James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


The Poems of Ossian









A Poem.




FINGAL, returning from an expedition which he had made into the Roman province, reſolved to viſit Cathulla, king of Iniſtore, and brother to Comala, whoſe ſtory is related, at large, in the dramatic poem, “Comala.” Upon his coming in ſight of Carric-thura, the palace of Cathulla, he obſerved a flame on its top, which, in thoſe days, was a ſignal of diſtreſs. The wind drove him into a bay, at ſome diſtance from Carric-thura, and he was obliged to paſs the night on the ſhore. Next day he attacked the army of Frothal, king of Sora, who had beſieged Cathulla in his palace of Carric-thura, and took Frothal himſelf priſoner, after he had engaged him in a ſingle combat. The deliverance of Carric-thura is the ſubject of the poem; but ſeveral other epiſodes are interwoven with it. It appears from tradition that this poem was addreſſed to a Culdee, or one of the firſt Chriſtian miſſionaries, and that the ſtory of the Spirit of Loda, ſuppoſed to be the ancient Odin of Scandinavia, was introduced by Oſſian in oppoſition to the Culdee's doctrine. Be this as it will, it lets us into Oſſian's notions of a ſuperior being; and ſhows that he was not addicted to the ſuperſtition which prevailed all the world over, before the introduction of Chriſtianity.



HAST 1) thou left thy blue courſe in heaven, golden-haired ſon of the ſky! The weſt has opened its gates; the bed of thy repoſe is there. The waves come to behold thy beauty. They lift their trembling heads. They ſee thee lovely in thy ſleep; they ſhrink away with fear. Reſt, in thy ſhadowy cave, O ſun! let thy return be in joy.

But let a thouſand lights ariſe to the ſound of the harps of Selma; let the beam ſpread in the hall, the king of ſhells is returned! The ſtrife of Carun 2) is paſt, like ſounds that are no more. Raiſe the ſong, O bards! the king is returned, with his fame!

Such were the words of Ullin, when Fingal returned from war: when he returned in the fair bluſhing of youth, with all his heavy locks. His blue arms were on the hero: like a light cloud on the ſun, when he moves in his robes of miſt, and ſhows but half his beams. His heroes follow the king: the feaſt of ſhells is ſpread. Fingal turns to his bards, and bids the ſong to riſe.

Voices of echoing Cona! he ſaid, O bards of other times! Ye on whoſe ſouls the blue hoſts of our fathers riſe! ſtrike the harp in my hall; and let me hear the ſong! Pleaſant is the joy of grief: it is like the ſhower of ſpring, when it ſoftens the branch of the oak, and the young leaf rears its green head. Sing on, O bards; to-morrow we lift the ſail. My blue courſe is through the ocean, to Carric-thura's walls; the moſſy walls of Sarno, where Comala dwelt. There the noble Cathulla ſpreads the feaſt of ſhells. The boars of his woods are many; the ſound of the chaſe ſhall ariſe!

Cronnan, 3) ſon of the ſong! ſaid Ullin. Minona, graceful at the harp! raiſe the tale of Shilric, to pleaſe the king of Morven. Let Vinvela come in her beauty, like the ſhowery bow, when it ſhows its lovely head on the lake, and the ſetting ſun is bright. She comes, O Fingal! her voice is ſoft but ſad.


Vinvela. 4)

My love is a ſon of the hill. He purſues the flying deer. His grey dogs are panting round him; his bow-ſtring ſounds in the wind. Doſt thou reſt by the fount of the rock, or by the noiſe of the mountain-ſtream? The ruſhes are nodding to the wind, the miſt flies over the hill. I will approach my love unſeen; I will behold him from the rock. Lovely I ſaw thee firſt by the aged oak of Branno; 5) thou wert returning tall from the chaſe; the faireſt among thy friends. SHILRIC.

What voice is that I hear? that voice like the ſummer-wind! I ſit not by the nodding ruſhes; I hear not the fount of the rock. Afar, Vinvela, afar, I go to the wars of Fingal. My dogs attend me no more. No more I tread the hill. No more from on high I ſee thee, fair moving by the ſtream of the plain; bright as the bow of heaven; as the moon on the weſtern wave.



Then thou art gone, O Shilric! I am alone on the hill! The deer are ſeen on the brow; void of fear they graze along. No more they dread the wind; no more the ruſtling tree. The hunter is far removed! he is in the field of graves. Strangers! ſons of the waves! ſpare my lovely Shilric! SHILRIC.

