網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

of heath. I feasted three days in the hall, and saw the blue eyes of Erin, Roscrana, daughter of heroes, light of Cormac's. race. Nor forgot did my steps depart : the kings gave their shields to Car-ul : they hang on high in Colamon, in memory of the past. Sons of the daring kings, ye bring back the days of old !

Car-ul kindled the oak of feasts, he took two bosses from our shields. He laid them in earth beneath a stone, to speak to the hero's race.

When battle,' said the king, shall roar, and our sons are to meet in wrath, my race shall look perhaps on this stone, when they prepare the spear. . Have not our fathers met in peace? they will say, and lay aside the shield.'

Night came down. In her long locks moved the daughter of Car-ul. Mixed with the harp aruse the voice of white-armed Colna-dona. Toscar darkened in his place before the love of heroes. She came on his troubled soul, like a beam to the dark heaving ocean, when it bursts from a cloud, and brightens the foamy side of a

非 wave.

6

With morning we awaked the woods, and hung forward on the path of the roes. They fell by their wồnted streams. We returned through Crona's vale. From the wood a youth (ame forward, with a shield and pointless spear.

Whence,' said Toscar of Lutha, is the flying beam? Dwells there peace at Col-amon, round bright Colna-dona of harps ?'

• By Col-amon of streams," said the youth, bright Colna-dona dwelt. She dwelt; but her course is now in deserts with the son of the king; he that seized with love her soul as it

• Here an episode is entirely lost ; or, at least, is handed down so imperfectly, that it does not deserve a place in the puein.

wandered through the hall.' 'Stranger of tales,' said Toscar, hast thou marked the warrior's course ? He must fall; give thou that bossy shield,' In wrath he took the shield. Fair behind it rose the breasts of a maid, white as the bosom of a swan, rising graceful on swiftrolling waves. It was Colna-dona of harps, the daughter of the king ! Her blue eyes had rolled on Toscar, and her ove arose !

OITHONA.

ARGUMENT.

Gaul, the son of Morni, attended Lathmon into his own

country, after his being defeated in Morven, as related in a preceding poem. He was kindly entertained by Nuäth, the father of Lathmon, and fell in love with his daughter Oithona. The lady was no less enamoured of Gaul, and a day was fixed for their marriage. In the mean time Fingal, preparing for an expedition into the country of the Britons, sent for Gaul.

He obeyed, and went; but not without promising to Oithona to return, if he survived the war, by a certain day. Lath. mon too was obliged to attend his father Nuath in his wars, and Oithona was left alone at Dunlathmon, the seat of the family. Dunrommath, lord of Uthal, supposed to be one of the Orkneys, taking advantage of the absence of her friends, came and carried off, by force, Oithona, who had formerly rejected his love, into Tromáthon, a desert island, where he concealed her in a

cave. Gaul returned on the day appointed; heard of the rape,

and sailed to Tromáthon, to revenge himself on Dun. rommath. When he landed, he found Oithona disconsolate, and resolved not to survive the loss of her ho:lour. She told him the story of her misfortunes, and she scarce ended when Dunrommath with his followers appeared at the farther end of the island. Gaul prepared to attack him, recommending to Oithona to retire till the battle was over. She seemingly obeyed; but she secretly armed herself, rushed into the thickest of the battle, and was mortally wounded. Gaul, pursuing the flying enemy, found her just expiring on the field

; he muurned over her, raised her tomb, and returned to Morven. Thus is the story handed down by tradition ; nor is it given with any material difference in the poem, which opens with Gaul's return to Danlathmon, after the rape of Oithona.

DARKNESS dwells around Dunlathmon, though the moon shows half her face on the hill, The daughter of night turns her eyes away; she beholds the approaching grief, The son of Morni is on the plain : there is no sound in the hall. No long streaming beam of light comes trembling through the gloom. The voice of Oithona is not heard amidst the noise of the streams of Duvranna, · Whither art thou gone in thy beauty, dark-haired daughter o Nuäth? Lathmon is in the field of the valiant, but thou didst promise to remain in the hall till the sun of Morni returned. Till he returned from Strumon, to the maid of his love! The tear was on thy cheek at his departure ; the sigh rose in secret in thy breast. But thou dost not come forth with songs, with the light. ly trembling sound of the harp!'

Such were the words of Gaul, when he came to Dunlathmon's towers. The gates were open and dark. The winds were blustering in the hall. The trees strewed the threshold with leaves; the murmur of night was abroad. Sad and silent, at a rock, the son of Morni sat : his soul trembled for the maid ; but he knew not whither to turn his course! The son of Leth stood at a distance, and heard the winds in his bushy hair. But he did not raise his voice, for he saw the sorrow of Gaul !

Sleep descended on the chiefs. The visions of night arose. Oithona stood, in a dream, be. fore the eyes of Morni's son. Her hair was loose and disordered; her lovely eye rolled deep in tears. Blood stained her snowy arm. The robe half hid the wound of her breast. She stood over the chief, and her voice was feebly heard. • Sleeps the son of Morni, he that was lovely in the eyes of Oithona ? Sleeps Gaul at the distant rock, and the daughter of Nuäth low? The sea rolls round the dark isle of Tromáthon. I sit in my tears in the cave! Nor do I sit alone, O Gaul! the dark chief of Cuthal is there. He is there in the rage of his love. What can Oithona do ?"

A rougher blast rushed through the oak. The dream of night departed. Gaul took his aspen spear. He stood in the rage of his soul. Oftea

6

did his eyes turn to the east. He accused the lag. ging light. At length the morning came forth. The hero lifted up the sail. The winds came rustling from the hill; he bounded on the waves of the deep. On the third day arose Tromáthon, like a blue shield in the midst of the sea. The white wave roared against its rocks, sad Oithona sat on the coast ! She looked on the rolling waters, and her tears came down. But when she saw Gaul in his arms, she started, and turned her eyes away.

Her lovely cheek bent and red; her white arm trembles by her side. Thrice she strove to fly from his presence ; thrice her steps failed as she went !

Daughter of Nuäth,' said the hero,' why dost thou fly from Gaul ? Do my eyes send forth the flame of death ? Darkens hatred in my soul ? Thou art to me the beam of the east rising in a land unknown. But thou coverest thy face with sadness, daughter of car-borne Nuäth! Is the foe of Oithona near! My soul burns to meet him in fight. The sword trembles by the side of Gaul, and longs to glitter in his hand. Speak, daughter of Nuäth! Dost thou not behold my tears ?'

• Young chief of Strumon,' replied the maid, 'why comest thou over the dark-blue wave, to Nuäth's mournful daughter! Why did I not pass away in secret, like the flower of the rock, that lifts its fair head unseen, and strews its withered leaves on the blast! Why didst thou come, O Gaul ! to hear my departing sigh! I vanish in my youth ; my name shall not be heard. Or it will be heard with grief; the tears of Nuäth must fall. Thou wilt be sad, son of Morni! for the departed fame of Oithona. But she shall sleep in the narrow tomb, far from the voice of the mourner. Why didst thou come,

« 上一頁繼續 »