Fragments Of Ancient Poetry, Fragment XII

A poem by James Macpherson

RYNO, ALPIN.

RYNO

The wind and the rain are over:
calm is the noon of day. The
clouds are divided in heaven. Over
the green hills flies the inconstant sun.
Red through the stony vale comes
down the stream of the hill. Sweet are
thy murmurs, O stream! but more
sweet is the voice I hear. It is the voice
of Alpin the son of the song, mourning
for the dead. Bent is his head of age,
and red his tearful eye. Alpin, thou
son of the song, why alone on the silent
hill? why complainest thou, as a
blast in the wood; as a wave on the
lonely shore?

ALPIN.

My tears, O Ryno! are for the dead;
my voice, for the inhabitants of the
grave. Tall thou art on the hill; fair
among the sons of the plain. But thou
shalt fall like Morar; and the mourner
shalt sit on thy tomb. The hills shall
know thee no more; thy bow shall lie in
the hall, unstrung.

Thou wert swift, O Morar! as a
doe on the hill; terrible as a meteor of
fire. Thy wrath was as the storm of
December. Thy sword in battle, as
lightning in the field. Thy voice was
like a stream after rain; like thunder
on distant hills. Many fell by thy
arm; they were consumed in the flames
of thy wrath.

But when thou returnedst from war,
how peaceful was thy brow! Thy face
was like the sun after rain; like the
moon in the silence of night; calm as
the breast of the lake when the loud
wind is laid.

Narrow is thy dwelling now; dark
the place of thine abode. With three
steps I compass thy grave, O thou who
wast so great before! Four stones with
their heads of moss are the only memorial
of thee. A tree with scarce a leaf,
long grass which whistles in the wind,
mark to the hunter's eye the grave of
the mighty Morar. Morar! thou art
low indeed. Thou hast no mother to
mourn thee; no maid with her tears of
love. Dead is she that brought thee
forth. Fallen is the daughter of Morglan.

Who on his staff is this? who is this,
whose head is white with age, whose
eyes are red with tears, who quakes
at every step?--It is thy father, O
Morar! the father of none but thee.
He heard of thy fame in battle; he heard
of foes dispersed. He heard of Morar's
fame; why did he not hear of his
wound? Weep, thou father of Morar!
weep; but thy son heareth thee not.
Deep is the sleep of the dead; low their
pillow of dust. No more shall he hear
thy voice; no more shall he awake at
thy call. When shall it be morn in the
grave, to bid the slumberer awake?

Farewell, thou bravest of men!
thou conqueror in the field! but the field
shall see thee no more; nor the dark
wood be lightened with the splendor of
thy steel. Thou hast left no son.
But the song shall preserve thy name.
Future times shall hear of thee; they
shall hear of the fallen Morar.

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