Notes on The Authenticity of Ossian's Poems

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Page 47 - MR. JAMES MACPHERSON, I received your foolish and impudent letter. Any violence offered me I shall do my best to repel ; and what I cannot do for myself, the law shall do for me. I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat, by the menaces of a ruffian.
Page 43 - The Scots have something to plead for their easy reception of an improbable fiction : they are seduced by their fondness for their supposed ancestors. A Scotchman must be a very sturdy SECOND SIGHT 177 moralist, who does not love Scotland better than truth : he will always love it better than inquiry ; and if falsehood flatters his vanity, will not be very diligent to detect it.
Page 39 - I assisted him in collecting them ; and took down from oral tradition, and transcribed from old manuscripts, by far the greatest part of those pieces he has published. Since the publication, I have carefully compared the translation with the copies of the originals in my hands, and find it amazingly literal, even in such a degree as to preserve, in some measure, the cadence of the Gaelic versification.
Page 43 - I believe they never existed in any other form than that which we have seen. The editor, or author, never could shew the original; nor can it be shewn by any other; to revenge reasonable incredulity, by refusing evidence, is a degree of insolence, with which the world is not yet acquainted ; and stubborn audacity is the last refuge of guilt.
Page 43 - He has doubtless inserted names that circulate in popular stories, and may have translated some wandering ballads, if any can be found ; and the names, and some of the images being recollected, make an inaccurate auditor imagine, by the help of Caledonian bigotry, that he has formerly heard the whole.
Page 15 - ... have been lucky enough to lay my hands on a pretty complete poem, and truly epic, concerning Fingal, The antiquity of it is easily ascertained, and it is not only superior to any thing in that language, but reckoned not inferior to the more polite performances of other nations in that way. I have some thoughts of publishing the original, if it will not clog the work too much.
Page 10 - I inquired the success of his journey, and he produced several volumes, small octavo, or rather large duodecimo, in the Gaelic language and characters, being the poems of Ossian and other ancient bards. "I remember perfectly...
Page 15 - I am favoured with your last letter, enclosing four poems, for which I am much obliged to you. I beg you send me what more you can conveniently.
Page 56 - WITHOUT increasing his genius, the author may have improved his language, in the eleven years that the following poems have been in the hands of the public. Errors in diction might have been committed at...
Page 11 - ... Every poem had its first letter of its first word most elegantly flourished and gilded; some red, some yellow, some blue, and some green : the material 'writ on seemed to be a limber, yet coarse and dark vellum : the volumes were bound in strong parchment : Mr. Macpherson had them from Clanranald. "At that time I could read the Gaelic characters, though with difficulty, and did often amuse myself with reading here and there in those poems, while Mr. Macpherson was employed on his translation....

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