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turns in its ftrength, and the mift is gone
But, for the most part, mift is employed as a
fimilitude of fome difagreeable or terrible object.
"The foul of Nathos was fad, like the fun in the
day of mist, when his face is watery and dim +.”
"The darkness of old age comes like the mift of
"the defert." The face of a ghost is " pale as
"the mift of Cromla §." "The gloom of bat-
"tle is rolled along as mift that is poured on the
valley, when storms invade the filent fun-fhine
"of heaven." Fame fuddenly departing, is
likened to "mift that flies away before the rust-
"ling wind of the vale q." A ghost, slowly va-
nishing, to "mift that melts by degrees on the
"funny hill **." Cairbar, after his treacherous
affaffination of Ofcar, is compared to a peftilential
fog. "I love a foe like Cathmor," fays Fingal,


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+ Vol. i. p. 224.

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*Vol. i. p. 299. There is a remarkable propriety in this comparison. It is intended to explain the effect of foft and mournful mufick. Armin appears difturbed at a performance of this kind. Carmor fays to him, "Why bursts "the figh of Armin? Is there a caufe to mourn? The "fong comes with its mufick to melt and please the ear. "It is like foft mift, &c." that is, fuch mournful fongs have a happy effect to foften the heart, and to improve it by tender emotions, as the moisture of the mift refreshes and nourishes the flowers; whilft the fadnefs they occafion is only tranfient, and foon difpelled by the fucceeding occupations and amufements of life: "The fun returns in "its ftrength, and the mift is gone."

i. p. 75.
** Vol, i. p. 144.

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|| Vol. i. p. 39.

+ Vol. i. p. 227. § Vol.
¶ Vol. i. p. 117.

❝ his

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"his foul is great; his arm is strong; his battles are full of fame. But the little foul is like a vapour that hovers round the marshy lake. It "never rifes on the green hill, left the winds meet "it there. Its dwelling is in the cave; and it "fends forth the dart of death *." This is a fimile highly finished. But there is another which is ftill more striking, founded alfo on mift, in the 4th book of Temora. Two factious chiefs are contending; Cathmor the king interposes, rebukes and filences them. The poet intends to give us the highest idea of Cathmor's fuperiority; and moft effectually accomplishes his intention by the following happy image. They funk from the king on either fide; like two columns of morning mift, when the fun rises between them, on his glittering rocks. Dark is their rolling on "either fide; each towards its reedy pool." These inftances may fufficiently fhew with what richness of imagination Offian's comparisons abound, and at the fame time, with what propriety of judgment they are employed. If his field was narrow, it must be admitted to have been as well cultivated as its extent would allow.



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As it is ufual to judge of poets from a comparifon of their fimiles more than of other paffages, it will perhaps be agreeable to the reader, to see how Homer and Offian have conducted fome images of the fame kind. This might be fhewn in many inftances. For as the great objects of nature are common to the poets of all nations, and make the

* Vol. i. p. 264.


general ftore-houfe of all imagery, the groundwork of their comparisons muft of course be frequently the fame. I fhall felect only a few of the most confiderable from both poets. Mr. Pope's tranflation of Homer can be of no ufe to us here. The parallel is altogether unfair between profe, and the impofing harmony of flowing numbers. It is only by viewing Homer in the fimplicity of a profe translation, that we can form any comparison between the two bards.

The fhock of two encountering armies, the noife and the tumult of battle, afford one of the most grand and awful fubjects of description; on which all epic poets have exerted their strength. Let us first hear Homer. The following defcription is a favourite one, for we find it twice repeated in the fame words *. "When now the conflicting "hofts joined in the field of battle, then were

mutually oppofed fhields, and fwords, and the ftrength of armed men. The boffy bucklers were dashed against each other. The univerfal "tumult rofe. There were mingled the triumphant fhouts and the dying groans of the victors and the vanquished. The earth streamed "with blood. As when winter torrents, rufhing "from the mountains, pour into a narrow valley, "their violent waters. They iffue from a thou"fand fprings, and mix in the hollowed channel. "The distant fhepherd hears on the mountain, "their roar from afar. Such was the terror and the "shout of the engaging armies." In another paf


Iliad iv. 446. and Il. viii. 6o.


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fage, the poet, much in the manner of Offian,

heaps fimile on fimile, to exprefs the vaftnefs of the idea, with which his imagination feems to labour. "With a mighty fhout the hofts engage. "Not fo loud roars the wave of ocean, when dri"ven against the shore by the whole force of the "boisterous north; not fo loud in the woods of "the mountain, the noife of the flame, when "rifing in its fury to confume the foreft; not fo "loud the wind among the lofty oaks, when the "wrath of the storm rages; as was the clamour "of the Greeks and Trojans, when, roaring 66 terrible, they rushed against each other *."

To these descriptions and fimiles, we may oppose the following from Offian, and leave the reader to judge between them. He will find images of the fame kind employed; commonly lefs extended; but thrown forth with a glowing rapidity which characterises our poet. "As autumnn's dark "ftorms pour from two echoing hills, towards "each other, approached the heroes. As two "dark ftreams from high rocks meet, and mix, and "roar on the plain; loud, rough, and dark in bat"tle, meet Lochlin and Inisfail. Chief mixed his "ftrokes with chief, and man with man. Steel clanging, founded on fteel. Helmets are cleft "on high; blood burfts and fmoaks around.— "As the troubled noife of the ocean, when roll "the waves on high; as the last peal of the thun"der of heaven, fuch is the noife of battle +."As roll a thoufand waves to the rock, fo Swa

*Iliad xiv. 393.

+ Vol. i. p. 18.

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ran's hoft came on; as meets a rock a thousand k waves, fo Inisfail met Swaran. Death raifes "all his voices around, and mixes with the found

of fhields.-The field echoes from wing to wing, "as a hundred hammers that rife by turns on the "red fon of the furnace. As a hundred "winds on Morven; as the ftreams of a hundred "hills; as clouds fly fucceffive over heaven; or "as the dark ocean affaults the fhore of the defart; "so roaring, so vast, so terrible, the armies mix"ed on Lena's echoing heath +." In feveral of thefe images, there is a remarkable fimilarity to Homer's; but what follows is fuperior to any comparison that Homer ufes on this fubject." The groan of the people fpread over the hills; it "was like the thunder of night, when the cloud "bursts on Cona; and a thousand ghosts shriek at "once on the hollow windt." Never was an im age of more awful fublimity employed to heighten the terror of battle.

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Both poets compare the appearance of an army approaching, to the gathering of dark clouds. "As when a fhepherd," fays Homer, "beholds

from the rock a cloud borne along the fea by the "western wind; black as pitch it appears from "afar, failing over the ocean, and carrying the "dreadful ftorm. He fhrinks at the fight, and "drives his flock into the cave: Such, under the Ajaces, moved on, the dark, the thickened phalanx to the war §."-" They came," fays



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Vol. i. p. 21. Iliad iv. 275.

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+ Vo!. i. p. 62.

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