look before she can behold Fingal in the Thou sawest him in the blood of his youth; midst of his host; bright as the coming but thou didst not tell Comala. forth of the morning in the cloud of an “ Melilcoma. What sound is that on early shower.

Ardven? Who is that bright in the vale ? Hidallan. Dwell, thou mist of gloomy Who comes like the strength of rivers, Crona, dwell on the path of the king ! when their crowded waters glitter to the Hide his steps from mine eyes, let me moon? remember my friend no more. The bands “ Comala. Who is it but the foe of Coof battle are scattered, no crowding tread mala, the son of the king of the world! is round the noise of his steel. O Carun! Ghost of Fingal! do thou, from thy cloud, roll thy streams of blood, the chief of the direct Comala's bow. Let him fall like people is low.

the hart of the desert. It is Fingal in the Comala. Who fell on Carun's sound- crowd of his ghosts. Why dost thou come, ing banks, son of the cloudy night ? Was my love, to frighten and please my soul ! he white as the snow of Ardven? Bloom- Fingal. Raise, ye bards. the song ; ing as the bow of the shower ? Was his raise the wars of the streamy Carun! Cahair like the mist of the hill, soft and curl- racul has fled from our arms along the ing in the day of the sun ? Was he like fields of his pride. He sets far distant the thunder of heaven in battle? Fleet like a meteor, that encloses a spirit of as the roe of the desert ?

night, when the winds drive it over the Hidallan. O that I might behold his heath, and the dark woods are gleaming love, fair-leaning from her rock ! Her red around. I heard a voice, or was it the eye dim in tears, her blushing cheek half breeze of my hills ? Is it the huntress of hid in her locks ? Blow, O gentle breeze! Ardven, the white-handed daughter of lift thou the heavy locks of the maid, that Sarno? Look from thy rocks, my love; I may behold her white arm, her lovely let me hear the voice of Comala ! cheek in her grief.

Comala. Take me to the cave of thy “ Comala. And is the son of Comhal rest, O lovely son of death! fallen, chief of the mournful tale ! The Fingal. Come to the cave of my rest. thunder rolls on the hill! The lightning The storm is past, the sun is on our fields. fies on wings of fire! They frighten not Come to the cave of my rest, huntress of Comala; for Fingal is low. Say, chief of echoing Ardven! the mournful tale, fell the breaker of the Comala. He is returned with his shields ?

fame! I feel the right hand of his wars! Hidallan. The nations are scattered But I must rest beside the rock till my on their hills! they shall hear the voice of soul returns from my fear! O let the harp the king no more.

be near! raise the song, ye daughters of « Comala. Confusion pursue thee over Morni. thy plains ! Ruin overtake thee, thou Dersagrena. Comala has slain three king of the world! Few be thy steps to deer on Ardven, the fire ascends on the thy grave; and let one virgin mourn thee! rock; go to the feast of Comala, king of Let her be like Comala, tearful in the days the woody Morven! of her youth! Why hast thou told me, Fingal. Raise, ye sons of song, the Hidallan, that my hero fell? I might wars of the streamy Carun ; that my whitehave hoped a little while his return; I handed maid may rejoice : while I behold might have thought I saw him on the dis- the feast of my love. tant rock; a tree might have deceived me Bards. Roll, streamy Carun, roll in with his appearance; the wind of the hill joy, the sons of battle fled! The steed might have been the sound of his horn in is not seen on our fields; the wings of mine ear, O that I were on the banks of their pride spread on other lands. The Carun! that my tears might be warm on sun will now rise in peace, and the shahis cheek!

dows descend in joy. The voice of the Hidallan. He lies not on the banks chase will be heard ; the shields hang in of Carun : on Ardven heroes raise his the hall. Our delight will be in the war tomb. Look on them, O moon! from thy of the ocean, our hands shall grow red in clouds; be thy beam bright on his breast, the blood of Lochlin. Roll, streamy Cathat Comala may behold him in the light roll in joy, the sons of battle fled! of his armour.

