James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


The Poems of Ossian









A Poem.




IT may not be improper here to give the ſtory which is the foundation of this poem as it is handed down by tradition. Uſnoth, lord of Etha, which is probably that part of Argyllſhire which is near Loch Eta, an arm of the ſea in Lorn, had three ſons, Nathos, Althos, and Ardan, by Sliſſáma, the daughter of Semo, and ſiſter to the celebrated Cuthullin. The three brothers, when very young, were ſent over to Ireland by their father to learn the uſe of arms under their uncle Cuthullin, who made a great figure in that kingdom. They were juſt landed in Ulſter when the news of Cuthullin's death arrived. Nathos, though very young, took the command of Cuthullin's army, made head againſt Cairbar the uſurper, and defeated him in ſeveral battles. Cairbar at laſt having found means to murder Cormac the lawful king, the army of Nathos ſhifted ſides, and he himſelf was obliged to return into Ulſter, in order to paſs over into Scotland.

Dar-thula, the daughter of Colla, with whom Cairbar was in love, reſided at that time in Seláma, a caſtle in Ulſter. She ſaw, fell in love, and fled with Nathos; but, a ſtorm riſing at ſea, they were unfortunately driven back on that part of the coaſt of Ulſter where Cairbar was encamped with his army. The three brothers, after having defended themſelves for ſome time with great bravery, were overpowered and ſlain, and the unfortunate Dar-thula killed herſelf upon the body of her beloved Nathos.

The poem opens on the night preceding the death of the ſons of Uſnoth, and brings in by way of epiſode what paſſed before. It relates the death of Dar-thula differently from the common tradition; this account is the moſt probable, as ſuicide ſeems to have been unknown in thoſe early times: for no traces of it are found in the old poetry.



DAUGHTER of heaven, fair art thou! the ſilence of thy face is pleaſant! Thou comeſt forth in lovelineſs. The ſtars attend thy blue courſe in the eaſt. The clouds rejoice in thy preſence, O moon! They brighten their dark-brown ſides. Who is like thee in heaven, light of the ſilent night? The ſtars are aſhamed in thy preſence. They turn away their ſparkling eyes. Whither doſt thou retire from thy courſe, when the darkneſs of thy countenance grows? Haſt thou thy hall, like Oſſian? Dwelleſt thou in the ſhadow of grief? Have thy ſiſters fallen from heaven? Are they who rejoiced with thee, at night, no more? Yes! they have fallen, fair light! and thou doſt often retire to mourn. But thou thyſelf ſhall fail, one night; and leave thy blue path in heaven. The ſtars will then lift their heads: they, who were aſhamed in thy preſence, will rejoice. Thou art now clothed with thy brightneſs. Look from thy gates in the ſky. Burſt the cloud, O wind! that the daughter of night may look forth! that the ſhaggy mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its white waves, in light.

Nathos 1) is on the deep, and Althos, that beam of youth. Ardan is near his brothers. They move in the gloom of their courſe. The ſons of Uſnoth move in darkneſs, from the wrath of Cairbar 2) of Erin. Who is that, dim by their ſide? The night has covered her beauty! Her hair ſighs on ocean's wind. Her robe ſtreams in duſky wreaths. She is like the fair ſpirit of heaven in the midſt of his ſhadowy miſt. Who is it but Dar-thula, 3) the firſt of Erin's maids? She has fled from the love of Cairbar, with blue-ſhielded Nathos. But the winds deceive thee, O Dar-thula! They deny the woody Etha, to thy ſails. Theſe are not the mountains of Nathos; nor is that the roar of his climbing waves. The halls of Cairbar are near: the towers of the foe lift their heads! Erin ſtretches its green head into the ſea. Tura's bay 4) receives the ſhip. Where have ye been, ye ſouthern winds! when the ſons of my love were deceived? But ye have been ſporting on plains, purſuing the thiſtle's beard. O that ye had been ruſtling in the ſails of Nathos, till the hills of Etha aroſe! till they aroſe in their clouds, and ſaw their returning chief! Long haſt thou been abſent, Nathos! the day of thy return is paſt!

