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Where can I find thy peace, Cuthóna, lovely maid !
Cuthona.* A distant steep bends over the sea, with aged trees and mossy rocks. The billow rolls at its feet. On its side is the dwelling of
The people call it Mora. There the towers of my love arise. There Conlath looks over the sea for his only love. The daughters of the chase returned. He beheld their downcast eyes. “ Where is the daughter of Rumar?" But they answered not. My peace dwells on Mora, son of the distant land!
Toscar. Cuthóna shall return to her peace: to the towers of generous Conlath. He is the friend of Toscar! I have feasted in his halls! Rise, ye gentle breezes of Erin. Stretch my sails towards Mora's shores. Cuthóna shall rest on Mora; but the days of Toscar must be sad. I shall sit in my cave in the field of the sun. The blast will rustle in my trees. I shall think it is Cuthóna's voice. But she is distant far, in the halls of the mighty Conlath!
Cuthona. Ha! what cloud is that? It carries the ghosts of my fathers. I see the skirts of their robes, like grey and watry mist. When shall I fall, O Rumar? Sad Cuthóna foresees her death. Will not Conlath behold me, before I enter the narrow house.t • * Cu-thona, the mournful sound of the waves ; a poetical name given her on account of her mourning to the sound of the waves; her name in tradition is Gormhuil, the blue-eyed maid. + The grave.
Ossian. He shall behold thee, O maid! He comes along the heaving sea. The death of Toscar is dark on his spear. A wound is in his side! He is pale at the cave of Thona. He shows his ghastly wound. Where art thou with thy tears, Cuthóna? The chief of Mora dies. The vision grows
dim on my mind. I behold the chiefs no more! But, О ye bards of future times, remember the fall of Conlath with tears. He fell before his day. Sadness darkened in his hall. His mother looked to his shield on the wall, and it was bloody.* She knew that her hero fell. Her sorrow was heard on Mora.
Art thou pale on thy rock, Cuthona, beside the fallen chiefs? Night
, comes, and day returns, but none appears to raise their tomb. Thou frightenest the screaming fowls away. Thy tears for ever flow. Thou art pale as a watry cloud that rises from a lake! The sons of green Selma came.
They found Cuthona cold. They raised a tomb over the he
She rests at the side of Conlath! Come not to my dreams, o Conlath! Thou hast received thy fame. Be thy voice far distant from my hall! that sleep may descend at night. O that I could forget my friends: till my footsteps should cease to be seen! till I come among them with joy! and lay my aged limbs in the narrow house !
* It was the opinion of the times, that the arms left by the heroes at home, became bloody the very instant their owners were killed, though at ever so great a distance.
ARGUMENT.-FINGAL in his voyage to Lochlin,
whither he had been invited by Starno, the father of Agandecca, touched at Berrathon, an island of Scandinavia, where he was kindly entertained by Larthmor, the petty king of the place, who was a vassal of the supreme kings of Lochlin. The hospitality of Larthmor gained him Fingal's friendship,
which that hero manifested, after the imprisonment of Larthmor by his own son, by sending Ossian and Toscar the father of Malvina, so often mentioned, to rescue Larthmor, and to punish the unnatural behaviour of Uthal. Uthal was handsome, and, by the ladies, much admired. Nina-thoma, the beautiful daughter of Torthoma, a neighbouring prince, fell in love and fed with him. He proved inconstant! for another lady, whose name is not mentioned, gaining his affections, he confined Nina-thoma to a desert island near the coast of Berrathon. She was relieved by Ossian, who in company with Toscar, landing on Berrathon, defeated the forces of Uthal, and killed him in a single combat. Nina-thoma, whose love not all the bad behaviour of Uthal could erase, hearing of his death, died of grief. In the mean time Larthmor is restored, and Ossian and Toscar return in triumph to Fingal.
The poem opens with an elegy on the death of Malvina the daughter of Toscar, and closes with presages of Ossian's death.
BEND thy blue course, O stream! round the narrow plain of Lutha.* Let the
woods hang over it, from their hills: the sun look on it at noon. The thistle is there on its rock, and shakes its beard to the wind. The flower hangs its heavy head, waving, at times, to the gale. “Why dost “ thou awake me, O gale ?" it seems to say. “I
* Lutha, swift stream.
am covered with the drops of heaven! The “ time of my fading is near, the blast that shall
leaves. To-morrow shall the tra“ veller come; he that saw me in my beauty shall
His eyes will search the field, but they “ will not find me.” So shall they search in vain, for the voice of Cona, after it has failed in the field. The hunter shall come forth in the morning, and the voice of my harp shall not be heard, “ Where is the son of car-borne Fingal ?" The tear will be on his cheek! Then come thou, O Malvina; with all thy music come! Lay Ossian in the plain of Lutha: let his tomb rise in the lovely field.
Malvina! where art thou, with thy songs, with the soft sound of thy steps? Son* of Alpin, art thou near? where is the daughter of Toscar? “I “passed, O son of Fingal, by Tor-lutha's mossy “ walls. The smoke of the hall was ceased. Si“ lence was among the trees of the hill. The “ voice of the chase was over. I saw the daugh“ ters of the bow. I asked about Malvina, but
they answered not. They turned their faces “ away: thin darkness covered their beauty. They
like stars on a rainy hill, by night, each “ looking faintly through the mist."
Pleasantt be thy rest, Olovely beam! soon
His father was one of Fingal's principal bards, and he had a poetical genius.
+ Ossian speaks. He calls Malvina a beam of light, and continues the metaphor throughout the paragraph.