If fall I muſt in the field, raiſe high my grave, Vinvela. Grey ſtones, and heaped-up earth, ſhall mark me to future times. When the hunter ſhall ſit by the mound, and produce his food at noon, “Some warrior reſts here,” he will ſay; and my fame ſhall live in his praiſe. Remember me, Vinvela, when low on earth I lie!



Yes! I will remember thee; alas! my Shilric will fall! What ſhall I do, my love! when thou art for ever gone? Through theſe hills I will go at noon: I will go through the ſilent heath. There I will ſee the place of thy reſt, returning from the chaſe. Alas! my Shilric will fall; but I will remember Shilric.

And I remember the chief, ſaid the king of woody Morven; he conſumed the battle in his rage. But now my eyes behold him not. I met him, one day, on the hill; his cheek was pale; his brow was dark. The ſigh was frequent in his breaſt: his ſteps were towards the deſert. But now he is not in the crowd of my chiefs, when the ſounds of my ſhields ariſe. Dwells he in the narrow houſe, 6) the chief of high Carmora? 7)

Cronnan! ſaid Ullin of other times, raiſe the ſong of Shilric; when he returned to his hills, and Vinvela was no more. He leaned on her grey moſſy ſtone; he thought Vinvela lived. He ſaw her fair-moving 8) on the plain: but the bright form laſted not; the ſun-beam fled from the field, and ſhe was ſeen no more. Hear the ſong of Shilric, it is ſoft, but ſad!

I ſit by the moſſy fountain; on the top of the hill of winds. One tree is ruſtling above me. Dark waves roll over the heath. The lake is troubled below. The deer deſcends from the hill. No hunter at a diſtance is ſeen. It is mid-day: but all is ſilent. Sad are my thoughts alone. Didſt thou but appear, O my love! a wanderer on the heath! thy hair floating on the wind behind thee; thy boſom heaving on the ſight; thine eyes full of tears for thy friends, whom the miſt of the hill had concealed! Thee I would comfort, my love, and bring thee to thy father's houſe!

But is it ſhe that there appears, like a beam of light on the heath? bright as the moon in autumn, as the ſun in a ſummer-ſtorm, comeſt thou, O maid, over rocks, over mountains to me? She ſpeaks! but how weak her voice! like the breeze in the reeds of the lake.

“Returneſt thou ſafe from the war? Where are thy friends, my love? I heard of thy death on the hill; I heard and mourned thee, Shilric!” “Yes, my fair, I return; but I alone of my race. Thou ſhalt ſee them no more: their graves I raiſed on the plain. But why art thou on the deſert hill? Why on the heath alone?”

“Alone I am, O Shilric! alone in the winter houſe. With grief for thee I fell. Shilric, I am pale in the tomb.”

She fleets, ſhe ſails away; as miſt before the wind! and wilt thou not ſtay, Vinvela? Stay and behold my tears! fair thou appeareſt, Vinvela! fair thou waſt, when alive!

By the moſſy fountain I will ſit; on the top of the hill of winds. When mid-day is ſilent around, O talk with me, Vinvela! come on the light-winged gale! on the breeze of the deſert, come! Let me hear thy voice, as thou paſſeſt, when mid-day is ſilent around!

Such was the ſong of Cronnan, on the night of Selma's joy. But morning roſe in the eaſt; the blue waters rolled in light. Fingal bade his ſails to riſe; the winds came ruſtling from their hills. Iniſtore roſe to ſight, and Carric-thura's moſſy towers! But the ſign of diſtreſs was on their top: the warning flame edged with ſmoke. The king of Morven ſtruck his breaſt; he aſſumed at once his ſpear. His darkened brow bends forward to the coaſt: he looks back to the lagging winds. His hair is diſordered on his back. The ſilence of the king is terrible!

Night came down on the ſea; Rotha's bay received the ſhip. A rock bends along the coaſt with all its echoing wood. On the top is the circle 9) of Loda, the moſſy ſtone of power! A narrow plain ſpreads beneath, covered with graſs and aged trees, which the midnight winds in their wrath had torn from the ſhaggy rock. The blue courſe of a ſtream is there; the lonely blaſt of ocean purſues the thiſtle's beard. The flame of three oaks aroſe: the feaſt is ſpread around: but the ſoul of the king is ſad, for Carric-thura's chief diſtreſt.

