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country, and manners, we are prepared to expect a more plaintive and continued strain of melancholy thought. In no instance, however, does this degenerate into fretfulness or imbecility; on the contrary, a dignified and philosophic resignation is every where mingled with the most pathetic expression of his sufferings and sorrows; and we never lose sight of those awful, majestic, and affecting features, which spring from the almost unparalleled union of the bard, the hero, and the prince, with the pressure of years and the infliction of blindness.
It is thus, that the old age of Ossian is in itself, singularly entitled to our sympathy and veneration. But it is rendered beyond measure, striking and picturesque, when viewed in conjunction with the youthful and affectionate companion of his darksome way.
Fallen from his high estate, blind, forlorn, and silvered over with age, we behold the once mighty minstrel of Morven, leaning on the arm of the beautiful Malvina; she who had loved the noble son with a pure and constant affection, and now found her greatest pleasure in ministering to the wants of his father.
There is nothing, indeed, in the history of human affection, more hallowed and more lovely, than the various representations which are given us in the works of Ossian, of the intercourse subsisting between the aged poet and his youthful attendant; they are, in short, exquisite lessons of mutual charity and kindness, and they place both characters in the mos interesting points of view. What, for instance, can pourtray the feeling heart and benevolent consideration of the good old bard in a more delightful manner than the following passage, where, forgetful of his own misfortunes, he is represented as endeavouring to soothe the too poignant regret of his gentle companion, whom he overhears thus lamenting the untimely death of Oscar.
"Thou dwellest in the soul of Malvina, son of mighty Ossian! My sighs arise with the beam of the east; my tears descend with the drops of night. I was a lovely tree in thy presence, Oscar, with all my branches round me; but thy death came like a blast from the desert, and laid my green head low. The spring returned with its showers; no leaf of mine arose !
The virgins saw me silent in the hall; they touched the harp of joy. The tear was on the cheek of Malvina; the virgins beheld me in my grief. Why art thou sad? they said; thou first of the maids of Lutha! Was he lovely as the beam of morning, and stately in thy sight?"
Much as we may suppose these strains of sorrow to have agonised the paternal breast of Ossian, he suppresses his own emotions out of commiseration for the sufferings of his companion; and he endeavours to divert her attention, by relating some of his former heroic achievements.
"Pleasant is thy song in Ossian's ear, daughter of streamy Lutha! Thou hast heard the music of departed bards in the dream of thy rest, when sleep fell on thine eyes, at the murmur of Moruth. When thou didst return from the chace in the day of the sun, thou has heard the music of bards, and thy song is lovely! It is lovely, O Malvina! but it melts the soul. There is a joy in grief when peace dwells in the breast of the sad. But sorrow wastes the mournful! O daughter of Toscar! and their days are few! They fall away, like the
flower on which the sun hath looked in his strength after the mildew has passed over it, when its head is heavy with the drops of night. Attend to the tale of Ossian, O maid! He remembers the days of his youth !” *
With this lovely and consolatory picture of the blind old bard, with youth and beauty, and affection as his guide, I wish to close the present essay, reserving what the subject of this and the preceding paper on the Grecian poet may have further to suggest, until the mighty name of Milton comes before us.
See the opening of Croma; Ossian, vol. i. pp. 127, 128.
In resuming the consideration of Sir Thomas Brown's RELIGIO MEDICI, I think it necessary again to press upon the mind of the reader, that I have been induced to select thus copiously from the work, in consequence of the disparity which exists amongst the materials made use of for its construction. A lofty enthusiasm, and almost boundless eccentricity of thought, an irrepressible fervour of imagination, and a never satiated desire for penetrating into the deepest and most awful recesses of nature, have frequently led this great but singular writer into discussions placed far beyond the reach of human comprehension. And when he descends