Temora: An Epic Poem.
Book Fifth.[ 82 ] View Page Image
Ossian, after a short address to the harp of Cona, describes the arrangement of both armies on either side of the river Lubar. Fingal gives the command to Fillan; but, at the same time, orders Gaul, the son of Morni, who had been wounded in the hand in the preceding battle, to assist him with his counsel. The army of the Fir-bolg is commanded by Foldath. The general onset is described. The great actions of Fillan. He kills Rothmar and Culmin. But when Fillan conquers, in one wing, Foldath presses hard on the other. He wounds Dermid, the son of Duthno, and puts the whole wing to flight. Dermid deliberates with himself, and, at last, resolves to put a stop to the progress of Foldath, by engaging him in single combat.—When the two chiefs were approaching towards one another, Fillan came suddenly to the relief of Dermid; engaged Foldath, and killed him. The behaviour of Malthos towards the fallen Foldath. Fillan puts the whole army of the Fir-bolg to flight. The book closes with an address to Clatho, the mother of that hero.[ 83 ] View Page Image
Temora: An Epic Poem.
Display noteThou dweller between the shields that hang, on high, in Ossian's hall, descend from thy place, O harp, and let me hear thy voice.—Son of Alpin, strike the string; thou must [ 84 ] View Page Imageawake the soul of the bard. The murmur of Lora's Display notestream has rolled the tale away.—I stand in the cloud of years: few are its openings towards the past, and when the vision comes it is but dim and dark.—I hear thee, harp of Cona, my soul returns, like a breeze, which the sun brings back to the vale, where dwelt the lazy mist.
Display noteLubar is bright before me, in the windings of its vale. On either side, on their hills, rise the tall forms of the kings; their people are poured around them, bending forward to their words; as if their fathers spoke, descending from their winds.—But the [ 85 ] View Page Imagekings were like two rocks in the midst, each with its dark head of pines, when they are seen in the desart, above low-sailing mist. High on their face are streams, which spread their foam on blasts.
Beneath the voice of Cathmor poured Erin, like the sound of flame. Wide they came down to Lubar; before them is the stride of Foldath. But Cathmor retired to his hill, beneath his bending oaks. The tumbling of a stream is near the king: he lifts, at times, his gleaming spear. It was a flame to his people, in the midst of war. Near him stood the daughter of Con-mor, leaning on her rock. She did not rejoice over the strife: her soul delighted not in blood. A valleyDisplay note spreads green behind the hill, with its three blue streams. The sun is there in silence; and the dun mountain-roes come down. On these are turned the eyes of Inis-huna's white-bosomed maid.
Fingal beheld, on high, the son of Borbar-duthul: he saw the deep-rolling of Erin, on the darkened plain. He struck that warning boss, which bids the people obey; when he sends his chiefs before them, to the field of renown. Wide rose their spears to the sun; their echoing shields reply around.—Fear, like a vapor, did not wind among the host: for he, the king, was near, the strength of streamy Morven.—Gladness brightened the hero, we heard his words of joy.
Like the coming forth of winds, is the sound of Morven's sons! They are mountain waters, determined in their course. Hence is Fingal renowned, and his name in other lands. He was not a [ 86 ] View Page Imagelonely beam in danger; for your steps were always near.—But never was I a dreadful form, in your presence, darkened into wrath. My voice was no thunder to your ears: mine eyes sent forth no death.—When the haughty appeared, I beheld them not. They were forgot at my feasts: like mist they melted away.——A young beam is before you: few are his paths to war. They are few, but he is valiant; defend my dark-haired son. Bring him back with joy: hereafter he may stand alone. His form is like his fathers: his soul is a flame of their fire.——Son of car-borne Morni, move behind the son of Clatho: let thy voice reach his ear, from the skirts of war. Not unobserved rolls battle, before thee, breaker of the shields.
The king strode, at once, away to Cormul'sDisplay notelofty rock. As, slow, I lifted my steps behind; came forward the strength of Gaul. His shield hung loose on its thong; he spoke, in haste, to Ossian.—BindDisplay note, son of Fingal, this shield, bind it high to the side of Gaul. The foe may behold it, and think I lift the spear. If I shall fall, let my tomb be hid in the field; for fall I must without my fame: mine arm cannot lift the steel. Let not Evir-choma hear it, to blush between her locks.——Fillan, the mighty behold us; let us not forget the strife. Why should they come, from their hills, to aid our flying field?[ 87 ] View Page Image
He strode onward, with the sound of his shield. My voice pursued him, as he went. Can the son of Morni fall without his fame in Erin? But the deeds of the mighty forsake their souls of fire. They rush careless over the fields of renown: their words are never heard—I rejoiced over the steps of the chief: I strode to the rock of the king, where he sat in his wandering locks, amidst the mountain-wind.
