MORVEN and MIRUNA from OSSIAN

MORVEN and MIRUNA
from
OSSIAN [1] 

Dark is the night, tempestuous howls the blast,
And down the mountain roars the torrent fast;
Whence are those sounds of sweet, but saddest woe?
Whence doth that melody of sorrow flow?
On yon dark hill of storm, all lonely laid,5
Behold Miruna the white-bosom'd maid!
Fair as the showery bow which mildly shone
In the soft splendour of the setting Sun,
Or as the Moon, when calm she rears her head,
A silver radiance o'er the lake to shed,10
Lovely as morn, and gentle as the breeze
That fans the humid Spring from perfum'd trees;
See how her shadowy tresses unconfin'd
In wild luxuriance float upon the wind,
Now veil her neck, now sport upon her face,15
And half conceal the beauties they should grace,
But terror heaves beneath that breast of snow,
And down her vermeil cheek soft sorrows flow,
For hither, by her Morven urg'd to come,
Alone & timid she had left her home,20
For him she waits in terror & dismay,
Confus'd & wondering at his long delay,
For ere the Western hills the sun conceal'd
Or yon tall cliffs the rising moon reveal'd,
She vow'd to meet him, and escape the ire25
Of her stern brother, & relentless sire;
But sad the evening frown'd involved in clouds,
And night descending all in horror shrouds.
She calls in trembling accents on her love
Who lur'd her thus a fugitive to rove,30
The trembling accents all her fears confess,
And sadder sighs her agony express.
"Rise lovely Cynthia! mistress of the night!
Let not these envious clouds obscure thy light,
Oh! with thy friendly lustre guide my feet,35
Where Morven roams his wandering love to meet.
Let thy soft beams his graceful form illume,
And chase the horrors of this night of gloom.
Forlorn, unheard, beneath the beating rain,
I call my lingering love alas! in vain.40
Drear howls the wind, the mountain torrents roar,
But Morven's promis'd voice I hear no more,
Hush, hush ye winds! ye roaring torrents cease,
And lull awhile your stormy rage to peace.
Let but my feeble voice be heard around,45
My Lover's heart shall hail from far the sound!
And lo! in pity at my woe from high,
The gracious moon looks forth & calms the sky,
The whiten'd rocks reflect her silver light,
The mountain streams, & flooded vales look bright:50
From Ardvon's windy steep I gaze around,
And breathless listen to each mingled sound,
But Ah! no form of love dispels my fear,
No panting dogs proclaim my Morven near!
I see the destin'd spot, the mossy seat,55
The stream that swell'd rolls foaming at my feet,
The pointed rock, the storm-bent oak is here,
Chief of the hill! my promis'd lord appear!
But who are those, who in the distant vale
Lie on the heath? my frighted spirits fail;60
Bear me my trembling feet! yet, yet sustain
This sinking body to yon dreadful plain!
Is this my brother! this my Morven! say
Dear images of terror & dismay?
Ah speak my friend! revive my fleeting breath,65
Call back my soul from horror & from death!
Oh no! they speak no more! both, both are dead!
Lo! their blood-stain'd swords, deep gash'd & red;
Oh horror, horror! terrible your rage,
Against each other why did you engage?70
Dear cruel youths! ah whither can I fly?
The wretched cause of all these horrors I.
Sweet were your lives; untimely must they end?
Silent & cold, my brother, & my friend!
Dear were you both to this now widow'd heart,75
Ah why should ancient feuds such spirits part?
Long had our race been foes ere thou, brave youth,
Had plighted with my secret soul thy truth.
Yet, yet upon yon misty brow appear,
Shades of the dead! Miruna feels no fear!80
In mercy speak, Oh tell my soul distrest
Where do your reconciled spirits rest?
On what dark coast can I my brother find.
Where can I now be to my Morven join'd?
Alas! I see no lightly hovering form,85
No voice like theirs low murmurs thro' the storm.
Rear, rear the tomb, ye virgins of the grove,
Lay me between my brother, & my love!
Here raise it high for these your country's pride,
And lay Miruna by her heroes side.90
Close it not yet! this heart still beats with life,
But cannot long support this painful strife.
I come my Morven! murder'd spouse I come!
Receive Miruna at thy new found home!"
She spoke, & sunk upon the breathless clay,95
Then in mute sorrow sigh'd her soul away,
Her tender soul resigned the faithful breath,
There rest the youths, & hapless maid in death.
On the sad spot they rear the silent tomb,
And still each gentle heart deplores their doom;100
High on yon rock beside the mossy stream
Her form oft rises 'mid the moon's pale beam,
There oft she sings in softly plaintive sounds,
There mourns her Morven's and her brother's wounds.
The shepherd hears her from the pasture plains,105
And fearless listens to the heav'nly strains,
Soft as the sounds which swell the evening gale,
When Autumn whispers in the rustling vale;
The wearied huntsman views her from afar,
Deck'd with mild lustre like the evening star,110
But when the blasts arise, or morn draws near,
Or trembling mortal owns a coward fear,
As into air dissolves the melting lay,
And the light vision vanishes away --

