Imágenes de páginas

the middle ages, that we are indebted for the fullest developement of the character of Ossian as drawn by the Irish bards. This piece also, like the former, displays a glowing picture of the head and heart of the king of Morven, to whom, as the fair translator has remarked, every quality is attributed that is either interesting, amiable, or great”. The delineation, indeed, either of Ossian or his royal father, being precisely such as we find drawn in the poems translated by Macpherson, would answer the purpose which I have in view ; but as the character of the bard is, from the splendor of his genius, from his blindness, and his being the last of his race, perhaps still more endeared to us than that of the warrior, I shall confine myself principally to the picture which has been given us of the former. The saint and the poet are represented as usual, conversing familiarly together, when the latter exclaims with his customary courtesy,

O son of Calphruin s—sage divine ! Soft voice of heavenly song,

Whose notes around the holy shrine Sweet melody prolong;

* Reliques, p. 99.

Did e'er my tale thy curious ear
And fond attention draw,

The story of that chase to hear,
Which my famed father saw P

The chase, which singly o'er the plain,
The hero's steps pursued;

Nor one of all his valiant train
Its wond’rous progress view'd?

A query to which the holy anchorite replies,

O royal bard ' to valour dear,
Whom fame and wisdom grace,

It never was my chance to hear
That memorable chase.

But let me now, O bard, prevail!
Now let the song ascend;

And through the wonders of the tale,
May truth thy words attend

The insinuation which the saint here throws out against the veracity of the bard very naturally and very deservedly calls forth a rebuke, but delivered in a tone of energy and moral dignity which has seldom been surpassed: O Patrick! to the Finian race A falsehood was unknown ;

No lie, no imputation base
On our clear fame was thrown;

[ocr errors]

But by firm truth and manly might
That fame established grew,

Where oft, in honourable fight,
Our foes before us flew.

Not thy own clerks, whose holy fect
The sacred pavement trod,

With thee to hymn, in concert sweet,
The praises of thy God;

Not thy own clerks in truth excell'd
The heroes of our line,

By honour train'd, by fame impell'd
In glory's fields to shine !

O Patrick of the placid mien,
And voice of sweetest sound !

Of all thy church's walls contain
Within their hallow'd round,

Not one more faithful didst thou know
Than Comhal's noble son;

The chief who gloried to bestow
The prize the bards had won 1

Were Morni's" valiant son alive,
(Now in the deedless grave)

O could my wish from death revive
The generous and the bravel

* The celebrated Gaul Mac Mevrni, well known to the reader of Ossian's Poems. “Great as is Oisin's partiality,” remarks the translator, “in favour of the heroes of his own race, yet we find him, on all occasions, doing ample justice


Or Mac O'Dhuivne, graceful form,
Joy of the female sight;

The hero who would breast the storm,
And dare the unequal fight:

Or he whose sword the ranks defy'd,
Mac-Garra, conquest's boast,

Whose valour would a war decide,
His single arm an host.

Or could Mac-Roman now appear,
In all his manly charms;

Or, Oh my Osgar * ! wert thou here,
To fill my aged arms

Not then, as now, should Calphruin's son
His sermons here prolong;

With bells and psalms the land o'er-run,
And hum his holy song !

If Fergust lived, again to sing
As erst, the Fennii's fame;

Or Daire, who sweetly touch'd the string,
And thrill'd the feeling frame;

to the character and valour of a chief, who was not allied to
his family, and whose tribe had even, at different times, been
their very bitterest enemies.”—Reliques, p. 76, 77.
* Oscar the son of Ossian, who is said by the Irish bards
to have been killed at the battle of Gabhra.
t Fergus, one of the brothers of Ossian, and equally
celebrated in the poetical annals of Ireland for the gift of
song. He is beautifully and characteristically distinguished
in the poem of Magnus the Great, to whom he had been sent

Your bells, for me, might sound in vain,
Did Hugh the little live;

Or Fallan's generous worth remain,
The ceaseless boon to give;

Or Conan bald, though oft his tongue
To rage provoked my breast,

Or Finn's small dwarf, whose magic song
Oft lull'd the ranks to rest.

Sweeter to me their voice would seem
Than thy psalm-singing train;

And nobler far their lofty theme,
Than that thy clerks maintain :

This recollection of his departed friends and compatriots in arms is, if we except a few modern allusions, precisely in the spirit of almost innumerable passages in the Scottish Ossian, and blended too with the same sense of conscious superiority on the part of the unhappy bard. The lofty character, however, of Oisin's retort seems to have

by Fingal, to inquire the motive of his landing with an hostile intention. Having replied to the insolent language of Magnus with great but dignified courtesy, the poet tells us,

Mild Fergus then, his errand done,
Return'd with wonted grace ;
His mind, like the unchanging sun,
Still beaming in his face.
RELIQUEs, p. 47.-

« AnteriorContinuar »