Melilcoma. Descend, ye light mists " Comala. Stop, ye sons of the grave, from high! Ye moonbeams, lift her soul ! till I behold my love! He left me at the Pale lies the maid at the rock! Comala chase alone, I knew not that he went to is no more! war. He said he would return with the Fingal. Is the daughter of Sarno night; the king of Morven is returned ! dead; the white-bosomed maid of my love ? Why didst thou not tell me that he would Meet me, Comala, on my heaths, when I fall, O trembling dweller of the rock ? sit alone at the streams of my hills.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Hidallan. Ceased the voice of the The night before “he bade his sails huntress of Ardven? why did I trouble to rise,” was “ the night of Selma's the soul of the maid ? When shall I see joy;" and there is presented before the thee, with joy, in the chase of the dark. King the " dramatic interlude" of brown hinds ?

Shilric and Vinvela, which forms the Fingal. Youth of the gloomy brow! opening of Carric-Thura, a poem. no more shalt thou feast in my halls. Thou It is Laing who calls it a “ dramatic shalt not pursue my chase, my foes shall

interlude ; » but Macpherson says, not fall by thy sword. Lead me to the

or one should think that the parts of place of her rest, that I may behold her

Shilric and Vinvela were represented beauty. Pale she lies at the rock, the cold winds lift her hair. Her bowstring

sounds by Cronnan and Minona, whose very

names denote that they were singers in the blast, her arrow was broken in her fall.

who performed in public. Cronnan Raise the praise of the daughter of Sarno! give her name to the winds of signifies a mournfúl sound, Minona heaven!

soft air.

All the dramatic poems of “ Bards. See! meteors gleam around

Ossian appear to have been presented the maid! See ! moonbeams lift her before Fingal upon solemn occasions." soul! Around her, from their clouds, Laing cannot stomach this, and says bend the awful faces of her fathers; Sarno bitterly, “ that a heroic poem, with of the gloomy brow! the red-rolling eyes short dramas by way of episodes, is of Fidallan! When shall thy white hand a species of composition unknown to arise ? When shall thy voice be heard on Aristotle ; and we may conceive the our rocks? The maids shall seek thee on

improvement of which the Æneid the heath, but they shall not find thee, would have been susceptible, if VirThou shalt come, at times, to their dreams, gil had introduced the Pastorals as to settle peace in their soul. Thy voice dramatic poems, exhibited before shall remain in their ears, they shall think Æneas at the Court of Dido, Acestes, with joy on the dreams of their rest. Me.

or Evander. Dramatic representation, teors gleam around the maid, and moon

indeed, was unknown to Homer ; but beams lift her soul ! "

in the employment of females to personMacpherson tells us that the variety ate female characters, Ossian's Celtic of the measure shows that this poem theatre, of the third century, has not was originally set to music, and per- only outstripped the Grecian drama, haps personated before the chiefs upon but anticipated the improvements of solemn occasions. The Inveterate ex- the French and English stage.” A claims, “ When we contemplate such picture within a picture, a play within outrageous fictions, as a dramatic

a play, is a well-known contrivance of poem upon the subject of Caracalla's art. But we feel the force of Laing's expedition against the Caledonians, a

sarcasm ; and, waving all question as Celtic drama, performed of old (in the to the improbabilities of the case, we third century) in the Highlands of content ourselves with asking, is “the Scotland, with a Greek chorus, as re- dramatic interlude of Shilric and Vinvived by Mason, we are at a loss whe- vela” true to nature ? You shall judge. ther to admire the effrontery of the translator, or the credulous simplicity

“ Hast thou left thy blue course in heaven, of the public.". But the public has golden-haired-son of the sky! The west has all her life long been a credulous and opened its gates; the bed of thy repose is


The waves simple soul, as well as a pensive; and

come to behold thy if the plant you show her be delicate beauty. They lift their trembling heads.

They see thee lovely in thy sleep ; they and graceful, she will believe it grew

shrink away with fear. Rest, in thy shawherever you choose to tell her ; and the poorer the soil, and colder the clidowy cave, O sun ! let thy return be in joy.

But let a thousand lights arise to the mate, with tenderer kisses will she

sound of the harps of Selma: let the beam touch the unbroken dewdrops on the

spread in the hall, the king of shells is rewondrous flowers.

turned! The strife of Carun is past, like Fingal has returned to Selma, from

Raise the song, an expedition into the Lower Pro

[ocr errors]


sounds that ar

O bards ! the king is returned with his vince, and resolves to visit Cathulla, fame! King of Inistore, and brother to Co- “ Such were the words of Ullin, when Finmala. The deliverance of Carric

gal returned from war : when he returned in thura, the palace of Cathulla, is the the fair blushing of youth, with all his subject of the poem of that name. heavy locks. His blue arms were on the

no more.


hero; like a light cloud on the sun, when he member me, Vinvela, when low on earth moves in his robes of mist, and shows but I lie. half bis beams. His heroes followed the “ Vinvela. Yes! I will remember thee! king : the feast of shells is spread. Fingal alas ! my Shilric will fall! What shall I do, turns to his bards, and bids the song to rise. my love, when thou art for ever gone?