In two dark ridges bend the hosts, towards each other, at Lubar. Here Foldath rose a pillar of darkness: there brightened the youth of Fillan. Each, with his spear in the stream, sent forth the voice of war.—Gaul struck the shield of Morven; at once they plunge in battle.—Steel poured its gleam on steel: like the fall of streams shone the field, when they mix their foam together, from two dark-browed rocks.—Behold he comes the son of fame: he lays the people low! Deaths sit on blasts around him!—Warriors strew thy paths, O Fillan!
Display noteRothmar, the shield of warriors, stood between two chinky rocks. Two oaks, which winds had bent from high, spread their branches on either side. He rolls his darkening eyes on Fillan, and, silent, shades his friends. Fingal saw the approaching fight; and all his soul arose.—But as the stone of LodaDisplay note falls, [ 88 ] View Page Imageshook, at once, from rocking Druman-ard, when spirits heave the earth in their wrath; so fell blue-shielded Rothmar.
Near are the steps of Culmin; the youth came, bursting into tears. Wrathful he cut the wind, ere yet he mixed his strokes with Fillan. He had first bent the bow with Rothmar, at the rock of his own blue streams. There they had marked the place of the roe, as the sun-beam flew over the fern.—Why, son of Cul-allin, dost thou rush on that beamDisplay note of light: it is a fire that consumes.—Youth of Strutha retire. Your fathers were not equal, in the glittering strife of the field.
The mother of Culmin remains in the hall; she looks forth on blue-rolling Strutha. A whirlwind rises, on the stream, dark-eddying round the ghost of her son. His dogs are howlingDisplay note in their [ 89 ] View Page Imageplace: his shield is bloody in the hall.—"Art thou fallen, my fair-haired son, in Erin's dismal war?"
As a roe, pierced in secret, lies panting, by her wonted streams, the hunter looks over her feet of wind, and remembers her stately bounding before; so lay the son of Cul-allin, beneath the eye of Fillan. His hair is rolled in a little stream: his blood wandered on his shield. Still his hand held the sword, that failed him in the midst of danger.—Thou art fallen, said Fillan, ere yet thy fame was heard.—Thy father sent thee to war: he expects to hear thy deeds. He is grey, perhaps, at his streams, and his eyes are towards Moi-lena. But thou shalt not return, with the spoil of the fallen foe.
Fillan poured the flight of Erin before him, over the echoing heath.—But, man on man, fell Morven before the dark-red rage of Foldath; for, far on the field, he poured the roar of half his tribes. DermidDisplay note stood before him in wrath: the sons of Cona gather round. But his shield is cleft by Foldath, and his people poured over the heath.
Then said the foe, in his pride, They have fled, and my fame begins. Go, Malthos, and bid the kingDisplay noteto guard the dark-rolling of [ 90 ] View Page Image ocean; that Fingal may not escape from my sword. He must lie on earth. Beside some fen shall his tomb be seen. It shall rise without a song. His ghost shall hover in mist over the reedy pool.
Malthos heard, with darkening doubt; he rolled his silent eyes.—He knew the pride of Foldath, and looked up to the king on his hill; then, darkly turning, he plunged his sword in war.
In Clono'sDisplay notenarrow vale, where bent two trees above the stream, dark in his grief stood Duthno's silent son. The blood [ 91 ] View Page Imagepoured from his thigh: his shield lay broken near. His spear leaned against a stone; why, Dermid, why so sad?
I hear the roar of battle. My people are alone. My steps are slow on the heath; and no shield is mine.—Shall he then prevail?—It is then after Dermid is low! I will call thee forth, O Foldath, and meet thee yet in fight.
He took his spear, with dreadful joy. The son of Morni came.—"Stay, son of Duthno, stay thy speed; thy steps are marked with blood. No bossy shield is thine. Why shouldst thou fall unarmed?"—King of Strumon, give thou thy shield. It has often rolled back the war. I shall stop the chief, in his course.—Son of Morni, dost thou behold that stone? It lifts its grey head thro' rass. There dwells a chief of the race of Dermid.—Place me there in night.Display note .[ 92 ] View Page Image
He slowly rose against the hill, and saw the troubled field. The gleaming ridges of the fight, disjoined and broken round.—As distant fires, on heath by night, now seem as lost in smoak, then rearing their red streams on the hill, as blow or cease the winds: so met the intermitting war the eye of broad-shielded Dermid. —Thro' the host are the strides of Foldath, like some dark ship on wintry waves, when it issues from between two isles, to sport on echoing seas.
