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An address to Malvina, the daughter of Toscar. The poet re
lates the arrival of Cathlin in Selma, to solicit aid against Duth-carmor of Cluba, who had killed Cathmol, for the sake of his daughter Lanul. Fingal declining to make a choice among his heroes, who were all claiming the command of the expedition ; they retired each to his hill of ghosts; to be determined by dreams. The spirit of Trenmor appears to Ossian and Oscar: they sail from the bay of Carmona, and, on the fourth day, appear off the valley of Rathcol, in Inis-liuna, where Duth-carmor had fixed his residence. Ossian dispatches a bard to Duth-carmor to demand battle. Night comes on. The distress of Cathlin of Clutha. Ossian devolves the command on Oscar, who, according to the custom of the kings of Morven, before battle, retired to a neighbouring hill. Upon the coming on of day, the battle joins. Oscar and Duth-carmor meet. The latter falls. Oscar carries the mail and helmet of Duth-carmor to Cathlin, who had retired from the field. Cathlin is discovered to be the daughter of Cathmol, in disguise, who had been carried off, by force, by, and had made her escape from, Duth-carmor.
MACPHERSON. The traditions which accompany this poem inform us, that it
went, of old, under the name of Laoi-Oi-lutha ; i. e. the hymn of the maid of Lutha. They pretend also to fix the time of its composition, to the third year after the death of Fingal; that is, during the expedition of Fergus the son of Fingal, to the banks of Visca-duthun. In support of this opinion, the Highland senachies have prefixed to this poem, an address of Ossian, to Congal the young son of Fergus, which I have rejected, as having no manner of connection with the rest of the piece. It has poetical merit; and, probably, it was the opening of one of Ossian's other poems, though the bards injudiciously transferred it to the piece now before us. Congal, son of Fergus of Durath, thou light between thy locks, ascend to the rock of Selma, to the oak of the breaker of shields. Look over the bosom of night, it is streaked with the red paths of the dead: look on the night of ghosts, and kindle, O Congal, thy soul. Be not, like the moon on a stream, lonely in the midst of clouds : darkness closes around it; and the beam departs. Depart not, son of Fergus, ere thou markest the field with thy sword. Ascend to the rock of Selma; to the oak of the breaker of shields.” MACPHERSON.
CATHLIN OF CLUTHA:
Come, thou beam that art lonely, from watching in the night! The squally winds are around thee, from all their echoing hills. Red, over my hundred streams, are the light-covered paths of the dead. They rejoice, on the eddying winds, in the still season of night. Dwells there no joy in song, white hand of the harps of Lutha ? Awake the voice of the string'; and roll my
soul to me. It is a stream that has failed. Malvina, pour the song
Awake the voice of the string.) Temora, vii. 22. From Pope's St. Cecilia.
Wake into voice each silent string.
I hear thee, from thy darkness, in Selma, thou that watchest, lonely, by night! Why didst thou with-hold the song, from Ossian's failing soul ? As the falling brook to the ear of the hunter", descending from his storm-covered hill; in a sun-beam rolls the echoing stream ; he hears, and shakes his dewy locks: such is the voice of Lutha, to the friend of the spirits of heroes. My swelling bosom beats high. I look back on the days that are past. Come, thou beam that art lonely, from watching in the night!
In the echoing bay of Carmona', we saw, one
Why didst thou withhold the song from Ossian's failing soul? As the falling brook to the ear of the hunter.] Varied from a former imitation of the Psalmist. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psalms, xlii. 1. “As the roe, pierced in secret, lies panting by her wonted streams ; the hunter surveys her feet of wind.” Temora, v. 13,
3 In this paragraph are mentioned the signals presented to Fingal, by those who came to demand his aid. The suppliants held, in one hand, a shield covered with blood, and, in the other, a broken spear; the first a symbol of the death of their friends, the last an emblem of their own helpless situation. If the king chose to grant succours, which generally was the case, he reached to them the shell of feasts, as a token of his hospitality and friendly intentions towards them. MACPHERSON.
Unfortunately, in all the applications to Fingal for aid, no