The wan, cold moon roſe in the eaſt. Sleep deſcended on the youths. Their blue helmets glitter to the beam; the fading fires decay. But ſleep did not reſt on the king: he roſe in the midſt of his arms, and ſlowly aſcended the hill, to behold the flame of Sarno's tower.

The flame was dim and diſtant; the moon hid her red face in the eaſt. A blaſt came from the mountain, on its wings was the ſpirit of Loda. He came to his place in his terrors, 10) and ſhook his duſky ſpear. His eyes appear like flames in his dark face! his voice is like diſtant thunder. Fingal advanced his ſpear in night, and raiſed his voice on high.

Son of night, retire: call thy winds, and fly! Why doſt thou come to my preſence, with thy ſhadowy arms? Do I fear thy gloomy form, ſpirit of diſmal Loda? Weak is thy ſhield of clouds: feeble is that meteor, thy ſword! The blaſt rolls them together; and thou thyſelf art loſt. Fly from my preſence, ſon of night! call thy winds and fly!

Doſt thou force me from my place? replied the hollow voice. The people bend before me. I turn the battle in the field of the brave. I look on the nations, and they vaniſh; my noſtrils pour the blaſt of death. I come abroad on the winds: the tempeſts are before my face. But my dwelling is calm above the clouds; the fields of my reſt are pleaſant.

Dwell in thy pleaſant fields, ſaid the king: Let Comhal's ſon be forgot. Do my ſteps aſcend, from my hills, into thy peaceful plains? Do I meet thee with a ſpear, on thy cloud, ſpirit of diſmal Loda? Why then doſt thou frown on me? Why ſhake thine airy ſpear? Thou frowneſt in vain: I never fled from the mighty in war. And ſhall the ſons of the wind frighten the king of Morven? No: he knows the weakneſs of their arms!

Fly to thy land, replied the form: receive the wind, and fly! The blaſts are in the hollow of my hand: the courſe of the ſtorm is mine. The king of Sora is my ſon, he bends at the ſtone of my power. His battle is around Carric-thura; and he will prevail! Fly to thy land, ſon of Comhal, or feel my flaming wrath!

He lifted high his ſhadowy ſpear! He bent forward his dreadful height. Fingal, advancing, drew his ſword; the blade of dark-brown Luno. 11) The gleaming path of the ſteel winds through the gloomy ghoſt. The form fell ſhapeleſs into air, like a column of ſmoke, which the ſtaff of the boy diſturbs, as it riſes from the half-extinguiſhed furnace.

The ſpirit of Loda ſhrieked, as, rolled into himſelf, he roſe on the wind. Iniſtore ſhook at the ſound. The waves heard it on the deep. They ſtopped, in their courſe, with fear: the friends of Fingal ſtarted at once: and took their heavy ſpears. They miſſed the king: they roſe in rage; all their arms reſound!

The moon came forth in the eaſt. Fingal returned in the gleam of his arms. The joy of his youths was great, their ſouls ſettled, as a ſea from a ſtorm. Ullin raiſed the ſong of gladneſs. The hills of Iniſtore rejoiced. The flame of the oak aroſe; and the tales of heroes are told.

But Frothal, Sora's wrathful king, ſits in ſadneſs beneath a tree. The hoſt ſpreads round Carric-thura. He looks towards the walls with rage. He longs for the blood of Cathulla, who, once, overcame him in war. When Annir reigned 12) in Sora, the father of ſea-borne Frothal, a ſtorm aroſe on the ſea, and carried Frothal to Iniſtore. Three days he feaſted in Sarno's halls, and ſaw the ſlow-rolling eyes of Comala. He loved her in the flame of youth, and ruſhed to ſeize the white-armed maid. Cathulla met the chief. The gloomy battle roſe. Frothal was bound in the hall; three days he pined alone. On the fourth, Sarno ſent him to his ſhip, and he returned to his land. But wrath darkened in his ſoul againſt the noble Cathulla. When Annir's ſtone 13) of fame aroſe, Frothal came in his ſtrength. The battle burned round Carric-thura, and Sarno's moſſy walls.

Morning roſe on Iniſtore. Frothal ſtruck his dark brown ſhield. His chiefs ſtarted at the ſound; they ſtood, but their eyes were turned to the ſea. They ſaw Fingal coming in his ſtrength; and firſt the noble Thubar ſpoke. “Who comes like the ſtag of the deſert, with all his herd behind him? Frothal, it is a foe! I ſee his forward ſpear. Perhaps it is the king of Morven, Fingal the firſt of men. His deeds are well-known in Lochlin; the blood of his foes is in Starno's halls. Shall I aſk the peace 14) of kings? His ſword is the bolt of heaven!”

