occasioned by the supposed death of her Icvtr. conjectured that that hero was killed. slowly stalking over the stream. by thy hundred streams. from seeing the helmet of Swaran bloody hands of Fingal. from the sequel of the poem. He rolled his silent eyes his sword on eartli. with his hum of songs. From her cave came in her beauty. he threw 217 Wrathful stood Swaran.las. She gathered her hair from wind.ban-cara. FIRST. Starno turns wrath. song. the deity of Scandinavia) is more picturesque and descriptive. than any in the Edda. the east. the daughter of Torcul-torno. unarmed. It appears. that tlie risest in ! waters I on whose side are meteors of night I behold the dark moon de- * Cor. — " Art thou She shrunk.

In his left is the half-viewless shell. to those who shone war. dwells the misty Loda tlie house of the hall. a rainbow on streams. His right-hand on his shield. a darkened orb. a ridge of form- less shades. is a as setting meteor to the weak arms. in He Bright.! 218 CATH-LODA: On thy top : scending. amid wavy mist. came Lulan's white-bosom- ed maid. But. is is spirits of men his ! In the end of his cloudy bends forward Cruth-loda of swords. his shield rises. His form dimly seen. . between him and the feeble. behind thy resounding woods. He in reaches the sounding shell. is The fires roof of his dreadful hall marked with nightly The race of Cruth-loda advance.

the bard. not fall. that that hero had been mortally wounded in the action. at times. in honour of the dead. They foamy come forward. from the skirt of his squally wind In his hand are the spoils of foes. He must is like a tlie from heaven. Duthmaruno dies. ARGUMENT. when their tops are seen. Ulin. Duan ^econn. ? " Where young beam of Selma He is returns not. on his hill. devolves the command on Duthmaruno. . Fi NG A L returning with day. — " Where haired art thou. and drives them over the stream of Turthor. he congratulates Duth-maruno on his success. ! like an eagle. Duth-manino. Warriors. who engages the enemy. He comes. Duth-maruno. which concludes this duan. like waves in mist. from the bosom of night In his mist shields^ fire is ! Morning spread on U-thorno. above the low. Having recalled his people. the sun. but discovers. introduces the episode of Colgorm and Strinadona. our souls were sad !" " Near us are the foes. son of the king?" said darkhast thou failed.CATH-LODA.sailing vapour. King of Selma. lift the in my presence. whose place not marked on ground.

were regnrded as kings. he knows not whither to No trembling travellers are the steel. or provincial Britons. within his own district. and his family after him. consequently. he totally lour and conduct. Each strove to lead the war. by his mor's turn. the bad consequences of carrying on their wars in this irregular manner. in secret. was absolute and independent. as they were unwilling to yield to the command of one of their own number. amidst his tlie own dim tlieir years. the first who represented to the chiefs. said ! Duth-maruno. They that they themselves should alternately lead in battle. unsuccessful. feeble is still seen. no dark deed wandered From hundred streams Their came chiefs the tribes. which gained him such an interest among the tribes. There. for every chief. When it came to Trcndid so. or clans. to grassy Colglan-crona. were. a number of distinct tribes. defeated the enemy. however. that the enemies of the Caledonians were the Romans. who possessed the countries to the north of the Frith of Edinburgh.220 CATH-LODA: traveller shrinks fly. but. old. are like O Fingal Broad-shielded Tren- mor. a little to the north of Agricola's wall]. we ! Sons of heroes call fortli Shall the sword of Fin- gal arise. rolled tlieir eyes of rage. The on his journey . have induced those reguli to join together. Red Separate they stood. who was free and independent of any other power. From the scene of the battle in this episode (which was in the valley of Crona. Ihe icords of p over rushed Jorth from Selma nf kings. and probable account given Caledonia. their battles were illTrenmor was conducted. The Gael or Gauls. that he. were before them. Their swords were often half-unsheathed. was but inconsiderable . Nor was soul of the king. I should suppose. the common danger might. except in time of war. originally. to use the poet's expression. each subject to its own chief. When the Romans invaded them. perhaps. and. this short episode * In we have a very in us. and advised. or shall a warrior lead ?" * The deeds of paths to our eyes. superior va. or. of the origin of monarchy . but they were unsuccessful. The regal authority.

hummed to each their surly songs. this battle which Comhal 1 Morni. before the race of kings Mist settles on these four dark strike his shield. I should have here prt'sented to tlie reader a translation of it. as appears from the language. and tlie He they led wide-skirted failed. an Irish composition. misrepresented the ladies of his country. concerning that decisive engagement. *' Not unknown. of a very modern date. In ju-^tice to the merit of the poem. had traditirjn.: DUAN SECOND. by turns From strangers his they led. •' are the deeds of our fathers. have ju^t now. 221 they yield in " Why should were equal other ? their fathers war. own mossy hill." said Cromma-glass* of shields. : by turns. blue-shielded battle. : Around him the dark-browed warriors came struck the shield of joy. But who ? shall now lead the war. Trenmor came down. with his people. He saw the advancing foe. But the chiefs led.ind in all the tran=. till mighty danger rose then was the hour of the king to con- rjuer in the field. did not the bard mention some circumstances very ridiculous.s the guiding star of the women of Erin. hills : within it let each warrior 'in Spirits tlie may descend darkness. to the tribe of in my hands. The bard. uho va. the words of power rushed forth from Selma of kings. in war. the wife of Comhal. but they were rolled away. and others altogether indecent." Cromma-glass makes a great figure in that lost. together with his life. it is to be hoped. are jumbled together. for . to use the words of the bard.actions previous to the defeat and death of her husband . slie. a principal h. Like a pleasant gale." Trenmor was ful locks. and mark us for * In war. in which all the traditions. Morna. there. stately in youth- his soul arose. The grief of He bade the chiefs to lead.

in this poem. swells tlie Below them should I art dark-rolling deep. Strife of gloomy U-thorno. and Swaran his own dark wing. or Comhal of AlHon. but the piece is so full of anachronisms. Lochlin rolled over her streams.! '222 CATH-LODA: to his hill shields. the race of U-thorno Starno led the battle. was either mad. they had chosen her for their giticHng . Their showers are roaring together. stormy isles. is figurative. like ridgy waves. tlie darkened moon. and Swaran of came down. Shadowy deatli flies They were clouds of hail. Bards mark- Loudest rung thy boss. when he wrote it. It is worthy of being remarked. They looked forward from iron shields. They went. They roll Morna's behaviour was. when he looks from bemet by Turthor's stream. that Comhal is. Like the Thou must lead in war! murmur of waters. and strews his signs on foes The They heaved mixed. and so unequal in its composition. according to him. most undoubtedly.ttar. witli squally winds in their skirts. ! why mark gone . The wrathful kings are lost in thought. or drunk. . The poem consists of many stanzas. each ed the sounds of the of mist. that the author. that the allegations of Keating and O'Flaherty. are but of late invention. concerning Fion Mac Comnal. like Cruth-loda fiery-eyed. Comhal na h'Alhin. Nor is a harmless fire is Duth- maruno's sword. Their echoing strokes are over the hosts. The language and the numbers harmonious . which sufficiently demonstrates. so void of alT decency and virtue. that it cannot be supposed. Duth-maruno. thy wounds Thou art with the years that thou fadest on my soul Starno brought forward his skirt of war. very often called. hind night.

they came forth to fathers war. as he wanders in Cratlimo's replied the chief. or. . He slew his brotlier in I- thorno:f he left tlie land of his fathers. his fa- thers. the piece is neither disagreeable. king of echoing " He drew an arrow from in a land his side ! He fell pale." maruno.h which he has led him. f An island of Scandinavia. by Turthor's stream. . and. His race came forth. . at her streams Candona rejoice. in their blood. through watry vales. in chief. fields. many of which are of the marvellous kind. to the kings of Lochlin. appears. and a particular account of their from Scandinavia. " Chief of Crathmo. He chose his place. in silence. the rider of ocean. who never missed to make their comments on. actions."* " was the first of my race in Albion its Colgorm. considering the adventures throui. their silent eyes. from some of the northern isles. which shocks credibility. subject. The silent horn of Fingal was heard returned. . and additions to. unknown. Starnmor. white-bosomed Lanul shall brighten. the works of Ossian. *' Duth- not harmless returns ! my shall eagle from the field of foes For this . at least. but they always is The wound of my isles ! mine." " Colgorm. stormy His soul came forth to isle. hunter of boars ! said the king. in their years fell. by rocky Crathmo-craulo.DUAN SECOND. the sons of woody Albion But many lay. the father of Duth-maruno. over the flight 223 of their land. The Highland senachies. have given us a long list of the ancestors of Duth-maruno. One of the tale-makers of the north has chosen for his hero. * to their There it tliey pursued boars came originally The family of Duth-maruno. nor abounding with that kind of fiction.

through every warrior's Fingal. that is He rise. the stones of Loda. except Strina-dona. the Sonj^ of mermaids. chiefs in their grief. or. exactly correspond with the notions of the norihern nations. as of winds. in the ocean's mist? thy vales came . from his lonely path. for the fictions delivered down concerning. long rejoicing on his hill. there is none of a Galic original.* said the bard. by turns. He tliinks them the ghosts of the aged. " Night came down on U-tliomo. the strife is — of heroes. and then retires in night that is no departing meteor was he laid so low. in the original.. Call the names of his fathers. I should think it came originally from Scandinavia. that risest midst ridgy seas I Why From is thy head so gloomy. The chiefs stood hill. from their dwellings old !" I-thorno. Of all the names in this episode. It set to that wild ivind of music. Colgorm of of Loda's * This episode is. concerning their dircs. Some part of the air is absolutely infernal. which signifies. or godlless^s ufdeath. by the title of Fon Oi marra. through the twilight. dwellers the race of hall. hair. From the genius of the music. along the silent around. fortli a race. was like the strong-beaming sun. 224 CATH-LODA: skirts of mist. at length. forming future wars. the Oi-marra (who are reputed the authors of the music). on their The traveller sees them. " No He only seen. . fearless as thy strong-winged eagles iron shields. Still stood the The blast whistled. and bade the song to falling fire. which some of the Highlanders distinguish. which are inexpressibly wild and beautiful. called broke forth from the thoughts of his soul. but there are many returns in the measure. extremely beautiful. Ullin of harps.

ir. In Tormotli's I'esounding isle. Her face was heaven's bow in Her dark hair flowed round it. It is duced by the bards. It at bent its woody head over There. and. and saw the tossing arms of Strina-dona. often introin their similes concerning the beauty &if f Ul-lochlin. But thou lookest ! from thy steps. a . their echoing steel. a silent arose streamy vale. very much resembling cotton. name of a . and Corcul-suran. the dweller of souls. Thou wert in his ship. hill.it. Her eyes were two stars showers. foamy Cruruth's ! source. excessively white. dwelt fair as a Rursun- mar. king The brothers came. Ike guide to Lochlin. her breast was whiter if than the down of Caua . Jts stalk is of the reedy kind. from I-thomo. She saw them in Her soul was fixed on blue-eyed Colgorm. the I. like the streaming clouds. VOL.! ! DUAN SECOND.* foam of the of on the sea-beat shore. white-handed Strina-dona Colgorm came. which grows plentiful htathy morasses of the north. a king of heroes. consequently. and hero of iron shields . the stately careless huntress of Tormoth wild. a youth of heavy locks came to Rm*mar's echo- They came to woo the maid. white bosomed Strina-dona Many many ing hall. and it carries a tuft of down. vvomeo. in the * The Cana is a certain kind of grass. hunter of boars His daughter was beam. Ul-lochlin's f nightly eye looked in. to woo the sun-beam of Tormotli wild. than tlie rolling ocean. light. high-bosomed Strina-dona If on tire heath she moved. 225 Lurthan. of shells.

He all turned Colgorm. . met. silence. tlie the king alone. that beam of light was daughter of echoing Tormoth. Nor darkened near. Their hands were trembling on into the strife of heroes. white-armed Strina dona. 226 CATH-LODA. Corcul-suran fell in blood. On his isle.. raged the strength of his father. In Crathmo- rocky field. and the ideas so unworthy of Ossian. Their flaming in Wrathful the brothers frowned.* * The continuation of this episode is just now in my hands but the language is so different from. They turned away. he dwelt by a foreign stream. fromi I-thomo. eyes. to wander on cravilo's the winds. They rushed for long-haired Strina-dona. their swords. as an interpolation by a modern bard. They struck their shields. that I have rejected it.

with thy voices three tlie ! Come with that which kindles the past tlieir : rear ! forms of old. Starno undertakes the enterprize himself. who had retired alone to a neighbouring hill. He is dismissed. after some — — recommends to Swaran. on own dark-brown years . Upon Swaran's refusal. silent. and the position of the army of Lochlin. 2Duan Cfiitti. The conversation of Starno and Swaran. and taken prisoner. is overcome. as slow they pass along. ! tween the shields thou tliat awakest the descend from thy wall. their many-coloured sides I look into the times of old. dwells a feeble race They mark no years with Dweller befailing soul their deeds. describes the situation of Fingal. liarp of Cona.— Starno. general reflections. after a severe repri- mand for his cruelty. from his own example. on a distant Here rise the red ! beams of war ! There. moon-beams. The episode of Cormantrunar and Foinar-bragal. Whence roll is the stream of years? Whither do they along ? Where have ? they hid. but they seem dim to Ossian's eyes.! CATH-LODA. in mist. by Fingal. to surprise Fingal. like reflected lake. ARGUMENT. OssiAN.

in night. in the scenes he introduces between Swaran and the wife of Congcullion. with advice to men. by that means. however. and totally to reject them. for. wandering Cruth-Ioda bends from high. red They looked forward in the west. with his * The bards. night. who were always ready to supply wTiat they thought deficient in the poems of Ossian. Irish bards have shewn any judgment. Their interpolations are so easily distinguished from the genuine remains of Ossian. over Dudiare the steps of his heroes. of pilgrimage. says the traditional preface prefixed to it. however good it may be. and marks them. from people of true taste. he was not the convent. It happening. it is in ascribing their own compositions to names of antiquity. as a more adequate match for her own gigantic size. from several pious ejaculations. It concerns a descent made by Swaran. CATH-LODA: hill of storms. It however appears. From this fatal preference proceeded so much mischief. The wrathful kings two they looked forward from their to the stars of bossy shields. of the ihie-eyed daughters of Religious. like a formless meteor in clouds. and he ends the piece.228 * U-thomo. maruno's tomb. in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. I behold my race on Fingal is bending. altoiether decent. which the authors of such futile performances must. preferred Swaran. that it was rather the composition of some good priest. that the good poet altogether lost sight of his principal action. that it took me very little time to mark them If the modern Scotch and out. by an Irish poem. unfortunately. which. . just now before me. I shall leave concealed in the obscurity of the original. king of Lochlin. with great devotion. both of whom he represents as giants. have met with. of Ossian Mac-Fion. that Congcullion was only of a moderate stature. they themselves have escaped that contempt. his wife. thy side. and is the work. Near him hunters of the boar. By Turthor's stream the host of Lochlin stood on is deep hills j in shades. I was led into this observation. on Ireland. and more particularly. necessarily. without hesitation. He sends abroad the winds. in ihe choice of their wives. have inserted a great many incidents between the second and third duan of Cathloda. as this poet was. for he speaks.

" " The chief of Urlor had come his dark to Gormal. 229 Starno foresaw. stubborn. his hair in He hummed a surly song and heard wind. to say. he from Urlor of streams. with bosomed ships. and shakes its boughs in the course blasts. that its brings joy to withered vales. upon examination. was less bloody. find that They were both dark. Turned * from one different another^ they stood. like two oaks. waves. He saw on the the daughter of Annir. meet the He came tall forth to the lake Luth-cormo. which its winds had bent j each hangs over own of loud rill. seem little different . She fled to his ship in darkness. dweller of battle's wing. Annir pursued along the to their iierce * The surly attitude of Starno and Swaran is well adapted and uncomplying dispositions. revengeful. Their characters. was a summer stream. " Annir." consumed of men. that he has not a great variety of characters. we the poet has dexterously distinguished between them.! DUAN signs. . from own mossy rock. haughty. though savage. " was a fire that He fields. THIRD. to the highest degree . to Corman-trunar. but. He rider saw her of stormy Nor careless rolled her eyes. and cruel. He twice struck the tree in wrath. poured death from his eyes. like a moon- beam thro' a nightly vale. and reserved . but Starno was cunning. at first sight. said Starno old. and somewhat tinctured with generosity. white armed Foina-bragal. along the striving His joy was in the fall of Blood to him. the disposition of Swaran. of lakes. fore his son. that Moiven's king was not to yield in war. He rushed be. It is doing injustice to Ossian.

