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with the battle of Lora, one of the poems of the genuine Offian. The circumstances and catastrophe in both are much the fame; but the Irish Offian discovers the age in which he lived, by an unlucky anachronism. After defcribing the total route of Erragon, he very gravely concludes with this remarkable anecdote, that none of the foe escaped, but a few, who were allowed to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This circumftance fixes the date of the compofition of the piece fome centuries after the famous croifade; for, it is evident, that the poet thought the time of the croifade fo antient, that he confounds it with the age of Fingal. -Erragon, in the course of this poem, is often called,
Riogh Lochlin an do fhloigh,
which alludes to the union of the kingdoms of Norway and Denmark, a circumstance which brings down the date of the piece to an æra, not far remote. Modern, however, as this pretended Of fian was, it is certain, he lived before the Irish had dreamed of appropriating Fion, or Fingal, to themfelves. He concludes the poem, with this reflection.
Na fagha fe comhthróm nan n' arm,
"Had Erragon, fon of Annir of gleaming fwords, avoided the equal conteft of arms, (fingle combat)
no chief fhould have afterwards been numbered in ALBION, and the heroes of Fion fhould no more be named."
THE next poem that falls under our obfervation is Cath-cabbra, or, The death of Ofcar. This piece is founded on the fame story which we have in the first book of Temora. So little thought the author of Cath-cabbra of making Ofcar his countryman, that, in the course of two hundred lines, of which the poems confifts, he puts the following expreffion thrice in the mouth of the hero :
ALBIN an fa d' roina m' arach.
ALBION where I was born and bred.
The poem contains almost all the incidents in the first book of Temora. In one circumftance the bard differs materially from Offian. Ofcar, after he was mortally wounded by Cairbar, was carried by his people to a neighbouring hill, which commanded a profpect of the fea. A fleet appeared at a distance, and the hero exclaims with joy,
Loingeas mo fhean-athair at' án
'S iad a tiächd le cabhair chugain,
"It is the fleet of my grandfather, coming with aid to our field, from ALBION of many waves!" -The teftimony of this bard is fufficient to confute the idle fictions of Keating and O'Flaherty; VOL. II. b for,
for, though he is far from being antient, it is probable, he flourished a full century before these hiftorians. He appears, however, to have been a much better christian than chronologer; for Fion, though he is placed two centuries before St. Patrick, very devoutly recommends the foul of his grandfon to his Redeemer.
Duan a Gharibh Mac-Starn is another Irish poem in high repute. The grandeur of its images, and its propriety of fentiment, might have induced me to give a translation of it, had not I fome expectations of feeing it in the collection of the Irish Offian's poems, promised more than a year fince, to the public. The author defcends fometimes from the region of the fublime to low and indecent description; the last of which, the Irish tranflator, no doubt, will choose to leave in the obscurity of the original.-In this piece Cuchullin is used with very little ceremony, for he is oft called, the dog of Tara, in the county of Meath. This fevere title of the redoubtable Cuchullin, the most renowned of Irish champions, proceeded from the poet's ignorance of etymology. Cu, voice, or commander, fignifies alfo a dog. The poet chose the last, as the most noble appellation for his hero.
THE fubject of the poem is the fame with that of the epic poem of Fingal. Garibb Mac-Starn is the fame with Offian's Swaran, the fon of Starno. His fingle combats with, and his victory over all the heroes of Ireland, excepting the celebrated dog of
Tara, i.e. Cuchullin, afford matter for two hundred lines of tolerable poetry. Garibb's progrefs in fearch of Cuchullin, and his intrigue with the gigantic Emir-bragal, that hero's wife, enables the poet to extend his piece to four hundred lines. This author, it is true, makes Cuchullin a native of Ireland; the gigantic Emir-bragal he calls the guiding ftar of the women of Ireland. The property of this enormous lady I fhall not dispute with him, or any other. But, as he speaks with great tendernefs of the daughters of the convent, and throws out some hints against the English nation, it is probable he lived in too modern a period to be intimately acquainted with the genealogy of Cuchullin.
ANOTHER Irish Offian, for there were many, as appears from their difference in language and fentiment, fpeaks very dogmatically of Fion Mac Comnal, as an Irishman. Little can be faid for the judgment of this poet, and lefs for his delicacy of fentiment. The hiftory of one of his episodes may, at once, stand as a fpecimen of his want of both. Ireland, in the days of Fion, happened to be threatened with an invafion, by three great potentates, the kings of Lochlin, Sweden, and France. It is needless to infift upon the impropriety of a French invafion of Ireland; it is fufficient for me to be faithful to the language of my author. Fion, upon receiving intelligence of the intended invafion, fent Ca-olt, Offian, and Ofcar, to watch the bay, in which, it was apprehended, the enemy was to land. Ofcar was the worst choice of a scout b 2 that
that could be made, for, brave as he was, he had the bad property of falling very often asleep on his post, nor was it poffible to awake him, without cutting off one of his fingers, or dashing a large stone against his head. When the enemy appeared, Oscar, very unfortunately, was afleep. Offian and Ca-olt confulted about the method of wakening him, and they, at laft, fixed on the stone, as the lefs dangerous expedient.
Gun thog Caoilte a chlach, nach gán,
"Ca-olt took up a heavy ftone, and ftruck it against the hero's head. The hill fhook for three miles, as the ftone rebounded and rolled away." Oscar rofe in wrath, and his father gravely defired him to spend his rage on his enemies, which he did to fo good purpose, that he fingly routed a whole wing of their army. The confederate kings advanced, notwithstanding, till they came to a narrow pass, poffeffed by the celebrated Ton-iofal. This name is very fignificant of the fingular property of the hero who bore it. Ton-iofal, though brave, was fo heavy and unwieldy, that, when he fat down, it took the whole force of an hundred men to fet him upright on his feet again. Luckily for the preservation of Ireland, the hero happened to be standing when the enemy appeared, and he gave fo good an account of them, that Fion, upon his arrival, found little to do, but to divide the spoil among his foldiers.