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few fragments of them in the hands of the translator. Tradition has still preferved, in "many places, the story of the poems, and many now living have heard them”.
in their youth, repeated. , N
The complete work, now printed, would, in a fhort time , have fhared the fate of the rest. - The genius of the highlanders has fuffered a great change within thefe few years. The communication with the rest of the ifland is open, and the introdustion of trade and manufaćtures has destroyed that leifure, which was formerly dedicated to hearing and repeating the poems of ancient times. Many have now learned to leave their meuman, and feek their fortunes in a milder climate; and though a certain amor patriæ inay fometimes bring theın back, they have, during their absence, imbibed enough of foreign manners, to despife the customs of their ancestors, Bards have been long difused, and the pirit of genealogy has greatly fubfided. Men begin to be lefs devoted to their chiefs, and confanguinity is not fo much regarded. When property is established, the human mind confine its views to the pleasure it procur
es. It does not go back to antiquity, or look forward
to fucceeding ages. The cares of life increafe, and the
astions of other times no longer amufe. Hence it is, &o 1 (b) 5 that
that the tafte for their ancient poetry is at a low ebb among the highlanders. They have not, however, thrown off the good qualities of their ancestors. Hospitality still fubfilts, and an uncommon civility to strangers, Friendship is inviolable, and revenge less blindly followed than formerly.
To fpeak of the poetical merit of the poems, would be an anticipation on the judgment of the public: And all that can be fid of the translation, is, that it is literal, and that fimplicity is studied. The arrangement of the words in the original is initated, and the inversions of the style observed. As the translator claims no merit from his verfion, he hopes for the indulgence of the public, where he fails. He wishes, that the imperfest feinblance he draws, may not prejudice the world against an original, which contains what is beau
tiful in finplicity, and grand in the fublime.
- A N A N S W E R T O Mr. Shaw's Inquiry POEMs afcribed to ossIAN,
BY JOHN CLARK,
TRANSLAToR oF THE CALEDοNIAN BARDs, AND MEMBER oF THE SoCIETY OF ScoTs ANTIQựARIES,
T:. Authenticity of Offian's Poems, and even the Excellency of ancient Irish or Highland - Poetry, having been contested, ever fince their first appearance in the Public: the Editor of this fecond German Edition of Offian's VWorks, to the preceeding Disfertation of the Translator has joined the latest Apology of a learned Highlander; who has beft defended that noble caufe against the mockery of a miferable Highlander, whose treafon has been fo much boasted by those, who would envy to the noble ancient Nation even that prerogative of bei
the mother of the :::: š:
Poet. * * * * |