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(1) This scene is solemn. The poet always places his chief chara&er amidst objećts which favour the sublime. The face of the country, the night, the broken remains of a defeated army, and , above all, the attitude and filence of Fingal himself, are circumstances calculated to impress an awful idea on the mind. Ossian is most successful in his nightdescriptions. Dark images suited the melancholy temper of his mind. His poems were all composed after the aëtive part of his life was over , when he was blind , and had survived all the companions of his youth : we therefore find a veil of melan

choly thrown over the whole. , - >

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It was but very lately that the authority of the laws extended to the Highlands. Before that time the clans were governed, in civil affairs, not by the verbal commands of the chief, but by what they called Clechda , or the traditional precedents of

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their ancestors. When differences happened between individuals , some of the oldest men in the tribe were chosen umpires between the parties, to decide according to the Clechda. The chief interposed his authority, and , invariably Nenforced the decision. In their wars, which were frequent , on account of family-feuds , the chief was less reserved in the execution of his authority, and even then he seldom extended it to \the taking the life of any of his tribe, No crime was capital, except murder, and that was very unfrequent in the highlands No corporal punishment, of any kind , was inflićted. The memory of an affront of this sort would remain , for ages in a family, and they would seize every opportunity to be revenged , unless it came immediately from the hands of the chief himself; in that case it was taken , rather as a fatherly correčtion , than a legal punishment for offences.

(1) This rock of Cormul is often mentioned in the preceding part of the poem. It was on it Fingal and Offian stood to view the battle. The custom of retiring from the army, on the night prior to their engaging in battle , was universal among the

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bending in rest is the king : he gathers battles in

his soul, Fly, son of the stranger ; with morn he

shall rush abroa i. When , or by whom , this poem

was writ , is uncertain. It has much of the spirit

of the ancient composition of the Scotish bards ;

and seems to be a close imitation of the manner

of Ossian.

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