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AN IMITATION OF OSSIAN.
What soft voice of sorrow is in the breeze? what lovely sunbeam of beauty trembling on the rock? Its bright hair is bathed in showers; and it looks faint and dim, through its mist on the rushy plain. Why art thou alone, maid of the mournful look? The cold dropping rain is on the rocks of Torléna, the blast of the desert lifts thy yellow locks. Let thy steps be in the hall of shells, by the blue winding stream of Clutha : let the harp tremble beneath thy fingers; and the sons of heroes listen to the music of songs.
Shall my steps be in the hall of shells, and the aged low in the dust? The father of Seláma is low behind this rock, on his bed of withered leaves; the thistle's down is strewed over him by the wind, and mixes with his grey hair. Thou art fallen, chief of Etha! without thy fame; and there is none to revenge thy death. But thy daughter will sit, pale beside thee, till she sinks, a faded flower, upon thy lifeless form. Leave the
maid of Clutha, son of the stranger! in the red eye of her tears!
How fell the car-borne Connal, blue-eyed mourner of the rock? Mine arm is not weakened in battle; nor my sword without its fame.
Connal was a fire in his youth, that lighten'd through fields of renown: but the flame weakly glimmered through gray ashes of age. His course was like a star moving through the heavens: it walketh in brightness, but leaveth no track be. hind; its silver path cannot be found in the sky. The strength of Etha is rolled away like a tale of other years; and his eyes have failed. Feeble and dark, he sits in his hall, and hears the distant tread of a stranger's steps; the haughty steps of Tonthormo, from t roar of Duvranno's echoing stream. He stood in the hall like a pillar of darkness, on whose top is the red beam of fire: wide rolled his eyes beneath the gloomy arch of his bent brow; as flames in two caves of a rock, overhung with the black pine of the desert. They had rolled on Seláma, and he asked the daughter of Connal. Tonthormo! breaker of shields ! thou art a meteor of death in war, whose fiery hair streams on the clouds, and the nations are withered beneath its path. Dwell, Tonthormo! amidst thy hundred hills, and listen to thy torrent's roar; but the soft sigh of the virgins is with the chief of Crono; Hidallari is the dream of Seláma, the
dweller of her secret thoughts. A rushing storm in war, a breeze that sighs over the fallen foe; pleasant are thy words of peace, and thy songs at the
mossy brook. Thy smiles are like the moonbeams trembling on the waves. Thy voice is the gale of summer that whispers among the reeds of the lake, and awakens the harp of Moilena with all its lightly-trembling strings. Oh that thy calm light was around me! my soul should not fear the gloomy chief of Duvranno. He came with his stately steps.—My shield is before thee, maid of my love! a wall of shelter from the lightning of swords. They fought. Tonthormo bends in all his pride, before the arm of youth. But a voice was in the breast of Hidallan, shall I slay the lover of Seláma? Selama dwells in thy dark bosom, shall
my steel enter there? Live, thou storm of war! He gave again his sword. But, careless as he strode away, rage arose in the troubled thoughts of the vanquish’d. He mark’d his time, and sidelong pierced the heart of the generous son of Semo. His fair hair is spread on the dust, his eyes are bent on the trembling beam of Clutha. Farewel, light of my soul! They are closed in darkness. Feeble wast thou then, my father! and in vain didst thou call for help. Thy gray locks are scatter'd, as a wreath of snow on the top of a wither'd trunk; which the boy brushes away with his staff; and careless singeth as he
walks. Who shall defend thee, my daughter ! said the broken voice of Etha's chief. Fair flower of the desert! the tempest shall rush over thee; and thou shalt be low beneath the foot of the savage son of prey. But I will wither, my father, on thy tomb. Weak and alone I dwell amidst my tears, there is no young warrior to lift the spear, no brother of love! Oh that mine arm were strong! I would rush amidst the battle. Selama has no friend!
But Selama has a friend, said the kindling soul of Reuthamir. I will fight thy battles, lovely daughter of kings; and the sun of Duvranno shall set in blood. But when I return in peace, and the spirits of thy foes are on my sword, meet me with thy smiles of love, maid of Clutha! with thy slowrolling eyes. Let the soft sound of thy steps be heard in my halls, that the mother of Reuthamir may rejoice. Whence, she will say, is this beam of the distant land? Thou shalt dwell in her bosom.
My thoughts are with him who is low in the dust, son of Cormac! But lift the spear, thou friend of the unhappy! the light of my soul may return.
He strode in his rattling arms. Tall, in a gloomy forest, stood the surly strength of Duvranno. Gleaming behind the dark trees was his broad
shield; like the moon when it rises in blood, and the dusky clouds sail low, and heavy, athwart its path. Thoughts, like the troubled ocean, rush'd over his soul, and he struck, with his spear, the sounding pine. Starting, he mix'd in battle with the chief of woody Morna. Long was the strife of arms; and the giant sons of the forest trembled at their strokes. At length Tonthormo fell—the sword of Reuthamir wav'd, a blue flame, around him. He bites the ground in rage. His blood is poured, a dark red stream, into Oithona's trembling waves. Joy brighten'd in the soul of Reuthamir; when a young warrior came, with his forward spear. He moved in the light of beauty; but his words were haughty and fierce. Is Tonthormo fallen in blood, the friend of my early years? Die, thou dark-soul'd chief! for never shall Selama be thine, the maid of his love. Lovely shone her eyes, through tears, in the hall of her grief, when I stood by the chief of Duvranno, in the rising strife of Clutha.
Retire, thou swelling voice of pride! thy spear is light as the taper reed. Pierce the roes of the desert, and call the hunter to the feast of songs, but speak not of the daughter of Connal, son of the feeble arm! Selama is the love of heroes.
Try thy strength with the feeble arm, said the rising pride of youth. Thou shalt vanish like a