“ Voices of echoing Cona! he said: 0 Through these hills I will go at noon : I bards of other times! Ye, on whose souls will go through the silent heath. There the blue hosts of our fathers rise ! strike I will see the place of thy rest, returning the harp in my hall; and let me hear the from the chase. Alas! my Sbilric will song Pleasant is the joy of grief; it is fall; but I will remember Shilric. like the shower of spring, when it softens “ And I remember the chief, said the the branch of the oak, and the young leaf king of woody Morven: he consumed the rears its green head. Sing on, O bards!

battle in his rage.

But now my eyes betomorrow we list the sail. My blue course hold him not. I met him, one day, on the is throuz h the ocean, to Carric-thura's hill; his cheek was pale; his brow was walls ; the mossy walls of Sarno, where dark. The sigh was frequent in his breast : Comala dwelt. There the noble Cathulla his steps were towards the desert. But spreads the feast of shells. The boars of now he is not in the crowd of my chiefs, his woods are many; the sound of the chase when the sounds of my shields arise. Dwells shall arise !

he in the narrow house, the chief of high “ Cronnan, son of the song ! said Ullin; Carmora ?” Minona, graceful at the harp! raise the

You pronounce “ the Dramatic In. tale of Shilric, to please the king of Mor

terlude" beautiful ? But it closes ven. Let Vinvela come in her beauty, like the showery bow, when it shows its without a catastrophe; and Cronnan, lovely head on the lake, and the setting laying aside the character he had assun is bright. She comes, O Fingal ! her sumed, sings an elegiac strain. voice is soft, but sad.

His gray

“ Cronnan! said Ullin of other times, " Vinulu. My love is a son of the hill. raise the song of Shilric ! when he returnHe pursues the flying deer.

ed to his hills, and Vinvela was no more. dogs are panting around him; his bow- He leaned on her gray mossy stone; he string sounds in the wind. Dost thou rest thought Vinvela lived. He saw her fair by the fount of the rock, or by the noise moving on the plain ; but the bright form of the mountain stream? The rushes are lasted not: the sunbeam fled from the nodding to the wind, the mist flies over the field, and she was seen no more. Hear hill. I will approach my love unseen ; I the song of Shilric; it is soft, but sad ! will behold him from the rock. Lovely I "" I sit by the mossy fountain: on the saw thee first by the aged oak of Branno ; top of the hill of winds. One tree is thou wert returning tall from the chase ; rustling above me. Dark waves roll over the fairest among thy friends

the heath. The lake is troubled below. Shilric. What voice is that I hear? that The deer descend from the hill. No hunvoice like the summer wind ! I sit not by ter at a distance is seen. It is mid-day : the nodding rushes ; I hear not the fount but all is silent. Sad are my thoughts of the rock. Afar, Vinvela, afar, I go to alone. Didst thou but appear, O my love! the wars of Fingal. My dogs attend me a wanderer on the heath thy hair floating no more. No more I tread the hill.

No on the wind behind thee; thy bosom heavmore from on high I see thee, fair moving ing on the sight; thine eyes full of tears by the stream of the plain; bright as the for thy friends, whom the mists of the hill bow of heaven; as the moon on the west- had concealed! Thee I would comfort, my

love, and bring thee to thy father's house! “ Vinvela. Then thou art gone, O Shil- “* But is it she that there appears,

like ric! I am alone on the hill! The deer are a beam of light on the heath? bright as the seen on the brow : void of fear they graze moon in autumn, as the sun in a summeralong. No more they dread the wind ; no storm, comest thou, O maid, over rocks, more the rustling tree. The hunter is far over mountains, to me? She speaks; removed; he is in the field of graves. but how weak her voice ! like the breeze Strangers! sons of the waves ! spare my in the reeds of the lake.' lovely Shilric!

