James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


The Poems of Ossian









An Epic Poem.


Book II.




THIS book opens, we may ſuppoſe, about midnight, with a ſoliloquy of Oſſian, who had retired, from the reſt of the army, to mourn for his ſon Oſcar. Upon hearing the noiſe of Cathmor's army approaching, he went to find out his brother Fillan who kept the watch on the hill of Mora, in the front of Fingal's army. In the converſation of the brothers, the epiſode of Conar the ſon of Trenmor, who was the firſt king of Ireland, is introduced, which lays open the origin of the conteſts between the Caël and Firbolg, the two nations who firſt poſſeſſed themſelves of that iſland. Oſſian kindles a fire on Mora; upon which Cathmor deſiſted from the deſign he had formed of the ſurpriſing the army of the Caledonians. He calls a council of his chiefs; reprimands Foldath for adviſing a night-attack, as the Iriſh army were ſo much ſuperior in number to the enemy. The bard Fonar introduces the ſtory of Crothar, the anceſtor of the king, which throws further light on the hiſtory of Ireland, and the original pretenſions of the family of Atha to the throne of that kingdom. The Iriſh chiefs lie down to reſt, and Cathmor himſelf undertakes the watch. In this circuit, round the army, he is met by Oſſian. The interview of the two heroes is deſcribed. Cathmor obtains a promiſe from Oſſian to order a funeral elegy to be ſung over the grave of Cairbar: it being the opinion of the times that the ſouls of the dead could not be happy till their elegies were ſung by a bard. Morning comes. Cathmor and Oſſian part: and the latter, caſually meeting with Carril the ſon of Kinfena, ſends that bard, with a funeral ſong, to the tomb of Cairbar.



FATHER 1) of heroes! O Trenmor! High dweller of eddying winds! where the dark-red thunder marks the trouble clouds! Open thou thy ſtormy halls. Let the bards of old be near. Let them draw near with ſongs and their half-viewleſs harps. No dweller of the miſty valley comes! No hunter unknown at his ſtreams! It is the car-borne Oſcar, from the fields of war. Sudden is thy change, my ſon, from what thou wert on dark Moi-lena! The blaſt folds thee in its ſkirt, and ruſtles through the ſky! Doſt thou not behold thy father, at the ſtream of night? The chiefs of Morven ſleep far diſtant They have loſt no ſon! But ye have loſt a hero, chiefs of reſounding Morven! Who could equal his ſtrength, when battle rolled againſt his ſide, like the darkneſs of crowded waters? Why this cloud on Oſſian's ſoul? It ought to burn in danger. Erin is near with her hoſt. The king of Selma is alone. Alone thou ſhalt not be, my father, while I can lift the ſpear!

I roſe, in all my arms. I roſe and liſtened to the wind. The ſhield of Fillan 2) is not heard. I tremble for the ſon of Fingal. “Why ſhould the foe come by night? Why ſhould the dark-haired warrior fail?” Diſtant, ſullen murmurs riſe: like the noiſe of the lake of Lego when its waters ſhrink in the days of froſt, and all its burſting ice reſounds. The people of Lara look to heaven and foreſee the ſtorm. My ſteps are forward on the heath. The ſpear of Oſcar in my hand. Red ſtars looked from high. I gleamed, along the night.

I ſaw Fillan ſilent before me, bending forward from Mora's rock. He heard the ſhout of the foe. The joy of his ſoul aroſe. He heard my ſounding tread, and turned his lifted ſpear. “Comeſt thou, ſon of night, in peace? Or doſt thou meet my wrath? The foes of Fingal are mine. Speak, or fear my ſteel. I ſtand, not in vain, the ſhield of Morven's race.” “Never mayſt thou ſtand in vain, ſon of blue-eyed Clatho! Fingal begins to be alone. Darkneſs gathers on the laſt of his days. Yet he has two ſons 3) who ought to ſhine in war. We ought to be two beams of light, near the ſteps of his departure.”

“Son of Fingal,” replied the youth, “it is not long ſince I raiſed the ſpear. Few are the marks of my ſword in war. But Fillan's ſoul is fire! The chiefs of Bolga 4) crowd around the ſhield of generous Cathmor. Their gathering is on that heath. Shall my ſteps approach their hoſt? I yielded to Oſcar alone, in the ſtrife of the race, on Cona!”

