ePub 版

Yield to me, son of the wave, then shalt thou know that the mark of my sword is in many a field. “I never yielded, king of spears !' replied the noble pride of Carthon: I have also fought in war, 1 behold my future fame. Despise me not, thou chief of men ! my arm, my spear is strong.

Retire among thy friends ; let younger heroes fight.' Why dost thou wound my soul ? replied Clessámmor, with a tear. Age does not tremble on my hand. I still can lift the sword. Shall I dy in Fingal's sight, in the sight of him I love ? Son of the sea! I never fied : exalt thy pointed spear.

They fought like two contending winds, that strive to roll the wave. Carthon bade bis spear to err: he still thought that the foe was the spouse

of Moina He broke Clessámmor's beamy spear in twain: he seized his shining sword. But as Carthon was binding the chief, the chief drew the dagger of his fathers. He saw the foe's uncovered side, and opened there a wound.

Fingal saw Clessámmor low: he moved in the sound of his steel. The host stood silent in his presence; they turned tbeir eyes to the king. He came like the sullen noise of a storm before the winds arise : the hunter hears it in the vale; and retires to the cave of the rock. Carthon stood in his place, the blood is rushing down his side : he saw the coming down of the king, his hopes of fame arose, but pale was his cheek : his hair flew loose, his helmet shook on nigh : the force of Carthon failed, but his sword was strong.

Fingal beheld the hero's blood; he stopt the uplifted spear. • Yield, king of swords !' said

ly ceased, and the ancient amity of their forefathers was re, newed. A man who tells his name to his enemy,' was of old an ignominious term for a coward.

Comhal's son, 'I behold thy blood; thou hast heen mighty in battle, and thy fame shall never fade. Art thou the king so far renowned ? replied the car-borne Carthon : art thou that light of death, that frightens the kings of the world ? But why should Carthon ask? for he is like the stream of his hills, strong as a river in his course, swift as the eagle of heaven. O that I had fought with the king, that my fame might be great in song ! that the hunter, beholding my tomb, might say, he fought with the mighty Fingal. But Carthon dies unknown : he has poured out his force on the weak.

But thou shalt not die unknown, replied the king of woody Morven : my bards are many, () Carthon! their songs descend to future times. The children of years to come shall hear the fame of Carthon, when they sit round the burn. ing oak, and the night is spent in songs of old. The hunter, sitting in the heath, shall hear the rustling blast, and raising his eyes, behold the rock where Carthon fell. He shall turn to his son, and show the place where the mighty fought: There the king of Balclutha fought, like the strength of a thousand streams.

Joy rose in Carthon's face ; he lifted his heavy eyes. He gave his sword to Fingal, to lie within his hall, that the memory of Balclu. tha's king might remain in Morven. The battle ceased along the field, the bard had sung the song of peace. The chiefs gathered round the falling Carthon ; they heard his words with sighs. Silent they leaned on their spears, while Balclutha's hero spoke. His hair sighed in the wind, and his voice was sad and low.

• King of Morven,' Carthon said, “I fall in the midst of my course. A foreign tomb receives, in youth, the last of Reuthamir's race. Darkness dwells in Balclutha : the shadows of



grief in Crathmo. But raise my remembrance on the banks of Lora, where my fathers dwelt. Perhaps the husband of Moina will mourn over his fallen Carthon.' His words reached the heart of Clessámmor: he fell in silence on his

The host stood darkened around : voice is on the plain. Night came : the moon, from the east, looked on the mournful field; but still they stood, like a silent grove that lifts its head on Gormal, when the loud winds are laid, and dark autumn is on the plain,

Three days they mourned above Carthon ; on the fourth his father died. In the narrow plain of the rock they lie; a dim ghost defends their tomb. There lovely Moina is often seen, when the sun-beam darts on the rock, and all around is dark. There she is seen, Malvina ; but not like the daughters of the hill. Her robes are from the stranger's land, and she is still alone!

