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This book opens, we may suppose, about midnight, with a soliloquy of Ossian, who had retired, from the rest of the
army, to mourn for his son Oscar. Upon hearing the noise of Cathmor's army approaching, he went to find out his brother Fillan, who kept the watch, on the hill of Mora, in the front of Fingal's army. In the conversation of the brothers, the episode of Conar the son of Trenmor, who was the first king of Ireland, is introduced, which lays open the origin of the contests between the Caël and Firbolg, the two nations who first possessed themselves of that island. Ossian kindles a fire on Mora ; upon which Cathmor desisted from the design he had formed of surprising the army of the Caledonians. He calls a council of his chiefs; reprimands Foldath for advising a night-attack, as the Irish army were so much superior in number to the enemy. The bard Fonar introduces the story of Crothar, the ancestor of the king; which throws further light on the history of Ireland, and the original pretensions of the family of Atha, to the throne of that kingdom. The Irish chiefs lie down to rest, and Cathmor himself undertakes the watch. In his circuit round the army, he is met by Ossian. The interview of the two heroes described. Cathmor obtains a promise from Ossian, to order a funeral elegy to be sung over the grave of Cairbar; it being the opinion of the times that the souls of the dead could not be happy till their elegies were sung by a bard. Morning comes. Cathmor and Ossian part; and the latter, casually meeting with Carril, the son of Kinfena, sends that bard, with a funeral song, to the tomb of Cairbar. MACPHERSON.
AN EPIC POEM.
Father of heroes! O Trenmor ! High dweller of eddying winds! where the dark red thunder marks the troubled clouds! Open thou thy stormy halls. Let the bards of old be near. Let them draw near, with songs and their half-viewless harps. No dweller of misty valley comes ! No hunter unknown at his streams! It is the car-borne Oscar, from the fields of war. Sudden is thy change, my son, from what thou wert on dark Moilena! The blast folds thee in its
skirt, and rustles through the sky! Dost thou not behold thy father, at the stream of night! The chiefs of Morven sleep far distant. They have lost no son: But ye have lost a hero, chiefs of resounding Morven! Who could equal his strength, when battle rolled against his side, like the darkness of crowded waters'? Why this cloud on Ossian's soul ? It ought to burn in danger. Erin is near with her host. The king of Selma is alone. Alone thou shalt not be, my father, while I can lift the spear !
I rose, in all my arms. I rose and listened to the wind. The shield of Fillan is not heard. I tremble for the son of Fingal.
· Why should the foe come by night? Why should the darkhaired warrior fail ?” Distant, silent murmurs rise : like the noise of the lake of Lego, when its waters shrink, in the days of frost”, and all
? When battle rolled against his side, like the darkness of crowded waters.] The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters. Isaiah, xvii. 13. The simile is unintelligible till the imitation be explained.
2 Distant, sullen murmurs rise : like the noise of the lake of Lego, when its waters shrink in the days of frost.] Thomson's Winter.
Their sullen deeps
He heard my
its bursting ice resounds. The people of Lara look to heaven, and foresee the storm! My steps are forward on the heath. The
of Oscar is in my hand! Red stars looked from high. I gleamed, along the night .
I saw Fillan silent before me, bending forward from Mora's rock. He heard the shout of the foe. The joy of his soul arose. sounding tread, and turned his lifted spear. “ Comest thou, son of night, in peace? Or dost thou meet my wrath? The foes of Fingal are mine. Speak, or fear my steel. I stand not, in vain, the shield of Morven's race."
" Never mayst thou stand in vain, son of blue-eyed Clatho! Fingal begins to be alone.
Darkness gathers on the last of his days. Yet he has two sons * who ought to shine in war,
And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
And hark! the length’ning roar continuous runs
And piles a thousand mountains to the skies.
His armour bright Reflects the fire, and shines along the night. 4 'That is, two sons in Ireland. Fergus, the second son of Fingal, was, at that time, on an expedition which is mention