His eyes rolled red in his rage. Like U-thorno's young came eagle. Corman-tiimar. which wandered. Even the daughter of the cruel Annir. let the battle cease. Annir receive the from fiery-eyed Cruth-loda. sat ing oak and near him. was pierced in batde and Starno is to raise his Me. tall went to find the foe. In his wrath trees. is even contempt for to draw abuse implies the possession of some merit. my fatlier stood. We rushed tall into roaring Urlor. On a rock sat . beneath a I deep- bosomed Foina-bragal. From the field I took a broken helsteel : met : a shield that in was pierced with I pointless was the spear my hand. Annir of many . lakes. I marked the soul of the king. lies " Beside his rolling sea. He lopped the young with his sword. before her. and tore a lock in the blast. the king Starno was by his side. the sister of the revengeful and bloody Starno. With . partakes not of those disagreeable characters so peculiar She is altogether tender and delicate. he sends to white-handed Foina. and I retired in night. from her hair. a son of Loda. a lock. his people Corman-trunar. worse than the downright abuse of the moderns. * Bursting into tears. His cold of all ancient poets. shell. uses the sex with least ceremony. • Ossian is very partial to the fair sex. beside his burntree. The king tomb. in eartli.230 CATH-LODA: Nor alone was ! deep 3 he called the winds of heaven. from her hair . . to bid her send a lock father. I turned my eyes on my father. she rose. We fought but the foe prevailed. to rest witli her And thou till king of roaring Urlor. I threw my broken shield spoke the words of peace. Homer. to her family.

according to the custom of the Caledonian kings." Burning rose the rage of the king. . he spared * Fingal. But. it is They are wont trace my course not harmless thro' war. move forth in light the hawks to rusli their winds. I I rose. We rejoiced. He wan- called his dark-haired son. to feast on Annir' s hill . from Swaran ! all winds. as he himself was to resume the command of the army the next day. Starno might have some intelligence of the king's retiring. Let thy spear pierce the king in secret like Annir." said Swaran. 231 Corman-trunar gave the I rested and bade me to rejoice before him. that he could not overcome him in open battle.DUAN THIRD along her heaving breast. She rolled her white bosom Why then. three days. streaked with dering blood : thrice rose the shout of the king. my : soul shall rejoice. starting. The foe were fled. I shall not slay " Son from all : of Annir. didst thou wake Morning rose. as he foresaw. I " in shades. like the de- parture of mist. I came. Annir struck his bossy shield. like a stalking ghost. Fingal alone. 5 in the shade of night and hid my face in my hel- met deep. and called the hawks of heaven their is They came.* on his of night. by his art of divina- had tion. to stab him . in blood. . shell . which occasions his request to Swaran. pierced the side of Corman-trunar. Nor did Foina-bragal escape. my rage ? daughter of heroes. above the dead. by night. from a cloud. retired to a hill alone. like the bursting forth of a squall of wind. foes. raised his He thrice gleaming spear. Sleep descended on the foe.

remember thy white- bosomed daughter dreadful king away ! Go ! ! to thy troubled dwelling. he strode. ! Stern hunter of shaggy boars laid before thee. He rolled a while He thought of other days. retire. There he laid the . on his own secret hill. thou I/:t the gloomy ! in the hcill A tale of tlie times of old i . to where Fingal laid The king was on his shield. their in gloomy twain. helmet of kings. like tlie when Son of shells j white-bosomed Agandecca moved songs. The shield of Starno cleft He It is bound to an oak. maid of Lulan resounding but she was distant in Loda's hall. music of He that loosed the thong from his hands. the dwelling of Conban-carglas. " Who art thou. . and rushed into the night. Annir. cloudy foe of the lovely stranger shun thee. Fingal arose Silent in arms. strife. Here is spread the couch rise of tlie ! from which they to deeds of death Hunter of shaggy boars awaken not the ! terrible Suirno came murmuring on. son of night ?" he threw the spear. stream. and called the far. in his rage. SweUing lay alone. his silent eyes. The early beam was then Fingal beheld the king. arose. he a said. is By Turthor's stream a cave dark. by Tur- thor's murmuring mighty. They mixed fell. no feeble maid is No boy. on his ferny bed. Retire to I Gormal of beam was set returns. CATH-LODA.232 his son .

The Caracul mentioned here is the same with Caracalla the son of Severus. Her passion was so violent. She was soon discovered by Hidallan the son of Lamor. one of Fingal's heroes. whose love she had slis. Tradition has handed down the story more complete than it is in the poem. when he himself went to battle. and ])erhaps presented before the chiefs upon solemn occasions. . The variety of the measure shews that the poem was originally set to music. [Fingal. who in the year -211 commanded an expedition against the Caledonians. within sight of Caracul's army. to which her father had invited him. Her romantic passion and beauty recommended her so much to the king. the daughter of Sarno king of Inistore or Orkney islands. when news was brought him of Caracul's expedition.COMALA: BMAMATIC POEM. disguised like a youth. B.hted some time before. He marched to stop the progress of the enemy. that he had resolved to make her his wife . " Comala. having previously promised.] upon his return from Lochlin." story maybe gathered from the poem itself. and Comala attended him. who wanted to be employed in his wars. The sequel of the if he survived. to return that night. after the death of Agandecca. is fell in love with Fingal the son of Comhal at a feast. This poem valuable on account of the light it throws on the antiquity of Ossian's compositions. that she followed him. i ARGUMENT. III. He left her on a hill.

234 COMAL A .

O Carunf of the streams ? ! why do I behold thy waters rolling in blood Has the noise of the battle ? been heard . She turns her blue eyes toward the fields of his promise. O Fingal? the night gathering around COMALA. a the name of Carron. rcinding river. and catch the flying breeze. hie coiUenta suos dejendere fines Roma securigeris prwtendit mania Scdtis : Hie spe progressus posita. MELILCOMA. — Gentesque alias pelleret armis Sedibus. and North of Falkirk. The maid of the pleasant Irow. that lights our fathers through the night. moon. thou daughter of the sky thy clouds. with fallen its red beam. the mountain wind in her hair. aut victas vilcm servaret in usum Servitii. steel. look from between rise that I field may behold the gleam of his on the of . Comala. come. is The youtli of thy love low 5 his ghost is on our hills. Who will defend ? me from sorrow shall Who from * the love of Hidallan Long Comala look before she can behold Fingal in the midst of his Comala.* from thy rock tears ! 235 rise in } daughter of Sarno. ' mm .his promise. Or rather let the meteor. Caronis ad icndam Terminus Ausonii signat divortia regiii. There Comala sits forlorn ! two grey dogs near shake their rough ears. is Where ! art thou.A DRAMATIC POEM. and sleeps the king of Morven ! Rise. This river retains still falls into the Forth some miles to the f Carun or Cara'on. to shew me the way to my ? hero. buchanan. Her red cheek is rests upon her arm.

let me remember my battle are scattered. C O bright as the MA L A in coming forth of the morning. COMALA. son of the ? Was of he white as the snow of Ardven ? ? Blooming as the bow of tlie hill. to revenge himself on her for slighting his love some time before. he. and this circumstance makes it probable that the poem was presented of old. the chief of the people low. . told her that the king was killed in battle. her blushing cheek half hid lift in her locks Blow. the shower soft Was his hair like the mist and curling in the day of the sun battle ? ? Was he like the thunder of heaven in ? Fleet as the roe of the desert HIDALLAN. friend no more. He even pretended that he carried his body from the field to be buried in her presence . her lovely cheek her grief. dwell on the path of the king ! Hide his steps from mine eyes. And is the son of tale ? Comhal fallen.* Dwell. chief of the hill ! mournful The thunder rolls on the The * Hidallan was sent by Fingal to give notice to Comala of his return . HIDALLAN. fair-leaning from Her red eye dim ! in tears. thou mist of gloomy Crona. COMALA. O Carun ! roll is thy streams of blood. that in may be- hold her white arm. the cloud of an early shower. O that her rock ! I might behold his love. The bands of is no crowding tread round the noise of his steel.: 236 host . Who fell cloudy night on Carun's sounding banks. O gentle breeze I ! thou the heavy locks of the maid.

! Few and let one virgin mourn thee Let ! her be like Comala. . said I knew not he went night to war. a . Hidallan. O moon ! clouds . might have hoped a I while his return distant rock I might have thought tree saw him on the . The nations are scattered on their hills ! they shall hear the voice of the king no more. thou king of the world to thy grave . O that 1 might be were on the banks of Carun that my tears warm on his cheek ! HIDALLAN. might have deceived hill me with his appearance the wind of the his rhight have been the sound of horn ! in mine ear. tliy Look on tliem. ye sons of the grave.! A DRAMATIC POEM. lightning flics 23. in Comala may behold him the light of his armour COMALA. that little my hero . Stop. frighten not on wings of is fire ! They Comalaj for Fingal low. till I behold my love tliat ! He left me at the chace alone. . Say. chief of the ? mourn- ful tale. COMALA. He from that lies not on the banks of Carun : on Ardven heroes raise his tomb. be thy beam bright on his breast. Confiision pursue tliee over thy plains ! Ruin overbe thy steps ! take thee. fell tlie breaker of the shields HIDALLAN.He he would return with the is the king of Morvcn returned ! Why didst . tearful in the days of her youth Why fell ? hast thou told I me.

O trembling dweller of the rock !* Thou sawest him tell in the blood ! of his youth . It is probable that some of the order of the druids remained as late as the beginning of the reign of Fingal .238 thou not tell C O me MA L A : that he would fall. the hart of the desert. Who is it but tlie ! foe of Comala. direct Comala's bow. ? the white-handed daughter of Sarno Look from thy rocks. that incloses a spirit of night. the son of the ! king of the world Ghost of Fingal do thou. tlie when the winds drive it over the heath. let me hear the voice of Co- mala ! * By the dweller of the rock she means a druid. and I ? dark woods are it gleaming around. but thou didst not Comala MELILCOMA. my soul ? and please FINGAL. What sound is that on Ardven in the vale ? ? Who is that bright moon ? Who comes like the strength of rivers. from fall thy cloud. ye bards. the song . breeze of heard a voice. glitter to the when their crowded waters COMALA. his ghosts. It is Let him like Fingal in the crowd of to frighten Why dost thou come. or was Is it the my my hills tlie huntress of Ardven. my love. raise the wars of the streamy Carun along the fields ! Caracul has fled from our arms of his pride. Raise. love . . and that Comala had consulted one of them concerning the event yf the war with Caracul. He sets far distant like a meteor.

voice of the chace will be heard in the hall. The steed is not seen on our fields the wings* will of their pride spread in other lands. on our fields. in joy. The sun now The hang rise in peace. the wars of the streamy Carun . three deer on Ardven. the shields Our delight will be in the war of the ocean. The storm to the cave ! is past. Come of my huntress of echoing Ardven COMALA. the sons of battle . RoU. Take me death ! 23g to the cave of thy rest. Perhaps the poet_ alludes to the Roman . ye daughters of Morni DERSAGRENA. BARDS. ye sons of song. king of the woody Morven FINGAL. Come the sun rest. He is returned with his fame of his wars ! ! I feel the right hand But from I must rest beside the ! rock till my ! soul returns my fear O let the I harp be near raise the song. and the shadows descend .: A DRAMATIC POEM. the fire ascends on the rock go to the ! feast of Comala. O lovely son of FINGAL. that my white-handed maid may rejoice while I behold the feast of my love. streamy Carun. Comala has slain . our hands shall grow red in the blood of eagle. COMALA. Raise. fled ! roll in joy. to the cave of is my rest.

the cold winds hft her hair. introduced in ano- . with joy. C O fled M A L A: roll in joy. Comala.! 240 Lochlin. Ceased the voice of did I tlie huntress of Ardven ? ? Why trouble the soul of the maid When shall I see thee. Raise the praise of the daughter Samo See give her name to the winds of heaven ! BAKDS. the rock. ye beams. lift is light mists ! from high ! Ye moonrock ! her soul Pale lies tlie maid at the Comala no more ! FINGAL. on my of when I sit alone at the streams my hills ! HIDALLAN. ! meteors lift gleam around her soul ! the maid ! See tlieir moon-beams * Around is her. the sons of battle MELILCOMA.* Lead me to the place of her rest that I Pale she lies at may behold her beauty. from The sequel of the story of Hidallan ther poem. Thou shalt my chace. Roll. Is the daughter of Samo dead ? . Descend. tlie white-bosomed heaths. her arrow Her bow-string sounds broken of in ! was her fall. maid of my love Meet me. streamy ! Camn. Youth of feast in the gloomy brow ! no more not pursue shalt thou my halls. my foes shall not fall by thy sword. in the blast. ? in the chace of the dark-brown hinds FINGAL.

to settle in tlieir soul. the father of Comala. at times. to tlieir dreams. Inistore. bend the awful ! faces of her fathers Sarno* ! of the gloomy brow the red-rolling eyes of Fidallan ? When shall thy white hand arise ? When shall thy voice be heard on our rocks Tlie maids shall seek thee on the heathy but they shall not find thee. VOL. I. . Thy voice shall remain in their ears. lift tliey shall tlaink with joy on the dreams of their Meteors gleam around the maid. died soon after the flight of Fidallan was the first king that reigned in daughter. rest. clouds. and moon-beams her soul his * Sarno.! A DRAMATIC POEM. 211 . shalt Thou peace come.

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The leaves whirl round with the wind. his by thy sword. Dark rolls through the narrow hill. . was in Carric-thura. Who nal like ! can reach the source of recount thy fatliers ? tliy race. a storm was thy voice. O Con- who Thy family grew an oak on the mountain. plain. it din of arms here the groans of the Bloody are the wars of Fingal. in the battles Louder than tliy steel. loud was the of their steel. the when musing hunter alone stalks slowly over the heath. song was lovely. a furnace of fire. fell of Warriors of a boy. beam of thy height. like a storm thy sword a . he took the softly-trembling harp but sad. and silence 259 : tear. which meetetli thc its wind with the earth. Here was the dying. O Connal ! was here thou .A virgin's tlie P O E M. and strew the grave of the dead. wrath. The whirlwind the river is heard on the heatli. Thine arm was ihe sky . didst fall. a rock on the plain tliine eyes. grey mist on tlie hills. a rock. His brows were gathered in darkening into in rage. At times are seen here the ghosts of the departed. Autumn rests is dark on the mountains . shall But now it is torn from ? Who supply the place of Connal . iofty head. A tree stands alone on the and marks the slumbering Connal. Bright rose their swords on each side clano. as the thistle by the staff Dargo the mighty came on. His eyes like two caves .

string on Dargo but emng she pierced her . hapless children tears. . loose be- hind. All the night long she cries. my secret song shall rise when the wind in the groves of Tora. in his cloud. But arose. the sad my pair love. and spread his the A\hite-bosomcd The wounds of form . and " O Connal. Undist\irbed }'ou now together ! in the tomb of the mountain you rest alone And and soft be their ! rest. Connal her much-beloved. Then shall they when the stream is roaring come on my soul. He ! falls like an hill. behind the ships of Frothal. . all He hung forward with sails. her yellow hair her hand. his blasts. drew the Connal. with all on the fourth near. their lovely grief! Three days feasted the kings white sails : their Fingal to The winds of the Morven's woody land. The wind rushes on J sighs through the grass their memory sleep my mind. her bow is in She followed the She youth to the war. ! hap- maid He and bleeds her Connal dies the day. my friend!" With incloses grief mourner on dies tlie ! Earth here the loveliest hill. I will said Utha. The . oak on the plain like a rock from the shaggy less What all shall she do. grass grows between the mournful j stones of the tomb I often sit in the shade. The daughter of Rinval was in the Crimora bright is armour of man . is of streamy Lotha remember them with .260 CARRIC-THURA: near . north drove the spirit of Loda sat.

