« ZurückWeiter »
from the cave. He turned the eye of his wrath on Cairbar.
“ Brother of Cathmor,” he said, “how long wilt thou pain my soul? Thy heart is a rock. Thy thoughts are dark and bloody! But thou art the brother of Cathmor; and Cathmor shall shine in thy war. But my soul is not like thine: thou feeble hand in fight! The light of my bosom is stained with thy deeds. Bards will not sing of my renown: They may say, “Cathmor was brave; but he fought for gloomy Cairbar.” They will pass over my tomb in silence. My fame shall not be heard. Cairbar! loose the bards. They are the sons of future times. Their voice shall be heard in other years ; after the kings of Temora have failed.” We came forth at the words of the chief. We saw him in his strength. He was like thy youth, O Fingal, when thou first didst lift the spear. His face was like the plain of the sun 35, when it is bright. No
35 His face was like the plain of the sun.] Not the sun's disk, but, as expressed in the first book annexed to Fingal, “ His face was like the sunny field, when it is bright. No darkness moved ster his brow.” A frequent imitation of Thomson's Autumn.
The sudden sun,
darkness travelled over his brow. But he came with his thousands to aid the red-haired Cairbar. Now he comes to revenge his death, O king of woody Morven.”
“Let Cathmor come, replied the king. “I love a foe so great. His soul is bright. His arm is strong. His battles are full of fame. But the little soul is a vapour that hovers round the marshy lake. It never rises on the green hill 36
36 But the little soul is a vapour that hovers round the marshy lake. It never rises on the green hill.] Par. Lost, xii. 626. inverled.
From the other hill
And vapour, as the Lybian air adust. “The little soul, like the vapour that hovers round the marshy lake, but never rises on the green hill,” is an inversion of the cherubim descending from the other hill, and on the ground gliding as evening mist, risen from a river, o'er the marish glides. But the dart of death, emitted by the vapour from the cave of pestilence, in which it dwells lest the winds should meet it on the hill,
She (the plague) draws a close incumbent cloud of death,
lest the winds should meet it there. Its dwelling is in the cave, it sends forth the dart of death! Our young heroes, O warriors, are like the renown of our fathers. They fight in youth. They fall. Their names are in song. Fingal is amid his darkening years 37,
He must not fall, as an aged oak, across a secret stream. Near it are the steps of the hunter, as it lies beneath the wind. How has that tree fallen ?" he says, and, whistling, strides along. Raise the song of joy, ye bards of Morven. Let our souls forget the past. The red stars look on us from clouds,
forms such a confusion of modern metaphors, as Blair terms a simile highly finished. Cairbar, after the treacherous assassination of Oscar, is compared to a pestilential fog. This is a simile highly finished.” BLAIR's Dissertation.
37 Fingal is amid his darkening years.] In the first book of Temora annexed to Fingal, the whole passage was addressed to Usnoth: Thus,
“ Usnoth! thou hast heard the fame of Etha's car-borne chiefs. Our young heroes, 0 warrior, are like the renown of our fathers. They fought in youth, and they fall : their names are in the song. But we are old, O Usnoth! let us not fall like aged oaks, which the blast overturns in secret. The hunter came past, and saw them lying across a stream. • How have they fallen,' he said, “and whistling, passed along.”
The propriety of the passage, in its application to the three sons of Usnoth, the chiefs of Etha, is lost by the removal of L'snoth from the poem
and silently descend. Soon shall the grey beam of the morning rise, and shew us the foes of Cormac. Fillan! my son, take thou the spear of the king. Go to Mora's dark-brown side. Let thine eyės travel over the heath. Observe the foes of Fingal : Observe the course of generous Cathmor. I hear a distant sound, like falling rocks in the desert. But strike thou thy shield, at times, that they may not come through night, and the fame of Morven cease.
I begin to be alone, my son.
I dread the fall of my renown !”
The voice of bards arose. The king leaned on the shield of Trenmor. Sleep descended on his eyes. His future battles arose in his dreams. The host are sleeping around. Dark-haired Fillan observes the foe. His steps are on a distant hill. We hear, at times, his clanging shield 38.
38 One of the Fragments of Ancient Poetry, lately published, gives a different account of the death of Oscar, the son of Ossian. The translator, though he well knew the more probable tradition concerning that hero, was unwilling to reject a poem, which, if not of Ossian's composition, has much of his manner, and concise turn of expression. A more correct copy of that fragment, which has since come to the translator's hands, has enabled him to correct the mistake, into which a similarity of
names had led those who handed down the poem by tradition, The heroes of the piece are Oscar, the son of Caruth, and Dermid, the son of Diaran. Ossian, or perhaps his imitator, opens the poem with a lamentation for Oscar, and afterwards, by an easy transition, relates the story of Oscar, the son of Caruth, who seems to have borne the same character, as well as name, with Oscar, the son of Ossian. Though the translator thinks ie has good reason to reject the fragment as the composition of Ossian ; yet as it is, after all, still somewhat doubtful whether it is or not, he has here subjoined it.
Way openest thou afresh the spring of my grief, O son of Alpin, inquiring how Oscar fell? My eyes are blind with tears ; but memory beams on my heart. How can I relate the mournful death of the head of the people! Chief of the warriors, Oscar, my son, shall I see thee no more!
He fell as the moon in a storm; as the sun from the midst of his course, when clouds rise from the waste of the waves, when the blackness of the storm inwraps the rocks of Ardannider. I, like an ancient oak on Morven, I moulder alone in my place. The blast hath lopped my branches away; and I tremble at the wings of the north. Chief of the warriors, Oscar, my son! shall I see thee no more!
But, son of Alpin, the hero fell not harmless as the grass of the held ; the blood of the mighty was on his sword, and he tracelled with death through the ranks of their pride. But Oscar, thou son of CARUTH, thou hast fallen low ! No enemy fell by thy hand. Thy spear was stained with the blood of thy friend.
Dermid and Oscar were one: They reaped the battle together. Their friendship was strong as their steel ; and death walked between them to the field. They came on the foc like two rocks falling from the brows of Ardven. Their swords. were stained with the blood of the valiant : warriors fainted at their names. Who was equal to Oscar, but Dermid ? and who to Dermid, but Oscar!