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This poem is complete, and the fubject of it, as of mofl of Offian's compofitions, tra gical. In the time of Combai the son of Trathal, and father of the celebrated Tige gal, Clefsammor the fon of Thaddu and brother of Morna, Fingal's mother, was driven by a florm into the river Clyde, on the banks of which to Paloigtua, a town belonging to the Britons between the walls. he was halallay roodiveá by Reutharair, the principal man in the place, who gave him. More his omiy daughter in marriage. Reuda, the fon of Comme, a Britan who was in love with Moina, came to Reuthamir's houfe, and behaved naught ly towards Ciefsiamor. A quarrel enfued, in which Reuda was killed; the Britous, who, attended him preffed fo hard on Clefsammor, that he was obliged to drow himself into the Clyde, and fwim to his fhip. He hoifted fail, and the wind being inverable, bore him out to fea. He often endeavoured to return, and cairy of i
ed Moina by night; but the wind continuing contrary, he was futred" fet", Moina, who had been left with child by her nufbar, bro ght forth a ton, and died foon after. Reuthamir named the child Carthon, i. e. the murmur of waves,' from the ftorm which carried off Clefsammor his father, who was fuppo fed to have been caft away. When Carthon was three years id, Comhal the father of Fingal, in one of his expeditions againft the Britcn., took and barat Balclutha Reuthamir was killed in the attack: and Carthen was carried fafe away by his nurfe, who fied farther into the country of the Britons. Cothon, coming to man's eftate was refolved revenge the fall of Balclutha on Comhal's pofterity. He fet fail, from the Clyde, and, falling on the coaft of Morven, defeated two of kingal's heroes, who came to oppofe his progrefs. He was, at laft, unwittingly killed by his father Clefsammor, in a fingle combat. This ftory is the foundation of the prefent poeia, which opens on the night preceding the death of Carthon, fo that what pailed before is introduced by way of epifude. The poem is adurefied to Malvina the daughter of Tofcar.
TALE of the times of old! The deeds of days of other years!
The murmur of thy ftreams, O Lora, brings back the memory of the paft. The found of thy woods, Garmallar, is lovely in mine ear. Doft thou not behold, Malvina, a rock with its head of heath? Three aged firs bend from its face; green is the narrow plain at its feet; there the flower of the mountain grows, and fhakes its white head in the breeze. The thiftle is Two flones,
there alone, and fheds its aged beard.
It was the opinion of the times, that deer faw the ghofts of the dead. Tɔ this day, when beafts suddenly start without any apparent caufe, the vulgar think that they see the spirits of the deceased.
A tale of the times of old! the deeds of days of other years!
Who comes from the land of strangers, with his thoufands around him? the fun-beam pours its bright ftream before him; and his hair meets the wind of his hills. His face is fettled from war. He is calm as the evening beam, that looks from the cloud of the weft, on Cona's filent vale. Who is it but Comhal's fon, the king of mighty deeds! He beholds his hills with joy, and bids a thousand voices rife. Ye have fled over your fields, ye fons of the diftant land! The king of the world fits in his hall, and hears of his people's flight. He lifts his red eye of pride, and takes his father's fword. "Ye have fled over your fields, fons of the diftant land!"
Such were the words of the bards, when they came to Selma's halls. A thousand lights || from the firanger's land rofe, in the midft of the people. The feast is fpread around; and the night paffed away in joy. "Where is the noble Clefsámmort" faid the fair-haired Fingal. "Where is the companion of my father, in the days of my joy? Sullen and dark he paffes his days in the vale of echoing Lora: but, behold, he comes from the hill, like a fteed in his ftrength, who finds his companions in the breeze; and toffes his bright mane in the wind. Bleft be the foul of Clefsámmor, why fo long from Selma ?"
"Returns the chief," faid Clefsámmor, "in the midft of his fame? Such was the renown of Comhal in the battles of his youth. Often did we pafs over Carun to the land of the ftrangers; our fwords returned, not unftained with blood: nor did the kings of the world rejoice. Why do I remembe the battles of my youth? My hair is mixed with gray. My hand forgets to bend the bow; and I lift a lighter fpear. O that my joy
Fingal returns here, from an expedition against the Romans, which was celebrated by Offian in a particular poem.
Probably wax-lights: which are often mentioned as carried, among other booty, from the Roman province.
