survive storms and the spears of their foes, and perform a few
heroic deeds, and then
"Mounds will answer questions of them,
For many future years."
Blind and infirm, they spend the remnant of their days listening
to the lays of the bards, and feeling the weapons which laid
their enemies low, and when at length they die, by a convulsion
of nature, the bard allows us a short and misty glance into
futurity, yet as clear, perchance, as their lives had been. When
Mac-Roine was slain,
"His soul departed to his warlike sires,
To follow misty forms of boars,
In tempestuous islands bleak."
The hero's cairn is erected, and the bard sings a brief
significant strain, which will suffice for epitaph and biography.
"The weak will find his bow in the dwelling,
The feeble will attempt to bend it."
Compared with this simple, fibrous life, our civilized history
appears the chronicle of debility, of fashion, and the arts of
luxury. But the civilized man misses no real refinement in the
poetry of the rudest era. It reminds him that civilization does
but dress men. It makes shoes, but it does not toughen the soles
of the feet.