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“ are of equal antiquity, to decide with which " the words common to both have originated. “ Mr. Laing assures us, that the Celtic has pecu“ liar names for the objects of nature, while the “ terms of art, or of abstract ideas, are all derived " from the Latin ; and from this assertion he de• duces the conclusion, that the latter must have 66 been borrowed from the more civilized Ro“ mans. The assertion which our author here “ makes, is such as might naturally be expected “ from one entirely ignorant of the Celtic lan“ guage; but the confidence with which he holds “ up these blunders of ignorance to the public " as arguments, is certainly something scarcely to “ be expected. Instead of all the abstract terms “ in the Gaelic language being the same with " those in the Latin, the truth is, that few or “ none of those which occur in Ossian, bear the " least resemblance to the latter. What ingenuity u can trace a Roman origin in such terms as Gu “ bràth, for ever, neart, strength, craoidhachd, reli“ gion, urram, obeisance, olc, evil, maitheas, “ goodness, glioceas, wisdom, naoimhachd, holi* ness, &c.
• The same may be said of the few terms of “ art, which could possibly be in use among a na“ tion living in the pastoral state, and none of a “ different description occur in Ossian. Mr.
“ Laing “ Laing indeed assures us, that the Gael knew 16: no art at that period, not even that of manu“ facturing their own arms; but he will proba“ bly find it difficult to point out a Teutonic ori“ gin for such words as ceaird, a trade, ceard, a " worker in iron or other metals ; ceardich, a smi" thy or workshop for iron; goabhain, a smith.“ The manufacturing of their arms was, indeed, “ their principal trade; and hence it appears to “ have acquired among them the title of the .66 trade.
“ Our author, however, after having made 5 this distinction, finds it quite impossible to 66 procure examples in support of his theory: 66 his detections, therefore, are in almost every “ instance, drawn, not from abstract terms, or “ terms of art, but from words denoting objects
of nature, and which he himself had owned, “ not only might have been, but actually were of .“ Celtic origin. Such are talla, a hall; speur, " the sky; dorus, a door ; feachda, forces ; focal, " a word. Surely Mr. Laing does not contend, " that the Gael had neitheir halls, skies, doors, " forces, nor even words, previous to their ac66 quaintance with the Romans and Saxons. If " they had no terms of their own for these very “common ideas, we conceive they must have “ borrowed them from their neighbours, long
66. before the days of Ossian.' As to the terms “ for gold, silver, &c. which may have origi“ nated with the Romans or Teutonic nations, " Mr. Laing does not give a shadow of a reason " to shew they were transferred into the Gaelic • language at a later period than the third cen
“ Would our limits permit, we might amuse " our readers with several curious blunders, into “ which Mr. Laing is led by his rage for etymo" logies, and his ignorance of the language he “ attempts to criticise. The word cop, or coppan, “ is undoubtedly the same with cup, and is there66 fore common to the Celtic and Saxon. In the “ Saxon, it is applied solely to the artificial ves
sel employed in drinking; nor can it be “ traced in that language to any object of "nature, which it might have denoted be“ fore art produced the vessel. In the Cel-6 tic, however, cob was originally employed " to denote these familiar natural objects, the • bubbles formed on water or any other liquid : 6 it was afterwards employed to signify the con“ vex bosses, or studs of a shield, which in form "s exactly resembled those bubbles ; and when at " a later period art produced spherical drinking “ cups, the word was naturally, for the same 66 reason, transferred to them. In which of these
* languages then is cop or cup, a radical word ? “ Mr. Laing, however, was ignorant of these cir“ cumstances, and therefore he looks upon it as “ a whim of Macpherson's, to apply the term to 66 the bosses of a shield; and draws an argument 66 of forgery from its not being applied in Ossian “ to spherical drinking cups, which were not “ then invented.
• In the word cliadh, Mr. Laing has been as “ widely misled by his ignorance of the Gaelic 66 language. In the first place, he has con66 founded cliadh and cliabh, two words of a very “ different signification. Cliadh signifies a hur“ dle, a plain piece of wicker work, on which it
was usual to thicken raw cloths, and which were occasionally employed to shut the entrance of sheep cots. A harrow is in the same manner called cliadh chiadhtha, from its being
formed of cross bars, like chequer work. This " is the word which Mr. Laing assures us is lite66 rally the same with the Latin Cista, both in original 66 meaning and metaphor. The word cliabh, for 66 which he evidently mistook the other, denotes 66 any thing made of twigs, bent in a circular form, 66 such as a basket; and, from the similar bending 66 of the ribs, the human breast. This metaphor 66 our author looks upon as exactly the same
with that by which the words chest and trunk
" are applied to the same part, although the lat“ ter evidently alludes to the close and hollow us form of the breast. The etymological resem“ blance between cliabh and cista, we acknowledge 4 ourselves unable to discover..
66 But the most whimsical of Mr. Laing's “ etymologies is his derivation of the word long, - a ship. Long, in the Celtic tongue, denotes " any species of wooden habitation, and hence 16 was applied to houses in general, and to those “ barks in which the Gael so frequently crossed " their numerous lakes. Mr. Laing, however, “ was ignorant of these circumstances; but his " ingenuity is as usual, at no loss to supply the
deficiencies of his knowledge. According to “ him, the Gael, who had once or twice, per56 haps, seen the longa naves of the Romans, and “ somewhat oftener heard of them, were so 56 struck, not with the Latin name for a ship, but * with the epithet applied to that name, that they “ began to use it for a variety of objects which " had no resemblance whatever to the naves * longa. Not only their slender barks, but their .. 56 wooden huts, their castles, and habitations of “ every sort, became longs !
“ But Mr. Laing not only pretends to decide " Gaelic etymologies, but even to judge of the