“Fillan, thou ſhalt not approach their hoſt; nor fall before thy fame is known. My name is heard in ſong: when needful I advance. From the ſkirts of night I ſhall view them over all their gleaming tribes. Why, Fillan, didſt thou ſpeak of Oſcar? Why awake my ſigh? I muſt forget 5) the warrior, till the ſtorm is rolled away. Sadneſs ought not to dwell in danger, nor the tear in the eye of war. Our fathers forgot their fallen ſons, till the noiſe of arms was paſt. Then ſorrow returned to the tomb, and the ſong of bards aroſe.” The memory of thoſe who fell quickly followed the departure of war: when the tumult of battle is paſſed, the ſoul, in ſilence, melts away, for the dead.

Conar 6) was the brother of Trathal, firſt of mortal men. His battles were on every coaſt. A thouſand ſtreams rolled down the blood of his foes. His fame filled green Erin, like a pleaſant gale. The nations gathered in Ullin, and they bleſſed the king; the king of the race of their fathers, from the land of Selma.

The chiefs 7) of the ſouth were gathered, in the darkneſs of their pride. In the horrid cave of Muma they mixed their ſecret words. Thither often, they ſaid, the ſpirits of their fathers came, ſhewing their pale forms from the chinky rocks: reminding them of the honour of Bolga. “Why ſhould Conar reign,” they ſaid, “the ſon of reſounding Morven?”

They came forth, like the ſtreams of the deſert, with the roar of their hundred tribes. Conar was a rock before them: broken they rolled on every ſide. But often they returned, and the ſons of Selma fell. The king ſtood, among the tombs of his warriors. He darkly bent his mournful face. His ſoul was rolled into itſelf: and he had marked the place where he was to fall: when Trathal came, in his ſtrength, his brother from cloudy Morven. Nor did he come alone. Colgar 8) was at his ſide; Colgar the ſon of the king and of white-boſomed Solin-corma.

As Trenmor, clothed with meteors, deſcends from the halls of thunder, pouring the dark ſtorm before him over the troubled ſea: ſo Colgar deſcended to battle and waſted the echoing field. His father rejoiced over the hero: but an arrow came. His tomb was raiſed, without a tear. The king was to revenge his ſon. He lightened forward in battle, till Bolga yielded at her ſtreams.

When peace returned to the land; when his blue waves bore the king to Morven: then he remembered his ſon, and poured the ſilent tear. Thrice did the bards, at the cave of Furmono, call the ſoul of Colgar. They called him to the hills of his land. He heard them in his miſt. Trathal placed his ſword in the cave, that the ſpirit of his ſon might rejoice.

“Colgar, 9) ſon of Trathal!” ſaid Fillan, “thou wert renowned in youth! But the king hath not marked my ſword, bright-ſtreaming on the field. I go forth with the crowd. I return, without my fame. But the foe approaches, Oſſian! I hear their murmur on the heath. The ſound of their ſteps is like thunder, in the boſom of the ground, when the rocking hills ſhake their groves, and not a blaſt pours from the darkened ſky!”

Oſſian turned ſudden on his ſpear. He raiſed the flame of an oak on high. I ſpread it large, on Mora's wind. Cathmor ſtopped in his courſe. Gleaming he ſtood like a rock, on whoſe ſides are the wandering of blaſts; which ſeize its echoing ſtreams, and clothe them over with ice. So ſtood the friend 10) of ſtrangers. The winds lift his heavy locks. Thou art the talleſt of the race of Erin, king of ſtreamy Atha!

“Firſt of Bards,” ſaid Cathmor. “Fonar, 11) call the chiefs of Erin. Call red-haired Cormar: dark-browed Malthos: the ſidelong-looking gloom of Maronan. Let the pride of Foldath appear. The red-rolling eye of Turlotho. Nor let Hidalla be forgot; his voice, in danger, is the ſound of a ſhower, when it falls in the blaſted vale, near Atha's falling ſtream. Pleaſant is its ſound, on the plain, whilſt broken thunder travels over the ſky!”

They came, in their clanging arms. They bent forward to his voice, as if a ſpirit of their fathers ſpoke from a cloud of night. Dreadful ſhone they to the light; like the fall of the ſtream of Brumo 12) when the meteor lights it, before the nightly ſtranger. Shuddering, he ſtops in his journey, and looks up for the beam of the morn.

