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In the poems now published, some words and passages, which are to be found in Mr. Macpherson's translation, are wanting. These might have been supplied from other transcripts, or oral tradition; but the Committee appointed to superintend the printing of this Work, were scrupulous about making any addition to the manuscripts left by Mr. Macpherson.
A celebrated Italian poet, Cesarotti, having not only translated Ossian's Poems in a very superior manner, but having also written a Dissertation on their authenticity and beauties, which is not generally accessible to English readers, it was thought proper to annex to this Work a translation of the same, which is inserted in the Third Volume, together with Notes and a Supplemental Essay.*
The Committee beg leave also, to allude to the translation of the first book of Fingal, by the Rev. Mr. Ross, included in the Preliminary Dissertation, which furnishes the most satisfactory evidence, that
* A translation of Cesarotti's notes, on the first book of Fingal, is annexed to the Preliminary Dissertation, as a proof of that author's critical taste, and of the excellence of his judgment in poetical discussions.
a new version is necessary, to give the English reader a just conception of the sublime effusions of the Celtic Bard. Deeply impressed with that idea, they have directed a new translation of the whole of the Poems, to be rendered into English, line for line, that it may be published with as little delay as possible.
On the whole, the Committee have endeavoured to execute the duty entrusted to them, in a manner which they hope will give satisfaction to the admirers of Ossian, and to the Public in general.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
DISSERTATION on the Authenticity of Ossian's Poems, by
Sir John Sinclair, Bart. containing Introduction to the Work
CHAPTER I. A Statement of the Evidence adduced in behalf of the Authenti
city of Ossian's Poems, with some Observations on the Objections which have been urged against their Authenticity
CHAPTER II. Account of the Gaelic Edition herewith printed, and the Circum
stances which have hitherto prevented the Publication thereof; together with some Observations on the Beauties of the Poems of Ossian, as originally composed
Ixxxv A New Translation of the First Book of Fingal, with Notes, by the Rev. Thomas Ross
ci A Translation from the Italian of the Abbé Cesarotti's Critical
Observations on the First Book of Fingal, by John M'Arthur, LL. D.
APPENDIX. No. I. Deposition by Captain John Macdonald of Breakish ccv No. II. Letter from the Rev. Mr. Rosing to Sir John Sinclair, accompanied by Extracts from Suhm's History of Denmark
ccviii No. III. Account of the Indian Subscription No, IV. Declaration by Captain Alex. Morison of Greenock
ccxxiv No.V. Observations on the Two English Translations of the First Book of Fingal
ссxxvi No. VI. A Scene from Ossian