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feast on Annir's foes. Swaran! Fingal is alone,1 on his hill of night. Let thy spear pierce the king in secret; like Annir, my soul shall rejoice.
"Son of Annir," said Swaran, "I shall not slay in shades. I move forth in light: the hawks rush from all their winds. They are wont to trace my course: it is not harmless through war."
Burning rose the rage of the king. He thrice raised his gleaming spear. But, starting, he spared his son; and rushed into the night. By Turthor's stream a cave is dark, the dwelling of Conban-carglas. There he laid the helmet of kings, and called the maid of Lulan; but she was distant far, in Loda's resounding hall.
Swelling in his rage, he strode, to where Fingal lay alone. The king was laid on his shield, on his own secret hill.
Stern hunter of shaggy bears ! no feeble maid is laid before thee. No boy, on his ferny bed, by Turthor's murmuring stream. Here is spread the couch of the mighty, from which they rise to deeds of death! Hunter of shaggy boars, awaken not the terrible!
Starno came murmuring on. Fingal arose in arms. "Who art thou, son of night?" Silent he threw the spear. They mixed their gloomy strife. The shield of Starno fell, cleft in twain. He is bound to an oak. The early beam arose. It was then Fingal beheld the king. He rolled awhile his silent eyes. He thought of other days, when white-bosomed Agandecca moved like the music of songs. He loosed the thong from his
1 Fingal, according to the custom of the Caledonian kings, had retired to a hill alone, as he himself was to resume the command of the army the next day.
hands. "Son of Annir," he said, " retire. Retire to Gonnal of shells; a beam that was set returns. I remember thy "white-bosomed daughter; dreadful king away! Go to thy troubled dwelling, cloudy foe of the lovely! Let the stranger shun thee, thou gloomy in the hall!"
A tale of the times of old!
THE WAR OF INIS-THONA
UR youth is like the dream of the hunter on the hill of health. He sleeps in the mild beams of the sun; he awakes amidst a storm; the red lightning flies around: trees shake their heads to the wind! He looks back with joy, on the day of the sun; and the pleasant dreams of his rest! When shall Ossian's youth return? When his ear delight in the sound of arms? When shall I, like Oscar, travel in the light of my steel? Come, with your streams, ye hills of Cona! listen to the voice of Ossian. The song rises, like the sun, in my soul. I feel the joys of other times!
I behold thy towers, 0 Selma! the oaks of thy shaded wall: thy streams sound in my ear; thy heroes gather around. Fingal sits in the midst. He leans on the shield of Trenmor: his spear stands against the wall; he listens to the song of his bards. The deeds of his arm are heard; the actions of the king in his youth! Oscar had returned from the chase, and heard the hero's praise. He took the shield of Branno1 from the wall; his eyes were filled with tears. Red was the cheek of youth. His voice was trembling low. My
1 Grandfather to Oscar.
spear shook its bright head in his hand: he spoke to Morven's king.
"Fingal! thou king of heroes! Ossian, next to him in war! ye have fought in your youth; your names are renowned in song. Oscar is like the mist of Cona; I appear and I vanish away. The bard will not know nama. The hunter will not search in the heath for my tomb. Let me fight, 0 heroes, in the battles of Inisthona. Distant is the land of my war! ye shall not hear of Oscar's fall! Some bard may find me there; some bard may give my name to song. The daughter of the stranger shall see my tomb, and weep over the youth, that came from afar. The bard shall say, at the feast, 'Hear the song of Oscar from the distant land!"
"Oscar," replied the king of Morven; "thou shalt fight, son of my fame! Prepare my dark-bosomed ship to carry my hero to Inis-thona. Son of my son, regard our fame; thou art of the race of renown! Let not the children of strangers say, feeble are the sons of Morven! Be thou, in battle, a roaring storm: mild as the evening sun in peace! Tell, Oscar, to Inis-thona's king, that Fingal remembers his youth; when we strove in the combat together, in the days of Agandecca."
They lifted up the sounding sail: the wind whistled through the thongs 1 of their masts. Waves lash the oozy locks : the strength of ocean roars. My son beheld, from the wave, the land of groves. He rushed into Runa's sounding bay, and sent his sword to Annir of spears. The gray-haired hero rose, when he saw the sword of Fingal. His eyes were full of tears; he
> Leather thongs were used among the Celtic nations instead of ropes.
remembered his battles in youth. Twice had they lifted the spear, before the lovely Agandecca; heroes stood far distant, as if two spirits were striving in winds.
"But now," began the king, "I am old; the sword lies useless in my hall. Thou, who art of Morven's race! Amur has seen the battle of spears; but now he is pale and withered, like the oak of Lano. I have no son to meet thee, with joy, to bring thee to the halls of his fathers. Argon is pale in the tomb, and Ruro is no more. My daughter is in the hall of strangers: she longs to behold my tomb. Her spouse shakes ten thousand spears; he comes a cloud of death from Lano. Come, to share the feast of Annir, son of echoing Morven!"
Three days they feasted together; on the fourth, Annir heard the name of Oscar. They rejoiced in the shell.1 They pursued the boars of Runa. Beside the fount of mossy stones, the weary heroes rest. The tear steals in secret from Annir: he broke the rising sigh. "Here darkly rest," the hero said, "the children of my youth. This stone is the tomb of Ruro; that tree sounds over the grave of Argon. Do ye hear my voice, O my sons, within your narrow house? Or do ye speak in these rustling leaves, when the winds of the desert rise?"
"King of Inis-thona," said Oscar, "how fell the children of youth? The wild boar rushes over their tombs, but he does not disturb their repose. They pursue deer formed of clouds, and bend their airy bow.
1 To rejoice in the shell, is a phrase for feasting sumptuously and drinking freely.