Dermid, with rage, beheld his course. He strove to rush along. But he failed in the midst of his steps; and the big tear came down.—He sounded his father's horn; and thrice struck his bossy shield. He called thrice the name of Foldath, from his roaring tribes.—Foldath, with joy, beheld the chief: he lifted high his bloody spear.—As a rock is marked with streams, that fell troubled down its side in a storm; so, streaked with wandering blood, is the dark form of Moma.
The host, on either side, withdrew from the contending of kings.—They raised, at once, their gleaming points.—Rushing came Fillan of MoruthDisplay note. Three paces back Foldath withdrew; [ 93 ] View Page Imagedazzled with that beam of light, which came, as issuing from a cloud, to save the wounded hero.—Growing in his pride he stood, and called forth all his steel.
As meet two broad-winged eagles, in their sounding strife, on the winds: so rushed the two chiefs, on Moi-lena, into gloomy fight.——By turns are the steps of the kingsDisplay note forward on their rocks; for now the dusky war seemed to descend on their swords.—Cathmor feels the joy of warriors, on his mossy hill: their joy in secret when dangers rise equal to their souls. His eye is not turned on Lubar, but on Morven's dreadful king; for he beheld him, on Mora, rising in his arms.
FoldathDisplay notefell on his shield; the spear of Fillan pierced the king. Nor looked the youth on the fallen, but onward rolled the [ 94 ] View Page Imagewar. The hundred voices of death arose.—"Stay, son of Fingal, stay thy speed. Beholdest thou not that gleaming form, a dreadful sign of death? Awaken not the king of Alnecma. Return, son of blue-eyed Clatho."
MalthosDisplay notesaw Foldath low. He darkly stood above the king. Hatred was rolled from his soul. He seemed a rock in the desart, on whose dark side are the trickling of waters, when the slow-sailing mist has left it, and its trees are blasted with winds. He spoke to the dying hero, about the narrow house. Whether shall thy grey stone rise in Ullin? or in Moma'sDisplay note woody land, where the sun looks, in secret, on the blue streams of DalruthoDisplay note? There are the steps of thy daughter, blue-eyed Dardu-lena.[ 95 ] View Page Image
Rememberest thou her, said Foldath, because no son is mine; no youth to roll the battle before him, in revenge of me? Malthos, I am revenged. I was not peaceful in the field. Raise the tombs of those I have slain, around my narrow house. Often shall I forsake the blast, to rejoice above their graves; when I behold them spread around, with their long-whistling grass.
His soul rushed to the vales of Moma, and came to Dardu-lena's dreams, where she slept, by Dalrutho's stream, returning from the chace of the hinds. Her bow is near the maid, unstrung; the breezes fold her long hair on her breasts. Cloathed in the beauty of youth, the love of heroes lay. Dark-bending, from the skirts of the wood, her wounded father came. He appeared, at times, then seemed as hid in mist.——Bursting into tears she rose: she knew that the chief was low. To her came a beam from his soul when folded in its storms. Thou wert the last of his race, blue-eyed Dardu-lena!
Wide-spreading over echoing Lubar, the flight of Bolga is rolled along. Fillan hung forward on their steps; and strewed, with dead, the heath. Fingal rejoiced over his son.—Blue-shielded Cathmor rose.—— Display note Son of Alpin, bring the harp: give Fillan's praise [ 96 ] View Page Imageto the wind: raise high his praise, in my hall, while yet he shines in war.
Leave, blue-eyed Clatho, leave thy hall. Behold that early beam of thine. The host is withered in its course. No further look—it is dark.——Light-trembling from the harp, strike, virgins, strike the sound.—No hunter he descends, from the dewy haunt of the bounding roe. He bends not his bow on the wind; or sends his grey arrow abroad.
Deep-folded in red war, the battle rolls against his side. Or, striding midst the ridgy strife, he pours the deaths of thousands forth. Fillan is like a spirit of heaven, that descends from the skirt of his blast. The troubled ocean feels his steps, as he strides from wave to wave. His path kindles behind him; islands shake their heads on the heaving seas.