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«* National Library of Scotland ■■jin B000157358*. V POEMS OF OSSIAN, IN THE ORIGINAL GAELIC, WITH A LITERAL TRANSLATION INTO LATIN, BY THE LATE ...»

-- [ Page 47 ] --

But if a hard contest be thy choice, Let us contend for Faineasollis.” She stood, and trembled by my side, He saw her, bent his bow, and kill’d.

“ Unerring,” I said, “ is thy hand, When thy enemy is not fierce.

On me turn thy spear and sword, “ My friends will match the rest.” We fought, nor feeble was the fight, Beneath my sword the warrior sunk in death We laid in their graves under two stones Both the lover, and the beloved.

We also laid the mighty warrior’s sword In the narrow house close to the shore.

And often have the bards raised their mournful voice For Faineasollis, who sleeps in her grave.

Free of pride I move over the heap, The brave I always held in great esteem, Horrid ever is the strife of blood, Which hews the warriors down.

O Oscar! such have I been in my youth, And continue thou in my way to old age;

Never search thou for hard battle, But shun it not, when it comes.

'

494 SUPPLEMENTAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE

ORIGINAL OF OSSIAN’S ADDRESS TO THE SUN IN CARTHON, REFERRED TO P. 475.

O ! THUSA fein a shiubh’las shuas Cruinn mar lan-scia chruai nan triath, Cia as tha do dhearsa gun ghruaim, Do sholus a ta buan a gbrian ?

Thig tbu ann ad'&ille tbrein, A's faluichi r^il uainn an trial!, A gealacb ga dubbadh san speur ’Ga death fein fo stuai san iar.

Tha thusa ann a d’astar amhkin, Co tha dana bhi na d’ choir ?

Tuiti darag o’n chruaich aird,

Tuiti earn fo aois, a’s scorr:

Trdghi,agus lionai ’n cuan, Falaichear shuas an reul san speur;

Tha thusa d’aon a chaoi fo bhuai An aoibhneas buan do sholuis fein.

’Nuair dhubhas m’an domhan stoirm Le torran borb, as dealan bearth’, Seallai tu na d’aille o ’n toirm Fiamhghair’ ort am bruailean nan sp&ur.

Ach dhomhsa tha do sholus faoin, ’S nach faic mi a chaoi do ghnuis, Sgaoileadh cuil as 6r-bhui ciabh Air aghai nan nial san ear, No ’nuair a chritheas anns an iar Le do dh$lrs$ ciar air lear.

’Smaith d’ fheudta gum bheil thu mar mi fein, AUTHENTICITY OF OSSIAN’S POEMS. 495

A LITERAL LATIN TRANSLATION BY ALEXANDER STEWART, A. M.

O ! tu ipse, qui ambulas supra, Rotundus instar pleni clypei duri principum, Unde est tuus fulgor immunis ferruginis, Tuum lumen quod est sempiternum, sol?

Venies tu in tu& pulchritudine eximia, Et abscondent stelke a nobis suos cursus, Decedet luna sine colore de ccelo, Condens se sub nubem in occidente.

Es tute in tuo itinere solus, Quis audet accedere ad te ?

Cadet quercus de monte alto, Cadet saxea moles sub senium, et scopulus ;

Decrescet et crescet oceanus, Celabitur supra luna in ccelo;

Es tu unicus semper triumphans Inter gaudia perennia tui luminis, Cum nigrescit circum mundum tempestas, Cum tonitru fero, et fulmine infesto, Aspicies tu in tua pulchritudine e murmure Subridens inter tumultus ccelorum.

At mihi est tua lux vana (inutilis), Quod non videam unquam tuum vultum, Seu spargas vertice tuos aureos capillos Per faciem nubilorum in oriente, Seu vibres in occidente, Ad tua claustra fusca super mare.

At potest fieri ut sis tu similis mihi,

495 SUPPLEMENTAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE

’S an am gu treun, ’sgun fheum air am, Ar blianai a tearna o ’n speur Ag siubhal le cheile gu ’n ceann.

Biodh aoibhneas ort fein a ghrian !

’S tu neartmhor, a thriath a’d’ oige, ’S bronach mi-thaitneach an aois, Mar ghealaich fhaoin san speur, A raith fo neul air a raon, ’S an liath-cheo air thaobh nan earn, An osag o thuath air an reth;

Fear siubhail fo bheud, ’s e mall.

Literal English Translation.