“ Returnest thou safe from the war? 66 Shilric. If fall I must in the field, raise Where are thy friends, my love? I heard high my grave, Vinvela. Gray stones, and of thy death on the hill; I heard and heaped-up earth, shall mark me to future mourned thee, Shilric! Yes, my fair, I times. When the hunter shall sit hy the return : but I alone of my race. Thou mound, and produce his food at noon, shalt see them no more; their graves I

Some warrior rests here,' he will say; fraised on the plain. But why art thou on and my fame shall live in his praise. Re- the desert hill? Why on the heath alone?

ern wave.


" Alone I am, O Shilric ! alone in the tions !” By an acute man, never winter-house. With grief for thee I fell surely was such nonsense written beShilric, I am pale in the tomb.'

fore-he looks like a monomaniac. “ She fleets, she sails away; as mist be- In the Poem of Carric-thura, or fore the wind! and wilt thou not stay, the morning after the night of joy in Vinvela? Stay, and behold my tears ! Selma, Fingal sets sail for Inistore. Fair thou appearest, Vinvela ! fair thou

“ It rises to sight, and Carric-thura's wast, when alive!

mossy towers ! But the sign of distress “ By the mossy fountain I will sit; on

was on their top: the warning flame the top of the hill of winds. When mid

edged with smoke.” Laing cannot day is silent around, O talk with me,


believe it possible in nature that Macvela !

come on the light-winged, gale! pherson could have seen in his mind's on the breeze of the desert, come ! Let me hear thy voice, as thou passest, when

eye a light on the top of a tower, and

have said so, had he not read Homer mid-day is silent around! Such was the song of Cronnan, on the

-and jots down, with these italics, night of Selma's joy. But morning rose

literally from Pope's Iliad:"in the east; the blue waters rolled in “ As when from some beleaguered town light. Fingal bade his sails to rise : the arise winds came rastling from their hills. Ini- The smokes, high curling to the shaded store rose to sight, and Carric-thura's skies, mossy towers !"

(Seen from some island o'er the main

afar, Look back at the opening of Carric

When men distressed hang out the sign thura, and say if it be not poetry- of war,) full of placid and cheerful beauty

Soon as the sun in ocean hides his rays, the night-scene without, and the night- Thick on the hills the flaming beacons scene within the hall of Selma-felt

blaze ; together in the harmony of a gentle with long-projected beams the seas are contrast. Yet Laing will not allow

bright, any sunset in Ossian to be unborrow- And heaven's high arch reflects the ruddy .ed; and traces “the gates of the west,' light.” “ the bed of thy repose,” “ lovely in thy sleep," to Milton, and Dryden,

Pope's version, by the way, is exeand Collins. The Glasgow gander Homer the description is powerful;

crable,' and all unlike Homer. In himself was not much more abroad but its greatness lies in the similitude in his attempts; by parallel passages, of the sudden fire to Achilles. Osto prove Mrs Grant of Laggan the author of the Waverley novels. The and, knowing that the flame announces

sian's few words simply state a fact ; gates of the west," quoth. Malcolm, evil, « the King of Morven struck his

só frequent in Ossian, is Milton's eastern gate, where the great sun be

breast." Laing continues" But the gins his state." “ Wavy bed,” in warning flame edged with smoke is Collins, suggested “ The waves come

an incongruous combination of two to behold thy beauty.” “ They lift

distinct images ; as the flame can no their trembling heads," is a translation

more be seen by day than the smoke of Virgil's “ Splendet tremulo sub by night. Had our translator beheld lumine pontus !" « On such slight

the Orkneys, when involved in sumhints,” he growls, “ were his imita

mer, as at this present moment, in

clouds of smoke from their numerous tions often constructed.”

• They see thee lovely in thy sleep,” is copied kelp-kilns, he would have perceived from-0 gentle reader! from what,

of Homer's description.” Poets have think ye?-from the picture of Adam hanging over Eve in Paradise !

as good eyes as other people or bet

ter; and, though what Mr Laing " He on his side

says about kelp-kilns is correct, Mac. Leaning, half-raised, with looks of cordial pherson knew, as well as he did love

either by night or day-flame from Hung over her enamoured, and beheld

smoke. It was not day-time, but Beauty, that, whether waking or asleep, well on in the evening ; for it is said Shot forth peculiar graces!"

immediately, “ Night came down on - Much as I am accustomed to Mac- the sea.” And late in a cloudy evenpherson's plagiarisms I am lost in as- ing, fire on a tower-top-and smoke, tonishment at such unexpected imita- too is visible “ far far at sea."