Whether a proof could be drawn from this passage. supposed to be the famous Odin. They thought the souls of the dead were material. he still feared * the hand of the * The story of Fingal and the spirit of Loda. . 261 . concerning ghosts. and consequently susceptible of pain. I shall leave to others to determine : it appears. however. without precedents in the best poets . is the most extravagant fiction in all Ossian's poems. that he was of opinion. however. It is not. that he says nothing but what perfectly agreed with the notions of the times. that Osiian had no notion of a divinity. that superior beings ought to take no notice of what passed among men.A were not forgot king ! P O E M. and it must be said for Ossian.

i .

a Briton who was in love with Moina. i. who fled farther into the country of the Britons. that he was obliged to throw himself into the Clyde. the son of Cormo. was driven by a storm into the river Clyde. came to Reuthamir's house. the son of Thaddu. brought forth a son. He often endeavoured to return. falling on the coast of Morven. He set sail. and died soon after. and. Clessammor. and the wind being favourable. the son of Trathal. as of most of Ossian's compositions. the father of Fingal. and father of the celebrated Fingal. In the time of Comhal. and the subject of it. bore him out to sea. from the storm which carried off Clessammor his father. He hoisted sail. Reuthamir named the child Carthon. but the wind continuing contrary. This poem complete. a town belonging to the Britons between the walls. Carthon. in one of his expeditions against the Britons. who was supposed to have been cast awav. When Carthon was three years old. the murmur of leaves. who came to oppose is — . was resolved to revenge the fall of Balclutha on Comhal's posterity. Fingal's mother.C ARTH O N: A POEM. Reuthamir was killed in the attack: and Carthon was carried safe away by his nurse. Reuda. tragical. he was forced to desist. took and burnt Balclutha. the principal man in the place. and brother of Morna. defeated two of Fingal s heroes. e. from the Clyde. and behaved haughtily towards Clessammor. on the banks of vvfhich stood Balclutha. in which Reuda was killed . and swim to his ship. who had been left with child by her husband. the Britons. and carry off his beloved Moina by night . Comhal. who gave him Moina his only daughter in marriage. A quarrel ensued. who attended him. ARGUMKXT. coming to man's estate. He was hospitably received by Reuthamir. Moina. pressed so hard on Clessammor.

The deer of tlie mountain avoids place. its The thistle there alone.: 264 bis progress. woods. . unwittingly killed by his father This story is the foundain a single combat. C A R T H O N Clessammor. that deer saw the ghosts spirits of of the dead. shedding aged beard. tion of the prp-sent poem. He was. lovely in mine Dost thou not behold. a rock with its head of heath ? 3 Three aged pines bend from narrow plain tain grows. O Lora ! brings memory of the past. its face green is the there the flower of the its moun- and shakes is white head in the breeze. lie. The poem is addressed to A Tale other years of the times of old ! ! The deeds of days of The murmur of back the thy streams. O Malvina in tlie narrow plain of A tale of other years ! the times of old ! the deeds of days of Who comes from the land of strangers. the daughter of Toscar. which opens on the night preceding the death of Carthon. Garmallar. Malvina.* The mighty the rock. so that what passed before is introduced by way of episode. when beasts suddenly start without any apparent cause. with his its thousands around stream before * It him ? him his . for he beholds a dim ghost standing ! there. shew their tlie heads of moss. the sun-beam pours hair meets tlie bright his wind of was the opinion of the times. at last. is The sound of thy ear. To this day. at its feet . Two stones. the vulgar think that they see the the deceased. half sunk in the ground. Malvina.

fields. thousand lights f from the stranger's land rose. behold. when they came to Selma's halls. he takes his father's sword. He lifts eye of pride. the in the midst in fame Such was renown of Comhal * Fingal returns here.A hills. i. ? why so long from Selma Returns of his tlie chief. from an expedition against the Romans. from war. from the cloud of the west. P O E M. *' son. he comes from the hill. Ye have fled over your sons of the distant land !" Such were the words of the bards. Blest be the soul of Clessammor. among other booty. ? said Clessammor. which are often mentioned as carprovince. in the midst of the people. the noble Clessammor. his red and hears of his people's flight.! said the fair-haired Where ? is the brother of Morna.* the king of mighty deeds hills He with joy. 265 His face is settled He is it is calm as the evening beam that looks. Where Fingal. feast is The spread around is the night passed away in joy. who finds his companions in the breeze and tosses his bright mane in the wind. . he bids a thousand voices fled over Ye ! have your fields. in the hour in of my joy Sullen and dark he passes his days : the vale of echoing Lora but. which was celebrated by Ossiun in a poem called the strife of Crona. f Probably wax-lights. like a steed in his strength. sits ye sons of the distant land in The king of the world his hall. viighty deeds. on Cona's silent vale. from the Roman X Clessamh mor.:'(\. Who ! but Comhal's beholds his rise. . A .

/. Let us hear the sorrow of thy youth and the darkness of thy days " It was in the days of peace. I lift My hand bend the bow a lighter spear. the tale of thy youth- Sorrow. orCliiath." replied the great Clessammor. the word is Z'enrf. c. mighty Fingal. Why do is : I remember My hair mixed with grey. probably the Alrluth X Clutha. in my bounding ship to Bal- clutha'sf walls of towers. From Clutha derived its Latin name.?-. Balclutha. Often did : Carun of the strangers : our swords re- turned. i. as the when beheld the maid} white-bosomed daughter of strangers. soft in temper and person. •fof Bede. . which is a proof that the ancient language of the whole island was one and the We names same. tlie town of Clyde. on the banks of the roaring Lora. shades the soul of Clessammor. The winds had I roared behind my sails. Three days remained in Reu- thamir's halls. ! Moina. find the British in this poem derived from the Galic. in allusion to the winding course of that Glotta.! 266 C A R T to the land H O N: we pass over the battles of his youth. and Clutha's J streams received my dark-bosomed ship. that beam of * Moina. not unstained with blood nor did the kings the times of the world of our war forgets to ? rejoice. said the ful days. the Galic signification of the name is of the river Clyde.* with the dark-blue eyes Tell. Mournful are thy thoughts. I first O that my joy would return.. river. alone. " I came. like a cloud on the sun. and saw his daughter.

for Moina was my heart poured forth " The son in the hall of a stranger camej a chief who his loved the white-bosomed Moina. with his host. an opprobrious name imposed by the Britons on the Caledonians. he often half unsheathed is Where. But my side. since I replied. though the valiant are distant far. His words were mighty sword. Speak no more of Comhal. as the raven's wing : her soul was generous great : My love in joy. so bold ? Clessammor ! My soul. my sword. Stranger is ! thy words are mighty. on account of the continual incursions into their country. and the aged were like : hero gave the Her foam on her hair the wave. the shell went round.A light. for Clessammor trembles by alone. beneath fall . own. : fought : the strangers prevailed plunged into the stream of Clutha. which is the true origin of the Srnti of the Romans. and * I bounded on the dark-blue Moina came to in the original here rendered by restless tvanScuta. Clutha!" son of the winding " The strength of he fell his pride arose. the restless ? wanderer * of the heath to Balclutha. sea. I O warrior burns in a light of its stand without fear in the midst of thousands. Comes is he. We fought . My white sails rose over the waves. P O E M. dercr. is The word . and longs to glitter in my sword my hand. the mighty Comhal. and her eyes like stars of light was dark and mild. The banks of Clutha I heard his I a thousand spears glittered around. breasts ^97 The joy of fair. . said he.

2G8 C A R T wind H O N . to our hills . with your songs. all which are in a lyric measure.* ye bards. : the shore. the delight of heroes of old. there. I knew her as she came the murmur of Lora seen through the dusky night. I have seen the walls of Balclutlia. but they were desolate. : The thistle shook. since have I seen. his poetical genius. Fingal is celebrated by the Irish historians for his wisdom in making laws. halls : The fire had resounded in the is and the voice of the people heard no more. its The stream the fall of Clutha was removed from place. the rank grass of the wall waved round its head is . The fox looked out from the windows. O Flaherty goes so far as to say. the winds of the east prevailed. Desolate is the dwell- ing of Moina. said the mighty Fingal. the praise of unhappy Moina. digressions . is Dtian na nlaoi. tliat she may rest witli tlie fair of Mor- ven. The title of this poem. along she was like the : : through the gathered mist new moon. as this song of Fingal. lonely head the moss whistled to the wind. by its of the walls. The Poem of the Hymns : probably on account of its many from the subject. i. Often did turn my ship . in the original. nor Nor Clutha Moina of the dark brown for I She fell in Balclutha. the sun-beams of other days. silence * in the house of her fathers. when the sky is pours down its flaky snow. and the world silent and dark. e. and rolled the red eye of her tears loose hair flew on the ful. but ever hair." Raise. Call her ghost. that Fingal's laws were extant in his own time. : her and I I heard her mourn- distant cries. have seen her ghost. and his foreknowledge of events.

was like the music of harps on the gale of the spring. our fame shall survive thy beams Such was the song of Fingal. shalt ! if thou shalt for a thou mighty light like if thy brightness season. When fail. limbs did not in move in steps . n)y father Who can equal the king The in joy. . Thou from thy towers to-day desert yet a few years. night passed away song . thoughts. His thousand bards leaned forward from to hear the voice of the king. for a ghost suf>ported mid air. and the blast of the it comes . morning returned j blue The mountains shewed tlieir grey heads The white wave is face of ocean smiled.! . fallen before us for.worn shield. O bards P They have but fall. from the lake. tlie one day. we must Why ? dost thou build lookest son of the winged days . slowly. It came. shell : Raise the song send round the let joy be heard in fail ! my is hall. in tlie day of his joy. It their seats. . our day ! The mark of my arm in shall my name the song of bards. A 26a ! over the land : of strangers. in the figure of an aged Its large it man. song of mourning. and the whistles round thy half. along the silent plain. thoUj sun of heaven. ! Lovely were thy the strength ! O Fingal why had not Ossian ? of tliy soul But thou standest of Selma in ? alone. blast of the And let desert come ! we shall be renowned in be in battle . hall. Fingal . It. Raise the O E M. howls in thy empty court. the seen tumbling round the distant rock a mist rose.

shields. The hero moved on before a ridge of green before his host. in silence. They saw the death of armies on his spear. The grey tlie . No word is among mighty marked the eyes of the king spear. begun to fill tlie king. The heroes rose around. ger. on each other. the sign of Morven's gloomy dan- Let each assume his hea\'y spear. dogs howl in their chiefs. and dissolved in a showef The king hall alone beheld the sight j he foresaw the to his death of the people. forewarned us of tlie The sons of tlie stranger come from came the darkly-rolling sea. the shell. each gird on his father's sword. On Cona's . soon shall ye hear the roar of death. from the water. Let the dark helmet its rise on every head . and half assumed Sons of Morven. The battle gathers like a storm . arms they drew a thousand swords. this is no time . his breast. For. place. gal. and took his father's spear. the mail pour lightning from every side. like a cloud fire . when it pours on the sky of night. are placed on their hall A thousand . The of Selma brightened around. He came.2-0 C A R T H O N: hall. The battle darkens near us death hovers over the land. at once. They look- in silence. and mariners foresee a storm. . The mail rattled on ed. has Some ghost. The Each his clang of arms ascends. came towards Selma's of blood. the friend of Finfoe. marking the eyes of battle in his face : Fingal.

in thy Why shouldest thou fall Sora ?" the rising maid: youth. Let thy people rejoice by thy Let the maids of thy love be glad. maid of the slow-rolling eye The feeble did not ! overcome the son of car-borne Annir battles Terrible art thou. The tear was in the eye of the king. thou art like the : sun. P O E M. bending forward. native streams. as. is 255 her hehnet flew wide. in thy ? beauty. to tlie sight . was never it stained with the blood of the vanquished never pierced a fallen foe. didst thou come from Tora's streams. lift when he looks diro' a silent shower the flowers their fair heads before him . said Frothal. the gales shake their in Sora ! rustling wings. ! " King of streamy It . he spoke. her dark-brown hair Fingal pitied the white-armed maid ! he stayed the upUfted sword. Daughter of Herman. and saw their they* stood trees in silence. and the loud winds are laid. . Sora fear not tlie sword of Fingal. didst thou come. to behold thy warrior low But he was low ! before the mighty. Her white bosom spread on heaved earth. king of streamy Frothal heard the words of Fingal. feast O ! that thou wert that my were spread The future kings of Sora would see tliy arms and rejoice. when the shower of spring on their leaves. But. O king of Morven ! in of the spear.A shield. They would rejoice at * Frothal and Utha. in beauty : like two young is of the plain. in peace.

but their names are not in song. f Lotha was the ancient name of one of the great rivers in The only ont. but whether it is the river mentioned here. then does the song arise stretched over the feeble : But if the if their swords are blood of the weak in has stained their arms . The was voice of Ullin Avas heard strung. Crimora the daugh-f- ter of Rinval. The soft sound of hall. The gates of Carric-thura are opened wide. the translator will not pretend to say. is The feast of shells spread. music arose. . Gladness brightened in the . Fingal Son of Annir. O Frotlial ! to the feast . replied the king. "These are the arms of the chiefs of old. the bard shall forget them the song. oflnistorej let the maid of thy love be there let our faces brighten with joy Fingal took his spear. moving in the steps of his might. when the soft* Crimora spoke. fore An half.of them that still retains the north of Scotland. sword shall rise be- him j bending above he will say. a name of a like sound is Lochy. the harp of Selma Utha rejoiced in his presence.worn it. as the situations of Crimora and Utha were so similar. and tlie demand- ed the song of grief J big tear hung in her eye. the ! fame of Sora's race shall be heard When ! chiefs are strong in war.! ! 256 CARRIC-THURA: who beheld the mighty the fame of their fathers. in Iriverness-shire ." Come thou. and their tombs shall not be stranger shall known. and remove the heaped-up earth. who dwelt at Lotha's roaring stream ! * There is a propriety in introducing this episode. The come and build there.

Perhaps the Carril mentioned here is the same with Carril the son of Kinfena. live. many are the warriors of * Cri-mora.rcat soul. They slowly came ! Connal.* Who with Cometh from the hill.o a Bnton . the son of Diaran. They return from the chace. tradition docs not determine. stream of light. he was slain in a battle against Dar2. I saw his sails like grey mist on the darkto land. f X Connal. CRIMORA. as it signifies a sprightlij and liarmoiiiirus sound.! A The tale POEM. is near ! Toof morrow the dreadful Dargo comes to try the force our race. was one of the most famous heroes of Fingal . 257 was long. but whether by the hand of the enemy. They like a Like is the voice of the youth ! the war. . battle The race of Fingal he defies. . The name itself is proper to any bard. a Dargo woman of a i. my love. The sun is on their shields. but pleasant as the harp of Carril?f It is my love in the light of steel ! j but sad is ? his darkened brow Live the mighty race of Fingal ? or what darkens in Connal's soul J CONNAL. loud as the wind. Loud a ridge of fire they descend the hill. but lovely and pleased the blush- ing Utha. brown wave. or that of his mistress. ? like a cloud tinged tlie beam of the west Whose voice is that. the race of and wounds CRIMORA. CuchuHin's bard. Connal.

! Raise my tomb. Our tombs said are distant far " And Crimora did they return no more ?" Utha's bvirsting sigh. when she moves darkened through heaven. may But raise my tomb. sad for Connal. shall send my name to ! ! other times. more pleasant than the gale of yet I will not here remain. and did Her steps were lonely her soul Avas . ye rocks of Ardven hill ! ye deer. . and aid him ! in the fight.258 CARRIC-THURA-: CONNAL. Then Connal. beat thy mournful heaving breast. . Crimora Grey a mound of earth. CRIMOKA. Crimora CRIMORA. give me those arms steel. my the love. father. and that spear of I shall meet Dargo with Farewel. the bossy. tliat gleam . that sword. Bring me thy . O Connal ! but it did not defell. Though fair thou art. and ye streams of the "We ! shall return no more. father's shield . my By the spear of ! Gormar he Thou may'st Fall I stones. iron shield of Rinval that shield like the full-orbed moon. live ? " Fell tlie mighty in battle. fall. like the Was he not young and lovely beam of the setting sun ?" UUin saw the . That fend shield I bring. O Connal CONNAL. Bend thy red eye over my grave. as the light hill .

in opposition to the Culdce's doctrine. and he was obliged to pas^ the night on the shore. with which the poem opens. The song measure. was introduced by Ossian Be this as it will. lyric . king of Ini- Comala. that this poem was addressed to a Culdee. after he had engaged him in a single combat. in those days. returning from an expedition which he had made the into Roman province. before the introduction of poem with it. and it lets us into Ossian's notions of a shevvs that he was not addicted to the superstition which prevailed all the world over.CARRIC-THURA: A POJEM. resolved to to visit Cathulla. appears from tradition. Hast* gates * thou left thy blue course in heaven. golden! haired son of the sky . at some distance from Carric-thura. This species of triumph is called. supposed to be the ancient Odin of Scandinavia. superior being . The deliverance of Carric-thura is the substore. FiNGAL. the song of victory. of Carric-thura. is in a It was usual with Fingal. and took Frothal himself prisoner. Upon his coming in sight in the preceding dramatic poem. by Ossian. was a signal of distress. to send his bards singing before him. The wind drove him into a bay. which. It Christianity. king of Sora. and brother ject of the but several other episode? are interwoven . the palace of Cathulla. he observed a flame on its top. The west is has opened its the bed of thy repose tliere. who had besieged Cathulla in his palace of Carric-thura. whose story is related. and that the story of the Spirit of Loda. AKGUMENT. at large. The waves of Uliin. when he returned tiom his expeditions. or one of the first Christian missionaries. Next day he attacked the army of Frothal.

