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on the hill I will raise his tomb, daughter of Cormac-Carbre. But love thou the son of Mugruch ; his arm is strong as a storm.
MORNA. And is the son of Tarman fallen; the youth with the breast of snow! the first in the chace of the hill; the foe of the sons of the ocean! Duchommar, thou art gloomy indeed ; cruel is thy arm to me. But give me that sword, son of Mugruch ; I love the blood of Cadmor! [He gives her the sword, with which she instantly stabs him.)
DUCHOMMAR. Daughter of Cormac-Carbre, thou hast pierced Duchommar! the sword is cold in my breast; thou hast killed the son of Mugruch. Give me to Moinie the maid; for much she loved Duchommar. My tomb she will raise on the hill ; the hunter shall see it, and praise me. But draw the sword from my side, More na; I feel it cold.
[Upon her coming near him, he stabs her. As she fell, she plucked a stone from the side of the cave, and placed it betwixt them, that his blood might not be mingled with her's.]
Where is Gealchossa 14 my love, the daughter of Tuathal-, Teachvar? I left her in the hall of the plain, when I fought with the hairy Ulfadha. Return soon, she said, O Lamderg!
14 The signification of the names in this fragment are: Gealchossack, white-legged ; Tuathal-Teachtmhar, the surly, but fortunate man; Lambhdearg, bloody-hand; Ulfadha, long-beard ; Firchios, the conqueror of men. MACPHERSON. See Fingal, v. Vol. I. p. 166.
for here I wait in sorrow. Her white breast rose with sighs; her cheek was wet with tears. But she cometh not to meet Lamderg; or sooth his soul after battle. Silent is the hall of joy; I hear not the voice of the singer. Brann does not shake his chains at the gate, glad at the coming of his master. Where is Gealchossa my love, the daughter of Tuathal-Teachvar ?
Lamderg! says Firchios, son of Aydon, Gealchossa may be on the hill; she and her chosen maids pursuing the flying deer.
Firchios ! no noise I hear. No sound in the wood of the hill. No deer fly in my sight; no panting dog pursueth. I see not Gealchossa my love; fair as the full moon setting on the hills of Cromleach. Go, Firchtos ! go to Allad 's, the grey-haired son of the rock. He liveth in the circle of stones; he may tell of Gealchossa.
Allad ! saith Firchios, thou who dwellest in the rock; thou who tremblest alone ; what saw thine eyes of age ?
I saw, answered Allad the old, Ullin the son of Carbre: He came like a cloud from the hill; he hummed a surly song as he came, like a storm in leafless wood. He entered the hall of the plain. Lamderg, he cried, most dreadful of men! fight, or yield to Ullin. Lamderg, replied Gealchossa, Lamderg is not here : he fights the hairy Ulfadha; mighty man, he is not here. But Lamderg never yields ; he will fight the son of Carbre. Lovely art thou, O daughter of Tuathal-Teachvar! said Ullin. I carry thee to the house of Carbre ; the valiant shall have Gealchossa. Three days, from the top of Cromleach, will I call Lamderg to fight. The fourth, you belong to Ullin, if Lamderg die, or fly my sword.
Allad ! peace to thy dreams !----sound the horn, Firchios ! Ullin may hear, and meet me on the top of Cromleach.
Lamderg rushed on like a storm. On his spear he leaped over rivers. Few were his strides up the hill. The rocks By
15 Allad is plainly a druid consulted on this occasion. MACPHERSON.
back from his heels; loud crashing they bound to the plain. His armour, his buckler rung. He hummed a surly song, like the noise of the falling stream, Dark as a cloud he stood above; his arms, like meteors, shone.' From the summit of the bill he rolled a rock. Ullin heard in the hall of Carbre.
THE SIX BARDS,
The following descriptive poem, (though very old) is of much later date than the foregoing Fragments",
Five bards, who are the guests of a chief, (himself an excellent poet) go severally out to make their observations on the night, and return each with an extemporary description of it, to which the chief adds one of his own. The time is supposed to be in October, the harvest month in the Highlands ; when the face of nature is as various, and its changes as sudden, as they are here represented. Select Letters between Shenstone and others ; published by Hull, 1778. vol. ii. p. 172.
' The Six Bards was transmitted, with other Fragments, to Gray and Shenstone, as if literally translated, verse for verse, from an Earse original. It was afterwards published in the same form with the rest of Os. sian; and the two copies are now reprinted upon opposite pages, that the variations of imagery observed by Mason may be better contrasted, and the principles of measured prose more distinctly ascertained. The translator has produced it as “ A poem a thousand years later than Ossian; but the authors seem to have observed his manner, and to have adopted some of his expressions :” or in other words, the poem is descriptive of a later period of society, but the author is the same. Gray considered it as " inferior in kind to the other Fragments, because it was merely descriptive, but yet full of nature and noble wild imagination.” In my opinion it is far superior, as it is purely descriptive, (in which Macpherson certainly excelled) without any insipid fable, and with less of that false pathos and affected sublimity which render Ossian such strange bombast. But Macpherson's Night-piece, an imitation of Parnel's Night-piece on Death, was apparently the original form of the Six Bards. When he abandoned rhyme for heroic prose, bis unpublished verses would be turned into episodes, or into those prominent addresses full of blank verse, which are prefixed or attached to the lesser poems, without connection; and in this manner I conceive that the Night-piece was enlarged and converted into the intended interlude of the Six Bards in Croma. See Vol. i. p. 547.
NOTE ON CROMA,
Vol. i. p. 547
Those extempore compositions were in great repute among succeeding bards. The pieces extant of that kind shew more of the good ear, than of the poetical genius of their authors. The translator has only met with one poem of this sort, which he thinks worthy of being preserved. It is a thousand years later than Ossian, but the authors seem to have observed his manner, and adopted some of his expressions. The story of it is this: Five bards, passing the night in the house of a chief, who was a poet himself, went severally to make their observations on, and returned with an extempore description of, night. The night happened to be one in October, as appears from the poem; and in the north of Scotland, it has all that variety which the bards ascribe to it, in their descriptions. MACPHERSON.