[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]



The “ Songs of Selma” opens with youth are on the wing." But Sharpan address to the “ star of descending eye does not see that “ insect youth" night" eminently beautiful ; and is the idea that gives Gray's line its here, of course, the word-hunter is peculiar moral charm, and distinagain at work, insensible, it would guishes it from every other line, perseem, to the mournful influence of the haps, about flies in our hour so congenial with the profound lar. sadness everlasting in the soul of 'Tis a perfect night-piece-Read Ossian. * " Star of descending night! fair is thy “ And it does arise in its strength: I belight in the west ! thou listest thy unshorn

hold my departed friends. Their gatherhead from thy cloud : thy steps are stately ing is on Lora, as in the days of other on thy hill. What dost thou behold in

years. Fingal comes like a watery cothe plain? The stormy winds are laid. lumn of mist! his heroes are around : and The murmur of the torrent comes from

see the bards of song, gray-haired Ullin! afar. Roaring waves climb the distant stately Ryno! Alpin, with the tuneful rock. The flies of evening are on their voice! the soft complaint of Minona ! How feeble wings : the hum of their course is are ye changed, my friends, since the days on the field. What dost thou behold, fair of Selma's feast! when we contended, like light ? But thou dost smile and depart. gales of spring, as ye fiy along the hill, The waves come with joy around thee : and bend by turns the feebly-whistling they bathe thy lovely hair. Farewell, thou grass. silent beam! Let the light of Ossian's “ Minona came forth in her beauty : soul arise !

with downcast look and tearful eye. Her “ Star of descending night” is bor- hair flew slowly on the blast, that rushed rowed from Milton's

unfrequent from the hill. The souls of

the heroes were sad when she raised the « Fairest of stars, last in the train of night;" tuneful voice. Often had they seen the and “ thou liftest thy unshorn head grave of Salgar, the dark dwelling of from thy cloud," from Milton's image white-bosomed Colma. Colma left alone of Lucifer suddenly reappearing in on the hill, with all her voice of song! Pandemonium,

Salgar promised to come : but the night

descended around. Hear the voice of “ At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head

Colma, when she sat alone on the hill! And shape, star-bright, appeared.”

Colma. It is night, I am alone, forlorn That beats Banagher. Because a

on the hill of storms. The wind is heard great poet has gloriously likened the on the mountain. The torrent pours down

the rock. No hut receives me from the apparition out of nothing, of a fallen angel to a star issuing from a cloud,

rain; forlorn on the hill of winds! nobody looking on the sky shall be suf

Rise, moon ! from behind thy clouds.

Stars of the night, arise ! Lead me, some fered to speak of a star rising above a cloud, without being assailed with the light, to the place where my love rests

from the chase alone! his bow near him, cry of “stop thief!"-" Thy steps unstrung : his dogs panting around him. are stately on thy hill.” From what think

But here I must sit alone, by the rock of is thať stolen or strayed ? the mossy stream. ye

The stream and the From the ballad of Hardyknute !

wind roar aloud. I hear not the voice of Stately stept he east the wall,

my love! Why delays my Salgar, why And stately stept he west ! ”

the chief of the hill, his promise! Here

is the rock, and here the tree ! here is the Towering waves climb the distant roaring stream ! Thou didst promise rocks.” What is amiss there? It is, with night to be here. Ah! whither is saith merry Malcolm, a bappy appli. my Salgar gone! With thee, I would fly cation of Pope's ludicrous description from my father ; with thee, from my of a caldron upon the fire-Odyssey, brother of pride. Our race have long viii. 473:

been foes; we are not foes, O Salgar! 66 The flames climb round it with a fierce

“ Cease a little while, O wind! stream, embrace,

be thou silent awhile ! let my voice be And foaming waters bubble o'er the

heard around. Let my wanderer here blaze."

me ! Salgar! it is Colma who calls. Here

is the tree, and the rock. Salgar, my That is wit! 66 The flies of even- love! I am here. Why delayest thou ing are on the wing.” That is stolen, thy coming! Lo ! the calm moon comes it seems, from Gray. “ The insect forth. The food is bright in the vale.

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »