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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

II. Scottish: Prologue to Gaul

By Celtic Literature

From the ‘Sean Dana,’ or Ancient Poems, collected, or rather written (from oral legendary lore and ballads), by Dr. John Smith, late in the eighteenth century

HOW mournful is the silence of Night

When she pours her dark clouds over the valleys!

Sleep has overcome the youth of the chase:

He slumbers on the heath, and his dog at his knee.

The children of the mountain he pursues

In his dream, while sleep forsakes him.

Slumber, ye children of fatigue;

Star after star is now ascending the height.

Slumber! thou swift dog and nimble—

Ossian will arouse thee not from thy repose.

Lonely I keep watch,—

And dear to me is the gloom of night

When I travel from glen to glen,

With no hope to behold a morning or brightness.

Spare thy light, O Sun!

Waste not thy lamps so fast.

Generous is thy soul as the King of Morven’s:

But thy renown shall yet fade;—

Spare thy lamps of a thousand flames

In thy blue hall, when thou retirest

Under thy dark-blue gates to sleep,

Beneath the dark embraces of the storm.

Spare them, ere thou art forsaken for ever,

As I am, without one whom I may love!

Spare them,—for there is not a hero now

To behold the blue flame of the beautiful lamps!

Ah, Cona of the precious lights,

Thy lamps burn dimly now:

Thou art like a blasted oak:

Thy dwellings and thy people are gone

East or west; on the face of thy mountain,

There shall be no more found of them but the trace!

In Selma, Tara, or Temora

There is not a song, a shell, or a harp;

They have all become green mounds;

Their stones have fallen into their own meadows;

The stranger from the deep or the desert

Will never behold them rise above the clouds.

And O Selma! home of my delight,

Is this heap my ruin,

Where grows the thistle, the heather, and the wild grass?