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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Death-Song of Ossian
Ossian and Ossianic Poetry
 
          But now the subject may fittingly be taken leave of in the ‘Death-Song of Ossian,’—a song familiar throughout Gaeldom in a score of forms. Here the rendering of Macpherson is given, as not only beautiful in itself, and apt to the chief singer of ancient Gaels, but also as conveying something of the dominant spirit which permeates the Ossianic ballads and poems and prose romances, from the days when the earliest Fian bards struck their clarsachs (rude harps) to the latest of the Ossianic chroniclers of to-day, the poet of ‘The Wanderings of Usheen’ (W. B. Yeats):—


SUCH were the words of the bards in the days of song; when the king heard the music of harps, the tales of other times! The chiefs gathered from all their hills, and heard the lovely sound. They praised the Voice of Cona! the first among a thousand bards! But age is now on my tongue; my soul has failed! I hear at times the ghosts of the bards, and learn their pleasant song. But memory fails on my mind. I hear the call of years! They say, as they pass along, Why does Ossian sing? Soon shall he lie in the narrow house, and no bard shall raise his fame! Roll on, ye dark-brown years; ye bring no joy on your course! Let the tomb open to Ossian, for his strength has failed. The sons of song are gone to rest. My voice remains, like a blast that roars lonely on a sea-surrounded rock, after the winds are laid. The dark moss whistles there; the distant mariner sees the waving trees!
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