“Son of the feeble hand,” ſaid Frothal, “ſhall my days begin in a cloud? Shall I yield before I have conquered, chief of ſtreamy Tora? The people would ſay in Sora, Frothal flew forth like a meteor; but a darkneſs has met him; and his fame is no more. No, Thubar, I will never yield; my fame ſhall ſurround me like light. No, I will never yield, chief of ſtreamy Tora!”

He went forth with the ſtream of his people, but they met a rock: Fingal ſtood unmoved, broken they rolled back from his ſide. Nor did they ſafely fly; the ſpear of the king purſued their ſteps. The field is covered with heroes. A riſing hill preſerved the foe.

Frothal ſaw their flight. The rage of his boſom roſe. He bent his eyes to the ground, and called the noble Thubar. “Thubar! my people are fled. My fame has ceaſed to ariſe. I will fight the king; I feel my burning ſoul! Send a bard to demand the combat. Speak not againſt Frothal's words. But, Thubar! I love a maid: ſhe dwells by Thano's ſtream, the white boſomed daughter of Herman, Utha with ſoft-rolling eyes. She feared the low-laid Comala; her ſecret ſighs roſe when I ſpread the ſail. Tell to Utha of harps, that my ſoul delighted in her!”

Such were his words, reſolved to fight. The ſoft ſigh of Utha was near! She had followed her hero, in the armour of a man. She rolled her eye on the youth, in ſecret, from beneath her ſteel. She ſaw the bard as he went; the ſpear fell thrice from her hand. Her looſe hair flew on the wind. Her white breaſt roſe, with ſighs. She raiſed her eyes to the king. She would ſpeak, but thrice ſhe failed.

Fingal heard the words of the bard; he came in the ſtrength of his ſteel. They mixed their deathful ſpears: they raiſed the gleam of their arms. But the ſword of Fingal deſcended and cut Frothal's ſhield in twain. His fair ſide is expoſed; half bent he foreſees his death. Darkneſs gathered on Utha's ſoul. The tear rolled down her cheek. She ruſhed to cover the chief with her ſhield, but a fallen oak met her ſteps. She fell on her arm of ſnow; her ſhield, her helmet flew wide. Her white boſom heaved to the ſight; her dark-brown hair is ſpread on earth.

Fingal pitied the white-armed maid: he ſtayed the uplifted ſword. The tear was in the eye of the king, as, bending forward, he ſpoke. “King of ſtreamy Sora! fear not the ſword of Fingal. It was never ſtained with the blood of the vanquiſhed; it never pierced a fallen foe. Let thy people rejoice by thy native ſtreams. Let the maids of thy love be glad. Why ſhouldſt thou fall in thy youth, king of ſtreamy Sora?” Frothal heard the words of Fingal, and ſaw the riſing maid: they 15) ſtood in ſilence, in their beauty, like two young trees of the plain, when the ſhower of ſpring is on their leaves, and the loud winds are laid.

Daughter of Herman, ſaid Frothal, didſt thou come from Tora's ſtreams; didſt thou come, in thy beauty, to behold thy warrior low? But he was low before the mighty, maid of the ſlow-rolling eye! The feeble did not overcome the ſon of car-borne Annir! Terrible art thou, O king of Morven! in battles of the ſpear. But, in peace, thou art like the ſun, when he looks through a ſilent ſhower: the flowers lift their fair heads before him; the gales ſhake their ruſtling wings. O that thou wert in Sora! that my feaſt were ſpread! The future kings of Sora would ſee thy arms and rejoice. They would rejoice at the fame of their fathers, who beheld the mighty Fingal!

Son of Annir, replied the king, the fame of Sora's race ſhall be heard! When chiefs are ſtrong in war, then does the ſong ariſe! But if their ſwords are ſtretched over the feeble: if the blood of the weak has ſtained their arms; the bard ſhall forget them in the ſong, and their tombs ſhall not be known. The ſtranger ſhall come and build there, and remove the heaped-up earth. An half-worn ſword ſhall riſe before him; bending above it, he will ſay, “Theſe are the arms of the chiefs of old, but their names are not in ſong.” Come thou, O Frothal! to the feaſt of Iniſtore; let the maid of thy love be there; let our faces brighten with joy!

