« VorigeDoorgaan »
rolling eyes of joy often has she met her hero, returning in the midst of the valiant; when his sword was red with slaughter; when his foes were silent in the fields of the tomb. Pleasant to her ears were thy bards, when thy deeds arose in song.
But behold the king of Morven! He moves, below, like a pillar of fire. His strength is like the stream of Lubar, or the wind of the echoing Cromla; when the branchy forests of night are torn from all their rocks! Happy are thy people, O Fingal! thine arm shall finish their wars. Thou art the first in their dangers the wisest in the days of their peace. Thou speakest, and thy thousands obey: armies tremble at the sound of thy steel. Happy are thy people, O Fingal! king of resounding Selma! Who is that so dark and terrible coming in the thunder of his course? who but Starno's son to meet the king of Morven ? Behold the battle of the chiefs! it is the storm of the ocean, when two spirits meet far distant, and contend for the rolling of waves. The hunter hears the noise on his hill. He sees the high billows advancing to Ardven's shore !
Such were the words of Connal, when the heroes met, in fight. There was the clang of arms! there every blow, like the hundred hammers of the furnace! Terrible is the battle of the kings; dreadful the look of their eyes. Their dark-brown shields are cleft in twain. Their steel flies, broken, from their helms. They fling their weapons down. Each rushes to his
hero's grasp Their sinewy arms bend round each other they turn from side to side, and strain and stretch their large spreading limbs below. But when the pride of their strength arose, they shook the hill with their heels. Rocks tumble from their places on high; the green-headed bushes are overturned. At length the strength of Swaran fell: the king of the groves is bound. Thus have I seen on Cona; but Cona I behold no more! thus have I seen two dark hills, removed from their place, by the strength of the bursting stream. They turn from side to side in their fall; their tall oaks meet one another on high. They then tumble together with all their rocks and trees. The streams are turned by their side. The red ruin is seen afar.
"Sons of distant Morven," said Fingal: "guard the king of Lochlin! He is strong as his thousand waves. His hand is taught to war. His race is of the times of old. Gaul, thou first of my heroes; Ossian king of songs, attend. He is the friend of Agandecca; raise to joy his grief. But, Oscar, Fillan, and Ryno, ye children of the race! pursue Lochlin over Lena; that no vessel may hereafter bound, on the dark-rolling waves of Inistore!"
They flew sudden across the heath. He slowly moved, like a cloud of thunder, when the sultry plain of summer is silent and dark! His sword is before him as a sun-beam; terrible as the streaming meteor of night. He came toward a chief of Lochlin. He
spoke to the son of the wave. "Who is that so dark and sad, at the rock of the roaring stream? He cannot bound over its course: How stately is the chief! His bossy shield is on his side; his spear, like the tree of the desert! Youth of the dark-red hair, art thou of the foes of Fingal ?"
"I am a son of Lochlin," he cries, "strong is my arm in war. My spouse is weeping at home. Orla shall never return!" "Or fights or yields the hero?” said Fingal of the noble deeds: "foes do not conquer in my presence: my friends are renowned in the hall. Son of the wave, follow me, partake the feast of my shells: pursue the deer of my desert be thou the friend of Fingal." "No:" said the hero, "I assist the feeble. My strength is with the weak in arms. My sword has been always unmatched, O warrior! let the king of Morven yield!" "I never yielded, Orla! Fingal never yielded to man. Draw thy sword and chuse thy foe. Many are my heroes!”
"Does then the king refuse the fight?" said Orla of the dark-brown shield. "" Fingal is a match for Orla and he alone of all his race!" "But, king of Morven, if I shall fall; as one time the warrior must die; raise my tomb in the midst let it be the greatest on Lena. Send, over the dark-blue wave, the sword of Orla to the spouse of his love; that she may shew it to her son, with tears, to kindle his soul to war." "Son of the mournful tale," said Fingal,
'why dost thou awaken my tears? One day the
warriors must die, and the children see their useless arms in the hall. But, Orla! thy tomb shall rise.
Thy white-bosomed spouse shall weep over thy
They fought on the heath of Lena. Feeble was the arm of Orla. The sword of Fingal descended, and cleft his shield in twain. It fell and glittered on the ground, as the moon on the ruffled stream. King of Morven," said the hero, " lift thy sword and pierce my breast. Wounded and faint from battle, my friends have left me here. The mournful tale shall come to my love, on the banks of the streamy Lota; when she is alone in the wood; and the rustling blast in the leaves !"
'No;" said the king of Morven, "I will never wound thee, Orla. On the banks of Lota let her see thee, escaped from the hands of war. Let thy greyhaired father, who, perhaps, is blind with age. Let him hear the sound of thy voice, and brighten within his hall. With joy let the hero rise, and search for his son with his hands !" "But never will he find him, Fingal;" said the youth of the streamy Lota. "On Lena's heath I must die: foreign bards shall talk of me. My broad belt covers my wound of death. I give it to the wind!"
The dark blood poured from his side, he fell pale on the heath of Lena. Fingal bent over him as he dies, and called his younger chiefs. "Oscar and Fillan, my sons, raise high the memory of Orla.
Here let the dark-haired hero rest, far from the spouse of his love. Here let him rest in his narrow house far from the sound of Lota. The feeble will find his bow at home; but will not be able to bend it. His faithful dogs howl on his hills; his boars, which he used to pursue, rejoice. Fallen is the arm of battle! the mighty among the valiant is low! Exalt the voice, and blow the horn, ye sons of the king of Morven ! Let us go back to Swaran, to send the night away on song. Fillan, Oscar, and Ryno, fly over the heath of Lena. Where, Ryno, art thou, young son of fame? Thou art not wont to be the last to answer thy father's voice!"
Ryno," said Ullin first of bards, "is with the awful forms of his fathers. With Trathal king of shields; with Trenmor of mighty deeds. The youth is low, the youth is pale, he lies on Lena's heath!" "Fell the swiftest in the race," said the king, "the first to bend the bow? Thou scarce hast been known to me? why did young Ryno fall? But sleep thou softly on Lena, Fingal shall soon behold thee. Soon shall my voice be heard no more, and my footsteps cease to be seen. The bards will tell of Fingal's name. The stones will talk of me. But, Ryno, thou art low indeed! thou hast not received thy fame. Ullin, strike the harp for Ryno; tell what the chief would have been. Farewel, thou first in every field; No more shall I direct thy dart! Thou that hast been so fair! I behold thee not. Farewel." The