“Why 13) delights Foldath,” ſaid the king, “to pour the blood of foes by night? Fails his arm in battle, in the beams of day? Few are the foes before us, why ſhould we clothe us in ſhades? The valiant delight to ſhine, in the battles of their land! Thy council was in vain, chief of Moma! The eyes of Morven do not ſleep. They are watchful, as eagles, on their moſſy rocks. Let each collect, beneath his cloud, the ſtrength of his roaring tribe. To-morrow I move, in light, to meet the foes of Bolga! Mighty 14) was he, that is low, the race of Borbar-Duthul!”

“Not unmarked!” ſaid Foldath, “were my ſteps before thy race. In light, I met the foes of Cairbar. The warrior praiſed my deeds. But his ſtone was raiſed without a tear! No bard 15) ſung over Erin's king. Shall his foes rejoice along their moſſy hills? No: they muſt not rejoice! He was the friend of Foldath! Our words were mixed, in ſecret, in Moma's ſilent cave; whilſt thou, a boy in the field, purſuedſt the thiſtle's beard. With Moma's ſons I ſhall ruſh abroad, and find the foe, on his duſky hills. Fingal ſhall lie, without his ſong, the grey-haired king of Selma.”

“Doſt thou think, thou feeble man,” replied Cathmor, half-enraged: “Doſt thou think Fingal can fall, without his fame, in Erin? Could the bards be ſilent at the tomb of Selma's king? The ſong would burſt in ſecret! the ſpirit of the king would rejoice! It is when thou ſhalt fall, that the bard ſhall forget the ſong. Thou art dark, chief of Moma, though thine arm is a tempeſt in war. Do I forget the king of Erin, in his narrow houſe? My ſoul is not loſt to Cairbar, the brother of my love! I marked the bright beams of joy, which travelled over his cloudy mind, when I returned, with fame, to Atha of the ſtreams.”

Tall they removed, beneath the words of the king. Each to his own dark tribe; where, humming, they rolled on the heath, faint-glittering to the ſtars: like waves, in a rocky bay, before the nightly wind. Beneath an oak, lay the chief of Atha. His ſhield, a duſky round, hung high. Near him, againſt a rock, leaned the fair ſtranger 16) of Iniſhuna: that beam of light, with wandering rocks, from Lumon of the roes. At diſtance roſe the voice of Fonar, with the deeds of the days of old. The ſong fails, at times, in Lubar's growing roar.

“Crothar,” 17) begun the bard, “firſt dwelt at Atha's moſſy ſtream! A thouſand 18) oaks, from the mountains, formed his echoing hall. The gathering of the people was there, around the feaſt of the blue-eyed king. But who, among his chiefs, was like the ſtately Crothar? Warriors kindled in his preſence. The young ſigh of the virgins roſe. In Alnecma 19) was the warrior honoured: the firſt of the race of Bolga.

He purſued the chaſe in Ullin: on the moſſcovered top of Drumardo. From the wood looked the daughter of Cathmin, the blue-rolling eye of Conlama. Her ſigh roſe in ſecret. She bent her head, midſt her wandering locks. The moon looked in, at night, and ſaw the white toſſing of her arms; for ſhe thought of the mighty Crothar, in the ſeaſon of dreams.

Three days feaſted Crothar with Cathmin. On the fourth, they awaked the hinds. Con-lama moved to the chaſe, with all her lovely ſteps. She met Crothar in the narrow path. The bow fell at once from her hand. She turned her face away, and half-hid it with her locks. The love of Crothar roſe. He brought the white-boſomed maid to Atha. Bards raiſe the ſong in her preſence. Joy dwelt round the daughter of Cathmin.

The pride of Turloch roſe, a youth who loved the white-handed Con-lama. He came with battle to Alnecma; to Atha of the roes. Cormul went forth to the ſtrife, the brother of car-borne Crothar. He went forth, but he fell. The ſigh of his people roſe. Silent and tall, acroſs the ſtream, came the darkening ſtrength of Crothar: he rolled the foe from Alnecma. He returned, midſt the joy of Con-lama.

Battle on battle comes. Blood is poured on blood. The tombs of the valiant riſe. Erin's clouds are hung round with ghoſts. The chiefs of the ſouth gathered round the echoing ſhield of Crothar. He came with death to the paths of the foe. The virgins wept, by the ſtreams of Ullin. They looked to the miſt of the hill: No hunter deſcended from its folds. Silence darkened in the land. Blaſts ſighed lonely on graſſy tombs.

