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The Authenticity of Ossian.

mile Water to be the Lubar of Ossian, referring the scene of action of the poem of "Temora" to the banks of that river. He does not appear to have come forward again until the presentation of a petition to the House of Commons a few months back, in which he complains of the illiberality of the Highland Society, who had not sufficiently remunerated him for his labors. We learn that he has obtained his majesty's patronage, and that he will shortly publish a royal edition of the poems of Ossian-we suppose a reprint of Macpherson's translation-to which he designs prefixing a dissertation on their authenticity. Mr. C.'s prospectus holds out many promises-upon these we will not offer an opinion, but from our recollection of his "Ossiana," we fear he is one of those sanguine writers who suffer probabilities to steal on their minds as proofs-who watch the appearance and seize it as the reality-who, self-confident of the excellence of their positions, seldom possess the spirit of investigation which can alone ultimately lead to conviction. The ardor of an antiquarian must be sometimes damped by disappointment, and we do not mention the following circumstance as reflecting on Mr. C.'s discernment, but as bearing in some measure upon his former statements. A report having found its way into several of the public prints, that a MS. copy of the poems of Ossian, written by a friar about three centuries ago, had been discovered amidst the ruins of the old abbey of Connor in the north of Ireland, Mr. C. was induced to visit the place a second time; his journey, however, was not attended by a fortunate result, as he found that no such MS. was in existence.

We glean from Mr. Burke's notes to his translations an account of the scenery of Ossian altogether different in some places from Mr. C.'s. Mr. Burke fixes the scene of the poems of "Temora," "Fingal," and "Dar-thula," in the barony of Inishowen, a few miles north of Derry; at the same time, he considers the scene of that poem called the "Death of Cuthullin" to lie near the town of Antrim; and supposes the Nine-mile Water to be the Lara and not the Lubar of Ossian.* He endeavors to defend the poems from the opposition which they have met, and denies that they were either Macpherson's or founded by him on traditions which he had gathered in the Highlands, or that he modified and adapted to his own views the numerous Irish poems respecting Ossian, &c. that are

In the "Topographia Hibernica" we find Moilena to be situated in Inishowen, near Lough Foyle;-the Lubar of Ossian flowed through the plain of Moilena.

The Authenticity of Ossian.

known to have been ages in existence. Mr. Burke is entirely of opinion that Macpherson's merit is that of having given a slovenly and imperfect translation, the errors of which he appears fully competent to detect. In reference to the Irish poems that are extant on the same subject, he remarks that they are rather confirmatory of his assertion than otherwise; and that, considering the immediate connection which Ossian declares to have subsisted between Ireland and him, such a resemblance could not be surprising, as it was to be expected that desultory relics of his works would find their way into the compositions of after bards; but Mr. Burke will not grant them to be of the same historical authority, or to possess the same internal evidences of originality. He compares the mythology of Ossian with that of the Druids, and concludes by drawing a strong presumption that they both proceeded from the same source.

Although those gentlemen agree as to the authenticity of the poems, they differ materially in the manner of proving it. When advocates of the same side of a question urge contrary proofs it is difficult to judge-for

Who shall decide when doctors disagree?

We may remark, however, that Mr. Campbell's labors have not been unrewarded, while Mr. Burke unaided by the support of power, and without any stimulus beyond the gratification of his taste, has devoted considerable attention to this subject. As our space will not permit us to enter into this topic consistently with our intentions, we will defer further disquisition to a future number, and proceed to offer a few extracts from Mr. Burke's poems of "Temora" and "Dar-thula."

"Temora," an Epic Poem, in seven cantos, is a beautiful specimen of those fragments of Celtic tradition; it is versified in the heroic measure, the construction of which Mr. Burke seems to have studied to advantage. We give the following passages, not as selected but as being accidentally open at this moment.*

They move amid the song: their arms inclin'd,
Like rushy fields beneath Autumnal wind.

• We should, perhaps, apologize to Mr. B. for not having extracted those passages which may seem on perusal to be best executed-but we have taken the above indiscriminately, as it is not our design to offer any critical remarks upon his work.

The Authenticity of Ossian.

On Mora stands the king, in armour bright;
Mist round his buckler wings its vapoury flight,
As up aloft he hung it, on a bough,
On Cormul's mossy rock, nigh Mora's brow.
In panting silence I by Fingal stood:
And turn'd my eyes on Cromla's shady wood:
Lest Ossian's glances o'er the host should roll,
And he should rush amid his swelling soul.
My foot is forward on the dusky heath;
While hostile murmurs shake the plain beneath.
I glitter, tall, in steel: and sparkling seem,
Like to the wave of Tromo's falling stream,
Which nightly winds bind o'er with icy bands,
'Till like a rock its solid surface stands!
The boy who sees it, from the mountain's side,
When, gleaming bright, the early sun-beams glide,
Toward it turns his ear,-his breath supprest,
And wonders why its silent waters rest!

