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HE blue waves of Ullin roll in light. The green hills are covered with day. Trees fhake their dusky heads in the breeze. Grey torrents pour their noify ftreams.---Two


* The first book of Temora made its appearance in the collection of leffer pieces, which were fubjoined to the epic poem of Fingal. When that collection was printed, little more than the opening of the prefent poem came, in a regular connection, to my hands. The fecond book, in particular, was very imperfect and confufed. By means of my friends, I collected fince all the broken fragments of Temora, that I formerly wanted; and the ftory of the poem, which was accurately preferved by many, enabled me to reduce it into that order in which it now appears. The title of Epic was impofed on the poem by myself. The technical terms of criticism were totally unknown to Offian. Born in a distant age, and in a country remote B 2 from

green hills, with aged oaks, furround a narrow plain. The blue courfe of a ftream is there;


from the feats of learning, his knowledge did not extend
to Greek and Roman literature. If therefore, in the
form of his poems, and in feveral paffages of his diction,
he resembles Homer, the fimilarity muft proceed from
nature, the original from which both drew their ideas. It
is from this confideration that I have avoided, in this
volume, to give parallel paffages from other authors, as I
had done, in fome of my notes, on the former collection
of Offian's poems. It was far from my intention to raise
my author into a competition with the celebrated names of
antiquity. The extenfive field of renown affords ample
room to all the poetical merit which has yet appeared in
the world, without overturning the character of one poet,
to raise that of another on its ruins. Had Offian even
fuperior merit to Homer and Virgil, a certain partiality,
arifing from the fame defervedly beftowed upon them by
the fanction of fo many ages, would make us overlook it,
and give them the preference. Tho' their high merit does
not ftand in need of adventitious aid, yet it must be ac-
knowledged, that it is an advantage to their fame, that
the pofterity of the Greeks and Romans, either do not at
all exift, or are not now objects of contempt or envy to
the prefent age.

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Tho' this poem of Offian has not perhaps all the minutia, which Ariftotle, from Homer, lays down as neceffary to the conduct of an epic poem, yet, it is prefumed, it has all the grand effentials of the epopœa. Unity of time, place, and action is preferved throughout. The poem opens in the midft of things; what is neceffary of preceding tranfactions to be known, is introduced by epifodes afterwards; not formally brought in, but feemingly


on its banks food Cairbar of Atha.-His
Spear fupports the king: the red eyes of his
fear are fad. Cormac rifes in his foul, with all
his ghaftly wounds. The grey form of the
youth appears in darkness; blood pours from
his airy fides.---Cairbar thrice threw his fpear
on earth; and thrice he ftroked his beard. His
fteps are fhort; he often ftops: and toffes his
finewy arms. He is like a cloud in the defart,
that varies its form to every blaft: the valleys
are fad around, and fear, by turns, the fhower.

rifing immediately from the fituation of affairs. The cir-
cumstances are grand, and the diction animated; neither
descending into a cold meannefs, nor fwelling into ridi-
culous bombaft.

The reader will find fome alterations in the diction of
this book. Thefe are drawn from more correct copies of
the original which came to my hands, fince the former
publication. As the most part of the poem is delivered
down by tradition, the text is fometimes various and in-
terpolated. After comparing the different readings, I
always made choice of that which agreed beft with the
fpirit of the context,

* Cairbar, the fon of Borbar-duthul, was defcended lineally from Larthon the chief of the Firbolg, the first colony who fettled in the fouth of Ireland. The Caël were in poffeffion of the northern coaft of that kingdom, and the first monarchs of Ireland were of their race. Hence arofe thofe differences between the two nations, which terminated, at laft, in the murder of Cormac, and the ufurpation of Cairbar, lord of Atha, who is mentioned in this place.

B 3


THE king, at length, refumed his foul, and took his pointed fpear. He turned his eyes to Moi-lena. The fcouts of blue ocean came. They came with fteps of fear, and often looked behind. Cairbar knew that the mighty were near, and called his gloomy chiefs.


THE founding fteps of his warriors came. They drew, at once, their fwords. There Morlath food with darkened face. Hidalla's long hair fighs in wind. Red-haired Cormar bends on his fpear, and rolls his fide-longlooking eyes. Wild is the look of Malthos from beneath two fhaggy brows. --- Foldath ftands like an oozy rock, that covers its dark fides with foam. His fpear is like Slimora's fir, that meets the wind of heaven. His thield is marked with the ftrokes of battle; and his red eye defpifes danger. Thefe and a thousand other chiefs furrounded car-borne Cairbar, when the

* Mór-lath, great in the day of battle. Hidalla', mildly loaking hero. Cor-mar, expert at fea. Málth-os, flow to Speak. Foldath, generous.

Foldath, who is here ftrongly marked, makes a great figure in the fequel of the poem. His fierce, uncomplying character is fuftained throughout. He feems, from a paffage in the fecond book, to have been Cairbar's greatest confident, and to have had a principal hand in the confpiracy against Cormac king of Ireland. His tribe was one of the most confiderable of the race of the Fir-bolg.


fcout of ocean came, Mor-annal, from streamy Moi-léna.---His eyes hang forward from his face, his lips are trembling, pale.

Do the chiefs of Erin ftand, he faid, filent as the grove of evening? Stand they; like a filent wood, and Fingal on the coaft? Fingal, the terrible in battle, the king of ftreamy Morven, --Haft thou feen the warrior? faid Cairbar with a figh. Are his heroes many on the coaft? Lifts he the fpear of battle? Or comes the king in peace


IN peace he comes not, Cairbar. I have feen his forward fpear. It is a meteor of death: the blood of thoufands is on its fteel.He came first to the fhore, ftrong in the grey hair of age. Full rofe his finewy limbs, as he ftrode in his might. That fword is by his fide which gives no fecond † wound. His fhield is terrible, like the bloody moon afcending thro' a ftorm.


*Mor-annal here alludes to the particular appearance of Fingal's fpear.—If a man, upon his firft landing in a ftrange country, kept the point of his fpear forward, it denoted in those days that he came in a hoftile manner, and accordingly he was treated as an enemy; if he kept the point behind him, it was a token of friendship, and he was immediately invited to the feaft, according to the hofpitality of the times.

This was the famous fword of Fingal, made by Luno, a fmith of Lochlin, and after him poetically called the n

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