His blue on the sun. They see thee lovely in tliy sleep they shrink away with let fear. with his fame Such were the words of Ullin. They lift their trembling . and tlie ! when softens the branch its of young leaf rears green head. and let me like hear the song. sail. with any degree of purity. the strife king of shells is returned The of CaiTin is past. Rest. poem. in tliy shadowy cave. arms were on the hero like a light cloud when he moves half his beams. O sun! thy return be in joy. Raise the song. for the translator to . where Comala Ossian has celebrated the strife of Crona. through the ocean. But let a thousand lights arise to : tlie sound of the harps of Selma let the beam ! spread in the hall. to Carric-thura's the mossy walls of Sarno.* like sounds that are no more. and bids the song • to rise. when Fingal turned from war : re- when he all 3 returned in the fair blush- ing of youth. ! O bards ! the king is returned. come heads. feast in his robes of mist. with his heavy locks. Sing on. Pleasant is the joy of grief! it it is the shower of spring. O hall bards of other times Ye. the oak. O bards is to-morrow we lift the My blue course walls * . hut it was impossible procure that part which relates to Crona. ! Voices of echoing Cona ! he said.244 CARRIC-THURA: to behold thy beauty. in a particular This poem is connected with it. the of shells is Fingal turns to his bards. on whose ! souls the blue hosts of our fatliers rise strike the harp in my . and shews but : His heroes follow the king sj^read.

P O E M. signifies a mountain-slream : it is here •friver known by that name. mist flies . the showery bow. when it shews is its lovely head on the lake. like Let Viiivela come in her beauty. upon solemn occasions. VINVELA. Cronnan signifies a mournful. and the setting sun bright.f thou wert from tlie chace .A dwelt. or Min-'onn. There are several small nvers in the north of Scotland still retaining name of Bran . by the aged oak of Branno . or by the noise of the mounLlie tain-stream ? the rushes are nodding to the wind. His grey dogs are panting around him his bow-string sounds in die wind. My love is a son of the hill. the sound Tof the chace shall aiise Cronnan. king of Moi'ven.* son of the song graceful at the harp please the ! ! said Ullin. O Fingal ! her voice is soft but sad. She comes. . the fairest among thy * One should think that the parts of . in the days of Ossian. sound. or Branno. Lovely I saw thee jeturning friends. the fount of tlie Dost thou rest by rock. hill. Minona. tale Minona. All the dramatic poems of Ossian appear to have been presented before Fingal. who performed in public. over the I will approach my love un- seen I will first tall behold him from the rock. He pursues the J fly- ing deer. soft air. whose very name'? denote that they were sinsjers. some the at Bran. to raise the of Shilric. woods are 245 feast There the noble Cathulla spreads the of The boars of his ! many . in particular one which falls into the Tay Dunkcld.Shilric and Vinvela were represented by Cronnan and Minona. shells.

mark me sit to future times. and my shall live in his praise. high plain tlie wars of Fingal. has the same sound with the v in English. No . my grave. Bh Galic language. in the field ! The hunter is removed of graves. alas love ! ! my Shilric will art for in the What shall I do. Remember me. Then thou hill ! art gone. a woman uiih a melodious voice. When the hunter shall by the mound. I go to more. Strangers ! sons of the waves spare my lovely Shilric SHILRIC. more he is the rustling tree. . no . when low on Yes fall ! earth I lie ! VINVELA. No more they dread wind . VINVELA. voice ! What is that I hear ? tliat voice like the . and produce his food at noon. my when thou * Bhin-bheul. and heaped-up earth. Afar. Vinvela." he will say. alone on the The deer are seen on the brow void of fear the far ! tliey graze along. Vinvela.24d CARRIC-THURA: SHILRIC. fair-moving by the stream of the as the . more from on see thee. sumI mer wind I sit not by the nodding rushes hear not the fount of the rock. My dogs attend me no No 1 more I tread the hill. If fall I must Grey in the field. ! 1 will remember thee. O Shilric ! I am . bright as the bow of heaven moon on the western wave. "Some fame warrior rests here. shall Vinvela. raise high stones.* afar.

it is song of Shilric. Dark waves low. but the latter never but by nisjht. high rocky The distinction which the ancient Scots made between good and bad spirits. on the top of tlie hill of winds. No hunter at hill. that the tiirnier appeared sometimes in the day-time in lonely unfrequented places. tlie song when he returned to his and Vinvela . Alas ! my I . f C. the chace. and in a dismal gloomy scene. on the He leaned on her grey mossy stone lived. tliese 247 will hiUs I go at noon : I go through the silent heath. beam Hear fled tlie from and she was seen no more. . ! said UUin of other times. Morven he consumed the eyes behold . met him. was. he thought Vinvela plain : He saw her fair : moving^ the sun- but the bright form lasted not tiae field. One tree is rustling above me.* the chief of high Carmora ?f Cronnan of Shilric . There I will see the place of thy rest. * X roll over the heath. said the king of woody But day. is troubled be- The The deer descend from the gravp. one tlie hill his cheek was pale j his brow was dark. returning from . I now my on him not. Dwells he in the narrow house.A ever gone? Through will POEM. soft but sad I I sit by the mossy fountain . was no more. his steps were towards tlie But now he not in the crowd of my chiefs. And remember the chief. battle in his rage. when the sounds of my shields arise. The lake hill. Shilric will fall but I will remember Shilric. in his breast is : The sigh was frequent desert.irn-mor. raise hills.

are thy friends. ! O my love ing on the the sight 5 a wanderer on the heath thy hair float- wind behind thee . It is mid-day : but all is silent. away. But why thou on the desert Why on the heath alone " Alone I am. comest tliou. Didst thou but appear. Vinvela Stay and behold ! my tears ! fair thou appearest. thy bosom heaving on thine eyes full of tears for tliy friends. her voice ! like the breeze in the reeds of " Returnest thou safe from the war ? Where Yes. Shilric return my shalt fair." she sails She fleets. Vinvela ! fair thou wast. Sad are my I thoughts alone. as mist before the ? wind and. and bring thee to thy fa- But light it she that there appears. when alive By the mossy fountain I will sit j on the top of the . over mountains to me ? She speaks but how weak the lake. Thou on the See them no more art ? their graves I raised hill ? plain. wilt thou not stay. house is ! my love. like a ? beam of as on the heath bright as the moon in autumn. love ? I heard of thy death on the ! I I heard and mourned thee. hill . O maid. Shilric. my . pale in the ! alone in the winterI fell.248 a distance is CARRIC-THURA: seen. hill whom ther's the mist of the had concealed ! Thee I would comfort. I am I tomb. : over rocks. O Shilric With grief for thee house. but : I alone of my race. the sun in a summer-storm.

O talk with mc. the Scandinavians. his The king of Morven to the coast is breast : he assumed. waters rolled in the winds Fingal bade his came rustling from their hills. passest. which the midnight winds. had torn from the shaggy rock. The silence of the is terrible Night came down on the the ship. His hair king . covered with grass and aged trees. mid-day ! 24y silent of winds. When is around. sea Rotha's bay received all its A rock bends along the coast with the top is echoing wood.! A hill POEM. on the night of Selma's joy. for Carric- thura's Chief distrest. . Vinvela ! come on desert. silent come Let me when mid-day is ! around ! Such was the song of Cronnan. plain spreads the mossy stone of power ! A narrow beneath. The blue course of a stream is there the lonely blast of ocean pursues the thistle's beard. : His darkened brow bends forward he looks back to the lagging winds. But morning light. * Thf circle of Loda is supposed to be a place of worship among. rose in the east j the blue sails to rise . On Uie circle* of Loda. The flame of three oaks arose : : the feast is is spread around but tlae soul of the king sad. in their wrath. as the spirit of Loda is thought to be the same with their eod Odin. disordered on ! his back. his spear. tlie and Carric-thura's mossy towers But sign of distress was on their top : the warning struck flame edged with smoke. Inistore ! rose to sight. the light-winged gale on the breeze of the as tliou hear thy voice. at once.

hill. my nostrils pour the blast of death. thy . and fly ! Why dost thou ? come to my presence. nations. look on the and 1 tliey vanish . But the clouds * tiie fields my dM^elling is calm. Fingal advanced his spear in night. clouds spirit : of feeble to- that meteor. in the east. and raised his voice on high. are before come abroad on face. with thy sha- dowy arms dismal Loda is ? Do I fear thy gloomy Weak is thy shield of sword ! form. tain. above He is described. to his place in his terrors. replied the I The people bend before me. distant : the moon the hid her A blast came from of Loda. of my rest are pleasant.* and shook dusky His eyes appear is like flames in his dark face his voice like distant tliunder. Fly from fly ! my pre- sence. tlie moon ! rose. in a simile. Sleep deglitter to scended on the youths Their blue helmets beam} the fading fire decays. I turn the battle in the field of the brave. in the poem concerning the death of CuchuUin. The blast rolls them gether and thou Uiyself ! art lost. : But sleep did not rest on the king he rose in the midst of his arms. son of night call thy winds and Dost thou force hollow voice ? me from my place.250 CARRIC-THURA: cold The wan. . his moun- on its wings was tlie spirit He came spear. Son of night. to behold and slowly ascended the Sarno's tower. the flame of The flame was dim and red face in the east. retire : call tliy winds. . die winds: the tempests my .

replied tlie form : receive the wind. or feel ! my flaming wrath He lifted high ward his his shadowy spear ! He bent for- his dreadful height. my ! he bends is at the stone of . Fingal.* The gleaming path of the ghost. His battle around Carric-thura will prevail Fly to thy land. Inistore shook at the it sound. of Loda shrieked. n The famous sword of Fingal. Do my spirit steps ascend. The king and he of Sora power. The waves heard on the deep. into thy peaceful plains Do ? I meet with a spear. which as it the staff" of the boy disturbs^ rises from the half-extinguished furnace. advancing. smith of Lochlin. in their course. with fear * the friends of or Luno. ? from thee. spirit rolled into him- he rose on the wind. king : 251 Let in thy pleasant fields. . drew sword the blade of dark steel brown Luno. as. son of Comhal. of dismal Loda Why tlien dost ? thou frown on me why I shake thine airy spear Thou frownest in vain : never fled from the mighty in war. . blasts are in the hollow of is my my hand : tlie is course of the storm mine. said tlie Comhal's son be forgot. ? my hills. made by Lun.! A Dwell P O E M. on thy cloud. winds thro' the gloomy The form fell shapeless into air. : They stopped. like a co- lumn of smoke. and fly ! The son. frighten the king of And shall tlie sons ? of the wind Morven No : he knows the weakness of their arms Fly to thy land. The self.

all their The moon came in the forth in tlie east. a storm arose on the sea. and he rein his soul turned to his land. the oak arose 5 and of heroes are But Frothal. Sarao sent him to his ship. The death of Erraion is the subject of the battle uJ'Lora. was. Fingal returned gleam of his arms. their souls settled. at once} and took their heavy spears. and carried Frothal Inistore. to say that the person was dead. who. battle rose. He loved her. The as joy of his youth was great. The host spreads around Carric- thura. To erect the stone of one's fame. J . He in looks towards the walls w^ith rage. The gloomy .! 252 CARRIC-THURA: the king : Fingal started. f That is. after the death of Annir. On the fourth. Cathulla Frothal met tlie chief. Ullin raised the song of gladness. in the flame of youth. sits in sadness beneatli a tree. the father of sea borne Frothal. tales The hills of Initlie The flame of told. and saw tlie of Comala. They missed arms resound tliey rose in rage . was bound in the hall three days he pined alone. who was king after the death of his brother Frothal. He longs for the blood of Cathulla. a poem in this collection. once. over- came him war. Three days he slow rolling eyes feasted in Sarno's halls. But wrath darkened againsX the noble Cathulla. When to Annir reigned * in Sora. Sora's wrathful king. and rushed to seize the white-armed maid. store rejoiced. a sea from a storm. in other words. When Annir's stone f * Aiinir was also the father of Erragon.

chief of streamy Tora He went iliey rolled forth with the stream of his people. his side. it is a foe ! I see his forward spear. The burned round Carric-thura. . shall sur- No : Thubar. the spear of the king pursued their steps. brown shield. broken back from Nor did they safely fly . ! No : I will never yield. first Perhaps the king of Morven. Frothal battle POEM. is The field covered with heroes. Fingal the are well of men. They the saw Fingal coming noble Thubar spoke. His deeds is ? known in Lochlin . . but : they met a rock Fingal stood unmoved. Fro tlial flew fordi like a meteor but a darkness has met him . but their eyes were turned his to the sea. witli it is in strength and first " his Who comes like the stag ? of all herd behind him Frothal. I will never yield my fame round me like light. * Honourable terms of peace. His chiefs started they stood. shall Son of the feeble hand. the desert. A rising hill preserved the foe. chief of streamy Tora The fame people would j say in Sora. is no more. came in 253 his strength. Frothal struck his darkat tlie sovind . and his . Shall I ask the peace* of kings His sword is the bolt of heaven !" said Frothal.A of fame arose. and Sarno's mossy walls. Morning rose on Inistore. die blood of his foes in Starno's halls. days begin in a cloud ? my have Shall I yield before I ? conquered.

She rolled her eye steel. She feared the low-laid her secret sighs rose. 3 She rushed to cover the chief with her shield fell but a fallen oak met her steps. Thubar ! my My . she dwells by Thano's the white-bosomed daughter of soft-rolling eyes. She Her white breast rose. in the armour of a man. raised her eyes to the king. Speak not against Frothal's words ! But. half bent he foresees soul.254 Frothal rose. his deatli. the bard as he from beneath her She saw from her went . They mixed gleam of their deathful They raised tlie their arms. in secret. tlie Fingal heard words of bard . Herman. She would speak. Utha with Comala sail. when I spread the Tell to ! Utha of harps. Darkness gathered on Utha's I'he tear rolled down her cheek. on the youth. his eyes to the The rage of his bosom He bent ground. The soft Utha was near She had followed her hero. . She on her arm of snowj her . I love a maid . witli sighs. ! I will fight the king I my burning soul Send a bard to demand the ! combat. noble Thubar. and called the people are fled. that my soul delighted in her Such were sigh of his words. tlie spear fell thrice hand ! Her loose hair flew on the wind. but tlie thrice she failed. he came in the strengtli of his spears : steel. resolved to ! fight. Fingal descended and cut Frothal's His fair side is exposed . Thubar stream. CARRIC-THURA: saw their flight. But the sword of shield in twain. fame has ceased feel to arise.

and looked towards the sea with fear. to exchange arms with their guests. and those arms were preserved long in the different families. Tell to the king in of swords. sails . the sea is ! said the king of fire woody Morven. tliat the ghosts of our foes are many. But halls ! renowned are they who have feasted in my they shew the arms * of my fathers in a foreign land : the sons of the strangers wonder. they foresaw the death of the youth. : 271 they stood the white-bosomed maids beheld them above like a grove. Like the mist of ocean they came coast. stately strode the . UUin. The varied face of the * It was a custom among the ancient Scots. His shield like the stag in is the midst of herd. and poured their youth upon the The chief was tlie among them. side : Thy is sword a beam of by thy thy spear a pine that defies the storm. Ullin went witli his song. for our names have been heard the kings of the world shook in the midst of their host.^ he saw the mighty foe armour : he blest son of stranger's son. " How stately art thou. The white wave the tear is deceived them for distant on their cheek ! The sun rose on the sea.A rising heath POEM. spear tlie : Fingal rested on in his hi. studded with gold . go. . and we beheld a distant : fleet. said Fingal. king of spears. witli a song of peace. He moved towards Selma his thousands moved that behind. him we are mighty war . and bless the friends of Morven's race afar : . Go. as monuments of the friendship which Subsisted between their ancestors.

the sons of the rolling sea !" Dost thou speak the to the weak in } arms!" Is said Carthon. came to the mighty Carthon he thre\s^ when Ullin down the from the lift : spear before him . " bard of woody Morven ? pale for fear.: 2/2 C A R T is H O N Ruddy ! moon tree ter not broader than thy shield. why the virgins wept. and knew not the cause. with mossy stones and rustling ''^ grass : these are the tombs of Fingal' s foes. sleeps in Her thoughts are of him who Morven !" tlie . it is the king of Balclutlia. looking to the rolling : sea the children will say. then. or the spear of war ! The ghosts of our foes are ! many but renowned are the friends of Morven field. many a green hill rises there. he raised the song of peace. Carthon. Have not I seen the fallen ? Balclutha ? Comhal ! And shall I feast who threw his fire in ! with Comhal's son the midst of my fa- ther's hall I was young. has fought in battle to the feeble in my renown known Go arms. j dost thou think to darken those my soul with the tales of who is fell ? My arm afar. Behold that O Carthon . " Come to the feast of Fingal. ! is thy this face of youth soft the ringlets of thy hair But may fallj and his memory be forgot " ! The daughperhaps of the stranger will be sad." The tear starts from their mother's eye. ! rolling sea partake of the feast of tlie king. Such were the words of king. We see a ship . bid tliem yield to Fingal. The columns of smoke pleased . son of the peaceful song my face Why.