Deſcending like the eagle of heaven, with all his ruſtling wings, when he forſakes the blaſt, with Joy, the ſon of Trenmor came; Conar, arm of death, from Morven of the groves. He poured his might along green Erin. Death dimly ſtrode behind his ſword. The ſons of Bolga fled, from his courſe, as from a ſtream, that burſting from the ſtormy deſert, rolls the fields together with all their echoing woods. Crothar 20) met him in battle; but Alnecma's warriors fled. The king of Atha ſlowly retired, in the grief of his ſoul. He, afterwards, ſhone in the ſouth; but dim as the ſun of Autumn: when he viſits, in his robes of miſt, Lara of dark ſtreams. The withered graſs is covered with dew; the field, though bright, is ſad.”

“Why wakes the bard before me,” ſaid Cathmor, “the memory of thoſe who fled? Has ſome ghoſt, from his duſky cloud, bent forward to thine ear; to frighten Cathmor from the field, with the tales of old? Dwellers of the ſkirts of night, your voice is but a blaſt to me; which takes the grey thiſtle's head, and ſtrews its beard on ſtreams. Within my boſom is a voice. Others hear it not. His ſoul forbids the king of Erin to ſhrink back from war.”

Abaſhed the bard ſinks back in night: retired he bends above a ſtream. His thoughts are on the days of Atha, when Cathmor heard his ſong with joy. His tears come rolling down. The winds are in his beard. Erin ſleeps around. No ſleep comes down on Cathmor's eyes. Dark, in his ſoul, he ſaw the ſpirit of low-laid Cairbar. He ſaw him, without his ſong, rolled in a blaſt of night. He roſe. His ſteps were round the hoſt. He ſtruck, at times, his echoing ſhield. The ſound reached Oſſian's ear on Mora's moſſy brow.

“Fillan,” I ſaid, “the foes advance. I hear the ſhield of war. Stand thou in the narrow path. Oſſian ſhall mark their courſe. If over my fall the hoſt ſhould pour; then be thy buckler heard. Awake the king on his heath, leſt his fame ſhould fly away.” I ſtrode in all my rattling arms; wide-bounding over a ſtream that darklywinded, in the field, before the king of Atha. Green Atha's king, with lifted ſpear, came forward on my courſe. Now would we have mixed in horrid fray, like two contending ghoſts, that bending forward, from two clouds, ſend forth the roaring winds; did not Oſſian behold, on high, the helmet of Erin's kings. The eagle's wing ſpread above it, ruſtling in the breeze. A red ſtar looked thro' the plumes. I ſtopt the lifted ſpear.

“The helmet of kings is before me! Who art thou, ſon of night? Shall Oſſian's ſpear be renowned, when thou art lowly-laid? At once he dropt the gleaming lance. Growing before me ſeemed the form. He ſtretched his hand in night. He ſpoke the words of kings.

Friend of the ſpirits of heroes, do I meet thee thus in ſhades? I have wiſhed for thy ſtately ſteps in Atha, in the days of joy. Why ſhould my ſpear now ariſe? The ſun muſt behold us, Oſſian; when we bend, gleaming in the ſtrife. Future warriors ſhall mark the place: and, ſhuddering, think of other years. They ſhall mark it like the haunt of ghoſts, pleaſant and dreadful to the ſoul.”

“Shall it then be forgot,” I ſaid, “where we meet in peace? Is the remembrance of battles always pleaſant to the ſoul? Do not we behold, with joy, the place where our fathers feaſted? But our eyes are full of tears, on the fields of their war. This ſtone ſhall riſe, with all its moſs, and ſpeak to other years. Here Cathmor and Oſſian met: the warriors met in peace! When thou, O ſtone, ſhalt fail. When Lubar's ſtream ſhall roll away! then ſhall the traveller come, and bend here, perhaps, in reſt. When the darkened moon is rolled over his head, our ſhadowy forms may come, and, mixing with his dreams, remind him of this place. But why turneſt thou ſo dark away, ſon of Borbar-Duthul?” 21)

“Not forgot, ſon of Fingal, ſhall we aſcend theſe winds. Our deeds are ſtreams of light, before the eyes of bards. But darkneſs is rolled on Atha: the king is low, without his ſong; ſtill there was a beam towards Cathmor from his ſtormy ſoul; like the moon, in a cloud, amidſt the dark red courſe of thunder.”