O! thou, that travellest above, round like the full-orbed hard shield of the mighty ! whence are thy beams without frown, thy light that is everlasting, O sun ? Thou comest forth in thy powerful beauty, and the stars hide their course, the moon pale-orbed retires from the sky, hiding herself under

a cloud in the west. Thou art in thy journey alone :

who dares approach thee ? The oak falls from the lofty mountain, the stony heap and the towering cliff sink under age ; the ocean ebbs and flows; the moon is hid above in the sky ; but thou alone art for ever victorious, continually rejoicing in thy own lio-ht. When the storm darkens round the world, with fierce thunder and piercing lightning, thou lookest in thy beauty from the noise, smiling amidst the tumult of the sky ! But to me thy light is in vain, for I can never see thy countenance, whether thou spreadest thy golden locks on the face of the AUTHENTICITY OF OSSIAN’s POEMS. 497 Nunc plurimum pollens, nunc inutilis, Nostri anni dilabantur de coelo Progredientes unA. ad suum finem.

Sit gaudium exhilerans te, o sol!

Dum tu sis viribus potens, o princeps, in tu& juventiL Est tristis et injucunda senectus, Similis lumini inani lunas in coelo, Cum ilia prospiciat e nubibus in campum, Et cana nebula insideat clivis montium, Flatus spiret a septemtrione per planitiem, Et viator obnoxius damno, et tardus.

English Translation continued.

clouds in the east, or tremblest in the west at thy dusky gates on the ocean. But perhaps thou art like myself, at one time mighty, at another feeble, our years sliding down from the skies, hastening together to their end. Rejoice then, O sun ! while thou art strong in thy youth. Sad and unpleasant is old age, like the vain light of the moon in the sky, when she looks from the clouds on the field, and grey mist is on the side of the hill; the blast from the north on the plain ; and the traveller distressed and slow.





–  –  –

There is every reason to believe that Selma, so often, mentioned in the poems of Ossian, as the principal residence of his father Fingal, was situate in that part of Argyleshire called Upper Lorn, on a green hill of an oblong form, which rises on the sea shore at equal distances from the mouths of the lakes Eire, and Creran. It is now called by the inhabitants of the place Dun-mhic Snitheachain, i. e. the fort of the son of Snitho; but by some of our historians Berigonium, and by them said to have once been the capitol of the kingdom of the Gaels, or Caledonians. On the top of this hill are still to be seen vestiges of extensive buildings, with fragments of the walls, bearing evident marks of fire, scattered along the sides of the hill; but it does not appear that the place had been at any period affected by a volcano, as some do think; seeing the remains of a circular edifice, which stood on that end of the hill further from the sea, have not the least tincture of fire : most of the stones of which have been carried away by the inhabitants of the adjacent farms for private use. Whatever had occasioned the fall of Selma, Ossian must have known it; for he had seen it, as will appear from his poems, when thousands feasted in its halls, and had also the misfortune to see it in ruins.

AUTHENTICITY OF OSSIAN’S POEMS. 499 The following passages from the poems of Ossian are descriptive of Selma, and its supposed situation, both before, and after its fall.

Sguir an t sealg, a’s choidil na feigh Fo dhubhar gheug air a choinich;

Thuit brat na hoiche air na sleibhte, A’s feisd aig seoid an Seallama.

Bha d&n, a’s d&n ann mar bu n6s, Bha sud ann a’s cedi nan cl&r, Le donnal chon am f& na greis O’n chreig fo ’n geal an tr&igh.

See Dr. Smith’s Ancient Poems. Dearg-mac Drui bheil, verse 17, 8$c.

Literal Translation.

The chase had ceased, and the deer slept Under the shadow of trees on the moss ;

The curtain of night descended on the hills, And heroes were feasting in Selma.

There was song after song, as the justom was, There was that and the music of harps, With the barking of dogs in the interval of action From the rock which rises over the white beach.

The white beach, mentioned in the last line, answers exactly the present aspect of the white sand which covers the shore around part of the hill on which Selma stood. The rock from which the dogs were heard to bark is here also; for that part of the hill, washed by the waves, is composed of rock, and rises almost perpendicular to the sea.

500 SUPPLEMENTAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE

But if this be not the rock alluded to in the poem, there is another rock within a few hundred yards of Selma, to which the description is equally applicable. It rises considerably higher than the former, and with a tremendous aspect threatens to crush the traveller, who steals along a narrow passage which art has opened between it and the sea. This rock is known to the inhabitants of the place by the name of Dunbhaleri, which being analyzed becomes Dun-bhaile-ri, i. e. the fort of the town of the king. From this rock to Selma, along the shore are to be seen traces of a causeway, which still goes under the name of Market-street.

An Seallama, ’n Taura, no ’n Tigh-mor-ri, Cha ’n eil slige, no bran, no cttrsach !

Tha iad uile nan tulachain uaine, ’San clachaibh nan cluainibh fein.

Cha ’n fhaic aineal o ’n lear no o ’n fhasach A haon diu ’sa bharr roi neul.

’Sa Sheallama, a theach mo ghaoil !