Fingal was sad for Carthon; he commanded his bards to mark the day when shadowy autumn returned : and often did they mark the day, and sing the hero's praise.

- Who comes so dark from ocean's roar, like autumn's sha. dowy cloud ? Death is trembling in his hand! his eyes are flames of fire! Who roars along dark Lora's heath? Who but Carthon, king of swords ! The people fall! see how he strides like the sullen ghost of Morven ! But there he liés a goodly oak, which sudden blasts overturned! When shalt thou rise, Balclutha's joy ? When, Carthon, shalt thou arise ? Who comes so dark from ocean's roar, like autumn's shadowy cloud ? Such were the words of the bards in the day of their mourning ; Ossian often joined their voice, and added to their song. My soul has been mournful for Carthon: he fell in the days of his youth ; and thou, O

[ocr errors]

Clessámmor! where is thy dwelling in the wind ? Has the youth forgot his wound ? Flies be on clouds with thee ? I feel the sun, O Mal. vina ! leave me to my rest. Perhaps they may come to my dreams; I think I hear a feeble voice! The beam of heaven delights to shine on the grave of Carthon: I feel it warm around.

O thou that rollest above, round as the shield of my fathers! Whence are thy beams, O sun ! thy everlasting light ! thou comest forth in thy awful beauty; the stars hid theinselves in the sky; the moon, cold and pale, sinks in the western wave ; but thou thyself movest alone. Who can be a companion of thy course? The oaks of the mountains fall; the mountains themselves decay with years ; the ocean shrinks and grows again ; the moon herself is lost in heaven : but thou art for ever the same, rejoicing in the bright. ness of thy course. When the world is dark with tempests, when thunder rolls and light. ning flies, thou lookest in thy beauty from the clouds, and laughest at 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 art, perhaps, like me, for a season ; thy years will have an end. Thou shalt sleep in thy clouds, careless of the voice of the morning. Exult then, O sun, in the strength of thy youth! age is dark and un. lovely; it is like the glimmering light of the moon, when it shines through broken clouds, and the nist is on the hills : the blast of the north is on the plain, the traveller shrinks in the midst of

his journey.


ARGUMENT. After an address to Malvina, the daughter of Toscar, Os

sian proceeds to relate his own expedition to Fuärfed, an island of Scandinavia. Mal-orchol, king of Fuärfed, be ing hard pressed in war by Ton-thormod, chief of Sar-dron. to (who had demanded in vain the daughter Mal-orchol in marriage,) Fingal sent Ossian to his aid. Ossian on the day after his arrival, came to battle with Ton-thormod, and look him prisoner. Mal-orchol offers his daughter Oinamorul to Ossian; but he, discovering her passion for Tonthormod, generously surrenders her to her lover, and

brings about a reconciliation between the two kings. As flies the unconstant sun over Larmon's grassy hill, so pass the tales of old along my soul by night! When bards are removed to their place, when harps are hung in Selma's hall, then comes a voice to Ossian, and awakes his soul! It is the voice of years that are gone! they roll before mo with all their deeds ! I seize the tales as they pass, and pour them forth in song. Nor a troubi led stream is the song of the king, it is like the rising of music from Lutha of the strings. Lutha of many strings, not silent are thy streamy rocks, when the white hands of Malvina move upon the harp! Light of the shadowy thoughts that fly across my soul, daughter of Toscar of hel. mets, wilt thou not hear the song ? We call back, maid of Lutha, the years that have rolled away! It was in the days of the king, while yet my locks were young, that I marked Con-cath. lin* on high, from ocean's nightly wave. My course was towards the isle of Fuärfed, woody dweller of seas! Fingal had sent me to the aid of Mal-orchol, king of Fuārfed wild : for war was around him, and our fathers had met at the feast.

In Col-coiled I bound my sails. I sent my sword to Mal-orchol of shells. He knew the

* Con-cathlin, mild beam of the wave.' What star was so called of old is not easily ascertained. Some now distinguish the pole-star by that name.


« 上一頁繼續 »