“Son of Erin,” I replied, “my wrath dwells not in his earth. 22) My hatred flies on eagle-wing from the foe that is low. He ſhall hear the ſong of bards. Cairbar ſhall rejoice on his winds.”

Cathmor's ſwelling ſoul aroſe. He took the dagger from his ſide, and placed it gleaming in my hand. He placed it in my hand, with ſighs, and, ſilent, ſtrode away. Mine eyes followed his departure. He dimly gleamed, like the form of a ghoſt, which meets a traveller by night on the dark-ſkirted heath. His words are dark like ſongs of old; with morning ſtrides the unfiniſhed ſhade away

Who 23) comes from Lubar's vale? from the ſkirts of the morning miſt? The drops of heaven are on his head. His ſteps are in the paths of the ſad. It is Carril of other times. He comes from Tura's ſilent cave. I behold it dark on the rock, through the thin folds of miſt. There, perhaps, Cuthullin ſits, on the blaſt which bends its trees. Pleaſant is the ſong of the morning from the bard of Erin!

“The waves crowd away,” ſaid Carril. “They crowd away for fear. They hear the ſound of thy coming forth, O ſun! Terrible is thy beauty, ſon of heaven, when death is deſcending on thy locks: when thou rolleſt thy vapours before thee, over the blaſted hoſt. But pleaſant is thy beam to the hunter, ſitting by the rock in a ſtorm, when thou ſheweſt thyſelf from the parted cloud, and brighteneſt his dewy locks; he looks down on the ſtreamy vale, and beholds the deſcent of roes! How long ſhalt thou riſe on war, and roll, a bloody ſhield, through heaven? I ſee the deaths of heroes, dark-wandering over thy face!”

“Why wander the words of Carril,” I ſaid. “Does the ſon of heaven mourn? He is unſtained in his courſe, ever rejoicing in his fire. Roll on, thou careleſs light Thou too, perhaps, muſt fall. Thy darkening hour may ſeize thee, ſtruggling, as thou rolleſt through thy ſky. But pleaſant is the voice of the bard: pleaſant to Oſſian's ſoul! It is like the ſhower of the morning, when it comes through the ruſtling vale, on which the ſun looks through miſt, juſt riſing from his rocks. But this is no time, O bard! to ſit down, at the ſtrife of ſong. Fingal is in arms on the vale. Thou ſeeſt the flaming ſhield of the king. His face darkens between his locks. He beholds the wide rolling of Erin. Does not Carril behold that tomb, beſide the roaring ſtream? Three ſtones lift their grey heads, beneath a bending oak. A king is lowly laid! Give thou his ſoul to the wind. He is the brother of Cathmor! Open his airy hall! Let thy ſong be a ſtream of joy to Cairbar's darkened ghoſt!”





Though this book has little action, it is not the leaſt important part of Temora. The poet, in ſeveral epiſodes, runs up the cauſe of the war to the very ſource. The firſt population of Ireland, the wars between the two nations who originally poſſeſſed that iſland, its firſt race of kings, and the revolutions of its government, are important facts, and are delivered by the poet with ſo little mixture of the fabulous that one cannot help preferring his accounts to the improbable fictions of the Scotch and Iriſh hiſtorians. The Mileſian fables bear about them the marks of a late invention. To trace their legends to their ſource would be no difficult taſk; but a diſquiſition of this ſort would extend this note too far. 


We underſtand, from the preceding book, that Cathmor was near with an army. When Cairbar was killed, the tribes who attended him fell back to Cathmor; who, as it afterwards appears, had taken a reſolution to ſurpriſe Fingal by night. Fillan was deſpatched to the hill of Mora, which was in the front of the Caledonians, to obſerve the motions of Cathmor. In this ſituation were affairs when Oſſian, upon hearing the noiſe of the approaching enemy, went to find out his brother. Their converſation naturally introduces the epiſode concerning Conar the ſon of Trenmor, the firſt Iriſh monarch, which is ſo neceſſary to the underſtanding the foundation of the rebellion and uſurpation of Cairbar and Cathmor. Fillan was the youngeſt of the ſons of Fingal then living. He and Boſmina, mentioned in the battle of Lora, were the only children of the king by Clatho, the daughter of Cathulla king of Inis-tore, whom he had taken to wife after the death of Ros-crana, the daughter of Cormac Man-Conor king of Ireland. 