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Morven and Miruna from Ossian" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. It provides a verse narration of the story of Colma and Salgar (here Miruna and Morven) sung by Minona in "The Songs of Selma" section of James Macpherson's Poems of Ossian (1760-1775):

Minona came forth in her beauty: with downcast look and tearful eye. Her hair flew slowly on the blast, that rushed unfrequent from the hill. The souls of the heroes were sad when she raised the tuneful voice; for often had they seen the grave of Salgar, and the dark dwelling of white-bosomed Colma. Of Colma left alone on the hill, with all her voice of music! Salgar promised to come: but the night descended round. Hear the voice of Colma, when she sat alone on the hill.

Colma. It is night, I am alone, forlorn on the hill of storms. The wind is heard on the mountain. The torrent shrieks down the rock. No hut receives me from the rain; forlorn on the hill of winds.

Rise, moon! from behind thy clouds; stars of the night appear! Lead me, some light, to the place where my love rests from the toil of the chase! his bow near him, unstrung; his dogs panting around him. But here I must sit alone, by the rock of the mossy stream. The stream and the wind roar; nor can I hear the voice of my love. Why delays my Salgar, why the son of the hill, his promise? Here is the rock, and the tree; and here the roaring stream. Thou didst promise with night to be here. Ah! whither is my Salgar gone? With thee I would fly, my father; with thee, my brother of pride. Our race have long been foes; but we are not foes, O Salgar!

Cease a little while, O wind! stream, be thou silent a while! let my voice be heard over the heath; let my wanderer hear me. Salgar! it is I who call. Here is the tree, and the rock. Salgar, my love! I am here. Why delayest thou thy coming? Lo! the moon appeareth. The flood is bright in the vale. The rocks are gray on the face of the hill. But I see him not on the brow; his dogs before him tell not that he is coming. Here I must sit alone.

But who are these that lie beyond me on the heath? Are they my love and my brother? Speak to me, O my friends! they answer not. My soul is tormented with fears. Ah! they are dead. Their swords are red from the fight. O my brother! my brother! why hast thou slain my Salgar? why, O Salgar! hast thou slain my brother? Dear were ye both to me! what shall I say in your praise? Thou wert fair on the hill among thousands; he was terrible in fight. Speak to me; hear my voice, sons of my love! But alas! they are silent; silent forever! Cold are their breasts of clay! Oh! from the rock of the hill: from the top of the windy mountain, speak ye ghosts of the dead! speak, I will not be afraid. Whither are ye gone to rest? In what cave of the hill shall I find you? No feeble voice is on the wind; no answer half-drowned in the storms of the hill.

I sit in my grief; I wait for morning in my tears! Rear the tomb, ye friends of the dead. Close it not till Colma come. My life flies away like a dream: why should I stay behind? Here shall I rest with my friends, by the stream of the sounding rock. When night comes on the hill; when the wind is on the heath; my ghost shall stand in the wind, and mourn the death of my friends. The hunter shall hear from his booth. He shall fear but love my voice. For sweet shall my voice be for my friends: for pleasant were they both to me.

Such was thy song, Minona, softly-blushing maid of Torman. Our tears descended for Colma, and our souls were sad.

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