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The second night continues. Fingal relates, at the feast, his
own first expedition into Ireland, and his marriage with Roscrána, the daughter of Cormac, king of that island. The Irish chiefs convene in the presence of Cathmor. The situation of the king described. The story of Sul-malla, the daughter of Conmor, king of Inis-huna, who, in the disguise of a young warrior, had followed Cathmor to the war. The sullen behaviour of Foldath, who had commanded in the battle of the preceding day, renews the difference between him and Malthos; but Cathmor interposing, ends it. The chiefs feast, and hear the song of Fonar the bard. Cathmor returns to rest, at a distance from the army. The ghost of his brother Cairbar appears to him in a dream, and obscurely foretels the issue of the war. The soliloquy of the king. He discovers Sul-malla. Morning comes. Her soliloquy closes the book. MACPHERSON.
AN EPIC POEM.
“Beneath an oak,” said the king, “I sat on Selma's streamy rock, when Connal rose, from the sea, with the broken spear of Duth-caron. Far-distant stood the youth. He turned away his eyes. He remembered the steps of his father, on his own green hills. I darkened in my place. Dusky thoughts flew over my soul. The kings of Erin rose before me. I half-unsheathed the sword. Slowly approached the chiefs. They lifted up their silent eyes. Like a ridge of clouds, they wait for the bursting forth of my voice. My voice was, to them, a wind from heaven to roll the mist away.”
“I bade my white sails to rise, before the roar of Cona's wind. Three hundred youths looked, from their waves, on Fingal's bossy shield. High on the mast it hung, and marked the dark-blue
But when night came down, I struck, at times, the warning boss: I struck, and looked on high, for fiery-haired Ul-erin'. Nor absent was the star of heaven. It travelled red between the clouds. I pursued the lovely beam, on the faint-gleaming deep. With morning Erin rose in mist. We came into the bay of Moi-lena, where its blue waters tumbled, in the bosom of echoing woods. Here Cormac, in his secret hall, avoids the strength of Colc-ulla. Nor he alone avoids the foe, The blue eye of Ros-crána is
Ul-erin, the guide to Ireland, a star known by that name in the days ot' Fingal, and very useful to those who sailed, by night, from the Hebrides, or Caledonia, to the coast of Ulster. We find from this passage, that navigation was considerably advanced, at this time, among the Caledonians. MACPHERSON, 1st edit.
The genuine Ossian must have understood the navigation of his own times, which he practised himself. But the translator, ignorant that, in every direction, it was necessary to steer by the bear or pole star, has created two stars, UL-ERIN and UlLOCHLIN, the guides to Erin and Lochlin (Cath-loda, ii. 9.) as if it were sufficient, in order to reach Lochlin or Ireland, to steer in pursuit of a certain star in the east or in the west.
AN EPIC POEM.
" I see
there : Ros-crána ", white-handed maid, the daughter of the king !"
Grey, on his pointless spear, came forth the aged steps of Cormac. He smiled, from his waving locks; but grief was in his soul. He saw us few before him, and his sigh arose. the arms of Trenmor,” he said ; "and these are the steps of the king! Fingal ! thou art a beam of light to Cormac's darkened soul. Early is thy fame, my son; but strong are the 'foes of Erin. They are like the roar of streams in the land, son of car-borne Comhal!” “Yet they may be rolled away,” I said, in my rising soul.
» Ros-crána, the beam of the rising sun ; she was the mother of Ossian. The Irish bards relate stranye fictions concerning this princess. Their stories, however, concerning Fingal, if they mean him by Fiun Mac-Comnal, are so inconsistent and notoriously fabulous, that they do not deserve to be mentioned ; for they evidently bear, along with them, the marks of late invention. MACPHERSON.
Finyal's wife was Grania, or Graine (converted by the translator into Ros-crána), daughter of Cormac Ult hada. She eloped with Diarmid O'Duine from her husband, who consoled himself with her sister Ailbhe, but received her again, after she had borne three sons to her paramour. These are the strange fictions related by the Irish bards concerning this princess, and so inconsistent with the sentimental purity of manners in Ossian. Toland, 95. Ogygia, 338. Keating, 267.