Goethe also translated "the songs of Selma" (Gesänge von Selma) of Ossian, which he included in the Werther novel. The songs of Selma begins with an address to the evening star ("Star of descending night! fair is the light in the west!") and narrates of the days "when the king heard the music of harps, and the chiefs gathered from all their hills and heard the lovely sound."
Why does Ossian sing? Soon shall he lie in the narrow house, and no bard shall raise his fame! Roll on ye dark brown years; ye bring no joy on your course! Let the tome open to Ossian, for his strength has failed. The sons of song are gone to rest. My voice remains, like a blast, that roars, lonely on a sea-surrounded rock, after the winds are laid. The dark moss whistles there; the distant mariner sees the waving trees.
The moment of highest emotional intensity in the novel is preceded by Werther reading aloud from the poems to Lotte, which produces torrents of tears and an emotional embrace, followed by a farewell. Not long thereafter, Werther prepares for his suicide.
I love the painting at the top of this post, Ossian Sings His Swan Song. It is by the Danish artist Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard (1743-1809). Interestingly, Abildgaard became familiar with Ossian as a pictorial subject in Rome, where he was a friend of Henry Fuseli, Bodmer's disciple.
Picture credit: Thaumazein