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ARGUMENT.-CUTHULLIN, pleased with the story of
Carril, insists with that bard for more of his songs. He relates the actions of Fingal in Lochlin, and death of Agandecca, the beautiful sister of Swaran. He had scarce finished, when Calmar the son of Matha, who had advised the first battle, came wounded from the field, and told them of Swaran's design to surprise the remains of the Irish army. He himself proposes to withstand singly the whole force of the enemy, in a narrow pass till the Irish should make good their retreat. Cuthullin, touched with the gallant proposal of Calmar, resolves to accompany him, and orders Carril to carry off the few that remained of the Irish. Morning comes, Calmar dies of his wounds; and the ships of the Caledonians appearing, Swaran gives over the pursuit of the Irish, and returns to oppose Fingal's landing. Cuthullin, ashamed after his defeat, to appear before Fingal, retires to the cave of Tura. Fingal engages the enemy, puts them to flight; but the coming on of night makes the victory not decisive. The king, who had observed the gallant behaviour of his grandson Oscar, gives him advices concerning his conduct in peace and war He recommends to him to place the example of his fathers before his eyes, as the best model for his conduct; which introduces the episode concerning Fainasollis, the daughter of the king of Craca, whom Fingal had taken under his protection in his youth. Fillan and Oscar are dispatched to observe the motions of the enemy by night; Gaul, the son of Morni, desires the command of the army in the next battle, which Fingal promises to give him. Some general reflections of the poet
close the third day. "PLEASANT are the words of the song," said Cuthullin ! lovely the tales of other times !
they are like the calm dew of the morning on • The second night, since the opening of the poem, continues; and Cuthullin, Connal, and Carril still sit in the place descrihed in the preceding book. The story of Agandecca is introduced here with propriety, as great use is made of it in the course of the poem, and as it, in some measure, brings about the catastrophe.
“ the hill of roes; when the sun is faint on its " side, and the lake is settled and blue in the “ vale. O Carril, raise again thy voice ! let me “ hear the song of Selma : which was sung in my “balls of joy, when Fingal king of shields was “there, and glowed at the deeds of his fathers."
Fingal ! thou dweller of battle,” said Carril, " early were thy deeds in arms. Lochlin was “ consumed in thy wrath, when thy youth strore " with the beauty of maids. They smiled at the “ fair-blooming face of the hero; but death was “ in his hands. He was strong as the waters of $Lora. His followers were the roar of a thou* sand streams.
They took the king of Lochlin “ in war ; they restored him to his ships. His
big heart swelled with pride ; the death of the “ youth was dark in his soul.
For none ever, * but Fingal, had overcome the strength of the “ mighty Starno.* He sat in the hall of his shells “ in Lochlin's woody land.
He called the grey“ haired Snivan, that often sung round the circlet “ of Loda; when the stone of power heard his “ voice, and battle turned in the field of the " valiant !"
“Go; grey-haired Şnivan," Starno said, “go to Ardven's sea-surrounded rocks. Tell to the
• Starno was the father of Swaran as well as Agandecca. Mis fierce and cruel character is well marked in other poems concerning the times.
+ This passage most certainly alludes to the religion of Lochlin, and the stone of power bere mentioned is the image of one of the dei ties of Scandinavia.
“ king of Selma ; he the fairest among his thou“sands, tell him I give him my daughter, the “ lovliest naid that ever heaved a breast of snow. “ Her arms are white as the foam of my waves. “ Her soul is generous and mild. Let him come " with his bravest heroes, to the daughter of the “ secret ball !” Snivan came to Selma's hall; fair-haired Fingal attended his steps. His kindled soul few to the maid, as he bounded on the waves of the north. Welcome,” said the dark-brown Starno, “ welcome, king of rocky Morven : wel“ come bis beroes of might, sons of the distant « isle ! Three days within my halls shall ye “ feast! three days pursue my boars; that your “ fame may reach the maid who dwells in the se. “ cret hall.”
Starno designed their death. He gave the feast of shells. Fingal, who doubted the foe, kept on his arms of steel. The sons of death were afraid ; they fled from the eyes of the king. The voice of sprightly mirth arose. The trembling harps of joy were strung. Bards sung the battle of heroes ; they sung the heaving breast of love. Ul. lin, Fingal's bard was there; the sweet voice of resounding Cona. He praised the daughter of Lochlin; and Morven's* high descended chief. The daughter of Lochlin overheard. She left the ball of her secret sigh! She came in all her beauty,
* All the north-west coast of Scotland probably went of old under the name of Morven, which signifies a ridge of very high hilke.
like the moon from the cloud of the east. Loveliness was around her as light. Her steps were the music of songs. She saw the youth and loved him. He was the stolen sigh of her soul. Her blue eye rolled on him in secret : she blest the chief of resounding Morven.
The third day, with all its beams, shone bright on the wood of boars. Forth moved the darkbrowed Starno; and Fingal, king of shields. Half the day they spent in the chase ; the
of Selma was red in blood. It was then the daughter of Starno, with blue eyes rolling in tears; it was then she came with her voice of love, and spoke to the king of Morven. “Fingal, high descended
chief, trust not Starno's heart of pride. With* in that wood he has placed his chiefs. Be“ ware of the wood of death. But remember,
of the isle, remember Agandecca : save me “ from the wrath of my father, king of the windy " Morven !”
The youth with unconcern, went on; his heroes by his side. The sons of death fell by his hand: and Gormal echoed around! Before the halls of Starno the sons of the chase convened. The king's dark brows were like clouds; his eyes like meteors of night. “ Bring hither," he said,
Agandecca to her lovely king of Morven! His “ hand is stained with the blood of my people; “ her words have not been in vain !”
She came with the red eye of tears. She came
She came with loosely
flowing locks. Her white breast heaved with broken sighs, like the foam of the streamy Lubar. Starno pierced her side with steel. She fell, like
. a wreath of snow, which slides from the rocks of Ronan ; when the woods are still, and echo deepens in the vale ! Then Fingal eyed his valiant chiefs, his valiant chiefs took arms. The gloom of battle roared ; Lochlin fled or died. Pale, in his bounding ship he closed the maid of the softest soul. Her tomb ascends on Ardven; the sea roars round her narrow dwelling.
“ Blessed be her soul," said Cuthullin ; “ bles" sed be the mouth of the song! Strong was the “yonth of Fingal; strong is his arm of age. “ Lochlin shall fallagain before the king of echoing “ Morven. Show thy face from a cloud, O moon!
light his white sails on the wave ; and if any “strong spirit* of heaven sits on that low-hung “cloud ; turn bis dark ships from the rock, thou « rider of the storm!"
Such were the words of Cuthullin at the sound of the mountain-stream; when Calmar ascended the hill, the wounded son of Matha. From the field he came in his blood. He leaned on his bending spear. Feeble is the arın of battle ? but strong the soul of the hero! “ Welcome! O son
* This is the only passage in the poem that has the appearance of religion. But Cuthullin's apostrophe to this spirit is accompanied with a doubt. so that it is not easy to determine whether the hero meant a superior being, or the ghosts of deceased warriors, who were supposed in those times to rule the storms, and to transport them selves in a gust of wind from one country to another.