But the land of ſtrangers ſaw thee lovely! thou waſt lovely in the eyes of Dar-thula. Thy face was like the light of the morning. Thy hair like the raven's wing. Thy ſoul was generous and mild, like the hour of the ſetting ſun. Thy words were the gale of the reeds; the gliding ſtream of Lora! But when the rage of battle roſe, thou waſt a ſea in a ſtorm. The clang of thy arms was terrible: the hoſt vaniſhed at the ſound of thy courſe. It was then Dar-thula beheld thee, from the top of her moſſy tower: from the tower of Seláma, 5) where her fathers dwelt.

“Lovely art thou, O ſtranger!” ſhe ſaid, for her trembling ſoul aroſe. “Fair art thou in thy battles, friend of the fallen Cormac! 6) Why doſt thou ruſh on in thy valour, youth of the ruddy look? Few are thy hands in fight, againſt the dark-browed Cairbar! O that I might be freed from his love! 7) that I might rejoice in the preſence of Nathos! Bleſt are the rocks of Etha! they will behold his ſteps at the chaſe! they will ſee his white boſom, when the winds lift his flowing hair!” Such were thy words, Dar-thula, in Seláma's moſſy towers. But now, the night, is around thee. The winds have deceived thy ſails. The winds have deceived thy ſails, Dar-thula! Their bluſtering ſound is high. Ceaſe a little while, O north wind! let me hear the voice of the lovely. Thy voice is lovely, Dar-thula, between the ruſtling blaſts!

“Are theſe the rocks of Nathos?” ſhe ſaid. “This the roar of his mountain-ſtreams? Comes that beam of light from Uſnoth's nightly hall? The miſt ſpreads around; the beam is feeble and diſtant far. But the light of Dar-thula's ſoul dwells in the chief of Etha! Son of the generous Uſnoth, why that broken ſigh? Are we in the land of ſtrangers, chief of echoing Etha?”

“Theſe are not the rocks of Nathos,” he replied, “nor this the roar of his ſtreams. No light comes from Etha's halls, for they are diſtant far. We are in the land of ſtrangers, in the land of cruel Cairbar. The winds have deceived us, Dar-thula. Erin here lifts her hills. Go towards the north, Althos; be thy ſteps, Ardan, along the coaſt: that the foe may not come in darkneſs, and our hopes of Etha fail.” “I will go towards that moſſy tower, to ſee who dwells about the beam. Reſt, Dar-thula, on the ſhore! reſt in peace, thou lovely light! the ſword of Nathos is around thee, like the lightning of heaven!”

He went. She ſat alone; ſhe heard the rolling of the wave. The big tear is in her eye. She looks for returning Nathos. Her ſoul trembles at the blaſt. She turns her ear towards the tread of his feet. The tread of his feet is not heard. “Where art thou, ſon of my love! The roar of the blaſt is around me. Dark is the cloudy night. But Nathos does not return. What detains thee, chief of Etha? Have the foes met the hero in the ſtrife of the night?”

He returned, but his face was dark. He had ſeen his departed friend. It was the wall of Tura. The ghoſt of Cuthullin ſtalked there alone. The ſighing of his breaſt was frequent. The decayed flame of his eyes was terrible! His ſpear was a column of miſt. The ſtars looked dim through his form. His voice was like hollow wind in a cave: his eye a light ſeen afar. He told the tale of grief. The ſoul of Nathos was ſad, like the ſun in the day of miſt, when his face is watery and dim.

“Why art thou ſad, O Nathos?” ſaid the lovely daughter of Colla. “Thou art a pillar of light to Dar-thula. The joy of her eyes is in Etha's chief. Where is my friend, but Nathos? My father, my brother is fallen! Silence dwells on Seláma. Sadneſs ſpreads on the blue ſtreams of my land. My friends have fallen with Cormac. The mighty were ſlain in the battles of Erin. Hear, ſon of Uſnoth! hear, O Nathos! my tale of grief.