Fingal took his ſpear, moving in the ſteps of his might. The gates of Carric-thura are opened wide. The feaſt of ſhells is ſpread. The ſoft ſound of muſic aroſe. Gladneſs brightened in the hall. The voice of Ullin was heard; the harp of Selma was ſtrung. Utha rejoiced in his preſence, and demanded the ſong of grief; the big tear hung in her eye, when the ſoft Crimora 16) ſpoke. Crimora the daughter of Rinval, who dwelt at Lotha's 17) roaring ſtream! The tale was long, but lovely; and pleaſed the bluſhing Utha.


Crimora. 18)

Who cometh from the hill, like a cloud tinged with the beam of the weſt? Whoſe voice is that, loud as the wind, but pleaſant as the harp of Carril? 19) It is my love in the light of ſteel: but ſad is his darkened brow! Live the mighty race of Fingal? Or what darkens in Connal's ſoul? 20)



They live. They return from the chaſe, like a ſtream of light. The ſun is on their ſhields. Like a ridge of fire they deſcend the hill. Loud is the voice of the youth; the war, my love, is near! To-morrow the dreadful Dargo comes to try the force of our race. The race of Fingal he defies; the race of battle and wounds!



Connal, I ſaw his ſails like grey miſt on the dark-brown wave. They ſlowly came to land. Connal, many are the warriors of Dargo!



Bring me thy father's ſhield; the boſſy, iron ſhield of Rinval; that ſhield like the full-orbed moon, when ſhe moves darkened through heaven.



That ſhield I bring, O Connal! but it did not defend my father. By the ſpear of Gormar he fell. Thou may'ſt fall, O Connal!



Fall I may! But raiſe my tomb, Crimora! Grey ſtones, a mound of earth, ſhall ſend my name to other times. Bend thy red eye over my grave, beat thy mournful heaving breaſt. Though fair thou art, my love, as the light; more pleaſant than the gale of the hill; yet I will not here remain. Raiſe my tomb, Crimora!



Then give me thoſe arms that gleam; that ſword, and that ſpear of ſteel. I ſhall meet Dargo with Connal, and aid him in the fight. Farewell, ye rocks of Ardven! ye deer! and ye ſtreams of the hill! We ſhall return no more. Our tombs are diſtant far!

“And did they return no more?” ſaid Utha's burſting ſigh. “Fell the mighty in battle, and did Crimora live? Her ſteps were lonely; her ſoul was ſad for Connal. Was he not young and lovely; like the beam of the ſetting ſun?”

Ullin ſaw the virgin's tear, he took the ſoftly-trembling harp: the ſong was lovely, but ſad, and ſilence was in Carric-thura.

Autumn is dark on the mountains; grey miſt reſts on the hills. The whirlwind is heard on the heath. Dark rolls the river through the narrow plain. A tree ſtands alone on the hill, and marks the ſlumbering Connal. The leaves whirl round with the wind, and ſtrew the grave of the dead. At times are ſeen here the ghoſts of the departed, when the muſing hunter alone ſtalks ſlowly over the heath.

Who can reach the ſource of thy race, O Connall! who recount thy fathers? Thy family grew like an oak on the mountain, which meeteth the wind with its lofty head. But now it is torn from the earth. Who ſhall ſupply the place of Connal? Here was the din of arms, here the groans of the dying. Bloody are the wars of Fingal, O Connal! It was here thou didſt fall. Thine arm was like a ſtorm; thy ſword a beam of the ſky; thy height a rock on the plain; thine eyes a furnace of fire. Louder than a ſtorm was thy voice, in the battles of thy ſteel. Warriors fell by thy ſword, as the thiſtle by the ſtaff of a boy. Dargo the mighty came on, darkening in his rage. His brows were gathered into wrath. His eyes like two caves in a rock. Bright roſe their ſwords on each ſide: loud was the clang of their ſteel.

The daughter of Rinval was near; Crimora bright in the armour of man; her yellow hair is looſe behind, her bow is in her hand. She followed the youth to the war, Connal her much-beloved. She drew the ſtring on Dargo; but erring ſhe pierced her Connal. He falls like an oak on the plain; like a rock from the ſhaggy hill. What ſhall ſhe do, hapleſs maid? He bleeds; her Connal dies! All the night long ſhe cries, and all the day, “O Connal, my love, and my friend!” With grief the ſad mourner dies! Earth here incloſes the lovelieſt pair on the hill. The graſs grows between the ſtones of the tomb; I often ſit in the mournful ſhade. The wind ſighs through the graſs; their memory ruſhes on my mind. Undiſturbed you now ſleep together; in the tomb of the mountain you reſt alone!

