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poems, translated by Mr. Jones, inquiry is made; "To whom belongs the square "grave, with the four stones on its cor"ners?—It is the grave of Madoc, the "fierce knight."
Numberless other passages, equally similar in thought and expression, might be produced, from authors entirely ignorant of each other's writings; besides, many of Mr. Laing's pretended similitudes, are so faint, and far fetched, as to be scarcely perceptible. Any ingenious person, by picking, as he does occasionally, a few words from different places, and tacking them together, might form innumerable such immitations. A thinking man must perceive, that men's actions, ideas, modes of composition, are, ever have been, and always will continue the same: for, as the wise man says, "The thing that hath been, is that "which shall be done: and there is no new "thing under the sun."
The book of nature is equally obvious and familiar to all mankind. It affords the
very very same idea to the contemplative mind. Supposing the works of Homer had reached us, a poet describing the onset of two armies, would naturally compare them to waves dashing against the shores, or the violence of two streams foaming and mixing together. The cries of the combatants could not but remind him of the noise occasioned by these boisterous elements, or the roaring sound that a strong tempestuous wind makes in the trees of a forest.
"One of those sources of detection on which "Mr. Laing peculiarly insists," says my anonymous assistant, "and where his reasonings seem "particularly plausible, is the imitations he has "discovered in the address to the sun, in the "poem of Carthon. That the majestic appear"ance of the sun in the firmament should have "excited similar ideas in the minds of Milton "and Ossian; and that these two poets, being "both old and blind, should have expressed "their feelings in nearly the same terms—might "perhaps be believed without any great stretch "of credulity. Our author, however, having "discovered these similarities, urges it as an ir"resistible proof, that Macpherson pilfered the
"leading "leading ideas from Milton, and completed his "address with other plagiarisms, which Mr. *' Laing adduces. We are happy on this occa"sion to be able to produce the original of this "address, taken down from the mouths of per"sons who had it from their ancestors, and who "had committed it to memory before Macpher"son was in existence. A copy of this address "in Gaelic was taken down from the mouth of "an old man in Glenlyon (a glen in the nor"them part of Perthshire) by the Rev. James "Macdiarmid of Weem, in the year 1765. "Another copy of it was taken down by a Cap"tain Morris, from the mouth of an old man in *' the Isle of Sky, in the year 1763; and was by "Captain Morris given to the Rev. Alexander "Irvine of Ranoch. Both the old men had "committed this poem to memory in their "younger years. These two copies, taken down "by persons unknown to each other, from the "mouths of persons equally unacquainted, and "living at a great distance of place, we have "compared, and found to correspond almost "exactly: we give the one taken down by Cap"tain Morris, without the least variation, to the "public. The beauty and melody of the ver"sification appear unequalled to those acquainted "with the language. As our readers may feel a "curiosity to compare the original copy with the
"translation "translation of Macpherson, we have given a "version of the Gaelic word for word; the beauty "of the original is thus greatly obscured, but the "fidelity of that translator will appear conspi"cuous:—
"O Ussa it in a shiubhlas suas, "Cruinn mar lan-sciath chruaidh nan Triath, "Cia as ata do dhearsa gun ghruaim? "Do sholus atha buan, a Ghrian!
"Thig thu mach na d'aille threin "A's faluichidh na Reill an triall; "Theid Gealach gun tuar on speur "'G a death fein fuidh stuaigh san iar. "Tha thussa na d' astar amhain, "Co tha dana bhi na d'choir? "Tuitidh darag bho'n chruaich aird, "Tuitidh earn fui' aois a's scorr; "Traighidh a's lionaigh an cuan, "Caillear shuas an Re san speur; "Thussa a d'aon a chaoi fui' bhuaigh "An eibhneas do sholuis fein!
"Nuair a dhubhas mu'n domhan stoirm, "Le Torruinn borb a's Dealan hearth, "Seallaidh tu na d'aille o'n toirm, "Fiamh ghaire am bruaillean nan speur.
"Dhomhsa tha do sholus faoin, "'S nach faic mi a chaoi do ghnuis! "Scaoilidh cul is 6r-bhui ciabh "Air aghaidh nan nial sann ear. "No 'n uair a critheas thu ann sann iar "Aig do dhorsaibh ciar air lear.
"'S math gum bheil thu 's raise fein "Ann am gu treun, 's gun t'heura ann am,
"Ar bliadlinai a teama o'n spiur,
"Biodh eibhneas ort fein, A Chriann,
"O thou, who walkest above, round as the *' full-orbed hard shield of the mighty! whence "is thy brightness without frown, thy light that "is lasting, O Sun! Thou comest forth in thy "powerful beauty, and the stars hide their course: "the moon departeth from the heavens, shrouding "herself under a cloud in the west. Thou art "alone in thy course: who is daring enough to "come nigh thee? The oak shall fall from the "lofty mountain's side; cairns and rocks shall "sink under the power of age; the ocean shall "ebb and How: the moon shall be lost above in "the heavens! Thou alone for ever in thy "strength, rejoicest in thy own light! When the "storm darkens round the world, with thunder "terrible and lightening fierce, thou lookest in "thy beauty from the loud noise, smiling in the "disorder of the skies. But to me thy light is "vain! never shall I see thy countenance, either