Abbildungen der Seite

They killed mighty Dargo in the field; Dargo who never fled in war. His daughter was fáir as the morn; mild as the beam of night. Her eyes, like two stars in a shower: her breath, the gale of spring : her breasts, as the new-fallen snow floating on the moving heath. The warriors saw her, and loved; their souls were fixed on the maid. Each loved her as his fame; each must possess her or die. But her soul was fixed on Oscar; the son of Caruth was the youth of her love. She forgot the blood of her father; and loved the hand that slew him.

Son of Caruth, said Dermid, I love ; O Oscar, I love this maid. But her soul cleaveth unto thee ; and nothing can heal Dermid. Here, pierce this bosom, Oscar; relieve me, my friend, with thy sword.

My sword, son of Diaran, shall never be stained with the blood of Dermid.

Who, then, is worthy to slay me, o Oscar, son of Caruth? Let not my life pass away unknown. Let none but Oscar slay me. Send me with honour to the grave, and let my death be renowned.

Dermid, make use of thy sword; son of Diaran, wield thy steel. Would that I fell with thee ! that my death came from the hand of Dermid !

They fought by the brook of the mountain, by the streams of Brando. Blood tinged the running water, and curdled round the mossy stones. The stately Dermid fell ; he fell, and smiled in death.

And fallest thou, son of Diaran, fallest thou by Oscar's hand! Dermid, who never yielded in war, thus do I see thee fall!-He went, and returned to the maid of his love; he returned, but she perceived his grief.

Why that gloom, son of Caruth? what shades thy mighty soul?

Though once renowned for the bow, O maid, I have lost my fame. Fixed on a tree, by the brook of the hill, is the shield of

[ocr errors]

the valiant Gormur, whom I slew in battle. I have wasted the day in vain, nor could my arrow pierce it.

Let me try, son of Caruth, the skill of Dargo's daughter. My hands were taught the bow: my father delighted in my skill.

She went. He stood behind the shield. Her arrow flew, and pierced his breast.

Blessed be that hand of snow ; and blessed that bow of yew ! Who but the daughter of Dargo was worthy to slay the son of Caruth? Lay me in the carth, my fair one ; lay me by the side of Dermid.

Oscar ! the maid replied, I have the soul of the mighty Dargo. Well pleased I can meet death. My sorrow I can end. She pierced her white bosom with the steel. She fell; she trembled ; and died.

By the brook of the hill their graves are laid; a birch's unequal shade covers their tomb. Often, on their green earthen tombs, the branchy sons of the mountain feed, when mid-day is all in flames, and silence over all the hills. MACPHERSON, First Book of Temora annexed to Fingal.

[ocr errors]

When the Fragments were written at Moffat, and published in 1760, the Irish Ballad concerning the death of Oscar had not come to the translator's hands. He was ignorant even of the historical account of the death of Oscar ; and he endeavours in vain to extenuate the mistake committed in the seventh Frayment, which is, and is not, the composition of Ossian. The more correct copy of that Fragment, which enabled him, by an easy transition, to correct the mistake occasioned by the similarity of names, consists in the interpolation of an additional paragraph, (marked in Italics), by which the hero is transformed into another Oscar, of the same character, as well as of the same name, with the son of Ossian. But, son of Alpin, the hero (Oscar, son of Ossian) fell not harmless as the grass of the


field, &c. But Oscar, thou son of Caruth, thou hast fallen low, &c. Dermid the son of Morni, is also changed into Dermid son of Diaran ; and the son of Ossian is altered throughout to the son of Caruth ; a new hero, never heard of before or since. By such easy transitions, the story of the Fragment is transferred from Oscar the son of Ossian, to Oscar the son of Caruth, like that of Pope's Dunciad, from Theobald to Cibber; and it is farther observable, that the Fragment on the Death of Oscar, a plain and almost avowed fabrication, was the very


specimen of Celtic poetry, which the translator produced at Mofsat, to Mr John Home.




« ZurückWeiter »