“And ſoft be their reſt,” ſaid Utha, “hapleſs children of ſtreamy Lotha! I will remember them with tears, and my ſecret ſong ſhall riſe; when the wind is in the groves of Tora, when the ſtream is roaring near. Then ſhall they come on my ſoul, with all their lovely grief!”

Three days feaſted the kings: on the fourth their white ſails aroſe. The winds of the north drove Fingal to Morven's woody land. But the ſpirit of Loda ſat, in his cloud, behind the ſhips of Frothal. He hung forward with all his blaſts, and ſpread the white-boſomed ſails. The wounds of his form were not forgot; he ſtill feared 21) the hand of the king!





The ſong of Ullin, with which the poem opens, is in a lyric meaſure. It was uſual with Fingal, when he returned from his expeditions, to ſend his bards ſinging before him. This ſpecies of triumph is called, by Oſſian, the ſong of victory. 


Oſſian has celebrated the ſtrife of Crona in a particular poem. This poem is connected with it, but it was impoſſible for the tranſlator to procure that part which relates to Crona with any degree of purity. 


One ſhould think that the parts of Shilric and Vinvela were repreſented by Cronnan and Minona, whoſe very names denote that they were ſingers who performed in public. Cronnan ſignifies a mournful ſound, Minona, or Min-'ónn, ſoft air. All the dramatic poems of Oſſian appear to have been preſented before Fingal, upon ſolemn occaſions. 


Bhin-bheul, a woman with a melodious voice. Bh in the Gaelic language has the ſame ſound with the v in Engliſh. 


Bran, or Branno, ſignifies a mountain-ſtream: it is here ſome river known by that name in the days of Oſſian. There are ſeveral ſmall rivers in the north of Scotland ſtill retaining the name of Bran – in particular, one which falls into the Tay at Dunkeld. 


The grave. 


Carn-mór, a high rocky hill. 


The diſtinction which the ancient Scots made between good and bad ſpirits was, that the former appeared ſometimes in the day-time in lonely, unfrequented places, but the latter never but by night, and in a diſmal, gloomy ſcene. 


The circle of Loda is ſuppoſed to be a place of worſhip among the Scandinavians, as the ſpirit of Loda is thought to be the ſame with their god Odin. 


He is deſcribed, in a ſimile, in the poem concerning the death of Cuthullin. 


The famous ſword of Fingal, made by Lun, or Luno, a ſmith of Lochlin. 


Annir was alſo the father of Erragon, who was king after the death of his brother Frothal. The death of Erragon is the ſubject of the battle of Lora, a poem in this collection. 


That is, after the death of Annir. To erect the ſtone of one's fame, was, in other words, to ſay that the perſon was dead. 


Honourable terms of peace. 


Frothal and Utha. 


There is a propriety in introducing this epiſode, as the ſituations of Crimora and Utha were ſo ſimilar. 


Lotha was the ancient name of one of the great rivers in the north of Scotland. The only one of them that ſtill retains a name of a like ſound is Lochy in Inverneſs-ſhire; but whether it is the river mentioned here, the tranſlator will not pretend to ſay. 


Cri-móra, a woman of a great ſoul. 


Perhaps the Carril mentioned here is the ſame with Carril the ſon of Kinfena, Cuthullin's bard. The name itſelf is proper to any bard, as it ſignifies a ſprightly and harmonious ſound. 


Connal, the ſon of Diaran, was one of the moſt famous heroes of Fingal; he was ſlain in a battle againſt Dargo, a Briton; but whether by the hand of the enemy, or that of his miſtreſs, tradition does not determine. 


The ſtory of Fingal and the ſpirit of Loda, ſuppoſed to be the famous Odin, is the moſt extravagant fiction in all Oſſian's poems. It is not, however, without precedents in the beſt poets; and it muſt be ſaid for Oſſian that he ſays nothing but what perfectly agreed with the notions of the times concerning ghoſts. They thought the ſouls of the dead were material, and conſequently ſuſceptible of pain. Whether a proof could be drawn from this paſſage that Oſſian had no notion of a divinity, I ſhall leave to others to determine: it appears, however, that he was of opinion that ſuperior beings ought to take no notice of what paſſed among men.