James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


Fragments of Ancient Poetry

Collected in the Highlands of Scotland










SAD! I am ſad indeed: nor ſmall my cauſe of woe!—Kirmor, thou haſt loſt no ſon; thou haſt loſt no daughter of beauty. Connar the valiant lives; and Annir the faireſt of maids. The boughs of thy family flouriſh, O Kirmor! but Armyn is the laſt of his race.

RISE, winds of autumn, riſe; blow upon the dark heath! ſtreams of the mountains, roar! howl, ye tempeſts, in the trees! walk through broken clouds, O moon! ſhow by intervals thy pale face! bring to my mind that ſad night, when all my children fell; when Arindel the mighty fell; when Daura the lovely died.

DAURA, my daughter! thou wert [p.51] fair; fair as the moon on the hills of Jura; white as the driven ſnow; ſweet as the breathing gale. Armor renowned in war came, and fought Daura's love; he was not long denied; fair was the hope of their friends.

EARCH ſon of Odgal repined; for his brother was ſlain by Armor. He came diſguiſed like a ſon of the ſea: fair was his ſkiff on the wave; white his locks of age; calm his ſerious brow. Faireſt of women, he ſaid, lovely daughter of Armyn! a rock not diſtant in the ſea, bears a tree on its ſide; red ſhines the fruit afar. There Armor waiteth for Daura. I came to fetch his love. Come, fair daughter of Armyn!

SHE went; and ſhe called on Armor. Nought anſwered, but the ſon of the rock. Armor, my love! my love! [p.52] why tormenteſt thou me with fear? come, graceful ſon of Arduart, come; it is Daura who calleth thee!—Earch the traitor fled laughing to the land. She lifted up her voice, and cried for her brother and her father. Arindel! Armyn! none to relieve your Daura?

HER voice came over the ſea. Arindel my ſon deſcended from the hill; rough in the ſpoils of the chace. His arrows rattled by his ſide; his bow was in his hand; five grey dogs attended his ſteps. He ſaw fierce Earch on the ſhore; he ſeized and bound him to an oak. Thick fly the thongs of the hide around his limbs; he loads the wind with his groans.

ARINDEL aſcends the ſurgy deep in his boat, to bring Daura to the land. Armor came in his wrath, and let fly the grey-feathered ſhaft. It ſung; it [p.53] ſunk in thy heart, O Arindel my ſon! for Earch the traitor thou diedſt. What is thy grief, O Daura, when round thy feet is poured thy brother's blood!

THE boat is broken in twain by the waves. Armor plunges into the ſea, to reſcue his Daura or die. Sudden a blaſt from the hill comes over the waves. He ſunk, and he roſe no more.

ALONE, on the ſea-beat rock, my daughter was heard to complain. Frequent and loud were her cries; nor could her father relieve her. All night I ſtood on the ſhore. All night I heard her cries. Loud was the wind; and the rain beat hard on the ſide of the mountain. Before morning appeared, her voice was weak. It died away, like the evening-breeze among the graſs of the rocks. Spent with grief ſhe expired. O lay me ſoon by her ſide. [p.54]

WHEN the ſtorms of the mountain come; when the north lifts the waves on high; I ſit by the ſounding ſhore, and look on the fatal rock. Often by the ſetting moon I ſee the ghoſts of my children. Indiſtinct, they walk in mournful conference together. Will none of you ſpeak to me?—But they do not regard their father.