P O E M. in the midst of his course. tlie tear half-starting from . tlie when my tlie friends fled my youth my fallen walls mv sigh arose with the morning. of my chiefs. may fell. say. I beheld the moss of : ? ! His people gathered around the hero. T . liefore the noble Carthon No: bard of the times to come! thou shalt not lessen Fingal's fame. he seemed Shall to tlireaten the king. like the roaring stream of Cona. and drew. their shining swords. will meet the son of the Many are his warriors on the coast and : strong is his ashen spear I. I. his eye . where our heroes shone in his arms . said Fingal to his soul. and my tears descended with night. Fingal took his thousands to battle. youtli. ? before his fame shall arise But the bard.A mine along e}'e. Shall I not light. O bard I feel the strength of my soul. My heroes will fight the If he overcomes. I said to my soul. of fire . at once. meet. at once. I rush. for he thought of the fallen Balclutlia the crowded pride of his soul arose. the spear trembled hand : bending forward. they rose above looked back. hereafter. in my ? strength." But when years of came on. and Fingal behold the war. Sidelong he looked in up to the hill. my walls ! 273 I often when hill. in the midst. with gladness^. ! VOL. the youth ? Shall I stop him. against the children of my foes And I will fight. rolling sea Who. when he sees the tomb of Carthon . like a pillar He stands.

" Shall 1 lift that ? that never strikes. from this passage. against Carthon. the : : Cathul * rose. in who pretend they are descended from him. preserve the ? warrior's life Stately are his steps of age ! ! lovely the remnant of his years Perhaps it is the husband of * Cath-'huil. he saw the hero nishing : Carthon stood on a rock on. for wisdom and valour . f It in the days of Fingal. He . with the words of peace. there is a small tribe still subsisting. but once. in the pride of valour. shaking his grizly locks. in ancient poetry. at the stream of Lora Rise. Fingal did not then know that Carthon was ttie son of Clessammor. 11 X This Connal is very much celebrated. feel tlie strength of Mor- He rose in the strength of his steel. said. son of the mighty Lormar three hundred youths attend the chief. side . the racef of his native streams. is Clessammor said the of Morven. he fell . his the North. a foe Or shall I. but he broke his heavy spear : bound on tlie field ! Carthon pursued king ? || his people. . though not on the same fooling with the present tribes in the north of Scotland. Connal J : resumed the lay battle. in the locks of age spear. where tliou the spear of thy strength Wilt behold Connal ? bound J thy friend. Feeble was hi& arm he and his heroes fled. the eye of battle. fitted the shield to his he rushed. companion of valiant Comlial! Let the youth of Balclutha ven's race. that clanship was established. He he loved the dreadful joy of his face ! his strength. appears. in the light of thy steel.2/4 C A R T H O N in his strength.

that I heard^ he dwelt echoing stream of Such were lifted his words. was of old an ignominious term for a coward. between the immediately ancestors of the combatants.A Moina have Lora. son that the of wave. " I never yielded." plied Why dost I still Clessammor with hand 3 a tear lift wound my soul. * To tell one's name to an enemy was reckoned. to raise the shield before his fither. . behold my ! future fame. of old. . and the ancient amity of their forefathers was renewed. mark of have my sword ! many I a field. younger heroes fight. battle . thou chief of men thou ? my arm. at tlie 2/5 Often the fatlier of car-borne Carthon. then is thou kno\^'. him tor if it was once known. j4 man who tells his name to his enemy. The on his shield. and youth received it high his spear. that Iriendship subsisted. in those days of heroism. I have been renowned to a foe. but never told tlie my name * shalt in Yield to me. the battle ceased . Despear spise is me not. ? meet the arm of youth Is the spouse of tliy love ? no more ? or weeps she over the tombs of thy sons Art thou of the kings of men of ? What ? will be the fame my sword should 'st thou fall It will be great. and spoke the words of peace. thou son of pride I ! begun the in tall Clessammor. a manifest evasion of nghtina. let my strong. POEM. ! " Warrior of lift the aged locks Is there no youth to the spear ? Hast to tliou no son. Retire among thy friends. king : of spears replied the noble pride of Carthon I also fought in war . when Clessammor came." . reAge does not tremble Shall I fly in on my can the sword.

he stopt the up! " I Yield. and retires to the : cave of the rock. Fingal beheld the hero's blood lifted spear. the chief foe's as Cartlion was binding the chief j his fathers. exalt thy pointed spear. a wound. his steel. his . either that Carthon hoped to acquire glory by killing Fingal . there. . Fingal saw Clessammor low : he moved in tlie sound of sence . that to roll the wave. by his hand. 3 Thou shall hast been mighty in battle and thy fame far never fade. behold thy blood." tlie Art thou the king so renowned. before the winds the hunter hears it in the vale. or to be rendered famous by fallins.: : 276 Fingal's sight j sea ! C I A RT H O N him I love ? in the sight of : Son of the never fled fought. king of swords said Com- hal's son . he still thought was the spouse of Moina. helmet shook on but his soul was high the force of Carthon failed strong. in his pre- tliey turned their eyes to the king. He came. twain : He broke Clessammor's beamy But spear in he seized his shining sword. tliat Carthon bade his spear to the foe err . like They strive two contending winds. replied car- * This expression admits of a double meaning. The lait is the most probable. The host stood silent. he saw the coming down of the king his his hopes of fame arose y* but pale was cheek : : his hair flew loose. drew the dagger of j He saw the uncovered side and opened. arise like the sullen noise of a storm. as Carthon is already wounded. is Carthon stood his side : in his place the blood rushing down . .

" But thou of shalt not die : unknown. till very lately. gatlaered The chiefs round the Carthon . in his course swift as the eagle of . The years to hear the fame of Carthon when is they sit round the burning oak. in Carthon's face : he lifted his lie heavy He tliat gave his sword to Fingal." Joy rose eyes. their songs descend to future times. The hunter. hall. shall hear the rustling blast and. memory of Balclutha's The battle ceased falling king might realong the field. heath. to within his the main in Morven. he fought with the mighty Fingal. sitting in the . ? 277 Art thou that light of deaths that frightens the kings of the world But why should hills Carthon ask ? for he is like the : stream of his strong as a river. and shew tlie place where the mighty fought 5 " There the king of Balclutha fought. eyes. they burnt a large trunk of an oak at their festivals . raising his fell. heaven. O my that 1 had fought with the king in tliat my fame might be great holding song ! that the hunter. they heard his * In the north of Scotland. O Carthon children of . might say. But Carthon dies unknown} he has replied the king poured out his force on the weak. be- tomb. that the J'east. it was called the trunk of the Time had so much consecrated the custom. the bard had sung the song of peace. like the strength of a thousand stream. . woody Morven come shall my bards are many. vulgar thought it a kind of sacrilege to disuse it. behold the rock where Carthon He shall turn to his son.* and the night spent in songs of old.! A borne Carthon ? P O E M..

. : on his son. said. wiih sighs. often did turned : And when shadowy autumn rethey mark the day and sing comes so dark the hero's praise. the of Reuthamir's race. from : the east. hill. he commanded his mark the day. a is dim ghost defends . Perhaps the husband of Moina his fallen mourn over Carthon. is The host stood darkened around no voice on the plain. and dark autumn is on the plain. There she Malvina ! but not like the daughters of the are Her robes alone ! from the stranger's land ." : His words . and his voice was sad and low." Carthon midst of " I fall in the in my last : course.275 C A R T HO N : words. There darts is Moina often seen all when is the sun-beam on the rock. the moon. Silent they leaned on their spears. A foreign tomb receives. Three days they mourned above Carthon fourth his father died. and she Fingal bards to was sad for Carthon . on the In the narrow plain of the their rock they lovely lie . tomb. Night came. looked on the mournful field stood. : But my remembrance on the banks of Lora where my will fathers dwelt. like a silent grove that lifts its but still they head on Gormal. Darkness dwells in Balclutha raise the shadows of grief in Crathmo. while Balclutha's hero spoke. youth. is still around dark. reached the heart of Clessammor he fell in silence. when the loud winds are laid. " Who from ocean's . " King of Morven. His hair sighed in the wind. and seen.

sinks in the western : wave. I Perhaps they think lights hear a feeble to may come to my dreams I The beam of heaven devoice : shine on the grave of Cartlion I feel it warm around O my thou that roUest above. Balclutha's joy ? ? When When. ! king of swords ! The people See ! how he strides. Car- thon. shalt thou arise Who comes so dark from Such day of their . cold and of thy course pale. ? O Clessammor thy dwelling in the wind Flies he. hide themselves in O in sun ! tliy thy awfiil beauty. which sudden blasts overturned shalt thou rise. round as the shield of ! fathers everlasting light? Whence are thy beams. ! Has the youth forgot his ? wound ? on clouds. with thee I feel the sun.! A roar> like P O E M. ? 2?9 Death is ! autumn's shadowy cloud ! trem- bling in his hand his eyes are flames of fire ? Who roars along dark Lora's heath Who fall ! but Carthon. like autumn's shadowy cloud ?" were the words of the bards. like the sullen ghost of Morven But there ! he lies a goodly oak. ocean's roar. Cartlion . My where soul has been mournful for youth : he fell ! in the days of his is and thou. fall : tlie mountains tliemselves decay with years shrinks and grows again : the ocean is the moon herself lost in . But thou thyself movest alone ? who tlie can be a companion The oaks of mountains . in tlie mourning : Ossian often joined their voice and add- ed to their song. Thou comest forth. the stars the sky 3 the moon. O Malvina ! leave me j to my rest.

280
heaven
:

C A R T H O N.
but thou art for ever the same
:

rejoicing in

the brightness of thy course.

When

the world

is

dark with tempests ning
flies
;

5

when thunder
in

rolls,

and

lighttlie

thou lookest
at

thy beauty,

from

clouds,

and laughest
;

the storm.

But

to Ossian,

thou lookest in vain

for

he beholds thy beams no

more

;

whether thy yellow hair flows on the eastern

clouds, or thou tremblest at the gates of the west.

But thou
will

art perhaps, like
.

me,

for a season, tliy years

have an end

Thou

shalt sleep in thy clouds,

careless of the voice of tlie

morning.

Exult then,
!

O

sun

!

in the strength of thy
it

youth

Age
light

is

dark
tlie

and unlovely;

is

hke the glimmering

of

moon, when
the mist
is

it

shines through broken clouds, and
hills
:

on the

the blast of the north

is

on

die plain, the traveller shrinks in

the midst of his

journey.

OINA-MORUL:
A FOEM*
ARGUMENT.
After an
address to Malvina, the daughter of Toscar, Ossian proceeds to relate his own expedition to Fuarfed, an island of

Mal-orchol, king of Fuarfed, being hard Scandinavia. pressed in war, by Ton-thormod, chief of Sar-dronlo, (who had demanded, in vain, the daughter of Mal-orchol in marOssian, on the day after riage) Fingal sent Ossian to his aid. his arrival, came to battle with Ton-thormod, and took him Mal-orchol offers his daughter, Oina-morul, to prisoner. Ossian; but he, discovering her passion for Ton-thormod, generously surrenders her to her lover, and brings about a reconciliation between the two kings.

As
hill,

flies

the Inconstant sun, over Larmon's grassy-

so pass the tales of old, along

my

soul,
;

by night!
harps

When
are

bards are removed to their place
in

when

hung

Selma's hall

;

then comes a voice to
!

Ossian, and awakes his soul
that are

It

is

the voice of years
all

gone

!

they

roll

before me, with

their

deeds

I

I seize

the tales, as they pass, and pour

them

fortli in
tire

song.
it is

Nor

a troubled stream

is

the song of

king,

like the rising

of music from Lutha of
strings,

the strings.

Lutha of many

not silent are

thy streamy rocks,

when
I

the white hands of Malvina

move upon

the harp

Light of the shadowy thoughts.

282
that fly across

OINA-MORUL:
my
soul, daughter of
?

Toscar of hel-

mets, wilt thou not hear the song

We

call

back,
!

maid of Lutlia,
It

tlie

years that have rolled

away

was

in the days of the king, while yet

my

locks

were young,

that 1

marked Con-cathlin,* on high,

from ocean's nightly wave.
the
isle

My

course was towards
!

of Fuarfed,

woody

dweller of seas

Fingal

had sent
fed wild

me to
:

the aid of Malorchol, king of Fuiir-

for

war was around him, and our

fathers

had met,

at the feast.

In Col-coiled, I bound
to

Mal-orchol of

shells.

bion, and his joy arose.
hall,

my sails I sent my sword He knew the signal of AlHe came from his own high
;

and seized

my hand

in grief.
?

"

Why comes
Sar dronlo.

the

race of heroes to a falling king

Ton-thormod of

many

spears

is

the chief of

wavy

He

saw and loved
morul.
thers

my

daughter, white-bosomed Oiua;

He

sought
foes,

1

denied the maid

!

for our fa-

had been

He

came, with

battle, to Fuiir-

* Con-cathlin, mild heam of the tvnve.
called of old
is

What

star

was so

not easily ascertained. Some now distinguish the pole-star hy that name. A song, which is still in repute, among the sea-faring part of the Highlanders, alludes to this passage of Ossian. The author commends the knowledge of Ossian in sea affairs, a merit, which, perhaps, few of us moderns will allow him, or any in the age in which he lived. One thing is certain, that the Caledonians often made their way through the dangerous and tempestuous seas of Scandinavia ; which is more, perhaps, than the more polished nations, subsisting in those times, dared to venture. In estimating the degree of knowledge of arts among the ancients, we ought not to bring it into comparison with the improvements of modern times. Our advantages over them proceed more from accident, than any merit of ours.

A
fed
;

POEM.
Why
to look, like a boy,

283
comes the

my
come

people are rolled away.

race of heroes to a falling king ?"
I

not, I

said,

on the

strife.

Fingal remembers Mal-orchol, and his hal^

for strangers.

From

his waves, the warrior descend-

ed,

on

tliy

woody

isle.

Thou wert no

cloud before

him.

Thy feast was
shall rise
;

spread with songs.

For

this

my
is

sword

and thy foes perhaps
tlieir

may

fail.

Our

friends are not forgot in

danger, tho' distant

our land.
"^

Descendant of the daring Trenmor, thy words

are like the voice of Cruth-loda,

when he
but they

speaks,

from

his parting cloud,

strong dweller of
feast
;

tlie

sky

!

Many
winds
;

have rejoiced

at

my

all

have
die

forgot Mal-orchol.

I

have looked towards

all

but no white

sails

were seen.

But

steel

* re-

sounds in

my

hall

;

and not the joyful

shells.

Come

* There is a severe satire couched in this expression, against the guests of Mal-orchul. Had his feast been still spread, had joy continued in his hall, his former parasites would not have failed to resort to him. But as the time of festivity was past, their attendance also ceased. The sentiments of a certain old bard are agreeable to this observation. Hp, poetically, com" Those pares a great man to a fire kindled in a desert place. that pay court to him, says he, are rollmg large around him, like the smoke about the fire. This smoke gives the fire a great appearance at a distance, but it is but an empty vapour itself, and varying its form at every breeze. When the trunk, which fed the fire, is consumed, the smoke departs on all the winds. So the flatterers forsake their chief, when his power declines." I have chosen to give a paraphrase, rather than a translation, of this passage, as the original is verbose and frothy, notwithstanding of the sentimental merit of the author. He was one of the less ancient bards, and their compositions are not nervous enough to bear a literal translation.

!

2S-1
to

OINA-MORUL:
race of heroes
!

my dw elling,
Hear

dark-skirted night

is

near.

the voice of songs,

from the maid of

Fuarfed wild.