An e ’n torr so t’aos IMach, Far am bheil foghnan, fraoch, a’s fblach, Ri brbn fo shile na hoiche.

Dr. Smith's Ancient Poems. Death of Gaul, v. 33, fyc.

–  –  –

In Selma, in Taura, or Temora, There is no shell, nor song, nor harp !

They are all become green mounds ;

And their stones half sunk in their own meadows.

–  –  –

The stranger shall not behold from the sea, or desert, Any one of them lifting its head through the cloud.

And thou, Selma, house of my delight!

Is this heap thy old ruins, Where the thistle, the heath, and the rank grass Are mourning under the drop of night.

The description given of Selma, after its fall, in the third and fourth line of the preceding passage, corresponds exactly to the present appearance of the ruins of that place. The fourth line in particular describes the fragments of the walls, and loose stones, which, after rolling down the face of the hill, are now seen half sunk in the soft marshy ground that surrounds part of the place.

That Selma was situate nigh the sea, as has been said above, will appear from the passages which follow.

“ A chlann nan treunmor,” thuirt Carrul, “ Thug sibh laithe chaidh thairis nuas, “ Nuair thearnadh learn sios o thonna mara “ Air Selma nan darag ri stuaidh.” Gaolnandaoine, p. 200, v. 78, 8$c.

–  –  –

“ Sons of the mighty,” said Carrul, “Ye have brought back days that have passed, “ When I descended from the waves of the ocean, “ On Selma of the oaks bordering on the waves.”

502 SUPPLEMENTAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE

Chualas guth Uillin nan duan, Is emit Shelma mu ’n cromadh an cuan.

Carraigthura, p. 132, v. 509, ‘S’0*

–  –  –

What cloud has concealed in the hill The young beam of Selma of waves ?

A Shniobhain as glaise ciabh Siubhail gu Ard-bhein nan sliabh, Gu Selma mu ’n iadh an tonn.

Fingal, Duan III. p. 104, 41, fyc.

–  –  –

O Snivan of the greyest locks, Go to Ardven of hills, To Selma surrounded by the the wave.

Fingal, sitting beneath an oak, at the rock of Selma, and having discovered Connal just landing

from Ireland, spoke the following lines :

“ Fo dharaig,” so labhair an righ, “ Shuidh mi sios ri carraig nan sruth, AUTHENTICITY OF OSSIAN’s POEMS. 503 “ Nuair dh’eirich Connal thall o ’n chuan “ Le sleagh Charthuinn nan ciabh dubh.” Temora, Duan IV. p. 4b, v. 1, 8$c.

–  –  –

“ Beneath an oak,” thus spoke the king, “ 1 sat down by the rock of streams, or waves, “ When Connal rose opposite from the sea “ With the spear of Carthon of the dark locks.” Supposing Selma to be situate as above described, Connal must have landed somewhere about DunstafFanage; and that the place was then called Dunlora is highly probable, as Avill appear hereafter.

That Selma was situate on some eminence such as the hill already mentioned, and commanded a prospect of the sea, and of some of the islands, will appear evident from the following quotations.

Thainig mi gu talla an righ, Gu Selma nan lan bhroilleach oigh.

Thainig Fionnghal bu chorr le bhaird ;

Thainig Conlaoch lamh bibs nan ceud.

Tri laithe bha cuirm ’san ard.

Gaolnandaoine, p. 200, v. 9, fyc.

–  –  –

I came to the hall of the king, To Selma of high-bosomed maids.

Fingal the brave came forth with his bards;

Conloch came, hand of death to hundreds.

Three days we feasted in the high (place).

504 SUPPLEMENTAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE

–  –  –

His brave heros followed the king; [high place.

The feast of the generous shell was in the aird, or Mar so mhosgail guth nam bard N’uair thainig gu talla Shelma nan stuadh Mile solus a’losgadh mu ’n aird, Dealadh dealan am meadhon an t sluaigh.

Carthon, p. 148, v. 45, 8$c.

–  –  –

Thus did the voice of the bards awake, When they came to the hall of Selma of waves ;

A thousand lights were burning around the high place, Distributing their blaze amidst the people.

Chaidh ’n oiche thairis am fonn;

Dh’ eirich maduinn le solas c6rr;

Chunnacas monadh thar Hath cheann nan tonn;

An gorm chuan fo aoibhneas m6r;

Na stuaidh fo chobhar ag aomadh thall Mu charraig mhaoil bha fada uainn.

Carthon, p. 160, a. 201, 8$c.

–  –  –

The night passed away in song;

Morning arose in extreme joy;

Mountains were seen over the grey tops of the waves;

AUTHENTICITY OF OSSIAN’S POEMS. 505 The blue ocean moved in great gladness;

The tbam-covered waves were tumbling opposite Round a bare rock which rose at a great distance.



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