Now horror strides along the blood-stain'd field.
Here lies a helmet,--there a fractured shield.
The helpless, wounded, fear each crushing tread!
The fluttering spirits join their kindred dead.

They strike! They fall! With quivering limbs they lie,
Not even death can close the furious eye!
Between two chinky rocks brave Rothmar stood,-
The shield of warriors in the strife of blood!
Two lofty oak-trees, bent by stormy wind,
On either side their spreading boughs inclin'd.
Here with uplifted sword he made his stand,
While fierce destruction pour'd on every hand.
He rolls his darkening eyes on Fillan's might,
And silent shades his friends amid the fight.
Great Fingal saw the wrathful chiefs draw near;
His soul arose-he seem'd all eye!—all ear!
But, as the roll of Loda's stone is heard,
When shook at once from rocky Druman-ard,
While angry spirits heave the earth around-
So fell blue-shielded Rothmar to the ground!

"Dar-thula," published last year by Mr. B. is, perhaps, a better executed Poem. It is in alternate measure, which he says he chose "as presenting a greater freedom than the heroic couplet; and as corresponding better with the general strain of those poems, which is, for the most part, elegiac."

3 K


The Authenticity of Ossian.

The following address to the Moon opens the poem:

DAUGHTER of heaven, lovely is thy reign!
In silent majesty thou dost ascend!

The stars crowd round thee in refulgent train,

And through the limpid sky thy course attend.
The clouds, O Moon! glide tow'rd thy steps with joy ;

Their dark-brown sides they brighten with thy beams.
Stern ocean smiling meets thy radiant eye:

Blithe through their valleys wind the burnish'd streams. Thou fair dissolver of the mid-night shade,

What light in heav'n is like thy gentle ray!-
The stars of proudest beam beside thee fade:

Asham'd, they turn their sparkling eyes away!
But whither dost thou from thy course retreat,

When darkness o'er thy lovely visage grows?
Hast thou thy hall, like Ossian? Dost thou fleet

To pensive shades, and, lonely, vent thy woes?
Have thy bright sisters fall'n from heav'n-are they,

Who with thee cheer'd the gloomy night, no more?
Yes! they have fall'n, fair light! thy tearful ray

Doth oft retire, in silence to deplore.

But thou, thyself, one night shalt fail: even thou
Shalt darkly leave thy blue path in the sky!
The feeble stars, who shrink before thee, now,

Will, then, exulting, lift their heads on high.
In all thy splendour art thou now array'd:

Look from thy gates in heav'n, thou beam divine!-
Burst, O ye winds! yon cloud's unfriendly shade,

That night's fair daughter un-obscur'd may shine:
That the brown hills may gild their craggy height,
And ocean roll its silver waves in light.
The introduction of the heroine follows:--

Their lofty heads the nightly billows rear,

The troubled ocean rolls its angry pride,
While Nathos, Althos, and young Arden steer
Their bounding vessel o'er the surgy tide.
The noble sons of generous Usnoth move,

Sad in the darkness of their gloomy course,
From Cairbar' of Atha's wrath: for they had strove*
In echoing war, against the traitor's force.
But who is that, dim by their side?-Inshrin'd

In cloudy night her beauty's orient beams!
Her lovely hair sighs on the ocean wind:

In dusky wreaths her flowing robe wide streams.—

• We are sorry to find such inaccuracies in Mr. Burke's pages. ED.

Popular Traditions.

Like the fair spirit of heav'n doth she appear;
When cloth'd in shadowy mist he glides along the air.-
Who but Dar-thula, first of Erin's maids!

From gloomy Cairbar's love she now doth fly,
With the blue shielded Nathos, to the glades
Of woody Etha.- But the winds deny

Its groves, Dar-thula! to thy sails-In vain

Thy wistful eyes are turned to the shore:-
Those are not Nathos' halls, high-tow'ring o'er the main ;
Nor that his climbing wave's loud-echoing roar.-
Fell Cairbar's halls are near thee, gentle maid!

The lofty towers of thy foe arise!

Green Erin stretches far her sea-beat head:

To Tura's bay the bounding vessel flies.-
Ye southern breezes! where have ye delay'd,

When from their course my noble heroes veer'd?
Alas! ye, sportive, o'er the valley stray'd,

Pursuing swift the thistle's wandering beard!
O that ye had been rustling in the sails

Of Nathos, 'till the hills of Etha rose !

'Till in their clouds they rose; and his green vales

Beheld the chief returning from his foes!

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Long hast thou absent been, O Usnoth's son!
The day of thy return, alas! has flown!


Mr. Burke we believe, is preparing a corrected edition of all the poems-at least we hope so;-should our space permit us, we will continue next month the observations we have promised in this paper.


I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,

And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;

And I will purge thy mortal grossness so,
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.-

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Midsummer-night's Dream.

THERE is perhaps scarcely any part of the christian world in which civilization has done less towards the extirpation of ridiculous and superstitious traditions than in the islets of the British seas; and particularly in the isle of Man we discover a credulity which can embody the nursery tales of children into a regular system of belief, that it would be worse than

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