James Macpherson Poems >>
Fragment III

Evening is grey on the hills. The
north wind resounds through the
woods. White clouds rise on the sky: the
trembling snow descends. The river howls
afar, along its winding course. Sad,
by a hollow rock, the grey-hair'd Carryl
sat. Dry fern waves over his head; his
seat is in an aged birch. Clear to the
roaring winds he lifts his voice of woe.

Tossed on the wavy ocean is He,
the hope of the isles; Malcolm, the
support of the poor; foe to the proud
in arms! Why hast thou left us behind?
why live we to mourn thy fate? We
might have heard, with thee, the voice
of the deep; have seen the oozy rock.

Sad on the sea-beat shore thy spouse
looketh for thy return. The time of
thy promise is come; the night is gathering
around. But no white sail is
on the sea; no voice is heard except
the blustering winds. Low is the soul
of the war! Wet are the locks of youth!
By the foot of some rock thou liest;
washed by the waves as they come.
Why, ye winds, did ye bear him on
the desert rock? Why, ye waves, did
ye roll over him?

But, Oh! what voice is that?
Who rides on that meteor of fire! Green
are his airy limbs. It is he! it is the
ghost of Malcolm!--Rest, lovely soul,
rest on the rock; and let me hear thy
voice!--He is gone, like a dream of
the night. I see him through the trees.
Daughter of Reynold! he is gone.
Thy spouse shall return no more. No
more shall his hounds come from the
hill, forerunners of their master. No
more from the distant rock shall his
voice greet thine ear. Silent is he in
the deep, unhappy daughter of Reynold!

I will sit by the stream of the plain.
Ye rocks! hang over my head. Hear
my voice, ye trees! as ye bend on the
shaggy hill. My voice shall preserve
the praise of him, the hope of the
isles.