We went. On
trembling string.

the harp arose the white hands of

Oina-monil. She waked her
I

own sad
many

tale,
5

from every

stood in silence

for bright in
!

her locks was the daughter of

isles

Her

eyes

were two
shower.

stars,

looking forward

thro'

a rushing

blesses the lovely

The mariner marks them on high, and beams. With morning we rushed
:

to battle, to Tormul's resounding stream

the foe
shield.
I

moved

to the

sound of Ton-thormod's bossy

From wing

to

wing the

strife

was mixed.

met
steel.

Ton-thormod
.1

in fight.

Wide
I

flew his broken

seized the king in war.

gave his hand, bound
shells.

fast

with thongs, to Mal-orchol, the giver of
rose at the feast

Joy

of Fuarfed, for the foe had
his face

failed.

Ton-thormod turned
of
isles
!

away, from Oina-morul

Son of Fingal, begun Mal-orchol, not forgot
thou pass from me.

shalt

A

light shall dwell in thy ship,

Oina-morul of slow-rolling eyes.
gladness,
shall the

She

shall kindle

along thy mighty soul.

Nor unheeded
the dwelling

maid move

in Selma,

thro'

of kings

In the

hall

I

lay in night.

Mine

eyes were halfto

closed in sleep.

Soft music came

mine ear
first,

:

it

was

like

the rising breeze, that whirls, at

the

thistle's

beard

;

then

flies,

dark-shadowy, over the

!

A
grass.
tlie

P

O E M.
!

285
she raised

It

was the maid of Fuarfed wild
;

nightly song
that

she

knew

that

my

soul

stream,

flowed at pleasant sounds,

was a " Who

looks/' she said,

" from

his rock,

on ocean's closing
wing, are wan-

mist

?

His long locks,

like tlie raven's

dering on the blast.

Stately are his steps in grief!
!

The

tears are in his eyes

His manly breast
Retire, I

is

heaving
;

over his bursting soul

!

am

distant far

a

wanderer

in lands

unknown.

Tho' the race of kings
is

are around
fathers

me, yet
?

my

soul

dark.

Why

have our

been foes

Ton-thormod
night

love of maids !"
I said,

"
mor
der,

Soft voice of the streamy isle,"

" why
wan-

dost thou

mourn by

?

The

race of daring Trenshalt not

are not the dark in soul.

Thou
it

by streams unkno^'n, blue-eyed Oina-morul
this

Within
ears
:

bosom

is

a voice

;

comes not

to other

it

bids Ossian hear the hapless, in their hour
Retire, soft singer,

of woe.
shall not

by night! Ton-thormod

mourn on

his rock !"
I

With morning
long-haired maid.

loosed

tlie

king.

I

gave the
words, in

Mal-orchol heard

my
?

the midst of his echoing halls.
wild,

" King of Fuarfed

why

should Ton-thormod

mourn

He

is

of the
fathers

race of heroes, and a flame in war.

Your

have been
death.
shell in

foes,

but

now

their

dim ghosts

rejoice in

They
Loda.

stretch their hands of mist to the

same

Forget their rage, ye warriors

!

it

was

the cloud of other years."

286

OINA-MORUL
his

Such were the deeds of Ossian, while yet
locks were

young

:

the'

lovehness, with a robe of

beams,
call

clothed

tlie

daughter of

many
tliat

isles.

We

back, maid of Lutha, the )'ears
!

ha\e rolled

away

of troubled streams. Car-ut. Col-amon. the daughter of the king. between ! trees. the son of Conloch and father of Malvina. narCar-ul. Colna-dona became no less enamoured of Toscar. theinhahllanls of Ihe plain country . Car-ul seems to have been of the race of those Britons. Cael-don. in contradistinction to the Caledonians (i. inhal-itavts .uished by the name of Maiatat. brings their loves to a happy issue. the residence of Car-u!. e. dark-eijed. on the banks of the stream of Crona. the Gauls of the hills).ved from two Galic word'^. When they were employed in that work. dark wanderer I behold thy course. at a hunting party. An incident. rolling stars 3 Her eyes were her arms were white as the foam of * Colna-dona signifies the love of heroes. who are distiny. was in the neighbourhood of Agricola's wall. the daughter of Car-ul. a plain. who were settled in the Lowlands. which he had obtained in that place. Tinu river. Moi. a name c/uen to the Britons. a neia. so that the signification of Maiatas is. Col-amon. chief. They went: and Toscar fell desperately in love witli Colna-dona. *CoL-AMON of distant vales. ARGUMENT. to perpetuate the memory of a victory. . by the Maiate i^ dei. mountainous diviiion of Noith-BiitJiiii. near Car-ul's echoing halls There dwelt bright Col- na-dona. towards the south. who were possessed of tlie more. to raise a stone. invited them to a feast.hbourins. and Aitich. writers of Rome. dispatches Ossiiin and Toscar.COLNA-DONA A POEM. FiNGAt.

which discharged itself in the river Carron. amidst the song of Fingal's foes I bards. in ooze. ? Who. its The blood of Beneath. Fingal had scattered his foes he had rolled away tlie strangers. the provincial Britons. COLNA-DONA: Her breast Her rose slowly to sight. or rork. The enemies. they brighten I took a stone for. and the scenes of many of his poems are on banks. probably. placed. derives its name from that very circumstance. soul was a stream of light. was like the love of heroes Beneath the voice of the king. who were possessed of North and its tract of •South Britain. among the maids. was the name of a small stream. Three bossy shields were borne before us : for we By were to rear the stone. and Ossian. an oak from bade hall its and raised a flame on high I my fathers . We came to tains the place of renown : from tlie mounhill. Three bards attended with songs. Crona's mossy course. I tore . like ocean's heaving wave. It is a corruption of the Gaiic name. at tliree bosses from the shields of foes.e. from the clouds of tlieir of their race. ofconUnfion. to look down. murmuring. . They were. from the stream. at the fame in the wind. as rose or fell the sound of UUin's nightly song. in earth. hung curdled intervals. Strila. we moved to Crona* of the streams. like a troubled sea. a mail of Toscar steel. Stirling. whom Fingal defeated here. a town situated there. That country between the Friths of Forth and Clyde has been.: 2SS streams. laid a dagger sounding W^e raised the * Crona. It is often mentioned by Ossian. Toscar of grassy Lutha. famous for battles and rencounters between the different nations. are not mentioned. young in fields. i. descended night. the kill. through all antiquity. in memory of the past.

on the troubled He shall burst. and gradually migrated to the North. with morning. The light which the Roman writers hold forth. and the stone aged shall reply. the tra- veller shall lay shall him. A discussion of a point like this might be curious. P O E M. that the ancient inhabitants of North Britain. This hypothesis is more rational than the idle fables of ill-informed senachies. friend of strangers. by-the-bye. from the stormy night. He shall ask about the stone. Periods so distant are so involved in obscurity. The bare opinion of Tacitus (which. through the darkness which has surrounded it. is not sufncient to make us believe. by thy side thy whistling moss sound in his dreams . Battles rise before him. who bring the Caledonians from distant countries. that nothing certain can be now advanced concerning them. and see the tombs of warriors round . and bade it 289 speak to other stone. that now art reared on high. is too feeble to guide us to the truth. the years that were past shall return. but could never be satisfactory. the the feast of kings. from Car-ul.A mould around the years. from dreams. Oozy daughter have failed of streams. blue-shielded : kings descend to war the darkened field. though it lias staggered some learned men. that there the personal figure of the Caledonians to the Germans of his own time]. was only founded on a similarity of lar. to the dwelling He bade us to of bright Colna-dona. ! O stone : ! after Selma's race Prone. were a German colony. We went to the hall of harps. that they were originally the same people. speak to the feeble. The manners in the days of Ossian. " This grey was raised by Ossian. and descended from those Gauls who first possessed themselves of South Britain. moon looks from heaven. * There Car-ul brightened between of the Britons and Caledonians were so simican be no doubt. a chief of other years !" * From Col-amon came a bard. .

and Conloch. daughter of heroes. along the sea. before the love of heroes. feasted three days in and saw the blue eyes of Erin. the mighty. Our fathers had been foes. In her long locks moved the Mixed with the harp arose the voice of white-armed Colna-dona. tlie hall. neath a stone. Toscar darkened in his place. amon. light of Cor- mac's race. on the deep. arm of death. to shall roar. He took two be- from our shields." he said. Night I deceived me. He to fled. " When on and our sons are meet in wrath. on high. we met by Clutha's winding waters. Nor in forgot did my : steps depart : the kings gave their shields to Car-ul in Col they hang. and lay aside the shield ?" Night came down. this stone. She came on . ye bring back the days of old !" Car-ul kindled the oak of bosses feasts. " Sons of " ye bring back the days of old. daughter of Car-ul. battle.290 his like COLNA-DONA: when he beheld the sons of his friends. I pursued Duthmocarglos. He " laid them in earth. and my sails were spread behind him. My race shall look. came the dwelling of kings. Fingal came I forth with his bards. Have not our fatliers in peace. perhaps. past. two young branches before him. to speak to the hero's race. when first I ! descended from waves. they will say." said the king. on Selma's streamy vale dweller of ocean's wind. when met they prepare the spear. memory of tlie Sons of the daring kings. Ros-crana. aged locks. to Selma of high-bosomed maids.

that is it intirely lost . She dwelt. 291 his troubled soul. graceful on swift-rolling was Colna-dona of harps. the king It ! a swan.* With morning we awaked forward on tlie the woods . " bright Colna-dona dwelt. white as the rising bosom of waves. From and the wood a youth pohitless is spear. beam from a cloud. Fair behind it rose the breasts of a maid. thou marked warrior's course He must give thou that bossy shield !" In wrath he took the shield. We returned Crona's vale. They tliro' fell hy their wonted streams. or." said ? Toscar. . at least.A ocean : POEM. witli the son as it of tire king j he that seized with love her soul the hall." wandered thro' " Stranger of tlie tales. the daughter of blue eyes had rolled on Toscar." said the youth. "hast fall. round bright Colna-dona of harps " By Col-amon of streams. like a to the dark-heaving when it bursts and brightens the foamy side of a wave. came forward." said Toscar of ? Lutha. with a shield " Whence. tlie flying beam Dwells there peace ?" at Col-amon. and Her ! her love arose * Here an episode so imperfectly. is handed down does not deserve a place in the poem. and hung path of tlie roes. but her course is now in deserts.

.

the story of her misfortunes. Gaul returned on the day appointed . rushed into the thickest of the battle. by a certain day. Gaul prepared to attack him. and was mortally wounded. and alone at Dunlathmon. where he concealed her in a cave. too was obliged to attend his father left lord of Uthal. attended Lathmon into his own country. supposed to be one of the Orkneys. takmg advanvage of the absence of her friends. after the rape of Oithona. to revenge himself on Dunrommath. a desert island. nor is it given with any material difference in the poem. Oithona. She seemingly obeyed . came and carried off. found her just expiring on the field : he mourned over her. as related in the preceding poem. Fingal. the son of Morni. and a day was fixed for their marriage. with his followers. and sailed to Tromathon. Thus is the story handed down by tradition . and she scarce ended. He obe\ ed. he found Oiihona disconsolate. when Dunrommath. and went . Nuath in his wars. raised her tomb. into Tromathon. but not without promising to Oithona to return. preparing for an expedition into the country of the Britons. by force. who had formerly rejected his love. In the mean time. The lady was no less enamoured of Gaul. He was kindly entertained by Nuath. Gaul pursuing the flying enemy. and reShe told him solved not to survive the loss of her honour. Lathmon • Oithona was Dunrommath. after his being defeated in Mor\en. which opens with Gaul's return to Dunlathmon. and returned to Morven. till the battle was over. and fell in love with his daughter Oithona. ARGUMENT. . appeared at the further end of the island.O IT II ON A: A POEM. the father of Lathmon. When he landed. Gaul. recommending to Oithona to retire. heard of the rape. the seat of the famil}'. if he survived the war. sent for Gaui. but she secretly armed herself.

the virgin of the wave. is The gone voice of Oithona * not heard amidst the noise of the streams of Duvranna. the son of Leth. The the strowed the threshold with leaves tlie mxu-mur of night was abroad. his . Dunlathmon's towers. Allien he came to The gates were open and dark. tion to Tromathon. she beholds the apis proaching there is grief. promise to remain in the hall in the hall till thou didst promise to the son of Morni tlie returned. at a rock. .204 O I T H O N A : Darkness dwells around Dunlathmon. with the lightly-trembling sound of the harp !" Such were the words of Gaul. to ! maid of love The tear was on thy cheek at his departure the sigh rose in secret in thy breast. son of Morni sat : Sad and silent. he returned from Strumon. is one of FinRal's most famous He and three other men attended Gaul on his expediheroes. dark-haired is " Whither art thou . and heard the wind in • Oi-thona. f Morlo. ter of night turns her eyes away . but thou didst . on the plain : no sound light No long. The in son of Morni the hall. But thou dost not come forth with songs. in thy beauty.streaming beam of comes trembling through the gloom. . his soul trembled for the maidj but he knew not whither to turn his course ! The son f of Leth stood at a distance. though the moon shews half her face on the hill The daugh.' daughter of Nuath Lathmon remain Till in the field of the valiant. trees The winds were blustering in the hall.

sad The white wave sat roared against ! its rocks roll- Oithona on the coast She looked on the ing waters.-*^ like a blue shield in the midst of the sea. breast. departed. and the daughter of Nuatli isle low ? The sit sea rolls round the dark of Tromathon. heavy or deep-soiaidiiig wave. . in a dream. But when she saw Gaul in his arms. But he did not ! raise his voice^ for saw the sorrow of Gaul Sleep descended on arose. Blood stained her snowy arm. sail. . A his P O E M. before the eyes of loose and disordered : Morni's son. Often did his eyes turn to the He accused came the lagging light. He there in tlie rage of his love. and her tears came down.. The dream of night Gaul took his aspen spear. The hero from the lifted hill . is O Gaul the dark chief of Cuthal there. On the third day arose Tromatlion. she started. The winds came rustling bounded on the waves of tlie deep. tlie chiefs. wound of her She stood over and her voice was feebly heard. What can Oithona do ?" A He rougher blast rushed through the oak. her * Trom-thon. and turned her eyes away. Sleeps the son of Morni. forth. I sit I in my ! tears in the cave ! Nor do is alone. Her hair was her lovely eye rolled deep in tears. Her lovely cheek is bent and red . he that was lovely tlie in tlie eyes of Oithona ? Sleeps Gaul at distant rock. The " robe half hid the tlie chief. At up he length the morning the. east. stood in the rage of his soul. 295 he bushy hair. The visions of night Oithona stood.

! to hear my departing sigh vanish in )iiy youth my name shall not be heard. white arm trembles by her fly Thrice she strove to from his presence .borne ! face -with sadness. that its fair head unseen. Morni ! for the departed fame of But she shall sleep in the narrow tomb. Or it will fall. Speak. the tears of Nuiith sad. daughter of Is the foe of Oithona near ? My soul burns to meet him in fight. But thou coverest thy car. thrice her steps failed her as she went " Daughter thou fly of NuJith/' said the hero. like the flower of die rock. Why foes.! : " 296 O I TH O N A side. " ? why dost from Gaul ? of death Darkens Do my eyes send forth the flame hatred in my soul Thou art to ? me the beam of the Nuath east. and longs to glitter in his hand. rising in a land unknown. and strows r witliered leaves tlie blast Why didst ? tliou I come. The sword trembles by the side of Gaul. daughter of Nuiith! dost thou not behold tears ?" my * " Young *' chief of Strumon. or Morni's son shall Oithona ! when Gaul . be heard with grief. son of must Thou far wilt be Oitliona. come. to why comest over tlie ? dark-blue wave^ Nuath's mournful daughter Why its did I not pass lifts away on in secret. O Gaul . didst tliou from the voice of the mourner." tliou replied the maid. chief ? of Strumon ! to the sea-beat rocks of to Tromathon " 1 came ! meet thy daughter of car-borne Nuatli the death of Cuthal's chief darkens before fliU ! me .

not of that rock lifts its nor my soul careless as that sea which blue ! waves to every wind. and the grey stone of the dead I leave for never more will thy rocks. to the moss-covered rock of Dutliur1 sat moth. raise my tomb When it the dark-bounding ship call shall pass. call the sons of the sea them. after to the the departure of Lathmon. He took tears he raised the sail. son of Morni low ? My heart . 297 low. of the oak! at the I beam heard The wind was abroad Joy rose in It in the trees. I could not lift the spear. was the chief of Cutlial. wars of his fathers. for the return of his son !" " Shall the daughter of Nuath live?" she I live in is replied with a bursting sigh. and shall rolls beneatli the storm The blast which lay thee low. 1 thought tlie of thy return.!! A is POEM. and give hall. Night came on. shall spread the branches of Oithona on earth. son of car-borne We ! shall wither tois Morni The narrow house : pleasant to me. His eyes rolled in the blood of my ? people was on his sword.surrounded Tromatlion ! Night* came on with her clouds. amidst my He feared the returning LathDunrommath. and . on that oozy rock. me in my grief. to bear hence to Morni's The grey-haired chief will then cease to look towards the desert. the sound of arms. when he went in tlie hall. this sword. red- haired strength of fire : Dunrommath. * Oithona relates how she was cariied away by . They who defended Oithona fell by the gloomy chief What could I do My arm was weak. O sea. my face. " Shall tlie Tromathon. gether.