Evening darkened on the plain. The blue ſtreams failed before mine eyes. The unfrequent blaſt came ruſtling, in the tops of Seláma's groves. My ſeat was beneath a tree, on the walls of my fathers. Truthil paſſed before my ſoul, the brother of my love; he that was abſent in battle, againſt the haughty Cairbar. Bending on his ſpear, the grey-haired Colla came. His downcaſt face is dark, and ſorrow dwells in his ſoul. His ſword is on the ſide of the hero: the helmet of his fathers on his head. The battle grows in his breaſt. He ſtrives to hide the tear.

›Dar-thula, my daughter,‹ he ſaid, ›thou art the laſt of Colla's race! Truthil is fallen in battle. The chief of Seláma is no more! Cairbar comes, with his thouſands towards Seláma's walls. Colla will meet his pride, and revenge his ſon. But where ſhall I find thy ſafety, Dar-thula with the dark-brown hair! thou art lovely as the ſun-beam of heaven, and thy friends are low!‹ ›Is the ſon of battle fallen?‹ I ſaid, with a burſting ſigh. ›Ceaſed the generous ſoul of Truthil to lighten through the field? My ſafety, Colla, is in that bow. I have learned to pierce the deer. Is not Cairbar, like the hart of the deſert, father of fallen Truthil?‹

The face of age brightened with joy. The crowded tears of his eyes poured down. The lips of Colla trembled. His grey beard whiſtled in the blaſt. ›Thou art the ſiſter of Truthil,‹ he ſaid; ›thou burneſt in the fire of his ſoul. Take, Dar-thula, take that ſpear, that brazen ſhield, that burniſhed helm: they are the ſpoils of a warrior, a ſon of early youth! When the light riſes on Seláma, we go to meet the car-borne Cairbar. But keep thou near the arm of Colla, beneath the ſhadow of my ſhield. Thy father, Dar-thula, could once defend thee; but age is trembling on his hand. The ſtrength of his arm has failed. His ſoul is darkened with grief.‹

We paſſed the night in ſorrow. The light of morning roſe. I ſhone in the arms of battle. The grey-haired hero moved before. The ſons of Seláma convened, around the ſounding ſhield of Colla. But few were they in the plain, and their locks were grey. The youths had fallen with Truthil, in the battle of car-borne Cormac. ›Friends of my youth!‹ ſaid Colla, ›it was not thus you have ſeen me in arms. It was not thus I ſtrode to battle, when the great Confadan fell. But ye are laden with grief. The darkneſs of age comes like the miſt of the deſert. My ſhield is worn with years! my ſword is fixed 8) in its place! I ſaid to my ſoul: Thy evening ſhall be calm; thy departure like a fading light. But the ſtorm has returned. I bend like an aged oak. My boughs are fallen on Seláma. I tremble in my place. Where art thou, with thy fallen heroes, O my beloved Truthil! Thou anſwereſt not from thy ruſhing blaſt. The ſoul of thy father is ſad. But I will be ſad no more, Cairbar or Colla muſt fall! I feel the returning ſtrength of my arm. My heart leaps at the ſound of war.‹

The hero drew his ſword. The gleaming blades of his people roſe. They moved along the plain. Their grey hair ſtreamed in the wind. Cairbar ſat at the feaſt, in the ſilent plain of Lona. 9) He ſaw the coming of the heroes. He called his chiefs to war. Why 10) ſhould I tell to Nathos, how the ſtrife of battle grew? I have ſeen thee in the midſt of thouſands, like the beam of heaven's fire: it is beautiful, but terrible; the people fall in its dreadful courſe. The ſpear of Colla flew. He remembered the battles of his youth. An arrow came with its ſound. It pierced the hero's ſide. He fell on his echoing ſhield. My ſoul ſtarted with fear. I ſtretched my buckler over him: but my heaving breaſt was ſeen! Cairbar came with his ſpear. He beheld Seláma's maid. Joy roſe on his dark-brown face. He ſtayed the lifted ſteel. He raiſed the tomb of Colla. He brought me weeping to Seláma. He ſpoke the words of love, but my ſoul was ſad. I ſaw the ſhields of my fathers; the ſword of car-borne Truthil. I ſaw the arms of the dead; the tear was on my cheek. Then thou didſt come, O Nathos! and gloomy Cairbar fled. He fled like the ghoſt of the deſert before the morning's beam. His hoſt was not near: and feeble was his arm againſt thy ſteel! Why art thou ſad, O Nathos!” ſaid the lovely daughter of Colla.

