But Ossian is concise and rapid in his speeches, as he is in every other thing. There is more art, at least more felicity, in this, than may at first be imagined. Fingal arrives in this conjuncture. Tacitus is of all prose writers the most concise. His sword is a green meteor, half extinguished.
The druids were their. The characters, the manners, the face of the country, become familiar; we even think we could draw the figure of his ghost. He is surrounded with his family; he instructs his children in the principles of virtue; he is narrative of his past exploits he is venerable with the gray locks of age; he is frequently disposed to moralize, like an old man, on human vanity, and the prospect of death. The aged hero comes forth on his staff; and his gray hair glitters in the beam. Take for an example the following elegant description of Agandecca, wherein the tenderness of Tibullus seems united with the majesty of Virgil.
And a whole crowd of ideas, concerning the circumstances of domestic sorrow, occasioned by a young warrior’s first going forth to battle, is poured upon the mind by these words: The gray dogs howl in their place.
From the heads of warriors the warm sweat streamed down their armor. I waive insisting on any more of the particulars in Temora; as my aim is rather to lead the reader into the genius and spirit of Ossian’s poetry, than to zon on all his beauties. Dark is the wound on his breast.
A critical dissertation on the poems of Ossian, the son of Fingal.
His face is like the beam of the setting moon: For sweet shall my voice be for my friends; for pleasant were they to me. It was his misfortune to fall at last into the hands of one of his enemies, by whom he was thrown into prison, and condemned to he destroyed by serpents.
The sound heard there on the strings of his harp, the concern which Fingal shows on bearing it, and the invocation of the ghosts flngal their fathers, to receive the heroes falling in a distant land, are introduced with great beauty of imagination to increase the solemnity, and to diversify the scenery of the poem. This is remarkable in the appearance of Calmar’s ghost, in the poem entitled, The death of Cuthullin.
Though the Goths, under which name we usually comprehend all the Scandinavian tribes, were a people altogether fierce and martial, and noted, to a proverb for their ignorance of the liberal arts, yet they too, from the earliest times, had their poets and their songs.
My sigh arose with the morning; and my tears descended with night. Their songs are of other worlds. A snake dwells in the midst of my heart. He must not know that I doubt his steel.
The scene of Temora, as of Fingal, is laid in Ireland; and the action is of a posterior date. The circumstances of Ossian’s old age and blindness, his surviving all his friends, and his relating their great exploits to Malvina, the spouse or mistress of his beloved son Oscar, furnish the finest poetical situations that fancy could devise for that tender pathetic which reigns in Ossian’s poetry.
It bus been objected to Ossian, that his descriptions of military actions are imperfect, and much less diversified by the circumstances than those of Homer. Every thing is alive in his writings. An image was before mine eyes. As the world advances, the understanding gains ground upon the imagination; the understanding is more exercised; the imagination, less. I forbear transcribing the passage, as it must have drawn the attention of every one who has read the works of Ossian.
Bragela, the lonely sun-beam of Dunscaich; a Culdee, the son of the secret cell.
A Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, the Son of Fingal – Hugh Blair – Google Books
Chivalry, however, took rise in an age and country too remote from those of Ossian, to piems the suspicion that the one could have borrowed any thing from the other. But though his machinery be always solemn. The parallel is altogether unfair between prose and the imposing harmony of flowing numbers. His face is like the beam of the setting moon.
His form is like his fathers; his soul is a flame of their fire. But the little soul is like a vapor that hovers round the marshy lake.
Fifty and one times have I reared the standard in battle. Set display mode to: This might be shown in pf instances. Music or song has been found coeval with society among the most barbarous nations.
The Poems of Ossian: A Critical Dissertation
No farther look–it is dark–light trembling from the harp, strike, virgins! He is surrounded with his family; he instructs his children in the principles of virtue; he is narrative of his past exploits he is venerable with the gray locks of age; he is frequently disposed to moralize, like an old man, on human vanity, and the prospect of death. It was not to be expected, that in any of these particulars Ossian could equal Homer.
But Ossian’s genius, though chiefly turned towards the sublime and pathetic, was not confined to it.