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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Ossian and Ossianic Poetry
From the ‘Poems of Ossian,’ by James Macpherson
ARGUMENT.—Fingal dispatched Ossian, and Toscar the son of Conloch and father of Malvina, to raise a stone on the banks of the stream of Crona, to perpetuate the memory of a victory which he had obtained in that place. When they were employed in that work, Car-ul, a neighboring chief, invited them to a feast. They went: and Toscar fell desperately in love with Colna-dona, the daughter of Car-ul. Colna-dona became no less enamored of Toscar. An incident at a hunting party brings their loves to a happy issue.

COL-AMON of troubled streams, dark wanderer of distant vales, I behold thy course, between trees, near Car-ul’s echoing halls! There dwelt bright Colna-dona, the daughter of the king. Her eyes were rolling stars; her arms were white as the foam of streams. Her breast rose slowly to sight, like ocean’s heaving wave. Her soul was a stream of light. Who among the maids was like the Love of Heroes?  1
  Beneath the voice of the king we moved to Crona of the streams,—Toscar of grassy Lutha, and Ossian, young in fields. Three bards attended with songs. Three bossy shields were borne before us; for we were to rear the stone, in memory of the past. By Crona’s mossy course, Fingal had scattered his foes; he had rolled away the strangers like a troubled sea. We came to the place of renown; from the mountains descended night. I tore an oak from its hill, and raised a flame on high. I bade my fathers to look down, from the clouds of their hall; for at the fame of their race they brighten in the wind.  2
  I took a stone from the stream, amidst the song of bards. The blood of Fingal’s foes hung curdled in its ooze. Beneath, I placed at intervals three bosses from the shields of foes, as rose or fell the sound of Ullin’s nightly song. Toscar laid a dagger in earth, a mail of sounding steel. We raised the mold around the stone, and bade it speak to other years.  3
  Oozy daughter of streams, that now art reared on high, speak to the feeble, O stone! after Selma’s race have failed! Prone, from the stormy night, the traveler shall lay him by thy side: thy whistling moss shall sound in his dreams; the years that were past shall return. Battles rise before him, blue-shielded kings descend to war; the darkened moon looks from heaven on the troubled field. He shall burst, with morning, from dreams, and see the tombs of warriors round. He shall ask about the stone, and the aged shall reply, “This gray stone was raised by Ossian, a chief of other years.”  4
  From Col-amon came a bard, from Car-ul, the friend of strangers. He bade us to the feast of kings, to the dwelling of bright Colna-dona. We went to the hall of harps. There Car-ul brightened between his aged locks, when he beheld the sons of his friends, like two young branches, before him.  5
  “Sons of the mighty,” he said, “ye bring back the days of old, when first I descended from waves, on Selma’s streamy vale! I pursued Duthmocarglos, dweller of ocean’s wind. Our fathers had been foes, we met by Clutha’s winding waters. He fled along the sea, and my sails were spread behind him. Night deceived me, on the deep. I came to the dwelling of kings, to Selma of high-bosomed maids. Fingal came forth with his bards, and Conloch, arm of death. I feasted three days in the hall, and saw the blue eyes of Erin, Ros-crána, daughter of heroes, light of Cormac’s race. Nor forgot did my steps depart: the kings gave their shields to Car-ul; they hang, on high, in Col-amon, in memory of the past. Sons of the daring kings, ye bring back the days of old!”  6
  Car-ul kindled the oak of feasts. He took two bosses from our shields. He laid them in earth, beneath a stone, to speak to the hero’s race. “When battle,” said the king, “shall roar, and our sons are to meet in wrath, my race shall look, perhaps, on this stone, when they prepare the spear. Have not our fathers met in peace? they will say, and lay aside the shield.”  7
  Night came down. In her long locks moved the daughter of Car-ul. Mixed with the harp arose the voice of white-armed Colna-dona. Toscar darkened in his place, before the love of heroes. She came on his troubled soul like a beam to the dark-heaving ocean, when it bursts from a cloud and brightens the foamy side of a wave….  8
          [Here an episode is entirely lost; or at least is handed down so imperfectly that it does not deserve a place in the poem.]

  With morning we awaked the woods, and hung forward on the path of the roes. They fell by their wonted streams. We returned through Crona’s vale. From the wood a youth came forward, with a shield and pointless spear. “Whence,” said Toscar of Lutha, “is the flying beam? Dwells there peace at Col-amon, round bright Colna-dona of harps?”
  “By Col-amon of streams,” said the youth, “bright Colna-dona dwelt. She dwelt; but her course is now in deserts, with the son of the king; he that seized with love her soul as it wandered through the hall.” “Stranger of tales,” said Toscar, “hast thou marked the warrior’s course? He must fall: give thou that bossy shield!” In wrath he took the shield. Fair behind it rose the breasts of a maid, white as the bosom of a swan, rising graceful on swift-rolling waves. It was Colna-dona of harps, the daughter of the king! Her blue eyes had rolled on Toscar, and her love arose!  10

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