“I have met,” replied the hero, “the battle in my youth. My arm could not lift the ſpear when danger firſt aroſe. My ſoul brightened in the preſence of war, as the green narrow vale when the ſun pours his ſtreamy beams, before he hides his head in a ſtorm. The lonely traveller feels a mournful joy. He ſees the darkneſs that ſlowly comes. My ſoul brightened in danger before I ſaw Seláma's fair; before I ſaw thee, like a ſtar, that ſhines on the hill, at night: the cloud advances, and threatens the lovely light! We are in the land of foes. The winds have deceived us, Dar-thula! The ſtrength of our friends is not near, nor the mountains of Etha. Where ſhall I find thy peace, daughter of mighty Colla! The brothers of Nathos are brave! and his own ſword has ſhone in fight. But what are the ſons of Uſnoth to the hoſt of dark-browed Cairbar! O that the winds had brought thy ſails, Oſcar 11) king of men! Thou didſt promiſe to come to the battles of fallen Cormac! Then would my hand be ſtrong, as the flaming arm of death. Cairbar would tremble in his halls, and peace dwell round the lovely Dar-thula. But why doſt thou fall, my ſoul? The ſons of Uſnoth may prevail!”

“And they will prevail, O Nathos!” ſaid the riſing ſoul of the maid. “Never ſhall Dar-thula behold the halls of gloomy Cairbar. Give me thoſe arms of braſs, that glitter to the paſſing meteor. I ſee them dimly in the dark-boſomed ſhip. Dar-thula will enter the battle of ſteel. Ghoſt of the noble Colla! do I behold thee on that cloud? Who is that dim beſide thee? Is it the car-borne Truthil? Shall I behold the halls of him that ſlew Seláma's chief? No: I will not behold them, ſpirits of my love!”

Joy roſe in the face of Nathos, when he heard the white-boſomed maid. “Daughter of Seláma! thou ſhineſt along my ſoul. Come, with thy thouſands, Cairbar! the ſtrength of Nathos is returned! Thou, O aged Uſnoth! ſhall not hear that thy ſon has fled. I remember thy words on Etha; when my ſails began to riſe: when I ſpread them towards Erin, towards the moſſy walls of Tura!” “Thou goeſt,” he ſaid, “O Nathos, to the king of ſhields! Thou goeſt to Cuthullin, chief of men, who never fled from danger. Let not thine arm be feeble: neither be thy thoughts of flight; leſt the ſon of Semo ſhould ſay that Etha's race are weak. His words may come to Uſnoth, and ſadden his ſoul in the hall.” The tear was on my father's cheek. He gave this ſhining ſword!

“I came to Tura's bay: but the halls of Tura were ſilent. I looked around, and there was none to tell of the ſon of generous Semo. I went to the hall of ſhells, where the arms of his fathers hung. But the arms were gone, and aged Lamhor 12) ſat in tears. ›Whence are the arms of ſteel?‹ ſaid the riſing Lamhor. ›The light of the ſpear has long been abſent from Tura's duſky walls. Come ye from the rolling ſea? or from Temora's 13) mournful halls?‹”

“We come from the ſea,” I ſaid, “from Uſnoth's riſing towers. We are the ſons of Slis-ſáma, 14) the daughter of car-borne Semo. Where is Tura's chief, ſon of the ſilent hall? But why ſhould Nathos aſk? for I behold thy tears. How did the mighty fall, ſon of the lonely Tura?” “He fell not,” Lamhor replied, “like the ſilent ſtar of night, when it flies through darkneſs and is no more. But he was like a meteor that ſhoots into a diſtant land. Death attends its dreary courſe. Itſelf is the ſign of wars. Mournful are the banks of Lego; and the roar of ſtreamy Lara! There the hero fell, ſon of the noble Uſnoth!” “The hero fell in the midſt of ſlaughter,” I ſaid, with a burſting ſigh. “His hand was ſtrong in war. Death dimly ſat behind his ſword.”