That is, two ſons in Ireland. Fergus, the ſecond ſon of Fingal, was at that time on an expedition, which is mentioned in one of the leſſer poems. He, according to ſome traditions, was the anceſtor of Fergus, the ſon of Erc or Arcath, commonly called Fergus the ſecond in the Scotch hiſtories. The beginning of the reign of Fergus over the Scots is placed, by the moſt approved annals of Scotland, in the fourth year of the fifth age; a full century after the death of Oſſian. The genealogy of his family is recorded thus by the Highland Senachies: Fergus Mac-Arcath, Mac-Chongael, Mac-Fergus, Mac-Fion gäel na buai' – i.e. Fergus, the ſon of Arcath, the ſon of Congal, the ſon of Fergus, the ſon of Fingal the victorious. This ſubject is treated more at large in the diſſertation annexed to the end of the firſt volume. 


The ſouthern parts of Ireland went, for ſome time, under the name of Bolga, from the Fir-bolg or Belgæ of Britain, who ſettled a colony there. Bolg ſignifies a quiver, from which proceeds Fir-bolg – i.e. bowmen; ſo called from their uſing bows more than any of the neighbouring nations. 


After this paſſage, Oſcar is not mentioned in all Temora. The ſituations of the characters who act in the poem are ſo intereſting, that others foreign to the ſubject could not be introduced with any luſtre. Though the epiſode which follows may ſeem to flow naturally enough from the converſation of the brothers, yet I have ſhown, in a preceding note and, more at large, in the diſſertation annexed to this collection, that the poet had a further deſign in view. 


Conar, the firſt king of Ireland, was the ſon of Trenmor, the great-grandfather of Fingal. It was on account of his family-connection that Fingal was engaged in ſo many wars in the cauſe of the race of Conar. Though few of the actions of Trenmor are mentioned, his was the moſt renowned name of antiquity. The moſt probable opinion concerning him is, that he was the firſt who united the tribes of the Caledonians and commanded them, in chief, againſt the incurſions of the Romans. The genealogiſts of the North have traced his family far back, and given a liſt of his anceſtors to Cuan-mór nan lan, or Conmor of the ſwords, who, according to them, was the firſt who croſſed the great ſea to Caledonia, from which circumſtance his name proceeded, which ſignifies great ocean. Genealogies of ſo ancient a date, however, are little to he depended upon. 


The chiefs of the Fir-bolg who poſſeſſed themſelves of the ſouth of Ireland, prior, perhaps, to the ſettlement of the Gaël of Caledonia and the Hebrides in Ulſter. From the ſequel, it appears that the Fir-bolg were by much the moſt powerful nation; and it is probable that the Gaël muſt have ſubmitted to them had they not received ſuccours from their mother-country, under the command of Conar. 


Colg-er, fiercely looking warrior. Sulin-corma, blue eyes. Colgar was the eldeſt of the ſons of Trathal: Comhal, who was the father of Fingal, was very young when the preſent expedition to Ireland happened. It is remarkable that, of all the anceſtors of Fingal, tradition makes the leaſt mention of Comhal; which probably proceeded from the unfortunate life and untimely death of that hero. From ſome paſſages concerning him we learn, indeed, that he was brave, but he wanted conduct. 


The poem begins here to mark ſtrongly the character of Fillan, who is to make ſo great a figure in the ſequel. He has the impatience, the ambition and fire which are peculiar to a young hero. Kindled with the fame of Colgar, he forgets his untimely fall. From Fillan's expreſſions in this paſſage, it would ſeem that he was neglected by Fingal on account of his youth. 


Cathmor is diſtinguiſhed by this honourable title on account of his generoſity to ſtrangers, which was ſo great as to be remarkable even in thoſe days of hoſpitality. 


Fónar, the man of ſong. Before the introduction of Chriſtianity, a name was not impoſed upon any perſon till he had diſtinguiſhed himſelf by ſome remarkable action, from which his name ſhould be derived. 


