Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

. I have now gone over the whole of what Mr. Shaw calls his stubborn facts; and no troop, I believe, ever displayed less fortitude in the day of battle. I have not hitherto refted the merits of the question on the insufficiency of his arguments; nor on his gross ignorance of Celtic, and even English grammar: but I have charged himn with avowedly publishing falsehoods, knowing them to be such. I have confined myself to the leading points of the question; for to drag forward every untruth, would be nearly a republication of his pamphlet. The personal animosities subsisting between the trans. lator of Offian and Dr. Johnson concerns not the merits of the present controversy; altho' I am convinced, it drew its exsistence from that circumstance alone. '

ca

So much for Mr. Shaw's faéts; we shall next give a few fpecimens of his arguments.

“The bison, a species of wild cow, the pesculiar native of the forests and mountains of “Scotland, although now exstinet, was certainly “coinmon in those days; yet no mention is maride of it.” P. 27.

I would

I would be very glad to know, how, Mr. Shaw came to learn, that the bison was the pe. culiar native of Scotland, more than of other countries. ; ...Y '. :;:.

Since our Inquirer has not been able to prove the poems of Ollian spurious, froin what they do contain, he endeavours to effect his purpose, from what they do not contain; and asserts, that they must be an imposition, be. cause they contain not a list of all the beasts of the field. He has lately published a Dictionary i about four times the price of all the poeins translated by Mr. Macpherson ; yet it contains not one third of the language the very word in question is not there. ..in

" The next infallible mark of imposition is, that "Hunting the wild boar is not mentioned.”

The assertion, however, is not true. Hunte ing the wild boar is often mentioned in poems in my possession, which go by the naine of Ollian, though not in those translated by Mr. Macpherson. From these two detections , however, Mr. Shaw rears his crest with an ostentatious confidence, and concludes the victory to be decided in his own favour.

· "It

"It were too much to suppofe, that the Hauthor' could be fo happy as to succeed in "every thing, and make the deception complex ste. In an impofture, a man cannot shut every savenue to detection. However, it has succeeded

far enough; a variety of editions have been "fold; and the author has acquired credit by “bis ingenuity. That was the great defe ssderatum. I, however, envy it not. "O grant me honest fame, ar grant me none !P.28. . . . . .

,'s If any one, personally acquainted with Mr. Shaw, çan 'read the last line' with gravity, he has obtained a command over his muscles, which I have not been able to acquire.

“Thither (to the Highlands) the author "went; to see the face of the country, and the "cappearances of nature; besides that, he was "born and lived long in the mountains and val. "leys : Hence that seriousness which pervades “the whole', and which is so familiar to every "Highlander; and is cne great reason, why "every one of them is soʻ ready to believe the “Poeins' authentic.” P. 29.

Our Inquirer has here acknowledged, what 'he has every - where else denied that the

Highlanders believed the Poems authentic. Se riousness is here said to be familiar to every Highlander - I believe it: But how a serious man comes to be easier imposed upon j than one void of refleétion, is not quite so clear. i

"Any Englishman may go down and see "these phenomena in the elements and face of "the country; of which he may lay up a num.

ber, and write , when he comes home, poetry «of the same nature.” P. 29.

If any Englishman can write poems equal to those of Oslian, it is remarkable, that not one Englishman, or Scotchman has ever produe ced one stanza as a specimen, except those who haye avowedly translated them from the Gaelice I am sure, Mr. Shaw will heartily join with me in saying, that the English and the inhabitants of the Low Country are far more learned than the modern Highlanders, who, he says himself, are at this day only emerged from a state of nature; that they have the advantage of the English being their mother tongue, which the Highlanders are obliged to study from books, as a foreign language: yet, with all these ad. vantages, I call upon Mr. Shaw, to produce

one

one piece, composed by one of them, equat even to the translations of the Poems of Ossian.

“I remember, when I travelled that country three years ago, to have sat down on a - "hill; and, the scene being favourable, in a

"poetic mood, I jingled together upon paper, "with suitable invented Gaelic names, the epi. “thets of blue - eyed, meek - eyed, mildly - looking, "white-bofomed, dark- brown locks, noble , gene"gous, valiant, tears, Spears, darts, hearts, hiris, squivers, bows, arrows, helmets , steel, streams, torrents, noble deeds, other times, bards, chiefs, "forms, fongs, &c. and produced a little poein, “which reads "pretty smoothly; and, if I had “a mind to publish it, it would be no difficult smarter to persuade some people, I had transslated it from the Gaelic.” P. 30.

This is the first time, that ever I heard of Mr. Shaw's being in a poetic mood; and the offspring of that mood is just what I would have looked for, “a jingle suitable” to the exfpectations of any person acquainted with Mr. Shaw's poetical abilities. This jingle, however, we are told, reads pretty smoothly: pretriness and smoothness, to be sure, are very necessary

qua.

« PreviousContinue »