We came to Lego's ſounding banks. We found his riſing tomb. His friends in battle are there: his bards of many ſongs. Three days we mourned over the hero: on the fourth, I ſtruck the ſhield of Caithbat. The heroes gathered around with joy, and ſhook their beamy ſpears. Corlath was near with his hoſt, the friend of car-borne Cairbar. We came like a ſtream by night. His heroes fell before us. When the people of the valley roſe, they ſaw their blood with morning's light. But we rolled away, like wreaths of miſt, to Cormac's echoing hall. Our ſwords roſe to defend the king. But Temora's halls were empty. Cormac had fallen in his youth. The king of Erin was no more!

Sadneſs ſeized the ſons of Erin. They ſlowly, gloomily retired: like clouds that, long having threatened rain, vaniſh behind the hills. The ſons of Uſnoth moved, in their grief, towards Tura's ſounding bay. We paſſed by Seláma. 15) Cairbar retired like Lano's miſt, when it is driven before the winds. It was then I beheld thee, O Dar-thula! like the light of Etha's ſun. “Lovely is that beam!” I ſaid. The crowded ſigh of my boſom roſe. “Thou cameſt in thy beauty, Dar-thula, to Etha's mournful chief. But the winds have deceived us, daughter of Colla, and the foe is near!”

“Yes, the foe is near,” ſaid the ruſhing ſtrength of Althos. 16) “I heard their clanging arms on the coaſt. I ſaw the dark wreaths of Erin's ſtandard. Diſtinct is the voice of Cairbar. 17) Loud as Cromla's falling ſtream. He had ſeen the dark ſhip on the ſea, before the duſky night came down. His people watch on Lena's plain. They lift ten thouſand ſwords.” “And let them lift ten thouſand ſwords,” ſaid Nathos, with a ſmile. “The ſons of car-borne Uſnoth will never tremble in danger! Why doſt thou roll with all thy foam, thou roaring ſea of Erin? Why do ye ruſtle on your dark wings, ye whiſtling ſtorms of the ſky? Do ye think, ye ſtorms, that ye keep Nathos on the coaſt? No: his ſoul detains him, children of the night! Althos! bring my father's arms: thou ſeeſt them beaming to the ſtars. Bring the ſpear of Semo. 18) It ſtands in the dark-boſomed ſhip!”

He brought the arms. Nathos covered his limbs, in all their ſhining ſteel. The ſtride of the chief is lovely. The joy of his eyes was terrible. He looks towards the coming of Cairbar. The wind is ruſtling in his hair. Dar-thula is ſilent at his ſide. Her look is fixed on the chief. She ſtrives to hide the riſing ſigh. Two tears ſwell in her radiant eyes!

“Althos,” ſaid the chief of Etha, “I ſee a cave in that rock. Place Dar-thula there. Let thy arm, my brother, be ſtrong. Ardan! we meet the foe; call to battle gloomy Cairbar. O that he came in his ſounding ſteel, to meet the ſon of Uſnoth! Dar-thula! if thou ſhalt eſcape, look not on the fallen Nathos! lift thy ſails, O Althos! towards the echoing groves of my land.

Tell the chief 19) that his ſon fell with fame; that my ſword did not ſhun the fight. Tell him I fell in the midſt of thouſands. Let the joy of his grief be great. Daughter of Colla! call the maids to Etha's echoing hall! let their ſongs ariſe for Nathos, when ſhadowy autumn returns. O that the voice of Cona, that Oſſian, might be heard in my praiſe! then would my ſpirit rejoice in the midſt of the ruſhing winds.” “And my voice ſhall praiſe thee, Nathos, chief of the woody Etha! The voice of Oſſian ſhall riſe in thy praiſe, ſon of the generous Uſnoth! Why was I not on Lena, when the battle roſe? Then would the ſword of Oſſian defend thee; or himſelf fall low!”