: ! 298 O I T H O N A ! mon. bring the bows of our fathers quiver of Morni ! the sounding Let our Uiree warriors bend the yew. blood of the chief Oithona it is a beam of light. Dunrommath slowly approachContempt contracted . the spear. beneath his shaggy brows "Whence gloomy rocks chief. the brother of unhappy Oithona he comes with before his people ! But behold is the dark wave divided him ! Whither wilt thou turn thy steps. troubled joy rose on her mind. come to the . and unsheathed fear. hand of Dunrommath he delights in the His eye spares not the weak strangers. but shalt thou return to the halls . my love. A . half-concealed. ye ! men. his sword. and . Son of Leth. ed. of Cuthal enjoys its in secret wouldst thou come on loveliness. son of Morni ? Many are the warriors of thy foe !" " My steps Oithona ! never turned from battle/' Gaul said. are the sons of the sea?" begun the die the " Have the winds driven you on of Tromathon ? Or come you in search of ? white-handed maid feeble The sons of the unhappy. a smile on his dark-brown cheek his red ! eye rolled. " Shall I then begin to ? when till thy foes are near Go to thy cave. son of the feeble hand Thou mayst come. He saw the son of Morni. our battle cease on the ! field. is his face. like the red path of lightning on a stormy cloud ! Her soul was resolved the tear was dried from her wildly looking eye. like a cloud. Ourselves will the rock ! lift They are an host on our souls are strong in war!" tlie Oithona went to cave.

on thy native streams. I I have searched for the herbs of the have gathered them on the secret banks of their streams. in Morven's woody land. My hand has closed the woimd of they of like the brave. Dunrommath shrunk off his head. their eyes have blessed the son of Morni. dwelt thy fathers^ warrior ? ? Were the sons of the mighty Sadness shall come. Dunrommath I ! thy words are mighty. it behind his people. . " red-haired chief of Cuthal Thy feet were swift on the heath. He beheld a youth leaning on his An sad. not of the But do I fear them. Thou art fallen in thy youth!" . The son of Morni shook thrice by the lock mossy the warriors of Dunrommath : fled. arrow had pierced side . Where night." ? said Gaul. in the battle of car-borne Lath- mon 3 when the sword of Morni's son pursued his host. . advanced in his arms . The and arrows of Morven pursued them rocks. Gaul advanced towards the cave of Oithona. son of pride am race of the feeble !" Gaul. for thy warriors gather ? behind thee. the troubled deep.A of tliy fathers ?'' • P O E M. youth of the ? mournful brow mountains . his eye rolled faintly beneath his helmet. ten fell on the The rest lift the sounding sail. tliou not 299 " Dost know me. " Can the hand of Gaul heal thee.son The soul of Morni's was he came and spoke the words of peace. bound on a rock. But the spear of Gaul pierced the sword lopped as it gloomy chief bended in J his death.

" the The helmet fell from the hand of Gaul. It was wounded Oithona She had armed herself in the ! cave. but they not be sad. at like blasts that times. in the midst of his friends shake their unfrequent wings. son in his hall !" fell pale on the rock of Tromathon. had my ! years come on with joy the virgins would of then bless Momi She my steps. and see their mossy towbehind them with it ers in the stream its a rock ascends bending pines." tlie is I T H O N A shall : " fame on replied the stranger. High walls rise tlie banks of Duvranna . on my then eyes of Oithona are in the bright dim ! O had I dwelt my fame ! at Duvranna. The Mor- mournful warrior raised her tomb. Sleep grows. beam of . soul. Ossian took brightness the harp in the praise of Oithona. Thou mayst behold far distant. " prepare the narrow tomb. this glittering He is renowned him helm. But I my father shall blush fall in youth. for my departed like morning mist. like darkness. " were of the race of mighty. in battle : There give my brother dwells. his sigh rose.300 O My fathers. of the face of Gaul returned. after the stormy winds are laid ! . Her heavy eyes are half closed side. . and came . the blood pours from her heaving "Son The of Momi!" she said. ven . in search of death. He came The to we saw the darkness of his soul. But .

tradition. the petty king Croma. the son of Crothar. who invaded his dominions. a country in Ireland. The story is delivered down thus in Croihar. val. Rothmar. who was. was Ossian reslain himself. at Fingal's command. and routed Cronia being thus delivered of its enemies. and his forces totally defeated. " It was in the the voice of my ! love ! seldom art thou. is overheard by Ossian laOssian. and his son too young for the field. on account of his age and blindness. returned to Scotland. killed Rothmar.C R O M A A FOEM. the chief of Tromlo. the death of Oscar her lover. at the time. grief. to divert her menting. the daughter of Toscar. Malvina. against Rothmar. O fathers of Toscar of :' shields Unfold the gates of I your clouds the steps of Malvina are near. ARGUMENT. supreme king of Ireland. king of Scotland. being blind with age. unfit for action. newed the war . king of Croma. I feel the fluttering of . who ordered But before his arrihis son Ossian to the relief of Crothar. came to battle. dreams of Malvina Open your ! airy halls. sent for aid to Fingal. Fovargormo. but which he held of Arth or Artho. to aid Crothar. attacking Rothmar. Ossian his army. resolved to avail himself of the opportunity offered He acof annexing the dominions of Crothar to his own. cordingly marched into the country subject to Crothar. relates his own actions in an expedition which he undertook. have heard a voice in my dream. of Crothar being.

mine arose The virgins saw silent in the hall they touched the harp of joy. in the dream of thy rest. The thou tear was on the in cheek of Malvina : the virgins beheld tliey said . is O Malvina ! but it melts the soul. and thy song is lovely ! It is lovely. but thy death came like a laid its from the desart. thou hast heard the music of bards. tliey glitIt tered like the gold of the stranger. Oscar.roUiiig face of the lake? in tlie tree Thy rustling fled. murmur of Morutli. O blast ! from the dark.302 C R O soul. was the voice !" of my love " But seldom comes he to my dreams thou dwellest in the soul of Malvina. in thy presence. fell when sleep on thine eyes. win^ But on the dream of Malvina she beheld her love_. M A: my was Why . . The spring returned with ! showers no leaf of . . all was a lovely tree. thou sad ! ? first of the maids Was is he lovely as the beam of the morn- and stately in thy sight ?" Pleasant thy song in Ossian's ear. son ! of mighty Ossian the east I j My sighs arise with the beam of with my tears descend with the drops of night. me my grief. didst thou come. when his robe of mist flew the wind. daughter of ! streamy Lutha Thou at the hast heard the music of de- parted bards. my branches blast round me . Why art of Lutha ing. day of the sun.* in the When tliou didst return from the chace. and my me green head low. A sun-beam was on ! his skirts. There a joy in grief when peace • Mor'-ruthj great stream.

praised The king of Morven me . " the strength of Crolift arm has failed.! A tlie P O E M.* High on the towers of Crothar. Attend to the tale O and maid ! He remembers the days of . His grey locks waved around on which the warrior leaned. " Ossian thar's !" said the hero. when its head is heavy widi the of Ossian. for the chief I of Croma was the friend of bard before Crothar. into Croma's soundthe coast arose . fathers. stretched and blessed the son of Fingal. ing bay in lovely Inisfail. his youtli rushed into the bay of I The King commanded Croma raised . like the flower on which the sun hatli looked in his strength after the mildew has passed over drops of night. when tlie sound of our arms reached his ears. He hummed the song of other times. one of the antient Ireland. it. mournful. failed. against the hero . llothmar had raised sword and the wrath of Fingal burned. . I sent the me witli songs. Crothar arose. king of spears Crothar re- nowned in the battles of his youtli . O could I the sword. his yovith. He sent Ossian to meet Rothmar in war. but age dwelt tlie then around the chief. ! 303 But sorrow wastes and their days dwells in the breast of the sad. as ! on the the day that Fingal fought at Strutha first He was of men ! but Crothar had also his fame. sat the chief came into the hall of There amidst the arms of his but his eyes had a staff. his aged hand. he placed on names of my arm * Inisfail. O daughter of Toscar fall are few ! They away. my sails.

He left no streak of gal ! light behind. The harp It is heard and joy in the hall. ! my son. my walls. heard that these eyes had he heard that my arms were fixed ! in the hall. He is fallen. like thy father's. ye sons of echois Croma . that darkly dwelt in every breast. he is a when my son shone in the hall. for Crothar's eyes have ? failed thy strengh. war ! Let the feast of my hall Great ing is be spread is and let witliin my bards exalt the song. beam that is departed. "^ Son of Fingal ? ! behold'st thou not the darkness of Crothar's joy My soul was not sad at the feast. came down. feel thine arm !" gave my arm to tlie king he felt it with his his tears aged hands. the hero The sigh rose " Thou art in his breast. is but not like the king of Morven But who like among he that !" the mighty in . he said. of grassy Troralo. music ceased. the presence of strangers. in his wars. son of Fin- in die wars of his father. whom ? not behold Is on the wall. and the .304 C R O Dost tliou M A. I rejoiced in when my people lived before me. Ossian. took my arms in my . king of Croma spoke but sorrow swelled in the midst of his voice. the chief failed . pride of his soul arose He came I towards Croma my people fell before him. At tlie . Ossian I let the aged . Rothmar. and strong. like the faint was beam of length the moon spread on a cloud in heaven. But it was joy cover- ing a sigh. the king had slain it the bossy shield of Calthar. But. The is feast spread. and the aged he spoke without a tear.

" for tl)e ? he said. j My son returned from the chace the fair-haired Fovar-gormo. He went. X . Grey morning rose in the east. " because thou hast no son is it weakness of Fovar-gormo's arm I begin. A green its narrow vale appeared before us winding stream. witli Croma let me meet him. my eyes behold thee not. the blue point ofsUel. nor wanting was The dark host of llothmar are on * Faobhar-gorm. Rothson is slew my near. that I may hear the tread of thy feet at thy fair. " King . and took . I wished for the 1 days that were past. my grief was Days ! great. with all his pointed spears. ? 305 wrath. that tliy sighs arise strengtli I j my father. but what could sightless Oothar do My steps ." to fill This is ! no time the shell. the sword of my }'outli and have bent tlie ! me meet this Rothmar. of Croma. VOL. Through night my eyes we strode they along the heath. He who return. O my fatlier burning soul!" And thou shalt meet him. he met the foe mar advances to Croma. for his arm was young. Let : sons of I feel 1 said.* He had not lifted his sword in battle. He saw the disordered steps of his father. the fire of valour burnt his eyes. to feel my j I have tlie drawn bow. for Fo- var-gormo ! he fell.A were unequal . But the soul of the youth in was great . wherein fought and won in the field of blood. .haired . fire I replied. I. my son of the sightless Crothar ! But let others advance be- fore thee. and is it his sigh arose. POEM. my all spear My people saw the of arose around.

but lies again. Five bards. hands . She hears the wind in his branchy horns. The shells . The story of it is this. The pieces extant of that kind shew more of the good ear.366 its C R O all M A: banks. Some funeral shall pass this way: the meteor NiGjiT star marks the path. The 1 hear the blast in the wood . but I hear it distant far. The stag lies on the mountain moss . The night happened to be one in October. The roe is in the cleft of the rock the heath-cock's head is beneath his wing. and string * Those extempore compositions were in great repute among succeeding bards. by turns *. and in the north of Scotland. as appears from the poem. The clouds rest on the hills. it fiies. but the owl and the howling fox. in their descriptions. of the feast are heard. which he thinks worthy of being preserved. owl is heard. with their glittering arms. She on a leafless tree . They Rothmar sunk beneath my I sword ! Day had his not descended in the west. the hill. the hind is at his side. but its murmur is sullen and lung-howling From the tree at the grave of the dead the sad. they poured forth burning souls. FIRST BAKD. is dull and dark. She starts. the praise of Ossian tlie . it has all that variety which the bards ascribe to it. . when felt all his brought his arms to Crothar. no moon looks fiom the sky. and joy brightened over The people gather to the hall. stream of the valley murmurs. The translator has only met with one poem of this sort. who was a poet himself. and sing. The aged hero them with thoughts. No beast. The distant dog is howling from the hut of the hill. he in a cloud on . passing the night in the house of a chief. We fought along the vale. fled. than of the poetical genius of thsir authors. no bird is abroad. went severally to make their observations on. night. Ten their harps are strung five bards advance. No with green trembling beam . It is a thousand years later than Ossian. and returned with an extempore description of. but the authors seem to have observed his manner. 1 see a dim form' on the plain! It is a ghost! it fades. and adopted some of his expressions.

He waits for the rising moon to guide him to his home. the fallen oak. shrubs. It is the light tread of a ghost! He trennbles amidst the night. He fears the rock and the fen.' . The came on with Through die morning returned with Dark. trembline. 1 see the btarry sky. token of death flies sparkling through the gloom. the goat. the land. Sweet is their voice between the squalls of wind. in his lonely hut . ! he dies! 'I'he storm drives the horse from the hill. The dry wind blows. The rain is past. along the gurgling rill. The spirit of the mountain shrieks. from night. The west is gloomy and Night is stormy and dismal . my friends. along the grass. Ghosts ride on the storm to-night. the lowing cow. and windows flap. receive me from the ! night. beside the mouldtrmg bank. and full of ghosts The dead are abroad! tiiy friends. windy. The clouds. The growing river roars. and shew the burning stars. He fills the tire decayed. the chinks with heath. The fivs fall from their place. he goes. the falling branch resounds. SECOND BARD. The old tree groans to the blast . The shower descends. It rests on the hill. receive me. Streams roar. The meteor. Loud roar two mountain streams which meet beside his booth. divided. dusky. the dark-browed rock. But the shower gathers again. Who is that in his shrowd beneath the tree. The turfyhut is torn. clung together.. by the stream still ! The wind sounds between the . was night for peace returned silence . panting. THIRD BARD. through thorns. The traveller attempts the ford. He fears the ghost of night. hills: and whistles thro' the grass of the rock. The wind drives the withered burs. Cold drops fall from ihe roof. cloudy. Woods fall from high. The joy to ol" 307 Croiiia to their voice. Sad on the side of a hill the wandering shepherd sits. The tree resounds above him. howling is niaiht. dark. Windows fiap. the traveller has lost hi? way. Dark. 'I'he stream roars down the rock. he wakes His wet dogs smoke arouiid him. sad. fiy over the sky. They tremble as drives the shower. that shriek ! The hunter starts from sleep.A answered great : P O E M. 1 sec the withered fern. Hark The wind is up. Their songs are of other worlds.

