Poetry Corner: Croma

Poet James MacPherson died on 17th of February 1796.

James MacPherson

James MacPherson by Joshua Reynolds (National Portrait Gallery) PD-Art

Born on 27 October 1736 in Ruthven, Inverness-shire he was a writer, poet, literary collector, translator and politician.

He published  ‘Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books’, composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, and  translated from the Gaelic Language. These poems became influential in the development of the Romantic literary movement in Scotland and in Europe. It is now thought that he himself was ‘Ossian’.  You can read more about him here. James MacPherson Undiscovered Scotland


The people gather to the hall! The shells of the feast are heard. Ten harps are strung; five bards advance, and sing, by turns, the praise of Ossian; they poured forth their burning souls, and the string answered to their voice. The joy of Croma was great; for peace returned to the land. The night came on with silence; the morning returned with joy. No foe came in darkness with his glittering spear. The joy of Croma was great; for the gloomy Rothmar had fallen!

I raised my voice for Fovargormo, when they laid the chief in earth. The aged Crothar was there, but his sigh was not heard. He searched for the wound of his son, and found it in his breast. Joy rose in the face of the aged. He came and spoke to Ossian. “King of spears!” he said, “my son has not fallen without his fame. The young warrior did not fly; but met death as he went forward in his strength. Happy are they who die in youth, when their renown is heard! The feeble will not behold them in the hall; or smile at their trembling hands. Their memory shall be honored in song; the young tear of the virgin will fall. But the aged wither away by degrees; the fame of their youth, while yet they live, is all forgot. They fall in secret. The sigh of their son is not heard. Joy is around their tomb; the stone of their fame is placed without a tear. Happy are they who die in their youth, when their renown is around them!”

Ossian and Malvina

Ossian und Malvina by Johann Peter Krafft

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