We ſat, that night, in Selma, round the ſtrength of the ſhell. The wind was abroad, in the oaks. The ſpirit of the mountain 20) roared. The blaſt came ruſtling through the hall, and gently touched my harp. The ſound was mournful and low, like the ſong of the tomb. Fingal heard it the firſt. The crowded ſighs of his boſom roſe. “Some of my heroes are low,” ſaid the grey-haired king of Morven. “I hear the ſound of death on the harp. Oſſian, touch the trembling ſtring. Bid the ſorrow riſe; that their ſpirits may fly with joy to Morven's woody hills!” I touched the harp before the king; the ſound was mournful and low. “Bend forward from your clouds,” I ſaid, “ghoſts of my fathers! bend. Lay by the red terror of your courſe. Receive the falling chief; whether he comes from a diſtant land, or riſes from the rolling ſea. Let his robe of miſt be near; his ſpear that is formed of a cloud. Place an half-extinguiſhed meteor by his ſide, in the form of the hero's ſword. And, oh! let his countenance be lovely, that his friends may delight in his preſence. Bend from your clouds,” I ſaid, “ghoſts of my fathers! bend!”

Such was my ſong, in Selma, to the lightly-trembling harp. But Nathos was on Erin's ſhore, ſurrounded by the night. He heard the voice of the foe, amidſt the roar of tumbling waves. Silent he heard their voice, and reſted on his ſpear. Morning roſe, with its beams. The ſons of Erin appear, like grey rocks, with all their trees, they ſpread along the coaſt. Cairbar ſtood in the midſt. He grimly ſmiled when he ſaw the foe. Nathos ruſhed forward, in his ſtrength: nor could Dar-thula ſtay behind. She came with the hero, lifting her ſhining ſpear. “And who are theſe, in their armour, in the pride of youth? Who but the ſons of Uſnoth, Althos and dark-haired Ardan?”

“Come,” ſaid Nathos, “come! chief of high Temora! Let our battle be on the coaſt, for the white-boſomed maid. His people are not with Nathos; they are behind theſe rolling ſeas. Why doſt thou bring thy thouſands againſt the chief of Etha? Thou didſt fly 21) from him in battle, when his friends were around his ſpear.” “Youth of the heart of pride, ſhall Erin's king fight with thee? Thy fathers were not among the renowned, nor of the kings of men. Are the arms of foes in their halls? Or the ſhields of other times? Cairbar is renowned in Temora, nor does he fight with feeble men!”

The tear ſtarted from car-borne Nathos. He turned his eyes to his brothers. Their ſpears flew at once. Three heroes lay on earth. Then the light of their ſwords gleamed on high. The ranks of Erin yield; as a ridge of dark clouds before a blaſt of wind. Then Cairbar ordered his people, and they drew a thouſand bows. A thouſand arrows flew. The ſons of Uſnoth fell in blood. They fell like three young oaks, which ſtood alone on the hill. The traveller ſaw the lovely trees, and wondered how they grew ſo lonely: the blaſt of the deſert came by night, and laid their green heads low; next day he returned, but they were withered, and the heath was bare.

Dar-thula ſtood in ſilent grief, and beheld their fall. No tear is in her eye. But her look is wildly ſad. Pale was her cheek. Her trembling lips broke ſhort an half-formed word. Her dark hair flew on wind. The gloomy Cairbar came. “Where is thy lover now? the car-borne chief of Etha? Haſt thou beheld the halls of Uſnoth? or the dark-brown hills of Fingal? My battle would have roared on Morven, had not the winds met Dar-thula. Fingal himſelf would have been low, and ſorrow dwelling in Selma!” Her ſhield fell from Dar-thula's arm. Her breaſt of ſnow appeared. It appeared; but it was ſtained with blood. An arrow was fixed in her ſide. She fell on the fallen Nathos, like a wreath of ſnow. Her hair ſpreads wide on his face. Their blood is mixing round.