Her was lover promised to light. . from night. They sink behind the hill. The distant wave is heard. and joins its head to heaven. white arms. let us view thee. calm. ! ! ! FIFTH RARD. come. settled is ni. The moon is in a cloud in the west. Bright rolls the settled lake . and whistles on his way. The winds.. and whistles on the distant field. with his glittering . He sees the starry plough of the north. blue. The moon is up on the mountain. my friends. . starry. The wakeful hind rebuilds the shocks. Much of the night is to pass. slowly. Night is calm. The breezes drive the bhie mist. but dreary. and eyes the rolling stream. I see the trees overturned. the shocks of corn on the plain. settled. fair is night! Who comes from the place of the dead^' That form with the robe of snow .308 joy. A blast removes the cloud. Slow moves that pale beam along the shaded hill. Night is settled. the night and cold. lake. More than half the night is past. groping in the gloom. Night is calm and fair . The torrent murmurs on the rock. sad beside the rock. bright with the moon. when yet it on the lake. The tops of the hills are is white. C R O No foe M A : came in darkness. without form. starry. with the clouds. Is this his broken boat on the shore. He nods by the mossy rock.-* Are these his groans on the wind Hark! the hail rattles around. blue. He ascends the hill. O maid thou that hast been the delight of heroes The blast drives the phantom away . are gone. Various me. The cock is heard from the booth. The stormy winds abate. Calm. The hunter thinks that day approaches. spear. and calls his hounding dogs.?ht.'' his boat. A maid sits the oars on the rocking-tide. it ascends the hill. Receive me not. FOURTH BARD. bright the stream of the vale. Trees glister: streams shine on the rock. and lash its rocky sides. It rises on the hill. my friends. The house-wife. The joy of Croma was fallen ! great for the gloomy Rothmar had The waves dark-tumble on the The boat is brimfull in the cove . over the narrow vale. white. rekindles the settled fire. receive The flaky snow descends. She saw . for lovely is the night. and dark-brown hair! It is the daughter of the chief of the people she that lately fell Come.

of chiefs we behold no more. Thus let the night pass until morning shall appear in our halls. from night. it He searched for the breast. We shall al-o day J and awake the deer. but was not heard. Night is dreary. blue. The young day returns from his clouds. . or inclose her head Let clouds rest in clouds! sky. receive me. Happy is are they ! who die in youth. and spoke to Ossian. Youths and maids joy. Long are the shadows of the trees. his sigh The aged Crothar was there. night is alike to me. but we return no more. The feeble will not behold them hall or smile at their trembling hands. and travellers fear. or gloomy the Night flies before the beam. silent. stormy. " King of spears 1" " my son has not fallen . . wound in of his son. on the hills : spirits fly. the We shall ascend the hill with dogs. Where are our chiefs of old? Where our kings of mighty name tombs remain. The beam is still on that rests behind the hill.' The fields of their battles are silent. The young warrior did not fly but met death. of kings renowned in our land. " Where stood the walls of our fathers ?" Raise the song. without his fame. This lofty house shall They shall shall not behold the ruins in grass. and dark . when the chief in earth. Then let the bow be at hand. I Their me- vale! low murmur in the the whirlwind is in the wood! the mighty army of the dead returning from the air. and found the face of the aged.A I raised POEM. and green winged meteors fly! rise the pale moon from behind her hills. ask of the aged. Let some grey bard be near me to tell the deeds of other times. as he went forward in his strength. Roar streams and windows flap. Our sons fall. THE CHIEF. and strike the harp . in his Joy rose He came he said. Scarce their mossy be forgot. send round the shells of Suspend a hundred tapers on high. for 309 they laid my voice Fovar-gormo. over all. when it is poured on the hill. when their renown in the heard . begin the dance. the sounding storms descend. Let the winds of the woods arise. the youths of the chace. my Hark The A It is moon friends. Now it is dark lofty rock.

the stone of their placed without a tear. Happy is are they Avho die in youths when their renown around them!" . is The sigh of their son not heard.310 C R O shall M A. is They fame fall in secret. in song the young tear of the virgin will degrees. the is all But the aged wither away. by live. . fame of their youth. Joy is around their tomb . mory be honoured fall. while yet they forgot.

his deliverer. and implored his aid against Dunthalmo. Colmal. The story of the poem is handed down. two chiefs lived in the days of Fingal. helped him to make his escape from prison. by tradition. the daughter of Dunthalmo. Rathmor was not more repiece. . upon which Dunthalmo shut them up in two caves on the banks of Teutha. intending to take them off privately. but being afterwards touched with remorse. in his own house. who was secretly in love with Calthon. and his army totally defeated. murdered Cathmore at a feast. supposed to be the Tweed. is addressed to one of the first Christian missionaries. well i<nown to be the river Clyde. as many more nowned for his generosity for and hospitality. lord of Teutha. and Rathmor. thou lonely! rock It comes on the sound of the stream. Calthon married Colmal.C ALTHON AND COLM AL A POEM. My soul awakes. disguised in the habit of a young warrior. but he was killed by that hero. and Ossian returned to Morven. and fled wiih him to Fingal. or on account of some private feuds. Pleasant dweller of tlie is the voice of thy song. droppeil some hints that they intended to revenge the death of their father. Dunthalmo. thus : In the country of the Britons between the walls. They growing up to man's estate. than Dunthalmo was infamous his cruelty and ambition. through envy. Fingal sent Ossian with three hundred men to Colmar's relief. Dunthalmo having previously murdered Colmar. Dunthalmo. came to a battle witli Ossian . he educated the two sons of Rathmor. Calthon and Colmar. which subsisted between the families. who dwelt at Clutha. This of Ossian's compositions. ARGUMENT. along the narrow vale.

bore. The sons of the stranger came. returns. 312 CALTHON AND COLMAL: ! O stranger in the midst of my hall. Thus sun appears in the west. in battle. Dunthalmo bore spear. son of the rock ! to the tale of other years Rathmor was in his hall. and rushed into the : combat of Rathmor. his grey hair glitters in tlie ! beam. tlie mighty Rathmor feast He fell in his halls. as in the days of other years. Wilt thou not ? son is of" the to the j song of Ossian the joy of My soul full of the other times my youth a storm . The rose. stretch my hand. ! joy Dundialmo came. and touched the harp brightened on the face of the sad in his pride. Dost thou not behold. with his warriors fell. where his often spread for strangers. chief of Clutha overcame tlie He was came. and the sigh of listen. but it is feeble . They blessed the generous chief of Clutlia. my bosom rock ! grows. and the brightshield the great bosses has failed. . The feeble dwelt The gates of Rathmor were never shut was always spread. rage of Duutlialmo . his feast a chief of Clutha. I stretch my I hand to the spear. before ! he fell by Ossian's Listen. : Bards raised the song. ? son of the rock a shield in Ossian's hall It is marked with the ness of its strokes of battle . moved behind : the green hills lift dewy heads the blue streams rejoice in the The aged hero comes forth on his staff . after the steps of his brightness have their vale. it That Dunthalmo the chief of streamy Teutha.. by night.

the sons of They came. The in darkness. They behold him 313 car- Colmar and Calthon were young. when he saw the children of youth. The sword * walls of Dun- thalmo melted. the toicn of Tweed. a woman u-ith small eye-lroivs . the of Dunthalmo's seat. bow in his They saw in secret. It is observable that all the names in this poem. they grew in the house of their . in his blood . Colmal do Her arm could not lift nor * Al-teutha. the fallen walls of their fathers they saw the green thorn in the hall. which is a proof that it was once the universal language of the whole name island. Their tears rushed fordi At times.A borne Rathmor. . in He closed them two caves. soul.f . blue-eyed Colmal. into their father's hall. . POEM. are derived from the Galic language . their faces were sad. : Dunthalmo beheld their grief his darkening soul designed their death. -f Caol-mhal. their bursting tears descend. They bent his . She trembled ? for her warrior but what could the spear . the presence and came forth to wars. or rather Balteutha. He brought them to Alteutha's foe. The daughter in of Dunthalmo wept in silence. small eye- brows were a distinguishing part of beauty in Ossian's time : and he seldom fails to give them to the fine women of his poems. on the echoing banks of Teutha. Her eye had rolled secret on Calthon his loveliness swelled in her . sons of Rathmor remained and foresaw their death. in the joy of youth. beams . The sun did not come there with his nor the moon of heaven by night. the fair-haired.

as more proper for a young woman.f chief of fallen Clutha I am I the son of Lamgal. She came.314 CALTHON AND COLMAL: for her side. was the sword formed Her white breast never rose beneath a mail.* She armed her lovely warrior. to form in steel . Calthon will defend his brother !" * That is. and Colmar my brother low Will I fly to Mon-en. and loosed the thong from his hands. the chief I I often saw in Clutha ? But ? shall fly to Fingal. arise. is " arise. the steel of a young who fell in the first of his battles. tlie night dark ! Let us ! fly to tiie king of Selma. the night replied the chief. son of cave. by night. Ossian is very careful to make his stories probable . Or art thou the son of Lamgal. heard of thy dark dwellArise. Ratlimor." she said. and the hero closed in night? No: give me that spear. and my soul arose. since the sun has retired from his eyes. who -j- cannot be supposed strong enough to carry the armour of Fingal. who dwelt in \hy father's ing in tlie hall. the hall where the arms taken from enemies were hung up as trophies. Neither was her eye the What canst thou do. She came the cave of Calthon. to the hall. O . . terror of heroes. is dark !" " Blest voice !" " comest thou from fathers the clouds to Calthon ? The ghosts of his have often de- scended in his dreams. son of Rathmor. Colmal ! for the falling chief! is Her steps are unequal her hair loose : her eye looks wildly through her teais. and darkness has dwelt around him. " Arise. for he makes Colmal put on the arms of a youth killed in his first battle. son of Lamgal. a full-grown warrior.

stretched fortli to the His arm unhappy . round car borne Colmar. or thy may be seen. came with from the . in \wo beams of the midst of the hall of shells. borne Colmar. Her bosom heaved They were like be- Fingal returned from the chace. hall . re- turn before thee like a pleasant gale that my soul may rejoice over my son." replied the maid. The hel- met cover'd her neath the steel. " Son of my strength. and found tlie lovely strangers. What Let us 315 A thousand warriors. he will come with war. A hill thousand heroes half. Arise. the joy of battle rose in my spear my breast for the king spoke to Ossian in the midst of a tliou- sand chiefs. thou son of Rath- mor steps ! tlie shadows will fly away. and thou must fall in youth !" The sighing hero rose his tears descend for car. light. Go to Teutha's rushing stream. the tale of grief and turned his eyes .rose before him I claiming the war of Teutha. Arise. ! who renews It the renown of our fathers.: A *' P O E M. He came not that lovely face. The king heard around. the lightning of his sword is round the weak. but mild arose. Ossian the foe ! be thou a storm in war. and save the car-borne Colmar. ! when is low was thus O my son be thou like Selma's chief my fame When . Let thy fame . " take thou the spear of Fingal." began the king. with the maid to Selma's it but he knew was Colmal. ? " stretch can Calfly to the is their spears tlion do against a host so great king of Morven. .

before the king of spears but the generous glowed in his presence like the morning star." I rejoiced in the rattling arms. she was lovely in their eyes. words of the king. subjoined it. is extant . Ah me what shall the heroes say for Dargo fell before a boar. but Dargo of stately son ? the migh'y deeds. steps: Three hundred youths followed our were at the lovely strangers my Dun- * Diaran. but whether it is of Ossian's composition. king of spears. or wife. at I took my Diaran * rose my side. Pale is the lovely cheek . is celebrated in other poems by He is said to have been killed by a boar at a hunting party. But ihou art alone. The lamentation of his mistrtss.316 tlie CALTHON AND COLMAL: haughty come Bvit to is my halls. But Mingala dwells with Dargo. the son of Collath.' ! ! spouse of Dargo. Mingala! the night is coming with its clouds . Last night 1 heard the song of joy in Lartho's lofty hall. O bard! why dost thou shut She must the narrow house ? Mingala's eyes are heavy. my eyes behold them not. . It is generally ascribed to him. but she chose to be the The I : : ! . silence dvvells around my bed.' Thy hand touched the trembling harp Thy voice was soft as summer-winds. father of that Connal by Crimora. spouse of Dargo comes in tears: for Dargo was no more The heroes Mgh over Lartho's chief: and what shall sad Mingala do? The dark soul vanished like morning mist. and Dargo f side. My sword defends the weak. his mistress. 1 have Ossian. over bis body. my arm stretched forth to the unhappy. bard sleep with Dargo. Mingala. much of his manner but some traditions mention it as an imitation by some later bard. ! . where is the bed of thy repose? Wheic but in the tomb of Dargo? Why dost thou lift the stone. Who was the fairest and most lovely ? Who but CoUath's Who sat in the midst of the wise. As it has some poetical merit. the look of which was firm in danger Why hast thou failed on our hills ? thou fairer than the beams of the sun The daughter of Adoniion was lovely in the eyes of the valiant. •f- who was unfortunately killed Dargo. and has I cannot determine.

ed the strength of Teutha. They brought Colmar His eye Teutha's bank. The chief is sad. tlie We heard his broken : Calthon rushed into stream I bounded forward on my spear. Now half . the plain but he smiled in the darkness hill . when their bent trees are singed and bare. and often threw on earth. The stream gloomy foe. in I sent a its pride. A thalmo heard tlie P O E M. His unsettled host moved on the tain cloud. stood on a hill with They were like rocks broken witli thun- der. of his pride. But Calthon he mourned tlie fallen Colmar Colmar I fiil slain in youth. his spear. bound is with a diousand thongs. before his fame arose to rise. Night came rolling down. of Teutha rolled. but he stood his spear mourn- beneath a tree. and pierced tlie hero's side he on the bank in his blood. Dunthalmo : came with rolled sighs. whilst Teutha's waters rolled between.! . and scatters the curling gloom on every to side. Teutha's race fell before us. like the its when the blast has entered mounwomb. The rage of his bosom burned against the car-bonie Calthon. Dunthalmo rested on a rock. stood in his grief. : The humid eye of Colmal she foresaw the fall rolled near in a secret tear of Dunthalmo. but stately. or of Clutlia's warlike chief. to offer the combat on . his host. before the bard to Dunthalmo. to soothe the bade the song of woe chief. in our arms. on his friends . He He 317 gather- sound of our approach. and the streams of their chinks have failed. for we stood. amidst an aged wood.

! were sad. he rushed among the The groans of death ascend." blast. tlie came : his head over hero. and raised his feeble voice " Sleeps the son of ? Rathmor in his night. and dragged her spear behind. But when Calthon came to Lona's rock. He iiished in the sound of his steel. gloomy Dunthalmo. : and took my father's spear. its O . The shout of joy arose and the hills of night replied. let Calthon the morning comes with beams Duntlialmo will dishonour the fallen. She followed her hero dirough night. He passed away in his The rising Calthon saw the steps of his depar- ture. and brought . and our dreaded the departure of my fame. Silence and darkness were on die heroes : Sleep rested on the eyes of the still. I started at the sound side . souls We missed the chief of Cludia. he found his fallen brother. Unhappy Colraal rose. The pride of my valour rose " Sons of Morven !" I . His eyes not were half closed but the murmur of Teutlia had and shewing he bent ! yet failed in his ear. beneath the rock of Lona. They close around the chief. : the night had passed away. and his ? brother low Did we not rise to the chace togetlier ? Pursued we not the dark brown hinds Colmar was not forgot I lie pale rise ! till he fell : till deadi had blasted his youth.318 CALTHON AND COLMAL field. The foe. Diaran rose at my 1 and the youthful strength of Dargo. Calthon's settling soul was . the ghost of Colmar Pale^ his wounds. rage of his bosom bound rose . to He is in the midst.

fatliers 319 " it is not dius our field fought. and bade the battle move ! Why. lowing herds of Teutha. POEM. son of the rock. ? should Ossian tell how Teutha's warriors died They are nov/ forgot in their . fall by degrees." the mail from her shoulders. ? Ossian conquers not riors Teutha Rise in your steel. . fell I looked in silence to the chiefs. He will not return. My soul ' wrath turned against trembled for Calthon. to the . Go to the deer of Carmun. when the foe was not before tliem.A said. my crowding rushed down. the sigh of my bosom rose But when tears heard the name of I the maid. Col- raal stood before : me in tears. ye war- follow the sound of Ossian's coiirse. Our fame begins to deif What ! shall the at king of Morven say. tliou A warrior may Hft them in fight. She told of the chief thrice the spear fell from her hand. They rested not on the fallen of strangers. The ! spear from I my hand. Her snowy to tlie breast appeared. to the echoing walls of Selma. blessed the lovely beam of youth. I said. 3 Their strength was like the eagles of heaven their renown is in the song. She bent her blushing face ground. son of fear I tore ! But leave these arms. the stranger for my ? " Son of the feeble hand ! " do Teutha's is battle not the soul of warriors fight with tears The won with grief nor dwells the sigh in war. But our people part. but renowned." Morning of Clutha rose on the blue waters of Teutha.

of youth bend sidelong towards his voice. and the fall of the darkDiuitljalmo. tlie lieatli. . Aldcrsgate-strcet. eyes ! I found Calthon my sword cut the tliongs from his gave him the white-bosomed Colmal. The faces bound hands. seen. dwelt in the halls END OP THE FIRSiVOLUME. Printed by J. O. tlieir Surprise and joy burn in to an oak I . tlieir tombs are not found on their storms. Dewick. or the place Scarce grave of Dunthalmo where he fell by the spear of Ossiau. Some grey warrior. half blind with age. They of Teutha. Years came on with The is tlie green mounds are mouldered away. now my deeds to his sons. sitting by tells night at the flaming oak of the hall.320 land 5 CALTHON AND COLMAL.

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