Brumo was a place of worſhip (Fingal, Book 6) in Craca, which is ſuppoſed to be one of the iſles of Shetland. It was thought that the ſpirits of the deceaſed haunted it by night, which adds more terror to the deſcription introduced here. The horrid circle of Brumo, where often, they ſaid, the ghoſts of the dead howled round the ſtone of fear. 


From this paſſage, it appears that it was Foldath who had adviſed the night-attack. The gloomy character of Foldath is properly contraſted to the generous, the open Cathmor. 


By this exclamation Cathmor intimates that he intends to revenge the death of his brother Cairbar. 


To have no funeral elegy ſung over his tomb was, among the Celtæ?, reckoned the greateſt miſfortune that could befall a man; as his ſoul could not otherwiſe be admitted to the airy hall of his fathers. 


By the ſtranger of Inis-huna, it means Sulmalla, the daughter of Conmor king of Inis-huna, the ancient name of that part of South Britain which is next to the Iriſh coaſt. She had followed Cathmor in diſguiſe. Her ſtory is related at large in the fourth book. 


Crothar was the anceſtor of Cathmor, and the firſt of his family who had ſettled in Atha. It was in his time that the firſt wars were kindled between the Fir-bolg and Gaël. The propriety of the epiſode is evident; as the conteſt which originally roſe between Crothar and Conar, ſubſiſted afterwards between their poſterity, and was the foundation of the ſtory of the poem. 


From this circumſtance we may learn that the art of building with ſtone was not known in Ireland ſo early as the days of Crothar. When the colony were long ſettled in the country, the arts of civil life began to increaſe among them, for we find mention made of the towers of Atha in the time of Cathmor, which could not well be applied to wooden buildings. In Caledonia they began very early to build with ſtone. None of the houſes of Fingal, excepting Ti-foirmal, were of wood. Ti-foirmal was the great hall where the bards met to repeat their compoſitions annually, before they ſubmitted them to the judgment of the king in Selma. By ſome accident or other, this wooden houſe happened to be burnt, and an ancient bard, in the character of Oſſian, has left us a curious catalogue of the furniture which it contained. The poem is not juſt now in my hands, otherwiſe I would lay here a tranſlation of it before the reader. It has little poetical merit, and evidently bears the marks of a later period. 


Alnecma, or Alnecmacht, was the ancient name of Connaught. Ullin is ſtill the Iriſh name of the province of Ulſter. To avoid the multiplying of notes, I ſhall here give the ſignification of the names in this epiſode. Drumardo, high ridge. Cathmin, calm in battle. Con-lamha, ſoft hand. Turloch, man of the quiver. Cormul, blue eye.M. There is a hill in the immediate neighbourhood of Connor, which ſtill goes by the name of Drumardora. C. 


The delicacy here, with regard to Crothar, is proper. As he was the anceſtor of Cathmor, to whom the epiſode is addreſſed, the bard ſoftens his defeat by only mentioning that his people fled. Cathmor took the ſong of Fonar in an unfavourable light. The bards, being of the order of the Druids, who pretended to a foreknowledge of events, were ſuppoſed to have ſome ſupernatural preſcience of futurity. The king thought that the choice of Fonar's ſong proceeded from his foreſeeing the unfortunate iſſue of the war; and that his own fate was ſhadowed out in that of his anceſtor Crothar. The attitude of the bard after the reprimand of his patron is pictureſque and affecting. We admire the ſpeech of Cathmor, but lament the effect it has on the feeling ſoul of the good old poet. 


Borbar-Duthul, the ſurly warrior of the dark-brown eyes. That his name ſuited well with his character, we may eaſily conceive from the ſtory delivered concerning him by Malthos toward the end of the ſixth book. He was the brother of that Colculla who is mentioned in the epiſode which begins the fourth book. 


This reply abounds with the ſentiments of a noble mind. Though of all men living he was the moſt injured by Cairbar, yet he lays aſide his rage as the foe was low. How different is this from the behaviour of the heroes of other ancient poems? Cynthius aurem vellit. 


The morning of the ſecond day from the opening of the poem comes on. After the death of Cuthullin, Carril, the ſon of Kinfena, his bard, retired to the cave of Tura, which was in the neighbourhood of Moi-lena, the ſcene of the poem of Temora. His caſual appearance here enables Oſſian to fulfil immediately the promiſe he had made to Cathmor of cauſing the funeral ſong to be pronounced over the tomb of Cairbar. This book takes up only the ſpace of a few hours.