“Daughter of Colla! thou art low!” ſaid Cairbar's hundred bards. “Silence is at the blue ſtreams of Seláma. Truthil's 22) race have failed. When wilt thou riſe in thy beauty, firſt of Erin's maids? Thy ſleep is long in the tomb. The morning diſtant far. The ſun ſhall not come to thy bed and ſay, ›Awake, Dar-thula! awake, thou firſt of women! the wind of ſpring is abroad. The flowers ſhake their heads on the green hills. The woods wave their growing leaves.‹ Retire, O ſun! the daughter of Colla is aſleep. She will not come forth in her beauty. She will not move in the ſteps of her lovelineſs!”

Such was the ſong of the bards, when they raiſed the tomb. I ſung over the grave, when the king of Morven came; when he came to green Erin to fight with car-borne Cairbar.





Nathos ſignifies youthful; Ailthos, exquiſite beauty; Ardan, pride. 


Cairbar, who murdered Cormac king of Ireland and uſurped the throne. He was afterwards killed by Oſcar the ſon of Oſſian in a ſingle combat. The poet upon other occaſions gives him the epithet of red-haired. 


Dar-thula, or Dart-'huile, a woman with fine eyes. She was the moſt famous beauty of antiquity. To this day, when a woman is praiſed for her beauty, the common phraſe is that ſhe is as lovely as Dar-thula, the Iriſh Deirdrê. 


Some part of that arm of the ſea is doubtleſs meant which is known as Belfaſt Lough – Carrickfergus Bay – Tura – being generally the place of landing from the oppoſite coaſt of Morven. C. 


The word ſignifies either beautiful to behold, or a place with a pleaſant or wide proſpect. In early times they built their houſes upon eminences to command a view of the country, and to prevent their being ſurpriſed: many of them on that account were called Seláma. The famous Selma of Fingal is derived from the ſame root. 


Cormac, the young king of Ireland, who was privately murdered by Cairbar. 


That is, of the love of Cairbar. 


It was the cuſtom of ancient times that every warrior at a certain age, or when he became unfit for the field, fixed his arms in the great hall where the tribe feaſted upon joyful occaſions. He was afterwards never to appear in battle; and this ſtage of life was called the time of fixing of the arms. 


Lona, a marſhy plain. Cairbar had juſt provided an entertainment for his army upon the defeat of Truthil, the ſon of Colla, and the reſt of the party of Cormac, when Colla and his aged warriors arrived to give him battle. 


The poet, by an artifice, avoids the deſcription of the battle of Lona, as it would be improper in the mouth of a woman, and could have nothing new, after the numerous deſcriptions of that kind in the reſt of the poems. He at the ſame time gives an opportunity to Dar-thula to paſs a fine compliment on her lover. 


Oſcar, the ſon of Oſſian, had long reſolved on the expedition into Ireland againſt Cairbar, who had aſſaſſinated his friend Cathol, the ſon of Moran, an Iriſhman of noble extraction, and in the intereſt of the family of Cormac. 


Lamh-mhor, mighty hand. 


Temora was the reſidence of the ſupreme kings of Ireland. It is here called mournful on account of the death of Cormac, who was murdered there by Cairbar who uſurped his throne. 


Slis-ſeamha, ſoft boſom. She was the wife of Uſnoth, and daughter of Semo the chief of the iſle of miſt. 


His nephews on their return moved towards «Tura's ſounding bay – they paſſed by Seláma!» It was on their way along the Lough. 


Althos had juſt returned from viewing the coaſt of Lena, whither he had been ſent by Nathos the beginning of the night. 


Cairbar had gathered an army to the coaſt of Ulſter in order to oppoſe Fingal, who prepared for an expedition into Ireland to re-eſtabliſh the houſe of Cormac on the throne which Cairbar had uſurped. Between the wings of Cairbar's army was the Bay of Tura, into which the ſhip of the ſons of Uſnoth was driven; ſo that there was no poſſibility of their eſcaping. 


Semo was grandfather to Nathos by the mother's ſide. The ſpear mentioned here was given to Uſnoth on his marriage, it being the cuſtom then for the father of the lady to give his arms to his ſon-in-law. 




By the ſpirit of the mountain is meant that deep and melancholy ſound which precedes a ſtorm; well known to thoſe who live in a high country. 


He alludes to the flight of Cairbar from Seláma. 


Truthil was the founder of Dar-thula's family.