¡Clefiamh-mor,' mighty deeds.'
would return, as when I firft beheld the maid; the white-bofomed daughter of ftrangers, Moina* with the dark-blue eyes!"
"Tell," faid the mighty Fingal, "the tale of thy youthful days. Sorrow, like a cloud on the fun, fhades the foul of Clefsámmor. Mournful are thy thoughts, alone, on the banks of the roaring Lora. Let us hear the forrow of thy youth, and the darknefs of thy days.
"It was in the days of peace," replied the great Clefsámmor, "I came, in my bounding fhip, to Balclutha's walls of towers. The wind had roared behind my fails, and Clutha's ‡ ftreams received my darkbofomed veffel. Three days I remained in Reuthámir's halls, and faw that beam of light, his daughter. The joy of the fhell went round, and the aged hero gave the fair. Her breafts were like foam on the wave, and her eyes like ftars of light: her hair was dark as the raven's wing: her foul was generous and mild. My love for Moina was great; and my heart poured forth in joy.
"The fon of a ftranger came; a chief who loved the white-bofomed Moina. His words were mighty in the hall, and he often half unfheathed his fword. Where, he said, is the mighty Comhal, the reflefs wanderers of the heath? Čomes he, with his hoft, to Balclutha, fince Clefsámmor is fo bold? My foul, I replied, O warrior! burns in a light of its own. I ftand without fear in the midft of thoufands, though the valiant are diftant far. Stranger! thy words are mighty, for Clefsámmor is alone. But my fword trembles by my fide, and longs to glitter in my hand
Moina, foft in temper and perfon.' We find the British names in this poem derived from the Galic, which is a proof that the ancient language of the whole iland was one and the fame.
Balclutha, i. e. the town of Clyde, probably the Alcluth of Bede.
Clutha, or Cluath, the Galic name of the river Clyde; the fignification of the word is bending, in allufion to the winding courfe of that river. From Clutha is derived its Latin name, Glotta.
The word in the original here rendered 'reftlefs wanderer,' is Scuta, which is the true origin of the Scoti of the Romans; an opprobrious name impofed by the Britons, on the Caledonians, on account of the continual incurfions into their wantry.
Speak no more of Combal, fon of the winding Clutha!" "The ftrength of his pride arofe. We fought; he fell beneath my fword. The banks of Clutha heard his fall, and a thoufand fpears glittered around. I fought the ftrangers prevailed: I plunged into the ftream of Clutha. My white fails rofe over the waves, and I bounded on the dark-blue fea. Moina came to the fhore, and rolled the red eye of her tears: her dark hair flew on the wind; and I heard her cries. Often did I turn my fhip; but the winds of the eaft prevailed. Nor Clutha ever fince have I feen: Nor Moina of the dark-brown hair. She fell on Balclutha; for I have feen her ghoft. I knew her as he came through the dufky night, along the murmur of Lora: fhe was like the new moon feen through the gathered mift: when the fky pours down its flaky fnow, and the world is filent and dark."
"Raifet, ye bards," faid the mighty Fingal, "the praife of unhappy Moina. Call her ghofts, with your fongs, to our hills; that fhe may reft with the fair of Morven, the fun-beams of other days, and the delight of heroes of old. I have feen the walls of Balclutha, but they were defolate. The fire had refounded in the halls: and the voice of the people is heard no more. The ftream of Clutha was removed from its place, by the fall of the walls. The thiftle fhook, there, its lonely head: the mofs whiftled to the wind. The fox looked out from the windows, the rank grafs of the wall waved round his head. Defolate is the dwelling of Moina, filence is in the house of her fathers. Raife the fong of mourning, O bards, over the land of ftrangers. They have but fallen before us: for, one day, we must fall. Why doft thou build the hall, fon of the winged days? thou lookeft from thy towers to-day; yet a few years, and the blaft of the defert comes; it howls in thy empty
The title of this poem, in the original, is Duan na nlaci, i. e. the Poem of the Hymns;' probably on account of its many digreffions from the fubjeét, ail which are in a lyric meature, as this fong of Fingal. Fingai is celebrated by the Irish hiftorians for his wifdem in making laws, his poetical genius, and his fareknowledge of events.---O'Flaherty goes fo far as to fay, that Fingal's laws were extant in his own time.