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with the conquerors, taught them agriculture, and other arts, which they themselves had received from the Romans. The Scots, however, in number as well as power, being the most predominant, retained ftill their language, and as many of the customs of their ancestors, as fuited with the nature of the country they poffeffed. Even the union of the two Caledonian kingdoms did not much affect the national character. Being originally defcended from the fame ftock, the manners of the Picts and Scots were as fimilar as the different natures of the countries they poffeffed permitted.

WHAT brought about a total change in the genius of the Scots nation, was their wars, and other tranfactions with the Saxons. Several counties in the fouth of Scotland were alternately poffeffed by the two nations. They were ceded, in the ninth age, to the Scots, and, it is probable, that most of the Saxon inhabitants remained in poffeffion of their lands. During the feveral conquefts and revolutions in England, many fled, for refuge, into Scotland, to avoid the oppreffion of foreigners, or the tyranny of domestic ufurpers; in fo much, that the Saxon race formed perhaps near one half of the Scottish kingdom. The Saxon manners and language daily gained ground, on the tongue and cuftoms of the antient Caledonians, till, at laft, the latter were entirely relegated to inhabitants of the mountains, who were still unmixed with strangers.

It was after the acceffion of territory which the Scots received, upon the retreat of the Romans VOL. II. from

from Britain, that the inhabitants of the Highlands were divided into clans. The king, when he kept his court in the mountains, was confidered, by the whole nation, as the chief of their blood. Their fmall number, as well as the prefence of their. prince, prevented thofe divifions, which, afterwards, sprung forth into fo many feparate tribes. When the feat of government was removed to the fouth, those who remained in the Highlands were, of course, neglected. They naturally formed themfelves into small focieties, independent of one another. Each fociety had its own regulus, who either was, or in the fucceffion of a few generations, was regarded as chief of their blood.-The nature of the country favoured an inftitution of this fort. A few valleys, divided from one another by extensive heaths and impaffible mountains, form the face of the Highlands. In thefe valleys the chiefs fixed their refidence. Round them, and almost within fight of their dwellings, were the habitations of their relations and dependents.

THE feats of the Highland chiefs were neither difagreeable nor inconvenient. Surrounded with mountains and hanging woods, they were covered from the inclemency of the weather. Near them generally ran a pretty large river, which, discharging itself not far off, into an arm of the fea, or extenfive lake, fwarmed with variety of fifh. The woods were stocked with wild-fowl; and the heaths and mountains behind them were the natural feat of the red deer and roe. If we make allowance


for the backward ftate of agriculture, the valleys were not unfertile; affording, if not all the conveniences, at leaft the neceffaries of life. Here the chief lived, the fupreme judge and law-giver of his own people; but his fway was neither fevere nor unjust. As the populace regarded him as the chief of their blood, fo he, in return, confidered them as members of his family. His commands therefore, though abfolute and decifive, partook more of the authority of a father, than of the rigor of a judge.-Though the whole territory of the tribe was confidered as the property of the chief, yet his vaffals made him no other confideration for their lands than services, neither burdenfome nor frequent, As he feldom went from home, he was at no expence. His table was fupplied by his own herds, and what his numerous attendants killed in hunting.

In this rural kind of magnificence, the Highland chiefs lived, for many ages. At a distance from the feat of government, and fecured, by the inacceffibleness of their country, they were free and independent. As they had little communication with ftrangers, the customs of their ancestors remained among them, and their language retained its original purity. Naturally fond of military fame, and remarkably attached to the memory of their ancestors, they delighted in traditions and fongs, concerning the exploits of their nation, and especially of their own particular families. A fucceffion of bards was retained in every clan, to hand down


down the memorable actions of their forefathers. As the æra of Fingal, on account of Offian's poems, was the most remarkable, and his chiefs the most renowned names in tradition, the bards took care to place one of them in the genealogy of every great family.--That part of the poems, which concerned the hero who was regarded as ancestor, was preserved, as an authentic record of the antiquity of the family, and was delivered down, from race to race, with wonderful exactness.

THE bards themselves, in the mean time, were not idle. They erected their immediate patrons into heroes, and celebrated them in their fongs. As the circle of their knowledge was narrow, their ideas were confined in proportion. A few happy expreffions, and the manners they represent, may please those who understand the language; their obscurity and inaccuracy would disgust in a tranflation. It was chiefly for this reafon, that I kept wholly to the compositions of Offian, in my former and prefent publication. As he acted in a more extensive sphere, his ideas are more noble and univerfal; neither has he fo many of those peculiarities, which are only understood in a certain period or country. The other bards have their beauties, but not in that fpecies of compofition in which Offian excels. Their rhimes, only calculated to kindle a martial spirit among the vulgar, afford very little pleasure to genuine tafte. This obfervation only regards their poems of the heroic kind; in every other species of poetry they are more fuccefsful.

céfsful. They exprefs the tender melancholy of defponding love, with irrefiftible fimplicity and nature. So well adapted are the founds of the words to the fentiments, that, even without any knowledge of the language, they pierce and diffolve the heart. Successful love is expreffed with peculiar tenderness and elegance. In all their compofitions, except the heroic, which was folely calculated to animate the vulgar, they give us the genuine language of the heart, without any of those affected ornaments of phrafeology, which, though intended to beautify fentiments, diveft them of their natural force. The ideas, it is confeffed, are too local, to be admired, in another language; to those who are acquainted with the manners they represent, and the scenes they describe, they must afford the highest pleasure and fatisfaction.

It was the locality of his description and sentiment, that, probably, kept Offian fo long in the obfcurity of an almost loft language. His ideas, though remarkably proper for the times in which he lived, are so contrary to the prefent advanced ftate of fociety, that more than a common mediocrity of tafte is required, to relifh his poems as they deserve. Those who alone were capable to make a tranflation were, no doubt, conscious of this, and chose rather to admire their poet in fecret, than fee him received, with coldness, in an English drefs.

THESE were long my own fentiments, and accordingly, my first translations, from the Galic,


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